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East Cambridge restaurants?

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pkit Jul 10, 2008 06:53 AM

I recently moved to the East Cambridge area and through this board have been able to find some great neighborhood restaurants, but I'm sure there are others I'm just completely unaware of!

I know about Hungy Mother and Blue Room, and I eat often from Similans (Thai restaurant). I just discovered Courthouse Seafood through this board.

Any other hidden gems in the area that you like??

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  1. f
    fredid RE: pkit Jul 10, 2008 07:14 AM

    Pkit - Just to get you started - There's a Kendall lunch thread with lots of options, Mulan and Izzy's, Helmand, of course, the Poruguese places (one popular one has closed, so check the dates of the threads). "Itaunas" has lots of suggestions, so do a search of his (?) posts. Also, someone had a thread in Sept, looking for suggestions, try a search for Tremont (St., where she was headed, I think) - but this thread should also pop up if you do a search for Izzy's, for instance!

    1. Aromatherapy RE: pkit Jul 10, 2008 07:21 AM

      Wisteria House on Cambridge St. (fairly new), good Taiwanese. Near Mayflower Poultry (not a restaurant, but a resource). A bit further up is the Snack Bar/O Senhor Ramos, which looks like a dump but has some good Portuguese food, try the Azorean pot roast next fall. Mostly takeout but you can eat in (no license). Skampa's is on my to-try list for roast beef sandwiches.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Aromatherapy
        s
        smtucker RE: Aromatherapy Jul 10, 2008 07:44 AM

        I do like the Skampas roast beef sandwiches, though I bring them home so I can add more horseradish. Last week I saw someone with a large roast beef. It was enough food to feed a small village! I stick to the smaller sandwiches which are served on hamburger buns.

        1. re: smtucker
          g
          goose RE: smtucker Jul 10, 2008 08:18 AM

          I agree...and tend to get the "jr. beef." Skampa also has good salads (chicken kabob, chicken salad), with nice bread and house dressing. also worth trying their fish and chips and pastrami sandwiches. i eat lunch there all the time.

          1. re: goose
            g
            goose RE: goose Jul 10, 2008 08:30 AM

            oh, and the onion rings, which are thin, crsipy, greasy and pretty much awesome...I somehow blocked these out of my memory, but no longer.

            damn you chowhound.

      2. i
        italyinmind RE: pkit Jul 10, 2008 08:05 AM

        Not sure if it's technically East Cambridge (I'm not so good with exact locations...) but I enjoy the food at Atwoods on Cambridge street. It's basic bar-type food, but well executed and reasonably priced. I especially like their sweet potato fries, which they serve with a banana curry aioli that I've taken to reproducing at home.

        -----
        Atwood's Tavern
        877 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

        10 Replies
        1. re: italyinmind
          Small Plates RE: italyinmind Jul 10, 2008 08:35 AM

          Second Atwoods - try the fish cakes - also great music - Duke Levine and Dennis Brennan (among others) play there regularly. I love how fresh the Greek Salad is - for veggie you can enjoy the curried pasta primavera - sloppy joes are excellent - everything there is inexpensive and very well prepared. Friendly service - it is like everyone is a regular.

          1. re: Small Plates
            Bob Dobalina RE: Small Plates Oct 28, 2008 04:26 AM

            Went to Atwood's last night - I guess the prior chef has moved on -
            The menu has changed with the elimination of the mix and match dinner combos - iirc, you could have a meat and a choice among several interesting sides.
            Still have the fish cakes on the menu - $9 - decent app. sized portion of three -
            DC had the veggie burger which was house-made - slivery sweet potato fries.
            I had the mac and cheese with bacon (was chicken or other meat a prior option?) - it was ok, but man, I guess I just don't like mac-n-cheese out. Too liquid cheesy. Still, a cheap buy at $9 or so.
            Original Sin hard cider on tap - a little sweeter than Magner's, less sweet than say Woodchuck.
            The food was fine, but I guess the last menu seemed to have more and healthier options - more expansive. This one seemed pared down.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina
              p
              pollystyrene RE: Bob Dobalina Oct 28, 2008 10:27 PM

              Never, ever give up on mac and cheese. I agree that the runny kind is not good. If you think you might like one that's crispy on the top and edges with stringy cheese and served in a hot skillet, try the mac and cheese at the B-Side. I'm in hot pursuit of a replacement for when they close.

              1. re: pollystyrene
                yumyum RE: pollystyrene Oct 29, 2008 08:47 AM

                The mac n cheese at Green Street is great -- has brussels sprouts and bacon in it too, with crispy breadcrumbs on top. It's a humongous portion, easily 2 meals and probably 4 for Joanie. ;-)

                1. re: yumyum
                  Joanie RE: yumyum Oct 29, 2008 09:45 AM

                  Ha ha, not the way I've been eating since Krakow. Cleaning my plate of all 3 courses last nite at Pigalle, I better watch it as winter sets in.

                  And as far as that mac n cheese at Green St. goes, that sounds amazing. I'm going next week hoping for the corn chowder w/ bacon and fried clams (on the menu again?) but will have to pick one super rich dish over the other I think.

                  1. re: Joanie
                    yumyum RE: Joanie Oct 29, 2008 11:11 AM

                    We love ya Joanie -- you know it's all in good fun.

                    The corn chowder was not on the menu last week. I wonder if it's a summer item?

                    I love the homemade chips and onion dip, the mussels, and that burger -- man oh man. But if you are looking for pure comfort and would like to take home a big doggie bag, the mac n cheese is the way to go.

                    1. re: yumyum
                      Joanie RE: yumyum Oct 30, 2008 04:24 AM

                      Oh, there's no way that very rich corn/bacon/fried clam chowder is a summer item. I'll ask when I'm there next week, I know I'm not the only one here who loves it. Will probably check out that mac n cheese.

                      Even tho I have nothing approaching a "regular" spot, Green St. is as close as it gets.

                  2. re: yumyum
                    p
                    pollystyrene RE: yumyum Oct 29, 2008 10:45 PM

                    Great to know. Thanksthanks, yumyum!

                2. re: Bob Dobalina
                  Small Plates RE: Bob Dobalina Oct 29, 2008 11:30 AM

                  It is true he has moved on and the menu now reflects some of the new chef's preferences for Italian-influences (this according to Patrick). I miss the meatloaf incredibly, but re: healthier options - what is missing is the meatloaf and the sloppy joe and what is new are salads and veggies burger - with (the delicious) pasta primavera still available. I think the menu has more, newer light options. (I say this as one who favored the more savory dishes that are now 86'd from teh menu.)

                  Either way, Atwood's is still a solid option for decent food at a great price with great iPod tunes and some of the best live local music (if you stay late enough for it). At least check it out.

                  1. re: Bob Dobalina
                    Small Plates RE: Bob Dobalina Oct 29, 2008 11:31 AM

                    It is true he has moved on and the menu now reflects some of the new chef's preferences for Italian-influences (this according to Patrick). I miss the meatloaf incredibly, but re: healthier options - what is missing is the meatloaf and the sloppy joe and what is new are salads and veggies burger - with (the delicious) pasta primavera still available. I think the menu has more, newer light options. (I say this as one who favored the more savory dishes that are now 86'd from the menu.)

                    Either way, Atwood's is still a solid option for decent food at a great price with great iPod tunes and some of the best live local music (if you stay late enough for it). At least check it out.

              2. yumyum RE: pkit Jul 10, 2008 08:16 AM

                Here's the Kendall Square lunch thread. It's awesome!

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/504505

                1. itaunas RE: pkit Jul 10, 2008 10:12 AM

                  There are some old threads, which touch on some of the restaurants and markets in the area but don't cover everything. These are probably a bit more relevant than the Kendall thread (and some of the Kendall sq lunch options are not night options, although the more chowish ones usually are both). Be aware of vacation closings (Royal might still be away from July 4th, Courthouse is back, Snack Bar is probably on vacation soon -- think its more than a week and usually their prices edge up a bit afterwards.) When the wind isn't blowing and its not rush hour, its a fairly pleasant urban walk to the North End....

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/443458
                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/408985
                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/406558
                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/508233
                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/503162

                  Update: One other idea. I know the Portuguese American Civic League on Springfield Street (Union Square, where Ole is located) is having a festival the Festa do Espirto Santo (an important celebration in the Azores) this weekend. Some of the social club events can be quite chowish and tend to be a bit more so than the larger festivals in the Boston area (South Coast is different) but really not certain about this one and hope to check it out. There also are quite regular banquets at other locations which you can regularly find advertised in shop windows on Cambridge St. Some are interesting chow-wise, some not so, but they strike me as not appropriate to post on the board.

                  With the walk to the North End idea you do have the North End Feast all summer, some chowish at times, some just a zoo. The Italian Feast on Cambridge St is Labor Day weekend and East Somerville Greek festival is usually in August.

                  1. itaunas RE: pkit Jul 31, 2008 11:49 AM

                    BTW, noticed that Pugliese's is doing a Thursday evening raw bar now. Prices start at $2/oyster or cherrystone and a half dozen is $10. No details on the selection, suspect its probably whatever New Deal or Courthouse are offering... or maybe they run through enough to pickup a sack. Its a pretty decent little bar* but not the beer selection of Atwoods, with a good inexpensive weekday lunch that I have mentioned before and sometimes on Sundays they do some fish informally dish for the regulars. Usually no dinner, but if you go on the early side drop by the Courthouse Market and pick up a tray of fried fish to snack on too. Or get packs of fried favas or chickpeas at various outlets (convenience store across the street, 660, maybe courthouse)

                    * Before they did over the building where its housed, it used to advertise being the oldest family run bar in Cambridge or something. Didn't see the sign, but I think after the rennovation they still have something there about this.

                    1. j
                      Josh M RE: pkit Jul 31, 2008 11:54 AM

                      Is Emma's Pizza (basically the corner of Hampshire and broadway) east Cambridge? If it is, I'd definitely recommend it.

                      1. c
                        cpingenot RE: pkit Jul 31, 2008 03:31 PM

                        If you go as far west as Inman, there's East Coast Grill and Ole, and if you go a bit further north there's lots of ethnic chow in East Somerville/ Union Square.

                        1. i
                          InKendall RE: pkit Jul 31, 2008 07:20 PM

                          Mu-Lan on Broadway is a first rate Chinese restaurant. It is Taiwanese. Desfina on Third Street is a fine little Greek restaurant.

                          1. c
                            couldliveonpizza RE: pkit Jul 31, 2008 07:51 PM

                            I love the mussels at Portugalia. The broth is amazing and the fresh Portuguese rolls for sopping are heaven. They're cooked w/ linguica which kicks it up a notch in my book. Go to the bar side and they'll usually make the lunch menu available at night. The paella at Sunset Grill is enormous (includes a half lobster if I can remember correctly) and is better the next day after the flavors marry in the fridge. The Snack Bar has a respectable cubed pork w/ clams, a couple of their roast dishes are good and they occasionally have octopus and rabbit stews that are really good. Helmand has amazing food but they're a little too into turnover to make it a regular imo. Izzy's has half way decent Puerto Rican food but everything is a ridiculous value. I was never a big Emma's fan (not sure if it's caramelized onions on pizza or the $18 that aggravates me more). I'm not a huge desert guy but the Royal bakery has awesome pastry and there's a bread store 2 doors down where you can get fresh Portuguese rolls. Up Cambridge a little further Christina's is great ice cream and Inman has too many places to list. Some of my faves but I'm prolly missing a bunch. You moved to a great little food neighborhood.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: couldliveonpizza
                              Aromatherapy RE: couldliveonpizza Aug 1, 2008 04:55 AM

                              Thanks for the lunch menu at night tip for Portugalia.

                              1. re: couldliveonpizza
                                itaunas RE: couldliveonpizza Aug 1, 2008 08:42 AM

                                The rolls you like at Portugalia are from Central Bakery (next door to Royal). They are the "country rolls," although instead of the larger ones in the bins, Portugalia buys the smaller ones which are available on the wire racks or by request. Portugalia throws them in a warming drawer which sometimes makes them tough by dinner time for eating, although even better for soaking up broth. The Paelha at Sunset used to come with a half chicken and the half lobster (which casa portugal also offers, although I think the portion is smaller). Love the camarao a africana (this is the right time to order it, courthouse has nice head-on shrimp...) and their house bife a cavalo, but haven't been back recently because of changes there (various promotional nights, the pushing of the buffet...). On the bar side, like Portugualia, you can order smaller plates (prego no pao, etc), but Portugalia is a bit nicer. Both should offer littlenecks on the halfshell, although I haven't had them in ages. The Snack Bar also delivers, which is mentioned in some of the links above.

                              2. m
                                miiki RE: pkit Oct 8, 2008 07:17 AM

                                Nobody mentioned Casa Portugal- closer to Inman, on Cambridge, between Prospect and Tremont [it's close to Tremont]- Pricey for dinner, but excellent fare with amazing prices for lunch. Try the Portuguese fries or the grilled squid salad! Always the right amount of food. The usual yummy Portuguese corn bread from Central Bakery. The head waiter is wonderful, the place always feels quite European. AND- unlike the packed dinner hour, lunch time is more peaceful- more liesurely, I much prefer it to Portugalia for its more intimate ambience. [It's smaller and to my mind, more charming.]

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: miiki
                                  hiddenboston RE: miiki Oct 28, 2008 05:50 AM

                                  I agree about Casa Portugal. Very good food, charming atmosphere, and good prices.

                                  In that neighborhood and the rest of East Cambridge, I also like Desfina (Greek) and Helmand (Afghan). Still hoping to try Court House Seafood one of these days...

                                  1. re: hiddenboston
                                    s
                                    Stride RE: hiddenboston Oct 28, 2008 09:53 AM

                                    I second Helmand (but not Desfina, where my one experience was awful), and would add Muqueca, one of my favorite places. The food is always outstanding and the people who work there always warm and welcoming.

                                2. Bob MacAdoo RE: pkit Oct 28, 2008 06:56 AM

                                  I'm surprised that Izzy's on Harvard Street has not been mentioned here. It's technically between East Cambridge, MIT, and Central, but close enough to Kendall to apply here. Izzy's offers Puerto Rican food and has great jamaican beef patties, empanadas, rice and beans, stewed goat, ginger beer, fried plaintains, and my favorite, the Sopas de Pollo (chicken soup.)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Bob MacAdoo
                                    hiddenboston RE: Bob MacAdoo Oct 28, 2008 07:02 AM

                                    I always think of Izzy's as being in Central Square, but it's certainly close enough to East Cambridge to warrant a look.

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