HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
What's your latest food quest? Share your adventure
TELL US

Rave for Arlington Restaurants

s
Swankalicious Oct 28, 2011 04:30 PM

Anyone who considers him or herself a "foodie" should seriously consider relocating here.
Over the past several months, I've been amazed with the depth and breadth of tasty places in Arlington.
A few of our favorites:

Sabzi: Delicious Persian in a warm, cozy room; very nice owners

Madrona Tree: locavore, burgers, California laid back service

Punjab: Upscale Indian

Zocalo: Very good Mexican

La Posada: Family-friendly, homestyle Mexican

Tango: Upscale Argentinean

Za: Fantastic pizza and salads from the owners of EVOO

Chilly Cow: Adorably old-fashioned ice creme parlor

Toraya: Best sushi in the 'burbs

Sweet Chili: Best Thai in the 'burbs (in my humble opinion, of course)

Menotomy: Friendliest wine shop in town

Blue Ribbon: Fab 'cue

Arlington is one heck of a town.

-----
Toraya Restaurant
890 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

Zocalo
203 Broadway, Arlington, MA 02474

Tryst
689 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02720

Chilly Cow
451 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

EVOO Restaurant
350 Third Street, Cambridge, MA 02143

Sweet Chili
470 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

Sabzi
352 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

Madrona Tree
315 Broadway, Arlington, MA 02474

  1. Boston_Otter Oct 29, 2011 07:41 AM

    I'd add Little Q Hot Pot, whose MaLa broth is a wonder, and Pasha, which is a little uneven these days but still has some of the best Turkish in the area.

    1. s
      Stride Oct 29, 2011 09:50 AM

      Don't forget Kathmandu Spice!

      -----
      Kathmandu Spice
      166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

      1 Reply
      1. re: Stride
        g
        grant.cook Oct 29, 2011 11:25 AM

        If only Il Casale had opened in the Center instead of Belmont

      2. StriperGuy Oct 29, 2011 11:32 AM

        I love Sabatino's Pizza.

        -----
        Sabatino's Restaurant
        735 Broadway, Malden, MA 02148

        4 Replies
        1. re: StriperGuy
          c
          Chef Bwana Oct 29, 2011 02:33 PM

          Sabatino's may have gone a little south these days. Last pie I got was way underdone (and I had specified well done), waxy and unpleasant. The crust seemed to have changed as well. I don't know what's up there. Hopefully it was an aberration.

          1. re: Chef Bwana
            StriperGuy Oct 29, 2011 03:06 PM

            That sucks! Thanks for the update.

            1. re: StriperGuy
              h
              hyde Oct 29, 2011 03:12 PM

              never liked the waltham location pie. always wondered if the arlington loca was different. when im over that way too much better stuff to eat.

            2. re: Chef Bwana
              m
              marcreichman Oct 29, 2011 06:51 PM

              As someone who lives very close to Sabatino's and orders there often, I can say that the quality is up and down, very inconsistent. Sometimes, not enough sauce, sometimes, weak crust, sometimes dead on perfect. The unfortunate part is the dice-roll about not knowing what pizza you're going to get!

              -----
              Sabatino's Restaurant
              735 Broadway, Malden, MA 02148

          2. h
            hyde Oct 29, 2011 11:44 AM

            a vote for thai moon.

            2 Replies
            1. re: hyde
              m
              marcreichman Oct 29, 2011 06:52 PM

              Doubled, tripled, quadrupled! How anyone can eat at Sweet Chili when Thai Moon is here blows my mind. That is some of the best Thai around. Our life is basically split between Thai Moon and Rod Dee Porter.

              -----
              Sweet Chili
              470 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

              Thai Moon
              663 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

              1. re: marcreichman
                n
                nasilemak Oct 29, 2011 07:30 PM

                Checked out Thai Moon again after a long hiatus...used to eat there almost every week when i lived in the area. And yes, that spot is much much better than the mediocre Sweet Chili.
                I was disappointed to discover that the ownership had changed and the food was respectable but not quite as strong as the previous owner's cooking. She has since moved on and taken over Erawan in Waltham, i was told.

                -----
                Sweet Chili
                470 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                Thai Moon
                663 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

            2. c
              carneyvore Oct 29, 2011 12:05 PM

              Ristorante Olivio is good too and even Jimmy's Steer House is far better than Frank's in Cambridge.

              -----
              Ristorante Olivio
              201 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02474

              Jimmy's Steer House
              1111 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

              4 Replies
              1. re: carneyvore
                l
                libertywharf Oct 31, 2011 05:57 PM

                I have been to both olivio and jimmy's and would go back to both.

                1. re: carneyvore
                  n
                  Northstar22 Aug 1, 2012 10:12 AM

                  Big fan of olivio's...Jimmy's seems as if they Changed the Beef they serve. Quality has been off.

                  1. re: Northstar22
                    l
                    LStaff Aug 1, 2012 10:42 AM

                    Had a strip steak at Jimmy's on Monday night. Just as good as its been for the last 5 years I've been going. My wife enjoyed her steak tips and scallops too.

                    1. re: LStaff
                      n
                      Northstar22 Aug 6, 2012 11:22 AM

                      Thats great to hear..I will make another visit.

                2. f
                  FoodDabbler Oct 29, 2011 11:07 PM

                  Good thread, but the OL (original list) is weak in many respects. Little Q and Kathmandu Spice are missing from it (as noted by others above), and extremely mediocre places (good god, Punjab?) are on it. Za is OK, but hardly fantastic. Chilly Cow may be adorable as a place that sells ice "creme" but its ice cream (or frozen custard) is just a little above acceptable.

                  As for moving to Arlington for the food, the Cantabridgian in me says Tamarind Bay (take that, Punjab), Otto or Gran Gusto (take that, Za), Toscanini's or Christina's (take that Chilly Cow), Rialto, Craigie, Oleana, Hungry Mother, Helmand, East Coast Grill, Formaggio Kitchen (take that, the rest of you).

                  The Belmontian in me says Shangri La, Eastern Lamejun, and Golden Garden, all of which are for what they do a cut above the places in Arlington mentioned in the OP.

                  The Watertownonian in me says Pshaw!, we'll keep our superb Strip T's and our Arax, you keep what you have Arlington.

                  Meanwhile what college-oriented, tattooed Allston is saying can't be repeated on a family board ...

                  -----
                  Formaggio Kitchen
                  244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                  Chilly Cow
                  451 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                  Tamarind Bay
                  75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                  Gran Gusto
                  90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

                  Hungry Mother
                  Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

                  Oleana
                  134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                  Golden Garden
                  63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                  18 Replies
                  1. re: FoodDabbler
                    m
                    marcreichman Oct 30, 2011 07:37 AM

                    I can't tell if the antagonistic tone of this is tongue-in-cheek or actually inappropriate. No need to rain on OP's happy post by listing a bunch of well known chow places around the area because you don't agree with all of the OP's choices.

                    Also, my wife and I love the chilly cow. They make a mean malt and where else around here are you going to get custard?

                    1. re: marcreichman
                      h
                      hyde Oct 30, 2011 07:55 AM

                      the upper middle newtonian in me says....um...."why do i always have to drive out of town?", yes, monitors, i know, i know.

                      1. re: marcreichman
                        f
                        FoodDabbler Oct 30, 2011 08:47 AM

                        In order to explain my tone my tongue would have to be out of my cheek wouldn't it? I'm afraid that will have to remain one of life's mysteries.

                        As for "antagonistic", I suggest it's hardly that to say that I found the OL weak. Neither is it antagonistic to point out that it's unnecessary to relocate to Arlington in order to eat well. The original contention, if left unchallenged, is likely to mislead people not as familiar with the food scene as you.

                        1. re: FoodDabbler
                          c
                          cambridgedoctpr Oct 30, 2011 10:27 AM

                          i would give the edge to Cambridge though Artlington is a great place, too. I would say that Artlington is there right on the heels of Cambridge. Of course, Boston is even better.

                          FD: i do not find your tone offensive.

                          1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                            g
                            grant.cook Oct 30, 2011 02:36 PM

                            Of course, as you move in closer to Boston, the chow gets better. And the further out, well you find a good restaurant here and there, but I don't consider Lexington for example to have much. And Arlington somewhat hinders its restaurant scene by limiting its liquor licenses, and that is not something that's going to change quickly.

                            I think in general, for its size, Arlington has an above your average suburb culinary scene, and that's what the OP was shouting out about..

                            1. re: grant.cook
                              c
                              cambridgedoctpr Oct 30, 2011 05:01 PM

                              actually, after cambridge, i think that arlington has the best restaurants in the burbs.

                              1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                h
                                hyde Oct 30, 2011 07:19 PM

                                and no contest for parking! pulled up in front of penzeys recently and parked legally right in front. try doing that at cardullos.

                                1. re: hyde
                                  f
                                  FoodDabbler Oct 30, 2011 07:28 PM

                                  There's no reason to go to Cardullo's, so the lack of parking isn't a problem.

                                  1. re: FoodDabbler
                                    h
                                    hyde Oct 30, 2011 09:30 PM

                                    ok fine. try pulling up in front of ten tables and being able to park. better?

                          2. re: FoodDabbler
                            opinionatedchef Oct 31, 2011 11:48 PM

                            in this case maybe 'antagonistic' = 'truthful'. i am completely on your bus.Living 15 min. away, and having tried most Arlington spots in our 25 yrs. nearby, i do so wish i were rah rah arlington, but i am not. We go there for specific take out dishes: beef empanadas at Tango, crab rangoon at Shanghai Village, beef basil udon at Sweet Chili . And w/ the accumulated CH raves this past yr, we must try Thai Moon again and Little Q Hotpot.
                            But OP Swank is a happy camper w/ Arlington choices and that is a good thing.

                            -----
                            Shanghai Village Restaurant
                            434 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                            Sweet Chili
                            470 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                            Thai Moon
                            663 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                            1. re: opinionatedchef
                              c
                              cambridgedoctpr Aug 6, 2012 04:00 PM

                              try little q; i really liked the place and the people.

                          3. re: marcreichman
                            o
                            owades Oct 30, 2011 10:45 PM

                            "Where else around here are you going to get custard?" Try Abbott's Frozen Custard in Needham, a branch of a chain based in Rochester, NY that makes superb custard on-site.

                            -----
                            Abbott's Frozen Custard
                            934 Great Plain Ave, Needham, MA 02492

                            1. re: owades
                              s
                              Spenbald Oct 31, 2011 01:22 AM

                              Also in Brighton!

                              1. re: owades
                                m
                                marcreichman Oct 31, 2011 08:51 AM

                                Good to know. Honestly, I think chilly cow is a fine place to go. It's obviously not going to be Toscanini's but for local convenience with a smile it's great. It's very close to home, so it's nice for an 'on a whim' cup of ice cream, yogurt, or custard.

                                1. re: marcreichman
                                  g
                                  grant.cook Oct 31, 2011 09:15 AM

                                  CC doesn't enter the top tier of ice cream places, according to my wife.. but its pretty good in her opinion. Ranc's over in Belmont is a nice stop that's not too far out of Arlington..

                                2. re: owades
                                  l
                                  lergnom Oct 31, 2011 05:33 PM

                                  Chocolate almond. Yum.

                                  1. re: owades
                                    n
                                    Northstar22 Aug 1, 2012 10:16 AM

                                    I take my kids to the Brighton Location..a little pricey but they love Abbott's

                                3. re: FoodDabbler
                                  g
                                  grant.cook Oct 30, 2011 10:17 AM

                                  And yet the great thing is that I live in East Arlington, and most of the places you mention are 15 minutes away from me..

                                  And although I love Arax, I much prefer having a Penzey's close by...

                                4. Bob Dobalina Oct 31, 2011 06:23 AM

                                  Swank - what are the Arlington places to avoid? I feel like there is a lot of meh there too.
                                  Tryst, for example -
                                  How is Scutro?

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                    s
                                    Swankalicious Oct 31, 2011 08:36 AM

                                    I've not been to Scutro. Tryst recently got a menu revamp and design overhaul. I neglected to mention it on my original list, and I regret that, as I've had nothing but happy experiences there. Same with Little Q. As for Kathmandu Spice -- the restaurant has been empty every single time I've passed by. I've not dined there, but I often wonder how they manage to stay in business.

                                    -----
                                    Kathmandu Spice
                                    166 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02474

                                    1. re: Swankalicious
                                      t
                                      tdaaa Jun 26, 2012 02:59 PM

                                      I made one trip to Kathmandu spice, and have to say that the food was better than what I ate when in Nepal, but was still bland enough to be impressively bland. Worth a visit to see what Nepali cuisine is like, but not really worth a revisit. I believe arlington and somerville have moderate Nepali populations, which may keep them in business.

                                    2. re: Bob Dobalina
                                      g
                                      grant.cook Oct 31, 2011 08:46 AM

                                      I've always enjoyed Tryst.. but I usually go to sit at the bar, have a cocktail and order their bolognese pasta dish.

                                      Not sure of where to avoid - I haven't had a food disaster anywhere. The places I avoided generally have closed. I consider the Steer House a bit old school, but maybe in 20 years I'll warm up to it when I am old school. I avoid Jam'n Java just because I can't stand the name, but its a good mom hang out place. Flora is good, but just never "wow's" me. There's a surprisingly large # of sushi places near the center, which I can't understand. And the Mexican place in East Arlington to me seems better than the one in the Heights, but neither one can serve you a margarita with dinner, which I dislike..

                                      I've never tried that Tiki In take out place, most of the "House of Pizza's" other than Sabatinos...

                                      -----
                                      Sabatino's Restaurant
                                      735 Broadway, Malden, MA 02148

                                      Tiki In Restaurant
                                      30 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                      1. re: grant.cook
                                        m
                                        marcreichman Oct 31, 2011 08:57 AM

                                        Tryst is decent, not great. For in-town quiet dinners it can fit the bill but my wife and I usually enjoy doing that at Thai Moon anyway.

                                        Scutra for us has been hit or miss, foodwise. The service is always friendly and the cocktails are good though, so we've been back a couple of times.

                                        Never been to Flora even though it's very close to us. The menu never seemed to wow.

                                        Jam'n'Java is nice because they still bring in some Carberry's pastries, have decent soup, and is a nice place to hang on a cool weekend morning.

                                        Zocalo is great to have up the street. Absolutely love their Pozole. Agreed on the lack of margaritas but at least they have beer!

                                        And for Sushi, we've really found that the different places serve different needs:
                                        - Toraya for awesome Agedashi Tofu, Chirashi, Bento Boxes, and just fresh well-prepared Sushi
                                        - Midami when we want some more glitzy maki and/or a mix of cuisines. Usually delivery.
                                        - Manna is nice because they do some Korean options very well in addition to well-prepared maki, but it's a little small.
                                        - Mr. Sushi, not a fan. My wife felt a little ill after we ate there.

                                        We haven't been to the newish place near Gemma/CVS except for once for Chinese lunch buffet. Seemed expensive and lame.

                                        -----
                                        Toraya Restaurant
                                        890 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                                        Thai Moon
                                        663 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                                        Zocalo
                                        35 Stanhope St, Boston, MA 02116

                                      2. re: Bob Dobalina
                                        digga Oct 31, 2011 07:59 PM

                                        Neither Tryst nor Scutro have wowed us, but we appreciate having someplace nice for a drink and some apps within biking distance of home. We only have an n=1 at both places, so I reserve making a final judgement. We do know that the Scutra folks are Arlington residents and are very committed to the town.

                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                          opinionatedchef Oct 31, 2011 11:52 PM

                                          OMG bob and swank, pleeeeze do not venture into scutro. never never never.

                                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                                            Bob Dobalina Nov 1, 2011 06:46 AM

                                            Can you please elaborate on your experiences?

                                            1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                              opinionatedchef Nov 1, 2011 01:50 PM

                                              chef was cooking that night; worst entree i have ever had, bar none. i seem to remember some horrific abuse of liquer that reflected someone who really did not know what they were doing. long ago. but traumatic enough . ymmv but i had hoped to save you the yech.

                                              1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                Bob Dobalina Nov 2, 2011 06:47 AM

                                                I have peered in the windows before and taken a pass - appreciate the warning and it is much more valuable with some context.

                                        2. Boston_Otter Oct 31, 2011 09:19 AM

                                          I'd also mention three other favorites:
                                          • Quebrada Bread Co for pastries (love their croissants) and Dancing Goat coffee.
                                          • Barismo for some of the best coffee in the city.
                                          • And, a guilty pleasure, the little ice cream shop in the Capitol Theater. Nothing amazing, but they have Richardson's ice cream, real whipped cream, brownies and cookies from Quebrada (get the ice cream sandwich!) and even maraschino cherries marinated in Monster energy drink. You know, for the kids!

                                          1. a
                                            AaronInBoston Oct 31, 2011 09:30 AM

                                            We're coming up on 3 years in Arlington and love it because of the restaurants. The parking is significantly better than Cambridge. I agree Cambridge has better restaurants but Arlington is a lot easier to get around. I disagree that Watertown or Belmont are as good as Arlington as foodie towns. I think the OP is missing a few great restaurants such as; Flora, Little Q Hotpot, and Manna sushi. Arlington is lacking very few cuisines and has a good place (or 2) for just about everything you could want.

                                            18 Replies
                                            1. re: AaronInBoston
                                              g
                                              grant.cook Oct 31, 2011 10:17 AM

                                              Well, they sure could use a good bahn mi place.... or a really focused Vietnamese place in general.

                                              And although the Meat House is nice, I wish we had some 60 year old Italian butcher cutting up some pork to order..

                                              -----
                                              The Meat House
                                              1285 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                              1. re: grant.cook
                                                a
                                                AaronInBoston Oct 31, 2011 10:27 AM

                                                I agree with you Grant, the one food I crave often that we don't have is Vietnamese. Not expecting banh mi to make it out here,, but good pho and vermicelli/rice plates would be great.

                                                1. re: AaronInBoston
                                                  m
                                                  marcreichman Oct 31, 2011 10:34 AM

                                                  Yeah. Lady Siam is terrible. We usually go to Belmont Pho and Thai or Somerville Pho 'n Rice when we need a local Vietnamese fix.

                                                  We truck it to allston for a Banh Mi at Super 88.

                                                  -----
                                                  Pho 'n Rice
                                                  289 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA 02143

                                                  1. re: marcreichman
                                                    Boston_Otter Oct 31, 2011 11:22 AM

                                                    The best Banh Mi in the local area could, up until recently, be found at Foundry on Elm in Davis Square. Best I've had outside of Chinatown. Doesn't seem to be on the current Fall menu though, sadly.

                                                    1. re: Boston_Otter
                                                      opinionatedchef Oct 31, 2011 11:56 PM

                                                      that's the first i've heard of that. cool. a bit more than $3.50 though, yes?

                                                    2. re: marcreichman
                                                      a
                                                      AaronInBoston Oct 31, 2011 11:34 AM

                                                      Lady Siam has really good Thai food, but yes their Vietnamese food doesn't compare to a Vietnamese restaurant.

                                                      1. re: AaronInBoston
                                                        m
                                                        marcreichman Oct 31, 2011 11:37 AM

                                                        I'll admit; I've only had the Vietnamese food and it was terrible. I suppose we did start with an order of Shumai, which were stone-cold frozen in the center...

                                                        I wouldn't imagine why someone would go there for Thai when Thai Moon is just down the street, and Rod Dee isn't very far into Cambridge.

                                                        -----
                                                        Thai Moon
                                                        663 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                                                        1. re: marcreichman
                                                          s
                                                          Swankalicious Oct 31, 2011 04:17 PM

                                                          I did think of a few places to avoid. Nicola Pizza has always been very "meh." Comella's, which just moved next door to the theater, also seems rather gross -- huge "messes" of pasta don't really appeal to me. I'm sure it's fine, but I'm certainly not going to go out of my way to dine there. Lady Siam is another one that I wouldn't seek out, and it's also curiously empty almost all the time. Jade Garden and Shangai Village are your typical suburban chinese spots -- nothing horrible but certainly not great. I got violently ill after eating at Midami, which is a shame, because the staff is so friendly. But I'm not going to risk going back. Ristorante Olivio is mediocre at best. Ditto Jimmy's, though it seems to appeal to the older set. There's a kind of grimy looking spot in E Arlington called Tiki In (?); I've never dined there, but it looks a bit...grungy. Panera for sandwiches is fine but, again, I wouldn't seek it out. Best pizza for my money is Villa in the Heights.

                                                          Also - Fresh Pond Seafood just relocated here. Tasty!

                                                          -----
                                                          Ristorante Olivio
                                                          201 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02474

                                                          Comella's
                                                          1302 Washington St, Newton, MA 02465

                                                          Tiki In Restaurant
                                                          30 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

                                                          1. re: Swankalicious
                                                            b
                                                            bear Oct 31, 2011 04:36 PM

                                                            Totally agree about the pasta "messes" at Comella's. Soggy pasta and overly sweet and herby sauce. There are a couple of good things on the menu, though. The Italian is serviceable, the sweet potato ravioli is tasty paired with Alfredo sauce, and the $5 large cheese pizza is a value. Not amazing, but not bad and the price can't be beat.

                                                            -----
                                                            Comella's
                                                            1302 Washington St, Newton, MA 02465

                                                            1. re: Swankalicious
                                                              Boston_Otter Oct 31, 2011 08:28 PM

                                                              The 'messes' at Comella's are okay once in a very great while as a sort of guilty-pleasure comfort food -- at least for those of us whose idea of Italian while growing up was sugary-sweet Prego sauce on overcooked spaghetti. It's not high class Italian, but it's cheap and plentiful.

                                                              1. re: Swankalicious
                                                                n
                                                                Northstar22 Aug 1, 2012 10:23 AM

                                                                swank..What do you find Mediocre about Olivio's? I have been going pretty regularly since They opened and i have always found it to be enjoyable. Can be loud when both the bar and Lounge are full but I find the menu creative with lots of interesting Choices. Looking forward to my next visit.

                                                                1. re: Northstar22
                                                                  t
                                                                  tdaaa Aug 7, 2012 12:23 PM

                                                                  Muddy, undifferentiated flavors. Lack of imagination in the menu.

                                                                2. re: Swankalicious
                                                                  f
                                                                  FoodTruth Sep 29, 2012 02:14 PM

                                                                  Second on Fresh Pond Seafood. My wife and I went in on Friday and split a fried clam platter and lobster roll. Both were delicious!

                                                          2. re: AaronInBoston
                                                            MrsCheese Oct 31, 2011 09:59 PM

                                                            When we lived in Arlington, we used to go to Medford for Vietnamese. Pho Yan, I think? Is it still there? Totally not special compared with Boston Vietnamese, but it worked in a pinch.

                                                            1. re: MrsCheese
                                                              m
                                                              marcreichman Nov 1, 2011 07:14 AM

                                                              Pho Yan closed a couple of years ago.

                                                              -----
                                                              Yan's Cafe
                                                              217 Lewis St, Lynn, MA 01902

                                                        2. re: AaronInBoston
                                                          l
                                                          LovinYankeeBarbecue Oct 31, 2011 08:59 PM

                                                          I clicked on this thread because I agreed with the initial premise that Arlington has plenty of great spots to eat. I'm amused to see the townie spirit crop up. It's like, who would go to a restaurant that's in ANOTHER TOWN?

                                                          If you have access to a car, Arlington Center and Mass Ave are easily accessible from Belmont. So is all of Watertown and Waltham as far as Moody Street. I'd say we all live within fifteen minutes or so of great eats. Cheers to that.

                                                          1. re: LovinYankeeBarbecue
                                                            f
                                                            FoodDabbler Oct 31, 2011 10:38 PM

                                                            Hey, I'd rather not leave my street, and you want me to go to another town?

                                                            OK, OK, I can't find my tongue, so either I ate the wrong one when I had tongue tacos last night, or it must be lodged in my cheek. It *does* get confusing, though, when you're new here and are used to towns and cities separated from each other by stretches of nothing. You hear of places you might to go to in other towns -- Somerville, Arlington, Belmont, Cambridge -- and it takes a while to realize that you can walk across a bridge from Boston to Cambridge, or that Cambridge and Somerville sleep plastered to each other so incestuously close that if they weren't just good friends it would be illegal.

                                                            1. re: FoodDabbler
                                                              l
                                                              LovinYankeeBarbecue Nov 1, 2011 07:59 AM

                                                              Yes, it's taken my wife, who's from rural Maine, several years to get used to crossing the street and being in another town. On the flipside, I've had to remind her at times that just because something around here is 20 miles away, it's not 20 -minutes- away!

                                                              Glad people are so psyched about Arlington. Growing up, I don't think it was a place you would have said had a "food scene". Just one more way things around here have changed for the better.

                                                        3. Ferrari328 Jun 26, 2012 01:29 PM

                                                          Was going to try the Manna House today since they now are operating as a Korean Restaurant. I got there just before noon since parking is notoriously difficult here unless you want to pay and I don't. They don't open until noon so I hung around outside until 5 past and then went back in. Nobody there. Waited and yelled for a while and then the young guy who was sweeping the place earlier did come out. I asked for lunch menu, got the dinner one, found the lunch one on my own but still no staff so after 10 minutes I left and will not be back. Well, I stopped back after having lunch elsewhere and told them about the miserable previous attempt and that they lost a customer. Lunch menu is on the expensive side with Bento Boxes starting at 10.95. Lunch dishes have only Korean names so unless you are familiar with the dishes already it's hard to know what to order, I know you can always ask but it's cumbersome.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Ferrari328
                                                            a
                                                            AaronInBoston Jun 26, 2012 03:08 PM

                                                            We always love our meals at Manna House. Disappointed to hear about your experience. We I know they struggle business wise, a lot of times we go for dinner it's quiet in there and the one time we did lunc we were the only people there. Maybe they were not expecting anyone. I would go back for a friday/saturday dinner, they have some great korean food. We love the kimchi or seafood pancake, unagi okdol, soon tofu jigae, and their side dishes are really good as well. It's one of our favorite places in the area, and my favorite in Arlington.

                                                          2. k
                                                            KevinJF Aug 6, 2012 11:02 PM

                                                            I just went to Tango for the first time. I thought the food was solid, but the wine program was better than expected with a great selection of wine from Argentina. The pricing was also good-there are some reduced bottles.

                                                            19 Replies
                                                            1. re: KevinJF
                                                              s
                                                              Swankalicious Aug 8, 2012 06:29 PM

                                                              Anyone been to Punjabi Tadka yet?

                                                              1. re: Swankalicious
                                                                opinionatedchef Aug 9, 2012 02:13 AM

                                                                swank, i'm curious- you began this thread 10 months ago and you were quite effusive about your listed restnts. Do you still feel the same about them?

                                                                1. re: opinionatedchef
                                                                  s
                                                                  Swankalicious Sep 30, 2012 08:12 AM

                                                                  Hello! Well, let's see -- here are my updates!
                                                                  Sabzi: Delicious Persian in a warm, cozy room; very nice owners
                                                                  Update: Haven't been back in a little bit. I hope they're doing OK. I have driven by and it's seemed quiet. The owners *are* lovely.

                                                                  Madrona Tree: locavore, burgers, California laid back service
                                                                  Update: Had a truly disgusting grilled cheese here recently (uncooked cheese on two soggy slices of bread). Wish they had a bigger space. Still think they fill a great niche in Arlington for healthy burgers,

                                                                  Punjab: Upscale Indian
                                                                  Update: The new Punjabi Tadka might give them a run for their money. Service is nicer and prices are a hair cheaper at PT. However, I think Punjab might be more authentic. I've had overly sweet and dulled-down curries at PT.

                                                                  Zocalo: Very good Mexican
                                                                  Update: Haven't been back in a while. Wonder if the waiter still pushes the guacamole?

                                                                  La Posada: Family-friendly, homestyle Mexican
                                                                  Update: Same as ever. Love it here! Great lunch specials too (try the chilaquiles).

                                                                  Tango: Upscale Argentinean
                                                                  Update: Haven't been back lately, but I did see them on Groupon, which gave me pause...

                                                                  Za: Fantastic pizza and salads from the owners of EVOO
                                                                  Update: Good as ever!

                                                                  Chilly Cow: Adorably old-fashioned ice creme parlor
                                                                  Update: Good as ever!

                                                                  Toraya: Best sushi in the 'burbs
                                                                  Update: Good n fresh as ever, but their takeout business is sl---oooo---www!

                                                                  And a few updates:
                                                                  Savory Plate: I really like this place for to-go items, but as I've documented prior, I've had WEIRD service here each time. Always someone with a "and you're here...why?" look.

                                                                  Menotomy Wine: LOVELY! Lovely people, lovely service, helpful. BERMAN's, on the other hand, couldn't be ruder. I've officially stopped patronizing them due to their sour, surly service. Awful.

                                                                  Little Q: Good takeout in a pinch. Strange spring rolls, though -- rubbery.

                                                                  Sweet Chili: Best Thai in the 'burbs (in my humble opinion, of course)
                                                                  Update: Also love Tom Yum Koong in the Heights! Supernice.

                                                                  Blue Ribbon: Fab 'cue
                                                                  Update: Good as ever, though I wish they had more seafood items a la RedBones.

                                                                  I'm anxiously awaiting the two new taverns, Cooper and Menotomy!!

                                                                  Arlington is (still) one heck of a town.

                                                                  1. re: Swankalicious
                                                                    s
                                                                    Steve L Sep 30, 2012 11:20 AM

                                                                    Where and what is Cooper going to be?

                                                                    Couldn't agree more about Menotomy Beer and Wine. They're really friendly and helpful, a great local business.

                                                                    1. re: Steve L
                                                                      s
                                                                      Swankalicious Sep 30, 2012 05:29 PM

                                                                      Cooper will be in the town center, in the small plaza that houses CVS. It's going into the old Gemma space and, I believe, run by the same owners.

                                                                    2. re: Swankalicious
                                                                      r
                                                                      rknrll Sep 30, 2012 06:25 PM

                                                                      Re: Menotomy Beer & Wine

                                                                      This is crazy to me. I love Berman's, and everyone there has been really nice. I typically go in to buy beer and the previous beer guy was great, but he moved on to Arborway. My girlfriend has asked for help with wine and has been pleased. The same people have been working there for the past 3+ years it seems, and I've never had an issue.

                                                                      Menotomy has high prices and a severely lacking beer cooler. I even got some kind of weird "oh, may I help you?" after I came out of the walk-in the last time I was there, like I wasn't supposed to be in there or something.

                                                                      I won't go to Menotomy anymore, so I guess we cancel each other out on this one!

                                                                      1. re: rknrll
                                                                        s
                                                                        Steve L Sep 30, 2012 07:21 PM

                                                                        I kinda don't think you are supposed to go into the walk in there. I've only been to Berman's a couple of times and thought it was really good and the staff was helpful and friendly there too. I live in easy walking distance of Menotomy.

                                                                        1. re: Steve L
                                                                          r
                                                                          rknrll Sep 30, 2012 07:32 PM

                                                                          I realized when I got in there that it was smaller than my bathroom. Specifically, the Founders stuff hadn't been pushed up to the front, so I was seeing if anything else was back there. Either way, don't think I've ever seen a walk-in which customers couldn't go in.

                                                                        2. re: rknrll
                                                                          s
                                                                          Swankalicious Oct 1, 2012 09:34 AM

                                                                          So strange! I get a seriously AWFUL vibe from Berman's. There is one very helpful guy there. The younger employees all seem bored and annoyed -- one woman who works there seems downright surly. Never a smile, never a thanks, rarely any eye contact. I do think they have a larger selection that Menotomy, but I think the rudeness cancels out the selection! I have yet to try Giles on Mass Ave. Have you been?

                                                                          1. re: Swankalicious
                                                                            c
                                                                            Chef Bwana Oct 2, 2012 05:43 PM

                                                                            Clown Shoes Brewery is owned by the son of Berman's owner. Or something like that. I like Berman's OK. They import a number of wines. But if you're buying beer, and want somebody who knows what they're talking about, why aren't you at Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont? I lived across the street from Menotomy for a year, and went there maybe a half-dozen times. My 4-point rating system is price, convenience, variety, shopping experience. Convenience was the only high score.

                                                                            1. re: Chef Bwana
                                                                              l
                                                                              LStaff Oct 3, 2012 08:21 AM

                                                                              Berman's had the only Certified Cicerone in New England working there - funny how this is not true as their are others in NE, but they (the employees other than the cicerone himself) would force this douchiness on you whenever you had a question about beer that they couldn't answer - saying things like "if anyone can answer that question it would be him" - like you need to be a certified cicerone to know if you have a certain brand in stock <eyeroll>. The guy himself though was very helpful and knowledgeable without being pretentious as the other employees where about his "title" - I once brought some staling IPA back to the store, described the flavors indicitive of stale beer and he was much more understanding of the issue than any other retailer I have brought beer back to - and offered me a full refund.

                                                                              I wouldn't trust the other beer guys at all - once asked for their freshest hoppy beer and they recommended some stale Clown Shoes.

                                                                              But they carry a few brands I like to buy at some of the best prices in the area, so they are one of my regular stops to buy beer. Other than knowing if you have a certain brand in stock, I usually don't need help at a beer store, so I just ignore everyone in there and make my regular purchases.

                                                                              1. re: LStaff
                                                                                c
                                                                                Chef Bwana Oct 3, 2012 10:17 AM

                                                                                It sounds like the store for you is Shaws at Mt. Auburn ( think there is a connection with their beer guy and Berman's.). Nobody to ask questions of usually, but they score well on variety and price.

                                                                                Craft Beer Cellar is my main beer provider. It's a little slice of beer heaven.

                                                                                1. re: Chef Bwana
                                                                                  l
                                                                                  LStaff Oct 3, 2012 10:46 AM

                                                                                  I've visited the Mt Auburn Shaw's beer department quite a few times. I find their prices to be a little bit higher than most liquor stores - and freshness questionable at best - especially with non seasonal 12 packs.

                                                                                2. re: LStaff
                                                                                  okra Oct 3, 2012 03:09 PM

                                                                                  "Berman's had the only Certified Cicerone in New England working there"

                                                                                  That may have been true once. But there are many, many Certified Cicerone in New England today.

                                                                            2. re: rknrll
                                                                              digga Oct 2, 2012 08:42 PM

                                                                              I concur with rknrll about Berman's. Both the young and older wine guys have been nothing less than helpful. The young guy helped me more than once for special occasion bottles of red that were spot-on. Most recently, this week, I got a wonderful steer towards a lovely, dry, French white, Domaine Cauhaupe, that was marked down to $9.99 but tastes much more expensive. I'm going back to get a case. Love the big guy manning the register. We have had many good conversations about food and vinyl records (he's got a collection that numbers in the 1000s). Not to mention the Coop's ice cream in back....

                                                                              1. re: digga
                                                                                t
                                                                                TechieTechie Oct 2, 2012 10:46 PM

                                                                                Sabzi: Must try...but so far I have been spoiled by incredible Persian in Chicago (Reza's).

                                                                                Madrona Tree: Still like it. Somewhat inconsistent, but it's hyperlocal so to me it's worth it.

                                                                                Punjab: I think it's mediocre. Guru the Caterer in Teele Square is 100x better, but then again, its ambiance is non-existant.

                                                                                Zocalo and La Posada : Can't really comment. Mexican not my thing

                                                                                Tango: Upscale Argentinean. Me likey. Very much.

                                                                                Za: Personally, I like Nicola's thin crust much more, but Za has a better menu and ambiance. I really, really wish Stone Hearth was here instead of Belmont...but hey, it's only a 5 minute drive. Also, if you are getting in the car, Gran Gusto's (Cambridge near Alewife) pizza is very good.

                                                                                Chilly Cow: Me likey.

                                                                                Toraya: Don't eat seafood.

                                                                                Sweet Chili: Yum. Lady Siam's hot basil fried rice with crispy chicken is very good...but you are right, a Pho craving in the middle of winter is an unrequited lust here in Arlington.

                                                                                Menotomy: Agree.

                                                                                Blue Ribbon: Agree.

                                                                                Little Q...best Asian in town, hands down. Tho they don't make true Pork Chop with Spicy Salt (Chinatown's Peach Farm & Newton's Jumbo Seafood are my ideals)..which is disappointing.

                                                                                Comellas and Sabatinos are both very subpar. Comella's is a mess with an overly sweet marinara and any red sauce (and/or pasta) with carrots should be thrown out the window (Sabs)..although Sabatino's chicken wings and mozz sticks are good when the fried food craving hits.

                                                                                Manna: Good, but slightly on the high priced side (their fried dumplings are absolutely wonderful, great kimchee, bulgogi good). Service is a bit slow, even during a quiet lunch.

                                                                                Quebrada Bread. Oh, the pastries. Heaven.

                                                                                Tryst. Mediocre food, but great bar scene. Orleans and Five Horse in Davis have better food, IMHO.

                                                                                1. re: TechieTechie
                                                                                  r
                                                                                  retrofabulousity Oct 3, 2012 02:19 PM

                                                                                  Just a FYI Reza's in Chicago is generally not considered to be that great (many Persians consider it to be rather weak actually) so you might give some places in town a try.

                                                                                  1. re: retrofabulousity
                                                                                    Indirect Heat Oct 23, 2012 10:13 AM

                                                                                    Za: We also enjoy Za, and eat there regularly. While their crust isn't brilliant, the toppings are. (And they have a fantastic, rotating beer list). Convenient and delicious.

                                                                                    Barismo: Really should be the pride of Arlington. Best coffee in Massachusetts. Anyone else who is even close is probably using their beans. Looking forward to their new expanded location with space to sit down.

                                                                                    Quebrada: Very nice, classic pastries. We often make a breakfast of a pastry from Quebrada and a coffee from Barismo.

                                                                                    Tango: Their fried cheese is to die for. A cast iron pan filled with molten, seasoned cheese. Amazing. Their steaks I give a B+, good but not great.

                                                                                    Madrona Tree: Very, very disappointed by this place. It's run like it's someone's living room. Watched a manager's (owner's?) small child paw through and smash potato chip bags while screaming. These bags were placed back into the tray for later service (is this a health code violation?). It was loud, slow and expensive. The burgers were decent (but small) and the fries were straight off of a Sysco truck. Would not eat there again.

                                                                                    1. re: Indirect Heat
                                                                                      s
                                                                                      Swankalicious Oct 23, 2012 10:21 AM

                                                                                      Indirect Heat -- ha! I would describe Madrona the exact same way.

                                                                    3. Ferrari328 Nov 19, 2012 01:49 PM

                                                                      I thought that I give a shout out for Punjab. This is my goto restaurant for Mondays Indian Lunch and I have been alternating between this one and the new one down the street but Punjab is clearly the winner. It's also nice to eat in a restaurant that has customers!
                                                                      A nice window table on a sunny day. Lentil Soup is included in the lunch specials, nothing outstanding but nice, the condiment containers are spotless, never really thought about that before I noticed that they were not at the other place.
                                                                      Chicken Saagwala is a favorite, tender juicy chicken in a buttery spinach sauce. You also get plenty of aromatic basmati rice. This is really hard to beat for $7.95 and the service is excellent too.

                                                                      http://thedailylunch-woburn.blogspot....

                                                                       
                                                                      Show Hidden Posts