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Aug 23, 2006 01:07 PM

Where to Go For Soups, Salads, and Healthy Sandwiches Tonight (No Chains, No Upscale Places)

After playing some really slow, really sluggish tennis last night, I realize that I need to cut back on all the eating I've been doing lately. Any ideas for a sit-down place with healthy soups, salads, and sandwiches somewhere inside Route 128? I don't want to go to Panera, Bear Rock Cafe, or any other chains, and I'm not interested in upscale places like Darwin's, Hi-Rise, and Flour Bakery.

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    1. re: shaebones

      Is Zalek's a fairly new place? There is NOTHING on the Internet about it for some reason. What do they have on the menu? How are their prices? What's the atmosphere like?


      1. re: hiddenboston
        See this link for Zaleks chatter. Its very casual, order at the counter, paper plates BUT the place is immaculate and the food is GREAT, very affordable. Last night's special was swordfish kabob w rice and greek salad for $9.95. Its behind CVS and ax from the police station in Wakefield. A local favorite. Please post your impression if you go. They have been open about a year. Bon apetit!

    2. How about Za in Arlington. I don't remember if they serve soups, but they have pretty interesting salads.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ali G

        Alas, Za does not have soup. I keep hoping they'll add it.

      2. Okay, so I know none of these are real soup & sandwich type places, but...
        I'm in Cambridge and Cambridge 1 and Greek Corner tend to be on the top of my healthy eating list. There are a few tables at Cafe Kiraz (formerly Cafe Podima) but no table service. Same deal at Veggie Planet (I quite like their "pizzas" on whole wheat flatbread, but find that their salads can be underseasoned or OVER-garlicky. Spinach salad with french lentils is fantastic). I forget that Baraka Cafe on Pearl Street can be healthy depending on what you order - their salads are delightful. There's always Pho. Shredded cabbage salad, soup. Any of the kebob places, too.

        Miracle of Science is really quite good for healthy, delicious food. I absolutely love their grilled chicken salad with cilantro lime dressing, and the grilled shrimp skewers are awesome - served with black bean salad, mint slaw, tortillas, though I often substitute the cilantro-dressed greens. I probably eat these two dishes at least 2-3 times per week.

        FWIW, I had my first sandwich from Hi-Rise last night and was hugely disappointed. I always hated the place because of the vibe, but still braved the crowds for some brown bread (fantastic!) now and again. I have no idea what all the fuss is about. 9 bucks for a boring sandwich? Huge does not equal good.

        3 Replies
        1. re: MB fka MB

          Y'know, I've driven by Cafe Kiraz several times now and have always wondered how it is. That might be a good choice. And I forgot all about Miracle of Science. Thanks--I may look into one of these (or try Zalek's in Wakefield!).

          1. re: MB fka MB

            I love Hi-Rise's cheddar pepper bread on Friday and Sunday but I think their salads are way overpriced and unexciting.

            1. re: MB fka MB

              Here is another BIG VOTE for Cafe Kiraz (formerly Cafe Podima)!! Their decore isn't great, but if you're looking for someplace healthy to eat regularly, not a romantic/pretty dining experience, they are PERFECT! They have all kinds of inventive salad combos and will make any substitutions you want (I personally love their Grilled Peach & Grilled Plum Salad with sliced almonds or their Roasted Beets Salad with corn & goat cheese). Their sandwiches and soups are just as tasty and varied and they also offer frozen yogurt with a crazy variety of mix-ins for dessert. There's a Cafe Podima in Boston too (used to be the sister store, both still have the same menu) on Cambridge St.


            2. Christopher's in Porter Sq has a pub atmosphere and a nice assortment of:

              a) Healthy options
              b) Unhealthy options
              c) Unhealthy options that sound healthy so you can lie to yourself and say you're actually eating healthy

              The tastiness of the food varies considerably from dish to dish, but I can personally vouch for the homemade veggie burger (not to mention the decidedly less healthy real burger), various salads, and soups.

              1. Petisco's on Medford St in Somerville offers a large number of Brazilian "caldos," at least in the winter. Some of them are heavier than you are looking for (mocoto), so I would suggest something like caldo de pinto or frango. The caldo de feijao might be ok (beans and kale) and if they have canjiquinha (sort of like grits with pork spare ribs) that is worth it, but definately a meal. More out of the way is Cafe da fazenda in Everett which had some soups, but most were frozen and reheated. Both have sandwiches (simple is better: mortadella or ham/cheese) and at least Petiscos has blended juices (try acerola for vitamin C or acai for energy).

                Sunset Cafe in Cambridge has excellent caldo verde (kale and potato) and a decent acorda alentejana (garlic and bread), but not as much in the way of salads. Portugalia is one of the few portugese restaurants offering Canja (chicken, rice, etc soup), as does Restaurante Cesaria in Dorchester. Both Sunset and Portugalia have bar seating, where you might be able to get a bifana or prego (small pork or steak sandwiches). The Snack Bar is open again and you could get an acceptable, but not great, caldo verde and a beef prego there.

                Also the moqueca capixaba at Muqueca or Oasis would probably fit the bill (the baiana is a bit too heavy) and both can blend you smoothies.

                Update: One other thought after reading the board, Something Savory is a bit higher end, but at lunch they have sandwiches and they have soups (tropical gazpacho last time I went there, but generally its more chowders).