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Dinner ideas in Watertown?

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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  1. 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

      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

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

        1. re: teezeetoo

          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

            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

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

        2. My current Watertown fave/crave is Casa del Pedro

          7 Replies
          1. re: C. Hamster

            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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

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

                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                  1. 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

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

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: carneyvore

                          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

                            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

                              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.