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College tour of Boston

Hello. I am taking my son to tour a few colleges in and around Boston in early November. We are from Seattle. As such, where can we get a great cup of coffee. Also, my son likes ethnic food, specifically Greek, Italian, Japanese and Indian. Will you please recommend a few places for dinner. We will be visiting Tufts, Brandeis, Boston U, Emerson and Wheaton.
Thank you.

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  1. You can get a great cup of coffee at the Diesel Cafe in Davis Sqare, Somerville, which is where the Tufts students hang out.

    1 Reply
    1. Near Brandeis U there is Moody St in Waltham, which has many well-regarded restaurants, some more moderately priced, and some hole-in-the-wall cheap-eat types. There are several Indian restaurants. I have been to New Mother India and it is pretty good, but I have heard good things about another called Bombay Mahal. Tuscan Grille for more refined Italian, Mi Tierra for Guatemalan, Solea for Tapas... I would do a search for Moody St and you should come up with many options.

      Also nearby is Treetop Thai, Elephant Walk (Cambodian and French), and Tacqueria Mexico.

      Elephant Walk
      663 Main Street, Waltham, MA 02451

      Tree Top Thai Cuisine
      53 Prospect St, Waltham, MA 02453

      Tuscan Grill
      361 Moody Street, Waltham, MA 02453

      Bombay Mahal Restaurant
      458 Moody St, Waltham, MA

      55 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill, MA

      Solea Restaurant & Tapas Bar
      388 Moody Street, Waltham, MA 02453

      2 Replies
      1. re: fbf242

        I'm not sure why a place link to Bloomingdales is showing up...

        1. Near Tufts (which is just outside Davis Square):

          Greek: Greek Corner (2366 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA
          (617) 661-565; there's a second by the same name in Harvard Square) is pretty good and very homey. Not fine dining.

          Italian: Probably better saved for the Emerson visit (North End), but Sagra and la Spina in Davis Square have their admirers.

          Japanese: There are several options here. Yoshi's sushi is just off campus on College Ave in Powderhouse circle. Down the road in Porter Square, there is a collection of a half-dozen Japanese and other asian restaurants in the old Sears building at 1815 Massachusetts Avenue. There's also a Japanese grocery store. Don't eat at the sushi bar, although Blue Fin, the sit down sushi restaurant is pretty good.

          Indian: Namaskar in Davis square (the green one) is quite good and has lots of unusual (for the US) Gudjarati food. We also like the kebab factory which is a bit farther away in Somerville. Diva is a very popular Indian place in Davis Square but the food is meh.

          1 Reply
          1. re: DavisSquare

            Thank you for the tips on which to try and which to avoid.

          2. I have to disagree that Diesel is great coffee-good but not great. The only place I know of to get a truly outstanding coffee is Simon's Coffee Shop on Mass Ave between Harvard and Porter Square. They use George Howell beans (he is considered to be one of the finest 3 roasters in the country).


            1. If you're looking for coffee more like home, Peet's has a few outposts. One in Coolidge Corner, Brookline, one in Harvard Square, one downtown near South Station. Across from the library at BU is Espresso Royale, which is mostly a college-oriented chain. Since you'll also be downtown, my favorite coffee place is Flat Black on Broad Street in the Financial District.

              3 Replies
              1. re: lergnom

                Thank you for the variety of choices. I should have been more clear in our expectations. As we own a coffee roasting company, we are looking for coffee done well by an indie roaster.

                1. re: Maine Hofius

                  If you own a coffee roasting company (so cool!) you will especially appreciate Simon's Coffee Shop...they pull the best shots in Boston and Cambridge.

              2. A couple of ideas near BU - for Indian, I like India Quality in Kenmore Square. Another place near Kenmore Sq. would be Audubon Circle for good bar food - especially the burgers and bean burgers (homemade) with really good chipotle ketchup. In the Fenway neighborhood, which is pretty close to BU, there is a small Italian place called Trattoria Toscana which gets (in my opinion well deserved) raves from many people. I like their crostini and pastas especially.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LauraB

                  The area around Tufts appears to be popular. Thank you for the suggestions.

                2. I go to BU and eat a lot of ethic food, so here is what i can suggest:

                  Indian: India Quality (Kenmore Square)
                  Greek: Steve's Greek (Newbury)
                  Middle Eastern/Turkish: Cafe Jaffa (Gloucester, btwn Boylston and Newbury)
                  Japanese: Ginza (Beacon Street, Brookline)
                  Thai: Brown Sugar Cafe (Comm Ave, Brookline)
                  Eclectic: Eastern Standard (Kenmore Square)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: NiKoLe1625

                    Thank you. Good luck at BU. I am adding these to our list.

                  2. My favorite Greek place is Desfina, in East Cambridge. It's not especially handy to any of the schools you mentioned, but it is pretty centrally located, so it's easy to drive to from BU or Tufts. It is an inexpensive but very cute place with excellent food (I like it better than Greek Corner).

                    For Italian, my two favorite places are Via Matta (pricier), which is right next to Emerson College, and Neptune Oyster House in the North End. There are a lot of tourist trap Italian places in the North End with very mediocre food that I would avoid. Neptune Oyster House is NOT one of those places. The food there is excellent. They don't serve dessert, though, so I would recommend hitting Cafe Vittoria for that.

                    Another place I would put on your radar is Casablanca at Harvard Square (so accessible via the Red Line). They have fancier Mediterranean food. Not straight up Greek like Desfina, but definitely Greek-influenced. It's a really fun place.

                    I hope you have a wonderful visit and enjoy both the colleges and the food!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ginafly

                      Thank you. There appear to be plenty of choices.