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Where to dine between Cambridge and Ayer, MA?

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Oddly, Concord (which would be a logical halfway point) is devoid of good restaurants save the very pricy 80 Thoreau. I'm looking for a good place for a ladies' night, nothing too fancy or splurge-y, but preferably someplace slightly better than Applebees. Western suburban Hounds, any recs?

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  1. The 99 in West Concord and Not Your Average Joe's in Acton are both slightly better than Applebees. ;-)

    Papa Razzi in Concord? Il Forno in Acton?

    There also plenty of places in Arlington and Waltham that are recommended here if you feel like using the search button at the top of this page.

    1. La Provence and Paparazzi are both in Concord. Fishbone's in Chelmsford.

      1. You could also try Atlantic Sea Grill in Acton. The food is good and reasonable. Main Street Market and Cafe in Concord is also good.

        1. The restaurant (J's) at Nashoba Valley Winery is quite nice.

          1. Maybe Chloe Bistro in Hudson? Its not too fancy, but cozy and nice atmosphere. Its a ways off route 2 though, which is probably further south than you want to be.

            1. 31 Main and the Wholesome Cafe are both in Ayer. 31 Main is better for atmosphere and drinks while the Wholesome Cafe has delicious organic & veggie-style fare.

              In Groton, try the Gibbet Hill Grill which is outstanding (though comparable in price to 80 Thoreau).

              Hey, in Arlington, you couldn't go wrong eating at Za's.

              3 Replies
              1. re: lescaret

                Thanks, all. We're striving for a halfway point between Ayer and Arlington to eliminate lots of driving. At the moment, we've settled on Serafina in Concord, though please tell me if this is a bad idea. I've had truly horrid meals at Papa Razzi by the rotary and at Il Forno in Acton. Why are there so few decent restaurants in such an affluent area? People would certainly be willing to pay for good food. I suppose that's a new thread, though.

                1. re: Swankalicious

                  actually, that's a pretty old thread :)

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/163960

                  1. re: Swankalicious

                    Belle's Bistro in Westford is a really great place for a girls night, done it many times. There is also Moonstones in Chelmsford where we have enjoyed wine and tapas.

                2. The Arlington folks will have a bit more of a hike, but it would be worth your while to detour up the Great Road to Groton and visit Filho's Cucina. As an added bonus, this is a BYOB, but no need to haul anything just walk through the back room to the General Store, where they have an excellent wine (and Scotch, if you're in the mood) selection. Filho's provide glasses, but bring your own if you're fussy about drinking from a proper wine glass...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: rubysdad

                    Filho's Cucina is a very good restaurant however on weekend nights it gets very crowded and you may not feel comfortable lingering after your meal.

                  2. AKA Bistro in Lincoln?

                    1. Admittedly, I have not been back to Serafina in about a year, but the last time I went there it was just acceptable. Not actually bad, but IMHO, overpriced for the quality of the food. Not Your Average Joe's, as someone already recommended, would be very convenient for your group as it is right off Rt 2. It will be mobbed if you're going on a Fri or Sat night, but weeknights are better. Less pricey than Serafina. Also, there is the Cast Iron Kitchen in Maynard, which is small but cozy. AKA Bistro in Lincoln is delicious with a good atmosphere, but pricey. I REALLY wish we had a few good, moderately priced places to eat out here!!!

                      1. Sorry for the late response. Some are better than others as far as being Chow worthy, but below are listed ones that came to mind for places we've enjoyed and thought worked well to catch up with friends the times we went. And hopefully are representative enough of varying style/flavor/$ in case that helps.

                        My assumption is a 25 minute drive for each is considered halfway? Some listed may add another 5-10 or so minutes to one or the other's drive, which I unfortunately still consider within reason considering the geographic challenge.

                        And as I am sure you already are aware, often a town may seem halfway, but depending where you select, you might find yourself spending as much time driving back roads to get there as it would have taken to drive all the way into Cambridge or elsewhere via "highways" and/or more accessible routes.

                        Being often in the same boat, and also always enjoying new places, I look forward to hearing where you ended up or other suggestions!

                        List (in no particular order):

                        Melting Pot, Bedford (I know it's a chain, but it really can be a fun cozy ladies night place for gathering and catching up. In fact, they do have Wed ladies night specials on occassion)

                        Sichuan Garden II, Woburn

                        Masa, Woburn (Although might feel a little long from Ayer)

                        Beacon Grille, Woburn (I prefer the bar area)

                        Burtons Grill, Burlington (Especially fantastic for accommodating vegetarian, gluten free, or any other dietary restrictions/preferences)

                        Tudo Na Brasa, Woburn

                        Summer Shack, Cambridge (An easy shot down 2 from Ayer on non rush hour/non game nights and a parking lot can make this surprisingly not much more effort for the Ayer person than some other "midway" places).

                        Pho 88, Lowell (Right off route 3)

                        New Jang Su, Burlington (Haven't been in ages)

                        Moonstones, Chelmsford (Mainly because of the round booth in the lounge! lol! Perfect for a ladies night gathering!)

                        Feng Shui, Chelmsford (I know some view Hibachi as tacky, but once there, we all know how much fun it can be with a group. lol)

                        Have fun and happy New Year!

                        -----
                        New Jang Su BBQ Restaurant
                        260 Cambridge St, Burlington, MA 01803

                        Pho 88
                        1270 Westford St, Lowell, MA 01851

                        Sichuan Garden II
                        2 Alfred St, Woburn, MA 01801

                        Summer Shack
                        149 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA 02140

                        Melting Pot
                        213 Burlington Rd Ste 100, Bedford, MA 01730

                        Feng Shui Restaurant
                        285 Chelmsford St, Chelmsford, MA 01824

                        Moonstones
                        185 Chelmsford Street, Chelmsford, MA 01824

                        Masa Southwest Bar and Grill
                        350 Cambridge Road, Woburn, MA 01801

                        Beacon Grille
                        400 TradeCenter, Woburn, MA 01801

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: volleydolly

                          Thanks for your responses! My friend veto'd Burlington and Woburn, so we ended up in Concord at Serafina. It was ravishingly mediocre. Fine in a pinch, though I'd never seek it out. Too bad, as Woburn's Masa and Sichuan Garden are both so tasty!! Ah well. The things we do for friendship.

                          1. re: Swankalicious

                            I'll meet you at Masa and Sichuan Garden! lol! Masa is such a pretty space too!! :)

                            Good to know about Serafina, thanks, as that was on my list too.

                            BTW, I had been thinking there were a few of you meeting, which is what some of my suggestions were geared toward.