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Chow in Fall River Mass.?

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I'll be spending at least half a day (Saturday) amusing myself in Fall River while all of the boys and my husband make their annual pilgrimage to Battleship Cove. Where should I go? Are there any bakeries, Portuguese markets, or eating places I should try to find? I've stumbled upon a market or two in the past, but I hope someone has additional ideas. I saw that someone posted a query here a couple of weeks ago, but got no response. Any ideas? Thanks.

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  1. Ask Emeril - since he is from there. Just kidding! I envy you your day there and your quest. Thanks for listening.

    1. We have liked a restaurant called Alves which is up on the main north-south commercial drag of the town (is it Main Street or High Street? but several blocks south of the main business district. I believe it is a rather steep uphill drive from where Battleship Cove is; on the way uphill we have seen some portuguese businesses, there are a number of portuguese bakeries ad other establishments up on the same street as Alves. We have liked codfish dishes, grilled octopus and my son really likes the hamburger with linguica sausage served at Alves.

      Having said that, I think there have been other Fall River reccs in recent months (other than Alves) I havent seen a good meat market in our visits, and most of the stores had gaudy manufactured stuff rather than the more simple artisanal stuff I prefer (probably unreasonable to expect this) but we have looked mainly along that one street and as I say, I think they may have been more stores farther down the hill. If you continue north on that same street you will eventually go through some residential neighborhoods with huge and interesting homes. Hope you find something of interest to post back about.

      6 Replies
      1. re: jen kalb

        Well, Fall River was pretty much a bust, chow-wise. I couldn't find Alves (the restaurant) on Main Street, north or south. I did find the Alves Insurance agency, and the Alves Driving School, but neither one was open or I would have gone in and asked about the restaurant. I did do some shopping at the Chaves Market (down fairly near Battleship Cove). It is decent and large, and has a pretty good selection of Portugese baked goods and meats. We ate at the Waterfront Cafe, where we've eaten before, but it wasn't very interesting. Mostly Fall River was insanely hot, pretty run down, and many places were closed or defunct. I think I'll skip it next time.

        1. re: sushimom
          tim ferreira-bedard

          Don't give up on Fall River Jen.

          Next time try Sagres, just up Columbia street from Chaves Market. Great place, try the several salted cod dishes or the filet mignon. If you can go in the evening they have live entertainment, Fado singers, sort of the Portuguese blues but with flamenco guitars. Also in Fall River, Sam's Lebanese Bakery - it's across town in the Flint section, off of Pleasant Street on Flint street. They bake fresh lebanese spinich and meat pies til about 12:30pm. They have chourico, leban(ground beef with yogurt)meniche(pita bread baked with spices) and several other goodies.

          A few mile out of towm are 2 places not to be missed
          Gray's ice cream - 16 East road tiverton - top 10 gourmet's ice cream of USA -they are right on the corner of East and Main roads -about 25 minutes out of Fall River

          Also, donuts - Butler's Colonial Donuts - the best donuts ever - if you are in the area after Labor day they make cream filled donuts - real cream - amazing.
          They are in Westport on Sanford road. Gourmet rated their donuts the second best in New England - some place in CT was best, haven't tried them yet

          1. re: tim ferreira-bedard

            Oh goodness, consider this a second for Sagres!!! Delicious Portuguese food.

            1. re: tim ferreira-bedard

              It saddens me that now Butlers is owned by someone else.
              It is not the same.

              1. re: tim ferreira-bedard

                The CT donut place that you're referring to is Phillip's in Woodbury. Their donuts have been nationally recognized for years. The place was sold about two years ago, to a townie, who would not close the deal unless Bud (the original owner) included the recipe for the donuts. Now called Dottie's Diner at Phillips.

                1. re: tim ferreira-bedard

                  We just discovered Butler's about 6 months ago and they really do have the BEST cream donuts. I can't make comparisons to previous owners since I've only tried them with the "new" owners. They really are Great donuts! First my daughter was after me to make the trip over to Somerset and then my wife, so we headed out from Aquidneck Island for our 20 to 25 minute drive to get the donuts and saw a For Rent sign on the Somerset Butler's donut shop. The Westport location has been closed for awhile. This was a real disappointment. I'm hoping that they aren't casualties of buying over-priced property at the real-estate peak a few years ago and can't keep up with the mortgage and can't unload the property. Does anyone know if they have any plans of reopening (possilby Westport???) or of selling the recipe?

            2. w
              Where the heck is the food!!!!!!!!

              9 of us are going to Fall River to the haunted houses. After spending about an hour on the net I've concluded in order to eat in Fall River you have to pack a lunch.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Where the heck is the food!!!!!!!!

                I realize this is an old thread but I came across it browsing the site and just had to reply. If anyone is still interested, you would be missing out on some great chow if you packed a lunch when visiting Fall River.
                This city is a true Chowhound delight--full of those "hole-in-the-wall" places that are all about the food. Unfortunatly, in true chowhound fashion, you have to put a bit of effort into finding them. Word of mouth is usually the mode of advertising for these establishments and decor is almost always lacking--but if it's great food you want try:
                St. John's Club (the most amazing fried seafood you will ever
                Sam's Meat Pies: (already mentioned here but worth another plug
                authentic lebanese food)
                King Phillip Lunch: (on south main street--south end--coney
                island dogs, burgers and "hot cheese
                sandwich"--can't explain it, you just have
                to try one.)
                Mee Sum: (Good Chinese food also in the south end--across from
                King Phillip Lunch)
                Academica: (awesome Albacore tuna with real french fries
                and steak sandwiches to die for.)
                Sadly, the UKE (Ukranian Club) on globe street is closed now as well as China Royal--both were local landmarks and served amazing food but there is still a lot left--you just have to look for it. I grew up in Fall River and have since moved but I make frequent trips there just for the chow and my sister travels from No. Kingstown often just to get her meat pies from Sam's.
                And I didn't even mention Marzillies and Marcucchies (sp?) for amazing italian grinders (great stop on the way to the beach) I'm sure I'm forgetting something--so next time you make it to Fall River, please, leave your lunchbox home...

                1. re: pongo61

                  These postings make me chuckle--I, too, grew up in Fall River, in my aged case in the 50's and 60's, and other than Al Mac's diner and Magonis Italian restaurant "over the river", we thought there was NOWHERE to eat. Now I realize there were probably a bunch of Chowhoundish locales that just weren't known to, or sufficiently appreciated by, my family and friends. China Royal! Wow, it must have changed a lot in its later days. My next door neighbors owned it, and even in those days we knew we weren't eating anything resembling real Chinese food--strictly chow mein, moogoo gai pan, egg foo young and the like on the menu. (What a revelation is was to move to NYC and have my first Szechuan Chinese meal!) Next time I'm passing through town on the way to the Cape, I'll have to try one of these recommended spots.
                  Thanks for the memories!

                  1. re: MommaJ

                    another FR native who relocated to NYC... spent many a high school late night sipping drinks out of hollowed out pineapples at the C. Royal and watching their wonderfully cheesy shows. Fun! Gone now, sadly, but don't miss the Lizzie Borden B and B if you are passing through, worth a tour and great gift shop too! And Al Mac's, now that brings me back, I can still picture it, driving by after buying shoes with mom at McWhirr's...

                    1. re: bklynbiker

                      I am also a FR native who relocated to NYC. I every time I come back to visit my family, I make it a point to gorge myself with sam's meat pies (the ones made with leban, to be specific), chow mein sandwiches ( I now get them from China Star or Mark Yu (sp?) now that the legendary China Royal has been replaced by a CVS), Marzillies Italian grinders (w/ mixed peppers), "Dirty" Nick's Coney Dogs, Portugese steak from St Johns or Sagres, Chourico & Chips or Peppers sandwiches from Billy's Cafe, a chourico & peppers pie from Highland Pizza, a clam boil from Buddies (Tiverton), Butlers doughnuts, Awful Awfuls and Sundaes from Newport Creamery, and lots and lots of coffee milk. I can seriously gain 5 pounds after spending Just a few days in Fall River. Can't wait to go back next month!

                  2. re: pongo61

                    Oh Marzillies and Marcucchies.
                    What amazing places!

                2. Check out New Boston Bakery. Their chocolate raspberry squares are great and blueberry muffins, on New Boston Rd Fall River.
                  A few miles down 195 E, to New Bedford check our Frestone's City Grill: fresh seafood, hand cut steaks, and home made soups. Right next to the Whaling Museum.

                  1. Here's a link to a thread on sagre's. I've been back a few times and enjoyed it.


                    4 Replies
                    1. re: 9lives

                      My favorite Fall River Asian restaurant is:

                      Apsara Restaurant
                      418 Quequechan St
                      Fall River, MA 02723

                      (508) 678-7979

                      1. re: karlssoni

                        sam's bakery is unbelievable. I live in dc now but family and then sam's is what I come home for. They have a lot of great stuff, but stick with a meat and leben pie to begin with. Eat in on the hood of your car. The Flavor(smell) will stay with you if you disregard this advice. The NYC people live in a great town and they have the best of everything, just ask them.

                        1. re: malloy

                          Was in Fall River yesterday with time for just one meal, lunch. We got to Sam's Bakery about 45 minutes before they closed at 2, and it lived up to the love it gets on this thread -- we got a huge feast of Middle Eastern goodies for about 25 bucks all told. The meat pies with leban are the star of the show -- but, for the vegetarians in the crew, the cabbage pies are almost as good. Terrific homemade hummus and a very vinegary, aggressively seasoned taboulli. And don't mix the little baklava sticks -- they don't drown them in honey as most places do so you can really taste the spices.

                          1. re: Machaca

                            I love Sam's. I have been going there about once a year as I am 2 hours away for the last 20 years. We buy several dozen pies(the meat and open cheese are our favorites) and freeze them when we get home. Heated up in the oven, they are almost as good as fresh out of their oven. And of course we eat some on the roof of our car. I have yet to find anything like that anywhere else in the country. My old boss told me about it as he grew up in Fall River. I think you would only find it by word of mouth. I think I might pull some out tonight for dinner.

                    2. Was just browsing and saw this message....ironic as I'm planning to head to Sams in a few hours to get some meat pies for my Mom who's up from Florida and sooooo addicted to them!

                      1. There are ALL kinds of good places to eat in Fall River without going the chain route. Less than a block from the Battleship is the Waterstreet Cafe on ... you guessed it Water Street. Mesa 21 is a really good brick oven pizza place on Lindsey Street if you want to go the pizza route. LePage's Seafood. Marzilli's. Marcucci's. Apsara. Billy's Cafe. The Quequechan Club. The Abby Grille. Ugly American. New Boston Bakery. ...ALL of these places serve good to great food on any given day ... you WILL have to go looking though. There's no food district in the riv.

                        1. My wife's family is from the Fall Riv area and has taken me to a couple of places. LePages is her dads hangout and the Shrimp Mozambique is a garlic lovers paradise - place is pretty pricey for what and where it is though imo.

                          My favorite local joint she has taken me to a few times is the Liberal Club. I wouldn't know where to find it though since she has driven each time and its in an obscure place which seemed more residential than anything. But anything clam related there is really good. The red clam chowder is what I remember Manhattan clam chowder to be when I lived in NY state. I could be happy with just a couple of bowls of littlenecks in garlic and oil with about 10 of those fresh portuguese rolls to dip in the clammy/garlicy broth at the bottom of the bowl. And the fried seafood is fresh, well done, and plentiful for the price. Quirky place since if you want a beer or any drink besides water, you have to order it from the old lady who only takes drink orders, then she goes to the bar on the otherside of the restaurant, and you have to pay her immediately when you recieve your drink. Place has always been packed on each of my visits whether it was during the week or on the weekend.

                          I was just telling my wife a couple of days ago that I need a Liberal Club fix.

                          1. You have to try Michel's and Mello's markets, Sam's bakery. What else do you need for a food trek. A new place to try is uglyAmerican for burgers. If you make 2 of any of these it'll be worth the trip

                            1. I second the votes for LePage's Seafood, Marcucci's (Marzilli's takes second place in this category for me), St John's Club, Ugly American, Butler's Donuts (not quite in FR but close enough), Al Mac's (for turkey clubs only), Sagres, and anywhere you can find my FR fave: clam pizza!

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: GSM

                                I'm a native Fall River-ite.
                                I agree that most of the best places are true 'hole in the wall' restaurants. You have to be from the area to have heard of them and passing by, you wouldn't think of going in for great food. But if you don't want a unique experience go to Applebee's.
                                Sam's bakery is a must. Try a meat pie, open spinach pie, or broccoli pie.
                                Butler's Donuts in Westport is a treat. Try the 'long john' - made w/ REAL cream.
                                There is an ongoing rivalry between two sub (make sure you call it a "Grinder" while in the city) shops - Marzilli's and Marccuci's (only a block away from each other!). Ask anyone from the city and they'll say one or the other is the best. I'm a Marccuci's girl.
                                Academica is a local favorite for authentic Portugues food.
                                Abbey Grille has been mentioned several times by Emeril as a favorite.
                                Michael's for Chourico (Portugues sausage - Pronounced "Sure-ees" NOT "Sure-eezo").
                                Honorable mentions: Magoni's in Somerset, Evelyn's in Tiverton (clamcakes), Gray's ice cream in Tiverton, Roger's in Fall River for coney island hot dogs, Almac's diner in Fall River (not my fave but local favorite), and New York bagel (only good bagel shop in the area).

                                Good Luck!

                                1. re: melbell611

                                  AH, you had me until Magoni's! *shudder*

                                  1. re: GSM

                                    Yes, Magoni's isn't the greatest, but it's worth the trip just for those cinamon pastries before the main course. Any place that offers a delicious dessert pastry thing for FREE before the meal is served, deserves to be put on a "Honorable Mentions" list. Meals I've had there are good, but by no means great. But.....Those doughy cinamon poofy things are to die for!

                                  2. re: melbell611

                                    FYI for those in search of donuts; Butler’s has moved a short distance to 1448 Grand Army Highway in Somerset. May not be up to the original (never experienced the old incarnation) but still better than average.

                                    1. re: melbell611

                                      I'm a Marcucci's girl myself and the only thing better than a nice cold slice of italian pizza is a Sam's meat pie or meniche!!
                                      In Fall River you've got to try Highland Pizza, the best pizza in the city-- get the chourico/linguica.
                                      . . . AND of COURSE, Spike's hot dog's!

                                      And sorry to you all, but Butler's Donuts on Sanford Rd. is Westport is closed.
                                      The new owners couldn't do it i guess, they changed a lot of stuff and it's gone now.

                                      Outside of Fall River you could head to New Bedford for Angelo's Orchid Diner (if you weren't feeling Al Mac's for some reason) and Gary's Best Hot dogs.

                                      Best Chinese in the Area??? Gum Bo's in North Dartmouth.
                                      it doesn't look like much, but have a little faith, the food is always incredible.

                                      1. re: rprsnt508

                                        So sad about Butler's.... I guess I've had my last real cream donut. :(

                                        On the subject of Fall River pizza, does anyone know where to get a good clam pizza these days? I used to like Manny's across from the old Valueland grocery store but that's long gone.

                                        1. re: GSM

                                          Hi! Manny is my uncle. He bought Manny's Pizza with my aunt Helen in 1971 from a man oddly enough named Manny,and they ran it for decades. They were pretty much the spot for clam pizza in Fall River. Manny and Helen live here in Florida now. I know they'll be happy when I tell them you mentioned them on here!

                                          1. re: rickyinccfl

                                            manny's on stafford road -- the BEST pizza i can remember from my childhood in the 1970s -- i used to save my nickels with my best friend and on saturdays after we went down to edgar's to buy little mattel toy cars we would get to manny's and order a small cheese pizza. they had a little window you would order through - i think i remember a woman always being there taking the order and maybe her son. anyway i sure do miss manny's pizza in fall river, mass!

                                  3. a native of FR and not one restaurant named on any of these threads is edible.

                                    12 Replies
                                    1. re: hatesds

                                      That's informative, but not really helpful. Do you have places you would suggest, just don't eat out in FR? I know it's an old thread, but I may be moving to the area so I am trying to get as much info as possible.

                                      1. re: mike62

                                        That's an opinion but not a useful one. Is FR a haven for elegant, innovative cuisine? No. Is it chock full of hidden ethnic and "roadfood" treats? Absolutely. You can find good Portuguese, good subs, a decent burger, a fine NE clamboil, decent coney island dogs, good fish and chips... and so on. A rule of thumb in FR, don't let the appearance of a place deter you-- good eats lurk in surprisng places.

                                        1. re: GSM

                                          Thanks! The more I read this board the more I am leaning toward FR as opposed to New Bedford if I get the position in New Bedford (I have to be able to get home on my lunch break) Will keep researching.

                                          1. re: mike62

                                            Hi Mike - Try the Ugly American near the New Boston Road Bakery on...New Boston Road. Excellent Burgers. Other than that for a nice dinner locally, you have to go to Bristol or Warren.

                                            1. re: sal2007

                                              The Ugly American has really good burgers. If you are in the area and want a good burger, you must stop here.

                                            2. re: mike62

                                              I live in Fall River- LePage Seafood is a good please but I personally would not recommend them for their Portuguese dishes. There's a great place up the road from Lepage's in Westport also on rt 6, Portas da Cidade.
                                              I have also lived in New Bedford. New Bedford also has some great places for food! If you need some tips let me know.

                                              1. re: dcote

                                                Dcote - could you list some recommendations for lunch in/near new Bedford? I'll be driving through on my way to cape cod and am looking for a good lunch spot. Easy on/off I-195 please. I like all types of food so am open to anything.


                                                1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                  I'm so sorry. I never received your message/rarely on the chow board. Actually, I just read it for the first time today! Did you have any luck in NB?

                                          2. re: mike62

                                            Better off going to the supermarket and making your own meal. Other than that, eat in Providence if you want to eat in a real restaurant. FR does not have 1 good place to eat unless you consider going to a hole in the wall for mediocre food and plan on eating before 6:00 pm a great night out.

                                          3. re: hatesds

                                            "not one restaurant ... is edible" ?? how can you eat a restaurant?

                                            1. re: hatesds

                                              I don't know about all the others named, but the Liberal Club is one of my favorite restaurants to eat. I live closer to Providence and could go eat there anytime, but my husband and I are addicted to the food at the Liberal.

                                              I haven't ever had a bad meal there and every single time we go the place is PACKED!

                                              If you know anything about seafood, when you eat there you can tell it is all fresh and not greasy at all.

                                              My food comes to the table steaming hot and freshly prepared. I can never finish any of their portions either!

                                              1. re: foodaholic1

                                                +1 on the Liberal club. Its where I go to get my clam fix a couple times a year. I usually start with a bowl of red chowder, then an order of littlenecks in garlic and oil with some fresh pops for soaking up the broth, then finish off with a pile of fried clams (or more littlenecks). Usually need help finishing the clamplate though.

                                            2. I just ate at the FR Apsara Restaurant (not sure if they are owned by the Providence restaurant of the same name) and had some great, authentic Cambodian/Lao/Thai food. I live near Lowell, so I'm well acquainted with SE Asian fare. This place is really out of the way, near some factory outlets (418 Quequechan St), and isn't much to look at, but the service and selection were also very good.

                                              1. What about the Venus de Milo on Route 6 in Swansea, right next door to Fall River? I love their clam chowder.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: girlrilla

                                                  I remember the VD as the place we had to go for retirement or engagement parties. Consistently mediocre food, and the regular VD minestrone soup that everyone who lived around there made all winter. If I never see it again, I will be very very happy

                                                2. I live in Newport, RI, When my family has had enough of the crowds, traffic and overpriced restaurants, we head to Fall River! We did so tonight in fact. I wowed my husband and kids with great burgers at the Ugly American. We enjoyed the cute, humble, quirky little spot. The burgers were fantastic and reasonably priced. We will definitely go back.

                                                  We have been to the Liberal Club- huge portions, reasonably priced tasty food. It's always been busy when we have been. I have turned on many a friend to Sam's bakery. A great place for a hot, cheap car lunch. Hot, freshly baked hard rolls from Medeiros Bakery (half the price of those in the supermarket) Yummy!!!! Be sure to buy a few extra for the ride home. Who could resist?

                                                  The Abbey Grille is a nice lunch/dinner spot (on the higher end). It's been a while since I've been to Le Page's but I remember the seafood being good.

                                                  I'll take anyone of these spots over a chain restaurant any day. Go to Fall River. Explore and enjoy!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: marypell

                                                    i agree mary,fall rivers got some amazing hidden treasures.theres a couple of markets that make their own chorico{genes on brighton ave,chaves on columbia,and im sure others}and great deals on wine and port,actually cheaper to buy portuguese wine here then in portugal!!!!also great bakeries,and a ton of great portuguese restaurants too.when we were in portugal in the the spring,we count wait to get home to have portuguese food,not that fresh fish grilled on an open fire is bad,we just missed our shrimp mozambique!!go to fall river and explore,youll find lots of reasons to keep going back.....................

                                                    1. re: marypell

                                                      We live a half mile from The Ugly American and "take out" often and every night my wife drags in at 7:00. The fish and chips are delicious and remarkably consistent. The burgers and chicken sandwiches hit the mark as well. Gary, the gentleman owner/cook has a light hand with the fryer and offers suggestions if you ask. No easy business, especially in a town that didn't need a leverage implosion to feel pain, These small honest gems deserve our support.

                                                    2. Did Mark You close? I was thinking of heading there for 'Fall River style' chow mein.

                                                      1. is abbey grille still open? it's beautiful in an old church and run by johnson & wales culinary last i knew - really really great food.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: brunchy

                                                          My niece got married, or rather had her wedding dinner, there last summer, I think in early May sometime. So it was open then, at least. Suspect it still is.

                                                          1. re: bklynbiker

                                                            Mark You has been closed at least 2 years. The Abby is up for sale, they just had to do a lot of work because it was literally falling down. I would guess it is closed or closing soon. It was never run by Johnson & Wales, they had there own cooking school there.

                                                            1. re: icouldeattoo

                                                              Abby is closed the auction is next week.