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Dali in Somerville. Any Recommendations?

  • s

My friend invited me to have dinner at Dali in Somerville. Is there any dish a "Must Have?" I have been to the Tapa restaurant in Brookline many times. Is Dali as good as Taberna de Haro?

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  1. Dali and Taberna de Haro are rather different. Dali is much bigger, livelier, has a broader menu (more tapas, plus a few entrees, including paellas, fish in salt, and hot stone table grilling), and better sangria. I quite like both, though I prefer Taberna's food.

    Despite the availability of entrees, I tend to stick to tapas at Dali. I think the simpler dishes tend to be better: tortilla Espanola, pimientos asados, patatas ali-oli, boquerones on the cold side; queso de cabra montanes, gambas al ajillo, butifarras con brevas, pato braseado, oxtail (an occasional special) on the hot side.

    I also prefer choosing among its long list of Spanish wines rather than drinking sangria with dinner; try the Mouvedre from Juan Gil. Sharing a porron of cava is fun to try once. I prefer dining in the bar or the room closer to Kirkland St to the big rear dining room, which can get painfully loud (especially if a lot of porrons are making the rounds.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Agreed. Both are fun and tasty, but Taberna de Haro does have better food and (to my taste) a cozier atmosphere. It's also lively, just not so loud as Dali, possibly because the bar is smaller and the average age of the patrons is somewhat higher.

    2. sit at the bar, drinks lots of sangria, and eat as much tapas as you can. there is a pork with mushrooms and melted cabrelas (sp?) blue cheese - DELICIOUS. also the fried zucchini, with manchego and serrano ham sandwiched in between - get two of those...
      people seem to trash dali quite a bit on this board, but i have to say, every time i have ever been there (at least 10 in that past 15 years), i had fun and enjoyed my meal, and left drunk & happy! a little pricey, but worth it in my opinion.

      1 Reply
      1. re: roxgirl

        I agree and that dish alone is worth the trip to me.

        I am no sangria expert and I'm sure there are better spanish wines to be drinking as opposed to wine punch, but it's tasty to me. I tend to prefer Tapeo's patio, a pitcher, and a few orders of tapas when it's nice out.

      2. a
        A Fish Called Wanda

        Entrees are Dali's week point, but tapas can be really good. Roast duck with berry sauce, and braised rabbit with spices are our favorites. I must have had them at least 10 times and they never disappoint. Garlic soup, and shrimp baked with garlic in olive oil are also really good. Check out the tapas specials. Any braised meat (like lamb with apricots) is a safe bet.

        For dessert, the flan or almond torte with coffee cream are both good, though nothing to write home about.

        I know everyone complains about Dali being expensive, but we usually share 5 tapas between 2 people and a pitcher of sangria, and we always get out of there for $70-80.

        Warning: I haven't been to Dali in about a year.

        Link: http://www.helenrennie.com

        1. I think the food at TDH is MUCH better.

          And the atmosphere at Dali is silly-tourist-Spain as interpreted by the Argentinian owners.

          But then I seldom resist an opportunity to critique the place. I get dragged there every year or so and always regret it.

          1. i also prefer the food at taberna de haro. it is much smaller and low key as people have said, but for me these are pluses.

            i was just at dali the other night, and our table ordered sangria, sauteed alcachofas (artichokes), tortilla espaƱola, scallops in saffron cream, duck leg in berry sauce, cheese puffs, and the pulpo (octopus salad).

            the service was wonderful, the atmosphere was fun, but the food was on the slightly disappointing side of okay-- with the exception of the octopus. it was perfectly tender and nicely dressed, my only
            complaint is that the octopus was cut into big unwieldy chunks.

            at the risk of adding one more whinging rant about dali's food, here was my take: the alcachofas were a little bland and tasted like they had been frozen, the tortilla was a little soggy. the cream sauce on the scallops was velvety and saffrony on its own, but heavy enough that it overwhelmed the scallops. the duck itself was nice, but the berry sauce was slightly cloying (in the way that mole sauce with too much chocolate is). i didn't try the cheese puffs, but they didn't all get eaten, for whatever that's worth.

            3 Replies
              1. re: Alcachofa

                hmm... well they had a little dusting of paprika... and some lemon... but they were a little lifeless. i was sad because alcachofas are usually my favorites.

                1. re: turtl_girl

                  When I had them there, they were OK. I wouldn't call them bland, but they still probably could have benefitted from simply a little more S&P and lemon perhaps. I think the 'chokes themselves were fine (didn't taste frozen).

            1. Pork sausage w/ figs is my favorite tapa there.

              1. Definitely the garlic soup (a great way to start the tapas trying if it's a cold, raw night out!) and the duck with berry sauce. The pork tenderloin with portobellos and cabrales is a favorite as well.

                I find the lobster ravioli rather bland, but the scallops in saffron cream are almost always excellent (only once or twice have they been overcooked).

                Their special tapas menu shouldn't be overlooked - this month there is braised oxtail, and it was quite good when I had it several weeks ago. I really wanted to try the snails in mushroom nests, but my co-diner was "ick" on both of those items. ;-)

                They have some good ports - the 10-year Tawny is always good - and a wonderful vanilla liqueur, Cuarenta y Tres, for after dinner, as well as good cafe con leche.

                1. Thanks for all hounds' recommendations! I had a wonderful time at Dali last night sitting at the bar and it wasn't crowded at all. Me and my friend shared 4 tapas and we both had a couple sangria and I had a glass of Oloroso Sherry. The drinks are fabulous especially the sherry, but I think the food is only mediocre and not all that exciting. We shared the duck with berry sauce, snails in mushroom nests, braised rabbit, and the garlic soup. Duck with berry sauce is probably the best of all. The snails is overcooked and way too chewy (Petit Robert Bistro does a great job on their snails.) The braised rabbit has a frozen texture, and Taberna de Haro definitely has better garlic soup. Overall, it has a very touristic atmosphere with food that's over priced for it's quality. I had fun though!

                  1. I agree, Dali and Taberna de Haro are very different. Dali is more of a colorful, spirited atmosphere... and artistic. Taberna de Haro is the most sophisticated, romantic, yet atmospheric Spanish experience. Dali is more casual and family-oriented. Taberna is more date-appropriate and intimate, more romantic atmosphere. Both are good, but Taberna is higher up there as far as quality all-around goes and presentation. They have more pride in everything I believe and focus more attention on the little details such as flavor, etc because it's a small establishment.

                    See both of my experiences with photos: For Dali.. see

                    For Taberna de Haro, see...

                    It really depends on the occasion of the dinner outing.Please feel free to contact me if you want further info. Contact through my blog if need be.

                    1. Can't miss @ Dali with sangria, garlic shrimp, pork sausage, baked goat cheese.