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Nov 10, 2007 11:05 AM

Simple but delicious places for anti-fancy mom?


My mom will be in town for a week over Thanksgiving, and I'd love to take her to some restaurants offering really good food, but ones that aren't too fancy--it's not her style, and she won't enjoy it. At the same time I'd like to try some new places for me, ones that will satisfy my more foodie tendencies. I'd love to find:
1) a great little place (maybe in the North End) that will have scrumptious, simple Italian in terms of a really good red sauce, Eggplant Parmesan, maybe a Marsala dish. As I said, simple, but reliable and yummy.
2) Solid Indian, which she's said she wants to try. I'm thinking Kebab Factory, as it is close to us in Cambridge. Other thoughts?
3) Seafood. She loves fried clams, oysters, that sort of thing, as well as lobster. Last visit one of her favorite things were the fried clams at Dairy Joy. Good fish and chips will make her happy as well.

Other genres are welcome as well--she's here a full week. :-)


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  1. Here are a few options for each of the above:

    1) Antico Forno, Al Dente, Mother Anna's, or Pagliuca in the North End. All are good, unpretentious Southern Italian places. Also, Rino's in East Boston and Vinny's at Night in Somerville are a couple of other places worth considering.

    2) Kebab Factory is one of the best Indian restaurants I have been to in the Boston area, but there are some others to consider; India Quality in Kenmore Square, Shanti in Dorchester, Punjab in Arlington, and perhaps the Bengal Cafe in Cambridge.

    3) Moulton's in Medford has excellent seafood dishes, and the price is right.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      Can't argue with any of those choices. Good picks. I'd add Artu for Italian, especially the eggplant parm.

      If you want to venture out to the burbs, Zalek's in Wakefield has solid, fresh and simple food at great prices, and it's byob. Seafood, steaks, fish and chips, good gyro, pretty bare-bones atmosphere and a little too bright with the lights, but a good value. Several threads on this board for good rec's.

      1. re: hiddenboston

        Not sure if "anti-fancy" = unadventurous, but I favor Bengal Cafe. Nice but unpretentious, different, and not all that spicy. Although perhaps I'd avoid the very mustardy dishes, and the very bony Bengali fishes if that's a problem.

      2. Vinny's first came to my mind for red sauce Italian near Cambridge. Definitely not fancy and Mom may get a kick out of the grocery store ambience.

        I'll suggest Frank's Steakhouse in N. Cambridge. Old school, not too fancy.
        Great steaks but I'm not familar with other menu items.

        1 Reply
        1. re: joestrummer

          My mother is very anti-fancy and she loved Vinny's at night for both the food (I think she had the eggplant parm and homemade mafalde) and the atmosphere.

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

        2. Dairy Joy usually stays open til December. Stick with the fried clams and onion rings. Don't be tempted by the rest of the menu.

          1. I'll bet your mom's no anti-fancier than mine when it comes to eating out! My mother lives in California, and her favorite place it the Souplantation, so I face the same challange when she visits.

            These are her favorites: Pizzeria Regina, the fried clams at Dairy Joy (but where would you eat them this time of year?), the Big Apple Pancake at Bickford's, and...hold onto your seat...Sel de la Terre. She scoffed at the latter at first, but saw a salmon dish on the menu that lured her in, made her swoon, and now it's one of her favorite places. There's hope for all.

            1) Antico Forno is popular, but neither my mother nor I cared for it. Maybe Galleria 33 or Maurizio's? Once the eggplant parm fix is accomplished, there's always Pizzeria Regina.

            2) Sorry, I don't like curry.

            3) Legal Seafood isn't fancy. My mother wears her lobster bib right through dessert. She might also like Summer Shack or Barking Crab. Bickford's went through an overhaul a couple of years ago, and added fresh Ipswich clams, along with some other seafood to their menu. Once when we were there for the Big Apples, the manager brought out a couple of fried clams for my mother to try, and she thought they were heavenly. The prices are right, it's not fancy, and if you stick to certain menu items, it can be a good default place for mom's such as ours.

            Another thought: Baraka Cafe in Central Sq.

            1. For not fancy surprisingly a lot of places in cambridge qualify. East Coast Grill, Blue Room, B-Side Lounge, all give you some good choices and your mom some comfortable ones.