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Where have you always had a bad meal?

Are there any places that you scratch your head as to how it can remain open, given your personal experiences?

I have a place reserved in one of the inner circles for Antonia's in Davis Square - it is very rare for me to find food inedible, but I've been twice and both times, it was as if they served me jarred sauce. Really bad.

And yet, there it was on Saturday evening, packed! ?

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  1. Hee hee! Another great topic. Hmmm...this is a tough one, because if I have a really bad meal somewhere, I usually don't go back. I guess the Hilltop Steak House in Saugus would be pretty close, though, as I have been there several times and didn't think much of it whenever I went. And yet it remained open for so many years.

    So Antonia's isn't very good? Perhaps the college kids around there are looking for value over quality?

    14 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      I think Antonia's epitomizes the dark side of "location location location".

      An Italian restaurant of such noteworthy mediocrity simply couldn't survive in metro Boston (let alone Somerville!) if it were even the slightest challenge to get there. But there it is, occupying arguably the very best restaurant real estate in all of Davis Square, and lo and behold, it is doing just fine.

      1. re: finlero

        Actually, I would argue that the location at Mike's in Davis Squre is better and the food and surly service is even worse.

        1. re: LeoLioness

          I kinda like Mike's. :-D It is what it is, as Bill Belichick would say. Cheap grub that comes to you really quickly if you're in a rush to get to the Somerville Theatre or just don't feel like cooking or going to the market. They do a huge takeout business, with lots of families coming in there to take stuff home for the kids.

          Not that anyone should go there on a date or for a business meeting, of course...

          1. re: hiddenboston

            Really? I find the food all but inedible. I've tried the pizza, a pasta dish and chicken (over teh course of maybe a year) and they were all godawful. I think yours is the only non-negative review of the place I've ever heard.

            1. re: LeoLioness

              Whenever I'm there (or walking by), there are so many people--parents, college kids, etc.--picking up food to bring home, so they must be doing something right. Granted, it's not great food (if I'm not in a rush, I'll hit any number of places on nearby Mass. Ave. in N Cambridge instead), but I'd much rather get "fast food" at Mike's than at BK, KFC, or any of those other places.

              I agree with horrible about Joshua Tree. Some of the dishes there taste suspiciously like what you might get at Applebee's.

          2. re: LeoLioness

            add Joshua Tree to this subcategory as well

            1. re: horrible

              My "never again moment" at Joshua Tree (for food anyway) occurred several years ago when I ordered fajitas, which turned out to be Buffalo wings (bone-in) served in a skillet with onions.

              Just a bad night? I don't need to find out.

              1. re: horrible

                Yeah, but the Joshua Tree is really more of a bar that gets a big student-young 20s crowd. The food isn't really very good, but it's kind of an afterthought anyway.

                1. re: CharlestownCarrie

                  the food does not have to be good for the college crowd
                  most don't have much to spend on food so they may go for quantity or it's a follow the leader thing and they go where others of their kind will be hanging out
                  i don't mean anything against the college crowd but i think they are at a crossroad in the lives where food quality is not on their list that part develops later

                  1. re: foodperv

                    Yeah, maybe you're right, but I don't agree that age is an excuse for not eating well.

                    In college, I willingly ate Ramen and mac-n-cheese all week so I could splurge on the weekend with a good dinner out. (Of course, I did not see many classmates at the Indian buffet or the Italian cafe)

                    I'm willing to bet that people who go for quantity at any age revert to those tendencies. (See proliferation in the burbs of Outback, Bugaboo, Longhorn.)

            2. re: finlero

              I've lived in Davis for a couple of years now, and I only just noticed Antonia's. A friend of mine (only person I know who has tried it) went last week, and she liked it. Based on these reviews, I'm not sure I'll go and try it.

              For really yummy Italian food, I would suggest Campagna in Waltham. It was really good. (off topic - I know. sorry!)

              1. re: sheitoon

                I really liked Antonia's when it opened 3 or 4 years ago. Then last year it got bought and now is completely terrible. Oh well.

              2. re: finlero

                What is the latest about the Antonia's space? It's been cleared out recently. 10 Tables was slated to take over but, of course, that fell through. It is a GREAT location. If I had the capital, I would open the Belgian beer bar I dream about.

              3. re: hiddenboston

                " value over quality? "
                This needs explaining, as the word 'quality' is relative. It can therefor be attached to any adjective such as bad, good, high, mediocre etc.
                Plus I think, when you speak of 'value' you most likely mean 'to spend very little money on a lot of consumable food' !?
                As always, I stand to be corrected

              4. Agree, though I've only eaten there once (that was enough!)

                The question is, who would go back to a place that served bad food? In addition to Antonia's, my "ate once and will never go back" list would have to include Vinny Testa's (not to be confused with Vinny's at Night!), Applebee's, Takeshima since the last change of ownership, Fire & Ice, and New Asia in Union Square, Somerville.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BobB

                  I can think of a lot of places (Vinny Testas/Vinny Ts comes to mind) that I personally would not go back to more than once if it were entirely up to me, but have been dragged by other people.

                2. Some of the worst have closed.

                  Marché - it looked good, but the food was so tasteless as to be inedible.
                  Geoffrey's Back Bay - And the worst part is that the South End location was a decent restaurant. They must have left things like cooking skill in their old location. I won't go into it.
                  Inq - Someone I know started putting an ST in front of their name. Even messed up a cocktail with two ingredients.

                  Strangely enough, they're all in Back Bay.

                  1. i've had several bad meals (admittedly years ago) at ban chiang on centre st in jamaica plain, and i don't know anyone else who likes it either. i'm amazed they've stayed open while so many other great places have closed. some people must like it, right?

                    1. Those place you are dragged, kicking and screaming to by some member of the family who wants an "elegant" meal.

                      I won't beat on the little places who don't even know what good food is about, I have had a number of terrible meals at Anthony's Pier Four and Capital Grill.

                      I have finally developed an reply to those who want to take me there. You go and enjoy your meal, we'll met you for a drink after dinner.