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Inexpensive Davis Square favorites

  • f

We are going to the Johnny D's blues jam Sunday but we don't want to eat brunch there. What are some of your favorite, inexpensive restaurants in Davis Square? Thanks in advance.

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  1. It's pretty drafty in there, but the new Shawarma Place has a couple of parking spaces, so I love it for a get-in-get-out kind of meal in Davis. Hasn't been discussed all that much but their shawarma is a mix of beef and lamb, hand-built each day. Soups leave a bit to be desired, but falafel (free samples handed out old school style) is excellent and the dips and salads are classic Levant style, kind of a throwback these days.

    1. How about a sandwich from Dave's Fresh Pasta? If it is nice-ish - you can sit outside.

      2 Replies
        1. re: frond

          Ahhh - I did not know that - or I did, but I forgot. Sorry!! :)

      1. I'd recommend the nearby Dave's Fresh Pasta, but sadly they're closed on Sundays.

        Your best bets for inexpensive counter service are the new Shawarma Place, Amsterdam Falafelshop, Anna's Taqueria, and Deli-icious. The latter has a ridiculous name, but their sandwiches are fantastic and very inexpensive.

        1 Reply
        1. There's always Rod Dee, a 10 minute walk away in Porter.

          1. Fish and chips at the Burren are pretty good and not too expensive.

              1. Istanbul'lu just up the street has excellent brunch items, and they are open on Sunday.

                14 Replies
                1. re: Madrid

                  yes, great idea. unusual dishes and such a charming colorful room! otherwise, not brunchy, but amsterdam falafel- with that huge condiment bar, is the paragon of falafel places for us.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    Am I wrong to be skeeved out by the condiment bar? Not trying to start any rumors at all, but it just makes me furrow my brow. The stoner vibe and seeming lack of cleanliness in the sitting area probably contributes. Probably better to get lunch there rather than a late dinner.

                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                      I have no issue with the bar.... You can't bring your sandwich back to it after the initial pass

                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                        Knowing people who work there and how often items in the condiment bar are refreshed, freshly-made, and replaced, no, I'm not skeeved out at all.

                        1. re: Boston_Otter

                          That's very encouraging to hear. I was concerned about freshness and turn-over.

                        2. re: Bob Dobalina

                          I kind of o.d.'d on AF awhile ago, so i haven't been lately, but I never had any qualms about the condiment bar.

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            I've only been about three times, so far from OD'd....though I can understand how that could happen. I love the condiments bar. They are smallish serving plates so do need to be refilled. I love the condiments so much that next time I might even skip the falafel and just load up on condiments. I don't like the whole wheat pita....too sweet for me.Also liked that you can get a couple of the sauces, including the garlic (?) one after you've weighed and paid.

                          2. re: Bob Dobalina

                            I went to Amsterdam for dinner the other night, and it wasn't dirty. It was filthy! The three guys working never noticed while I was there.

                            1. re: Bob Dobalina

                              I ate there this week and the condiment bar was spotless.

                              That said, the tables could have used a spray and wiping, though not horribly so.

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                Allstonian and I ended up here for dinner tonight, and I'd say the state of the condiment bar was about halfway between "spotless" and "filthy," but it wasn't, like, actively gross or anything.

                                Foodwise, I definitely wouldn't make a special trip for it -- the falafel sandwiches and the fries are both better at Boston Kabob Company here in Allston -- but it was an entirely adequate sandwich and the toppings were fresh and tasty enough, plus I always like a place where I can put mayo and curry ketchup on my fries. You could do worse.

                                As for stoner vibe, the beardy bearish dude totally could hook you up.

                              2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                I'm curious what you mean by stoner vibe?

                                1. re: black_lab

                                  Duuuude.....it's Amsterdam falafel....

                                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                    bob, funny you would say that. You know that it is a franchise (the only one afaik) from AF in D.C.? Also, interestingly, the young tall and thin fitness-focused cyclist owner is about as unstoner as they come. (We went in soon after they opened and he was there on line, and sure enough, he had been a high school student of My Love.)

                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                      If only there were a coffee shop attached...

                                      Cambridge is getting a dispensary, no such luck for Somerville though.

                            2. For comfort food, I’d suggest Five Horses Tavern. My wife always gets the pea diddy salad while I’m partial to their various iterations of fried chicken—salad, sandwich, tenders, or Cornish game hen entrée. After the show at Johnny D’s, you may want to return to sample one (or more) of their hundreds of whiskeys or draft beers.

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: Tonality666

                                Maybe you didn't notice it, but i don't remember seeing 5 Horses Tavern mentioned in the Fried Chicken thread, so i'd like to know more! My main question is- the coating- is it basically plain or does it have noticeable spices and herbs? thx much.

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  It’s not heavily herbed or spiced, but it’s amazingly tender and juicy—not like the often overcooked and hard FC at board favorite Highland Kitchen.

                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                    Never tried the chicken at 5 Horses, but I loved the fried chicken I had nearby at M3. And for the OP, they do brunch, though it doesn't qualify as inexpensive.

                                    1. re: katzzz

                                      katz, is M3 plain or spiced? i thought i remembered something sweet being part of it.

                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                        It's more toward the plain side, not sweet, certainly not hot. But "plain" doesn't do it justice. Tasty is a better word.

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                          M3's fried chicken tasted like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice when I went. It was also suuuper dry. However, this was a long time ago (pretty soon after they opened), so it may have changed.

                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                              I did not discern a trace of pumpkin or cinnamon spice when I had it at M3 a few months back. Nor was it dry.

                                              1. re: katzzz

                                                We had it at brunch as part of chicken and waffles and it was distinctly pumpkin-pie-spicy. Perhaps the blend varies from brunch to dinner?

                                      2. re: opinionatedchef

                                        Happened upon 5 Horses during an overnight from Portland (don't ask) and had the fried chicken which I enjoyed a great deal. Buttermilk milk fried, not spicy or heavily herbed, as mentioned. Deliciously moist without being greasy. Sides didn't do quite as well but if you're into a good beer selection the choices are exceptional.

                                    2. Sorry, I read your poste in haste. We have enjoyed the Painted Burro's brunch. It's an easy stroll from Johnnie D's with some unusual menu items. I've enjoyed their chilaquiles.

                                      1. Had a couple of chances to try Punjabi Grill (the former Namasakar space) and it has been very good - vibrant and fresh and alive with spices - not saucy and heavy with ghee-based mawkishness.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                          Hmm. I just can't seem to get excited about it when a mediocre restaurant is replaced by the same cuisine in the same space- al la the never-ending procession of Thai restaurants next to Subway in Davis. Perhaps if it gets your approval we'll venture in.

                                          1. re: Parsnipity

                                            Namaskar went way downhill before it closed, but there was a time when it was quite good, not mediocre at all.

                                          2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                            What have you tried that you'd recommend? I tried their buffet, and everything was decent but pretty standard... But I know buffets aren't a good barometer.