Great lunch in Everett area
Hi folks - We are taking our boss out to lunch. She is a real foodie and we are looking for a great restaurant in the area. Dives are wonderful as long as the food is great. A festive atmosphere would be an unexpected bonus.
1) Any suggestions?
2) Can you rank my current short list, based on food, ambience - i.e. can we sit down (not Bob's) and wait time:
FuLoon, Malden; Chili Garden, Medford; Angela's, East Boston; Abondanza, Everett.
Am I too late to add my two cents?
I haven't been to Angelas, but I really like the other three and all of Aromatherapy's suggestions. (Haven't been to either Santarpios or Mikes Roast Beef).
It's hard for me to rank your short list because they are such different types of food :-) I would give the edge to Abbondanza for ambience. Moroccan Hospitality is wonderful food and owners/hosts but a bare-bones room; they do have tables that can be pushed together to accomodate a larger group (how many of there will you be?). Biryani Park is funky and fun, and maybe the most unusual (how often do you find Sri Lankan food?).
I haven't been to Habesha for lunch, but the pace can be slow at dinnertime. They also have tables that can be moved together. Abiata Cafe has round tables that seat 4, so it might be tougher to seat a group if you all want to sit in a row. Abiata will give you more flexibility on the food side, though. They have a broader menu with Ethiopian food, falafel and shawarma wraps (I haven't tried the Mediterranean side of the menu so I can't vouch for its goodness or badness), and they recently added sandwiches with grilled chicken, etc. You can order off of the menu or get their combinations of ready-made items if you're short on time. So if someone in your group doesn't like spicy food, or has to leave early, you could easily accomodate them at Abiata.
Another idea I'll throw out there is dim sum at Sun Kong. They offer it everyday from 9-3 (I think) and they seem to be pretty busy, even during the week. I;ve only gone on the weekend but one of my friends has gone repeatedly on weekdays and reported that it was just as good.
More on Abiata. A bunch of us tried it recently. I thought it was on a par with Habesha, which is to say, very good. We couldn't convince them to make the spicy stuff spicy enough, though (raw Kitfo and Siga Tibs (beef sauteed with green chili and onion).) But an unassuming cheese roll, spiced farmers cheese rolled up in injera, blew our heads off--too spicy for many. For me the revelation was shiro wat, a sort of gravy made from chickpea flour, which was just delicious (and astoundingly rich, considering). It's on the menu as Wed. and Fri. only (fast days), but was cheerfully prepared for our table of 6. We also enjoyed green beans, collards, lentils, and cabbage dishes. The room is very bare-bones and service was deemed authentically leisurely by a party member who's lived there. They also have a small selection of foodstuffs for sale, including the makings for shiro wat.
That cheese roll did me in, too - spicy and sour, too much so for me. I love the Enqulale Ferfer (eggs with jalapeno and onion) for breakfast, and the grape leaves which are stuffed with something I can't quite idenitfy (some of that chick pea flour stuff?). One time when I was in they had a side dish of sauteed mushrooms in the prepared foods case that was awesome, but I haven't seen it since.
A fun thing: I noticed that when the gal behind the register handed me my change, she held the money in one hand and used the other hand to support her elbow - a gesture that iId seen on our trips to Seoul (it's a way of showing respect - you use both hands to give and receive things). I asked about it and she told me that it's an Ethiopian custom, too.
Moroccan Hospitality, Malden (call ahead and discuss for best variety--formal menu is short)
Biryani Park, Malden (can be a mite slow at busy weekend lunch, DK weekdays)
Have heard good things about Abita (Malden too)
I like your short list--all sit-down; the first 3 should have reasonable wait times, never been to the 4th.