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Restaurants everyone seems to love but you don't

Just curious which restaurants are given lots of praise on the board, but you personally don't like them or don't get the hype?

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  1. For me, Upper Crust would be one. Most people I've read on here love their pizza. I don't think it's worth all the hype.

    12 Replies
    1. re: BackBayGirl

      Most people here love Upper Crust? Wow. We must be reading very different threads.

      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

        You are right as of late, but for awhile, people were constantly praising how great it was. I probably should have used a different example. Forgive me. I was just trying to get the discussion started.

        1. re: BackBayGirl

          Hey, I'm with you! We hate their pizza!!

      2. re: BackBayGirl

        I wouldn't say most people. I'd say it gets mixed results, with the mixture changing over time.

        A year or two back, 'hounds were much more positive about their pies, but as time passed the attitude grew more and more negative. Today, it is still mixed, but I'd say the vibe is definitely more negative than positive.

        You can actually count me in the positive camp, but (like the reviews) I find them inconsistent. I've had some very good pizza and some just okay pizza, and service and experience varies. But for takeout/delivery pizza in my neighborhood, it works well.

        1. re: rlove

          I also really like the Upper Crust in Lexington, but for eat-in only. Their takeout is really inconsistent, and they often either mess up the order or burn the pie.

        2. re: BackBayGirl

          based on another post, i'd have to say umbertos in the north end. people seem to really really like it. royal bakery in cambridge does an almost identical bakery pan pizza and it is much better. i'd add that reginas is just ok and wait for the fireworks. me, i'd prefer armandos any day of the week, even if the guy in there has all the charm of a pizza box.

          1. re: mrwhiskers

            If you like Armando's try Sabatino's in Arlington or Stella's in Watertown.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              if they have sicilian, im there. where is sabatino's?

              1. re: mrwhiskers

                Nope, thinish crust, but really good. Mass. Ave. Arlington.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  There's another sabatino's (same people) on Rt 20 Main St in Waltham.

          2. re: BackBayGirl

            I couldn't agree more.
            I've tried 3x and found the pizza crust leathery, hard to pick up and messy.
            It's greasy and hasn't got much flavor.

            1. re: BackBayGirl

              I second that. Upper Crust is overrated...

            2. i actually wasnt impressed with my trip to trattoria toscana and everyone seems to rave about it here. I think it's a nice space and the waitstaff is friendly, but the food options are limited and no dish was particularly memorable. There has been a lot of hype over the gnocchi, but I've had better gnocchi elsewhere.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Snoop37

                Second Trattoria Toscana. Everything is fine, but far from deserving of the incredible raves it always get on this board. I consider it just another serviceable Italian restaurant, of which there are many.

                1. re: Snoop37

                  I agree with you on that one. I will also add most places recommended on this board where a meal costs more than $10.

                  1. re: Chrispy75

                    4th Trattoria Toscana. I like the concept, always want the food to be phenomenal, and I leave thinking it was just ok. I've been probably 4x now, continually trying again hoping for that "amazing meal" but it still hasn't happened. I also thought the gnocchi wasn't that memorable.

                2. Gitlo's...I went there once and hated most of what I ordered

                  5 Replies
                    1. re: joebloe

                      Not sure much love given to LaPaloma here. Personally, I think it's ghastly.

                    2. re: Johnresa

                      I am with you, Johnresa. I was completely underwhelmed. Part of that, no doubt, is because I am a traditionalist, and I like my dim sum that way. (A few experimental dim sum thrown in with traditional dim sum would probably have sat better with me.) However, even when I tried to appreciate the food in its own context, I just did not see why people were so excited.

                      1. re: Johnresa

                        Oh, that's too bad. I've been there about 5x, and have always liked it. Where do you go for dim sum? I know I need to go to Peach Farm. As I continued to scroll through these posts, I see that the chef left Gitlo's. I don't think I've been there since he left. I'm v. dismayed to hear that.

                        1. re: CookieLee

                          Usually when I want dimsum I go to Winsor in Chinatown. That is my favorite. I went to Gitlo's sometime last year and was far from impressed. Actually my least favorite of all that I have been to.

                      2. Sportello - simply overpriced for what it is.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: nasilemak

                          meyers and chang - ordinary food, extraordinary prices

                          1. re: nasilemak

                            based on my negative feelings for this empire in general, sportello and drink won't ever get a nickel from me.

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              Liked Drink, hated Sportello's. The service at Sportello's was unbelievably horrid, but really friendly, which was all the more aggravating. (In a nutshell, the hostess spent 90% of her time flirting and pouring wine for a certain group, while loads of people waited at the door to be seated. Where was management on that one?!)

                          2. Garden at the Cellar. Consistently bad (that is being kind) service.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: RoseWethersfield

                              ANGELAS. just don't get it. have tried twice, won't get me a third time

                              1. re: hlerm2

                                Angela's. I think it's a little overpriced for what it is. The food tasted just like every other Mexican I've had around here...

                                1. re: 02139

                                  THANK YOU. I've been searching for 15 years I've been here for a really, really good or memorable Mexican place but haven't found one. The only place I haven't gotten around to is Angelas but I'll just save my gas and money then.

                                  1. re: joebloe

                                    I think it's a mistake to not check out a place on your own based on any one Hound's say-so. I have been tempted to do this, said, "No, I've got to see for myself", and found many places that I personally really liked, despite a cloud of early negative reviews. No substitute for your own research.


                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      Ditto, I don't think Angela's is the end all and the be all, but it is better then most of the other Mexican places around here.

                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                        I agree. Our options here are few and far between

                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                          I fourth this. I'd recommend at least trying Angela's once. If you don't like the place, no need to go back. But otherwise you may be missing out on a restaurant that, as in my case, you'll end up returning to again and again.

                            2. Upstairs on the Square. Folks rave about it, it is even some Chowies favorite restaurant, but the food is fair at best and my experiences have all been poor.

                              1. No. 9 Park. I really don't get it.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: StevieC

                                  I agree, but I have only been there once. I wasn't even overwhelmed with the prune gnocchi with fois gras. It was probably too heavy for me.

                                  1. re: veggielover

                                    Agreed. I thought everything was way too salty and even the special gnocchi was meh for me (too sweet if I remember correctly). Certainly not transcendant as some people say.

                                    1. re: Suze123

                                      I loved No9's cafe menu and especially the lobster gnocchi. Finally tried the famous gnocchi and was so underwhelmed.

                                    2. re: veggielover

                                      I've only been the No.9 once, and was blown away. I shared the prune gnocchi, eating it all might have been too much, but I thought it was v. good.

                                  2. grotto, b & g oyster, butcher shop.

                                    grotto: the menu was uninspired, so i had a tough time choosing. the food was ok, but the components didn't create a unified dish. wine list is pedestrian and service so amateurish i felt uncomfortable. the server had to get another server to open our wine bottle for us, because he couldn't use a wine-key.

                                    b & g and butcher shop: while i like both spaces, i feel like they've pillaged my wallet every time i go. prices are exorbitant considering my napkins are kitchen towels, wine mark-ups are extortionist, especially in wines by the glass. last time we ate at b&g, we had one of the snottiest and yet invisible servers i have ever encountered, and i eat out ALOT. when we said we didn't want dessert, he slammed the check presenter on the table and stomped off. 3 of us had a $325 bill, and i wanted to wring the kid's neck.

                                    we all swore we would never go back. i can get oysters or charcuterie elsewhere with much less attitude and spend my money happily.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      I went to B&G Thursday night and I would have to second this. Again about this restaurant, no memorable dishes. I had about 10 different kind of oysters and you know what? I don't even think I like raw oysters. I didn't appreciate anything from the raw bar. The calamari was good, but standard. The tuna tartar was solid, but is much better at Mistral. The grilled calamari stuffed with risotto was fine. I think the only thing I really appreciated was the amount of lobster they stuffed into that roll, but although it was good, I'm not sure if it's something I would pay $27 again. Service was friendly, and watching the cooks at work was enjoyable from the bar, but I wouldn't come back.

                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                        Definitely agree about B&G. I love the space, but EVERYTHING on the menu is fried, and that just doesn't do it for me. I'm a bit more of a healthy eater and prefer my fish done much more simply. I know they change their menu up, but every time I have gone, there is nothing but fried fish for entrees. Definitely not worth the money, but the service is good as is the atmosphere.

                                        1. re: NiKoLe1625

                                          my first trip there, for lunch, shortly after they opened, i ordered an oyster po' boy. now, i'm not a huge eater, but it was 4 oysters on a dinner roll. no side, not even a pickle. it was $18. that, plus 2 glasses of wine was $50 before tip. i should have learned my lesson that day.

                                        2. re: hotoynoodle

                                          Definitely agree about Grotto. I wanted so much to like it after reading glowing reviews, but I couldn't. As you say, the dishes don't make sense - way too much going on on the plate, and not in a harmonous way. This strikes me as really weird for Italian cuisine. Also, I had squash ravioli that tasted like pumpkin pie, way too sweet, with too many sweet spices, and a heavy alfredo-type sauce. Very unimpressed with the wine list and wine service too. I REALLY dislike the space!

                                          I mostly agree about B&G. I love No 9 Park. B&G is just expensive and the decor, like the service, seems chilly. Oysters were very good, but I much prefer Neptune Oyster.

                                        3. Here's a better example...Silvertone's. The last few times I've been, I haven't had good experiences with the food, yet it's a place that is raved about a lot.

                                          1. Pizzapalooza in Newton. It makes Domino's look like fine food.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: NorthShoreFoodie

                                              Really? I like their slice with sausage, ricotta and caramelized onions. What don't you like about 'em?

                                            2. Okay, here goes... I had heard so much about Oleana, never a bad review anywhere. We went for the vegetarian tasting, I was not really that impressed! We did not really like it !

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Alica

                                                I've only been there once, many yrs ago. The portions were teeny, the prices astronomical, and we left hungry. What kind of a dining experience is that?!

                                                1. re: CookieLee

                                                  Oleana is a personal favorite, but my portions have never been anything but ample, and I'm not even a portion size fella. I don't think of it as particularly inventive or precious or special - just well executed food in a comfortable setting.

                                                2. re: Alica

                                                  I've tried the Veg tasting too and also the regular menu. Some of the dishes really were good, a few others were misses. I still think though that the veg tasting menu was worth it if you're vegetarian and want to try something new and don't want to spend too much. I mean, where else would you get 4 different dishes and 1 dessert for $36? Maybe a tapas place?

                                                3. Hungry Mother. Been twice and won't be back. B&G...mediocre and total $$$ ripoff IMO.

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: Monty

                                                    I second Hungry Mother. I was completely unimpressed by my dinner there.

                                                    1. re: Monty

                                                      I liked hungry mother - it is so cozy and homey and the food is good, but did not find it great. I would not rave about it by any stretch. Service was strange the one occasion I went, too. I will go back, certainly, but if a friend asked me about it, it would get a strong, "yeah, it's ok - at least give it a try!"

                                                      1. re: lisa13

                                                        I've yet to eat there, but the 2x I've walked into the place the vibe was so weird from the staff and the patrons, I was happy they couldn't seat us.

                                                      2. re: Monty

                                                        Totally agreed that we didn't get the attraction at HM - pricey, boring food, and nondescript atmosphere with very mediocre service.

                                                      3. In no particular order, Gitlos, Zaleks, Oleana, Flat Patties, Grotto, Bob's in Medford, #9 Park ... I could go on.

                                                        12 Replies
                                                        1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                                          Big night out splurge at No. 9 was a bust. Raves about this place puzzle me.

                                                          1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                                            whats not like about bob's. just curious? they have so much stuff. i agree that not everything is great but they have 4 or 5 reallly good sandwches

                                                            1. re: mrwhiskers

                                                              IMHO, it's just 'meh' and doesn;t compare to relatively nearby places like Pace's (Saugus) and Sessa's (Davis Sq.) Their sandwiches are huge, but that to me does not equal really good.

                                                            2. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                                              Hate to say it, but Gitlo's really is a shadow of it's former self since the chef left.

                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                It's true, it's more adequate than phenomenal these days.

                                                                  1. re: autopi

                                                                    Long gone. Those 18 hour days will do it to you.

                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                      wow, didn't know that. do you know if moved to another kitchen?

                                                                      1. re: autopi

                                                                        He has not resurfaced that I know of.

                                                                  2. re: StriperGuy

                                                                    Well that explains it. The first time we went just after it opened, the food was truly excellent. Went back a few months ago and only enjoyed about half of the dishes we ordered. Even the custard cream buns were a little disappointing. What a shame.

                                                                    1. Eastern Standard - I don't get the raves but then we don't do cocktails. They bar is good for wine and spirits but the only time we seem to go is when the visit is not about food.

                                                                      Back Bay Restaurant chain-- it's a chain of food factories-- there are so many better choices- I don't know why people who love food go there.

                                                                      I'll third or fourth Upper Crust- once was too much.

                                                                      1. Damn, how I wish this thread had been started a day earlier!

                                                                        Last night my wife and I tried Trattoria Toscana for the first time, mainly because of rave reviews here and on Yelp, and I must say, we were very disappointed. To be fair, part of the reason was because of a large party of 6 adults and 5 or 6 screaming kids turned the place into a raucous circus. The owner didn't want to push tables together to seat them, but one guy got very confrontational, started creating a scene, and the owner gave
                                                                        in and seated them. These were people obviously more used to the "99".
                                                                        OK, sorry for digressing.
                                                                        We started off on the wrong foot when my wife asked for butter for her bread, and we were told they don't have butter. They don't have butter? Americans seem to think that all Italians dip their bread in olive oil, but in our travels throughout Italy, we have found good old bread and butter to be far more common.
                                                                        Gonna try and condense this:

                                                                        crispini app - delicious and good sized
                                                                        house salad - very ordinary
                                                                        papperdelle - very small portion and not at all memorable
                                                                        shrimp with gnocchi in pesto sauce - see house salad

                                                                        I apologize for the lengthy post, but last night is still fresh in my mind.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: terrystu

                                                                          Sorry, but I must make a correction - the app was crostini.
                                                                          My bad.

                                                                        2. Brasserie Jo and Farm Grill. The former has served me cold, tough steak, an absolutely unseasoned flatbread pizza and other gastronomic yucks, not provided silverware twice, added bottles of fizzy water to our check twice, etc. The latter is definitively mediocre basic Greek, certainly not worth a trip for.

                                                                          1. Antico Forno. Had friends in from out of town, decided to go there, and was embarrassed at how crappy we were treated. When a member in my party expressed dislike for a dish, the waiter pointed to the empty dish of another diner who got the same dish and said "Well he liked it" and walked away!

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: chicken pot pie

                                                                              2nd Antico Forno..Dont get it...
                                                                              Will also add East Coast Grille to the list

                                                                              1. re: hargau

                                                                                I also don't get East Coast Grill, though I have a feeling I'm missing something. The fish dishes are so bland and expensive for what they are. I hear they do hot (as in spicy) food but I've yet to order something that was hot (but I could be missing it). Rumours of special nights where you have to be in the know to get a ticket in order to sample hot food which then gets variable reports aren't exactly winning me over either, even though I want to believe. I know sod all about barbecue but while I thought the pulled pork sandwich was better than RedBones, I wished they would have served some sauces with it instead of apparently predetermining a vinegary style. Please put the Pasta From Hell on the standard menu so I can understand the hype. I like the pickles.

                                                                                1. re: chickendhansak

                                                                                  ECG definitely does their "Hell Nights" which is more of a challenge of "what can you eat that is hot" than a culinary treat.

                                                                                  1. re: CreativeFoodie42

                                                                                    Hell Night caters to people who honestly crave insanely hot food - There are clearly people who go there repeatedly for the taste, or so goes the story on the website. It's only a challenge for people who do not desire insanely hot foods (like me).
                                                                                    You don't have to be "in the know" to go to Hell Night - they regularly announce the dates - go to the website - it's usually once a season. Make a rez and enjoy.

                                                                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                      I don't think that's quite fair. The dishes served on Hell Nights vary in their heat level quite a bit. They use a "bomb" scale of one to ten, and while the scale is somewhat subjective (sometimes a three bomb dish will taste hotter to me than a five or vice versa), most are not "insanely hot." Granted, if you're not a capsaicin fan you probably shouldn't be there, but even the hottest dishes (like the infamous Pasta from Hell) have flavor as well as heat. In the case of the pasta, it's actually a pretty delicious fruit-based sauce containing bananas, oranges, limes, and pineapple, as well as, yes, an insane amount of habanero peppers. But that's a ten-bomb dish. The two- and three-bomb items are nicely tangy, and even the four to seven bombers should pose no challenge to anyone who's accustomed to good Thai or Szechuan cooking. Eight and above, watch out!

                                                                                      But of course, that's my personal tolerance level. YMBMV (your mouth burn may vary.)

                                                                                    2. re: CreativeFoodie42

                                                                                      Not to argue with anyone's opinion here, as the thread is about expressing contrarian perspectives, but I will defend ECG's Hell Night as more than just a macho chili-eating contest. I never go above three or four bombs, over which the limits of my capsaicin tolerance prevent me from tasting other flavors, but at the right level of heat, I really enjoy the food. The atmosphere is kind of over-the-top, but it's fun once in a while.


                                                                                    3. re: chickendhansak

                                                                                      I don't get ECG either. So, expensive, loud, long wait for...nothing!

                                                                                2. No. 9 Park--I found it totally overrated, especially the mains.

                                                                                  1. Martsa on Elm in Davis Square. Always totally packed, but we went once and thought it was pretty terrible. Food was oily and bland. We keep saying we should give it another try but just can't bring ourselves to do it. Perhaps it was just the chef's night off or something...

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Suze123

                                                                                      I agree that it's not great food. I think it's always packed because it has a combination of right price and different food flavors from what else is served in Davis. If you look at Davis, there are multiple burger/American bars/joints, 2 Indian food, multiple Italian and multiple sandwich/sub shops. Also a few really bad Chinese places. Red Bones, the sushi place, Martsa and the Crepe place are the only places (that I can think of right now) that offer food that's not duplicated.

                                                                                    2. It's interesting the number of mentions No. 9 Park is getting. I have put off trying it because two different people had told me they went there and were underwhelmed.

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: pemma

                                                                                        I think No. 9 is great as an overall experience, but while half the dishes can be very good, the other half are just okay. The portions are small, and it's very expensive. If you're looking for a sublime explosion of flavor with every bite, you won't find it at No. 9. It's a beautiful, yet relaxed place, and the staff and cocktails are reliably great. I like to sit at the bar for cheese and cocktails. If I had a big, fat wallet, I'd like going for dinner now and then, but without sky-high expectations for the food--more for the experience as a whole.

                                                                                        1. re: pollystyrene

                                                                                          i'm always underwhelmed by the entrees, even when i've been a guest at "special" theme or industry dinners. i tried to switch my strategy to 3 apps, but in that case 1 of the 3 always sucked.

                                                                                          at this price point, everything should be a hit out of the park, not just ok.

                                                                                          as with its more casual off-shoots, i have given it up entirely and spend my money elsewhere. plenty of places offer better cheese selections too.

                                                                                          1. re: pollystyrene

                                                                                            They have a great cheese cart. if you don't like the entrees, then getting some of their cocktails and ordering from the cheese cart is a good way to start (or end) the night. People can just go to dinner elsewhere because it is very expensive and it really is more about the experience.

                                                                                            1. re: Snoop37

                                                                                              i don't like cocktails with my cheese and know that the wine mark-ups are ridiculous. all these places, i feel like they pirate my wallet, and i'm not averse to spending money for a great all-around meal. so my experience there is me just being pissed off. i gave up on it years ago.

                                                                                          2. re: pemma

                                                                                            Antico Forno and Franklin Cafe (South End). Both the food and service were bad enough that I have no desire to give them a second try.

                                                                                            EDIT: Was meant as a reply to the original post.

                                                                                          3. Craigie on Main - the cocktail craft is topnotch and amazing, but the food is overpriced and overwrought to me.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: rlh

                                                                                              Agreed. Overwrought is a good word for it. To me it felt like it was trying too hard- too rich, too many flavors, too much talking from the service, too much emphasis on the concept. And yes, much much too expensive. Not my thing for a special night out.

                                                                                              1. re: skordalia

                                                                                                I could have written the same thing verbatim. One of my DC's also used the word "precious" after eating there. I felt like I could relax with the meal - like it would be sacrilegious.

                                                                                            2. went to friendly toast this weekend - took forever. when i finally got my cofee, it was like a third pressing - weak. made me want to order lunch instead of breakfast - which i did and regret. will go again sometime earlier in the day.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: BoDubya

                                                                                                It won't be any better earlier. I fail to see the fascination with the F.T. ... mediocre food, lousy service, long lines, and (in Portsmouth anyway) sticky floors, tables, chairs, booths.

                                                                                                All I can figure is that there's a lot of food and it's cheap.

                                                                                              2. Windy City Eats.

                                                                                                1. I would have to nominate Gran Gusto. I wouldn't say I disliked anything, I was just underwhelmed by their pizzas. Judging by some recent posts, it seems there are others who have been holding their tongues but feeling the same. Come to think of it, I also was not impressed with Emma's near Kendall, and had gone there based on positive posts on this board. Perhaps I'm a pizza snob. The only pizza I've been wowed by is Baba Louie's, in Great Barrington in the Berkshires. It's almost worth a trip out there...

                                                                                                  1. Silvertone and Eastern Standard. Both are fine for drinks, but as a veggie, I'm not a huge fan of their veg options (yes, even the mac and cheese at Silvertone or grilled cheese at ES).

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: soxchik

                                                                                                      I'd have to agree with Eastern Standard from a non-veggie standpoint. Their mussels are WAY overrated.

                                                                                                      1. re: CreativeFoodie42

                                                                                                        I actually had such a bad lot of mussels, they were not cooked correctly, that the server brought me another order. The second time, an actual chef must have prepared them because they were perfect. The first time we ate there, shortly after they opened. I had the skate and it was outstanding. Place was down hill from there. Which is all v. disappointing because the setting and location for me is just perfect.

                                                                                                    2. Michael's Deli in Brookline, I believe has its fans, and I initially thought was a decent place to get an authentic deli sandwich, but the more times I returned, the more bad experiences I had. The deli meat can be incredibly fatty depending on the day. I know some fat can be desirable, depending on what you order, but the last prime rib sandwich I had wasn't just fatty, it was fat on a roll with bits of meat holding it together. The least fun sandwich experience had to be the homemade meatball sub, which was so overloaded with meat and sauce, it made itself inedible by falling apart. I just threw most of it away. Aside from the food, the vibe can be on the chilly side. Once, after a woman placed an order and tried to pay with a card, the register guy informed her it was "cash only" by pointing to the sign. I missed what she said back, but suddenly he took up all the soda bottles she had put in front of herself by the register and tossed them back into the soda bin.

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: wontonton

                                                                                                        Yeah, I work in the area and shortly before they switched to 'cash only' Michael (the Moe Howard-looking guy who owns the place) gave me a long lecture on the evils of credit card paperwork when i paid with one. No complaints on the food so far - I just get it to go.

                                                                                                        1. re: the modern serf

                                                                                                          It's true, Michael has a bit of the Soup Nazi in him. I have a friend who's been banned from the place (she has a bit of a mental disorder and can be a little "weird" at times). And I've never had the prime rib sandwich - in fact, I didn't even know he offers one, I've never gotten past the corned beef and pastrami. Stick to those two items and you can't go wrong.

                                                                                                        2. re: wontonton

                                                                                                          Michael stopped taking credit cards - I asked him this - because he sat down with his accountant and they figured out what he was paying in miscellaneous fees and such. It was 5% of his gross and he couldn't afford it.

                                                                                                          If a person can't read the sign, then it's their tough luck.

                                                                                                          1. re: wontonton

                                                                                                            Michael doesn't add to the dining in experience. Not only are there signs at the tables that reading isn't allowed, he chided a young couple for having a deck of cards out while they were eating their sandwiches. I was there while Mr. CookieLee had a pastrami sandwich. He reports it wasn't as good as Sam LaGrasse's or even Zaftig's.

                                                                                                          2. I had a very bad meal at Sweet Chili in Arlington recently, so a place that I used to love is no longer a place that I love all that much anymore. I know a lot of CH folks (and others) like this place, but I'm not sure I'll be going back anytime soon.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                              Since Toraya was overfull as usual on a weeknight, we tried Sweet Chili in Arlington Center after not having been there for a couple of years - it was bland to bad - we won't be back - blech. Not really sure what possessed us to drive right by Thai Moon....

                                                                                                            2. Chacarero - I have been twice, had different combinations each times, and yet found the sandwich each time to be awful. I just don't get the hype.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Delhiwala

                                                                                                                Tried it again last week just aching to like it, but once again, it's a bland chicken sandwich with cottony tomatoes, overcooked green beans, guac with too much garlic (what little there is of it, and hot sauce with heat but not flavor - all on a big fluffy white bread roll - I think that was the last time. $7 is no bargain either.

                                                                                                                1. re: Delhiwala

                                                                                                                  I do business in the Jewelers Building frequently and have given Chacarero a number of tries, and well, I think I actively dislike it. The rolls taste like cardboard to me.

                                                                                                                2. East Coast Grill seems like a tired old thing now. nothing specific, just nothing special anymore.

                                                                                                                  1. The Causeway in Gloucester. Heaping portions of really average food in the ambience of a trailer home.

                                                                                                                    1. Oh, where to start.

                                                                                                                      Gran Gusto: I thought our pizza was mediocre, and the pasta was over-salted and not well-prepared.

                                                                                                                      Silvertone: Muxt be the price-point or the vibe that gets it good reviews, as I found the space odd and the food just passable.

                                                                                                                      Franklin Cafe: OK food, some of the worst service I've ever had.

                                                                                                                      Santarpio's: I used to love it there, but the last two times I went it felt it had gone seriously downhill. Meantime, my last two visits to Reginas were great, so the pendulum swings that way.

                                                                                                                      Antico Forno: I really want to like it there. They take reservations (and sort-of honor them), validate parking, and have reasonable (for the NE) pricing. But the food keeps getting worse, overly salty, and the service is terrible.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: winedude

                                                                                                                        I ate at Franklin and found the food to be pretty meh and uninteresting, and our server gave us a complementary side order of 'tude.

                                                                                                                        1. re: winedude

                                                                                                                          I can't second Antico Forno, but I have to say that when my wife and I were down in the NE last time specifically to go to Antico we were put off by the place. It really didn't look like anything, the menu was not very good and honestly no one was in the joint.
                                                                                                                          We went to Laconte's. This is old school, but good. Not the best place around, but very glad we went.

                                                                                                                        2. Kebab Factory. I just don't get it. The service was aggressively rude, the food was mediocre bordering on inedible and we were hurried through a meal when only one other table was occupied. Reading the lovely reviews on chowhound has almost gotten me to try once again, but my dining companion refuses to step foot in the restaurant again.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. p.f changs is terrible i gone a few times and hate everything on the menu except the ribs

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                Not on the boards here, but lots of people do love it. Ick.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Suze123

                                                                                                                                  Bouchee? It does get a lot of love here. I can't understand why.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: C. Hamster

                                                                                                                                    It's got good ambiance and the prices are reasonable for what is served. I've had a few solid meals there.

                                                                                                                            1. I would add Pop's to the list. Everything we tried was soooo heavy. I know it's "comfort food", but it just sat in my belly like a rock. Not comforting in my book.

                                                                                                                              And the noise level was unreasonable as well. My DC and I gave up trying to talk. Our neighbors were staring at us as we had to raise our voices so much to be heard above the din.

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: lisa13

                                                                                                                                I will also agree. All of their food is SUPER heavy and to be honest is just okay. I do not mind going for brunch, because I can at least get an omelet that is somewhat on the light side. They also make one of worst bloody marys I have ever had in my life. Its like they just squeeze ketchup into the glass... blech.

                                                                                                                                1. re: lisa13

                                                                                                                                  I'll third that opinion. Never understood the attraction to the food. The decor leaves me cold as well.

                                                                                                                                2. Zaftig's. This place is not worthy of standing in line for.. Mediocre at best

                                                                                                                                  Joe's American Grill. A glorified Friday's

                                                                                                                                  Naked Fish. Cuban cocktails, my culo. They're about as Cuban as Burger King.

                                                                                                                                  Atlantic Fish. People seem to heap praise upon this place, looking down their noses at "that chain" Legal's Seafood. IMO Atlantic is a chain too, the Back Bay restaurant group.

                                                                                                                                  Kupel's Bagels. Rosenfeld's kicks their butt.

                                                                                                                                  Dunkin Donuts. King of the I-don't-get-it designation. Same price as Starbucks (for a similar product) but nobody complains about the prices at DD. Completely overloaded with cream (to hide the inferior quality), their coffee looks and tastes like grey water. Some of their commercials are really cute, though.

                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                                                                                                                                    lines at zaftig's? the few times i've gone have been during the day and the place was pretty empty. it is over-priced and sucks, and should be ashamed to call itself a deli. gave it a few whirls, but have given up.

                                                                                                                                    joe's and atlantic are the same chain and naked is basically a chain too.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                                                                                                      There's pretty much always a line at Zaftig's on weekend (especially Sunday) mornings for brunch, but rarely at other times.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                                                                                                                                      I agree on Kupel's Bagels. I've gone there many times, always with the hope that the bagels will have some flavor and texture, and always disappointed.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                                                                                                                                        ah, heard about those rosenfeld bagels-- went and wondered what all the fuss was about. brueggers makes a better bagel

                                                                                                                                      2. Another one I don't get is Coast Cafe. I found their fried chicken to be gross. I make MUCH better fried chicken at home.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Johnresa

                                                                                                                                          ANGELA's.What do people see in this place, just don't get it. the hype from this board is what gives them any business at all

                                                                                                                                          1. re: hlerm2

                                                                                                                                            Actually, according to the owner, it's their neighborhood breakfast trade that gives them most of their business, not the CH crowd that comes for dinner.

                                                                                                                                        2. Toscano -- food bleah, service haughty

                                                                                                                                          Bouchee -- horrible fake French food, service with an attitude

                                                                                                                                          1. Man, for me this is simple. RFO'Sullivans for burgers.

                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: lola22

                                                                                                                                              Completely agree. I didn't enjoy my burger there at all. Dry, tasteless, overcooked. Blech.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: lola22

                                                                                                                                                Me too. Last time I was there my burger was so charred and hard it nearly broke my tooth.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: CambridgeKathy

                                                                                                                                                  Yep, they've really gone downhill. Asked for medium rare, got well done.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: lola22

                                                                                                                                                  Absolutely. The SECOND-most overrated burger in Boston. Chronically overcooked, and I'm not sure who decided that hamburger patties should be that round, but they shouldn't be.

                                                                                                                                                  The MOST overrated burger... and also a place that all of my friends seem to love... would have to be Mr. Bartley's. I just don't understand how anyone could like the sloppy mess of a burger they serve here. It actually makes me sad when my friends talk about how great the burgers are, because they obviously have never actually experienced a great one.

                                                                                                                                                3. Via Matta is the worst restaurant I've been to in a long time. Terrible food. Worse service. And the attitude. I will never go back. Or to any other of this team's restaurants. There are plenty of good places where they treat you better.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Shep Huntleigh

                                                                                                                                                    I agree that the service is b*tchy, but if you sit at the bar and order the experience is MUCH better. I think the food is really solid.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Mistral!! Totally don't get it. Everytime I go in I expect solid good food and service and I'm always underwhelmed. I went last night with friends and we were seated in the "lounge" area where the hostess said we had an "amazing" server. She completely ignored us all night. The two tables that sat down after us ordered first. My friends and I shared a bunch of appetizers and got the Seared Foie Gras with Rubarb cake (which was yummy), the Escargot (which was average and too salty), the Gougure (which was AWFUL! it tasted like sweet fried dough from the county fair), the tuna tartar (okay, not very flavorful but had a pretty presentation) and the tomato, basil pizza (which was not very good, the sauce was sickly sweet). Each time I go I'm disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Not really a restaurant, but I don't see what's so great about Burdick's Chocolate (Harvard Sq). I stopped in their for the first time a few weeks back and got a few pieces of choc. to sample. I thought it was VERY sugary, not much of a velvetiness in the mouth, and the flavors were not very discernable. The BF felt likewise. I'd much more enjoy a piece of Scharffenberger chocolate ANY day (for ~$5/bar) over the ridiculously expensive Burdick's.

                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Science Chick

                                                                                                                                                        Wow, I'm stunned. Some of my favorite chocolate anywhere.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                          I'm curious, what is it specifically that you like about it. I'm really a milk chocolate person, so maybe that has something to do with it?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Science Chick

                                                                                                                                                            I'm with you on this. I got a box of their supposedly exceptional salted caramels a few months ago, and I think over half the box is still sitting on my nightstand. Not particularly salty, not particularly good chocolate (either the milk or the dark), kind of awful caramel.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Science Chick

                                                                                                                                                              I like my chocolate the... never mind, I do prefer dark. Really don't eat milk chocolate at all.

                                                                                                                                                              Some of their flavors to me are just amazing. Can't remember them all, but cherry kirch and dark chocolate. Lavender. The subtlety of their flavors are to me just mind blowing. On par with the best in Paris, Switzerland, NY and SF.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                You need to try Aroa in the South End -- earl grey, chili, olive oil and green tea flavored morsels of love.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: yumyum

                                                                                                                                                                  i think taza chocolate is amazing

                                                                                                                                                        2. It's been a while since I was there but for me it's Taranta. The whole experience was just so abysmal that my friend and I were just howling with laughter by the end of the night. First trying to pawn off those oversweet concotions are martinis, then steak that was almost all fat (no wonder it's so dark in there) and a really soggy dessert.

                                                                                                                                                          I want to give them a second try but just can't seem to do it.

                                                                                                                                                          I do give them kudos for the great little package of toothpicks they gave away at the front counter.


                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Patricia

                                                                                                                                                            I know we're supposed to let everyone have their own opinions on this thread, but I really do urge you to give Taranta a second try. It's one of my favorite places in town.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Patricia

                                                                                                                                                              It's usually a good idea to avoid the cocktails at any place (like Taranta) that only has a beer/wine/cordial license.


                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                                agreed. i never even knew taranta had a "cocktail" menu.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                                  Grotto makes a delicious Bellini. And Scott at Drink recently made me something containing only Aperol, cava and grapefruit juice that was fantastic. It can be done; bubbly helps.

                                                                                                                                                                  I didn't love my one trip to Taranta either. I can't remember what we had, but it was mediocre and would have been overpriced even if it had been good.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pollystyrene

                                                                                                                                                                    Is this Scott who used to be at Great Bay and Lobby?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for that. It's been so long since he worked at Great Bay (and then Lobby which I still haven't gone to), I'm not sure if it's him or not. Sounds like he knows his stuff in any case.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Patricia

                                                                                                                                                                  I love Taranta, but it has its great dishes and its average dishes. Here's my list of dos and don'ts.

                                                                                                                                                                  Mussels -- possibly the best mussel dish I've ever had
                                                                                                                                                                  antipasto -- good, regardless of number in your party, only get the antipasto for 2. It's huge.
                                                                                                                                                                  pasta with huacaty (sp?) -- not sure what incarnation is on the menu right now, but this is a Pervuian herb sauce, like a pesto
                                                                                                                                                                  parpadelle with mushrooms -- excellent
                                                                                                                                                                  seared tuna -- tuna is a good piece for a good price, braised leeks are amazing. I think I could live on them
                                                                                                                                                                  double pork chop -- I confess, I haven't had it, but have heard great things about it
                                                                                                                                                                  filet -- usually very good

                                                                                                                                                                  Calzonini -- nothing special
                                                                                                                                                                  misto salad -- just skip it
                                                                                                                                                                  baked pasta in parchment -- I think this is just on the menu to satisfy those who go there wanting something close to pasta in red sauce. Just sklip it.
                                                                                                                                                                  cocktails -- as someone else said, they have limited cocktails. skip them and stick with the beer and wine
                                                                                                                                                                  dessert -- not worth the calories. want dessert? go to Vittorio's.

                                                                                                                                                                  That said, if you stick with the dos, I think you'll like Taranta.

                                                                                                                                                                3. Naked Fish. Ate at the Natick location for the first time last week. Artichoke dip appetizer was good but the grilled mahi was blah, the mango salsa had fruit that was not close to ripe, the mashed potatoes were blah, and the grilled asparagus was not fresh. Unimpressed. The wait staff were friendly though.

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: L84Dinner

                                                                                                                                                                    Naked Fish Watertown often bordered on terrible before it closed.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. The Fireplace in Brookline. Just don't get it. Standard, boring American food. Perfectly adequate but not worth the money, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pamlet

                                                                                                                                                                      General chowhound reviews of Fireplace, and my own experience have been pretty negative.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                        We found their food fusions to be v. bizarre. I haven't been there for a few yrs, but back then, their drinks could knock you out!
                                                                                                                                                                        How about Lineage in Coolidge Corner? Been there twice, again not for a couple of yrs. I thought it was pretty good.Over my usual price range.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: pamlet

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, although the place is obviously popular with some, I don't think they are CH'ers. It seems to have good business. The space is nice enough, a fireplace in Winter is a bonus, and the bar is fine to hang out at. I ate there last Winter though and vowed never to do so again, a complete waste of money for food I'd call less than adequate. Maybe stop for a drink on a cold night.

                                                                                                                                                                      3. I'll third (or fourth, not sure) Burdick's. I am a dark chocolate fan and theirs is just average. With some of their flavored chocolates, we were hard pressed to identify the flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: derekj

                                                                                                                                                                          Has anyone mentioned Elephant Walk?
                                                                                                                                                                          I agree about 9 Park -- I only go there for drinks now. I just think it's an insult what small portions of food they serve. for the money.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Lucymax

                                                                                                                                                                            Back in the day, when they first opened in Union Sq Somerville, Elephant Walk was fabulous! Amazing!! Over the years, they changed the menu, dulled the flavors, and lost me.
                                                                                                                                                                            When I went to No9, about 3-4yrs ago now, it was a fantastic meal. The portions were ok. I will say though, we had a gift certificate, and we still had a sizeable bill.
                                                                                                                                                                            Lastly, we went to Tupelo last night. The staff were lovely and attentive. It was only 7:30PM, and they were sold out of 1 of the 2 specials, which I was all ready to order. It was a duck and sausage dish. OK, I got over it, and ordered the gumbo. Now I'm not from Louisianna, and I dont' often have gumbo, but this was quite a soupy dish, with only a spoonful of rice in it, and some v. little pieces of shredded chicken, and about 6 thin slices of sausage. Seemed to be more tops of the okra than the bottoms! It was only $9, but I was a little surprised. My DC had the daube. I make daube, and this wasn't daube, It was a cut of meat with some horseradish cream on it. My small salad was v. nice, arugula and watercress, with some candied pecans. I saw the dessert special, chocolate bread pudding with bourbon ice cream, and the diner having it confirmed it was delicious. We were too bummed to stay,and the room is noisy, but I'd go back for an Abita beer which was v. good, and dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: CookieLee

                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, old Elephant Walk in Union Sq was a delight. We spent many a lovely weeknight enjoying dinner and a wonderful staff. It's not ever been the same but that could be more our getting older, more responsible, having kids, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: three of us

                                                                                                                                                                                nah, it's not us, it's definitely the restaurant changed its mission / focus.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: CookieLee

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm glad to see these reactions. When I lived in Boston in the 90s, I used to go to Elephant Walk in Union Square, and thought it was really a great meal. Unique flavors and interesting dishes. Now that I'm back in Boston after 10 years away, I ended up at Elephant Walk in Waltham last year, and what a let down. The dishes sounded good, but when I received mine, it seemed to be drenched in some kind of red sauce whose inspiration was more Chef Boyardee than anything Asian. My friend's dishes were no better (though I remember beginning with a ginger lemon drink that was delicious). I couldn't figure out if my palate had changed or if the restaurant had changed. Maybe a bit of both.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I haven't been impressed by Gargoyles. I live nearby and have tried both their dining room and their bar area. The dining room is so dark and the food in both areas is very expensive and not quite worth it.
                                                                                                                                                                          I have to add that I am most often disappointed in the restaurants in the $25-$35/entree and above price range. Ambiance isn't enough in my opinion to justify that price.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Cantina La Mexicana - the owner was very friendly, but their food was so bland. The burrito was 90% rice, 10% chicken, with no vegetables or flavor at all. The quesadilla was tortillas and cheese, again nothing else. Their prices were very reasonable, but the food was definitely not very memorable.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Craige on Main. Have been twice. I don't get it.

                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: shaebones

                                                                                                                                                                                I' m interested in having your review of Craigie on Main. I've read a number of impressions of it, including Devra First.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shaebones

                                                                                                                                                                                  agreed on the food (tasty most of the time but overwrought and too pricey as well=not great value), but really love the bartending - always truly excellent to mindblowing - I don't leave the bar now and still to the simple menu in there.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. I love North Indian food, and having lived there certain know what it should taste like. Thus, I do not understand why India Quality (in Kenmore Square) gets so many positive postings. I keep trying different dishes at the place, figuring that everyone else must be having something wonderful that I am missing and yet every time it is mediocre at best.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Craigie on Main. Food and service was so precious. Tasty but nothing that hasn't been done before -- at least not to match the attitude of the staff.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: unionsquaregrl

                                                                                                                                                                                      Good friend of mine took his 20-something daughter out to CoM for her birthday. Bill was $360+ for the three of them and he didn't even drink. I think that's ridiculous and am grateful that I've been treated when I've been.