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Solo Dining near Brandeis

j
jessicar Aug 16, 2006 04:03 PM

This coming fall I'll be taking a class after work at Brandeis's Continuing Education school. Unfortunately I know pretty much nothing about Waltham whatsoever.

The class will be once a week, and since it's not terribly close to home, I've decided to use this an excuse to try a whole bunch of new places. It will be from 6-9, so I'm looking for either a) a place to grab a super-quick bite before class (will probably have about half an hour free before class) or b) any other place open past 9 that I can go to afterwards.

I'm looking for a variety of cuisines and prices, and as far as the fancier places go, somewhere with a bar where I'd be comforatble eating alone would be ideal. I'll try just about any type of food. I love Indian, Thai and Italian, but am always excited to try a cuisine I'm unfamiliar with. Can any of you 'Hounds help me out?

One last thing, are there any good cafe-type places nearby with wifi access?

Thanks in advance!

  1. kparke30 Aug 16, 2006 05:56 PM

    Check out Moody St. - lots of choices including a Tapas place owned by the owner of Dali, Watch City Brewing is good, Margaritas, Sadies, Bison County, among others...

    2 Replies
    1. re: kparke30
      f
      fullbelly Aug 16, 2006 07:18 PM

      Is the tapas place you're thinking of Solea? If so, we went once quite awhile ago and thought it was very good. Nice vibe. Love the heavy drapes when you walk in. Good job on the sangria. And definitely a place you could have dinner solo. No problem.

      1. re: fullbelly
        kparke30 Aug 16, 2006 08:29 PM

        Yes, couldn't think of the name but it's Solea. Thought it would make a nice solo dining option -

    2. n
      Northender Aug 16, 2006 08:14 PM

      There is a bar at Il Capriccio and there are often solo diners eating there. The food is fabulous but not inexpensive.

      1. c
        chowcat Aug 16, 2006 08:38 PM

        I second or third Solea. Another upscale place a block or so away is Tempo. Elephant Walk just across from City Hall is good Cambodian/French. Nice beers.

        On the other end of the scale but also good is the Irish bar/restaurant (good pub food, nice beer), The Skellig -- sister to The Burren in Davis Square Somerville. A place without alcohol but excellent and inexpensive sandwiches (huge variety), pizza, salads is the Prospect Cafe (very near Brandeis). Taqueria El Mariachi is further away (Willow Street, off River) but excellent tacos especiales.

        I would give the Indian places on Moody Street a miss, and ditto the chains - the Bison Country, Margaritas, Iguana Cantina, etc.

        1 Reply
        1. re: chowcat
          Luther Aug 17, 2006 12:05 AM

          El Mariachi is now El Amigo.

          Also, I agree about skipping most of Moody St. However, (and you can search a lot of old posts on this), the Indian place to go to is Kabab & Tandoor. Pretty close to Moody St.

        2. limster Aug 17, 2006 04:06 AM

          How about the bar at Campania? Good Italian food, very rustic and comfortable surroundings.

          1. MC Slim JB Aug 17, 2006 05:53 PM

            Some of my favorites in that neighborhood:

            Domenic's 987 Main St -- Really wonderful sandwiches, arancini, cannoli. It's an Italian bakery: the ciabatta on the sandwiches is incredible. They close at 5:30pm, and have limited seating; plan to take out.

            Beijing Star 835 Main St -- Excellent Northern Chinese; order off the board specials in the foyer or the pink menu. This was a pretty unfamiliar cuisine to me when I first started going. This place rewards experimentation and repeat visits.

            Of the Moody Street Indians, Jewel of India and New Mother India are probably my favorites. I had less luck at the 'hound-favorite Kebab and Tandoor, which had a pretty weak buffet on my one lunch visit there.

            Tree Top Thai 53 Prospect St -- good Thai, pretty setting.

            Carl's Steak Subs 55 Prospect St -- excellent steak subs. The small could feed two. Take out only.

            Demos 146 Lexington St -- pretty good, cheap Greek place with counter service, fine souvlaki.

            Prospect Cafe 137 Prospect St -- healthy, tasty Cali-style sandwiches and salads, another counter service place, popular with Brandeis kids.

            Elephant Walk 663 Main St -- excellent Cambodian. Leave the French side of the menu alone till dessert. I've eaten here solo many times. The staff is a great help if you've never tried Cambodian, which is unique, healthy, and delicious.

            Baan Thai 659 Main St -- good Thai, fine noodle soups.

            Sushi Yasu 617 Main St -- Very good Korean, which is all I ordere here, but they also do sushi and a few Thai dishes.

            Sadie's Saloon 5 Pine St 893-5555 -- excellent steak tips in a cheap, bustling, genuine saloon; fine for a quick solo bite at the bar. Can get busy with a pre-cinema crowd (the Landmark theater is across the street).

            Mi Tierra 585 Moody St -- wonderful Salvadoran & Guatemalan place with superb pupusas. Leave yourself plenty of time; the kitchen can be slow. Big portions for not much money.

            Taqueria Amigo, 196 Willow St -- my favorite Mexican in Greater Boston, a teeny storefront. Try the tacos de cabeza (beef cheeks), or the tacos especial (with avocado) with any kind of meat.

            There are a couple of friendly Irish pubs with decent bar food, nothing special, but passable and pretty cheap: Mad Raven on Main St, and The Skellig on Moody St.

            1 Reply
            1. re: MC Slim JB
              b
              Blumie Aug 17, 2006 06:12 PM

              Great list. Two comments:

              Although I love Dominics, it's not the type of place you can show up just before closing and expect a sandwich. Everytime I've shown up just before closing, they're cleaning up and all of the food is put away. That said, if you call at around 5:00, they will make a pizza for you -- you can eat a slice or two and bring the rest home. (I've never tried it, but perhaps if you show up or call around 5:00 they can make a sandwich, too.)

              As for Elephant Walk, I disagree that the French side is to be avoided. I regularly order the Poulet Roti from the French side and thoroughly enjoy it. I agree with you that the staff (Phil, Jill, Rhea and the rest) is excellent.

            2. j
              jessicar Aug 17, 2006 06:37 PM

              Wow, that's a great list MC Slim. Anything that's anybody's favorite Mexican in Boston is definitely going to require further investigation -- I grew up in SoCal, so I get pretty strong cravings for the stuff from time to time.

              Other places I think I'm definitely gonna have to check out: Il Capricio, Elephant Walk (haven't been to any of them, even though I live not too far from the other two), Domenic's (assuming I can get there in time -- that might be cutting it a bit close), Prospect Cafe, and Mi Tierra.

              So last night was an information session about the program I'm doing, so afterwards I decided to check out Solea. My expectations honestly weren't terribly high, since I've been to Dali a few times and had either really really great dishes or really really boring ones. Never bad, just boring. But I actually loved everything I had at Solea, maybe I just got lucky and picked all the right dishes? Nice bar area and good sangria too.

              As for the food, I had a crostini with a HUGE heaping pile of artichokes and mushrooms which was really tasty, a delicious lobster and crab ravioli, and a chile relleno stuffed with casava, corn, mushrooms and some other stuff I can't remeber...with quite a spicy sauce -- which was actually a bit too spicy at first, but it grew on me as I ate the dish. I realized about midway through I probably should have only ordered two tapas, but they were all so yummy I ended up eating all of it!

              Anyhow, I registered for the class last night, so it looks I'll have ten weeks to try out this long list of restaurants I now have. Thanks for all the ideas everyone!

              1. MichaelB Aug 19, 2006 08:36 PM

                Lots of great chow suggestions already -- I drove by Cafe on the Common yesterday and they advertise wifi access on their window. I used to work around the corner and while the espresso quality is *highly* variable, they have a nice tea selection and plenty of comfortable seating. (I've never tried their filter coffees; I think they use Terroir coffees, which generally get good reviews.) They're at the intersection of Moody St. and Main St. -- not sure how late their hours are, but it's a nice place to sit.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MichaelB
                  b
                  Blumie Aug 19, 2006 11:45 PM

                  I've tried them once. The latte was great. The scone was terrible. I'd definitely try them again for an espresso drink, and maybe for something to eat (but not a scone!).

                2. MC Slim JB Aug 21, 2006 02:08 PM

                  I believe, if memory serves, that Mad Raven and the nearby McDonald's on Main Street both have Wi-Fi.

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