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grumpy7

Near West of Boston

26 posts in this topic

Can anyone recommend someplace in the near west area of Boston -- Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge, Waltham area?

Looking for nice cozy casual atmosphere, good food, maybe on the adventurous side, moderate price, varied wine list.

The last few times in town I've been to Tryst in Arlington and Il Capricio in Waltham. Both quite good but looking for something new this time.

Party will be two-four adults.

Not Asian. Nothing against it. I'm just not in the mood.

thanks.


Edited by grumpy7 (log)

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campagna on main st in waltham- headed into watertown- is the best food i think you'll find in that area. far better then capriccio. lovely, northern italian,some very unusual offerings (in sefood esp.);once some amazing oneof a kind housemade breads, etc. it is very expensive; you can check their website (though their posted menu is not up to date we found out last time.) they do fill up quickly so reservations a must.

we were pretty happy at tapeo a few months ago- moody st.-- spanish w/ tapas incl. Handsome interior. a bit of trouble w/ service and wrong order w/ unhelpful management......

the new 51 lincoln in newtonville is a great bet too. very talented chef, w/ some fusion and fun influences. handsome room; exc. service; everyth we ordered was super.

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I'm not a local, so my $0.02 might be in fact worth less than that :wink: , but how about Central Kitchen? It's on Mass Ave., right off the T at Central Square (Cambridge).

Last time I was in town, I went there with a friend who, like me, works in the restaurant business and another couple; we had a great time. The wine list is, IMHO, thoughtful and reasonably priced, as is the menu. "Adventurous" is kind of subjective, but I was more than pleased; the food was creative without being overly aspirational, which to me suggests focus and diligence. As far as the "cozy" factor, I felt a genuinely warm, positive vibe in there. I plan to go back next time I'm up that way, and I recommend it without hesitation.


"What was good enough yesterday may not be good enough today." - Thomas Keller

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"Adventurous" is kind of subjective, but I was more than pleased; the food was creative without being overly aspirational, which to me suggests focus and diligence. As far as the "cozy" factor, I felt a genuinely warm, positive vibe in there. I plan to go back next time I'm up that way, and I recommend it without hesitation.

Adventurous, yes subjective. I meant seeing somethings on the menu I haven't seen before. That probably doesn't help either. Cozy I mean warm, good lighting design. You know, it's February in New England. I don't want to feel like I'm in an ice cube but I don't want some cutesy New England "country" decor either. God, I'm picky. :wacko:

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Small menu; I get the sense it changes frequently. I had a rad roasted sweetbreads and lentils dish with frisee when I was there, and a killer lamb porterhouse. Not exotic by any means, but conscientious, well-informed food with a pleasantly refined creativity and technical strength. That's what I like. And it does meet your definition of cozy, in my estimation.

And, hey, it's okay to be picky! :smile: I, too, have a hard time deciding where to eat, especially when I'm choosing for other people. I feel like I can explain what I want, but I know it might take a while, so I usually end up walking around and counting on knowing it when I see it. Not an option in freakin' freezin' February. I dug Central Kitchen. I know it's been around for a while and might be old news to Boston heads, but I wanted more or less what you do and my friend the super-waiter got it right.


"What was good enough yesterday may not be good enough today." - Thomas Keller

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Small menu; I get the sense it changes frequently. I had a rad roasted sweetbreads and lentils dish with frisee when I was there, and a killer lamb porterhouse. Not exotic by any means, but conscientious, well-informed food with a pleasantly refined creativity and technical strength. That's what I like. And it does meet your definition of cozy, in my estimation.

Had dinner there last Friday and those very dishes were part of the order. Very good, and that lamb porterhouse was huge.

CK is a favorite, everything is always well prepared and plated, prices fair. It's my dream neighborhood bistro, I wish it was around the corner from my place. Great atmosphere and terrific, reasonably priced wine list. That said, I don't know that I'd recommend it as a destination if you aren't already in the general vicinity. There are typically only 5 or 6 appetizers and entrees, generally well-executed variations on the classics. If that's what you are looking for, it's worth the drive and parking hassles of downtown Cambridge. Keep in mind that it is very small and doesn't take reservations. Nice bar for waiting, though.

If you want innovation and are willing to drive to Cambridge, then I'd second the suggestion of Craigie Street Bistro.

Western burbs? How about Lumiere in West Newton? I haven't been for a while, but loved earlier visits.



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Didn't Schlow open a place in Wellsley(in the old Fig's spot)?

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Will be in the Boston area (area west of Boston) next week for a work trip. Need some recommendations for dinner.   Like local places. Like seafood. Not totally sure if I will have lots of time to get in closer to Boston and Cambridge and the like.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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This is a map I created and just updated. There aren't that many places on my list that are west of Boston; you owe it to yourself to at least get into the Cambridge area.
Oh, the seafood! https://www.google.com/maps/ms?msid=207009040457871020162.00044904677eb2ed32f48&msa=0
PS: I grew up in Dallas. I've been in CT for 13 years.


Banished from Chowhound; I like it just fine on eGullet!

If you`re not big enough to lose, you`re not big enough to win! Try this jalapeno, son. It ain't hot...

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I'll check it out. I was in Cambridge last year for a long weekend (3 days, two nights) Ate at Craigie on Main one night. Had a great lunch at S&D Oyster in South End one day.    Not totally sure what I'll be able to do on a work trip. I know it's not too far into Cambridge from where I am, but I usually don't like to do too much driving after work. (really a training class in Watertown, so we are done at a reasonable time)


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Ive been to some of the earlier Jasper White's seafood places, currently there are these"

 

 

https://www.summershackrestaurant.com/

 

there is one in dedham.  pics would be nice.

 

Legal Seafood back when was very good, now there are many:

 

http://shop.legalseafoods.com/?source=google&page=homepage/pd/1

 

chesnut hill :

 

https://www.legalseafoods.com/restaurants/chestnut-hill-the-street

 

also in that 'mall' there is a very good chinese restaurant

 

http://boston.menupages.com/restaurants/bernards/

 

they have seafood.  and lots of parking !

 

https://www.skipjacks.com/

 

are around, I thought there was one in Needham, perhaps not.

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in watertown along Moody street there are lots of mid priced restaurants, including Indian.

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I highly recommend, in this order:

 

Molana - Persian (Watertown)

Il Casale - Italian (Belmont)

 

and I haven't been there for 30 years but it still gets good reviews:

 

Il Capriccio (Waltham)

 

The Summershack at Alewife (North Cambridge) is probably your best bet for seafood in the area. But you're not going to get anything comparable to the North Shore, New Hampshire or Maine.

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Best not to eat "seafood" in New England. Shellfish, yes, but not fish. Never, ever, under most circumstances eat fish in New England unless you caught it yourself, or maybe (just maybe) in a very high end restaurant and if it's "atlantic dayboat" fish. Boats go out for 5 days at a time, because really there's no fish near here, it's all gone. There are clams, though!

 

Summer Shack has as decent fried clams as you can find close to the city, if you can't make the drive up to Route 135 to get better ones. Their lobster is among the best cooked you can get in MA, but not as good as in Maine. If you go there don't be tempted to get fish, nor should you even think of getting your lobster prepared any other way than just steamed. The steamer clams are good also. If you don't want to get lobster or clams, don't go there. Have Indian Pudding for dessert if you do go, it's another good local treat and they do it better than all the other remaining local places in Massachusetts.

 

If you go to Molana (recommended above), decor and service is standard Persian restaurant style - but food is good. I go there a lot, the best thing they do is "Chicken Soltani" if you order it with "shirin polo" which is basmati rice with sweet orange peel / carrots rather than plain basmati. Definitely try the saffron ice cream for dessert. If you go there more than once, try the Ghormeh Sabzi. Around the corner from there near Watertown Square is a burger place called Wild Willy's, and I also go there often - kinda hoaky family style place, but three choices of locally sourced meat, artisanal cheddar cheese, toasted & buttered bun. If you go there, keep it plain and simple - med rare with nothing but cheddar is my call, it can compete with NYC's Burger Joint. 

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had not heard of WW's, will go there soon !

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West means Wellesley as well, where oddly there are several good Chinese restaurants, including Blue Ginger. Agree with Patrickamory too

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The guy asks for seafood recommendations and gets what? Only fried clams are fit to eat? A place that caters to families with kids? Sheesh.

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Banished from Chowhound; I like it just fine on eGullet!

If you`re not big enough to lose, you`re not big enough to win! Try this jalapeno, son. It ain't hot...

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Thanks for the additional tips. Wild Willy's is a place that turned up while I was doing independent research.

 

I want to give Strip T's a try. Maybe Summer Shack, then one of the pubs/bars scargo recommended (Deep Ellum or Publick House). It's a work trip and I am not alone. Also, one night is blocked out for a dinner that the client/vendor is arranging.  Still leaves a few nights to fill, but I have plenty to pick from.   I'll be sure to report back on where I wind up.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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jsmeeker - how did your trip go? We're headed in a similar directoin soon, looking for great eats to the west of town (and downtown, but that's another thread).


"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" (coined while playing with my food at Lolita).

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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The guy asks for seafood recommendations and gets what? Only fried clams are fit to eat? A place that caters to families with kids? Sheesh.

 

Well, #1, he's in asking about an inland area, and #2, the closest body of water we're talking about is the Gulf of Maine, the most overfished body of water on the planet. So, yeah. Ask the natives an honest question, get an honest answer. Only the shellfish still live here, with small exceptions. (See the thread about Maine shrimp for even more depressing news.) For the rest, adamr's answer is 100% correct.

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Best not to eat "seafood" in New England. Shellfish, yes, but not fish. Never, ever, under most circumstances eat fish in New England unless you caught it yourself, or maybe (just maybe) in a very high end restaurant and if it's "atlantic dayboat" fish. Boats go out for 5 days at a time, because really there's no fish near here, it's all gone. There are clams, though!

 

Summer Shack has as decent fried clams as you can find close to the city, if you can't make the drive up to Route 135 to get better ones. Their lobster is among the best cooked you can get in MA, but not as good as in Maine. If you go there don't be tempted to get fish, nor should you even think of getting your lobster prepared any other way than just steamed. 

                       ^                                                ^                                                    ^                                                     ^

I've been a member of Cape Ann Fresh Catch community-supported fishery for a year now.  The fish is from Gulf of Maine dayboats, and I am told that it has usually been caught no more than 24 hours before delivery, never more than 48.  We get a reasonable variety including several kinds of flatfish, pollock, redfish, haddock, hake, monkfish, and bluefish, all caught "near here".

 

Jasper's Pan-Roasted Lobster is spectacularly good.  The buttery sauce contains roe, alcohol, and herbs.  Suggested serving: 1 per lifetime.

 

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I've been a member of Cape Ann Fresh Catch community-supported fishery for a year now.  The fish is from Gulf of Maine dayboats, and I am told that it has usually been caught no more than 24 hours before delivery, never more than 48.  We get a reasonable variety including several kinds of flatfish, pollock, redfish, haddock, hake, monkfish, and bluefish, all caught "near here".

 

 

Jasper's Pan-Roasted Lobster is spectacularly good.  The buttery sauce contains roe, alcohol, and herbs.  Suggested serving: 1 per lifetime.

 

 

The Cape Ann CSF is really good, and there are a couple of other CSF's around here. I buy from Cape Cod based Red's Best, which sells at local farmer's markets and often has skate and the best scallops I've ever bought.  They're not cheap but worth the occasional splurge.

 

Both supply local restaurants, so it's possible to find sustainable "local" seafood in area restaurants. Because prices are higher, you're more likely to find it at higher end places, though. It's worth asking before you order.

 

One Fish, Two fish, Red’s Fish, Bluefish: A Morning With Seafood Purveyor Red’s Best

 

And I concur, Jasper's pan-roasted lobster is excellent.



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Ive had the lobster pan roast twice at the fancy-et downtown restaurant a long time ago

 

it was superb.

 

I have not been to the Summer Shack.   if you have, do they have bellies on the fried clams.  and do they have fried calamari ?

 

i can't make heads nor tails looking at the online menu.

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