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Nov 21, 2011 03:18 PM

ISO Low-End Boston Food with "personality"

I am in search of places to eat for lunch on a Friday and Saturday.
Something in the $-$$ range (let's say 35 or under, all-inclusive sans drinks - or put another way, a place that's probably too cheap to be put on OpenTable). Would be going with company that's rather keen on remaining low-budget.

I am wondering if there are any particularly 'exciting' places that fit this criteria (using that word as such makes me cringe somewhat, so let me explain). I would be enthralled to find a place, for example, that does a particular dish/food or particular aspect of a cuisine especially well (as supposed to say a generic 'good brunch place'). Could be 'old school' or 'new school' and I don't mind kitschy - as long as it tastes good and is something that is hopefully in some way singularly unique

Some places that come to mind in other cities are XOCO in Chicago, Hot Doug's in Chicago, Katz's in NY, The Meatball Shop in NY, the Momofuku empire in NY, Umami Burger in LA, Philippe's in LA, John's Roast Pork / Tony Luke's in Philadelphia, The Cheeseboard Collective in SF... this list perhaps seems somewhat aimless but it's my hope that someone is able to continue the chain with a Boston destination. Help?

P.S.- In the past, I've done Neptune Oyster, Island Creek, and Galleria Umberto; Santarpio's is slotted for a last dinner this time around

Neptune Oyster
63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

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  1. I've never been, but it sounds like Strip-T's would fit in nicely.

    Maybe a look through the Ten Best Things to Eat thread for ideas too:

    Strip-T's Restaurant
    93 School St, Watertown, MA 02472

    2 Replies
    1. re: emannths

      Strip-T's would fit, but the interesting food is dinner only, I believe.

      I'd head to the Allston neighborhood, which is teeming with excellent ethnic cheap eats. Two of my favorites are S&I Thai which is a little hole in the wall with 3 tables and mind-blowingly delicious thai food (if you like spicy, try the duck larb), and YoMa for burmese.

      Alternately, you might check out Coppa in the South End. It's more towards the $$ end of your price range, but it's worth it.

      Strip-T's Restaurant
      93 School St, Watertown, MA 02472

      253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

      1. re: VintageMolly

        Nope, Strip-T's is interesting at lunch too!

        Going to the Super 88 Food Court would work for many different kinds of Asian food, as would Speed's Hot Dog Wagon for hot dogs, Chacarero for Chillean sandwiches, Clover Food Lab for interesting vegetarian food, Sound Bites for brunchy foods, Mike & Patty's for interesting breakfast and lunch foods, gourmet pizza places like Emma's, Veggie Planet, Pizze Pie-er, Max & Leo's, Cambridge 1 or even Pizzeria Regina. Parish Cafe, Hi-Rise Bread Company or Darwin's for upscale sandwiches, or Sam Lagrassa's for pastrami on a weekday. S&I Thai is a great suggestion as is Yoma. In Allston there is also Blue Asia at a similar price point.

        Coppa in Boston and the Momofukus in New York are both wonderful restaurants, and some of my favorites, but they are NOT inexpensive!

        Sam Lagrassa's
        44 Province St, Boston, MA 02108

        Sound Bites
        704 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144

        Strip-T's Restaurant
        93 School St, Watertown, MA 02472

        Hi-Rise Bread Company
        56 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA

        Veggie Planet
        47 Palmer St, Cambridge, MA 02138

        101 Arch St, Boston, MA 02110

        253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

        Blue Asia Cafe
        113 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

        Clover Food Lab
        7 Holyoke St, Cambridge, MA 02138

    2. I don't know if you want to leave Boston proper, but across the river there is Muqueca in Cambridge for Brazilian.

      1010 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      1. <I would be enthralled to find a place, for example, that does a particular dish/food or particular aspect of a cuisine especially well (as supposed to say a generic 'good brunch place'). >

        A few thoughts:
        In Boston, Myers+Chang does terrific small plates lunch on wkdays and dim sum on sat and sun, trad and creative both, and their bar is very inventive:
        Also, in Union Sq Somerville, Machu Picchu Pollos en La Brasa has whole Peruvian spit roasted chicken that has many CH fans. Also unusually succulent Peruvian tamales, and sandwich of roast pork w/ roast sweet potato and aji amarillo sauce.
        This is a long excellent thread on the various best Peruvian chicken places in the area:
        (For only the chicken (no tamales and sandwich) the winner is prob in Chelsea, Pollo El Chalan.
        Istanbul'lu is an unusual Turkish place w/ many CH fans; open lunch. Many recent CH threads, and reviews on their website:
        we have a new Sri Lankan restnt in Malden:

        Cafe Istabul'lu
        237 Holland Street, Somerville, MA

        Biryani Park
        105 Broadway (Route 99), Malden, MA 02148

        1. I like the Greek Corner for gyros and salad (or greek fries on occassion) - although sometimes they are a little salty.

          Greek Corner Restaurant
          2366 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140

          1. I'd also suggest All-Star Sandwich Bar, Alive & Kicking Lobsters, and (a bit further north) the Clam Shack.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Boston_Otter

              The Clam Shack? Do you mean the Clam Box in Ipswich, or is that a different place?

              1. re: Allstonian

                Whoops -- yes, you're completely right, I meant the Clam Box. My brain mingled it with my other favorite seafood place up there, Roy Moore's Fish Shack in Rockport.