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Jun 30, 2009 07:15 AM

Need a good place in Waltham

I'm meeting a friend after work in Waltham. looking for recs for a place that has decent, well priced, food. Ideally I'd like to sit at the bar.

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    1. re: StriperGuy

      Looked at those but more specifically for a bar with good food. Care to indulge me?

        1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

          I can't say enough great things about Solea... nice bar area with tables and actual bar, competent bartending (to my relatively uneducated palate) and wide options of tapas, both traditional and new.

          1. re: tdaaa

            Except the food at Solea is really just so so.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              I have to disagree. I have been generally impressed with their tapas. Have never tried the real dinner menu. With the tapas, my wife and I generally order 3 each for dinner - most of the time 2-3 are great, 2-3 are good and one is so-so.

              1. re: tdaaa

                This is part of a long discussion, but having spent a LOT of time in Spain, Solea may server some okay small plates, but they don't really serve tapas.

                Noone associated with the restaurant is from Spain, and 95% of their dishes would be out of place at a genuine tapas bar.

                Overall, to me, tapas or not, their chow is just okay.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  Having been there a half dozen times or so, I'd agree. Maybe slightly better than okay, but nothing I'd recommend people travel to Waltham for. It's a good neighborhood restaurant, with fairly unique offerings for the area.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    They do label most of their menu "Neuvo tapas" which I took to mean "non-traditional" and I have been steered away from some of the traditional items by the servers (they recommended against the tortilla, for example). I will not argue with you regarding "traditional tapas" vs. "small plates" as this is essentially the authentic vs. americanized arguement that this board has engaged in ad nauseum. As my time in Spain was in the company of small children, I did not get the traditional tapas experience, I cannot gauge authenticity. I can say that I like the food at solea, I much prefer the "small plates" approach in general, and feel that for local dining options for small plates, it is way better than Savinos, for example. It is not destination dining by any means, but it is a respectable option for local eaters.

            2. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

              I don't think there is a real bar with really good food (Franklin Cafe or Silvertone to a lesser extent come to mind) in Waltham.

          2. Tempo Bistro on Moody but you might find it a little pricey.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Duster17

              I agree that Tempo is the best bar option (upscale) in Waltham.

            2. Places in Waltham I like for decent to very good food, with a bar you can dine at: Solea, Tempo, La Campania, Tuscan Grill. Mad Raven and Skellig are passable in the Irish pub vein.


              11 Replies
              1. re: MC Slim JB

                I live in Waltham. Tempo has excellent food and a fun vibe (sister restaurant of Temple Bar in Cambridge). Mad Raven has much better than average pub food and pours a good Guinness (and is far enough away from Moody St to not get the college crowd). I also like the small bar at Il Capprico across the street for a great glass of wine and some salumi. I often go there just for the bar, since most of the customers are there for dinner (also great after a wine tasting at Gordon's next door!). Haven't been to Solea in a while and only for dinner, but I always thought the tapas were pretty good (I was at their sister restaurant Tapeo in Back Bay last weekend, which was good, not great). If I remember, the bar area at La Campania is very small. Watch City and Skellig are OK, but I don't really think of them when it comes to food. Price-wise: Mad Raven < Tempo < Il Capprico. I think you'd be happy at any one of the three, depending on the vibe/price you want.

                Hmmm...mabye I'll see you there tonight!

                1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                  exactly the type of post i was hoping for. Thanks.

                  1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                    Way cool, I don't know Mad Raven at all, will have to give it a whirl. I always forget about Tempo as it is relatively new.

                    1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                      Ended up going to Il Cappricio. On a Wednesday from 5:30-8PM, the place was largely empty. Which is perfectly fine, if like me you are looking for elegant surroundings in which to have a quiet conversation with some apps and outstanding wines. NESN was even replaying the "Mother's Day Miracle" on the TV in the bar!

                      We had the gorgonzola-stuff, prosciutto-wrapped figs (sounded good, but it didn't come together for me, the melted cheese dominated) and the gnocchi/lobster/clam/calamari stew (excellent). Of course the wines were outstanding. If you get there early, Jeannie brings up an expensive bottle from their 5000-bottle cellar and sells it for $12 a glass until it is gone. You never know what it will be; this time it was a Montervertine Toscana Le Pergole Torte 2003 (Sangiovese), which was my favorite wine of the evening. To finish, we had a Kracher Beerenauslese 2002 and a Massa Vecchia Aleatico 2004, which are wines you will have trouble finding on any other wine list in town (certainly the latter, since it is only imported by Jeannie).

                      1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                        Jeannie is a local treasure. Don't know if it was the 2002, but I've had that Kracher in at least two other Boston venues: one was Vinalia; can't remember the other: Troquet, or Chez Henri, maybe.


                        1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                          this is a great place. I went for a business dinner a few weeks ago and had the Veal chop. It was one of the best pieces of meat i've had in a while. and the wine list was fantastic. Don't remember what we had specifically but there were a few bottles of barolo passed around.

                        2. re: Tir_na_nOg

                          Sorry, but that's not correct. Tempo on Moody Street is not connected with Temple Bar.

                          1. re: m. mccullough

                            Hmmm...weird. We used to go to Temple Bar all the time and I'm pretty sure they were the ones that directed us to "their new restaurant" in Waltham back in 2005. Maybe they were related back then but no longer?

                            Anyway, never thought to question it. They even look somewhat similar. I've always thought that if I designed a bar/restaurant, that is what they'd look like. Although now that I've discovered Ecco in East Boston...

                            1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                              Nope -- no ownership connection at all. Ever.

                              1. re: m. mccullough

                                Not that I'm doubting you, but given the recent The Friendly Toast ownership confusion, it might be nice for you to state how you know? Otherwise how is anyone to judge whether you know more than me. ;-)

                                1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                                  I know the owner. My wife and I were among the first customers when Tempo opened. No confusion here.

                      2. bison country is good, and john brewer isn't bad. pricey but worth it are solea and il capriccio. not impressed with marcellino's food or tuscany's attitude