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Feb 5, 2011 07:02 PM

What are your stand-by, go-to restaurants?

I'm curious to know which restaurants Chowhounders rely on, time and again, for good food. Nothing splashy or fancy, necessarily--just places you love to frequent and feel comfortable at. Places that have one must-try dish or exquisite drink, etc. For me:

Tu Y Yo, Somerville
Reliably different, unusual Mexican food in an unlikely neighborhood.

Vinny's at Nite, Somerville
Yet again, an unusual location for a slice of Boston life--high hair, lots of garlic, unpretentious and hearty food

Chau Chow City, Woburn
I'm no fan of the Boston Chau, but the Woburn location is much cleaner, with fresher food, in my opinion. I appreciate the trays of snails, clams in black bean sauce, etc. and the variety of dim sum offered.

Hei Lei Moon, Boston
The best dim sum in Boston, in my opinion. (Not that there are oh-so many options, but this one rises to the top.)

Island Creek Oyster Bar
I'm a fan. I think they try hard, have inventive cocktails, a well-meaning staff, and forward-thinking seafood arrangements. And the vibe is nice. You feel special eating there.

Taqueria La Mexicana, Union Sq, Somerville
For my money, the best down and dirty taqueria in the area, with killer poblanos, wonderful taquitos, and the warmest staff around. A gem.

Gourmet Dumpling, Boston
Their dumplings are yeasty clouds of bliss, and I love their chicken with "mayo" and oyster pancakes...gooey, gummy, yummy.

Diva Indian, Davis Sq., Somerville
You cannot beat their 2-person meal for $29, which will feed you for several days--every permutation of curry, appetizer, salad, dessert--never had a bad meal here. Very rich, very good.

Mr. Bartleys, HSQ
I come here seeking comfort, not atmosphere. A frappe and some onion rings, and I am right as rain.

Sofra, Cambridge
Not a gigantic fan of Sofra's layout (never a seat), and I have endured some oily sandwiches here. No, I love their eggs in rich, tangy tomato sauce. I'd drive miles for this dish.

Feel free to add your own stand-bys. I'll be thinking of more.

Chau Chow City
81 Essex St, Boston, MA 02111

1 Belmont St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Island Creek Oyster Bar
500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

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  1. We don't regularly eat at the higher end restaurants unless we have guests up. And we are trying to expand and not keep going to to the same place over and over.

    But these are the restaurants/bars that we find ourselves going to frequently:

    el Pelon- I have found that there is no hope fighting a burrito craving. And I am a fan of their fish tacos.

    Green Street- Great for cocktails and pre-dinner snacks.

    CBC- BF works in the area and it is a great place for after work beer and a pre-dinner snack. Their pizzas are surprisingly good. It's also a great place to sit outside when the weather is nice.

    Lord Hobo- As an alternate to CBC. Great beer list, decent food specials.

    Corner Tavern- I love their sandwiches and the 1st Friday Chicken and Waffles. The staff is friendly and I can always get my game on a tv.

    To save money we have started doing "movie and lunch" by going to the movies sunday morning and over to Chinatown for lunch. So for dim sum either China Pearl or Winsor, Pho Pasteur when it's cold and we want soup, or Peach Farm for seafood.

    And finally when the weather is nice, Speed's for a post-volunteering hot dog.

    Peach Farm
    4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

    China Pearl Restaurant
    9 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

    Pho Pasteur Restaurant
    682 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111

    Lord Hobo
    92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

    1 Reply
    1. re: viperlush

      sichuan gourmet in billerica (could eat here couple times a week, addicted to their dan dan noodles and wontons in chili sauce (and more), love Pho 88 %? Lowell, and love sukuras in Chelmford for sushi

      Pho 88
      1270 Westford St, Lowell, MA 01851

    2. I have a fair few - Sichuan Gourmet, Winsor, the James's Gate and the Behan (they feel like proper pubs!) - but when I need to feel like humanity might not be entirely doomed, I go to Regina's on Thacher, I curl up at the bar, and I order myself a small cheese, well-done. It never fails to fix me.

      James's Gates
      5 McBride St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

      Sichuan Gourmet
      1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

      1. Chau Chau City woburn???? Never heard of this. Do you mean China Pearl maybe?

        China Pearl Restaurant
        288 Mishawum Rd, Woburn, MA 01801

        1. I don't go out for expensive meals very often, so my choices are on the lower price range. And I cook a lot at home, but do love to eat out in ethnic spots (things I don't make at home).

          Three Amigos - Stoneham. Great small family style Mexican place. Ask for any substitute and they are extremely obliging and helpful.

          Pho1 - Woburn. Again, small local family run Vietnamese.

          Zaleks - Wakefield. I love their gilled fish specials and their sweet potato fries.

          Billy - Wakefield. Great fish and chips place (fried food or roast beef only).

          Rang Bistro - Stoneham. Great Indian food, local family place.

          Kyota - Stoneham. Japanese and sushi.

          1. Agreed on Mr Bartleys. I've never had a bad burger there.

            Mostly a take-out place, but the sandwiches at Davis Square's Deli-icious are always tops.

            Somerville's Greek Corner has the best Greek food in town, as far as I've found.

            Arlington's Pasha does consistently good Turkish food; their iskender kebab is always great.

            I've never had a bad meal at Solea in Waltham.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Boston_Otter

              Do you mean the Greek Corner on Mass Ave. in No. Cambridge?

              Greek Corner Restaurant
              2366 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

              1. re: chuck s

                That's the one. It's on the edge of Somerville, so I'm in the habit of thinking of it as a Somerville restaurant.

              2. re: Boston_Otter

                I was very disappointed by my lunch at Pasha.

                1. re: tatsu

                  That's a shame, I've never had a bad meal there, though I think they changed chefs recently; several apps have changed dramatically recently and the iskender kebab isn't as spicy.