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Nice lunch near AleWife: Arlington,Mass Ave, Harvard Sq

  • p

Taking 2 admin assistants out for a Christmas lunch.
Looking for a rec for good food over atmosphere, but still a nice atmosphere. One is a vegetarian.

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    1. Greek Corner on Mass. Ave. in North Cambridge has a number of good dishes, including some vegetarian options (grape leaves, spinach pie, falafel, etc.).

      1 Reply
      1. re: hiddenboston

        Not good, in my opinion, for taking out staff to a nice lunch. It's a nice family place with so-so food and a homey atmosphere. Very good for a don't-want-to-cook-at-home-but-please-make-it-simple dinner, but not for a Christmas lunch.

      2. If it's true that Za is open for lunch now, I think that should be your choice -- it's awesome. It's on Mass Ave just into Arlington -- and the 79 bus from Alewife goes right in front of it.

        1. In Arlington, I'd go for Za for gourmet-type pizza, or Scutra for a little more upscale place. In Harvard, Upstairs on the Square or Casablanca (just had the most intensely good short ribs there).

          1. I'm pretty sure Za isn't open for lunch (doublecheck tho); i doubt Scutra would be either

            What about Marino's for lunch buffet (on Mass Ave)
            Orleans in Davis
            Namaskar in Davis

            In Belmont Center (not too far):
            Patou Thai
            Stone Hearth Pizza Kitchen

            2 Replies
              1. re: MaineRed

                Scutra also is open 11:30 to 2:30. Belmont's a good suggestion - in addition to Patou Thai, I like Kashish for Indian.

              2. Arlington Center is packed with good restaurants. For the vegetarian, if she's adventurous, there's the Punjab Indian restaurant, which has just re-opened in a larger space, and there's also plenty for the carnivores. Many other Asian places have good veg. dishes, too.

                Greek Corner is good, too, but very little atmosphere. Marino's is closing soon, so make sure they're still open if you do decide to do their buffet. I don't know what they have for veg,

                1. Splurge and have a lovely lunch at Upstairs on the Square. It's got great food and pretty atmosphere, plus several vegetarian choices. I've also heard nice things about the Red House, but have never been.

                  If you don't feel like traveling that far down MassAve, Punjab could definitely work, and Namaskar in Davis is also nice. Arlington Ctr does have lots of restaurants, but the nicer ones don't serve lunch!

                  1. If you want Thai, Thai Moon in Arlington Center is very good. The chef is Thai and cooks very authentic dishes.

                    1. I echo recommendations for Za and Thai Moon, but I'd skip Marino's, which seems to be on a rapid downhill slide. For Indian in Arlington Center, Punjab is good and has just expanded, though I haven't been to the new space.

                      1. A friend just told me that a new Nepalese restaurant opened in Arlington near the Regent theatre. Lots of veggie options and the food is great. I remember seeing a review in the Boston Globe not too long ago.

                        If you want to go a bit further up Mass. Ave., Rama Thai near the Trader Joe's in Arlington Heights is great. I just had lunch there a couple of weeks ago. There are lots of choices for vegetarians and the lunch specials were a bargain. We got out for $20 including tax, tip and tea for two.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Maxinella

                          That would be Kathmandu Spice - have not yet tried it. I also enjoy Namaskar in Davis if that is not too far.

                          I found Za to be a let-down the one time I tried it (about 2-3 months ago). The crust was not to our tastes. Frankly, we both found it to be like something you'd get out of a grocery store freezer, although the toppings were wonderful (applewood bacon on one pizza, fresh cheeses and tomato on the other). The composed salad was refreshing, but of course, we were there for the pizza. Very disappointed, although service (from the evening manager on down) was warm and accomodating and beer selection and wines by the glass were much better than we expected.

                          1. re: a l i c e

                            I just had dinner at KS - excellent soft shell crab in a spicy sauce with cherry tomatoes and rice noodles. My friend had curried goat and really enjoyed it. There were lots of other interesting things on the menu which I look forward to trying. It was quite crowded for a Tues. night - almost no empty tables. Noise level was a bit much though, making conversation a tad difficult.

                          2. re: Maxinella

                            I'm pretty sure Rama Thai has become Sala Thai, but is actually more pan-Asian now with higher prices and less warm service.

                            Specifically, I did not like the last takeout order I picked up there (Basil Chicken was very dry and Pad Thai was flavorless except for being too sweet) -- though I can walk to Sala, I'll drive to Thai Moon in Arlington Center every time now -- even if it's only for the unique and amazing Crab Rangoons there!

                            1. re: Maxinella

                              Kathmandu Spice is a block or two east of the Capitol Theatre, not the Regent. They took over the Bangalore Cafe.

                              Rama Thai indeed became Sala Thai about a year and a half ago, and it much improved over its predecessor. I love the sauteed basil and chicken rice dish there.