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Boston Hound in Metrowest: Stop the Chain Restaurant Madness

I'm a Boston hound who regularly eats out. My tastes are wide and varied and include a love for foie gras as much as I love a good greasy cheeseburger. I love real tapas, real Mexican, all Asian cuisines...Silvertone, Gargoyles, Eastern Standard, Toro, Stella, Franklin...these are some of my faves.

However. My regular DC/boyfriend lives in MetroWest. So, now on our suburban date nights I'm frequently searching for places in the Marlb/Hudson/Framingham areas. And by 'places', I don't mean fast food on Rte. 9 or the local pizza house.

So far, so good with Romaines (Northborough), Harvest Cafe (Hudson), Yama Zakura (Northborough), Mi Ranchito (Marlborough)...but does anyone else have any suggestions?

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  1. few more:
    Marlborough: Kennedys is good pub food, seafood, etc..
    Linguinis for red sauce italian, pizza,
    There is a decent thai place main st, downtown on the end of the row, forget the name..
    Some like fireflys bbq- not my favorite.
    Northborough: Yoong Tong thai is good (rt20)
    Willys steakhouse/sushi
    Hudson: horseshoe pub for pub food and incredible beer selection
    Framingham: Sichuan gourmet is always excellent, uncle cheungs northern dimsum on weekends.

    1. Tomasso in Southboro ain't bad.

      1. Stone's Public House, TJ's good burgers ib Aslhand, Krok Kum Ya decent Thai, Uncle Cheungs, Chicken Bone for good wings. Lot's of Brazilian none outstanding.

        1 Reply
        1. re: trufflehound

          I have been to Krok Kum Ya several times. Nice folks, really tried to like it, but it is pretty bad Thai, Americanized in the worst way.
          I will echo the Sichuan Gourmet raves. I'll also throw in Firefly's for decent although not outstanding BBQ-- they do have an amazing BBQ Buffet brunch on Sundays. Wildwood Steakhouse in Marlborough is an old school steak place, not bad. Oga's in Natick for Japanese.

        2. Already mentioned, but worth reiterating Sichuan Gourment in Framingham for some of the best (or maybe the best) szechuan cooking in the Boston area.

          1 Reply
          1. There are outposts of both Oishii and Fugakyu in Sudbury -
            I see no real difference between the Chestnut Hill Oishii and have driven there to find little to no wait there, with the same menu on several occasions.

            1. I've had some good luck at Chloe's Bistro in Hudson.


              The Oregon Club on Ashland/Framingham border is a hidden gem...high end food in a very casual speakeasy setting.

              Ditto those who recommend Tomasso, Sichuan Gourmet, Oiishi

              6 Replies
              1. re: pondrat

                Thanks for the mention of the Oregon Club - interesting place!

                  1. re: Framinghound

                    Oh, that's too bad! Thank you for saving me the trip, though.

                    1. re: Framinghound

                      Yikes !!! The end of a era ! That said, they've survived a number of closings and fires. I'd bet someone sees this as an opportunity to bring it back to life. A bold move in this economy but the place does have a luring brand.

                      1. re: Framinghound

                        I believe talks are in place between the woman who still owns it and a new person. I don't know about a firm date but rumor has it that they want to reopen in the summer. I will do some more digging and report back when I have some 411.

                  2. Romaine's in Northborough is a great choice, best outside of Boston. If you like Mexican food, Canyon Cafe in Westborough is quite good.

                    1. Will second the suggestions above for Tomasso Trattoria in Southboro. And you've gotten good advice on Framingham options.

                      Harry's in Westborough is a good diner style place that does decent fried clams as well as breakfast all day.

                      J's at the Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton is a good place for brunch, an upscale lunch, or dinner, plus they offer their own wines with meals.

                      In Natick, there are several possibilities. Oga does very good sushi. If you're up for quantity on sushi, there's always the sushi buffet at Minado. Some folks like Maxwell's 148, some don't -- I thought it was at least OK. Casey's Diner in Natick is a little daytime dumpy diner that does good cheap steamed hot dogs and such. There's also an outpost of Sel de la Terre.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: bachslunch

                        Avoid Minado at all costs....any sushi place where you leave reeking of day old fish is not a good thing. The only thing worse than very bad sushi is having all you can eat.

                        1. re: pondrat

                          I am not a fan of the all-you-can-eat concept either, but I ate at Minado on Friday night and it was perfectly fine. The selection was huge, the fish was fresh, and there was nothing "reeking." As others have said when reviewing Minado, Oishii it ain't, but it's a fine option for those who like an all-you-can-eat option.

                          1. re: Blumie

                            I agree, plus the slections of various "salads" is pretty cool. Many seaweeds, squid, octopus, etc. The soups are good, the oysters OK, and the crab legs can be very good too.

                            1. re: AHan

                              Been there 3 times (last under duress). I must have been there consistently for the last day on the sell date for their fishmonger.

                              Miso soup wasn't bad ! But fermented soy improves with age.

                          2. re: pondrat

                            The sushi is terrible at Minado. Those who know know that "all you can eat" sushi is always terrible. But Minado has an extensive buffet of hot food offerings that is excellent. It makes up close to two thirds of the buffet area, the sushi part is just along the left wall. By all means do not avoid Minado, just avoid the sushi when you go.

                          3. re: bachslunch

                            Oga's sushi is fantastic. It's such an odd location , in an unpromising strip mall, but the food is wonderful. Highly recommended!

                          4. Well, it is a chain, but only in the way others here are, like Sel de la Terre, Oishii, etc...We actually love the bar food at Naked Fish. I go back over and over for a great, and I'm talkinbg 100% of the time, great, Grilled Seafood Salad. Sea Scallops, firm shrimp, tender calamari lightly kissed by the grill, lightly tossed with a marinade, over hearts of Romaine and tomatoes, with crispy bread toasts. It's huge, and I'm always satisfied. And it's $12.95! TC gets their Cubano, which he loves, or their Grilled Chicken Ceasar. His words, "I don't know what they do to make the chicken so flavorful"...
                            Great buy in metrowest...

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: galleygirl

                              Hey GG....are you referring to the Westboro branch? They closed up last year and a "Chateau" replaced them (yes, the same as the Waltham one). Big loss, considering the other fish options in the area....

                              1. re: Science Chick

                                No, I guess it's actually Natick, because it's down the block from the Natick Collection...

                                1. re: galleygirl

                                  Thanks.....good to know some of them have survived!

                                  1. re: galleygirl

                                    Speen St. at Rte. 30, just east of the Natick Pike exit. Nice and convenient. There's also one on Rte. 1 N in Saugus.

                                    1. re: tcd

                                      Not any more that Naked Fish on Rte 1 in Lynnfield is now Lucille's which is a chicken restaurant- same owners, I believe.

                                      1. re: Chris VR

                                        Lucille's Fine Chicken has closed.

                              2. it's noisy but I've always had good meals at Metro 9 steakhouse in Framingham. Aegean on Rt. 30 is decent Greek for Boston; Naked Fish on Rt. 30 in Framingham also ok.

                                1. My husband and I ate at Minerva in the Christmas Tree Shop plaza in Framingham and we were pleasantly surprised. It is an Indian restaurant, recommended to me by my next door neighbors who are indeed Indian - she said that it is the most authentic Indian food out this way. Enjoy!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: sanderf

                                    Actually that is Sherwood Plaza, and it is Natick not Framingham, but I'm nitpicking. I had lunch there. They claimed to have the largest Indian Buffet in New England, which seems highly improbable. the food was OK. Nondescript, and suffering from a lack of turnover. I have had worse. Did you order from the menu?

                                    1. re: AHan

                                      We had the lunch buffet, but stayed pretty much on the veg side of things. Certainly not the best Indian food I have ever had, but for Metrowest, it is not bad. And yes, you are correct, it is Natick....

                                      1. re: sanderf

                                        Anyone eaten at the Welcome Diner in framingham? I hear that is pretty good Indian and Rasoi nearby. I am not a huge indian food fan, but I wondered if I should try either of these.

                                  2. Tomasso Trattoria in Southborough
                                    Sofia Ristorante in Hudson
                                    Aegean Restaurant in Framingham
                                    Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham
                                    Shiro Japanese in Berlin
                                    Firefly's BBQ in Marlboro
                                    Oga's Sushi in Natick
                                    Sel de la Terre in Natick
                                    Met Bar in Natick

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: robertlf

                                      I recently had a lovely, relaxing lunch outside on the terrace at Sel de la Terre in Natick. Nicely presented pate, fine salmon and spring veggies for a main, very good and reasonable suvignon blanc.

                                      As I mention above, totally agree about Oga's, too.

                                      1. re: robertlf

                                        I know some hate the Met Bar's burgers, and they are shaped like hockey pucks, and quite dense, but I actually like them. I also had their pork short ribs, 5-spice crusted and served with spicy mashed sweet potatoes and a vinegary slaw, and thought it was one of the better dishes I've had recently. I'd never had a pork short rib before, and they had some crispy, fatty bits. The only weird part was I couldn't always tell if I was eating crunchy slaw, or one of the odd plastic-looking cylinders of cartilage. I need to work on dissection. All in all, quite delicious.

                                        1. re: robertlf

                                          I second this list with some additions:
                                          For Mediterranean food, I had a really tasty meal at Nicholas in Natick. I find Agean over-salts many of their dishes. I’ll have to try more dishes at Nicholas, but with our party of six “doing business” I got to try a good amount. Nothing disappointed. We were also treated to live music!

                                          If you want to head into Wellesley, I would also recommend The Cottage Restaurant (delicious fish tacos for all you West Coasters, avoid the chips and guac, tasty mojitos, and outdoor sitting). The crab cakes are uniquely prepared if you want to try a variation on a theme.

                                          And our special-occasion, favorite restaurant in Metro West is Blue Ginger.

                                          Having grown up in Texas, I am not crazy about Tennessee BBQ, and I am having a hard time finding good BBQ in Metro West. HELP ME!

                                          A good Indian place is Minerva on Route 9, Sherwood Plaza. It has a good Indian following and if you can stand the mixed service, the food really delivers. They serve things SPICY, so be prepared to ask for mild in you can’t stand the heat.

                                          Can’t say enough about Sel de La Terre. Service is great. Food is better. Been to their wine and food pairings and really enjoyed the freedom that the chef took with the dishes.

                                          1. re: SpanishFly

                                            For BBQ have you tried Blue Ribbon in West Newton? It's not that far a drive from Natick/Wellesley area and is definitely worth it. Best BBQ in Boston in my opinion, and I've taken some of my southern friends there and even they've been impressed. They do a number of styles although I don't know what they have that is Texas style. Definitely give it a try for a casual place or take out!

                                            Tutto Italiano (Wellesley) - Fantastic Italian sandwiches on fresh baked bread. That sentence in no way justifies how good they are. This is a real Italian deli (there other location is in the north end) where they make authentic sandwiches and the bread is serious. Definitely check them out for lunch or to pick up some anti-pastas and meats.

                                            Sel de La Terre is solid and definitely worth a visit.

                                            1. re: Klunco

                                              North end location of Tutto Italiano is closed, according to a recent thread.

                                              1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                                                In addition to Wellesley, the original TI is in Hyde Park, but they also have a newer place in Lexington.

                                                I agree with Ralphie....the one in Wellesley is a destination sandwich shop.

                                                On the off days go to Dom's in Waltham for the eggplant sandwich and the Dom's Special ... www.getdoms.com

                                                Sichuan Gourmet on Rt 9 in Framingham is your go-to place for Chinese with a kick !

                                                1. re: pondrat

                                                  I believed Klunco posted the detailed praise of T.I. in Wellesley but I wholeheartedly agree.

                                              2. re: Klunco

                                                Thanks for bringing up Blue Ribbon. I am a fan. When I do get the craving for BBQ, Blue Ribbon is THE only place I've found that will satisfy the craving!

                                          2. Been living in F'ham since 1990 and it's pretty much a foodie wasteland out here with a few exceptions as noted by previous posters. My favs with a few to add:

                                            Cast Iron Kitchen (Maynard) - Food is very good, service is rough around the edges, great value, fun and casual. To make it a real date, check out the Fine Arts Theatre. first run movies, funky but cheaper than chains

                                            Acapulcos (Sudbury) - decent Mexican, try the Sopa de Albondigas, it's the best item on the menu

                                            Dakshin (Framingham) above average Indian, try the dosas

                                            Nobscot's Cafe (Framingham) good food, good value, service is rough around the edges, on Monday nights they offer burger and fried for $3.95.

                                            Eo Noodle (Framingham) you won't find a better bowl of Taiwanese style noodle soup, scallion pancake or the beef appetizer are also really good. Be sure to ask for the pickled vegetables and their homemade hot sauce.

                                            Lloyds Diner (Framingham) great traditional diner breakfast next to Loring arena. I believe they are only open on w/e but I could be wrong.

                                            Places where I second the opinion:
                                            Sichuan Gourmet - you won't find better without going a long way
                                            Firefly's - for my money it beats Tennessee's but my son disagrees
                                            Oiishi - great sushi but big $$$$ (Fugakyu is only ok)
                                            Naked Fish - ribs are awesome and so are the fried oysters. seriously good.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: globalevent

                                              Acapulco's also has Milford, Framingham, and Newton locations, among others. Not so much a fan of the place though. Not a Naked Fish fan either, but agree with your list in general.

                                              Surprised you left Oga's off the list for sushi.

                                            2. A good place to grab a burger for 5 bucks is at The Prospector in Marlboro. It's a dive bar and does not even have the name on the door. You get a lot of locals as well as Fidelity workers. They also have great steak tips for the same price.
                                              It is on Broad St. and I the number is 508-485-9072 if you need directions.

                                              1. I don't think I saw this one mentioned yet: it's a little place in Framingham called The Big Fresh, just off Rte 30, behind Filenes Basement, next door to Pizza Hut. Their felafel wraps are AWESOME, and other dishes I've had have been quite good as well. Warm taboule salad with hummus..mmmm....Thai chicken curry, double yum! And you can get vegan dishes if that's your bag.

                                                They buy many of their ingredients locally, and I think all are organic.
                                                Not a big alcohol place, but they do have some beer and wine selections, all organic.

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: merlescuz

                                                  Love the place. The best Falafels in the Framingham/Natick by far. Albeit perhaps the only falafels in the Natick/Framingham area !

                                                  Ironically Kevin Masterson the co-founder also manages Tennessee Ribs, the nutritional evil brother of Big Fresh in the same strip mall.

                                                  1. re: pondrat

                                                    We used to go there, but it seems all their stuff tastes the same after awhile...kinda flavorless.....

                                                    1. re: galleygirl

                                                      i'm with you on that. I want to like Big Fresh, but I really don't. Bland and overpriced.

                                                      1. re: AHan

                                                        Can anyone recommend somewhere to get a good falafel sandwich in Natick, Framingham or Wellesley?

                                                        1. re: Gordough

                                                          My problem is that I've been making the trek over to Fordee's Grill in Watertown and after that nothing around Framing/Natick/Wellesley could ever compare. Totally different league than Big Fresh. Worth a trip to try.

                                                          Fordee's Grill
                                                          555 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                            1. re: pondrat

                                                              I think if you define the food by the location you might just miss something excellent.

                                                  2. Doesn't anyone want some cheap eats? I love eating at Terra Brasiles on Route 135 in Framingham where you pay by the pound and the guy at the rotisserie carves meat off the spit for me. Get take out at the counter in the back of Central Foods, also on 135 in Framingham - I love the meat and cheese pupusas. Not cheap for a sub but insanely cheap for the quality is Waverly Market just a little further down Route 135. In Natick, Casey's is terribly underestimated as just a cheap hotdog - get a great burger there. In Ashland, I got great clams at Nick's, the reincarnation of a longstanding Natick favorite. I had a terrific clam roll there. Whole bellies, crisp, not greasy, cooked in fresh oil. Eat outside at a picnic table and get your vitamin D.

                                                    1. Brazille on 126 just south of railroad tracks - brazilian bbq, good LOUD music weekend nights.
                                                      PapaRazzi - yes it's a "chain" but each spot is a scratch kitchen and it shows; outstanding food, they can make any change to any item for sensitivities or allergies
                                                      Big Fresh - fabulous salads, too
                                                      Rasoi - IMO the best Indian around
                                                      400 Plus Club on Franklin Street in Framingham - GOOD italian - WAY WAY better than the Chateau (blech) or La Cantina (feh)

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: Bhc

                                                        Okay, have to jump in here. TC and I tried the 400 Plus Club when it reopened last year. It was SOOOO bad, it was hysterical. Even the par-baked bread was doughie, the mussels weren't fresh in my steamed mussels, and the Veal Scallopini was like shoe leather. From the outside, with it's funky location, funky old, hand made light-up sign, and funky look, it looks like it's going to be a chow-find, a fabulous dive, but it's just a bad restaurant that keeps the habituees of the bar from when it was a private club happy..

                                                        1. re: Bhc

                                                          I think the 400+ has improved since it first re-opened. Worth a try - life is gamble anyway.

                                                          I am sad to say I think that the Brasille on 126 closed not long a go - I would be happy to learn I am wrong. If you want a glass of wine with your Brazilian food try the station house at the interesection of 135 and 126.

                                                          1. re: meganhyde

                                                            Brazille closed this winter-too bad, it was pretty good and had good caiparinhas.

                                                            1. re: emilief

                                                              Brazille either has apparently re-opened. Not sure if it is exactly the same, but in any case it is back. http://www.thisisframingham.com/brazz...

                                                              1. re: Framinghound

                                                                Very interesting. Will be interested to find out if it is the same or new ownership.