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Ethnic or Interesting in and around Metro Southwest

I have moved to Westwood. It is desolate. I wonder if there are places hidden near-ish-by that I have not found yet. I am looking for great ethnic food. (Note that for a romantic date night my wife and I drove to Super 88 recently.) I just found Zamzam and intend on trying that tonight.

Are any of the chinese places in Norwood good? And by good I mean not americanized or at least have traditional menus?

We tried Masala Art and found it much better than we expected. We enjoyed the food there.

We absolutely love Vietnamese (usually go to the one in Randolph) and Cantonese (Lowell is really far), Ethiopian and so on. If there is traditional Thai that is always hard to find as well (I will not eat the boiled meat in flavorless sauces that americans think is Thai food). And so on.

So, what is around Westwood? Walpole, Norwood, Dedham, Canton, Needham and Dover. All those touch the Westwood border. What do you think?


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  1. There is a branch of Sichuan Gourmet in Sharon. The middle eastern groceries/takeout(sabbs?) place on route 1 near ocean state job lot in Norwood. Haven't been in a while but there used to be others on 1a (Byblo's?). Taso's greek food at the airport in Norwood. Byblo's has Belly dancing on Friday's and is probably more of going out place then the others.

    1. We like Siam Lotus for Thai food on Rte 1 in Norwood.

        1. Al wadi in West Roxbury is very good, as well as Byblos. There is a very small Thai place on Washington St I used to enjoy some years ago

          1. Agree with Al Wadi for Lebanese on VFW Parkway.

            Also Kouzina Estiatorio on High St. in Dedham for family made Greek food. Nothing fancy inside, order at the counter, but delicious generous portions.

            1. Short answer--nothing very good, you have to adjust your expectations, or be willling to drive.

              Sounds like you know about Pho So 1 in Randolph. There is also Pho 29 in Canton Center, which I have not been to, but might be worth a shot.

              Nisa's Thai in Canton Center is marginally better than Siam Lotus, but not really authentic (at least not what I've tried).
              Sichuan Garden is the most authentic Chinese around, by far.

              You might like Cafe Paprika in Norwood, pretty authentic Middle Eastern, very friendly owner--sounds like that might be up your alley.

              There's good Indian around--are you looking for that?

              4 Replies
              1. re: winedude

                Absolutely looking for good indian. Or Pakistani.

                1. re: sekelmaan

                  A bit late on this, but try Coriander in Sharon. Very high quality Indian with a small Nepali menu. Very nice restaurant too, so works for a fancy night out.

                  1. re: Foodie_BBQ

                    Not too late at all. I imagine we will be here for years, so as more is discovered more can be shared.

                    Thanks for the rec!

                    1. re: sekelmaan

                      It was mentioned further up-thread, but have you tried Cafe Paprika in Norwood? Super nice folks in there, and the food is as ethnic and interesting as it gets. Moroccan / Med inspired sandwiches, soups, and rice plates.

                      Similar endorsement for Kouzina Estiatorio mentioned already. Tasty food, big portions, nice people. Casual, but plenty of seating.

                      I live near Sichuan Gourmet in Sharon and eat there regularly. Huge fan. When they opened, the manager, who I believe is one of the owners, helped me sample many of the authentic dishes. He was very helpful.

                      Lastly, have you tried Pronti Bistro? It's an Indian Sandwich shop on the Needham-Newton line (Highland Ave exit toward Newton). It's inconsistent, but when they nail the sandwiches, they are delicious. Plus, you get a tasty little brownie with every sandwich! Very informal / takeout place.

              2. As an update, I went to Zam Zam and they weren't what I was expecting. It is more of a grocery store with a couple tables in it. They had a half dozen or so trays out with prepared food, but it did not look very appetizing. They did not have nihari or haleem which I was looking for. They will cater those dishes, but you have to order half trays for 75USD. Maybe in the future.

                We also tried Sweet Basil. I was very very surprised how much we all enjoyed it. The two stand out items were the extremely cheesey pesto they serve with bread and the amazingly creamy polenta I had with my lamb shank, but everything was way above par here and everyone enjoyed themselves.

                6 Replies
                1. re: sekelmaan

                  About what time did you go to Sweet Basil, and was there a wait? I'm hoping to check it out soon.

                  1. re: bear

                    We went pretty early around 5pm, but there was a wait relatively quickly. It is a pretty small space.

                    1. re: sekelmaan

                      Thanks. We usually sitting down by around 6:30 on a work night, so I should have a backup in the area if the wait is too long, or just call first.

                      1. re: bear

                        My friends bring wine and cheese and sit in their car while they wait if the weather suits

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          Talk about resourceful! Thanks for the idea.

                  2. Viva Mi Arepa is just past Dedham's edge. i guess Arepas vary by chef because the ones in Brookline at .. Orinoco? were basically english-muffins, and Pupusas can be kind of plain, here it's another world of greasey-spoon goodness.

                    Hyde Park's 100% Trini addition D Coal Pot may interest you. do randomly bike/walk/drive the old streetcar routes sided w/ brick commercial in the expansive southwest-boston region, West-Rox, Roslindale, Codman Square. you will find interesting stuff - west-indian + african places that aren't listed on Yelp. Soulfood/southern-states flavor like PittStop / Mrs Jones / Hardy&Person . radio ads provide clues as well http://mw.logbook.am/au/coal.mp3

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ix9

                      Awesome ideas and recs. Thank you very much. I love arepas and black bean soup!