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East Boston-Most overlooked foodie destination

The weekly publication "Stuff at night" just announced East Boston as their Most overlooked foodie destination of the year: http://stuffatnight.com/boston/dining...

There has been a lot of talk here recently about Angela's Cafe on Lexington St., but I also wanted to highlight some other of my favorites and see if anyone has any other recommendations.

Latin American:
-Angela's (Mexican) - for obvious reasons, check out the series of posts on this place for more info
-Mi Pueblito on Border St.(Salvadoran/Mexican) - large portions, good prices, cool atmosphere, cheap beer
-Montecristo in Central Sq (Salvadoran/Mexican) - very good pupusas, open till 1AM!
-Pollo Doreno in Day Sq (Salvadoran, rotisserie chicken) - good chicken, easy take out
-Taqueria Cancun in Maverick Sq (Salvadoran/Mexican) - Quality food, frequently receives good reviews, serves beer & wine
-El Jardin in Central Sq (Colombian) - Good food, bright, engaging atmosphere
-Topasio on Bennington (Colombian) - My favorite for Colombian food. Good steaks, a little more upscale than other Colombian places
-El Buen Gusto in Day Sq (Salvadoran) - Nice take on upscale Salvadoran food. Interior is nicely designed. Good meat platters.
-Victors on Saratoga? (Peruvian) - Took over the name from well known Italian place. They have good Peruvian chicken. I heard a rumor they might be closing.
-El Limeno off Day Sq on the way to Orient Heights (Peruvian) - usually cited as the best Peruvian in Eastie
-Colombian Tamale "hole in the wall" on Chelsea off Maverick Sq - Just found this place the other day. They make huge Colombian Tamales with 4 kinds of meat for $6. They look like something you would get on the streets of Bogota...pretty cool. Also have a guava flan type dessert thing that was awesome.

-There is a Brazilian churascaria place on Chelsea between Maverick and Day Squares that is pretty good, but a tad but expensive. I don't really care for the place next to Spinellis. With all the Brazilians in the Boston area, I am really surprised we don't have a better churascaria like they have in Dallas and Chicago and other cities with less Brazilians.

-Another note on Latin food in Eastie. Most of the corner stores sell imported cheeses and sausages from El Salvador. I don't know how they are allowed to import farm cheese from outside the US, but I am not complaining! Also, there are two Colombian variety stores on Meridian St just off Maverick Sq that have amazing Colombian sausage that is made locally by some woman who is known for her sausages. I have seen some El Salvadoran fresh sausage every now and then at a few of the other stores that looks homemade as well.

-Rosticeria Cancun in Maverick Sq (Salvadoran/Mexican) - The enjoyably chaotic atmosphere is the closest I have come to a classic Mexican taqueria - loud music, cramped environment, high energy and quick, decent food. I like their taco de lengua and their Salvadoran-style quesadilla is good. Rotisserie chicken seems to be hit or miss - it is usually much better eaten there than for takeout. Their pupusas are very good.

-Taqueria Jalisco in Day Sq (Mexican) - One of the only Mexican owned and operated taquerias in Eastie. Their adobada and lengua tacos are superb. Torta de adobada is one of my wife's favorites. Nice owners.

-Taqueria Michocan in Orient Heights on Saratoga (Mexican) - The other Mexican-owned and operated taqueria in Eastie. Run by a family from Michocan. They did a great job in designing the restaurant. I heard it was going to close though.

There are already a lot of posts about these, so I will refrain from discussing Santarpios and give my few top favorites:
-Carmen's Kitchen in Orient Heights - High quality Italian food. Small, cozy restaurant. Pretty good espresso depending on who makes it. Kind of expensive, but worth it. They used to have a small deli, but closed it - too bad. Next to Carmen's is an old school gentleman's cigar bar that is pretty cool.

-Cafe Italia on Meridian St in Central Sq - Carmen's menu food might be a bit better, but Cafe Italia's specials are better IMO. The front seating section is very nice with the open kitchen. Lots of politicians and well known people in the Italian American community come fro the 'burbs to dine there. During the day there is a mix of about half Italian-speaking men who have espressos (usually with sambuca) and it is a pretty cool atmosphere, kind of like a Sunday morning at Cafe Graffitti in the North End. I have long felt that the daytime espresso guy, John, makes some of the best espresso in all of Boston. Only competition are a few of the best ones at Graffiti. The nighttime people make very average espresso, but the other woman who works on John's off days is pretty decent.

-Reno's Place on Saratoga - This place is really hard to get a table at. Real old school Italian where most everything is made from scratch. Definitely check this place out if you can get a table.

-I think Zafferanos is closed, but it was really excellent. This served real Italian (not Italian-American) cuisine with a nice wine list. Run by a family recently immigrated from Naples. I heard that they went back. I think Italian Express is also closed, but that was good the few times I went there in Orient Heights.

-I don't really care for Jevelli's or Mario's. They seem to be very standard Italian-American places. Kind of cool atmosphere and lots of history to both, but the food isn't that special when you compare it to the others above. Jevelli's does serve till 10PM which is nice, though. In another neighborhood these places would rank higher on my list.

Sub shops/Pizza:
-Dough near Maverick Gardens - The owners of this place are really nice guys and they make a pretty good pizza. I really like their subs though. They layer prosciutto with capicola and genoa salami in their Italian, which makes it extra good. They also have hot pepper relish if you ask for it, which is not that common in Eastie. They have some interesting specials too (they like to play around with creations involving buffalo sauce).

-Meridian Street Market - Always a lunch line out the door of cops, firefighters, construction workers, and local office workers. The Meridian St Special sandwich (roasted red peppers, broconccini, garlic, & chix cutlet) is excellent. Their Italian sub is very good. Nice to go dinners and arranchini. I occasionally get catering from them for parties and they have good prices for that.

-M&M Variety - I just like this place because it is 2 blocks away and has a decent Italian sub for around $4. It also was the convenience store owned by Sean Penn in the movie "Mystic River." For those two reasons, I kind of like going there.

-Spinelli's in Day Sq - They have good Sicilian style pizza and lots of fresh meals to bring home for dinner (the Eastie version of the TV dinner). They make fresh raviollis and fusilli that you can purchase. Also have good desserts and Italian pastries.

-There is a Vietnamese place on Meridian Street (corner with Lexington or Trenton) that makes excellent Pho and other typical dishes. I hear that it is well known among the Vietnamese community as being on par with the better known Pho places around town. Actually, Eastie used to be a large Vietnamese neighborhood and we still have the remnants of that through this restaurant and a Buddhist temple around the corner.

-Korean/Sushi place in Orient Heights - Haven't been there as frequently as I would like because it is a little far for me, but this place is great. I love Korean food and they do all the typical dishes. They also do decent, fresh sushi. My friends who live in Orient Heights go there all the time.

-Breakfast joints:
Donnas in Orient Heights, Dozzi's in Jeffries Point. Both neighborhood institutions. Used to be Lenny's Spa in Eagle Hill, but Angela's took that over and moved to Lexington St (they still serve the same breakfast plus Chilaquiles). Now we have Cafe 303 for an upscale yuppie breakfast that is probably my favorite menu compared to lunch and dinner there.

Other places I like:
-Right off Central Sq before you enter the tolls for the Sumner Tunnel, there is a place that is about to open as a seafood restaurant, which I think is our first in Eastie. They were running a fresh fish market (originally from the Cape, this was very important to me), but they didn't get consistent business and they had to close it down. Hopefully with the restaurant open, they will be able to start up the fish market again.

-Kelly's Sq Pub near Day Sq - This place doesn't look inviting from the outside (small windows), but inside it is a bright family restaurant. It is mostly locals, but very clean and the waitstaff is very friendly. The food is standard bar fare with very large portions. Wednesday is half price pizza day (pretty good pizza, especially the garlic pizza). We always take home half our meal and it is good for lunch the next day. It is probably the best, non-dive bar to watch the Sox game.

-Cafe 303 on Sumner St in Jeffries Point - I already started a post about this place, but I will mention it here. It is the first yuppie cafe/restaurant in Eastie and they are doing cool things with their international menu. I am there more and more often just hanging out because there is always someone I know stopping by. Really nice addition to the neighborhood.

-There are also a few old school bakeries that make fresh bread daily. The one I go to is on Sumner St (think its called AJ's). Everything in that place seems to cost just $0.25 cents. So cool.

That is all I can think of for now, but there are many more, especially in Orient Heights, that I forgot. Good thing I type fast. If anyone wants addresses, post your queries here.

What are the other chowhounder recommendations for Eastie? I would love to hear them. Anyone been to that place way up on Bennington St almost in Revere? It looks like an old school neighborhood place. What about Italian places in Winthrop? I hear there are some good ones, but I am not sure of any names. I also hear there is a famous old donut shop in Orient Heights, but I am on a strict no-donut diet according to my wife :)

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  1. Haven't you tried Betos/Peaches and Cream? Their rotisserie chicken is excellent; like it more than the version at El Chalan, although the sauce at El Chalan is very good. Was wondering how they compare with Victor's across the street. Enjoyed both places, but haven't had the the same dishes. Their aji de gallinha is next on my list to try. Betos/peaches & Cream makes their on alfajores in house and it's good, although I like the ones at Rincon Limeno a bit more and i think they're imported from Peru.

    The Colombian tamale place on Chelsea is called Re-tamale, enjoyed their chicken tamale and am thinking about going back for their morcilla which they make themselves.

    What do you think about El Rancho Grande in Day Sq? I've enjoyed their cabeza tacos in the past and their salsas were good, but haven't been back recently. A very houndish friend pointed out the birria at Jalisco to me a couple of years ago, and I'm embarrassed to say that I've yet to try it. La Chiva has decent arepas, but wasn't mind blowing. I wasn't blown away by the fried chicken at Pollo Dorenos either, but good to hear that the rotisserie chicken is good.

    I think the Brazilian churascaria you mentioned on Chelsea is Oliveria's; it's not bad, but I kinda like the ones in East Somerville more (that's also another underexplored neighbourhood). I vaguely remember itaunas mentioning that they have another branch somewhere else, Everett perhaps?

    My memory is a little foggy, but I thought Topacio on Bennington was Salvadorean, by virtue of their excelent handmade pupusas that several chowhounds had introduced me to. I've also read good things about the pupusas at El Buen Gusto on this board, although the venison I had there was good not great.

    A&J has a good cannoli; they seem to make everything themselves, except for the sfogliatelle.

    Have you tried Mr Pollo Mario on Bennington? Have heard good things about the empanadas at this Colombian place.

    I kinda like La Sultana in Maverick Sq and have been meaning to go back to try their lunch stuff. There's a new place called Cactus Grill or something like that that's supposed to have opened a few days ago. Would love to hear some recon on it.

    I remember liking the fast food-like Colombian place on Meridian, a few blocks away from Maverick Sq., but it's been awhile and the name eludes me. There's also another Colombian place that's bakery/restaurant but further up on meridan, close to the Vietnamese place, but it's also been many years since I've been there.

    There's also El Paisan in Orient Heights, lots of food, but in what I had was in the realm of good not great, although it would be great to hear more about it.

    To be honest, I think there's tons of underexplored neighbourhoods in the area; East Somerville is another and Dorchester probably falls into that category too. Even obvious areas like Chinatown have restaurants that I haven't heard much about in years, such like Big Fish, Pearl Villa etc.

    6 Replies
    1. re: limster

      love the pupusas at el buen gusto and agree with you about the fried chicken at pollo doreno. thought it was bland. had the birria at jalisco and it wasn't bad. think they used beef instead of goat though. pretty sure topacio is salvadoran. they have a sister restaurant in lynn. vietnamese place on meridian is saigon hut. haven't been yet

      also like el penol (colombian), la frontera (salvadoran), and la reina (pupuseria). all on bennington. anyone tried la terraza or punto rojo?

      1. re: galangatron

        Tried Punto Rojo years ago and wasn't wowed, but really should go back for another sample. Havent been to La Frontera or La Reina -- very grateful for the tips!

      2. re: limster

        Thanks for the recommendations! I definitely need to try more of the Peruvian food, but what I have tried I have liked. I haven't tried enough of the menus to compare across restaurants. I occasionally get cravings for rotisserie chicken and fortunately there are plenty of places to choose from.

        Yea, Topacio is Salvadoran and I haven't had their pupusas, but they look like they have a big pupusa-making operation there. It is on Meridian. I meant to refer to La Terraza as the Colombian restaurant on Bennington (or perhaps Saratoga). Its the one where you walk up a few stairs and it is kind of nice on the outside and in.

        I was in Peaches & Cream the other day for a quick espresso because I had an appointment around the corner. I noticed the new ownership but they seemed to be running three businesses in that one location - I couldn't really get a sense of what was going on. I will go back and try it.

        Never been to Rancho Grande in Day Sq, nor to Frontera. Always wanted to go in, but I usually end up at Jalisco or El Buen Gusto when I am there. Actually, Day Sq has a number of good restaurants of different varieties packed in together.

        I was expecting more from the fried chicken at Doreno because that is their name! I had fried chicken at the soul food place off Central Sq Cambridge a few years ago and that has set my standards very high.

        La Sultana, the Colombian bakery is very good and I should have mentioned that earlier.

        The fast food Colombian place on Meridian is called something like "Mi Rancho" and is perfectly enjoyable for a quick bite. Nothing really stood out for me. Nice owners.

        You should try Saigon Hut. It is really very good.

        I am really looking forward to a Morrocan restaurant here. Did you ever get over to Beni's on Meridian St (across from Perlera RE and Cafe Italia with the brick archway in the front) while it was open? He was half Italian, half Moroccan, and had several Moroccan dishes off the menu. They had this really great soup and would rotate typical Moroccan dishes (not Tangerino-style high end food, but working class food like the Salvadoran/Colombian places here). I would love to see a little hole in the wall Moroccan place open up here. Anyone know the Moroccan version of Angela?

        1. re: jbowen1519

          Thank you for all the recs -- I have get over there soon to try all the dishes and place, esp. Saigon Hut.

          Yes - Mi Rancho is the name of the place -- I agree about the food there -- it's fine but El Jardin's much better.

          Peach & Cream confused me too at the beginning -- they have a Peruvian kitchen at the back. So for take out, it's at Betos which has an entrance on Bennington. But for sit-down, one goes into Peach & Cream where the food comes from the same kitchen.

          I never got to Beni's, but we certainly need more Moroccan places here. Cafe Baraka in Cambridge is my go to place for Maghreb food.

        2. re: limster

          Oliveira's original location is on Broadway in Everett. The owner bought a Brazilian fashion store, then saw they only made money with salgadinhos and money transfers, so turned into a restaurant with money transfers. I thought he opened another one in Revere, but it changed hands or something (its definitely under another name).

          There is another Brazilian restaurant in the space that used to be Cafe Belo (254 Bennington), but I can't for the life of me figure out the name of it. I don't think East Boston is as attractive for Brazilian business owners (slightly higher rents due to competition with many latino groups), but in any case to respond to the original poster the high-end Churrascarias in those other city make money off a business crowd (much like our numerous steak houses), rather than Brazilian workers. If you want a similar experience, the nearest is probably Brazilian Grill in Hyannis, but that doesn't mean you can't have a good Brazilian meal here in a per-lb or fixed-priced takeout place. (There are even women that cook up daily meals and deliver them to work sites or houses, although not as many.)

          I think hounds have paid pretty good attention to both East Boston and even East Somerville, although in the case of East Boston it changes so often. I see areas like Chelsea, Fall River, maybe the Central Falls area of RI (or that whole valley which includes cumberland). But in any case, its really great to see posts like this!!!

          1. re: itaunas


            I realize your post is over a year old, but can you give more details about the Brazilian cooks that will deliver meals to your house/workplace? I am very interested. You can email me at mpierce64@yahoo.com if you would prefer. Thank you.

        3. That particular award was one of my contributions (Ruth and I split the 30 awards between us). I should have added, "...overlooked except by Chowhounds." Certainly many of my best tips on places to eat in Eastie have come from this board. I'm furiously scribbling down recs from this thread for my to-try list.

          Another underexplored restaurant destination is Lower Roxbury. Every time I wander around there, I notice a new little place. Doesn't seem to get much play here, either. I hope to remedy that in the coming months. Gotta add East Somerville to my map, too.

          1. Thanks for the comprehensive list. A few of us have been visiting E Boston for a few years, sampling 1-4 restaurants per trip...and posting the highlights. Lim, the seafood soup at Topacio (Columbian, I think) was a highlight. I've got a few of those Columbian sausages in the freezer. The aji de gallinha at Rincon Limeno is a winner. Btw, if you like Tacqueria Cancun, and can't make it to E Boston, Burrito Express is operated by the some x employees from Cancun..my fave tacqeria in downtown Boston.

            Nice to have a few "1 pagers" to refer to....RL and a Meridian Special for dessert..:)


            4 Replies
            1. re: 9lives

              Many thanks for chiming in -- been craving aji de gallinha for a while, but have been distracted by other things, will have to go back to RL for it. Could be figment of my imagination, but were they closed for a while (and if so are they reopened)?

                1. re: ipsofatso

                  Oooh I second Milano's...they also have a great deli with imported Italian meats and cheeses. Its worth a trip just for the sub!!

                  1. re: ipsofatso

                    Milano's tray pizza...regular and the 'cheeseless' is heaven!!!

              1. Here's another place to poke our noses (and mouths!) into - There's a pupuseria way down on Sumner, going towards Jeffries Point and the airport, away from Maverick Square .....Maybe some good eats will come from the BlueLine substitution bus - that brought me to this part of Summer.

                1. Thanks! Just added these to my list to try!

                  1. Thanks for the great lists! I've lived in Eastie a short while and really need to get out to more places. By the way, the bakery at 330 Sumner St is A & L Bakery (not to be confused with M & J Cafe that used to be American Ice Cream, on Sumner right off Maverick Square). A & L has some tasty, cheap stuff.

                    There are no pupuserias on the Jeffries Point end of Sumner St. Maybe fredid is thinking of the place at the corner of Maverick and Jeffries, right by the back entrance to the airport. Google claims it's called Pupuseria Mama Blanca, but I confess I've never been there despite passing by thousands of times. Anybody ever been? Previous posts on this board are a bit unclear about the location with that name.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: erwocky

                      I live near Mama Blanca, and like that place a lot. Very good food, very cheap, very very friendly owner. The menu's basically the same as at every other pupuseria. I like angela's a lot, and I'm really hoping that they get their beer and wine license...they've got a petition in there, if you get a chance. I stopped into the 303 last weekend for a late bite and a beer on the trek home from the T. They added fried pickles to the menu, which were awesome. It seems like their having a little trouble finding their identity (coffee and sandwich shop, entree's, table service...it doesn't add up), but I feel like they're getting a little better every time I stop there.
                      Has anyone tried that Philadelphia Steak place? I've been meaning to stop in there for a while, but haven't made the time, yet.

                    2. How does Salvadoran rotisserie chicken compare to Pervian? Are they both good? Can you recommend any places that have Pervian rotisserie chicken?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: sheila

                        I think the Salvadoran rotisserie places are different than the Peruvian. Pollo Doreno seems to be pretty consistent, but they just opened up and probably have been putting in some extra effort. I find the other places to be somewhat inconsistent and sometimes the white meat is too dry. The Peruvian places seem to be better.

                        The pupusaria on Maverick and Jeffries is called Mama Blanca. There are some old posts here on that place if you search for them. I have never been, but my friend who lives on Webster goes there all the time (just saw him walking there yesterday on the street). Says its really good. The posts here seem to be generally, but not overwhelmingly positive.

                        1. re: jbowen1519

                          El Chalan does their rotisserie over a charcoal flame, plus they have an excellent Aji Sauce. There also is Mr Mario's Pollos which is Columbian (I went there for the montanero, so haven't tried the chicken).

                      2. Thanks, jbowen519! Great post about a part of town I know little about past Santarpio's and Taqueria Cancun. Much appreciated!

                        1. I love Mi Pueblito, they have the best Torta de Pollo (besides my own) around. I'm going to a Brazilian place tonight, not sure which one but I will post opinion after.

                          1. Wow - great list, what a wealth of information! We've done a couple of Chowhound East Boston crawls, but just touching the tip of the iceberg. I still remember the fantastic sopa de mariscos at Topacio (Salvadoran) and we really liked Taqueria El Rancho Grande (Mexican). I can't wait to try some of the places mentioned here. Thanks for such great info!

                            BTW, every time we go by this corner restaurant, I want to check it out (but we've always just eaten at someplace else!); has anyone been to Restaurante Peruano? It's hard to tear away from our old favorite Rincon Limeno, but one of these days...

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Rubee

                              Rubee - I'm 99% sure that Restaurante Peruano is also called Victor's, and that Limster's posted a bit...

                              1. re: fredid

                                Ahh - that make sense. Thanks so much Fredid!

                                1. re: fredid

                                  I spoke to the owners of Victor's Restaurante Peruano and they have no plans to close.. the rumor is false.... I think their pollo a la brasa is excellent and since Rincon Limeno is closed for renovations it's a great alternative.

                                  I've been a few times to M & J Cafe on Sumner St near Maverick Sq. (used to be American Ice Cream) on Sumner St near Maverick Sq. I always order the pancakes because they're so good, so I haven't tried anything else.

                              2. The Globe:
                                has a nice write-up about Angela's/Luis and East Boston in general! And I'm happy to be able to resurrect jbowen's wonderful post/thread....!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: fredid

                                  Just went to the Saigon Hut on Meridian Street and it had been closed for a while as it changed ownership. They have done some nice renovations and the pho is still excellent (my wife had it). I had the chicken vermicelli with lemongrass and chili, and although it wasn't too spicy, it did have excellent flavor. Seems like a nice guy who is the new owner.

                                  Also, Cafe Italia is going to change ownership to an El Salvadoran restaurant. It should change in about 1-2 months. So this may be your last chance to enjoy their excellent food!

                                  1. re: fredid

                                    Also - Rosticeria Cancun - that little hole in the wall in Maverick Sq, if I'm not mistaken- - has opened a big, sit down place on Meridian, by Meridian Market. Haven't tried, Angela's has my heart and my visits!

                                  2. Has anyone tried the new D'Parma on Sumner (where Cafe Tavern Eclipse used to be)?

                                    I've been to the Winthrop location a bunch of times, and really like it...I must confess that I like the BYOB option more than the food, but I'm pretty psyched for another decent restaurant option in Maverick.
                                    I dropped in to grab a take out menu the other day, and it looks nice in there...(not as homey as the winthrop location was, but a considerable step up from the dive bar that was there before).
                                    They seem to have a wine bar. My hope is that it might be a decent bar option on that side of the tunnel.

                                    Also, does anyone know anything about what's going on where Sablone's used to be? I heard a rumor about 6 months ago, while I was waiting in line at Santarpio's, that the spot had been bought by the owners of Santarpio's, and they were planning on opening an upscale italian restaurant/martini bar. Sounds awesome to me...I don't know if it'll fly in that location, but I'd love more variety in that area...If you're familiar with Eddie C's at all, you might find this funny(from espn's "the sports guy" http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/...):

                                    Q: While visiting one of our friends in Boston this past weekend, a few of my college buddies and I spent Saturday getting hammered at various bars near Fenway. When we called it a night, we took the T back to the Maverick station, a trip that included half of the train spontaneously singing "Don't Stop Believing." When we got off the train, we decided to step into this bar called Eddie C's, a dive with none other than Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap. When we got inside, we encountered a few regulars with the strongest accents imaginable, who asked us if we were Sox fans. We aren't, which was fine by them, until my friend Tommy proclaimed his allegiance to the Yankees. They all gasped immediately, and one of them shouted, while smiling ear to ear, "... let's tie him to a tree!!!" He proceeded to reach into his jacket and, I kid you not, pulled out a 12-foot rope. We went outside and my friend was, yes, tied to a tree, complete with some road cones. The scene was unbelievable. We decided to leave when the same guy showed us his knife and said that he could cut some more rope if we needed it.
                                    -- John, Washington, D.C.

                                    SG: Yup, these are my readers.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: gremster

                                      Eddie C's is a real East Boston dive, but has its charm. Some beers are only $1.50 and pitchers are $5 and $6. They also have Sam Adams for pretty cheap (their best beer). Don't be intimidated by the toothless, odd looking regulars. They are actually rather nice and seem to love it when a group of young professionals shows up there. Gereldine is the frequent bartender and is extremely nice. On Thursdays, there is usually a group of 5 - 10 young Eastie people there from Jeffries Point.

                                      1. re: gremster

                                        This AM, 1 of the TV food shows mentioned that Santarpio's was takng over the old Sablone's and opening an upscale place.

                                        Eddie C's has been a regular pre or post East Boston chowdinner/lunch stop.

                                        1 CH "killed" the pinball machine (in a good way). He can speak up if he wants.

                                        Interesting crowd but nothing like anyone getting tied up. We did hear a story from 1 of the regulars who told us we shoud have been there the night before. Apparently 2 women had gotten into a fight..as it was being broken up and 1 guy was restraining his girlfriend, the other woman reattacked and took a bite out of the other girl's cheek.

                                      2. Just went to Topacio on Meridian St (a few doors down from Cafe Italia near Central Square) for the first time. It was one of the first El Salvadoran places in East Boston about 15 years ago. I was extremely impressed. I went with a Salvadoran friend who told me they had his favorite pupusas revueltas with chicarron in town. He also recommended the "Pollo a la Parilla" which is sometimes called "Pollo a la Plancha" in other restaurants. The dish had very nice presentation. It is marinated thin chicken breast grilled and served with 3 shrimps on top. The sauce is a seafood broth that seemed to be a sort of garlic sauce. They cook the shimp in the broth and then pour it over the chicken. It comes with rice and some excellent (if a but salty) black beans and a huge fresh jalepeno pepper. One of the best dishes I have had at any Salvadoran restaurant in Eastie.

                                        The decor leaves something to be desired, but the family that runs it is very nice and always there to chat and greet the customers. I can't wait to try some of the other dishes there.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: jbowen1519

                                          I found a few other places that might be of interest:

                                          1) Just posted this about Oran Cafe: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/567263 . Authentic Moroccan food with a lot of potential.

                                          2) Scups is a place that is generating a lot of buzz among the local Eastie yuppies and I haven't seen it here on chowhound. It is only open for breakfast and lunch and is located off Marginal Street in Jeffries point inside the Massport shipyard. The owners used to own Emma's pizza in Cambridge. Half the fun of going there is just finding it. Pretty neat place. You can also bring the food and eat it in Piers Park.

                                          3) Also hidden in Jeffries Point is a food truck that comes in the early evenings to the limo holding lot in the airport area. If you drive to the corner of Jeffries & Maverick, it is a short walk through the airport gated entrance to your right. They make awesome hamburgers and have some other good sandwiches. Another place where the adventure and uniqueness are half the fun of eating there. It is right across from the Harborwalk so we would often get hamburgers and eat them on the waterfront or in the Navy Fuel Pier park nearby.

                                          4) Cafe Italia is now closed and it is La Hacienda Restaurant which is Salvadoran/Mexican. The food is pretty good and they have a full liquor menu which means it is East Boston's first place where you can get a margarita with Mexican food! Also have mariachi's on Friday and Saturday nights.

                                          5) I can't believe I left Milano's off my first post. I have been going there a lot lately and am glad that someone else brought it up.

                                          6) Rosticeria Cancun (the "hole in the wall" on Maverick Sq) now has a full restaurant on Meridian St near Central Square and it is quite good, although I prefer the taqueria-style atmosphere of the smaller location.

                                          7) Ecco - There are posts about this here, but I have been a few times and it is pretty neat to have a restaurant like that here. The prices are excellent for the quality of food. We also like to hang out on weekend nights in the little lounge area where all the old Sablones signatures are and just have a drink and appetizer. I love how casually elegant it is. I can wear jeans or a suit and feel comfortable either way.

                                          1. re: jbowen1519

                                            Wow, I cut through that limo holding lot all the time and see the food truck there, but it never occurred to me it would actually be good. Thanks for the heads-up! That's some good hounding.

                                        2. I've ilved in Eastie for two years now, and there's one other place my husband and I LOVE - this tiny sub shop on Marion (near Bennington) called Roy's. They have MASSIVE specialty subs, deli meats and cheese, and (perhaps most endearingly) penny candy.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: erinire

                                            Roy's is awesome. I should have mentioned it earlier and have lately started going there more often.

                                            I was impressed because when I asked them where they get their meats (expecting them to say Boar's Head or something like that), they said they don't buy from one source but look around for the best source for each meat. They also have 3 or 4 versions of an Italian sub, each of which are unique and excellent in their own way. They slice their meats very thin which is interesting.

                                            An excellent afternoon/early evening is to pick up a sub at Roy's and head over to Pier's Park and each on the picnic tables there.

                                            In other news:

                                            -Oran Cafe closed so we never really got to see what that could have become.

                                            -I found out that El Chivo Restaurant in Day Square is open until 3AM (not great food, but if you are eating at 3AM you probably don't care).

                                            -Scup's got their wine/beer license so they might be doing dinners. Their Sunday brunch scene has been taken over a bit by out of towners who have seen all the reviews which is a bummer because it was a great Eastie social scene. I am happy for the owners though.

                                            -303 Cafe has really got some excellent beers on rotation (including the first place to have Dogfish Head in Eastie) including 4 draft beers. Tom keeps the beers interesting and is open to suggestions. Beer night on Tuesdays gets a good crowd. The prices are also VERY reasonable for beer - had a great IPA the other night for $3.50. Their specials menu has become a reliable source of moderately priced good food. Ordering a beer and a snack from the specials has become one of my favorite after-work weekday activities.

                                            -Italian Express is about to open on the corner of Sumner and Cottage Streets. They are taking over Dozzi's breakfast joint. They used to have a location in Orient Heights. They have been doing a lot of rennovations and it looks very nice inside. It will be a pizza/sub shop with beer/wine shortly after opening. They had a pretty good reputation in their last location for quality Italian fast food.

                                            -Stay tuned for East Boston Kitchen which will open soon on Sumner St near 303. They are going to have prepared meals (mostly for take-home) and some grocery items. I think it is going to be a great addition to the neighborhood.

                                            -Finally, I have decided that my favorite take out Chinese in EB is Golden Dragon in Day Square. If anyone has any other recommendations, I'd be interested in hearing them.

                                            1. re: jbowen1519

                                              I'm looking forward to Italian Express, but I've seen nothing happening in the EB Kitchen space. Are they actually working on it? Also it's good to hear 303 has some taps now. I've had several not great experiences there, but the good ones I've had have involved their nice beer menu and great waffle fries.

                                              I usually get my Chinese delivered from Lucky Garden in Winthrop, but I haven't done much searching around in Eastie for Chinese.

                                              Speaking of take-out, apparently Off the Boat Seafood does delivery now. I haven't tried this place since they opened up the sit-down area, has anyone else? Nothing showed up searching the board.

                                              1. re: jbowen1519

                                                i really want to like 303, but have been consistently disappointed. good news about the beers, though, because the wine mark-ups are a gouge, especially considering the tiny tiny pour size. and those waffle fries are sysco frozen.

                                                awesome about scups getting a license.

                                            2. I am from PA> and I'm staying here in E.Boston for two months. I really like good subs (hogies). On the advice of this posting today I tried an italian at Dough. WOW!!! it was great. The guys working there were very personable, and it looks like I'll be a regular.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: foustysr

                                                Ah man, wish we could have gotten foustysr to convince any of the above sub shops to serve a roast pork italian hoagie during his stay here :-( It sounds like even that place in Maynard Willy Philly's isn't offering one... hmm, I know they would change it (not a big fan of their cuban ruben), but I am sure it would sell _really well_ at Highland Kitchen.

                                              2. Angela got the nod for "Best Mexican" from the Improper Bostonian. Maybe it'll help keep all you mainlanders coming through the tunnel!