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Great chow in Lawrence

[We split this from another thread for better visibility -- The Chowhound Team]

Not sure how controversial this is, but one of the truly underrated towns for restaurants is...Lawrence. Excellent Vietnamese, Korean, Italian, Sicilian, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Salvadoran, and so on. Also, great places for pizza and hot dogs.

BTW, this is one of the best topics I've seen on Chowhound. Thanks for starting it, opinionatedchef!

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  1. hidden,
    my pleasure. listen, you knowledgable CH you, might you consider doing a brief LIST of your fav Lawrence places- w/a few recommended dishes- for us? i think that would be SO helpful. i find that keeping a post to a list form- makes it happen so much faster!!

    6 Replies
    1. re: opinionatedchef

      Sure, why not? Here goes:

      Sal's--excellent New York style pizza in a terrific environment (w/outdoor patio on the river)
      Napoli--terrific Sicilian pizza
      Tripoli--even better Sicilian pizza, plus great pastries
      Fisichelli's--little known pastry shop that I like better than Tripoli for pastries--you have to try the chocolate chip cookies with a layer of fudge in the middle
      Tacos Lupia--we all know about their food, and yes, there is one in Lawrence
      Cafe Azteca--some of the best authentic Mexican cuisine north of Boston
      Pollo Tipico--great cubanos, though not quite up to the level of Chez Henri
      Cesar's--another good place for cubanos
      T&N Vietnamese Restaurant--decent place for Vietnamese food--good pho there
      Lawton's--from what I hear, a place that hot dog lovers must check out (I haven't been yet)

      I'll try to think of some more when I'm more awake...

      1. re: hiddenboston

        I'll add a few more, which you probably know about already:

        Mounir's Restaurant - Lebanese
        Bruno's North End - Fresh Sandwiches & Italian Meals
        Ceasar's Cafe - Sandwich shop. Good place for a Cubano Sandwich
        El Tipico - same owners of Pollo Tipico
        Cedar Crest Restaurant - Diner side. Great breakfast spot, nice lunch specials and excellent burgers.

        1. re: Infomaniac

          I ate at Cedar Crest many years ago while working in the Lawrence area. Very good, inexpensive food. Not fancy at all, just good. A worthy "chowhound" place.

          Branching further afield, My Brothers Place in Andover made a good "Syrian Sub." Don't know if they do any more.

        2. re: hiddenboston

          A friend recalls visiting a good Dominican place but she can't remember any details.

          1. re: Aromatherapy

            Maybe she went to Lechonera on Union Street? They have a combo of Puerto Rican and Domician Cuisine there. Very good plantains, yellow rice, chicken, etc.

          2. re: hiddenboston

            Lawnton's lobster rolls are the best for the price. And there chicken barbs

        3. And a few more. North Lawrence: On Common Street, Tripoli bakery/pizza and Napoli Pizza are literally a stone's throw from each other and Cafe Azteca. I like the Tripoli pizza and the Napoli spinach and meat pies by the slice or whole. You can also get a half/half spinach/meat. Next door to Napoli is
          The Italian Kitchen where on the weekend, you can get all sorts of Italian (esp Sicilian/Southern Italian) treats--rice balls, crispelli (plain, anchovy or cheese).

          Lawton's deep fries their dogs. This might offend some, but they are cheap and good.

          Speaking of cheap and good, in South Lawrence in what used to be the Irish section of town, Hardy's bakery. Great soda bread, and cheap, excellent breads (to die for snowflake rolls), pastries and both sweet and savory pies.

          Also in South Lawrence, down the street from Hardy's, Yokohama Japanese Steakhouse.

          3 Replies
          1. re: thegolferbitch

            I second Hardy's: very inexpensive, very old schoo0l - and old enough that it was back in a time when things tasted good! Good meat pies, without the soapy artificial taste, for about $1.50! Just once I got (and I don't know if they still have them) raised doughnuts stuffed with ricotta. They were only on Sunday mornings, and only until they sold out, but very fun.

            1. re: pastrytroll

              I could be wrong, but I think Hardy's closed up shop as of about two weeks ago...

              1. re: KnittingShaker

                Drove by Hardy's today. Going out of business signs still in the window and it's now closed.

          2. Garden House is Korean home-style cooking with some Japanese (no sushi). Excellent noodle soups and Tchigae (stews).

            The Hee Bin restaurant at the end of South Union does great Korean BBQ and also sushi.

            Up the street from Hee Bin, where the old registry used to be, there is a decent Korean food store, Shin-Shin that has a fresh meat and fish section. They have Kalbi (thin sliced cross-cut short ribs) and lots of other goodies.

            1. Might be over the line to North Andover but on Winthrop Ave/Rte 114 in South Lawrence, Bollywood Grill has really good Indian food.

              1 Reply
              1. re: onlytwomuses

                Bollywood is just over the line, and yes they do put out really good Indian food.

              2. all right, you CHs you! what a valuable service you are performing for so many!!