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Worcester for Lunch - must tries

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I'm local to Worcester but new to working in Worcester, so lunch in the city is a thing I've been waiting years in my professional career for. What I need from fellow CH'ers is must-try lunch recommendations. I work in the Greendale section so anything in Worcester is fair game, but the suburbs must be within 15 minutes or so (W Boylston and the east side of Shrewsbury are good)...ready? Go!

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  1. To help avoid repeats, here are the good eats I've found so far:
    - Ciao Bella: love their Chicken Parm
    - Oli's Eatery in W Boylston: so many good things to try, it's become a weekly lunch destination for lunch as I work through their vast menu
    - Egg Roll Lady: probably the best crab rangoons and egg rolls in the city, but there is only so much fried food one person can have in one meal (if only she could offer some rice or lo mein!). On the plus side, at the end of one meal she came out and shared a dessert of fried yams with a caramel topping!
    - NE Roast Beef: good Roast Beef but I've had better (like All-Star Roast Beef in Auburn), but as a sub shop they are surprisingly good! My current fave is "The State", which is a Chicken Salad (no celery or other fillers) with a couple slices of bacon and cheese on a sub roll...surprisingly good and quite filling!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jeremy01506

      Who is the Egg Roll Lady? I've never heard of her.

      Other good lunch places off the top of my head - One Love Cafe (slow but delicious Jamaican food), Pampas on Shrewsbury St. for Brazilian BBQ buffet, Bahnans on Pleasant St for delicious takeout, Spoodles on Main St for the best soup selection. Also, there's an Elsa's at the Summit which would be really close to you.

    2. I have had great meals at Theater Cafe on Main Street. Tiny storefront, husband and wife team...you can taste the love :)

      also, Da Lat for Vietnamese is one of my favorites. an order of spring rolls with their fabulous peanut sauce...i could eat it every day!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jmacd

        I do Vietnamese occasionally but the Theater Cafe sounds like the kind of places I'm hoping to find, I'll let you know my thoughts after I do.....

      2. If you are going for a nice sandwich try Big Joe's on Shrewsbury St. I recommend the #4- chicken cutlet, eggplant, mozzarella, roast red peppers, mayo on a nice italian roll

        1. Weintraub's for authentic Jewish Deli. Try the Matzo Ball soup. Great sandwich's. It's been around since the 1920's. Stop in the bakery across the street for dessert.

          1 Reply
          1. re: awm922

            Somehow I spaced on Weintraub's (and I've not only been there but I'm half-Jewish!), I see knishes for lunch in my future!

          2. Armsby Abbey is great for a casual lunch washed down with a great beer. Via has terrific lunch specials -- a really good deal -- the meatball sandwich and truffle/parm frites are really nice. Elsa's (Tatnuck, also on Rt 9) makes great sandwiches, as does Mina's in Holden (ask for a Viennese Special, whether it's on the menu or not). Dueling Indian buffets at Bollywood and India Cafe on Rt 9.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Rick_V

              Mina's? I am in Holden twice a month so must try this..will look for it. Not a fan of Bollywood.

              1. re: Rick_V

                armsby isn't a good choice if you're in anything close to a hurry though. if you only get an hour, save it for another time.

                1. re: Rick_V

                  Didn't realize that the Armsby Abbey was open for lunch, I'll definitely be trying that one, even if I have to go over my allotted hour! I'm not a fan of Bollywood but do hit the buffet at India Cafe every once in a while.

                  1. re: Jeremy01506

                    Rick, where is Mina's? I am in Holden for the weekend and Mom said there is no such place...LOL

                    1. re: phelana

                      Mina's NY Style Deli, which used to be in Worcester 20 years ago, was at 788 Main Street in Holden last I checked, which was admittedly a couple of years ago. Maybe they're gone. Tom Mina made a mean sandwich! He would lovingly assemble it, slice it in half, show it to you, and say "it's a beautiful thing."

                  2. re: Rick_V

                    I know this is a sub-discussion in this, but I have found the best Indian food in the area at Surya's at 299 Shrewsbury St. (used to be Sweetheart's across the street if u remember that place).

                  3. Just had a great lunch at Baba sushi....yep, they're open for lunch too! Mmmmmmm......

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Science Chick

                      your post seems vague? How is their sushi distinctive?

                      1. re: tiaotse

                        There have been numerous posts about Baba, so I didn't elaborate.....sorry! Here are some past posts to shed some light:
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/831239
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/835037

                        Wilson (the owner) has a boatload of awards (local as well as national) for his creative rolls and interesting creations. The sushi is probably the best I've had in MA, rivaling even Oishii in Boston. Impeccably fresh, spot-on and innovative flavor combinations and gorgeous presentation. Check it out!

                        1. re: Science Chick

                          Mina's has been gone for a while, they were short lived. There is a place up the street called the Specialty Sandwich Company. Very similar menu to NE Roast Beef, I guess they are somehow related. I prefer the Holden location better.

                          1. re: cloudship

                            I actually just tried the Specialty Sandwich Shop a couple of weeks ago and when I went in and checked the menu, saw that it does indeed seem like NE Roast Beef (which is always wicked overcrowded for lunch unfortunately). I had a Super Roast Beef Meal and...it was pretty bad. Beef was not rare at ALL and seemed like they overcooked a roast and then sliced it too thick, by the time I was halfway through my sandwich I started pulling off thick cuts of beef. Onion Rings were pretty good, fries fairly mediocre, but overall for a $12 lunch (with drink) pretty bad and I won't be back....

                          2. re: Science Chick

                            My coworkers and I did a Sushi lunch at Baba's a few months back and it was really good, although pricey. As much as I like it, Baba's is better reserved for dinner when you are not worried about the time and you can really enjoy the Chef's creations....

                            1. re: Jeremy01506

                              Just had an Omakase dinner at Baba last Thursday......outstanding! Apparently Wilson is in the process of opening a new larger place nearby, that will be more pan-Asian and have a bar atmosphere......looking forward!