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Anniversary dinner help

I need a fun but not super fancy dinner destination for my anniversary next Monday. We haven't been out to eat much recently so assume that I've missed pretty much everything that opened in the last 18 months.

Few requirements: greater Camberville area, open on Monday nights, up to $25-40pp without alcohol, we avoid pork and shellfish, like spicy food.

Places we've enjoyed going for special occasions in the past are Oleana, East Coast Grill, Sabur, Dante. Places we used to go often are Chili Garden, Blue Ribbon, Rod Dee, Sound Bites, Christopher's.

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  1. Cuchi Cuchi or Dali might be 2 unique options. The tapas would allow you a lot of food flexibilty.

    9 Replies
    1. re: meeps2002

      blah- the food isnt goof, but the atmosphere makes up form it in spades!!!!!!

      1. re: meeps2002

        went to Dali last night for two tapas, the warm goat cheese and the "patatas braves." Horrible food. Nice atmosphere before it gets too loud.

        1. re: Madrid

          It is so disappointing to hear that it's still that awful after our "we'll never go back" experience 10 yrs ago. I have never understood how it could have the same owner as cuchi cuchi's co-owner- because there are some good things at CC (i've never had anything awful there either), and i rec it but i would NEVer rec dali.

          1. re: opinionatedchef

            It's in our neighborhood and we needed a place to stop in for a quick drink to have a conversation without our kid. I've avoided it since my last trip in 1989. We ended up ordering two tapas because DH was hungry. I took one bite of each and was done. DH will eat anything, but he didn't finish them.

            1. re: Madrid

              The joy of a childless moment can lead to all manners of mediocre food.

          2. re: Madrid

            I only went 1x to Dali...can't say I was a huge fan either...I always just think of Tapas spots as hit or miss...

            Cuchi Cuchi on the other hand, I really do enjoy

            1. re: Madrid

              You’re talking the warm goat cheese with honey and onions? I love that dish at Dali.

              1. re: enhF94

                nope. I'm talking about
                Queso de Cabra Montañes | Baked Goat Cheese w/Tomato & Basil

                It was not appealing at all, lukewarm, served with very stale mediocre bread.

                1. re: Madrid

                  Oh, right, okay. That bread always seems stale and I think the stale-ish texture is part of the recipe (not that this means one should like it, but if it were a staling issue it wouldn’t be so very consistently “that way"). I never liked the bread, chickpea spread or the Montañes very much, although I may be otherwise Dali’s only defender (and maybe that a little less now that Pinxto Pincho is around…)

            1. I'd be tempted to call Rendezvous and see if they will be open for what might be the last of their $5 tapas Mondays.

              5 Replies
              1. re: CportJ

                If you can do that, it would be very special. I agree. Rendezvous.

                1. re: CportJ

                  yep, Rendezvous is closing for good before the end of June.

                  1. re: Madrid

                    Looks like Rendezvous is accepting reservations through OpenTable through June 24th. They still have some tables at 6, 7:15, 8:15 and 9 on Monday the 23rd.

                  2. re: CportJ

                    Unless it’s slammed because same.

                    1. re: enhF94

                      rendezvous is closed. went to the final final, had my fav meatballs and mushrooms. owner is happy to leave the stress( the location was always a struggle- )
                      but we were told of our" numbers" tonight. we had 63 visits( regulars were their b&b).... i cant think that we did,but then again, we went there often.will miss our favs--- a few moved on and a few sneaked us a whisper to their new ventures.
                      overall- we went to friends and family /& the last night. how lucky we are.
                      its now a great location!

                  3. all good recs so far (except Dali, where i have had some awful food) so you might want to think about what you 2 might enjoy for atmosphere that night.
                    For us, Rendezvous is the quietest, along w/ Istanbuluu, but R is bigger (though still intimate) and has a much more diverse menu. I is tiny and intimate and welcoming, with foods that are a bit repetetive with the eggplant, tomato, lamb, yoghurt elements.
                    Cuchi Cuchi is a bit like Mardi Gras in flavor; everyone, incl GMs and waitresses are dressed up dramatically like 19th c. bordello.Very diverse menu of small plates, some more successful than others.

                    Sarma is colorful and bustling w/ activity because, in addition to the set menu of small plates. servers circulate throughout the night w/ special offerings from the kitchen. There is a current CH thread on Sarma.
                    With regards to privacy, CuchiCuchi has the most space between tables, then R, then Sarma- closest placement of tables.
                    One other thought for intimate spot w/ highly unusual inventive dishes- is East by Northeast in Inman Sq. All small plates, Chinese- Asian- fusiony.

                      1. re: purple bot

                        we think Bergamot is one of the most hospitable and delicious options in the boston area . have your met Servio? he is a very gracious and accommodating owner/ managers you might ever meet. staff is always lovely( sometimes better, sometimes undereducated) , but the wine,the cocktails& the food( MUST GET DANS CHARCUTERIE!) are outstanding. free parking 7 days........the room isnt the most cozy, but the everything else trumps that.....

                        ... 3 courses most often
                        turns into 5--- we have been 15x in dining room(+) and have a had great time... but a most do is sitting at the bar and getting a lobster melt with a perfect crafted cocktail from paul
                        ( yeah, ive gone...... a lot.. c)

                        1. re: kewpie

                          realize this is after the fact, but bergamot also does $1 oysters on sun/mon.

                      2. Thanks for the recs everyone. I hadn't thought of Rendezvous, but that might be perfect. My wife also mentioned sushi - any tips on that?

                        Istanbu'lu is another favorite, but sadly closed on Mondays. East By Northeast doesn't have hours on their web page but also appears to be closed on Mondays. We can't get a reservation at Sarma, but I definitely want to try that another time.

                        Bergamot is in the old Evoo space and we once had an awful dinner there (not their fault) so I'm reluctant to suggest it. We've been to Cuchi Cuchi and Dali but I'm not a big fan of either.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: blink617

                          Cafe Sushi in H. Sq. and maybe Ebi in Union are I think generally considered best in Camberville. I'd probably pick one of the earlier suggestions over any sushi place outside Boston proper. Fuji in Kendall, Genki Ya in Alewife, Toraya in Arlington are other options.

                          If you want something newer, maybe try Kirkland Tap & Trotter near Dali, Puritan outside Inman, or West Bridge in Kendall.

                          1. re: CportJ

                            Cafe Sushi’s omakase is excellent and much less expensive than Uni/O Ya, but tends to be in the $70-$80 range if you want a full meal. Their menu is, in my experience, much less tasty - although I’ve only ordered from it three times. Maybe the kama would work?

                            I like Genki Ya for delivery (the Genki Ichiban’s pretty good) but I wouldn’t go for a special occasion.

                            1. re: enhF94

                              café sushi for sure. got very good Globe write up a few months ago; the real 'hidden gem' of the boston sushi scene. Many CHs agree. And the owner is v attentive and great.

                              bistro 5 many steps down; not special enough imo.

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                have you been, or is this just others reporting.?

                            2. re: CportJ

                              Thank you all for the Cafe Sushi recommendation. We wound up going there and had a great meal. We didn't do the omakase, but the signature creations and the vegetable nigiri were both really good. We both managed to try a few new things.

                          2. Based on your previous-es, you’ve got the right idea. Sabur is a favorite of mine, and Sarma if you’re looking for something new.

                            Oh, maybe Bistro 5 in Medford.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: enhF94

                              The new La Brasa in East Somerville is another good fit with your past likes, but not open on Monday. Also, no dessert.

                            2. Alden & Harlow is a good spot in Harvard Square. Fancy enough to work for date night but not overly so.

                              1. lets stick to places we have ACTUALLY been, for this poster------ word of mouth can be so subjective, esp with we chowhounds.
                                thank you...first hound accts, only please

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: kewpie

                                  don't really understand why you've done all these posts now ; OP already HAD his special dinner tonight, and they enjoyed Cafe Sushi, as he reported above.