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Best in Watertown?

We recently moved out into the burbs of Watertown and are looking for good spots for breakfast, take out, dinner, etc. We have tried many of the main stream places but are looking for places we might have missed. We love ethnic food and have explored some of the middle eastern places in the area. Anything in Belmont or Waltham worth trying too? Thanks!

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  1. Shangri la
    Gustazo
    Red lentil
    Strip ts
    Grappa
    Arax
    Demos
    Fordees
    Arax
    Sevan
    Eastern lamejun
    Stella's pizza
    Have fun

    1. Breakfast all day at the Deluxe Town Diner.

      1. Stellina's remains a favorite of ours.

        1. Breakfast: The Spot on Main Street in Watertown, Victor's on North Beacon (they've just changed their name). Grappa for Italian, Strip T's for lunch and dinner, Sarna and Sofra , Armenian stores as well as Fastacchi for nuts, candy and nut butter that you'll find along Mt. Auburn, Russo's on Pleasant Street in Watertown for your fruit and veggie shopping, as well as lots of other supplies, De Pasquale's on Watertown Street for homemade sausage and Italian treasures.

          2 Replies
          1. re: teezeetoo

            Victor's is now called Watertown Diner. I don't think anything else has changed - went there for breakfast yesterday for the first time in ages - huge omelet, nice looking pancakes, all very cheap - a great diner breakfast.

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              thanks Bob - I couldn't remember the name change! Best locaniko and great waitresses! quintessential diner.

          2. One of my all time favorite vendors from Boston area farmers markets has recently opened Seta's Cafe in nearby Belmont.

            http://setascafe.com/

            She makes the best versions I've ever tasted of a bunch of middle eastern favorites like babaganoush. And, the reviews I've seen have been great.

            Penny
            http://www.bostonzest.com/

            1. Good suggestions so far. In Waltham, check out Moody's Delicatessen and Provisions for delicious pastrami and sausages and house-cured bacon. The pulled pork also received good reviews recently on this board, but I haven't tried it.

              A few doors down from Moody's is La Chapincita, a nice little Mexican market with low prices.

              1. In Watertown:
                - Strip-T's for innovative and delicious but casual lunch/dinner
                - Stellina for solid Italian; nice patio in warm weather
                - Red Lentil for vegetarian/vegan food
                - Molana or Shiraz for good sit-down Persian
                - Jasmine for more casual or take-out Persian (Shiraz does take-out too)
                - Stella's for pizza
                - Demo's for soup and kebab sandwiches, but I've heard it has cleanliness issues
                - Arax and Sevan for prepared foods; "Armenian Market" across from Target is also not bad
                - Arax and Kay's (on Bigelow Ave) for produce and groceries
                - Deluxe Town Diner, Uncommon Grounds, and Spot Cafe for breakfast; I also like Deluxe for other meals but I seem to be largely alone in this
                AVOID: Green Peapod and Porcini's

                Cambridge but nearby:
                Sofra
                Iggy's

                Belmont:
                Stone Hearth Pizza for upscale pizza
                Patou (Thai)
                Craft Beer Cellar
                Vicki Lee's - cafe with great coffee and food and excellent pastries
                Il Casale
                Kitchen on Common
                Eastern Lamejun Bakers for lamejun and spinach and cheese pies

                9 Replies
                1. re: Pia

                  Oh, and in Belmont Sophia's Greek Pantry has amazing goat /sheep's milk yogurt along with really inexpensive olives and other greek pantry staples.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      Oh my goodness, I made it to Sophia's and may never go back to grocery store yogurt. Her's is delicious!

                      1. re: lkmuller

                        Arax has some pretty tasty commercial varieties in their dairy fridge. Commercial but tasty. I can't eat boring American style yogurt any more.

                        1. re: lkmuller

                          Make sure you search for previous threads on Sophias. It is definitely delicious, however an intrepid hound who doubted Sophia's claim of 140 calories per cup sent it to be tested at a food lab. The results came back with approximately the same calorie/fat values as sour cream, so just be informed what you are eating is in a different league than most grocery store greek yogurt products.

                          1. re: Ruprecht

                            Yes, full fat yogurt is definitely very delicious indeed!!

                            1. re: Ruprecht

                              Oh no! Really? that might change my opinion just a tad... or at least my intake

                              1. re: lkmuller

                                File it under "if it seems too good to be true..." It definitely demoted it for us from a regular purchase to a special treat.

                                1. re: Ruprecht

                                  and it is indeed a treat, you just need to know what you are eating. I love the stuff......I love Sophia's shop......but.......

                    2. I would add Massis Bakery on Mt. Auburn up from Arax.

                      1. Happy to see this as we too are about to make the move from city to this same area (belmont). Really great suggestions so far. A friend in the area likes the creatively named "belmont pizza" for your garden variety pizza delivery. And ohlin's bakery has some great bagels and donuts.

                        In particular, any suggestions for good weeknight delivery/carry out options? Kashish Indian was sadly bland and also pricy, Patou's menu seemed pretty limited.

                        Thanks!!!

                        18 Replies
                        1. re: ClippyZ

                          I was just about to give a plug for Ohlin's. Their donuts are my favorite anywhere.

                          www.hungrytommy.com

                          1. re: ClippyZ

                            I love the little spinach and feta pitas from Massis. They're great thrown in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes.

                            (This is in response to Taralli's post above. Sorry!)

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                Ohlin's- I'm guessing they were started in the 30's but i've never asked anyone. I think they're yet another dreadful oversweetened bakery llike all the others BUT i do have a bi-yearly weakness for their Apple Fritters . huge, moist, tasty.

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  "Like all the others" Who is like Ohlin's because though you find it dreadful I really like it and would love to have a couple of other places I could go in the same style? Most bakeries in the Boston area lean French or Italian. Ohlin's is much closer to German, midwestern-style treats I grew up on. I think it's pretty special but I'm hoping I'm wrong.

                                  www.hungrytommy.com

                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                    When in Boston last summer I liked but did not love Ohlin's. I found their offerings a bit too sweet for my liking as well.

                                    I much prefered the donuts and Linda's, a few minutes drive from Ohlin's. Those were truly delicious!

                                    1. re: magic

                                      I had an absolutely terrible experience at Linda's. Donuts were ok but nothing great. The filled apple donut was a little soggy. But the real problem was that the people behind the counter were having an argument over washing their hands while taking my order. Not a small argument either. Really shouting at each other ABOUT WASHING THEIR HANDS! I will never go back.

                                      I'm not really sure how a donut can be too sweet. For me that's kinda the point of a donut. I think it might again be the difference between Italian and German style sweets. I always find Italian sweets not to be sweet. Easy for me to pass up. To each his own I guess. I mean I love Chuckles candy so nothing is really too sweet after those.

                                      www.hungrytommy.com

                                    2. re: opinionatedchef

                                      For the 10,000th time the ONLY things worth eating at Ohlin's are the donuts an apple fritter, everything else is yucky.

                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                        hi stripey, i don't know if your post was addressed to me, but i know you like the apple fritters there (she said, halfway through hers) but i personally don't care for their donuts.

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                          Even the raised glazed which I think define ths species? Wow.

                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                            stripes, i've never even heard of those, so i def have never tasted them.

                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                              I was basically commenting because lots of folks go to Ohlin's, and try say the cupcakes, or cakes and post back that the stuff is yucky... As the original poster on Ohlin's the number of times I've said "STICK TO THE DONUTS" is getting up there.

                                              Their classic raised glazed donut (I also love the butter crunch, the cruller, and the cider donut) is possibly the best version I've ever had. I might even pick it over a hot crispy creme. In fact, some day I have to get there at 4:00am and knock on the back door to see if I can score one hot.

                                              They are very sweet, as raised glazed always are. MY SO doesn't even really like donuts, but she'll eat these. In fact I would go so far as to say, if you don't like Ohlin's raised glazed, you don't like raised glazed, period.

                                              And stay away from the other baked goods. I tried some Russian Coffee cake thing once from Ohlin's, looked gorgeous, ended up throwing it out.

                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                I agree that from personal experience, Ohlin's is for donuts only. They do make a killer raised glazed, and I like that their coconut and butternut are raised donuts, and not cake donuts. I think Op Chef prefers the cake style donut, which may be the problem here.

                                                1. re: kimfair1

                                                  I like the plain cake donut, but it is not exceptional like the glazed. I also like the cruller.

                                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                                    Love their maple frosted! Hard to find good maple frosted donuts around these parts, altho one might expect the opposite in New England. Sweet yes, but it's a donut.

                                                    Generally agree about the other baked goods, but in a pinch we have ordered their chocolate/chocolate mouse cake for office birthday celebrations and people seem to really enjoy it.

                                                      1. re: mohotta

                                                        Have to agree the maple frosted is awesome! Moving away from donuts for a minute, Ma Magoo's on the other side of Fresh Pond makes the best buffalo chicken and has the best honey mustard in the area(I don't know if they make it or get it or what it is). When I lived on the Watertown line I ate there all the time. I don't really know if they make anything else good cause I basically ate buffalo chicken every time I went.

                                                        www.hungrytommy.com

                                                  2. re: StriperGuy

                                                    Yes, Ohlin's is for donuts and apple fritters only. Agree the raised donuts are amazing, I think the best around. Love the chocolate frosting with maple drizzle, obviously! ;-)

                                    3. Roksana for sumptuous Persian takeout.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Swankalicious

                                        Would love to hear more about the relative strengths of Roksana, Shiraz, Jasmine, and Molana. Are there particular standout dishes?

                                      2. Thanks for the suggestions! We have tried and liked Stellina, Strip T's, Uncommon Grounds and Shiraz. We loved Gustazo and get take out from Fordee's frequently. We did not care for Molana. I need to check out some of the others listed below, especially the specialty markets like Lamejun and Sophias. I've wondered about Grappa...

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: lkmuller

                                          lk, you're going to love it there. nice neighborhoods, trees, wicked well located.Mt Auburn Cemetery the oldest landscaped cemetery in the U.S. Olmstead designed it. 300+ acres of hills and trees and ponds and birders. And the parkland around the Commander's Mansion is so unpeopled and quiet- you'd think you were deep in the country somewhere.

                                          Prob our fav local breakfast/snack/nosh item is from Eastern Lamejun Bakers (I prefer their food over arax and sevan et al.)
                                          It is their spinach and cheese borek (turnovers). Nuke or toaster oven- yummmm. Also their rice stuffed baby eggplant is unique and succulent. For the friendliest smilingest vendor, go into Sophia's. She's like a sunny day.

                                          And then, of course, you have the well raved Strip T's, which you alrdy know. Very long CH threads keep you up to date on their latest greatest dishes.

                                          1. re: lkmuller

                                            Haven't been to Molana in a while, but what made your experience meh?

                                            Also, if you go back to Gustazo, ask them to give you a cup of their hot chocolate mixed with a shot of their espresso (1:1 ratio). A definite pick-me-up.

                                            1. re: Crazy Egg

                                              I went with a friend and neither of us liked what we got. She got a chicken dish and said that the chicken was so chewy and flavorless that she could barely chew it. I got a vegetable dish that just wasn't very good. We were both disappointed. We only went once but, given that we like the other Persian spots in town, won't be back.

                                              1. re: lmuller

                                                Understood. That's too bad. I haven't ventured to try Shiraz. I think it is time to get myself there.

                                                As for Molana, I enjoy their kubideh (particularly their chicken one), mirza gesemi (eggplant with tomato base and eggs) and their lamb shank. I almost never diverge from these dishes. I haven't tried the dishes you mentioned. The rice from Molana is their star. If you get any of the 'specialty' rice eg the one with cherries, or dill and fava beans, etc, you will notice the individual grains and the fluffiness of the rice. Unfortunately, they do not make tah'deeg, which is this crispy, fragrant rice layer.

                                                Enjoy your culinary adventures in Watertown! It is amazing what this little town offers.

                                                1. re: Crazy Egg

                                                  roksana's has tahdig. it's not on the menu but they usually have it if you ask for it

                                          2. Nobody has mentioned Golden Garden, northeastern Chinese on Concord in Belmont. Best to stick to their regional specialties, Sichuan is credible but Chinese-American in my limited experience has been woefully dull (this would include almost all lunch specials). Have heard good things about Gen Sushi next door, haven't tried. Good Greek-inflected rollups, subs etc. at Cheddar's Pizzeria, Fresh Pond (pizza nothing special), mostly a takeout lunch place, closes early evening.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Aromatherapy

                                              Mt Auburn cemetery is a fantastic stroll- but it was designed NOT by Olmstead,
                                              but by Henry Scammel Dearborn,with assistance by Bigelow& Wadsworth. its also " only 175 acres.
                                              Eastern Lamejun has wonderful lamejuns, olives( the small green lebanese ones are bitter and delicious)-- and sometimes they will make their own ice cream. its a kefir flavor.
                                              Shangra la for lunch, and Setas homemade is a great new addition to belmont/trapelo rd.

                                              1. re: kewpie

                                                man am i glad you told me that and boy do i feel dumb. where the heck did i ever come to think that, i wonder.....

                                                i had no idea eastern lamejun made ice cream. really? and what is kefir flavor? isn't that like saying 'yogurt flavor'?

                                            2. Across from The Town Diner is an unassuming convienience store called "Coolidge Variety and Deli" (actually #4 Bigelow Ave), the butcher in the back, Nick, gets his lamb from Mennonite farmers in the western part of the state and will cut it anyway you like.

                                              If you , like my wife , will only eat meat sourced from known ethical and local sources, it is a great place for lamb. Give him a few days notice as he dosent keep too much back stock, for obvious reasons.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: hyde

                                                Oh, good call, hyde. Nick is the best. He'll cut your meat just about any way to save you time at home, and he'll entertain you the whole time he's doing it. Great place.

                                                1. re: hyde

                                                  Any idea where Nick gets his beef, chicken and pork from?

                                                2. adding tabrizi bakery in watertown to the list

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: galangatron

                                                    I'm curious about what you have had at Tabrizi that you liked? We tried a few cookies/pastries from there once and were quite disappointed.

                                                    1. re: Science Chick

                                                      Walnut macaroons, chick pea flower cookies, rice flower and rosewater cookies, and the cream puffs but only if they are fresh.

                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                        Yes to those (especially the walnut macaroons), and I'd add the persian baklava - sweet and flaky, with lots of crushed pistachios and a strong cardamom flavor. I don't love most baklava but I really like these.

                                                  2. Don't forget Stella's pizza! Get the extra large, which is the same dough ball used for the large, stretched thin. Really superb!

                                                    3 Replies
                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                        Best eaten hot, in house, tends to not travel well. Two topping max.

                                                        1. re: hyde

                                                          That goes for pretty much any good pizza.

                                                    1. Any rec's for good American-Chinese take-out in the Watertown area? I love Shangri-La and Golden Garden for their regional fare only. I've been disappointed with Green Peapod and Noodle Stix.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: bizkat

                                                        I don't tend to order American Chinese, but Wonder Cafe in Watertown Square is probably worth a shot, they have a higher quality of food in general than some of the other local spots.

                                                        1. re: Ruprecht

                                                          Second the rec on Wonder Café. Very good for what it is which is American Chinese with better quality ingredients and less sugary presentation.

                                                          1. re: teezeetoo

                                                            Sue Chen is very nice and can make you up just about anything if you ask nice

                                                            That said, the special #24 : Soft tofu with tomato and egg, brown rice and pickled vegetables as sides for 6.75@ lunch is a really nice meal for the price of a whopper meal at that place.

                                                            1. re: hyde

                                                              Hyde, is that soft tofu fried in puffs- or done how? are toma through pickled veggies all the sides or part of the dish? I am enchanted by some forms of soft tofu. thx.

                                                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                My guess is the tofu is simmered in stock, separate pan scallion ginger garlic stir fry, tomato in, more stock , drain tofu and into stir fry, to simmer few minutes, thicken (cornstarch?) , pour eggs over, let sit, then mix into the tofu. Into the take-out shell.

                                                                The pickled veggies are on the "B" list with chicken wings and egg rolls, etc. Lend a nice sour note and crunch to the whole business.

                                                                But with the brown rice and the tofu stew, its like what i imagine homestyle comfort food is really like in Asia