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Agave Mexican Grille in Malden -- stay away!

My husband and I checked out this new spot last night with bated breath. I had read bad things about Dockside, and knew it is owned by the same people, but still I allowed myself to hope--a little. It is walking distance from our house, so had it been good, it would have been very exciting for us.

It is not good. Not at all. Stay away.

Where to start? Okay, draft beer selections: Bud Light, an IPA, and a Stout. Really? You have three taps and these are my choices?

Half of the margaritas include sour mix.

The salsas were clearly out of jars. One of them tasted like Campbell's Tomato Soup with spices added.

The waitress didn't know what Dos Equis was. Yes, a waitress working at Mexican restaurant had never heard of this beer, and didn't know how to pronounce it. This is forgivable, but very humorous, considering in a recent Boston.com article, the owner of Agave was quoted as saying the place would be an educational experience for the patrons. Well, I suppose for patrons who have never heard of Corona it might be.

The guacamole was served on a bed of shredded lettuce to make it look like there was more of it. Guac itself wasn't bad, but was completely unsalted. When we started stirring in salt, whoops, we stirred in lettuce, too. Sigh. The guacamole also cost eight dollars, which seemed excessive considering that it was a very average sized serving merely propped up to look like a huge one.

The fajitas were completely lackluster. Any chain Mexican restaurant can do better. Actually, my husband reports that fajitas at the 99 blow these away.

Another reviewer on Yelp ordered mac'n'cheese from the kids' menu for his son and noted that it was Kraft.

Just learn from my mistake and do not waste your time or money at this horrific place.

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  1. Thanks for taking one for the team.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Aromatherapy

      We actually warned our neighbor who we saw on her front porch on our walk home. We don't really even know her, but felt compelled to tell her not to ever go there. It was our little PSA.

    2. Thanks for reporting on Agave Mexican Grille in Malden. I drive by Agave on my way to and from work. I was thinking of trying it for lunch. I think I'll try another place.

      4 Replies
      1. re: buffet king

        Try Ravi's, on Highland Ave, or Kebab Corner, near Wellington! The neighborhood still has a few worthwhile places. =)

        1. re: ginafly

          I haven't been to Ravi's on Highland Ave but I do know where it is. I have heard that their food is good. I either go to the Kabab Corner in Medford or the Kebab Factory in Somerville for their lunch buffet. And don't forget Regina Pizza at Station Landing/Wellington Circle in Medford. It's my favorite pizza place. I order a well done link sausage pizza.

          Regina Pizza
          44 Station Landing, Medford, MA 02155

          The Kebab Factory
          414 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

          Kabab Corner
          4110 Mystic Valley Pkwy, Medford, MA 02155

            1. re: buffet king

              Yes. The key to Regina Wellington is to get it well done. My husband and I have an ongoing debate about whether we prefer Regina's or Ravi's. Ravi's "big cheese" pizza was simply to die for the first time we had it.

        2. We went over the weekend and had a positively horrifying experience.

          A number of us went and more than half of us had our orders messed up. Plus, we had to wait nearly an hour for our food, and more than 20 minutes for our desserts. Service was completely messed up from start to finish. But to me, the most disturbing thing wasn't the service and overall operations--it was the food. Service issues and operations issues can work themselves out, especially considering that they had only been open 3 days when we went. But the food ranged from average to inedible (the tamale had a sickly-sweet mole that I just can't shake from my memory), and I'm not sure that will change anytime soon.

          I almost felt bad for the people who worked there, as they were pleasant to us, seemed like decent folks, and were repeatedly apologetic about our orders. But I can't justify going back there, unless it's for drinks at their tequila bar.

          3 Replies
          1. re: hiddenboston

            Agree with everything you said Re: service vs. food. Service things will work themselves out, but it was very clear to me that the management does NOT care about offering decent food. By the end of our meal, I was so angry, I didn't want to order a 2nd Corona because I simply did not want them to have any more of my money.

            1. re: hiddenboston


              Is this place owned by the same people who own the Agave in Newburyport and Portsmouth, NH? Sounds like the same menu, but Agave up here is not that bad. Nothing special, either, and the margaritas are mostly sour mix at ludicrious prices.

              1. re: aadesmd

                No...it's owned by the Dockside owner...........

            2. Yeah...us too. Went over the weekend for lunch. All I have to say....Food just OK (how ever, I never got my order) Service SUCKS........ Where is Chef Gordon Ramsay when we need him? I know that they are new......Beeing in a retail business, I know it is all about service. Service is key, it can make or break you every time.

              1. I wish I had read this post before going, won't go again, food was very bland

                1. It doesn't surprise me, Dockside is just AWFUL. So many groups around here do fundraisers there, it's come to the point where I'd rather just give the group 10 bucks directly, just so I don't have to suffer through another meal I hate so they can get their 10% of the check.

                  1. God- I wish I read this review BEFORE we went. We went last night - also excited because it is walking distance for us.. and we like to eat at the bar of the local places. The dude out front with the sombrero and plush donkey waving at the cars should have scared me away ! Sooo disappointed - after seeing all the $$ that went into the remodeling, we were so hopeful ! Worse Marghi ( Presidente at $11 ) I ever had - nothing but sour mix. and ice .. THERE IS NO SOUR MIX IN A REAL MARGHI !! Lady behind me asked for a fresh Marghi with real lime - Cost her $18 ,,,, Seriously !! Worse Quesedilla - Even Dockside are better and they're not so hot ... tasteless, rubbery bland...Also had wings - nothing special smoky barbq sauce. ( no boneless) . People were not knocking on the door to get in ... The place was half empty on a Thursday night at 7:00 .. I would expect better food - kitchen was not busy. ! Chips were good - were told they were making them fresh starting today .. Red salsa was ok - Green tasted like canned relish ... We were promised authentic Mexican... FARRRR from it ! Stay away !

                    Agave Mexican Grille and Tequila Bar
                    270 Medford St, Malden, MA 02148

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Rubyslippers

                      Sad. I was hoping for even a decent tex-mex restaurant in the area. Maybe we can get Border Cafe to take it over...

                      1. re: elcaminogirl

                        Not Tex-Mex, but one town away is Mexico Lindo (in Melrose). Decent food, and a nice outdoor patio as well.

                    2. I want to try this place just to see if anywhere can really be as bad as this. It sounds breathtaking.

                      6 Replies
                        1. re: scratchie

                          Anyone up for a deliberately awful Chowdown?

                            1. re: hiddenboston

                              Well, maybe it will be surprisingly awesome (whimper).

                              1. re: nsenada

                                I'm so down. I'll bring my camera so we can pose with the Sombrero/plush donkey dude. I'll pack us brown-bag lunches so we don't have to eat their food.

                                1. re: Prav

                                  Excellent! Maybe we can reenact the scene from Anchorman at Tino's place, with their regular food on the plate instead of the...uh...

                      1. "Where to start? Okay, draft beer selections: Bud Light, an IPA, and a Stout. Really? You have three taps and these are my choices?"

                        I have to ask...exactly what beers are they supposed to serve? A good microbrewed IPA and stout would be a huge improvement over soulless, mass-marketed beers like Corona and Dos Equis.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                          Well, Bud Light is not good. IPA is fine but most people I know cannot drink more than a pint or so due to how heavy/bitter they can *sometimes* be. Ditto with stout. It makes more sense to have a solid pale ale or amber ale on tap, in my view. Something crowd pleasing and very drinkable.

                          But really, this was the *least* of their problems. I don't even know why I bothered mentioning it. That was kinda like driving by a flaming wreck of an automobile on the highway and noting that they have a taillight out.

                        2. Margaritas is opening up at Station Landing in Medford in June - there's hope yet for the area, and it probably worth the slightly longer walk for you, too.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: didgeridoo

                            Margaritas = "Hope"? Are they much better than their website would lead me to believe?

                            1. re: scratchie

                              It's funny that this was brought up--after our trip to Agave, I mentioned that we would have gotten a much better meal at Margaritas had the one in Medford been open at the time. And I consider Margaritas to be mostly average, so that should tell you something about our meal at Agave.

                          2. I'm so glad I read all these remarks, I drive by every day to and from work and told my wife we have to try it. I was hoping it would be as goos as the Border on Rt 1. but sounds like the same experience I had at the dockside which was my 1st and only visit a few years ago. I thought something was up when I saw only a few cars in the parking lot at an given time. Hopefully the owner reads this and steps up the business. Again thanks for saving me money and time.

                            1. we knew it would be horrible when we saw it was a dockside restaurant, and when they deleted our post on the local Malden website saying we where hoping it would not be as bad as the dockside,

                              We went and it was cofirmed, terrible. If you want a great dining experience in Malden, All Seasons Table in the square is the place to go

                              All Seasons Table Restaurant
                              64 Pleasant St, Malden, MA 02148

                              1. Update, Just as bad as ever.

                                I figured after a few months in business, they must have made the food better - was I ever WRONG - WORST restaurant meal EVER!

                                The salsa - worse than anything I have ever eaten from a jar - tasted like tomato sauce.

                                Chicken Taco - the chicken tasted rancid - like they had put in amonia. The manager came by and asked how the food was, I said the chicken tasted really bad. He said he would go sample some in the kitchen - saw him later and he did not come back to us - guess he liked the chicken?

                                Refried beans - DRY.

                                Rice - HARD

                                Black Beans - HARD.

                                I am amazed that after 4 months they have done nothing to make the food any better!

                                  1. re: phonelady

                                    Specifics? I don't want to get too excited if they're just taking a snow day...

                                    How can we campaign to get a decent Mexican restaurant into that spot? I hope the owners don't just change decor and menu and reopen another horrible place like the Dockside.

                                    1. re: elcaminogirl

                                      There was something in the neighborhood update about Agave applying to the city to change their name. Haven't heard if there's been a change in ownership, though.

                                      1. re: elcaminogirl

                                        Funeral for the Fiesta - It was fun while it lasted...we invite you to join us on Friday, January 28th to celebrate the life of Agave Mexican Grille ~feisty food specials, fun and more! We are sad to say goodbye to our South of the Border concept & business but look forward to serving you at Dockside Restaurant at River's Edge. We truly appreciate all of the support and business at Agave Mexican Grille.

                                        Looks like another Dockside is in the works.

                                        1. re: phonelady

                                          just what Malden needs, another crapy dockside.....arrgghhhhh

                                          1. re: jirkyrick

                                            Failures like Agave may make some potential restaurant owners think that Malden doesn't want a Mexican restaurant when really we do! Just a decent one.

                                            When I moved to Malden 10 years ago, people mentioned that most ethnic restaurants there had failed. There was a Thai place that we tried, but the staff was clearly overwhelmed by our small takeout order on top on the ONE occupied table (a 2-top). They had a 7 & 8 year old working the register. It was a mess and we never went back.

                                            1. re: elcaminogirl

                                              Fuloon and Habesha, not so much failures, but they are a lot more recent.

                                              Habesha Restaurant
                                              535 Main St, Malden, MA

                                      2. re: phonelady

                                        Closed? Really? Other than the food, the serrvice, and the atmosphere, I rather liked the place.