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Good apres theatre restaurant near Merrimack Rep in Lowell?

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HI Hounds,
Not sure if I'm on the right board. Is Lowell considered greater Boston? It would be in New Zealand, but perhaps not on this site. Anyhoo, am defecting to the Merrimack Rep Theatre this year and looking for good restaurants nearby for either lunch before the Sun. matinee or dinner after.
Thanks so much. You guys are the best and always come thru

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  1. Blue Taleh, Etsogo, Centro, Cafe Paradiso, Ricardo's Trattoria, Friends (Portuguese), La Boniche.....

    This is the food blogger for the Lowell Sun: http://www.thesunblog.com/gourmetgal/

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      Or,
      Pho 88
      Red Rose
      Kebab

    2. Wherever you go, make sure you have a reservation. I was a member for the last 5 years and we always(4 of us) went out after for dinner. Ricardos and LaBoniche are really good but they're loooong drawn out dining experiences, Centro is newer and we really liked it when we tried it last year, Fortunatos for Italian, Athen's Corner for Greek, Cobblestones for American as well as a few in Tyngsborough and a good Italian one in Chelmford. That name escapes me but it started with a C and was on Rt 133 about 10-15 minutes from the theatre.

      10 Replies
      1. re: catsmeow

        Your feedback is very helpful to these 2 Grammas exploring new territory! We're excited to try a new theatre and new restaurants. May I assume that since you were a member of MRT for 5 yrs. that it was a good experience?

        1. re: oopboromom

          Yes. We always enjoy the plays Easy parking too! Another more casual option is The Brewery Exchange. It's pub type food in an old converted brewery. Burgers, steak, seafood and sandwiches, etc. One other which really surprised us....there's a restaurant in the hotel across the way(I think its the Doubletree). There was a mix up and reservations weren't made anywhere so we figured it might be, although not the best food, a choice where we wouldn't have to wait long. Well, we really enjoyed everything we got. I opted for a burger which was really good. The others got steak, prime rib and one got a shrimp dish. The service was very friendly and accomodating too. A pleasant surprise.

          1. re: catsmeow

            I believe the Doubletree has outdoor seating available, with a view of the water.

          2. re: oopboromom

            I hope you enjoy Lowell - for a little town, there's a lot of culture, It's the end of the season, but you might want to look at www.lowellsummermusic.org to get an idea of what the affordable weekly concerts are like. The amphitheater has good acoustics, convenient parking and rest rooms, and a refreshment stand. Pre-concert picnicking is encouraged, and there are places within easy walking distance (e.g. Cafe Paradiso) for a post-concert drink/nosh. Everything is pre-empted the last weekend in July, for the annual Lowell Folk Festival, which is a treat for both ears and tummy!

            1. re: greygarious

              Thanks so much for the wealth of info about Lowell's cultural and gastronomic opportunities! Can't wait to explore the area. Is the Cafe Paradiso you mentioned related to the one in the No. End of Boston?

              1. re: oopboromom

                I believe it is, but wouldn't bet my first-born child on it.

              2. re: greygarious

                Thanks for all the great info. Is the Cafe Paradiso you mentioned related to the one in the North End of Boston?

                1. re: oopboromom

                  i'd be very surprised if it that were true, and i think the place is wildly overpriced for the mediocre quality.

                  it's nice for beer on the patio or a coffee and pastry. don't have "food" or cocktails.

                  fortunato's across the street was possibly the worst meal i ever have had in lowell. again, nice patio, awful food, terrible service, even for *not the city*.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    Just looked it up - yes, the Lowell and North End locations are the same ownership.

                    Agreed - I had a solo late lunch at Fortunato's once a few years back. Nobody else in there, but the waitress, who gestured that I should sit anywhere, took forever to get around to bringing a menu and taking my order. After the food - which was nothing special - finally arrived and I finished the meal, she was nowhere to be seen and I had to stand in the empty room calling out for someone to bring my check. It really would have served them right had I skipped out on the bill. Can't remember if I left a tip - I hope not!

                    1. re: greygarious

                      I stopped into Cafe Paradiso once, about 2 yrs ago. I got a cappucino to go and there were coffee grounds in it. The pastry I got was very stale. It was pretty empty. I never went back. I have eaten at Fortunatos twice. Once 2 yrs ago and once 3 yrs ago(both times were after a play). I enjoyed it both times. For both dinners, we had reservations and the diningroom was full. No complaints about the service.

          3. We went to MRT last night--had pretty good Thai at Blue Taleh. Not entirely authentic, but it was tasty. A good looking room, the cocktails were killer and the standout dish was duck Panang. They also do sushi. We told them we had to be at the theater at 7:00, and they were right on the money.

            1 Reply
            1. re: whs

              you can take a pass on their sushi. very just ok.

            2. love love love Lowell (and surrounding area), some of our favs:
              Life Alive (health food dining)
              Ricardo's (italian)
              Ole Tapas
              Tabocas Brazillian Steakhouse
              Friends (portugese)
              Sakura's (sushi, chelmsford)
              Moonstones (chelmsford)
              Pho88 - vietnamese
              Sichuan Gourmet (billerica - soooo addicted to this place)
              Cafe Azteca - mexican in Lawrence

              Have fun, love the MRT - such a nice intimate venu.

              5 Replies
              1. re: lexpatti

                Anyone been to Tepthida khmer? I've had good takeout, but I hear it's nice inside. Good reviews from Cambodian friends.

                1. re: justbeingpolite

                  I've heard awesome things about that place, it's on my short list to get there soon.

                  1. re: lexpatti

                    I've only had one dish at Tepthida Khmer, the Beef Loc Lac with Fried Rice. The beef was perfectly caramelized and the rice was nice and light and not oily. The place is nicely decorated and very clean.

                  2. re: justbeingpolite

                    we finally made it to Tephthida Khmer - omg, fantastic. This will easily become one of rotations to eat through the menu. tonight we had what I considered teh BEST summer rolls ever (and I enjoy getting them every where we go). The flavors were so clean and fresh, with a nice strong mint and lots of fantastic crunch (we got shrimp). I love the sauce teuk trei with peanuts (I'm picky about my sauce, I don't like the thick one with peanuts that is in many vietnamese places). We also got the tom yum soup because this is what our neighbors rave about - superb!!!! Nice, rich, hot, sour filled with shrimp, tomatoes, peppers (we recently had some that was seasoned broth, not here - excellent). We got 3 fantastic entrees: Loc Lac (out of this world, my fav) - we got beef, it was carmelized with a lime dressing and red onions and greens. Hubby's fav was the red curry with chicken, filled with lots of vegies and tomitillas. We also got another fantastic dish - Drunken Noodles - Spicy steamed rice noodles with beef.

                    Can't wait to go back, very nice ambiance and the service was exceptional.

                    1. re: lexpatti

                      great report! We will have to try next time we're in Lowell.