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Lunch near the Peabody Essex Museum?

We'll be visiting the museum next week, as part of a birthday field trip. I would like to cap off our visit with lunch. Someplace nice with good food but not so fancy that it will be a 3 hour lunch - we'll have time restrictions. Bistro or gastro-pub or trattoria style would all work. We live near and eat often in Allston so nothing that would be better closer to home. I'm looking for places people have visited recently - the other threads about this area are several years old.

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  1. Our go to near the PEM is the seafood centric Finz on Pickering Wharf. We went last summer and it was still quite good (if not spectacular).

    1 Reply
    1. re: kimfair1

      Second Finz. The food is very good. The location is spectacular! :)

      1. Thank you for the ideas so far - I should have mentioned (oops) it needs to be somewhere with a few good choices for a vegetarian.

        2 Replies
        1. re: SJason

          Try Opus, if you can stand yet another "small plates" situation. I really like their mezze platter and they have some other decent vegetarian choices. Very close to the PEM.

          1. re: SJason

            Gulu Gulu has many veg options. Their housemade hummus is very good.

          2. I've eaten at the Garden Cafe right in the museum before and had a nice meal. Check out their menu online, but I seem to remember them having several good veggie options.

            2 Replies
            1. re: donlan

              I also like the restaurant in the museum. Go to PEM.org and check the menu for the Garden Restaurant. It usually has 2 or 3 veggie choices. It's a few dollars more than you can spend in the area but the food is good and the setting is nice.

              1. re: lergnom

                Good to know about the Museum restaurant. We'll go there if pressed for time. Otherwise Scratch kitchen, Life Alive and Gulu Gulu all look good. Thank you to everyone for all the great suggestions!

            2. A number of CHs have liked Scratch Kitchen, which is on the way to Finz iirc. Do a CH Search and a recent thread will appear. Also, it is possible to get some good things at Howling Wolf Mexican.(Do a Search for thread on it.)

              We stop in every season or so and still find things we like alot (the Chile Colorado mole is the only worthwhile mole there imo.)

              All 3 spots are 5-10 minute walk from PEM.

              p.s. I hope you will take time for the short detour to Marblehead Harbor and Fort Sewall- our very fav oceanside viewing in new england!

              2 Replies
              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Thanks to this rec, I went to Scratch Kitchen for lunch this past Friday when visiting the Peabody-Essex Museum. It is 2 blocks away. They greet you with a small basket of homemade chips and a cheery attitude. I got the bacon cheeseburger and it was outstanding. Homemade pickles, ketchup, and bun as well as homemade bacon. Yum. Good thing for my health I rarely get to Salem; this burger would be hard for me to resist. Thanks oc.

                1. re: GretchenS

                  you bet, gretchen*. Just passing along other CHs' raves.i look forw to trying it myself some day soon.

                  * ( though it hardly is enough payback to equal the good you did with all your early championing of Strip T's!!)

              2. Life Alive vegetarian and vegan restaurant just down Essex street. Even carnivores can eat here happily.

                1. Gulu Gulu is another option.

                  1. I was just at the PEM Sunday. The Garden Restaurant has several good veggie options and is a nice place to rest up with a meal between gallery tours. There is also a self- service cafe in the lobby, but that is more casual. On a side note, the mid-century modern California design exhibit that just opened is fantastic!

                    1. I enjoyed Scratch Kitchen a couple months ago. Its very casual but probably fits your requirements for quick. I loved that they made everything in house...the bacon, the potato chips, even the mayo...all made from scratch. Its very tasty. Nice set of microbrews available too.

                      1. We ended up eating at Gulu Gulu. It was a very friendly and vibrant place but food wise just okay. Perhaps we didn't order well.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: SJason

                          I apologize for showing up (too) late to this thread, but I tend to think that you've described Gulu Gulu perfectly. Turner's is probably your best bet for lunch close to PEM, and I'd take the Garden Restaurant over Gulu Gulu for sandwiches.