Waltham--different, but fun for an 11 year-old
I'm finding lots of dated stuff when I search, so I'm posting because I know that there is a ton of fantastic food in Waltham...
I'm having lunch with my "little" (the big brother big sister organization) on Sat. because her mom has to spend the day in Waltham, and it's my turn to pick a lunch place. Anything ethnic would be especially great, as we mostly eat at chain restaurants. I loved them when I was a kid, too, but having someone show me that there was something else to eat out there made me the hound that I am today, so I'd love suggestions!
I live near Moody Street and eat there a few times a week. The new mexican place (near the theater) is good and the staff very helpful. Very family style - plastic tableclothes and soda served in the can. The food at Hungry Coyote (across from the Firestation) is excellent. Their burritoes are stuffed full and reasonably priced. Also, don't forget Lizzy's ice cream!
Taqueria Mexico is excellent and cheap on Charles St. It is the only authentic Mexican I have ever had in this area. It has outdoor seating as well. Try the tacos or rellenos. It is just off Moody St. close to the top where Moody hits Main. You won't be disappointed and it will not break your bank.
I like Taqueria Mexico, but I also like Taqueria el Mariachi on Willow St. (ah - just saw MC Slim's post - apparently Mariachi has changed their name to Amigo?) It's a homier vibe than Taqueria Mexico, and I don't think they have a liquor license, but they do have tasty fruit-water (blenderized fruit + water). It's near the corner of Willow and River streets, across from the Shaw's supermarket (kind of a haul from the Moody St restaurant lineup).
Lots of good options to which I might take an adventurous kid, but check to make sure they do lunch on Saturdays:
Thai: Tree Top, 53 Prospect; Baan, 659 Main St
Indian: New Mother India, 336 Moody; Jewel of India, 380 Moody
Mexican: Taqueria Amigo, 196 Willow
Salvadoran/Guatemalan: Mi Tierra, 585 Moody
Chinese: Beijing Star, 835 Main
Cambodian & French: Elephant Walk, 663 Main
Steak subs: Carl's, 55 Prospect
Korean & Japanese: Sushi Yasu, 617 Main
Italian sandwiches, cannoli: Domenic's, 987 Main
Greek sandwiches: Demos, 146 Lexington
I think the Tex-Mex place alluded to above is Hungry Coyote, but I haven't tried it. The former Carambola is now called Elephant Walk, still excellent.
Other Chowhounders could help me here, but I thought there was a new Mexican place (a sort of cafeteria style place if I'm not mistaken??) that had opened that people were raving about. I know it's on Moody Street but I can't remember the name of it. It opened recently. When I worked at Brandeis, we'd sometimes get food at Taqueria Mexico, and that was good. Not sure how it's been in recent years.
There's the Elephant Walk/Carambola (not sure what it's called now, but it's owned by the folks who own the Elephant Walk in Brookline). Vietnamese food and very good.
For tapas, there's Solea.
I know there's a Blue Ribbon BBQ in Newton which isn't far. Not ethnic, but I've heard great things about Blue Ribbon.
I know Waltham has an array of Indian Restaurants, but I'm sure other Chowhounders could recommend some good ones there.