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Lunch fare in Medford, Somerville

I've started a new job recently in Wellington Circle. Where's the great food in this area? I am open to any type of food. Ambience is overrated, so just the best food that you've ever eaten that's in a 10 minute or so drive. For a frame of reference, here's what I can see is in a few mile radius: Meadow Glen Mall, Gateway Center, Tufts, Davis Sq, Assembly Sq Mall. Thanks.

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  1. Very authentic sichuan cooking is available in Medford at Chili Garden. Colleen's diner and ice cream shop also in Medford is a great place and fun. One last of course has to be Modern Pastry shop in Medford, which has classic italian desserts. Enjoy!

    3 Replies
    1. re: InNOutBurger

      if you go to medford square you should also check out chung ki wa (korean) located just a few doors down from chili garden

      1. re: InNOutBurger

        Thanks to all for the Chili Garden recommendation and thanks for the specific menu suggestions. The beef noodle soup, such an unassuming name, was fantastic. The pork fried rice was very mundane and a lost opportunity in comparison to the soup. Seems like it's worth sticking to the Sichuan part of the menu.

        1. re: headbroad

          Yes, definitely stick to the Sichuan part of the menu. This is where they excel. I think they do the Americanized Chinese because they feel they have to and while I do enjoy Americanized Chinese sometimes, too, I would not get it there.

      2. Head to Union Square, Somerville. We have great Thai, Indian, Mexican, Portuguese, Peruvian and Brazilian, all at least good and sometimes better. And even reasonable Chinese, unfortunately with the ambiance of a gas-station bathroom.

        1. fuloon on main street in malden center is not too far from wellington circle and has wonderful regional chinese food. in the same area is habesha (ethiopian), pho 99 (vietnamese), saigon noodle (vietnamese), all seasons table (pan-asian and sushi), and exchange street bistro

          1. For more than reasonable Chinese, head north to Malden to Fuloon. I would guess this is about a 6-minute drive. Parking is fairly easy.

            Read itaunus' posts about East Somerville. There are several good taco spots on East Broadway. Also is Vinny's Superette [Vinny's at Night] where I believe you can get some good home-style italian food. On Broadway headed towards Winter Hill is Maria's Cold Cuts. They make a great Italian sandwich. A tad farther is the new Brazilian bakery/sandwich shop.

            Going East on Rt 16 there is the famous Coscto hot dog. $1.50 for a dog with a soda, free refill. Head the other way, and you can get to Bob's of Medford which has great Italian sub sandwiches. This might be getting a little to far for a quick lunch however.

            Union Square as mentioned has some very good food. I would recommend either of the Korean restaurants, the roasted chicken at Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken & Grill is wonderful and travels well. Sherman Cafe serves some refined, but expensive sandwiches. I don't think there is any decent Chinese, but the new Thai restaurant has had some nice reviews.

            In Davis Square, try the Namaskar buffet or the Tibetan restaurant. There are tons of Davis Square posts, so I won't try a comprehensive list.

            And finally, Ball Square [which is getting farther away] you have Soundbites, Ball Square Cafe and Pescatore.

            If you tried each of these spots, you have a month of lunches right there. Enjoy exploring!

            3 Replies
            1. re: smtucker

              While in Ball Square I would definitely recommend Victor's for great homemade food, soups and calzones.

              They also have what I have found to be the best chicken parm sub in the Boston area.

              1. re: TomH

                Totally ditto this. Victor's is a gem. Also good sandwiches and funky people at True Grounds in Ball square.

                I live in the general area and hit up lunch at Dave's Fresh Pasta in Davis, Sessa's for an awesome Italian or eggplant parm, or Namaskar's buffet.

                I also enjoy the clams, roast beef and fish sandwich at Kelly's right in the Wellington circle.

                As others have said, the drive to Fuloon from Wellington Circle is about 10 mins and well worth the drive. Be sure to try the Bang bang chicken!

                1. re: yumyum

                  Thanks. I hope to try Fuloon tomorrow, or Guru depending on where my lunch companion wants to go. Kelly's was a useful recommendation. It has good clam chowder, the milky kind which I like. And a drive through.

            2. More: Oasis on Main St. just north of Harvard for Brazilian (be prepared to pack leftovers). They have rotating specials (moquequa on Friday). The one meal I had at Raso's Grille on 38 was pretty good. I like the calzones at Il Sogno on Spring St., the arancini not so much since the warming oven was added. Thai at Tom Yum Koong (Medford Sq., Forest St.) can be good but if you want spicy you have to convince them. Strong second for Chilli Garden and Fuloon but I think the lunch specials are more interesting at the former. At Fuloon I'd order from the menu and pack leftovers. Bob's is quite reachable but very busy, worth calling first (if's takeout only). Good quality American-Chinese lunch specials at East Asia, Powderhouse Sq. in Somerville. Getting a little far, takeout at Guru the Caterer up Broadway on your way to 16 (Punjabi). (I may be underestimating weekday traffic here.)

              4 Replies
              1. re: Aromatherapy

                I just finished yesterday's leftover Porchetta panini from Il Sogno. I think it was better today. It was nice to see it in your list, because that's exactly the kind of place I'm looking for -- given, it does have some ambience in Meford/Italian/slice-of-life-way. Thanks for the ideas. I searched Yelp last night and Guru came up as #1 within 2 miles, so that's a must do.

                  1. re: yumyum

                    Is it only takeout, or can you sit down?

                    1. re: headbroad

                      I usually take out but he's recently expanded and now you can sit.

              2. I'm surprised you didn't mention Station Landing right at Wellington Circle. There is a Regina's pizza there. There is also a sushi place there, however I've never been.

                In Medford Square there is Chung Ki Wa (sp?), Korean barbecue place (or non barbecue if you prefer). It's good and I think pretty authentic, always see some Asians in there. A good sign.

                7 Replies
                1. re: pemma

                  Oh, yes, in the strip mall behind the CVS at Wellington Circle (NOT the big strip mall with Stop & Shop) there is Cafe Toscana. I've never eaten there, but I've had espresso there at night. It's really like some place you would find in the North End. In the same strip mall there is an Indian place that has gotten some good mentions on the Medford listserv. This little strip mall really cannot be seen much from the street.

                  1. re: pemma

                    There is an Indian restaurant at the end of the strip mall where Cafe Toscana is located named Kabab Corner. They have a lunch buffet Monday-Friday for $7.99 a person. I have been to Kabab Corner two times for their lunch buffet. I liked their tandoor chicken, chicken tikka masala, naan and goat curry.

                    Kabab Corner
                    4110 Mystic Valley Pkwy, Medford, MA 02155

                    1. re: buffet king

                      I stopped here for takeout since it is so close and easy. Nice little buffet. The goat curry was suprisingly good. Nice and fresh sauces and chutneys to round out the buffet. Thanks.

                      1. re: headbroad

                        Good to see this, what I had heard was that it was pretty blah.

                    2. re: pemma

                      Cafe Toscana - Yes, physically it is right out of the North End. So full of old guys at 9 in the morning! They all have their Members Only jackets on. You can't get a parking space in front because of all of the big American sedans. Cookies were lousy, not a suprise. The latte I had was good but not great. Still a nice little joint in the neighborhood.

                      1. re: headbroad

                        Before he passed my father used to be one of those old guys. And, yes, he drove a Cadillac! No Members Only as I remember though.

                        1. re: pemma

                          LOL! I remember passing the Cafe on my way to Stop & Shop and marvelling that places like that still existed outside of the North End. Very old school but in a good way.

                  2. On the close side of Tufts, you might check out the Danish Pastry House. The decor happens to be nice, but don't let it keep you away. The sandwiches, even the pre-made ones, are excellent, with good, fresh ingredients, on what I think is some of the best and most distinctive homemade bread in the city. Caveat on the pastries: they all look amazing, but are hit or miss in terms of taste.

                    On Main Street in Medford is Sei Bar, a Japanese/Thai place that happens to have some surprisingly innovative sushi. I've joked before that I think of it a little like Oishii Lite.

                    In Magoun Sqaure, Somerville, is Panificadora Modelo, a terrific Brazilian bakery. Tasty, enormous sandwiches on very good fresh bread. The pao de queijo and coffee are still my favorite items there, but lunch is worthwhile too.

                    Also in Magoun, Pini's Pizza has some of the best NY-style slices around town.

                    It isn't open for lunch, but for takeout dinner sometime, be sure to check out Wang's, also in Magoun, for some of the best Northern-style Chinese and homemade dumplings around.

                    1. Here's an older thread on pizza in the area across the river:

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Aromatherapy

                        Thanks for this. I like the concept of "make a pilgrimage any time you are in the area." Wow, I would be really happy to find those places. 15 minute drive maybe?

                        1. re: headbroad

                          Altogether? At most, I should think, if you don't count parking.

                          1. re: headbroad

                            Heya, headbroad. It looks like I'm the hound who wrote that.

                            I'm as flattered by quotation as the next guy, but to be clear, I wrote about Angelina's: "I DON'T think it's a make-a-pilgrimage-whenever-you're-anywhere-nearby slice." Darn fine American-style slice, but unfortunately pretty well short of revelatory. That said, don't take my word for it -- try it out yourself and let us know what you think.

                            And above all, here's hoping you dig up some new places and let us know about 'em!

                            1. re: finlero

                              I understood from your post that Angelina's doesn't make the cut. But, I am always looking for those places - make a pilgrimage whenever you are near. Are there any around here? I will travel for those. This is wide open territory for me -- Everett? Malden?

                        2. No one's mentioned it yet, but there's an outpost of Kelly's Roast Beef in Wellington Circle.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bachslunch

                            I mentioned it, see above.

                            The OP should also check out Bob's in Medford for lamb tip subs and the excellent meatball sub at Nappi Meats in Medford. Definitely close enough for a lunch jaunt from Wellington.

                            Bob's Imported Food & Catering
                            324 Main St, Medford, MA 02155

                            Nappi Meats & Groceries
                            370 Salem Street Route 60, Medford, MA 02155

                          2. You are close to Tavern at the End of the World. I think they are open for lunch.

                            Tavern at the End of the World
                            108 Cambridge St, Charlestown, MA 02129

                            1. Re: the Angelina's discussion about pizza (I live a few blocks from Angelina's) brought back memories of the very best pizza I've ever had -- Leone's, in Philadelphia, below the El tracks in Frankford. Amazing, savory, crisp, unbelievably satisfying. Here in Boston, I do like Regina's. Do you think Angelina's is the most like Reginas?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: rememberme

                                In the area on this thread, I can confidently say that Regina's (at Station Landing) is the most like Regina's. I'm still partial to the one in the North End, but the Medford one has some cred.

                                Again, I really like Angelina's, but it doesn't have Regina's complexities; the sauce, cheese, and dough are all much more basic. But the New York style is similar, and aside from Regina's itself, it's one of a handful in the area that does it reasonably well. Others nearby you might like are Cafe Rossini and La Ronga, but be warned they close pretty early.

                                My absolute favorite NY-style in the area is Armando's in North Cambridge; sadly they don't deliver, but it's worth the drive.

                                1. re: finlero

                                  Regina's: $7.75 for 2 slices and a coke. Ouch!

                              2. And speaking of Italian food, don't forget about Amelia's Kitchen on Broadway in Teele Square, Somerville. Really wonderful lunch sandwiches, pastas, salads. Everything is made fresh, including the homemade bread used for sandwiches. REally good!

                                1. Everett has some good brazillian places such as cafe belo and also Abbondonza for amazing red sauce italian.

                                  1. How about Moulton's Seafood on Winthrop St- They are not open on Mondays...
                                    There is also Bob's Food Store on Main St- Bella Ravioli on Main St- Avellino's on Mystic Ave, Raso's on Mystic Ave (never been but heard it was good), Tast of Asia on Middlesex Ave (street @ Kappy's), and there is that Brewery where Bambino's use to be. Exchange St Bistro in Malden, THere are a slew of places right there at Station Landing and across the street where CVS is located...A regular dinning mecca! LOL

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: MeffaBabe

                                      I've been to Yoki...the sushi place in Station Landing...it's actually pretty good and the price point is right for lunch! They had a Boston Red Sox roll...but I didn't see it on the menu the last time I was there that was creative and tasty!

                                    2. I thought I was going to Wu Chon House in Union Square, Somerville, for lunch, but it turns out Wu Chon House is not open for lunch. However, the Korean restaurant a mere 1/2 block down the street is open for lunch -- Buk Tu (?) or something like that? Anyway, it was my first time with Korean. Tasty -- we ordered Bi Bim Bap and some noodles with black bean paste. Many tasty marinated veggies came with our order. The first dish was tasty -- plain without the spicy sauce, but satisfying. The noodles were a startling reminder of Spaghettios -- did they perhaps have black bean paste as an ingredient?