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East Somerville ideas

A couple of hounds have indicated they would like to hound East Somerville more. I have done a fair amount of hounding in the area in the past, but am focusing on other areas these days. There are also other hounds that have reviewed some things in more detail and this area was well reported on in the past. I focused mostly on the lower Broadway (between McGrath Hwy and Sullivan Sq), the area near Star Market above McGrath, with a couple of mentions to Washington St, McGrath Hwy, and two places in Union Sq (plenty more to talk about there, but its already well covered on the board).

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Latino:

Taco Loco -- I thought this was pretty good, although only tried it a few times because I preferred Tapatio. They have chicharron and adobada tacos, more overall selection than tapatio did.

MonteCristo - They have less selection for tacos and pupusas, but more plates and have a montanero for $10. For a while they had a C sanitation grade in the window (Lupita's at one point did too). Plan to check it out again soon.

Tapatio -- I really liked this for pupusas, their soups, tacos where it was easy to select fillings, and good fried yucca, but it burned down last year.

Los Paisanos -- I haven't eaten here and was not very impressed, but did not give it much of a chance.

El Valle de la Sultana -- This is a market roughly across from Star Market that has a bunch of latino products, including pork steaks with a nice rind to make your on montanero, and Brazilian cuts for churrasco. One of the first places to carry green coconuts this summer. I am a bit wary of some of the things stocked really close to the floor and as always check the dates/integrity of the packages.

Tony's Foodland -- This is a decent sized Salvadoran market on lower Broadway (near Wizard English), and it also has a "Brazilian butcher." The selection is slightly different and to some extent complementary to La Internacional (the Guatemalan market in Union Sq), having some additional dry goods (several types of condensed milk, different types of cheeses and chorizos) .

Amigo's Market -- This is lower down, near Vinnie's and I have only been in once.

Joe's Liquors -- Although their sign has a big shamrock, this liquor store on the corner of Cross street has a good selection of latin american beers and most people that work there seem to be central american. Haven't checked out the tequila selection.

Club Choices -- This is the Latino club and pool hall (in the basement) across from Market Basket open Tue-Thu. They have at times had food, mostly focusing on snacks but really not certain these days. Sunday afternoons they have Brazilian pagode (samba) and were doing Brazilian snacks, but dunno if they still have the chow. Occasionally you hear of problems here, but I have never had any issues.

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Brazilian

Gauchao -- This is the churrascaria and buffet on lower broadway. All meats are grilled over charcoal, with the selection being picanha, alcatra (both cuts from the top sirloin butt), chicken and pork sausage, chicken with bacon, chicken hearts, I think pork loin. Their buffet is pretty good. They have two fixed priced takeout containers where they fill them for you. You pick a salad (a good pint sized container on its own), then rice and beans, starch, and up to two main dish from the buffet. Or if you want churrasco, you get to choose 2 meats and one main dish from the buffet for a bit more. With churrasco make sure to insist on the meat the way you want it (doneness, amount of fat, etc), but keep in mind that these cuts can benefit from longer cooking, but don't accept a dry burnt piece of meat. The per-lb also has two rates, one with churrasco and the other w/o... plus if you only get churrasco, many restaurants will charge you extra. In any case the fixed price containers will serve two. They do a pretty good feijoada Saturdays, although I think I preferred Branca's. No beer, wine, or drinks.

Minas Grill -- This is where Branca's (which at the time was the oldest standing Brazilian restaurant in Somerville) used to be and is now open, but I haven't been. Its gotta be an improvement over Branca's where simplest food (roasted meats, steak with onions, and the feijoada) was best and the buffet was fixed price, but I do sort of miss Branca's despite the overall lack of quality.

Sweet Brasil Bakery -- This is the bakery at the intersection of Pearl and McGrath. I have had an amazing broa right out of the oven (they also do churros), but I think overall their quality has dropped over time. You can find some nice sweets, they do inexpensive sandwiches (misto quente is ham and cheese), plus recently they were doing a plate of the day. The bread supposedly is "fresh every 10 minutes" which many places do in Brazil, but I think here they use the warming drawer and if you buy it at night its tough in the morning.

Brazilegal -- they have a shop on Broadway which I think is only dry goods, but over on Mystic ave (just after temple st) they have a snack bar. I think they do fry the salgadinhos in the back, but they seem fresher in the morning (as if they were delivered) and are pretty good. Early one Saturday they had fresh "sonhos mineiros" which are a Brazilian donut. Worth a stop if you are headed South on Mystic in the morning and hungry.

Café Varanda's -- This restaurant used to be Bahia Grill and still has some of the old signs up. They have started doing breakfast, more of a bakery thing, and changed it around. I haven't tried the buffet since it changed over, so its an unknown. The churrasco there is grilled on gas. No beer, wine, or drinks.

Cafe BĂȘlo -- This is on Washington Street, just East of McGrath Hwy. Their food was never that great and has been going downhill for ages, although I do like their lounge. Occasionally decent side plates, you can find ok stuff on the buffet and BBQ if you look, but better for a caipirinha and music.

Pastelaria Broadway - This is the snack shop next to Chang's travel, the auto glass, and near Patsy's. I think their X-tudo could be the best in the area, they have some other lunch plates, plus serve soft-ball sized salgadinhos which are regularly fried. You can ask them to fry you a "pastel" to order (ground beef or cheese). Fresh and overall recommended, but salgadinhos cut a bit on the quality in order to give large portions.

Brasil2000 -- On the other side of the street from Pastelaria Broadway and closer to Sullivan, this generic Brazilian store (dry good, supplies, maybe cell phones?) has a lunch counter at the back. I have had pretty good salgadinhos here, but usually go to the Pastelaria. They also are trying to sell the business, so dunno if it will change.

(I heard there is another Brazilian restaurant coming to the spot on Somerville ave near Central Ave where "Bar Brasil" used to be (now Samba Bar) and another bar and restaurant that failed, then a book store.)

Portuguese

Winter Hill Bakery -- Broadway near the Post Office (across from Temple St) Portuguese Bakery with lots of portuguese and italian breads, plus limited sweets (they do cakes too).

Broadway Fish Market -- Just south of Star Market. This is a Portuguese Market (which at one point _also_ had a Brazilian butcher, spot a trend?). I think its better for sweets, packaged goods, salt cod, etc. They sometimes have breaded, fried fish available. I don't get there too often and prefer to shop Cambridge St.

Cross Street Market -- This is at the Intersection of Cross and Pearl, which also has fried fish and some steam tray dishes. Various Portuguese goods, plus regular convenience store.

Bairos Liquors Inc -- This a Portuguese-owned liquor store about halfway between McGrath and Sullivan Sq. They don't have a huge selection of Portuguese wines, but have an ok selection. Not quite as much Latino beers as Joe's, but some. One big advantage, they do deliver (and are much better than Woody's the other delivery outfit in Ball Sq).

Winter Hill Liquors -- On Temple St, with parking in the Star Mkt lot. I think this is also Portuguese owned, usually has a variety of cachacas from Minas Gerais for the Brazilians in the neighborhood, but nothing too special.

Jerry's Liquors -- This is one of the Businesses in Union Square that I thought was worth mentioning. They do have some 5L "Garrafao" bottles of Portuguese wine, plus a selection of liters mostly focusing on the less expensive. However, what they really excel in is Portuguese aguardente and brandy (including 47 year old), liquors, plus some cabo verdean and liquors from other portuguese colonies. Decent selection of Brazilian Cachaca with aggressive prices, plus a bunch of Brazilian (largely sweet) wines. I go in there sometimes to drool over the liquors and aguardentes.

Italian/Pizza

Patsy's Pastry -- On Broadway across from Louie's, this is a pretty complete Italian pastry shop. I have had some good sweets here, but usually go to Royal and haven't explored it quite enough.

Vinny's -- I don't think I need to review this, but its here :-)

Maria's Cold Cuts -- As their names goes they have a large selection of cold cuts and also excellent subs. They do have a decent selection of charcuturie, although mostly refrigerated which I'm not certain why. Multiple brands of domestic and imported proscuitto, pastas, even some Brazilian goods like canjiquinha. Deserves more attention.

Mama Lisa's, Leone's, Primo's -- Leone's has decent sicilian and subs, Mama Lisa's is ok for slices but nothing special, and maybe Primo's for subs only but I do more pizza in Medford and someone has to have a more formed opinion.

American Etc

Louie's -- This is well covered, but good summer stop for Ice Cream and Italian Ice (no food).

Two Dads -- This is a little Sub Shop on Cross Street, near the school. They used to also specialize in seafood, but it changed hands a couple of years ago. They still have the seafood on the menu (at bargain basement prices), but I have only tried subs since. I had a steak bomb (with salami) which the grill chef must have spent 10 minutes shredding with the spatulas and it was a true caloric orgy. Seems like they could do an ok greasy spoon breakfast, but haven't had it.

Khoury's state spa -- I think this advertises itself as the oldest bar in Somerville. Pretty good prices, not entirely a dive (half townie, with yuppies too). They have a couple of pool tables and a DJ on the weekends which isn't much, but if you have enough friends its fun because they will play whatever you want. They have food like steak tips and pizza, plus they were doing a daily "blue plate" type special. Food seemed ok for what it was. Some Somerville running groups do events there with BBQs in the lot out back weekends during the summer (back porch BBQ). Keno enabled.

Casey's -- Maybe a bit more of a dive than Khoury's, but good steak tips that I need to get back to try again. Keno.

Mr B's Restaurant -- On Cross Street, near the end. I haven't eaten here yet but plan to. They do steak tips and pizza, plus some Italian dishes.

Hot Dog Stand at Home Depot -- Dogs and sausages are already cooked on the grill, then finished so not the best snap on the dog but still pretty tasty. They also grill up a steak and cheese that looks ok, better overall than Good Times, although there is Sunrise and the 99 nearby.

Buddy's Truck Stop -- Greasy spoon on Washington, seems to still be going strong.

New Dragon Star Restaurant -- Just past Foss Park -- American Chinese, really awful. Peking dumplings with skins as thick as leather, scallion pie right out of the freezer pack. The place on 99 in Everett or even the takeout place on Revere Beach are better. Run towards the far end of Broadway.

(I am trying to add places links for a number of these, but when there are multiple restaurants in the metro boston area with the same name, even selecting the somerville version it puts another random one in its place. For example "on line buddies" for "buddy's diner")

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Vinny's on Broadway
76 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

Pastelaria Broadway
192 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

Maria's Cold Cut Center
314 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

Khoury State Spa
118 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

Tony's Foodland
104 Broadway, Boston, MA

Brazil 2000
129 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

Los Paisanos Restaurant
62 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

Joe's Liquors
160 Broadway, Somerville, MA

Club Choices
379 Somerville Ave, Somerville, MA

Gauchao Brazilian Cuisine
102 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02145

Sweet Brasil Bakery
561 Mcgrath Hwy, Somerville, MA

Winter Hill Bakery
318 Broadway, Somerville, MA

Broadway Portuguese & American Market
274 Broadway, Somerville, MA

Cross Street Market & Deli
72 Cross St, Somerville, MA 02145

Two Dad's Sub Shop
38 Cross St, Somerville, MA

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  1. Holy cow, Itaunas. Fantastic post! I will re-visit this again and again. And nice call on the Home Depot hot dog stand...lol.

    One minor note - Club Choices is not technically in E. Somerville - near Union Square. And I always wondered what my choices might be....

    1. Awesome! Was hoping that you'd respond. :D

      1. Itaunas, really impressive work and a great post! I've been to some spots in this area, but this has really opened up a neighborhood I don't know nearly as well as I'd like. Thanks!

        1. Most Excellent!

          One question - what ever became of that small take-out operation on Cambridge St, I think (and named after the woman who owned it?). I think there was even a Globe review of her place last year, but I fear that she didn't last the year? Can anyone jog my memory?

          1 Reply
          1. re: digga

            As far as I know she is back working at the Swan and the cafe space is closed. The main store changed hands (and may have since closed). I met the original cafe owner (who is now back in Brazil), plus there was at least one in between.

            I remembered a few extra things in East Somerville. Mount Vernon Restaurant down near Sullivan Square, best known for twin lobsters, decent but not exciting food (clearly wet scallops, etc). There was a "R Wesley Bistro" around the corner from the teamsters medical center that I have always been curious about -- I have never ever seen it open (might officially be in Charlestown). And on Washington St there is a Chinese restaurant next to Dunkins which I have never tried, the Holiday Inn is back having Brazilian nights occasionally with a "Baiana" serving acaraje, and there is a Pizza place that does good business and I assume is a greek-type pizza place. On Marshall St in Somerville (near Star Market, and the street runs to the Paddock) there is a Portuguese club that has a lot of issues with residents and city licensing, but serves quite good food (occasionally with weird touches like krinkle-cut fries) for around $10/plate.

          2. Hope I'm not too presumptious for asking, but when you do get a chance, would love to see your East Cambridge summary.

            1. oh man! great run down! there is also an indian grocery with a restaurant in it in the plaza on the right if you are heading toward the huge Stop and Shop...memory fails me. but for a mom and pop operation it had tasty take out.

              Also, we drove by a really big sign for ravioli/pasta near that Stop and Shop and pulled into the driveway ... but it looked like a commercial kitchen -- anyone have any info?

              (pretty vague I know :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: MaineRed

                As far as I know there is a pasta wholesaler there, but have never found it open when passing there (and not certain you can access it from Broadway, where I am more often than that part of Mystic). In a similar plaza off of Mystic Ave (officially Medford) there used to be a cheesemaker Giuseppe's Mozzarella and Ricotta, but I was under the impression it closed. There are a bunch of wholesale bakeries just past the rotary in Charlestown and I there might be other smaller bakeries in that area you are mentioning.

              2. Los Paisanos has a good breakfast - you have to order "right," so look around. I believe it's the huevos mexicanos or huevos rancheros that is covered in a really great red sauce. But I've mixed the two up before and ended up with a plate of eggs and chorico scrambled to smithereens, so be careful. (I think it's the rancheros that you think is covered in sauce but is actually scrambled to bits.)

                Breakfast is served with awesome, fresh tortillas, avocado, black beans, sour cream, queso fresco and platanos. Coffee is ridiculously BAD and the music is blaring, so ten cuidado if you've got a raging hangover.

                1. Wow! Great run-down. This is much appreciated. I moved earlier this year from Charlestown to Somerville, right off Broadway. I stopped into one of the above-mentioned bakeries (on the next block from the library towards Sullivan Square) to inquire about Tres Leches. They make them special-order only for $30. Do you know of any other places in the area that do Tres Leches? This is one of my favorite desserts and for $30 I can make it myself.

                  Love Vinny's. They have the best arancini around. And beef bracciola.

                  Patsy's has great biscotti, but that's all I've had there.

                  Mount Vernon frequently has an unpleasant, formaldehyde smell going on. It prevents me from eating there or going to the bar.

                  1. this is my hood and i am loving your post!!! i have printed and put it up on the fridge-thank you!

                    1. Awesome run down, itaunas. Just adding Fasika for Ethiopian on Broadwary to your already impressive list.