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Dinner ideas in Watertown?

WilderPenfield Dec 6, 2011 07:49 PM

Being dependent on Arax, Tabrizi and Russo's, I'm a regular daytime visitor to Watertown -- but have never been in the area for dinner. I need to meet a friend for dinner somewhere between Arlington and Brookline. Gran Gusto in Cambridge is the only idea that comes to mind, and it's a good one; but are there others that I am overlooking? (Friend doesn't like fish, so no need to start the Summer Shack debate).

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    fantundo RE: WilderPenfield Dec 6, 2011 08:11 PM

    Check the recent thread on Strip-T' s and see if it's what you're looking for. The Deluxe Town Diner isn't fancy, but there's always something good to eat there. Gran Gusto would be quite a schlep from Brookline, especially at dinner time.

    5 Replies
    1. re: fantundo
      teezeetoo RE: fantundo Dec 6, 2011 08:23 PM

      Strip-Ts is delightful and surprising. stellina's is still comfortable and reliable. Casa Pedro has decent cocktails and ok food. Wonder Cafe is decent thai. Strip-T's has my favorite food but not much ambience to go with it, so it depends on whether you want cocktails, etc.

      1. re: teezeetoo
        Bob Dobalina RE: teezeetoo Dec 7, 2011 06:11 AM

        Agree on Strip-T's -
        Red Lentil has very good veg/vegan chow - no booze iirc.

        1. re: teezeetoo
          Pia RE: teezeetoo Dec 7, 2011 07:08 AM

          Teezeetoo, I think you mean "thai-wanese" for Wonder Cafe.

          Yes, Strip-T's, Red Lentil, Molana, Shiraz on out-of-the-way Bigelow Ave, and Stellina are the main dinner choices (for me, in that order) in Watertown.

          How about Kitchen on Common in Cushing Square in Belmont? Small, cozy place, good, reasonably priced food. http://kitchenoncommon.com/

          1. re: Pia
            fantundo RE: Pia Dec 7, 2011 08:24 PM

            Every time I suggest Kitchen on Common to friends, they go dubiously and leave a believer. I could have their mac and cheese more times a week than would be good for me!

          2. re: teezeetoo
            DeniseB RE: teezeetoo Dec 11, 2011 10:32 AM

            +1 for Stellina. Friendly staff, great food, cozy dining room.

        2. C. Hamster RE: WilderPenfield Dec 7, 2011 05:20 AM

          My current Watertown fave/crave is Casa del Pedro

          7 Replies
          1. re: C. Hamster
            Chris VR RE: C. Hamster Dec 7, 2011 05:45 AM

            We tried Casa de Pedro last month when seeing a show at Arsenal Center for the Arts. Our server was awful, kept disappearing on us throughout the night. We enjoyed the tapas we tried. My Pisco Sour was not good, nor was my husband's drink. Both tasted watered down. I'd hesitate to go back soon, although the convenience to the Arts Center means I probably will.

            1. re: Chris VR
              StriperGuy RE: Chris VR Dec 7, 2011 06:26 AM

              Count me amongst those who are NOT fans of Casa de Pedro.The food is bland and often poorly executed, the cocktails just plain bad. The shredded beef dish and the empanadas are the only things I will eat there.

              I also find Town Diner a very mixed bag for dinner and certainly not noteworthy. Better for breakfast.

              Far better options would be:

              Gustazo (new excellent Cuban place in Belmont), Shangri-La (awesome Taiwanese Belmont), Il Casale (Italian Belmont), Red Lentil (Superb veggie Watertown), Golden Garden (Manchurian food Belmont).

              1. re: StriperGuy
                C. Hamster RE: StriperGuy Dec 7, 2011 12:18 PM

                We always sit at the bar and have enjoyed CdP's cocktails quite a bit. We tend to go on the same days so usually have the same woman bartender. We almost always just order a whole lotta small plates and it's never been bland, with the exception of the pork arepas. Then again we go through a ton of their green sauce.

                1. re: C. Hamster
                  StriperGuy RE: C. Hamster Dec 7, 2011 12:58 PM

                  I think if you did exclusively small plates you could do okay at CdP. So many of the entrees have disappointed over the years that I really just gave up.

                  1. re: StriperGuy
                    C. Hamster RE: StriperGuy Dec 7, 2011 08:05 PM

                    Point well taken.

                    I've been very many times but always at the bar and almost always small plates and sandwiches. I could eat their yucca 24/7/365

                    1. re: C. Hamster
                      StriperGuy RE: C. Hamster Dec 8, 2011 06:37 AM

                      True, true. They do an excellent job with the Yucca frita. I LOVE fried Yucca.

                      Honestly it is really good boiled to and much less work/mess. I make it every so often at home.

                      1. re: StriperGuy
                        kimfair1 RE: StriperGuy Dec 8, 2011 11:48 AM

                        When we go to the theater in Watertown we usually end up at Casa De Pedro only because of the proximity and the fact that after work we generally have little time to go somewhere else beforehand. That said, all we ever get there are the apps (empenadas, shredded beef, the funky fried pork dish, fried yucca), and we usually only drink the house margaritas, or the jalapeno margarita, and we only ever eat at the bar. I had an entree on my first two trips there, but as others have stated they are extremely underwhelming.

          2. p
            pemma RE: WilderPenfield Dec 7, 2011 06:10 AM

            I have not been in a long time, but Stellina in Watertown was always good. If you want Thai, there's Amarin at Newton Corner. If Belmont works, Il Casale is very good.

            1. g
              gourmaniac RE: WilderPenfield Dec 7, 2011 06:11 AM

              Watertown always seems a little lacking for dining spots compared to its neighbors (Please correct me). In Watertown, how about Molana (Persian). Close by in surrounding towns, Vecchia Roma (Newton), Taqueria los Amigos (Waltham). In Arlington, Toraya, Katmandu Spice.

              1. l
                lergnom RE: WilderPenfield Dec 7, 2011 07:50 AM

                Stellina is a favorite of ours: creative N. Italian-influenced food with an emphasis on local suppliers. Decent wine, nice atmosphere, reasonable prices. We always get the warm tomato and goat cheese appetizer to split.

                1. MC Slim JB RE: WilderPenfield Dec 7, 2011 07:58 AM

                  I had a series of good experiences at Jasmine Taste of Persia while researching it for my recent Boston Phoenix review.


                  1. h
                    hyde RE: WilderPenfield Dec 7, 2011 02:23 PM

                    just to second the idea that wonder cafe is taiwanese not thai. that said, mrs. chen is great and with a little talk will make you about anything you want.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: hyde
                      StriperGuy RE: hyde Dec 7, 2011 05:26 PM

                      I like Wonder Cafe as well.

                      1. re: hyde
                        teezeetoo RE: hyde Dec 7, 2011 05:27 PM

                        thanks for the correction. My brain got tongue-twisted! I'm glad others remembered Wonder, which is a sweeter and better than average stop.

                      2. c
                        carneyvore RE: WilderPenfield Dec 10, 2011 01:38 PM

                        Grappa is a pretty nice Italian restaurant. Strip T's is dependable.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: carneyvore
                          WilderPenfield RE: carneyvore Dec 10, 2011 04:47 PM

                          Thanks for the replies; we settled on Strip-Ts, had a great time. Who knew grilled octopus and other treats lurked so close to Target and the Hometown Buffet? Strip-Ts definitely deserves a star or two as a great little neighborhood joint!

                          1. re: WilderPenfield
                            teezeetoo RE: WilderPenfield Dec 10, 2011 06:57 PM

                            thanks for letting us know you enjoyed it. glad to make such a great little place another customer and happy we steered you right.

                            1. re: WilderPenfield
                              bear RE: WilderPenfield Dec 11, 2011 09:10 AM

                              Glad to hear you had a good experience. If you have time, maybe you could post about your dishes on the Strip t's funkiness thread.
                              I'm hoping to get back there this week.

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