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Chow Tour of Brighton

BostonZest Aug 9, 2013 10:16 AM

Lately I keep hearing about new food venues in Brighton. A friend and I are planning a food scouting afternoon and would love to hear about stops you think we should make.

We have started with Brighton Fish Market and Brighton Gourmet and Cellar on our list.

What would you add for anyone who wants to explore the food scene in this area?


  1. pinehurst Aug 9, 2013 10:21 AM

    You should start with a greasy breakfast at Eagles Deli in Cleveland Circle.

    Is Jim's Deli still open on Wash.? I liked them last time I was in at lunch.

    Neither of these are new, though. Not remotely. :-(

    2 Replies
    1. re: pinehurst
      BostonZest Aug 9, 2013 11:59 AM

      While my friend planned to explore newish places, we're open to reminders of long time favorites. Other readers may have never explored this area and will be open to any and all suggestions.

      Any and all ideas are welcome!

      1. re: BostonZest
        devilham Aug 13, 2013 06:33 AM

        I would get breakfast at Mandy and Joe's in Brighton Center, super old school diner that's dirt cheap and pretty good for greasy breakfast food

    2. p
      phatchris Aug 9, 2013 10:24 AM

      El Pelon for fish tacos.

      Thai North blackboard menu.

      1. h
        hyde Aug 9, 2013 10:56 AM

        Imperial Pizza (329 Washington street) makes one of the best Sicillian pizzas around. The pizzaolo that works during the day, with the glasses, is very good.

        No more than two toppings, order it well done and for 15USD you and three friends are full.

        Ignore their regular pizza, it is unremarkable.

        Across the street, is Mandy and Joes, one of the last old school counter places that used to be everywhere. Fish cakes and beans, Liverwurst sandwich, sardine plate, breakfast all day and all the usual diner fare. They close at 4pm.

        1. t
          teezeetoo Aug 9, 2013 11:22 AM

          Have coffe at Fuel next to Brighton Fish - either eat lunch or pick up some of the best Greek food in town at Esperia particularly their fabulous tzatziki and taramsalata and anything lamb. Get almond wedding cookies at Athans along with a pot of cherry rooibos tea in Brighton Center. Have breakfast at Mandy and Joes or if it's the weekend have brunch at Devlin's patio. That's for a start. (with due respect to pinehurst, Eagle's Deli is not in Brighton and not worth a stop).

          4 Replies
          1. re: teezeetoo
            C. Hamster Aug 9, 2013 11:38 AM

            Eagle deli is in Brighton and is quite serviceable but probably not chow crawl-worthy

            1. re: C. Hamster
              teezeetoo Aug 9, 2013 01:20 PM

              Is Cleveland Circle and Beacon Street Brighton??

              1. re: teezeetoo
                phatchris Aug 9, 2013 06:22 PM

                Cleveland Circle is technically Boston, The Brookline line is after the Tedeschi.

                1. re: teezeetoo
                  C. Hamster Aug 10, 2013 06:17 AM

                  Yes. For sure. Cleveland circle is Brighton.

                  The Newton line is across the intersection past the first softball field. It runs through the abandoned movie theatre parking lot.

            2. g
              gourmaniac Aug 9, 2013 12:20 PM

              Darbar on North Beacon for Pakistani (goat haleem and brains), apple fritter from Mirror Cafe, Asahi Sushi a small place on Market near Washington that feels like Japan, Jasmine Bistro.

              1. k
                kimfair1 Aug 9, 2013 12:56 PM

                Many of the same recs that others have said, but I love many of the places in my neighborhood.

                Imperial pizza - Awesome Sicilian, as Hyde says, skip their regular pie - it's unimpressive, but the Sicilian is killer.

                Esperia Grill - great pork gyros, tzatziki, and moussaka.

                Jim's Deli - old school diner style breakfasts. Open for lunch and dinner, but I've only eaten breakfast there.

                Moogy's - decent sandwiches, nice folks

                Mandy & Joe's for a slice of nostalgia

                Abbot's frozen custard - I like all the fruit flavors

                Cafe Nation - filled crepes, great coffee

                Jasmine Bistro - excellent food, weird wine service

                1. opinionatedchef Aug 9, 2013 09:17 PM

                  boy, you're going to get alot of feedback on this topic, penny!If brighton/allston are divided on Brighton Ave., we drive into brighton (30 min plus for us) for:
                  Mixx- i am totally nuts for their asian flavored frozen yoghurts, esp the taro and lychee flavors.

                  Hong Kong food court at the old Super88 market: beef banh mi at Pho Viet.

                  Boston Kabob Co.- very unusual Palestinian items along w/
                  their great versions of falafel etc. See recent thread. You can get their delicious tchechouka (sp. varies) for breakfast too.

                  i don't know if it's Brighton or Allston, but Striperguy has really liked an unusual asian bakery in that area. we went once and tried a number of things.sorry i cannot remember any details.

                  S&I Thai is a real beloved CH spot but the food is really hot there, for us at least. they sometimes have some very unusual thai pastries for take out.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: opinionatedchef
                    cambridgedoctpr Aug 10, 2013 05:18 AM

                    this area is the best for good cheap eats.

                    i like sakanaya for sashimi though the owner will prepare sushi for you; jo jo tapei makes excellent tapei (chinese) food.

                    i was not knocked out by the beef banh mi; i have had better in New York and Norman Oklahoma!

                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                      Allstonian Aug 10, 2013 07:16 AM

                      Brighton Avenue is all in Allston - Brighton is further west. The Allston/Brighton border is a bit west of Union Square, and it sounds like Penny is looking at places around Brighton Center and west/south of there.

                      1. re: Allstonian
                        kimfair1 Aug 11, 2013 03:31 PM

                        Yeah, I live in Brighton, and the invisible line is just west of Union Square. If we're including Allston, well my list of places to recommend just went up by leaps and bounds! I love my Brighton neighborhood, but Allston is where it's at for great little ethnic places like Boston Kabob Co, Garlic and Lemons, S&I Thai, and many more.

                        OC, I think the Asian bakery you're thinking of is Yi Soon, next to Spike's Junkyard Dogs. I love that place, though my wife isn't a fan of Asian sweets so I don't go often (luckily for my waistline!).

                        1. re: kimfair1
                          Jenny Ondioline Aug 12, 2013 12:15 AM

                          Although fighting over where neighborhoods begin and end is among the most Bostonian of pastimes, I think most put the dividing line between Allston and Brighton at Everett Street. Like, the KFC on North Beacon is in Allston, but Marty's Big Lots is in Brighton.

                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                            kimfair1 Aug 12, 2013 09:35 AM

                            I think that's pretty accurate (and Everett St is slightly west of Union Sq, which makes us both right! As an addition, I've yet to try it, but Dabar on North Beacon has gotten some good notices here on CH.

                          2. re: kimfair1
                            opinionatedchef Aug 12, 2013 11:04 PM

                            it's so weird, kim. before i posted my little list, i expressly googled a map of brighton because i knew the CHs would be on my tail and howlin if i screwed up...and the map i got had a dotted line that i read as brighton including the S and I side of Bri Ave. Go figure...... And thx for i.d.ing the bakery.

                            1. re: opinionatedchef
                              Allstonian Aug 13, 2013 04:04 AM

                              I don't think it's fair to characterize the corrections above as "on [your] tail and howlin[g]." However, I just looked at the map to which you're referring, and I see how you made the mistake. All I can say is that that map is spectacularly wrong. Not only does it designate substantial parts of Allston as "Brighton," it even has chunks of Brookline included.


                              1. re: Allstonian
                                cambridgedoctpr Aug 13, 2013 05:14 AM

                                even if not officially part of allston or brighton, they are close enough to be worth the trip. this is not quite like the DMZ between North and South Korea.

                                1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                                  Allstonian Aug 13, 2013 06:20 AM

                                  Of course not, but if someone is interested in exploring a particular neighborhood it's best to steer them towards places that are actually in that neighborhood.

                                  That said, the most recent "Allston Chow Crawl" thread is a good 3 years old and could definitely use some updating. But that really should be a separate thread.

                                2. re: Allstonian
                                  opinionatedchef Aug 13, 2013 07:42 PM

                                  aw heck, i can't even put in a little jibe with a wink to robert johnson? sigh. and i was sure somebody would get that...........

                          3. re: opinionatedchef
                            MC Slim JB Aug 13, 2013 07:45 AM

                            The crowdsourced, consensus-based definition of Brighton's borders: http://bostonography.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/brighton.jpg Darkest color is 75% agreement, lighter color is 50% agreement, lightest is 25% agreement.

                            Most of my favorites are already mentioned here, though I will note that I prefer the Hungarian dishes to the French at Jasmine Bistro. The daily specials at Jim's Deli are usually worth seeking out. His mom makes those; many are Greek in origin.

                            I'm a fan of the original Fiorella's in Newtonville, but have yet to try (and have seen no trustworthy reports on) Fiorella's Express in Oak Square. Anybody?


                          4. BostonZest Aug 13, 2013 04:19 AM

                            Thanks for all the suggestions. Perhaps we should do this for other neighborhoods. Both the obvious ones and those off the beaten path.

                            There is nothing like the opportunity of touring a neighborhood with a local who knows the best hidden gems.

                            This list is that sort of tour.

                            Thanks again.

                            1. l
                              LordoftheVoid Aug 13, 2013 07:45 AM

                              Dash Cafe is really fantastic. Everything I've had there is really well done, the recipes show a lot of care for ingredients. The Asian fried chicken sandwich, banh Mi, and grilled beef salad are some real standouts. They also have a torta special on occasion that is delectable. I can't say enough good things.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: LordoftheVoid
                                kimfair1 Aug 13, 2013 07:55 AM

                                Good to know, as I pass by every day to and from the bus that takes me to work. I tried the previous place that was there, and was underwhelmed. Maybe I'll walk up today and have a sandwich!

                                1. re: kimfair1
                                  kimfair1 Aug 18, 2013 02:49 PM

                                  I actually did walk up that day and have a sandwich for dinner. I had the Asian fried chicken sandwich.

                                  Pros: excellent fry job on the chicken, liked the sesame seeds added to the panko. Siracha mayo was outstanding.

                                  Cons: Asian slaw was ok, and I'm not sure what I'd replace it with, but I think the crispy chicken cries out for some fruit, like a mango chutney or something, the slaw was fine, but just didn't wow me. While I liked the brioche bun, the toasting of it left the crust shattering as you put you fingers on the sandwich, leaving the plate a cascade of crust crumbs. A minor quibble, but as a crust man, I was a tad disappointed. Finally, the macaroni salad and pickle on the plate. I've never met a pickle I didn't love, so that one's fine, but I'm in the hate macaroni salad camp. I just don't know how you make the ingredients given not bland, and I've never tried one with amped up flavor. Does it exist?

                                  I will return and try some other stuff on the menu, as there was some other stuff that looked good to me as well. Thanks.

                              2. l
                                LilBrownBat Aug 13, 2013 08:12 AM

                                I second the rec for Asahi. They have the best quality fish of any sushi bar that I've been to in Boston. It's not the place to go with a large group of people (it's very small), or with people who don't eat raw fish, or with people whose tastes in sushi run to elaborately constructed "designer rolls" with many cooked ingredients (they don't have a kitchen), or with people who don't like to sit at a sushi bar (only one table), or with people who need to have alcohol with their sushi (no license), or with people who need to have music or haute decor or "curated" this and that. It's basic and quiet and the fish is truly excellent, and that's all that it is.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: LilBrownBat
                                  kimfair1 Aug 13, 2013 09:31 AM

                                  Is Asahi the place right in Brighton Center next to Jasmine Bistro? I've often wondered about that place. Guess I'll have to give it a go sometime.

                                  Just Googled it, and answered my own question. Thanks for the recommendation!

                                  1. re: kimfair1
                                    LilBrownBat Aug 13, 2013 09:48 AM

                                    You're welcome - I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

                                  2. re: LilBrownBat
                                    C. Hamster Aug 13, 2013 10:22 AM

                                    Has asahi been there for a long time?

                                    I ate my first sushi right around there maybe 20 years ago ...

                                  3. d
                                    DrewStarr Aug 15, 2013 02:29 PM

                                    Given the Cleveland Circle recommendations, a little surprised not to see any mention of Pino's. To this day, it's the only New York style slice of pizza that has ever reminded of me of the now mostly departed NY slice joints of my youth.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: DrewStarr
                                      C. Hamster Aug 15, 2013 05:11 PM


                                      That's a whole other can-o-worms!

                                      1. re: DrewStarr
                                        teezeetoo Aug 15, 2013 05:28 PM

                                        I cannot consider CC part of Brighton: it's a no man's land between Brookline and Newton where, for a minute, it's Boston. But if I did, I'd include Pinos: it has always been my grandkids favorite pizza and, though they don't know the concept "yuppy" they do consider a trip to otto's not nearly as inviting as takeout from Pinos. Go figure.

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