HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Is there anywhere Houndish in the Stoneham-Wakefield-Melrose area?

Mr. Swank and I are visiting a friend in Melrose on Sunday evening. Any recommendations? We've been to the Mexican spot and were pretty unimpressed, also went to a bistro that I keep wanting to call Bear & Sterns -- it was OK but not wonderful, either. Fun holes in the wall/townie places are a-OK with us!! Any ideas?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not a hole in the wall, and the music can be a bit much, but Sushi Island in Wakefield has excellent food. Then head over to Meletharbs for ice cream.

    5 Replies
    1. re: beetlebug

      ditto, sushi island. there is ok za-za pizza in melrose on Main Street: I like the seafood at Turner's in Melrose fresh and simply prepared.

      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

        If you are referring to Caruso's za-za pizza on Main St, it has been closed for a few years unfortunately. The owner, Don Caruso, died and apparently his family is unable to agree on what to do with the restaurant.

        1. re: wandergirl

          Morena's in Wakefield does a very nice version of that pizza. (Sicilian style. Not sure that's necessarily the correct crust, but it's really good.)

          1. re: wandergirl

            Btw, it seems that something is happening at the Caruso's location: the signage is down and there seems to be some work going on. Perhaps the heirs sold the place?

            1. re: Karl S

              Very interesting! I happened to drive by tonight and saw the same thing. It would be great to have that space put to use again...either as Caruso's (but more consistent that it used to be) or something new.

      2. I'm not super familiar with that area but it looks like Malden is close to Melrose. Is that a reasonable option?

        Seems like Malden has a good dining scene?? I know Fuloon but I recall reading about other interesting sounding spots..Biryani Park for Sri Lankan?

        1. I have lived in Melrose for almost a decade now, and in my opinion the restaurant scene has only made one significant change over that time, and that is one of cost. Cheaper restaurants have closed, pricier ones moved in, but the quality has largely remained the same. Which is to say, meh.

          Turner's has been a perfectly fine place to have a meal for as long as I have lived here. While a seafood restaurant of consistent quality is certainly a nice thing for a town to have, there is nothing particularly remarkable about this one in particular. That opinion may be due to the fact that they have the kind of overlong, overcomplicated menu that often puts me on guard and looking for safe bets. Stearns & Hill suffers from this menu dilemma too, although I have found their food to be neither as well-executed nor as consistent as Turner's.

          I really enjoy Billy's Roast Beef on the Melrose/Wakefield line. They don't have the best fries, rings, or seafood of any Kelly's-style joint, but their sandwiches are pretty much the platonic ideal of a Roast Beef Sandwich. Pillows of medium rare super thinly sliced beef on a perfect onion roll. I like mine with sauce, cheese, and horseradish, and I usually just get a super beef with no fries/rings. Plenty of food on its own. Beware of the "plate" (or use it to your advantage): it comes with enough fries/rings for 3-4 people to share.

          The Mexican restaurant (Mexico Lindo) is neither authentic nor particularly good. That said, it is entirely possible to have an enjoyable meal there with some decently priced Mexican beer. Anything with the pork in salsa verde is ok, and the big "knife-and-fork" sized burritos are a better option than the plates that come with lukewarm chewy Spanish rice and pasty refried beans. The chile relleno is not bad, and the arroz con pollo is decent. Stay away from the mole sauce, which seems to be flavored predominantly with peanut butter.

          Sushi Corner in the center of town has its fans, but I (somewhat literally) can't get past the fact that they are located behind the Turner's dumpster. Also, I have had a couple of questionable sushi experiences there.

          Malden is in fact quite close (as mentioned by 9lives), and has many terrific options. Fuloon for Szechuan (and other regional) Chinese, Habesha for Ethiopian, and Biryani Park for Sri Lankan are all excellent. Bossa Nova does decent rodizio/buffet Brazilian, but you have to go when it is crowded. I have read about the Moroccan Hospitality Restaurant on this board and elsewhere, and it sounds worth a trip.

          Spice-N-Hot is pretty good for Indian, although I usually get takeout. Always best to stick with the daily specials. Not sure how the new location is for dining in, but it can't be worse than the old one, which was a couple of rickety booths from a 70s sub shop and an actual hole in the wall to the kitchen where one could order/receive food.

          3 Replies
          1. re: hcraddock

            Oh, Spice N Hot moved? I thought they'd closed and was sad -- saw their old place all empty when we went to Habesha recently but didn't dig further. Good to know.

            1. re: hcraddock

              There's also a good no-frills Moroccan spot on Salem St in Malden.

              1. re: nasilemak

                the slings and arrows will commence now,but i say yech to that place. double yech actually, but then again, it is 2 women with their own tragic history and as that, i do sincerely wish them the best.

            2. The chowworthy spots ime are Sushi Island (many CHs feel it is best or among the best sushi in boston), fuloon in malden (many detailed threads and there was a chowgathering there a few yrs ago) and biryani park in malden (you want a funky funky hole in the wall place > this is your spot.) Many recent threads w/ specific recs.

              3 Replies
              1. re: opinionatedchef

                The OP wasn't asking about Malden. I do like Sushi Island and like sitting at the bar and sliding some oysters and clams at Turner but, I find the area in general to be severly lacking.

                1. re: treb

                  treb, i think that if you think about it, you might see that swank was asking about nearby towns as well as her friend's Melrose hometown, and prob forgot that malden was the south/SE version of the N/NE abutting towns of Wakefield and Stoneham. Ironic that of all those towns,Malden has probly the best of the lower cost non Italian ethnic choices. imo.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    heheh..the real irony is that they ended up @ Massimo's - Italian in Malden ! :-)

              2. Did you try Three Amigos in Stoneham? I went there several years ago, and it was definitely Houndish. Seemed to be family run, charming in a totally hole in the wall way, and good food as well. It's a bit tucked away in a strip mall.

                And by all means, save room for Meletharb's ice cream, maybe you'll have another fiendish craving for a hot fudge sundae

                3 Replies
                1. re: gracenote

                  unless 3 amigos has completely changed in the last 15 yrs., i would def not recommend it.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef


                    I still go every couple of weeks, although I don't find it extrodiary in any way. I do love their salsa and home made chips, and mexican rice is good too. I would say they are standard Mexican fare in a Town where we have nothing else to choose from.

                    I heard there is a new Mexican in your Town, how is it?



                    1. re: mcel215

                      i looked at the web menu when they opened; it looked typically 'Mexican Gross' to me so i've never been. 10 minutes south of there is Tenoche in Medford Sq. -which has some worthwhile dishes that are better than most suburban Mexican places (but only if and when they get a real kitchen will we see what they are really capable of ,imo).

                2. I'll pretty much second most of what's been said above with the exception of Sushi Corner. Junji was trained under the chef at Sushi Island and if you get him, you'll get some pretty nicely executed sushi. Turner's dumpster is nowhere near Sushi Corner but it is an odd little forgotten corner and the restaurant has no ambiance.

                  To mention a few more that haven't meen mentioned:

                  I have not been back to Absolutely Fabulous in Melrose since our one meal there but not because it wasn't good, just because I don't typically go out for Italian. Friends love it though.

                  Bobby C's in the Pine Banks complex has good italian based on the one time I've gone (see above.) We were there on a capella night. I say this as a singer and one who has performed a capella music... I don't want a quartet hovering behind my table loudly singing when I am trying to catch up with friends. I'd try it again but not on a night they have performers like that.

                  Spice Thai in Melrose is not bad and is a good place to catch up with friends.

                  I am a fan of Cafe Molise in Wakefield and have always had good food there (and it's one of the few Italian restaurants I've gone back to.)

                  I have heard good things about Artichokes in Wakefield but have also heard they don't take reservations and it can be a long wait. Laurie's 9:09 in Wakefield is new (opened about 3 weeks ago by the railroad tracks) and is a Steakhouse/Raw Bar, which is different for this area. I haven't heard any firsthand reports on it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Chris VR

                    Sushi Corner is nowhere near the Turner's dumpsters, but it IS right behind the animal hospital dumpsters, and that's kind of nasty to see on the way in. Doesn't stop me from going there, though. I don't think the sushi is especially amazing, but it's good enough for what it is.

                    Spice Thai, in my opinion, is not good. The dishes I've had there were mostly very poorly executed. Sweet and gloppy, lacking the promised "spice." Although I think this might be a consistency issue, as I did have one good experience there. (I gave the place three tries.) I've had much better luck at Taste of Siam in Stoneham. (And they deliver to Melrose, so it's on topic.)

                    As for the upthread discussion on Mexican: I personally prefer Mexico Lindo to Three Amigos. Neither of them are excellent, but I find Three Amigos's food to be standard 'burbs Mexican and relatively lifeless. Lindo has its own faults, but the whole fried red snapper dish makes up for them, for me. I am also a fan of the ceviche -- especially on the back porch on a hot summer day, accompanied by a Pacifico or two.

                  2. Curious as to where people would say the best burgers are in the area of Melrose/Malden/Wakefield/Saugus/Stoneham? I'm always perplexed when in the mood for a good, non fast food. burger.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: crabtree

                      When asking about best burgers, it's usually wise to specify which of the two main types is your grail: thick hockey puck (Eastern style, typically over 6 oz) or flat patty (Western style, typically under 6 oz).

                      1. re: Karl S

                        I'm looking for thick(and juicy).

                    2. Not too far from Melrose, is Papa's Bar and Grill in Malden. They have the best burgers, even tho they aren't in Melrose it's not too far.


                      1. Bistro 5 in Medford has a good reputation - I haven't eaten there myself in a few years but when I did it was quite impressive, and recent reviews seem to indicate it hasn't gone downhill. That's pretty close to Melrose.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: BobB

                          West Medford is not that close. I can often get into Boston faster than to West Medford, FWIW.

                          1. re: BobB

                            i live 5 min from there but NEVER go there. it's fine but i never go looking for fine, even if it's 5 min away.
                            if you live in the boston-camb-som area, do not bother w/ bistro 5.just sayin'. but then again, you may be fine with fine.

                          2. The newly opened Phuket in Wakefield is phenomenal. They now have their wine and beer liscence too.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: shaebones

                              bones, it's thai? what dishes have you particularly liked? and what other thai places do you also enjoy? thx.

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                green papaya salad, fresh rolls, hot and sour soup, salmon salad, any of the curries,., pad thai, basil chicken. As far as I'm concerned, its the only
                                thai place in the are to eat!

                                1. re: shaebones

                                  Good to know sb, thanks. I used to frequent Zaleks. I'll have to try Phuket now, I love Spicy Thai Basil Fried Rice and usually go to Pho1 in Woburn.


                            2. Has anyone tried Lauries 9:09 in Wakefield? It is where Jag's was. Just curious.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: phonelady

                                I had dinner there a couple of months ago. It was a filet mignon special. The people who I was with and ordered it loved it but I didn't. My first one was totally overcooked and they replaced it as quickly as they could, but it came around the time everyone else was finishing up. It wasn't a cut I've previously encountered as filet mignon and the flavor just didn't work for me. Really nice people though, and I'd like to go back.

                                1. re: phonelady

                                  We had dinner there a couple of weeks ago- I would definetely go back. Good portions, SUPER nice and attentive (without being intrusive) owners, a great cocktail (which is getting harder to find) and reasonable pricing. I had pasta and scallops in a shallot butter sauce- ok- not rocket science but delicious- companion had lamb chops which came 4 very generously sized ones on the plate, cooked to perfection. Don't you hate overcooked meat? This was a perfect mid rare. Wine list a bit thin but priced well. I would choose this place over Molise (where we recently had a really disappointing dinner, despite good meals in the past) or Artichokes (way too crowded and pricey). Another good option locally is Cafe Italia on Water St in Wakefield- have had 3 really nice meals there- not flashy but understated, very solid food and wine- well priced.