Brookline area,inexpensive restaurants
My daughter just moved to Boston from Canada and is a postgrad student without a car, any ideas for places in Brookline area or not too far that she could try to get a decent, interesting meal (avoids beef!) and not break her budget which mostly goes on rent! Any suggestions will be most appreciated.
A lot depends on where she lives in Brookline and whether she's looking for a meal or a place to go with other poor friends. Most of the student kids in the area develop a few favorites and go there over and over. Dok Bua, which has been mentioned, is especially popular with the student / grad student crowd because it's cheap, with pretty good food and yet is a real restaurant where a kid can eat for $10US.
A lot also depends on where you're from in Canada and what your daughter likes to eat. If you're from Quebec, she'll find the food is a real drop off in quality. If not, then she'll love the choice.
If she has any favorite kind of food, you might want to ask about that.
Right across from the Brookline Village T stop is the New England Soup Factory. They serve a wide selection of soups, salads and sandwiches. There is a couple vegetarian selections offered daily. The soups are all homemade and very interesting selections such as Spinach Parsnip and Corn Bisque. They take their soup making seriously. In the summer months there are many chilled soups to choose from that are refreshing and use really good ingredients. In the fall and winter they offer a chicken pot pie that is really delicious. Everyday there are at least 10-12 selections to try and they let you taste whatever you would like to try before choosing your soup. The chicken soup comes with or without egg noodles and you can also get it with a huge Matzo ball. The goat cheese salad with pommegranate dressing is delicious as well as the tuna nicoise. The desserts are great! Huge cookies and slices of homemade cake. There are tons of college kids in there as there is a college across the street. There are also tons of doctor's in there too because it is located near all of the best doctors. I think she will enjoy it!
adding to the great lists above:
Tacqueria Mexico (near Coolidge Corner) -- too bad she may have pass on the lengua here, but the horchata is great, and it's overall a much better place than Anna's or Boca Grande for hand-held mexican food.
Ken's Ramen (Allston) - the only serious ramen I've found in the area.
Cafe Brazil (Allston) - good linguica and salaginhos/tira gostos. Feijoada is mostly pork with some dried beef (not 100% sure they add that at Caf Brazil; anyone knows?) and it's pretty good there.
Salt and Grain (Allston) - very good Indian with emphasis on Mughal and Punjabi cooking.
India Dhaba (Allston) - try the Desi Chinese dishes.
Madina Market (Allston) -- Pakistani food, which can somtimes be a bit heavy on beef, but there's also goat etc... for the beef avoider. Try the haleem.
Yoma (Allston) - homey Burmese food; salads are a good place to start.
She will have no problem finding places she likes. Below I listed the cheap restaurants I like in Brookline. There are many more cheap restaurants that are well-liked by others, including on this site. Note that a short walk up Harvard Ave.--no more than 20-30 minutes--takes you to a ton of great ethnic restaurants in Allston.
Rami's (Israeli)--especially like the falafel sandwich
Shwarama King (Middle Eastern)
Rod Dee (Thai)--adore the curry rice plates
Dok Bua (Thai)
Boca Grande (burritos)--especially like the grilled lemon chicken burrito
Upper Crust (pizza)
In Allston, I think it's worth seeking out Shanghai Gate (Shanghainese), Indian Dhaba (Indian), Suvranabhumi Kiri (Thai/Cambodian), Reef (Lebanese), Aneka Rasa (Malaysian), and every place in the Super 88 food court.
Sounds like your daughter needs to make the acquaintance of Brookline Family Restaurant in Brookline Village (accessible by the D branch of the Green Line and the #66 bus among other things). Very good Turkish food, and a variety of alternatives to beef (including their divine slightly spicy Adana kebaps which are made of lamb, and possibly the best moussaka in the Boston area).
I'm also a big fan of Anna's Taqueria, which serves up tasty super burritos (though I don't know if pork is OK in place of beef) which are quite filling for dirt cheap, though Anna's has come in for quite a few knocks on this group. They have two locations near Coolidge Corner.
Shanghai Gate is not too far away in Allston, just off the B line at the intersection of Comm Ave and Harvard Street. It isn't bad for fairly authentic Shanghai style Chinese cooking, and not terribly expensive either.
204 Harvard Ave, Allston, MA 02134
Brookline Family Restaurant
305 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445
Second the rec for Brookline family restaurant in Brookline Village, it's very much my favorite in the area. Their mucver sandwich is another great non-meat option.
(On the other hand, I'm one of the ones who loathes Anna's; Boca Grande in Coolidge Corner and Baja Betty's in Brookline Village can be marginally better at times, but really, don't expect good Mexican food in Brookline, or Boston in general)
A few others that come to mind for inexpensive bites:
- Shawarma King on Beacon (just west of Coolidge Corner) has decent falafel and interesting daily specials, I like it quite a bit better than Rami's on Harvard (which some on this board are fond of)
- There are many posts on this board re Rod Dee and Dok Bua for Thai; actually, neither consistently blows my socks off, but both are pretty solid and not too terribly expensive.
- For greasy spoon breakfast/lunch nearby, there's also Martin's on Harvard.
- Many more options up the street in Allston!
I have to admit, although Brookline is better than some other areas, there aren't that many places in the area that I find to have a great taste/cost ratio (but different people have different standards for what counts as "inexpensive", I guess).