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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?

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    rknrll RE: nyc_to_ma Nov 29, 2012 08:33 AM

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

    1. FinnFPM RE: nyc_to_ma 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. Boston_Otter RE: nyc_to_ma 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. Bob Dobalina RE: nyc_to_ma Nov 29, 2012 09:18 AM

          Highland Kitchen is my stand-by.

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


          2. Matt H RE: nyc_to_ma Nov 29, 2012 09:22 AM

            Abigails, West Bridge and Portugalia are probably my 3.

            1. s
              Splendid Spatula RE: nyc_to_ma 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. m
                Madrid RE: nyc_to_ma Nov 29, 2012 09:41 AM

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

                1. p
                  pollystyrene RE: nyc_to_ma 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 RE: pollystyrene Nov 29, 2012 11:36 AM

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

                  2. ebone RE: nyc_to_ma 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. n
                      nyc_to_ma RE: 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. d
                        dulce de leche RE: nyc_to_ma 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 RE: dulce de leche 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 RE: teezeetoo Nov 29, 2012 02:06 PM

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

                        2. m
                          mwk RE: nyc_to_ma 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. s
                            sun1234 RE: nyc_to_ma 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 RE: sun1234 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


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