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Friday night in Arlington or Belmont

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I'm looking for a casual restaurant, French, Italian or American, in Arlington or Belmont, preferably near Route 2 for dinner on Friday night. Money isn't much of a concern; I'm looking for great food and wine, and a nice atmosphere.

Would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks ever so!

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  1. Tango--it's Argentnian, but meets all the other requirements. Always a pleasant experience.

    1. For Arlington:
      The aforementioned Tango.
      Flora would probably fit the bill.
      Ristorante Olivio is supposed to be good but I've never eaten there.
      La Buona Vita is Italian but maybe a little too casual. Their original Sicilian chef has, unfortunately, sold the place, but I've heard that the food is still good.

      1. Il Casale Belmont is very good and meets the bill. Both towns are a bit lacking in sit down white table cloth places.

        There are some amazing ethnic places in Arlington, Kathmandu Spice is nice and has killer food but that does not really meet your cuisine request.

        8 Replies
        1. re: StriperGuy

          I second the Il Casale recommendation. I have found the food and service to be top notch. They were just nominated for a James Beard award, as one of the best Northeast restaurants.

          1. re: pasta

            "best Northeast restaurants" I would NOT go that far.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Best new restaurant.
              and Best Chef Northeast.

            2. re: pasta

              Er, the actual James Beard nominations have not been announced yet, just the long list of semifinalists. The actual nominees will be announced on March 22nd.

            3. re: StriperGuy

              Funny, I haven't been to Il Casale, depsite living right near there. I had to google to realize tat it's the place that opened up in the old firehouse in Belmont Center. I'll have to put it on my list.

              I had a disappointing experience at lunch at Kathmandu Spice -- probably because they had the buffet going. I should try it again off the menu. Any particular recommendations?

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  I've like pretty much everything at Kathmandu Spice, too. I often have the buffet, partly because I'm usually there at lunch time and partly because I get to have a little bit of a lot of things, all of which are yummy.

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    I thought the food there was actually better than I got in Katmandu itself.

              1. Thanks for the recs. Made a res at Il Casale just to have something in my back pocket, but am still open to more suggestions!

                1. Savino's in Belmont -another Italian place. Not as much buzz and a different vibe than than Il Casale but good.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: mtm7654

                    I wouldn't bother with Savino's - it's pretty disappointing and the room isn't nearly as nice as Il Casale. Il Casale is far better - definitely not the best in the Northeast, certainly not the best in the Greater Boston area, but very good and definitely in a whole other league than anything else in the area. Great the OP got a reservation - the wait can be long, otherwise.


                    1. re: mtm7654

                      Atmosphere is nice and service and food were good, but portions barely adequate for the price.

                    2. I'd also add Scutra to your list of possible restaurants - it's fine dining but in a comfortable atmosphere - a good European (French/Belgian) restaurant. Not as trendy (I don't mean that negatively) as Il Casale, more upscale than Olvio, further away from Rt 2 than Flora, but a solid restaurant and good dining experience.


                      Scutra Cedrone Restaurant
                      92 Summer St., Arlington, MA 02474

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Misterie

                        Sorry for the inaccurate James Beard info, none the less - its a great place !
                        Here is a link to a posting on the awards by Sherly Julian


                        1. re: Misterie

                          Have only been to Scutra once but recall being pleasantly surprised. The food was wonderful and the service as top notch.

                          1. re: Walthamfoodman

                            I've been to both Savino's and Il Casale several times, and I think Savino's is superior. It is a quieter and more elegant restaurant, and the food is well-prepared and consistently delicious. The service is also excellent. While the food at Il Casale is good, the place is loud, and the prices higher than Savino's for food and service that is not better. I consider Savino's to be a great neighborhood Italian bistro.

                            1. re: alohagirl

                              Il Casale is loud (I hesitated to bring my hard-of-hearing father) but I think the food and service are far superior.

                        2. Thanks to everyone for their recommendations. My husband's flight home on Friday night was cancelled due to the weather so I ended up cancelling my reservation at Il Casale. But it's on my list, along with Savino's, Scutra and Flora.