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Dec 19, 2011 08:54 AM

Best of Brookline - 2011 Edition

We recently moved to Brookline from the other side of the Charles (yes, we went from Cambridge to Brookline, does that make us yuppies instead of hipsters now?) and would love get some help in the culinary department.

Back in 2008 there was a thread about the "Best of Brookline" but three years is a long time in the food world, so I am curious what folks might say is the "best in Brookline[ish]" now.

The reason I put the "ish" is there there are some places in Boston, Allston, and Brighton that are really adjacent to Brookline, but aren't technically Brookline addresses (that whole area by St. Mary's - I can't figure out where the Brookline town line is exactly, for example, as well as strips of Comm Ave that seem to be both Brookline and Boston depending on who you ask).

So far we've eaten at Brookline Family Restaurant (Turkish), Chef Chow's, Khao Sarn, Ginjka (sp) Sushi, Zaftig's, El Dorado Fish Taco, Bok Dua, Orinoco in Brookline Village (we've also eaten at the South End outpost, which we preferred, actually), Xenna's, Rami's, Rani's Indian, Curry House, and Zaftig's. We've picked up bagels at Kupel's and gotten to-go from Brown Sugar Thai and Mr. Quan's (both on Commonwealth) - but the last two may technically be Boston (again, I am not sure where the town line is). We buy bread and pastries from Clear Flour every weekend (that may be the culinary highlight of our move so far).

What we miss from Cambridge/Somerville: Greek food (we used to go to Greek Corner), relatively cheap and flavorful Indian food (are we missing something? Rani's and Curry House left much to be desired - one was fairly pricy for substandard fare, the other was uber bland though cheap -- this was an area that Cambridge really excelled), and restaurants that are conducive to having a relatively nice meal without breaking the bank. We're not looking for another Craigie on Main (which we love, btw), but is there anything else? I didn't realize how blessed, food-wise, we were in Cambridge until we left (and yes, I know it's possible to still eat in Cambridge, and we do and will, but there is something to be said for convenience, traffic, and parking stress/bus-waiting-time-in-the-cold).

Anyone have any suggestions? Apparently there is a tapas place down by St. Mary's that is pretty good? Are there any hidden gems we're missing? Lineage is also on our to-do list, but I am not sure what else we're ignorant of, and to make this more than just about us, I've broadened the conversation I hope!

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  1. A couple of other places off the top of my head:

    Washington Square:
    -Washington Tavern for a great burger/pub food
    -Cafe Fixe for great coffee/espresso (although they are a bit persnickety)
    -Athens (I think the pastries are great but those more versed in Greek cuisine may disagree)

    Brookline Village:
    -Sichuan Gourmet
    -Cutty's (sandwiches)
    -Matt Murphy's for a cozy drink (although I think it lost a little cozyness in the most recent redecorating)

    Not Technically Brookline:
    -Jo Jo Tapei
    -Pho Viet @ Super 88 (Bahn-Mi)
    -Audobon Circle (solid, cheap bar food)

    I've been meaning to try both Lineage and Cognac Bistro myself, both of which have their supporters on this board. I still tend to drive to Cambridge/Somerville for upscale or interesting menus and you may as well, but I do think Brookline has a lot to offer in terms of the places you want to go to weekly.

    1. I live between CC and the Village.

      Sichuan Garden and Sichuan Gourmet. The latter can be too authentic for US tastes; I had ma pa tofu last week that was drenched in Sichuan pepper, a taste unfamiliar to Americans and one you adapt to over time to like the quantity they dump on stuff in places like Xian. Chef Chow's is old school. I haven't eaten there in years.

      For good Indian food, I go to Allston, either Indian Dhaba or JMP in the Super 88 food court. Same for Cantonese: I get it at Kantin in the food court. (Also good roast duck and other roast meats you can buy on their own.) For Thai, I also go to Allston, to Brown Sugar for eat-in or one of the places, like S&I, for takeout. For Vietnamese, I prefer Le's and the place in the food court (especially for their tofu banh mi). In a sentence, Brookline has more upscaled ethnic food but it isn't always better or what I want. For example, Pho Lemon Grass in CC is fine but I don't like it as much as others. I would, however, go to Michael's Deli over any other in the area.

      There are a gazillion choices - over 100 in a mile radius of my house - and much depends on personal preference. I'm not a big fan of Yasu, but I know people who like it a lot. Others like Zenna Noodle Bar. We cook a lot and well so our eating out interests differ from many.

      Taberna de Haro is quite good, especially on a warm day when you can sit outside. It's much better when you drink and take your time.

      1. To add a few more- Japonaise Bakery, Shawarma King, the Spa, Beacon Tavern, Matt Murphy's, The Abbey, the Busy Bee and Audobon (over the line but almost in Brookline)..

        1. I live near St Marys and I get my indian fix from India Quality. Not Brookline but close enough, they deliver, and the food is great.

          Tatte has really good sandwiches, coffee and desserts.

          Publick House and American Craft for great beer selection and solid pub food.

          1. I'll add:

            La Morra
            Shiki (japanese)
            Bottega Fiorentina (sandwiches and pasta)

            It also depends on where in Brookline you live - that will direct you towards Allston/Brighton, Newton Center, or JP/West Rox.

            You won't starve.