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Central Square - best eats? best cheap eats?

Lucasmom Nov 3, 2012 06:40 AM

It's been a while since anyone has updated Chowhound's thoughts on Central Square Cambridge, overall. Thoughts on best eats? Best cheap eats?

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  1. FinnFPM RE: Lucasmom Nov 3, 2012 08:40 AM

    I'm not sure how people feel about Veggie Galaxy, but we really like it. It's a good time and the food is much better than what you might expect from an all-vegetarian diner. They do breakfast, dinner, and dessert really well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: FinnFPM
      smtucker RE: FinnFPM Nov 5, 2012 05:01 AM

      Veggie Galaxy has a groupon today.

    2. c
      clandestine RE: Lucasmom Nov 3, 2012 09:14 AM

      I'm a big fan of Life Alive, not that I'd describe it as particularly cheap. I like the lunch buffet at India Pavilion - it's a particularly good deal for takeout, because I can usually get two meals out of it. On the same block, I've had many a delicious shawarma from Falafel Palace, which has only gotten better since their redesign a year or two ago. Thelonious Monkfish is another place I really like - the rare pan-Asian place that does a good job with different cuisines. And the Szechuan menu at Thailand Cafe is awesome - just stay away from their Thai food!

      1 Reply
      1. re: clandestine
        Bob Dobalina RE: clandestine Nov 5, 2012 05:57 AM

        I second the good word on Life Alive - it is relatively pricey, but we have found the vegetarian food there to be much better than Veggie Galaxy.

      2. t
        TimTamGirl RE: Lucasmom Nov 3, 2012 09:30 AM

        River Gods and Green St are two of my Central Sq favourites that get solidly good reviews on CH, but I'd like to plug for the lovely and lesser-known Andala Cafe. Great coffee and tea, excellent sandwiches and snacks - try the Jerusalem egg sandwich - and good desserts and baked goods. It's all pretty well priced, too: not cheap, but very fairly priced for the quality and quantity.

        1. kobuta RE: Lucasmom Nov 3, 2012 10:52 AM

          For a nice sit down dinner that doesn't have to break the bank, head to Rendezvous - a board favorite, and one of my personal faves as well. Their Sunday prix fixe is a great deal, IMO.

          Izzy's is tucked in between Kendall and Central, but I think worth the short hike if you want some homey Puerto Rican and Caribbean food. Also a bit of a walk, but I used to really enjoy some of the dishes as Bakara Cafe. I haven't been there in a few years though.

          I have not tried Yoki, which I presumed has opened by now (it was close to opening when I was last working in the neighborhood earlier this year). It's Medford branch offers pretty decent sushi, which is sorely missing in this neighborhood. Not sure if others can chime in on experiences there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: kobuta
            mvi RE: kobuta Nov 4, 2012 10:34 AM

            Yoki is not getting a great response around Central Square, unfortunately. My own experience was abysmal.

            Not sure what the definition of cheap is out there, but I agree that Veggie Galaxy gives you a really good bang for your buck in Central. There's often a very hefty wait as a result. Save room for dessert.

            Thelonius Monkfish is also affordable and the quality of the food is really decent.

            Other options might include the Dosa Factory and Rangzen, especially at lunch. You can also get an amazing lunch for $10 at the Greater Boston Buddhist Cultural Center which is a short walk from Central.

          2. j
            Janeinma RE: Lucasmom Nov 4, 2012 12:54 PM

            Thailand Cafe -ignore the thai food bliss out on the schezuan menu.

            1. j
              jajjguy RE: Lucasmom Nov 4, 2012 02:18 PM

              Pepper Sky. Thai place on Pearl St.

              1. m
                mkfisher RE: Lucasmom Nov 5, 2012 06:13 AM

                Mary Chung's is still going strong.

                I will also second the thoughts on Rendezvous and Thelonius.

                My two meals at Veggie Galaxy have been pretty bad.

                Has anyone been to Moksa since Patricia Yeo left? I had some great dishes there. I also had some horrible ones.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mkfisher
                  Lucasmom RE: mkfisher Nov 5, 2012 06:28 AM

                  Actually ate there last night. While the place was pretty dead (tho admittedly it was Sunday night at 6:30), we thought the food was outstanding. The papaya/mango salad was delightful, crispy, and bright. The spiced edamame were a bit gooey, but actually yummy. We LOVED the roti canai, the shrimp shumai, and the spicy (salmon?) wontons. The Kung Pao tofu was also delightful and fresh. Plus when we said that one in our party had a peanut allergy, the wait staff were extremely solicitous and verified with the kitchen what he could/should not eat. All in all, successful, albeit VERY quiet.

                2. d
                  DrMag RE: Lucasmom Nov 6, 2012 04:46 PM

                  Another vote for Mary Chungs. The suan la chow show and ma po tofu are my must-haves every couple of weeks. Great, now I want them right now.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: DrMag
                    teezeetoo RE: DrMag Nov 6, 2012 08:13 PM

                    lots of good suggestions but definitely add Baraka Cafe, outstanding and well-priced North African food (Tunisia/Algeria/Morocco more or less). Another vote here for Rendezvous one of my favorites.

                    1. re: teezeetoo
                      jajjguy RE: teezeetoo Nov 10, 2012 06:22 PM

                      +1 to Baraka. I ate there for the first time recently, great Saturday afternoon lunch. Not exactly fast or service oriented, but pleasant, cheap, and very yummy.

                  2. j
                    jajjguy RE: Lucasmom Nov 10, 2012 06:21 PM

                    Down Western Ave twd the river, Basta Pasta is quite good for weeknight takeout, etc.

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