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Dec 9, 2010 03:23 PM

Metro West - is it really as hopeless as I think?

Hi all,

I've scoured the boards and am getting pretty depressed about the reality of my dining options in Metro West. Just moved to Hopkinton a couple of months ago and have been doing well with entertaining at home and dinners after work in Boston for real restaurant fixes but am I really stuck with Tavolino in Westboro as my tastiest restaurant?

We're looking for a Boston-caliber new American, Italian, bistro french restaurant within a 20 minute drive (Wellesley is too far0 and what I've read of Tomasso, Allora and the Patriot Place restos are mixed at best.

Any recent diners at any of these that would say they're genuinely good and not just "good for the area"? We had a neighborhood gem - Bistro 5 - when we lived in West Medford and am still holding out hope for the same.

My faves in Boston have been Butcher Shop, Troquet, B & G, Mamma Maria, Hammersley's.

Thanks everyone!

140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

Bistro 5
5 Playstead Road, Medford, MA 02155

Mamma Maria Restaurant
3 North Sq, Boston, MA 02113

274 Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA 02035

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  1. The pickings are pretty slim.

    Tomasso is pretty good, better than Tavolino IMHO, and definitely worth a try. If Patriot's Place is an option for you, only Davio's is really good, I'd say it's nearly identical in atmosphere and preparation as the one in Boston.

    I haven't been to Maxwell's 135 in Natick in a long time, but the one time I went it was interesting, and had promise. They've dramatically changed the menu since then, however.

    Sel de la Terre in the Natick Mall isn't as good as the one in Boston, but is still one of the better choices around for what it is.

    There are a couple of places in Franklin that people like, but I haven't been. Perhaps others can recommend?

    75 Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116

    Sel de la Terre
    774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

    274 Patriot Place, Foxborough, MA 02035

    3 Replies
    1. re: winedude

      Thanks winedude. Any thoughts on Allora v. Tomasso?

      I was considering Davio's in Foxboro but wasn't sure if it was worth the drive, maybe we'll consider that instead.

      75 Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116

      1. re: missykins

        Given your list of favored Boston restaurants, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised by Tomasso's. The mixed reviews generally come from folk who are expecting more of the Tavolino/Allora experience - large portions of decent food at decent prices. Lots of my neighbors think it's way too expensive for what you get. But you get what you pay for. Tomasso's is much closer to an urban restaurant - elegant but casual, a regularly changing menu, very high quality ingredients and expert preparation but with smaller portions, and a great wine list. It wouldn't be out of place in the South End, and does seem a bit out of place (but very welcome) here in the burbs.

      2. re: winedude

        Maxwell's 148 in Natick is actually very good and keeps getting better every time I go. I actually just posted on my blog about it if you want to look at some photos!

        Maxwells 148
        148 East Central Street, Natick, MA 01760

        1. Alta Strada in Wellesley is excellent. Blue Ginger too.

          Blue Ginger
          583 Washington St., Wellesley, MA 02482

          Alta Strada
          92 Central Street, Wellesley, MA 02482

          8 Replies
            1. re: I QUE

              Really? When did it move? To be serious, it was certainly MetroWest when I lived there [moved out in 1976 if that makes a difference.]

              1. re: I QUE

                Wellesley is metrowest, but futher than 20 minutes.

                1. re: trufflehound

                  Sorry Metrowest is along the 495 belt, not the 128 belt.


                  For people that actually live in Metrowest recommendations for restaurants in Waltham or Newton or Wellesley just aren't that helpful. If I am going to drive 45 minutes for dinner I'd probably choose to go into Boston.

                  1. re: I QUE

                    I QUE:

                    I don't think your citation to the Wikipedia definition of Metro West is remotely helpful to this discussion. According to that definition, Metro West includes Natick. I live in Wellesley about 500 yards from the Natick line. According to the definition you cite, someone who lives in the Metro West town of Natick would most certainly be interested in hearing about restaurants a stone's throw away in Wellesley. Everything is not as cut and dry as you make it seem and it sounds like you are only including places in the far western extreme part of Metro West. How would someone who lives in Metro West towns of Framingham or Natick be "driving 45 minutes for dinner" in Wellesley? Are they walking?

                    1. re: Gordough

                      ; how about just talking about restaurants which are a 20 minute drive from a certain suburb. I feel as if I am back reading Aquinas discussing Angels dancing on the head of a pin.

                      1. re: Gordough

                        According to, Metro West is comprised of these towns:
                        Ashland, Bellingham, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Medway, Milford, Millis, Natick, Northborough, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Wayland and Westborough.

                        1. re: SLL1065

                          It seems to be a moving target. I cited wiki below and it was a much smaller list. When I lived in Ashland, I would receive the "MetroWest" section in my Sunday paper. When I moved to Westborough, it changed to the "Globe West" section. So the publishers of the Globe have their own interpretation of what MetroWest is. IMHO , the town has to be in Middlesex County to be called Metrowest.

              2. Szechuan Gourmet in Framingham is outstanding, if that counts as Metro West.

                4 Replies
                1. re: hckybg

                  what about red pepper that is also located in framingham?

                  1. re: hckybg

                    If Wellesley is too far east to be Metrowest, I'm not sure what your geographical definition is. Of course, anyone who thinks the suburbs (be they north, west, or south) are going to give you easy accessibility to the same sort of sophistication you are used to from Boston proper, the South End, or such, is, in my opinion, just looking for an excuse to belittle the suburbs. People who are looking for au courant cooking (or art, or music) obviously are going to have to go into town.

                    1. re: johncb

                      i do not think that anyone is arguing about geography; he just wants proximity that is a 20 minute drive.

                    2. re: hckybg

                      that's Sichuan Gourmet, for my money best Chinese restaurant anywhere in the metrowest area

                      Sichuan Gourmet
                      1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                    3. Café Bella in Randolph probably won't meet your 20 minute criteria, but it's worth the drive. Ditto for Kouzina in the Waban section of Newton. Both are easy to reach from 128.

                      1649 Beacon St, Waban, MA 02468