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Best Spots Showing off Boston on the Cheap

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I have two friends visiting this weekend who are VERY much chowhounds. We will have to stick to cheap eats. Where are the best spots in-and-around Boston that fit in the Cheap Eats category but will be WONDERFUL to show off to my out-of-town guests? I don't need any Chinatown places because I already have that covered. We will definitely be making a stop there.

Some I am considering:

Wang's Fast Food
Tacos Lupita
Tacos El Charro
Matt Murphy's
Bartley's
St. James

Come on! I want to hear about the best of the best!

Thanks . . .

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  1. Consider Sagla, in JP; you'll score points for knowing about Boston's (New England's?) only Eritrean restaurant, run by a women's collective. Tacos Lupita is good, but Tacos El Charro is more fun, especially if you go on a night when the owner's mariachi band is performing. Doyle's, also in JP, is good for a drink and rich with Boston/Irish history--I think the exterior is used in the show Boston Public as the teacher's hangout, although I've never seen the show. Ali's Roti in Roslindale serves up huge, delicious roti with much bonhomme and zero decor, although you're likely to fall into a food coma soon after from eating so much. Santarpio's, in East Boston, serves up Beantown's best pizza cheap, with sides of sausage. Rangoli in Allston has great South Indian food. And don't forget Dok Bua and Buddha's Delight in Brookine for good Thai and vegetarian food, respectively.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Seth Ditchik

      I second for Sagla, in JP.

      Thanks for the Ali's Roti in Roslindale suggestion. Haven't been there, but I'm making a date for this weekend. Is it best for lunch time, take-out, or dinner?

      1. re: Louise8

        Probably best for lunch; they close pretty early (I think 8pm). I've always enjoyed eating in--the owner/cook is a garrulous man, and there's usually some sort of West Indian music playing on the radio--but take-out is good too.

    2. s
      splendidspatula

      Have to cast a vote for Bartley's - lots of atmosphere, in Harvard Square which offers sightseeing options and more importantly, good ice cream for dessert (Toscanini's being a couple of blocks away). Not to mention, outstanding burgers!

      1 Reply
      1. re: splendidspatula

        If we're talking burgers, I have to give a shout out to Tim's on columbus in the South End. The burgers there are juicy and delicious, if you want the heart attack burger (which i personally recommend) get a bacon cheeseburger medium rare. holy cow. The atmosphere is purely fun and I think that it is one of the most diverse crowds you'll see in this town.

      2. Now, I'm not sure if this suggestion is not-quite-cheap-enough, but in my experience, Cafe of India on Brattle Street in Harvard Square is the best bang for the buck meal in Cambridge, and perhaps in all of Boston. The food is delicious, extremely flavorful. The room smells great. The booths are cushioned in soft fabrics and have pillows on them. The busboys pour water from beautiful water jugs. And everything on the menu is several dollars cheaper than Indian restaurants elsewhere.
        Yeah.

        1. I think Galleria Umberto in the north end needs to be on that list. Lotsa people seem to like their pizza, but I'm not one of them. I like just about everything else, however. The arancini, panzaroti, panini, and calzones are pretty classic.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Eric Eto

            I've always had trouble finding them on the web. Do you know their hours off-hand?

            1. re: C. Simon

              They're a lunch-only place and open from 11am to whenever they run out of stuff, which is usually around 2pm, and that's it. There are usually long lines out the door during peak lunch periods, but totally worth the wait.