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Anyone tried Needham upscale restaurants lately?

We live right over the border, but rarely go to Needham for dinner. What's worth trying these days; I've read there are a few newer places.
Thanks.

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  1. Saw something in the new Improper (yes, I read *everything*) about Quince in Needham, how its chef had done time at L'Espalier and Sel. It's on my list to try, should I ever find myself needing to have dinner in Needham.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      C'mon, there's nothing wrong with reading these things and I like all the extra info Improper provides. In any case, I was curious about this guy's thing where you can basically get anything you request. I need to see the article again, but it sounded like it could be really interesting food at a great price.

      1. re: Joanie

        There is some useful food reporting in the Improper, but I find their "celeb" chef worship embarrassing. For every paragraph of useful dirt on upcoming openings and wine dinners, there's like ten pages of Us Weekly-level puffery that reads like bad PR writing. (Apparently, every single chef and restaurant in Boston is like OMG totally awesome!!!) Plus they exhibit a tree-killing refusal to operate online.

        Other entries on my Needham to-try list: Fava (which I guess isn't really fine-dining level), Joy Luck Cafe (ditto), and the Spice Bar at Masala Art (which I understand serves very creative, high-level Indian, though the rest of the dining room isn't so interesting).

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Fava certainly is fine dining. Quince is not - just a reincarnation of Vikki Lee- same staff, same chef etc. Masala Art is very nice expecially if you like Indian food. Poked my head into Blue last week-very very very noisey.

    2. I eat in Needham Center all of the time. Here is my summary.

      Sweet Basil - Great, but definitly not high end.
      Not Your Average Joes - Well it's just another average Joe's nothing special, but not bad for cop-out eating.
      Masala Art - Pricy but good Indian
      Fava - Haven't eaten there in a while
      Joy Luck Cafe - Dead standard boring American Chinese
      Blue Something? - Haven't tried this yet.

      1 Reply
      1. re: carfoodie

        How about Indigo-near Not Your Average Joe's; their menus online look interesting, but I don't know anyone who's been there. I've had a few wonderful meals at Fava, but years ago. My fave in the general area continues to be Isabella's in Dedham-love the atmosphere and great bang for the buck.

      2. I have been to Fava and Blue and Masala Art, I like them all. Despite the lack of "high endedness" and despite the fact it is noisey and has no atmosphere and no liquor license, it's hard to find better food than at Sweet Basil. I keep asking if they would consider moving to Chestnut Hill (closer to me) but so far no interest.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ptrefler

          I agree that, though not a fine dining establishment, Sweet Basil serves excellent food. Fresh, creative, well prepared and not that expensive. Plus good service.

        2. There is no "high end" food in Needham (although I haven't been at the new Blue), IMHO. Some decent and reliable eats, but nothing that fancy.

          Fava - good food, dull atmosphere, definitely not high end. Older crowd.

          Masala Art - used to be good Indian, but in the past year or so, quality for dinner has been on a serious downward trend. Not recommended anymore, unfortunately.

          NYA Joes - can be quite decent for "cop-out dining" (heh), but this branch is *particularly* inconsistent. Food ranges from "hey, that's tasty" to "ouch, that's terrible". I eat there for convenience.

          Indigo - overpriced, dull, uninventive food. Ate with 6 people there and none of us were that impressed at all. Skip.

          Sweet Basil - great food, boisterous atmosphere, and generally tough to get into after 7pm, but well worth it. Delicious. My favorite in Needham.

          Euro Taste - my Italian food alternative to Sweet Basil. Dependable, red-sauce-focused, Italian fare. It can seem creepily quiet, but when it is boisterous, it can be a decent atmosphere. Mostly just one guy running the dining room, with a woman helping out occassionally. Totally underrated, IMHO. Worth trying.

          Joy Luck - Skip. Carfoodie said it ... dead standard boring american chinese food. Drive to Framingham/Natick to Szechuan Gourmet II.

          Quince - if it is Vicki Lee - skip. Rather boring American-ish fare. Drive somewhere else.

          Bai Thong - skippable Thai. Go to Amarin in Wellesley.

          Bertuccis - same as any other.

          My 4 cents.

          2 Replies
          1. re: mchang

            Bai Thong went out of business several months ago. And EuroTaste is under new ownership and offers very little in the way of red sauce. I have eaten lunch there several times recently and find the food to be very good, if not "high end." The lunch buffet at Masala Art is a real sleeper with a half dozen dishes, plus appetizer table and dessert all for $10. Again, not high culinary art, but very satisfying.

            1. re: random amblings

              i did not know that bai thong went out of business. haven't been in there in a while, I guess.

              When did Euro Taste go to a new management? I was there about 1.5 weeks ago, and the same two brothers (guessing) that have been there since I started going were still cranking out the dishes.

              I guess I meant red-sauce focused because they offer little in the cream sauce variety, and several dishes with copious red sauces.

          2. Oh- I forgot about Eurotaste.Went once and thought the food was nice and the people running it interesting.Portions were huge and it was BYOB. I agree, underrated.

            There is a new small place called Cafe Fresca- near Indigo- that is breakfast and lunch only. I hear it has good Greek food. Anyone been???

            2 Replies
            1. re: emilief

              I'm thinking it's Fresco, but in any case, I've had lunch there a few times and enjoyed it. Their Greek salad is really good, with a big piece of delish feta on top. The avgolemono soup is nice also. Can't remember what else I've had, but it's worth a stop if you're in the area.

              1. re: emilief

                I went to Fresca for lunch. DC got greek salad with chicken. It was a huge salad with a lot of feta. ($8-9?) I got the burger -- was a good burger not outstanding but good for the area. My complaint is the service. We were there for well over an hour just for a salad and a burger. Server took a while to get to us, we mentioned I was on lunch hour and wanted to order, he said he'd be right back... 10 minutes later he returned. It was another 20-5 mintues before we got our orders. It wasn't all that crowded and I didn't notice anyone picking up take out. It was just very sloooow.

                I was one of the only fans of the old Greek place in Needham. I got a salad from there almost weekly. I'll probably call into Fresca for a salad and take it back to work with me but I probably won't be back for lunch hour.

              2. You probably have all your answers but here is my 2 cents...

                Sweet Basil is the best around and worth the wait.

                Quince -- would NEVER go back. They have a thing on the menu that the chef will come out and talk to you about what you like and prepare a menu just for you. They should NOT offer that on the weekend. We went for it on a Friday night, 30 minutes after we ordered we had still not even been visited....too many good choices around the area to have bad service.

                Blu - had a good meal there and would go back. Menu will appeal to everyone - pizza, nice entrees, burger - can get a "real" meal or just a bite. Bar was busy and not prepared for the crowd....only complaint!

                Indigo - dont waste your time. empty when we went and very $$$$

                Euro Taste - I like the food but it is expensive for what is is. Mussels were terrific.

                1. Thank you all for the info on the Needham area. Looking forward to trying a few of your suggestions.