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Apr 2, 2007 09:57 AM

Sunday dinner for 5 without breaking the bank.

My fiancee's Mom is coming for a visit this weekend before the two of them take off to visit Ireland. My Mom and Stepdad will be meeting her (fiancee's mom, not the fiancee) for the first time, and would like to take us all out to eat.

I'm charged with finding the place, and looking for somewhere that can take us this Sunday (Easter) and won't break the bank. I'm looking for something affordable (entrees under $20, $10-15 would be ideal) and comfortable, but also unique and interesting. My fiancee's Mom is coming to Boston for the first time from Wyoming, and we would like to take her to something she hasn't tried before, but not freak her out. My parents are adventerous foodies who love funky ethnic dives, as long as the food is not too spicy. Everyone loves seafood, but we are open to eating other sutff.

I was think Muqueca, fits the price range and is delicious and unique. But they dont take reservations and close at 7:00. I still havent called to ask about whether they are open on Easter. Oleana is another thought. However, I'd love some suggestions that I might not have thought of yet. We are in East Somerville, so I have mostly thought about Cambridge / S'ville places, but we could also travel into Boston.

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  1. Oleana would be more than $20 per entree. You could see if O Cantinho or Atasca are open that day (things might be weird on Easter). Not too expensive and pleasant atmosphere. Green St. Grill and the other usual places in Central Sq. Sabra in Teele Sq. Helmand by the Cambridgeside. You could bop over to Medford from E. Som and get some fried seafood at Kelly's which is not a very Wyoming thing and priced right. Also Pizzeria Regina there which has gotten mostly good comments.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Joanie

      It's Sabur in Teele, and entrees are mostly $15 and up. J&J near Union for inexpensive Portuguese (you can split entrees)--but Easter, who knows. Baraka Cafe in Cambridge? (No booze.) Helmand is a good idea. Haven't been to the Persian place near Inman, the name escapes me. I'd be thinking Chinatown, maybe Shanghaiese, that's different but not too much.

      1. re: Aromatherapy

        Persian in Inman? Are you talking about Haveli, right across the street from the All Star Sandwich Bar? Is it good?

        1. re: andytee

          It's called Kolbeh of Kebab, a couple of blocks west of Punjabi Dhaba on Cambridge Street.

      2. re: Joanie

        o cantinho and atasca dont post prices online, but i was under the impression that they are as pricey as oleana, no? both are great ideas, though, and if affordable, we will go!

        i've look at sabur in teele sq before while walking by and thought it looked mediocre, frankly. if you have been, and liked it, i'd love to hear more.

        dont know anything about helmand - ill look it up.

        planning a trip to the clam box in ipswitch for the fried seafood, so we wont bother with kelly's.

        thanks for the tips!

        1. re: andytee

          I could have sworn I'd seen prices online before. I think Atasca and O C are in the $15-20 range while Oleana is more $20-30. Someone who's been more recently can probably tell you. I was only at Sabur for brunch which was okay but lots of people here have enjoyed it and it's a nice room with interesting cocktails and slightly off the beaten food track. Helmand is another fave for Afghani food in your price range.

      3. definately call ahead, with it being a holiday some places might be closed.

        Right now my favorite place it Piattini on Newbury Street. Piattini in italian means small plates so it's bascially italian tapas but they have full meals as well. The Penne con Zucca is AWESOME. Penne pasta with butternut squash, chicken, gorgonzola cheese and a light apple cider reduction...OH MY! so good and very light!

        All their food is very, very good and inexpensive...and they have a good wine selection also.

        1. You could probably get into a number of places in the North End. I wouldnt think they'd be a traditional dining place on Easter. Finding one that's open is the trick, I guess. You may want to check out Mother Anna's, Rabia's (very reasonable), Francesca's. They'd be pretty convenient to get folks over to the airport form there as well.

          1. how about chinatown? someplace like east ocean city or penang? easter sunday will be tough at *western* style places, it's a huge day for dining out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: hotoynoodle

              great suggestion, penang might be a real hit, or maybe dim sum.

            2. A couple of Thai places come to mind-- Montien (theatre district) and Khao Sarn (Brookline, out of your preferred geographic area, but I have to mention it). Both are "nice" enough for a parental meeting, but probably good enough to make your parents happy, and the prices aren't scary.

              The other place that comes to mind (not at all funky, though) is Petit Robert in Kenmore Square. They take reservations and are pleasant and reasonably priced. No idea about an Easter schedule, but I'm pretty sure they are on OpenTable.

              Or is there a branch of the not-Pho-Republique (what is that new name?) in Harvard Square? I haven't been to that one, but the one in Allston was always pretty good.

              Edited because I also just thought of Cafe Jaffa... less atmosphere, but good schwarma, in a little storefront on Gloucester St. No idea if they take reservations, but I've never had to wait there.