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Restaurant suggestions in Burlington, MA area?

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I will be on an all day annual shopping spree next Saturday with two friends and we will be ending at the Burlington Mall. Every year we look for a quaint little restaurant in the Burlington area, and we fall short every year. There are just so many chain restaurants around there. We have already done Legals and Macaroni Grill and have no interest in the Cheesecake Factory. We're really looking for something smaller (maybe italian or continental) that would take a reservation on a Sat. night. One of my friends lives in NH, so we like to stay close to the Burlington area.
Any help??? I'm stumped. Thank you so much.

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  1. Catch in Winchester which isn't too far, consistently gets high marks here (although I have never been). There is decent Thai at Lemongrass on Middlesex turnpike and a bit further up (I think technically in Billerica) there is a Naked Fish, although a chain, I have always been happy there.

    On the other side of Mall road on 3A is Papparazzi, another small chain but passable Italian, a little further down is Cafe Escadrille which is more continental, others seem to like it, but I'm not a big fan considering what you get for the relatively high prices. Going the other direction on 3A (also called Cambridge street) about 2 miles up is New Jang Su for Korean BBQ- I like this place alot, but not big on atmosphere.

    A few miles away in Woburn center is Tre Monte for Italian, which seems to be recieved well by other hounds too.

    Sorry I couldn' do better, but Burlington is a kinda tough place for hounds. Hopefully someone w/ more knowledge of the area will chime in.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Food4Thought

      Food4Thought: Thank you so much for your ideas. I have never tried Catch so that may be what we are looking for. Does anyone know their prices? I will look to see if they have a website. And, I'm not a big fan of Cafe Escadrille either, but I do know a lot of people like it. Thank you again.

      1. re: Bmorris111

        Here's their menu:

        http://bostonchefs.com/clients/Catch/...

        Not the cheapest, but definitely outstanding value. One of my favorites, not just for metro west, but all Boston.

    2. I'd recommend American Flatbread. The food is good, although the restaurant's in a kind of nasty office park area. It's in Bedford but very close to the mall.

      http://www.flatbreadcompany.com/Home2...

      1. I have eaten at each of the three places mentioned so far. I think Cafe Escradrille is awful. I think American Flatbread is fine, but not all that different from the other chains in the area. Catch, on the other hand, is really, really good, and a world away from the chains that surround the mall.

        1. Head south on Route 95/128 to the Routes 4/225 exit. Get off at the first ramp, heading toward Bedford. Follow this road, which becomes Great Road in Bedford, a mile or so down, IIRC. When you pass where Route 62 joins it, you come to a shopping center with a Whole Foods and a Marshalls. It's like a plaza of strip malls. In the furthest one is Cafe Luigi. They have excellent Italian food there. I don't know if they take reservations though....

          (781) 271-0666

          1. There is a wonderful South Indian vegetarian restaurant in Billerica called Maasala. The Mysore thali gives you a good introduction to this amazing cuisine. Masalaa Boston, 786 Boston Road/Route 3A, Billerica, 978-667-3443

            1 Reply
            1. re: whs

              I agree. They have a lot of South Asian specialities you won't see any place else (prasarat, upma, etc.)

            2. Or continue out past Whole Foods, etc, to the fork of 62(left) and 4&225(right). Go right, and on your left will be Dalya's
              http://www.dalyas.com/
              which always has something interesting.

              1. Hi

                I would reccomend Catch in Winchester. It is without a doubt one of the best restaurants north of Boston. It is small, intimate and has fabulous food. It is also only about 15 minutes from the Burlington Mall area. You wil have to make reservations early if you want to go on Saturday night because they are always full and it only seats 38 people. The seafood is excellent and prepared very creatively. I agree with another poster that is is my favorite place not only in the "burbs" but also in all of Boston. You won't be disappointed.

                1. I've worked in Burlington for many years, and I think you've gotten some good advice here, but here's my own: The Emerald Rose is just down Cambridge St, just a wee bit past the Burlington line, in Billerica (just a bit before the Indian Restaurant that was mentioned above (and which I think you'll find lacks any version of charm). It's an Irish pub, with really good food, reasonably priced. I've enjoyed everything I've had there, and so have my companions. I especially like the Irish specialties, the fish and chips, shephard's pie, etc. The salads are also excellent, as are the burgers, which I've had for lunch. Onion rings are also terrific (guiness-battered, if I remember).
                  One side of the place is a pub-type bar, the other side, separated by woodwork and lace curtains, is a nice dining room with floor to ceiling windows (unfortunately, only of the parking lot/outdoor dining area). But, at night, there'll just be nice glow.
                  I think, in terms of logistics, this may be the most convenient and best choice, given your description. By the way, you and your friends might want to check out the new "upscale" mall in Burlington, Wayside Commons. They have an Anne Taylor Loft, a Coldwater Creek, West Elm and some other nice stores.
                  Here's a link to the Emerald Rose site, and also Wayside Common:
                  http://www.theemeraldrose.com/
                  http://www.waysidecommons.com/

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Lgalen

                    I would disagree about Emerald Rose. IMO, it's 2 steps above cafeteria food - ok, but just not really great chowhoundie food. My son and I went there about 2 years ago, and we've never had reason to go back. The service was good enough, and the prices are certainly not very high, but they don't offer great food. Super-thick chowder, some very plain steak tips, crabcakes with way too much breading... just really "standard" stuff. We didn't have the fish'n chips, but we didn't walk out of there thinking that it might have been something exceptional. There was nothing I saw that I couldn't make at home, better.

                    Drive up the street to the exceptional vegetarian Indian place (the food is incredible regardless of the charm) or back a block to the bbq place, or even further back for decent Korean BBQ. Personally, I'd rather stay at the Burlington Mall than drive to Emerald Rose. Legal's has much better food, overall, and the Indian place in the food court is decent, and makes wonderful naan.

                    1. re: applehome

                      I agree with the idea of dinner at Legal's. Burlington is not a mecca of good restaurants.
                      And I love the naan at the Indian place also.

                  2. And also in the Burlington Mall food court there is a new Greek place called Konstantin's - shish-kebab, salads, etc., that is a cut above most of the others. Just the basics in food, however, at least so far.

                    Gourmet India remains my favorite in that location.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: peregrine

                      It's a bit of a necropost, but I'd like to report that Konstantine's in the Burlington Mall Food Court closed up shop about err 2-3 weeks ago.

                      Much to my dismay. :( That was one of the few places I liked in the food court -- they had great Gyros.
                      The other two are Appleseed (crepes) -- which gets boring after a while, and Gourmet India.

                      I hope something as equally good or better takes Konstantine's spot.

                    2. I worked in that benighted area for years: it's pretty dire.

                      My favorite is probably Korean Barbecue Restaurant, aka New Jang Su, on 260 Cambridge St (northbound side of 3A, on the outside of 128). Easy to miss in a set-back strip mall. Very good Korean grill-table barbecue, as a recent revisit confirmed.

                      You know you're in rough shape when you believe that the Burlington Mall food-court Indian is one of your better options, but I did. The Thai place on Middlesex Turnpike, Lemon Tree, is nasty. Ditto the awful, absurdly expensive Cafe Escadrille and Hartwell House.

                      Another sign of the slim pickings: I would regularly drive to Great Mandarin in Woburn, a below-average fancy Chinese-American place, or the rather similar Great Wall in Bedford. Dalya's in Bedford, a kind of suburban-ladies-who-lunch venue, wasn't terrible.

                      When I really wanted to eat well, I just drove into Lowell, which has an abundance of good Southeast Asian places: Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, Laotian, as well as one of the better hot dog stands in Greater Boston, Elliot's Famous. Road trips to Waltham were frequent, too: I have many recs there if you can go that far.

                      I've also had a good meal at Khushboo, an Indian place in Lexington Center.

                      Two places a friend and Woburn local considers good but I can't attest to personally: Sichuan Garden and La Stanza Diva (creative Italian), both in Woburn.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        MC slim- what do you recomend at New jang Su? I'm new to working in burlington area and have seen it but never had korean bbq before. any reco's appreciated. i like spicy so don't hesitate to recomend any hot dishes.

                      2. Where is La Stanza Diva...do you have a website for that? That is one that I have never heard of!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Wendy51998

                          http://www.cheflynne.com/

                        2. Next time, try "Dandelion Green", which is right behind the Burlington Mall. If you come out of the mall arking lot near Sears, and Kohl's is across from you, turn right. It is in a little plaza on your left.

                          1. Not an upscale place, but we enjoy the Fish House & Grille on Cambridge St just past the RT 62 intersection. It is partly a seafood market, but the do a decent job of grilled and fried fish, clams, scallops, etc. There are a few meat choices for non-seafood eaters. It is not Essex/Ipswich level, but good for the area. Reasonably priced and friendly counter service. The decor is oddly like a sports memorabilia store, complete with price tags.

                            1. I've mentioned this before, but if you work in the Burlington area, Servizio is the best sandwich shop in the area hands-down. It's on Wall Street, right off of 3A, across the street from Papa Razi. Great sandwiches, good take out meals and a very friendly staff.

                              1. These are both in the Wayside Commons Mall in Burlingto - Not Your Average Joe's and something like Fresh Catch. I have not been to either but have heard good things about both. The Fresh one, according to a friend, has fab salads! Oh, I just remembered -Dandelion Greens. I do the same thing you do - get together with friends in the Burlington area. Have a fun chick day!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: taxi

                                  The restaurants at Wayside are all chains: Fresh City, Ginger Pad, and Not Your Average Joe's. Fresh City and Ginger Pad are semi-fast food, in which you order at a counter, but the ingredients are beter and there are nicer tables than normal fast food (and in the latter case, your food is brought to you). Ginger Pad is Pan-Asian food - I actually like it not because it's authentic, but because they use a lot of fresh vegetables.

                                2. If you're willing to head a bit north but stay near the highways, there's also Kromel's Playhouse Cafe (I've heard they may have changed the name) on Main St in Stoneham, as well as Georgie D's a little farther south but also on Main St in Stoneham. There are a couple other Italian restaurants in that area as well, but I haven't tried them. Kromel's I'd consider midrange American / Continental, while Georgie's is Italian.

                                  There are two Italian restaurants in downtown Woburn: Tre Monte and La Stanza Diva. Both are pretty good, although Tre Monte might be considered more refined (although I think the prices are about the same). There's also Tanner Tavern for American food, which I haven't tried yet. If you're looking for something more casual and inexpensive, The Restaurant has much better than expected American / cafeteria / Greek food.

                                  If you're willing to try more ethnic options, there's Sichuan Garden and Lana Thai Diner off exit 35 on 95 (head north on route 38), both of which are good and in interesting buildings (an old mansion for the first, and a restored diner for the second). My favorite sushi place in the area is Kyotoya in Stoneham on the Woburn border, although a lot of people really like Sushi Corner (?) in Wakefield center (which is also fairly close to 95, off I believe exit 39).

                                  For others that have been noted: New Jang Su Korean barbecue is a lot of fun with a group; Masalaa is pretty good, although I will say that the Indian in the food court is actually quite good as well (possibly my favorite in the area, until I get to Punjab in Arlington); American Flatbread (organic pizza / salads) and Bamboo (Chinese / Japanese) were mentioned and are both fine.

                                  We do have sort of a dearth of good American non-chain restaurants in the area (until Arlington), but there are other places within 15 minutes of the mall and staying pretty close to the highway. If you're not too tired, it might be fun to drive to Woburn Center / Lexington Center / Winchester Center and look around at the places, although make sure you know where they are (e.g. La Stanza Diva is around a corner from the main Woburn downtown street, so you could miss it).