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Feb 8, 2007 01:14 PM

Something new for LUNCH this weekend?

Every weekend we find ourselves doing the usual burrito or sandwich for lunch. Or, we had to the Super 88 food court and take our pick from there. I'm looking for suggestions for good (casual and inexpensive!) lunch spots with something a little different or special making it worth the trip.

For example, Ortanique does great Jamaican food and is a perfect lunch for Saturday afternoons, and is interesting in that there are not that many Jamaican spots around.

Could be a new place that opened recently... or an old standby that we tend to look over.
Could be anywhere in the Boston metro area - we don't mind driving a bit to try something new!


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  1. Have you tried Piattini on Newbury? I tend to shy away from Newbury restaurants just because they are all so generic and are mostly tourist traps. HOWEVER, Piattini is really really good! They have great panini's and salads!

    1. Maybe Schwarma King on Beacon St (just past Coolidge Corner)? No atmosphere, but good shwarma. Or if you go Sunday, you could go to Rami's (they are closed on Saturdays).

      5 Replies
      1. re: cmd

        We LOVE Shwarma King - been going for 10 years. It has not changed a bit. What's Rami's?

        1. re: Sgt Snackers

          Rami's is an Israeli place on Harvard (maybe 2 blocks off Beacon, toward Allston). I love their falafel (and like the schwarma, but I like Schwarma King a bit better for that). They close early on Fridays (2 or 3?) and remain closed until Sunday a.m. Prices and atmosphere are similar to SK.

          1. re: cmd

            along similar lines, i love the chicken shwarama at reef cafe in allston, largely because of the to-die-for garlic sauce. for falafel i like rami's and boston shwarama near northeastern.

            1. re: fenian

              Is that like the delicious garlic sauce from now-defunct Ararat (Armenian in Watertown)? I loved that place...

      2. A few ideas around Cambridge and Somerville, in no particular order:

        Porter Exchange Mall - take your pick of interesting, inexpensive Asian restaurant stalls, from Japanese to Korean to ramen noodles. Blue Fin, the full-sized Japanese restaurant around the corner, has terrific food and a nice variety of reasonably priced lunch sets.

        Baraka Cafe - excellent Algerian and Tunisian, open for lunch on Saturday, but dinner-only on Sunday

        Sessa's/Vinny's/Bob's - old school Italian subs in Somerville. There was a recent thread with a litany of more great Somerville choices along these same lines. NB I believe Vinny's is closed on Sundays.

        Tacos Lupita - their burritos are adequate, but I feel like they're only on the menu as a concession to the faint-of-heart who are looking for something familiar. Their tamales, mulitas, papusas, and plain old tacos are where Lupita really shines.

        Punjabi Dhaba - this place gets plenty of attention here, but their egg dishes, only available during daytime hours, are often overlooked. The anda burji, for example, is "beaten eggs cooked with onion, ginger, green chilli, tomatoes, coriander leaves, green peas and spices". Absolutely the stuff that cravings are made of.

        4 Replies
        1. re: finlero

          These are great suggestions - Porter Exchange is fun, although it's often a bit crowded. What's the best food there? I like Sapporo Ramen and (occasionally) ChoCho's.

          Lupita is another weekend favorite, esp. the pupusas.

          My belly hurts just thinking about Punjabi Dhaba. I've spent a fair amount of time in India and that place is incredibly authentic - maybe a bit too much so :-)

          1. re: Sgt Snackers

            I have nothing against any of the Porter Exchange places, but I'm a huge fan of Cafe Mami. Even their simple chicken teriyaki donburi bowl is sublime. As odd as it may sound, a number of my Asian friends will make pilgrimages from all over the metro area just for their stir-fried hamburger. I also think their oyako bowl is great.

            1. re: Sgt Snackers

              my favorite is ittyo, but that might be because i prefer fish, like the eel donburi. chocho's is ok too. kotobukiya has minimum-acceptability sushi but you can gorge on it for under $20. i'm not a fan of bluefin, which i consider kotobukiya quality at higher prices, or mami, and have never been to sapporo ramen. all in all i think the whole porter exchange is disappointing.

            2. re: finlero

              I was picking up take-out from Vinny's at Night the other night and saw a sign that the restaurant is now open for lunch. I can't remember exactly which days of the week, but Saturday might be one of them.

            3. For basic sandwich/simiple meal type fare, there's Victor's and Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown. Cha Fahn in JP serves lunch but I have yet to go. Bon Savor on Centre St. has a nice brunch with some lunch items.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Joanie

                We love Deluxe Town Diner! What's Cha Fahn like? From the website it's "Asian fusion" which I am generally suspicious of ... although sometimes it can be awesome.

                1. re: Sgt Snackers

                  Don't know if ou saw the lunch menu here:


                  Little sandwiches that could be interesting. And some noodle dishes. definitely a different experience that I can't vouch for.

              2. If you feel like heading over to Eastie, Rincon Limeno, has some tasty items:

                3 Replies
                1. re: Taralli

                  I am LOVING the Rincon Limeno idea. The website has blinking text and it's all in Spanish. What could be better??

                  Other East Boston places we should check out? I've been to a couple of the pupuserias out there and they are incredible (don't remember the names though...)

                  1. re: Sgt Snackers

                    Cafe Italia pulls a great espresso and has some good desserts (some are outsourced though - try to avoid the peacan pie).

                    1. re: Sgt Snackers

                      Cinco de Mayo in Chelsea is worth a visit.