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Dorchester foodie in search of new places to love!

Just moved to Dorchester and I'm curious what people would recommend here? I know Shanti and D-bar are amazing, but there's got to be more good stuff nearby. Thoughts?

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  1. Avenue Grille for American and Italian-American fare, cheap and humble and tasty. Any of several fine Vietnamese restaurants: Pho 2000 is one example with good pho. Blarney Stone for better-than-average pub fare, good patio. Poppa B's for soul food. Mrs. Jones for great takeout fried chicken. Ashmont Grill for significantly-better-than-average comfort food. Cafe Polonia (okay, it's in Andrew Square, Southie, but very close to Dot) for awesome Polish food. Cesaria for Cape Verdean food.

    More ideas in this recent thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/485339

    1 Reply
    1. The Greenhills Bakery in Adams Village is a great place for lunch - great beef stew, soups, sandwiches and of course scones! Also they have all the Irish chocolate bars like Aero's etc. that are hard to find.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cookiezim

        Only 3 tables though and regulars sit in them all day.

      2. Others not mentioned so far:

        -- McKenna's Cafe in Savin Hill for excellent weekend breakfasts

        -- CF Donovan's (across the street) for excellent American food and pub grub

        -- Pho So 1 and Pho Hoa, both in Fields Corner, for good Vietnamese food

        -- Common Ground in Lower Mills for a truly unusual dining experience (healthy, organic food served by a religious group called the Twelve Tribes)

        3 Replies
        1. re: hiddenboston

          Does McKenna's serve a full breakfast? Good to know if true.

          1. re: Patricia

            Oh yeah.

            But be prepared to wait on the weekend.

            1. re: C. Hamster

              Yes. Get there early if you go on a Sunday....

        2. I second Ave. Grille. They do a pretty good job with a very small but decent wine list. I like Ashmont too. I've had some good meals at 224 Boston St., but they're not as consistant as I would like. Good for a change.

          1. Ashmont Grill -- grossly overrated and pricey, IMO

            Drive another 10 min to Quincy and hit The Fat Cat. It's what Ashmont Grill could/should be.

            Also 224 Boston is pretty good, though I haven't eaten (as opposed to cocktails) there in a while.

            5 Replies
            1. re: C. Hamster

              I heartily agree with CH on the Fat Cat- it is fantastic food, a great vibe - great place to check out if you havent already.

              1. re: C. Hamster

                could you tell me where Fat Cat is, please? thanks!

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    can you tell me about their wings? are they breaded and fried? i'm hoping not....

                    1. re: eLizard

                      Fried and not breaded. At least not the ones I've tried. They come in 8 or so flavors. We have always gotten the hottest buffalo-style "XXX," which to us is perfect. Hot but not too hot. To us at least. They say that not many people order them that hot, which surprises me since we often order them hotter at other places and then regret it. Comes with a jigger of their habernaro-infused vodka in the sauce.

              2. Aside from one's mentioned, Chau Chow on Morrissey Blvd has good Dim Sum. Ahn Hong and Pho Boston 1 have great Vietnamese in Fields Corner. Laura's on Columbia Rd. is said to be the best Cape Verdean restaurant (better than Cesaria I'm told). The Pit Stop BBQ on Morton St. Gerard's in Adams Village is decent for breakfast. Freeport Tavern has gone downhill.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Guinness02122

                  Another place in Adams Village I stop for sandwiches is the Fat Belly Deli in the Blasi Cafe on the corner of Adams and Minot. I have had a few sautee dishes there that were very good as well although I haven't been recently.

                  1. re: TomH

                    Right. Sometimes they have off nights which are becoming more frequent. Another place that is similar as far as sandwiches is Lambert's on Morrissey Blvd.

                    A side question, how is Callabash doing?

                2. Irie is cheap, fantastic Jamaican on Bowdoin. The Banshee, on Dot Ave, has a good new chef & updated menu of good pub food. CF Donovan's is really erratic - lots of kitchen turnover, so I don't risk it these days. Pho So 1 for a meal, the Bah Le just north of Savin Hill on Dot Ave for $2.50 sandwiches. The Ashmont Grill is the best food in Dot, with a commitment to sustainable fish, local veggies & small-farm meat. It's casual and fairly priced, for what they deliver. D-Bar is fun and friendly, but the meals don't live up to the menu - it's meant to be fine dining, and it just doesn't make the grade - as if one chef wrote the menu, and another with half the skill is actually cooking it. It's great for cocktails.

                  18 Replies
                  1. re: SpicyTea

                    Didn't know that the Banshee had a new chef. I never really thought of it as a food destination, but I'll have to give it a shot. CF Donovans did have a lot of problems last year at this time, when they went through 4 chefs in about 4 months, but the food is consistent now. They are no longer serving lunch however. I've had some wonderful meals at dBar so I guess I'll have to disagree that it doesn't live up. Try the diver scallops or the hangar steak.

                    1. re: Pegmeister

                      I agree that the food has stabilized at Donovan's, but it's done so by aiming lower. It was really good for awhile there, and I doubt it'll hit those heights again -- there's no reason for it to be better when it's packed every night. I think D-Bar is going through what 224 Boston did 10 years ago -- learning how to stay afloat in the fine-dining outpost that is Dot. I have had some good meals at D-Bar, but I'd like to see them buckle down and concentrate on the basics -- instead of dusting things with polenta or foaming anything, make sure every single plate is a B+ or better. I love the room, the service is great, but I'm wary due to too many dried out pork chops, salty risotto's and indecipherable moments. I will try the steak and the scallops. I bet they're both great with a sidecar.

                      1. re: SpicyTea

                        I love dBar. But I'm confused as to the references to it being fine dining. I mean there's show tune karaoke on Tuesdays..... and on the weekends it's a club after 9:30ish. Maybe this is a post for another board...."what makes dining 'fine dining'?" I think it's very afordable casual dining. There's not an entree on the menu that tops out at over 20. And for that it's delicious.

                        Did anyone mention Sunrise yet?

                        1. re: SpicyTea

                          Agree that Donovans won't hit the heights it did when Richie was there. (that's why I frequent Amhreins).The menu lost it's creative side when Richie left, but I love my bianco pizza with shrimp and garlic added, and I still think they make a great chicken parm. Also, while Donovans may be packed in the evening, they just stopped serving lunch this week, so that would say to me they're not bringing in what they used to. Oh, and when you go back to dBar skip the sidecar and go with the expresso martini!!

                          1. re: SpicyTea

                            "just trying to stay afloat", hmmm I always have a tough time getting a table there because it is always full, I cant imagine that they have a problem, I consider myself a regular there and the food is always consistantly better than it has to be for the amount that you are paying for the entree, I have Also Never seen a foam on the menu at dbar, i think that you may be confusing it with somewhere else

                        2. re: SpicyTea

                          I have to strenuously disagree about Ashmont Grill. I gave it many more chances than it deserved and it disappointed every time. Food quality and service have always been uneven and unpredictable, at times quite good but other items were inedible and returned to the kitchen.

                          And it is anything but "fairly priced."

                          I also have to disagree about dBar trying to be "fine dining." Huh? The food there has been consistantly good when I've been there. The cocktails are very good.

                          I still suggest driving the extra miles or 2 and plopping down at the bar at Fat Cat in Quincy, though.

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            I'll have to try Fat Cat. I understand kvetching about the Ashmont Grill's service. But, the prices? They're some of the lowest in the city for what it is -- and by that, I mean locally produced meat & veggies, and non-endangered seafood. The Harvest compares. dBar doesn't.

                            dBar isn't trying to be fancy, what with the awkwardly presented bread, and the phrase "Calvados glazed apple “aigre-doux” on the menu? Now, that's not exactly diner-speak! The drinks are great. I LIKE dBar, but it's trying too hard in my opinion. And the AG does need waiter-school, but I'll take slipshod delivery and food I adore over sweet servers and a floundering chef any old day. I don't really want to disagree -- I just wanted to get my strenuous thoughts on the board for other dottie eaters. Off to the Fat Cat!

                            1. re: SpicyTea

                              I think OP mitchsinclair should def. try all these places for him/herself but I still disagree about the prices at Ashmont. I am more willing than most to pay $$ for good food and believe in the sustainable thing but the prices at AG are very high for what they deliver, which in my mind is, on average, pretty mediocre food. I have had some things (always specials) that have been good, but the items that have been blah, underseasoned, poorly cooked (bloody chicken wings), stale, etc. have greatly outnumbered them.

                              Plus they actually refused to accomodate a food allergy by simply leaving cheese out of a sandwich!

                              I vowed never to return.... but I always end up breaking those vows. Perhaps a trip to re-evaluate? I shall consider.

                              But do get to Fat Cat. It's what AG could have been.

                              1. re: SpicyTea

                                Aigre-doux simply means sweet and sour in french, Not that complicated if you are french? I Wonder if we will ever be able to answer the age old question, which is better Ashmont or dbar???

                                1. re: ciaohoundboston

                                  I'm entertained by the menu French at dBar, but I don't think they use it because it expresses the concept of sweet & sour with such precision. It's marketing, making us forget that we're in a building that also houses a Dunkies and that we're parked in front of Burger King. I practically clapped like a seal when I saw duck confit on a menu so close to my house. But, until the sign's bi-lingual in vietnamese & english, and the french is confined to describe a Haitian special, I won't think of dBar as particularly neighborhood-ish. It's for New Dot, which I'm guessing is about 10% of their actual neighbors.

                                  The day Calvados and confit don't thrill on a Dorchester menu, I'll know my condo is worth 4x what I paid for it (oops, I said "condo" - that puts me squarely in the New Dot domain.) This has been a great discussion. And that Fat Cat visit is tomorrow.

                              2. re: C. Hamster

                                Please stop talking about Fat Cat I'm dying for more of that lobster mac & cheese. We were just talking about going there for lunch but it's snowing and I'm more inclined to hit the cafeteria. Have you tried their pulled pork? That's next on my list.

                                1. re: Pegmeister

                                  For the love of all that is holy- order the fried pickles at Fat Cat.

                                    1. re: mitchsinclair

                                      Hold on to your hats ... Fat Cat got a super review by Phantom and now is mobbed 24/7

                                    2. re: magsnbean

                                      I have to agree - every meal I've had at Ashmont has been underseasoned. Though I love their organic philosophy, I haven't been blown away yet by them.

                                    3. re: Pegmeister

                                      Had the pork and it was one of the few things, I've had that there that was "just ok." It seemed somewhat dry and overcooked and the tomato-based BBQ sauce was a bit much (not to mention wrong for real pulled pork). I don't think they used butt or shoulder to make it. And I think it was dry roasted and not braised.

                                      The pickles are outrageous as are the onion rings.

                                  1. re: SpicyTea

                                    I too have to disagree that Ash Grill is best of Dot. I have had less than par food, and service that was even worse.

                                    Also $65 on brunch? No thanks, I will stick with McKenna's any day.

                                    1. re: SpicyTea

                                      C'mon, erratic describes Ashmont Grill to a T. They are way over priced to boot. CF Donovan's has taken a slight downward turn, but still the best neighborhood eatery in Dorchester.

                                    2. thank you all so much! this is amazingly helpful...

                                      1. wow greenhills bakery even has vegan baked goods. how wonderful!

                                        1. i love HONG KONG CHEF on Dot Ave. It's the block before Columbia Road. The rice there is yummy!

                                          1. I agree that ashmont grill is pretty bad, also that Donovans is not the best, but i does have that neighborhood vibe. McKennas is really great and i love the flep jacks and the french toast. Ba Le subs on dot ave is great and cheap i love the little desert things. Also in addition to the viet places in fields corner i actually prefer a place called Sunrise resturant on Dot ave nearer to savin hill. Shanti in my opinion is terrible and i will never go there again for there ove priced and americanized food. Aslo to but food there is a market that has extreemly fresh fish and produce on dot ave called phu cuong or something all the lines. Def check out sunrise though for good viet.