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what are your (reasonably priced) standbys?

nyc_to_ma Nov 29, 2012 08:12 AM

I know similar questions are asked occasionally, but I dont see anything really recent.

I'd mostly like to know what your standby / fallback restaurants are. That is, the places you go for a fun, delicous, and casual night out when you don't have any special plans. Preferably under $100 for a dinner for two.

I'm mostly interested in Cambridge / Somerville / Boston, but I'd go to Arlington, Brookline, Newton, or towns north of the city for something really great.

We currently frequent Blue Fin sushi in the Porter Exchange, Myers + Chang, East Coast Grill, Flatbread / Sacco's, the Painted Burro, Za, etc.

I personally love places where you can eat at the bar or don't need reservations, places where you can order a bunch of small plates / appetizers, and places with great cocktials or beer. What are your 'musts' for a casual night out?

  1. s
    sun1234 Dec 6, 2012 04:17 PM

    Foundry On Elm
    The Saloon
    Five Horses Tavern
    Park Cambridge
    Gas Light
    Highland Kitchen

    1 Reply
    1. re: sun1234
      hungrytommy Dec 6, 2012 06:04 PM

      +1 for Park Cambridge - was really crowded when I was there about two weeks ago though

      I also end up at Eastern Standard a lot but again can get a little crowded


    2. m
      mwk Nov 29, 2012 02:25 PM

      Salty Pig would be my first choice, given your requirements. Great food, sit at the bar, casual, no reservations, small plates, etc. I eat there regularly, usually after shows at the Lyric Stage.

      1. d
        dulce de leche Nov 29, 2012 01:46 PM

        when having a bar or some ambience is important:
        The Druid
        Highland Kitchen

        and otherwise:
        City Girl
        Basta Pasta
        Pho & Rice

        2 Replies
        1. re: dulce de leche
          teezeetoo Nov 29, 2012 01:50 PM

          Prix fixe nights at 10 Tables, Rendezvous - Jo Jo Taipei and Shanghai Gate any night (no booze at the latter) - oysters at the bar at Lineage , Fireplace Grill for great burgers and good drinks, Estragon for good tapas at good prices

          1. re: teezeetoo
            Madrid Nov 29, 2012 02:06 PM

            which reminds me how much I love the Monday tapas at the bar at Rendezvous.

        2. n
          nyc_to_ma Nov 29, 2012 11:12 AM

          Great lists everyone -- thanks for the ideas! I always forget about Highland Kitchen and Gaslight, even though I love them both.

          1. ebone Nov 29, 2012 10:55 AM

            Downtown Boston:
            -JM Curley
            -Antico Forno (for N End)

            -Highland Kitchen

            -The Druid
            -Green Street
            -The Cellar
            -Russel House

            Small sample, but I'd say those are where we find ourselves most and we also like to sit/eat at the bar.

            1. p
              pollystyrene Nov 29, 2012 10:33 AM

              Tupelo-comfort food with a Southern drawl plus pies by Petsi
              City Girl Cafe-cozy, good & simple pasta & pizza, excellent value
              Gaslight-good cocktails, which you should limit if you're using the FREE parking

              1 Reply
              1. re: pollystyrene
                Bob Dobalina Nov 29, 2012 11:36 AM

                Second City Girl - good place that is perpetually under my radar.

              2. m
                Madrid Nov 29, 2012 09:41 AM

                if you go early and sit at the bar, Oleana.

                1. s
                  Splendid Spatula Nov 29, 2012 09:23 AM

                  We hit Chez Henri occasionally, after the dinner rush. Used to love Casablanca for this kind of meal, but not for much longer alas.

                  1. Matt H Nov 29, 2012 09:22 AM

                    Abigails, West Bridge and Portugalia are probably my 3.

                    1. Bob Dobalina Nov 29, 2012 09:18 AM

                      Highland Kitchen is my stand-by.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Bob Dobalina
                        misseri Nov 29, 2012 10:08 AM


                      2. Boston_Otter Nov 29, 2012 08:46 AM

                        Lately -- The Painted Burro, Bergamot, Solea, Strip-T's, Saloon. If there's time for a drive, Cafe Polonia, especially in mid-winter.

                        1. FinnFPM Nov 29, 2012 08:39 AM

                          Clover in Harvard Square. The great, cheap beer they serve turns it into a worthwhile destination for an actual fun sit-down dinner. That's especially true on Friday Nights, when they serve whoopie pies.

                          1. r
                            rknrll Nov 29, 2012 08:33 AM

                            Magoun's Saloon as long as there isn't a big sporting event going on.

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