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Arnold Arboretum -- where to eat?

I'll be visiting the AA in August and would like to have a light lunch nearby. Is there any place close enough that I can visit the AA, have a bite, and then go back in? It doesn't have to be a chowish destination -- just a sandwich shop or diner would do. Too bad AA doesn't have a cafe -- that would be perfect. (And no food or drink is allowed on the grounds -- so forget about a picnic, or even a sandwich on a bench.)

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  1. There isn't really much to speak of right near the AA. I would suggest the Dogwood Cafe which is on Washington St. across from the Forest Hills T station. It is within walking distance (save time by walking through the station and down to Washington St.). The Dogwood is a sweet, comfortable restaurant with a nice neighborhood feel. IMHO the pizza is the only menu item really worth ordering (they use a real wood fire oven). Their specialty pizzas are named after trees in the AA which I always thought was fun. They also have a terrific beer selection on tap. If a sandwich is what you want they have those too. Enjoy the Arboretum and if you have time pay a visit to the nearby Forest Hills Cemetery (just up from the Dogwood). They have a spectacular old growth tree collection too. It is one of Boston's great hidden gems!

    3 Replies
    1. re: bakemeacake

      I don't think The Dogwood opens until 5:00 though.

      1. re: Bostonbob3

        they do brunch on weekends now, but not during the week.

        1. re: Bostonbob3

          They're open at 11 during the week for lunch until about 2 and then again at 5 for dinner.

      2. You're right in JP which offers lots of options. I'm a big fan of El Oriental de Cuba.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tomaneng

          I am too, but it's a very long hike from the Arboretum to El Oriental (or most anyplace else, for that matter). I'll echo those who say there isn't much nearby. Taking the bus from Forest Hills (39 goes to the business district of Jamaica Plain, others go to Roslindale Square) will get you to places like El Oriental.

        2. The Dogwood is the best option but it may not be open when you need to go. Java Jo's coffee shop is on the same block as the Dogwood. Nothing amazing but they have decent coffee and a good selection of sandwiches.

          1. I'd consider bringing a sandwich with you from somewhere else, since there isn't much within walking distance of the Arboretum. I guess you could always eat it just outside any of the entrance gates. Are you driving or taking the T?

            I go to the Arboretum a lot, but tend to eat before or after because of the restrictions they have there.

            5 Replies
            1. re: hiddenboston

              Not sure how their lunches are, but I had a terrific brunch at Centre St Cafe a couple weekends ago before heading to the Arboretum, and it's within reasonable walking distance.

              1. re: Kip McSkipster

                I've done that before (brunch at CSC, then the Arboretum). Great idea, as their brunches are very good! The only problem with that is, it's rather tough to climb those hills in the Arboretum after eating there (especially if you don't know when to stop eating, which is sometimes a problem for me). ;-b

                1. re: hiddenboston

                  Yup - I first discovered CSC way back when they were in the Ten Tables space, and I used to go out on Saturday or Sunday mornings and have a walk around Jamaica Pond before breakfast there. For a few years I went about once every other weekend, in spite of the 2-bus trip from Allston. I learned very quickly that I had to do it in that order - walk around the pond, THEN breakfast, or I'd never have the stamina for the walk.

                  They serve brunch till 3...if you get to the Arboretum early you could have a lovely meal around 1:30 or 2, and probably avoid the interminable line at that late hour.

                  1. re: Allstonian

                    Yeah, whatever you do, don't go to CSC on a Sunday between 10 and 1. Long, long line.

              2. re: hiddenboston

                this is a great suggestion (EDIT: I meant to post under hiddenboston - great suggestion to bring a sandwich). And there's plenty of space so you can sneak off and eat a dang sandwich somewhere. (The Arboretum is such a gift to have in the neighborhood, but some of the rules are pretty stupid.)

                Otherwise, I'm with everyone else and would suggest the Dogwood for what is closest. If it were me, I'd travel with some clif bars and then have dinner at Ten Tables.

              3. I'll second (sixth?) Dogwood...there used to a decent little deli right in that same area, but it fell victim to the spate of arson attacks last year. There's also a Chinese food place, but it looks pretty dodgy.

                That said, why not bring food and then just step out of the Arboretum when you want to eat? You could definitely picnic at the Forest Hills station, there's green space all over.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Illogical

                  Avoid that Chinese place at all costs!

                  Yuch.

                  Horrible.

                  Only suitable for after-heavy-drinking. And even then, barely passable.

                  1. re: Bostonbob3

                    Haha, yeah...it's probably no coincidence that they set up shop right next to a liquor store and a dive bar.

                  2. re: Illogical

                    The Forest Hills Pizza Shop? They are open again, and thank goodness. Nice family, decent Greek pizza house pizza with a spicy sauce.