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Reef Cafe: RIP

It is with deep sadness that I report the closing of the Reef Cafe in Allston. I saw the note posted on the door today as I walked by which said a new Japanese place would be moving in.

I can remember back to when I'd eat there. I'd place my order with Salaam, he'd call it down to mama who would create some truly delicious food. Back then, I used to go several times a week. The family was so welcoming and generous, that it was hard not to love the place between the great food and atmosphere. Once they became well known though, I don't think they could keep up with the volume and they resorted to pre-cooking and freezing main dishes.
I'd go back for the odd falafel or shawarma sandwich but it wasn't the same.

I'm sad to see them go and I hope other stars of the neighborhood don't go down this path.
Incidentally, I was on my way to Gitlo's when I spotted the note. I was afraid he'd head down the same path after that Globe article, but I'm happy to say that the place is back to what it started out as - great made-to-order dim sum. Let's hope it stays that way!

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  1. This is so sad I can't stand it. My friends and I always argue who has the best falafel and Reef Cafe is (was -- *sigh*) always one of the contenders. And Salaam is so incredibly nice.

    1. That is sad. I loved the place, but even as I did, it never really hit it's stride and was able to be the well-oiled-machine that any restaurant must become. RIP Reef Cafe.

        1. Rats! My favorite fava falafel, just fine Mom's kind of cooking all around. I didn't go often enough, obviously.

          1. too bad... it really was good.

            1. Yeah, the closing of Reef Cafe was very recent (I'm pretty sure they were open as of last week). I was going to write about its closing yesterday on my blog but had about 10 million other things I had to do, so I never got around to it. I'll miss the people there--they were so friendly--and I will definitely miss that amazing falafel sandwich with the pickles inside; as I've said before, it was perhaps one of my top 10 favorite food items in any Boston restaurant.

              1. We were there the day after Christmas and Salaam told us that he'd be closing soon. He said he was looking for a place in Cambridge. He wants to have a nicer sit-down kind of place. We expressed concern about how to find him when he reopens but he said we would know!

                6 Replies
                1. re: neongreenkitty

                  That's potentially great news. I hope they are able to do it.

                    1. re: neongreenkitty

                      Thanks neongreenkitty, for preventing my tears from falling. I think I can hold it together now that you've posted this hopeful message. Every time I ate the stuffed cabbage there I had that dreaded thought: "Will this be the last time?" I hope they can find a good location soon.

                      We walked by January 2nd and saw the place was closed, no note. I deluded myself into thinking maybe Salaam and family had FINALLY taken a much deserved vacation. RIP, Reef!

                      1. re: powella

                        Ok, hounds- just had to resurrect this old thread in the hopes that someone, somewhere might know something about Salaam and family's plans. Any word? Please, oh please?

                        1. re: powella

                          I have actually had my eye out, but sadly, no sign of Reef Cafe II.

                          1. re: powella

                            I really hope they come back --- the Reef Cafe was one of my favorite places. Oh that pumpkin kibbe!

                            It may be a small consolation, but Garlic 'n Lemons, which is nearby the old Reef Cafe spot, is a really terrific Middle Eastern restaurant with a similar price point to the Reef Cafe.

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                            Garlic 'n Lemons
                            133 Harvard Ave, Boston, MA 02134