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Jun 20, 2001 03:28 PM


  • j


I'd like to invite you all to post your favorite boston area hole-in-the-wall restaurant. What's a hole in the wall? Here is some criteria:

1) food is king. Ambience is an afterthought.
2) diners are willing to forsake certain comforts for quality of food.
3) cheap unpalatable food doesn't count. It's gotta be good - cheap isn't enough.
4) bonus points for any restaurant not already mentioned here


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  1. Shwarma King, Beacon St. in Coolidge Corner

    Delicious falafel and good specials. Lots of vegetarian items and non-veg alike

    no atmosphere to speak of, but delicious food

    1. Arirang House, 162 Mass.Ave, Boston, (between Berkely College of Music and City Sports.)
      A Korean Buffet that transcends the Asian Buffet stereotype.Usually around 12 cold salads,(kimchi, seaweed---all the expected Korean wizardry with raw and lightly marinated vegetables!), and another 12 or so hot dishes,stir-fried veggies, kim-chi with tofu, cellophane noodles, more noodles, more veggies,little zucchini pancakes, also a meat and chicken dish, from what I've seen( I don't eat meat)...But I DO eat seafood!! There's usually one, little fried fish fillets(real!!) or on fabulous days, squid---really, really great squid! White rice, brown rice, miso soup, seaweed soup...Fresh fruit for dessert, and usually, california or veggie sushi rolls....All amazingly fresh, healthy, and non-guilt inducing!! And for $6.95 at lunch, and $8.95 at dinner, I have NO idea why anyone would bother with the next-door McDonalds! I love this place! Whenever I do work for a client I have in the area, they know I'll come back breathing garlic and smiling!!(they also do it take-out, by the pound; a great deal!!!!)
      Thanks for starting this thread---I thought THIS was what chowhounding was all about...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Leslie

        Hey I tried this place over the weekend--it was a great find. I think it more than lived up to the hole in the wall requirements. The food was surely no frills (it is of course a buffet) and boy was it good. Some of the main entrees were a little touch-and-go, but the salads were so good, great rice, great soup, and they had those delicious little fish fillets. It was a big hit with all four of us who went.

        And how can you go to McDonalds next door with that there? I completely agree!

        1. re: Carolyn

          Glad ya liked it!!After I read your response, I HAD to go over there for lunch, and it was SQUID day!!! Not fried,in hot sauce!!! FAB!Yeah, some of the entrees may seem odd, but I figured they were Korean homestyle....But then, I'm a fan of anything containing kimchi!

      2. Taqueria CancĂșn
        65 Maverick Sq, East Boston, MA 02128, (617) 567-4449
        A salvadoran/mexican place: pupusas, tacos, and a really good sopa de mariscos. Spanish skills are a +.

        Taqueria TapatĂ­o on Broadway in East Somerville (not sure about cross street). Very similar to Cancun, better al pastor here.

        Tacos Lupita (mentioned on these boards already) on Elm Street near Somerville Ave. Better pupusas than the previous two.

        Victor's Deli
        710 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144 (617) 625-3076
        (Ball Square, Medford/Somerville). The best chicken/veal parms.

        Izzy's Restaurant and Sub Shop
        169 Harvard St, Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 661-3910
        Puerto rican on Harvard St/Windsor in Cambridge, near the Kendall Square Cinema. Located in a corner surrounded by public housing, probably one of the only places for latino fare of this sort. Good empanadas, jamaican pies, fried pork, chuletas, ropa vieja, oxtail stew, etc. Subs are also OK.

        Banh Mi Ba Le
        1052 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester, MA 02125
        (617) 265-7171
        Good ol' banh mi (vietnamese sandwich) shop.

        1430 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446, (617) 738-4977
        Probably the best thai place in Boston.

        Galleria Umberto
        289 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113, (617) 227-5709
        Only open for lunch or until they run out of stuff, which is usually around 2pm. Really good calzones, panzarotti (breaded fried mashed potatos with herbs and cheese filling), panini (pizza bread pastry stuffed with spiced ham and cheese -- nice and gewy, drips if you're not careful), arancini (rice balls, breaded and fried, filled with beef and cheese). Pizzas just OK. Wine by the dixie cups too.

        Blue Ribbon BBQ (Arlington and West Newton) not really a hole in the wall, but spare in decor and better BBQ than anything else in town -- and don't tell me about Redbones.

        People's Cafeteria
        23 Edinboro St, Boston, MA 02111, (617) 482-7328
        Pretty decent standard cantonese fare at really good prices. Gotta love their $6.95 evening menu. They make a really good ma-po tofu as well. Someone in the kitchen knows what they're doing.

        Dong Khang
        83 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02111, (617) 426-9410
        Very good vietnamese place. Not for your typical pho and bun house. Really good vietnamese "fondue".

        6 Replies
        1. re: Eric Eto


          I think the rotisseria Cancun is a lot better than Taqueria cancun - it's just a couple stores down from the taqueria, on the same side of the street, right there in maverick square. There's really no room to eat in there - get take out and enjoy the roast chicken. Really great tacos, too...

          1. re: JJ

            I've been to both places, but I've had a problem in the past (almost 2 years ago now) that when I went to Maverick Sq., I found the rotisseria closed or barely open. They've probably got that straightened out by now, and also when they first opened, I think they had trouble figuring out whether they would just be a Cancun jr., or offer something slightly different. Regardless, you don't know how happy I was to discover Cancun when it was (and still is to some degree) so difficult to find decent Mexican fare in Boston. The other taquerias opened sometime after. By the way, have you explored parts of Chelsea for more Mexican food? I've heard there's some good places popping up in that neighborhood as well.

            1. re: Eric Eto

              Haven't checked out Chelsea, but i'm optimistic. The rotisseria Cancun is still the only place that i've tried that has anything resembling real mexican/central american food...

              1. re: JJ

                The best tips are in Chelsea at the Newbridge Cafe between Rt. 16 and the Woodlawn section of Everett.

          2. re: Eric Eto

            Great post, Eric - thanks for the tips....

            1. re: Eric Eto

              Rod Dee!!!
              Great homestyle Thai food... not the healthiest fare but so good! For whatever reason, the original Beacon St. location is noticeably better than the newer Fenway branch. Be adventurous, don't just try the Pad Thai!

            2. The Golden Gate in Chinatown. I have a friend who has a theory that the ruder the waiters at a chinese place, the better the food. The waiters here actually throw the silverware onto the table - the food, particularly the panfried noodles , bear out my buddie's theory.

              1 Reply
              1. re: fladd

                We call it "facedowns" in my neck of the woods. You cannot get better chicken fingers anywhere. Love this place. Just remember, no ice!!!

              2. Franklin Cafe. Fabulous funky, smokey bar with exceptional food in the southend.

                1 Reply
                1. re: michelle

                  I don't know if you could consider the Franklin Cafe to be a hole in the wall; too hip and expensive to really fit the description. It's a great place, tho.