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Lunch between Central and Kendall

Imby Jul 1, 2014 05:19 PM

New job - office on Mass Ave at corner of Main Street (by Asgard, across from Miracle of Science). Would be grateful for recommendations for lunch, assuming a 5-7 minute walk radius. Anything goes.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. t
    tartandfit RE: Imby Jul 1, 2014 05:37 PM

    Mary Chung's and Flour are easily walkable.

    1. d
      Dan Boston RE: Imby Jul 1, 2014 05:40 PM

      Catalyst and Area Four are both good.

      I love West Bridge for dinner. They are open for lunch. I've just never had it.

      I also like the All Star Sandwich Bar, but it might be a little too far away for you.

      1. Luther RE: Imby Jul 2, 2014 03:42 AM

        Personally I think Cinderella's is underrated. Their subs are decent and the pizza's really not bad considering that you have basically zero edible pizza joint options in that area.

        Another good (better?) sub option is Newtowne Variety, the corner store on Windsor at Main. You may be left waiting in a long line for your sub, but it's close to your office.

        For more serious refined-type pizza, Area Four. But it's not the quickest way to grab lunch.

        For New England style roast beef sandwiches, the newish place at Main and Windsor (Primo Pizza & Roast Beef) makes a good one.

        Expensive fancysandwiches at Flour are tasty but fairly low calories per dollar.

        Speaking of high calories per dollar, you won't beat Izzy's, which is pretty close to you. Just don't make it a habit if you value your health. I'd say this is the #1 lunch option for a hot plate of food within a short walk, only a possible 2nd to MuLan, which is also a pretty close walk. Their lunch specials are good and a good value, and come out of the kitchen really quick (e.g. "Diced Chicken with Hot Sauce" which is a delicious chili-based stir fry over rice).

        6 Replies
        1. re: Luther
          cambridgedoctpr RE: Luther Jul 2, 2014 06:07 AM

          i would add dumping house, which is as good as Mulan IMHO. It it on the way to harvard square but depending on where you are; it could be closer.

          1. re: cambridgedoctpr
            jgg13 RE: cambridgedoctpr Jul 2, 2014 06:58 AM

            You said:
            "depending on where you are"
            They said:
            "by Asgard, across from Miracle of Science"

            Guessing Novartis?

          2. re: Luther
            jgg13 RE: Luther Jul 2, 2014 06:56 AM

            Agreed on Cinderellas. I always liked their steak & cheese when I lived over that way.

            Also agreed on Izzys, particularly the pork sub on fridays.

            While the prices have gone up and quality down over the years, I like Camie's bakery in the general area (bit further than Izzys, closer than MuLan).

            And yes, MuLan's lunch specials are pretty good.

            Someone else mentioned Mary Chung, I like that.

            I'm closer to 1 Kendall than Tech Sq but I do occasionally end up at both beantown tacquiera and the crappy chinese truck on main street - neither are anything to write home about but I think both can be cheap/quick lunch options and IMO there aren't a ton of those around.

            Speaking of 1 Kendall, the Blue Room's patio is a pretty good price/performance IMO for lunch.

            1. re: jgg13
              Luther RE: jgg13 Jul 3, 2014 06:24 AM

              Oh yeah, forgot about Camie's. Probably my least favorite Haitian food in Boston, but still a solid lunch option.

            2. re: Luther
              mkfisher RE: Luther Jul 2, 2014 12:05 PM

              +1 on Primo. I've really enjoyed their roast beef sandwiches.

              1. re: mkfisher
                CportJ RE: mkfisher Jul 9, 2014 05:43 PM

                -1 on Cinderella's, esp. the calzones unless you need to keep office vampires away in the afternoon.

                Life Alive is good for healthy vegetarian options. Across from City Hall and the Post Office. I much prefer it to the mostly fake meat-type options at Veggie Galaxy.

                Flour is great for breakfast and for sandwiches. I think the quiche of the day with greens on the side is always a good way to go for $6.

                I stayed home from work one day in order to try the yassa, a Senegalese chicken stew, from Bytes (only open weekdays). Good decision.

            3. l
              lossless RE: Imby Jul 2, 2014 07:50 AM

              H Mart (Korean supermarket in Central Sq) has some lunch options, although both the ramen and the curry were underwhelming for me. The bakery has some sandwiches although I've never tried. Instead, I would suggest checking out the to-go packages that you can find inside the market - they're near the kimchi. You can find a good-sized meal in the $7 Korean-style "lunchboxes", or the different sizes of gimbap (Korean maki) packs. Decent value. (The lunchboxes are sorta-kinda refrigerated - not cold but also less than room temp. They can be eaten cool, but I prefer to microwave them a tiny bit. Certain types of the lunchbox items might also smell more than acceptable in your work environment if you're heating things up in there.)

              Eater Boston is reporting today that "State Park in Cambridge is now offering lunch Tuesday through Friday, starting at 11:30 a.m." It's in Kendall Sq.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lossless
                Luther RE: lossless Jul 3, 2014 06:29 AM

                The H Mart lunch boxes are definitely a good value and one of the healthiest lunches you can get (grilled or fried fish, rice, various vegetables). You can even turn it into 2 lunches if you are a light lunch eater. Most office environments will dictate that you either don't heat the protein, or stick with the fried shrimp type options.

              2. d
                dfan RE: Imby Jul 2, 2014 08:39 AM

                Flour for sure!

                Mary Chung's suan la chow show is a perfect lunch-sized meal for me. When I was working in the area I got that once a week and never got tired of it.

                I think that many of the Kendall-ish places people are recommending are going to be more like a 15-minute walk than 5-7.

                2 Replies
                1. re: dfan
                  jgg13 RE: dfan Jul 2, 2014 09:02 AM

                  I work on the other side of 1 Kendall from the OP and it's ~5m walk for me to get to OKS. I can get to Mary Chung in 15 mins.

                  Similarly I used to live next to the Dumpling House and it was almost exactly a 10m walk for me to get to Mary Chung.

                  My point? Maybe one or two spots are approaching 15m but certainly not "many"

                  1. re: jgg13
                    dfan RE: jgg13 Jul 3, 2014 12:05 PM


                2. a
                  addiez RE: Imby Jul 2, 2014 08:39 AM

                  Definitely Flour - you're also not too far from the MIT Anna's Taqueria, though it may be outside the 7 minute radius. I know I'm in the minority, but I don't hate Patty Chen's Dumpling Room. Cinderella's can also be good. I'm also a huge fan of Veggie Galaxy, if you like that kind of thing.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: addiez
                    digga RE: addiez Jul 3, 2014 11:04 AM

                    Love Veggie Galaxy for lunch.

                  2. v
                    verka RE: Imby Jul 2, 2014 11:30 AM

                    Welcome to the neighborhood ! Our regular lunch rotation includes:

                    Cafe Luna
                    H Mart food court
                    Area Four
                    Mary Chungs

                    And looking forward to Clover coming soon !

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: verka
                      digga RE: verka Jul 3, 2014 11:08 AM

                      Bytes was one of my favorite lunch options. Tiny take-out only joint run by a Senegalese man, so often, there would be a West African entree option (always with meat, so I never tried them but they looked delicious).The falafel with spicy sauce was my go-to for years.

                      Mulan, while awesome, is too far to walk. When we wanted to get our Mulan fix, someone would drive us. If you ride a bike to work, as I did, that will definitely broaden your horizons.

                      And, of course, Miracle is excellent for lunch, though it, too, gets tres crowded.

                      Baraka is good, but the service is S-L-O-W. Don't go when you have a 1 pm meeting. Kind of a long walk from your locale.

                      I never tried 4 Burgers, but that's another option, towards Harvard. I also like Life Alive a lot.

                      1. re: digga
                        jgg13 RE: digga Jul 3, 2014 12:54 PM

                        I wish I knew that before about the sengalese connection at Bytes. I have always assumed it was a typical soulless corporate-esque cafeteria type place (e.g. Sebastians).

                        re Four Burgers - I like it but it's not the greatest deal in the west and you have to find a topping combo that works for you. When they first opened they had *horrible* consistency on done-ness (I'd always order med rare and would get everything from rare to well done, and anything cooked above modern med-rare is nearly inedible to me) but they've become much better.

                    2. d
                      deglazer RE: Imby Jul 2, 2014 06:35 PM

                      -Brookline Lunch is a favorite.
                      -Agree on the roast beef at Primo - pretty much textbook, and as good or better than many of the iconic places I've tried.
                      -Love Izzy's but, as may have been mentioned in a Closings thread, it's closed til August, I think.
                      -Baraka Cafe on Pearl St.
                      -I can get a satisfying lunch at any of the Indian buffets. To me there's always: rice and naan, a dal-type thing, a fritter of some sort, and tandoori chicken, plus the usual sauces and chutneys and raita. So you're sort of at a chicken and rice plate at a minimum. Then the rest of the dishes are up to chance. I usually find at least one or two other good dishes that can make up a good lunch. Depending on the day or the place, there might be a lot more. Plus kheer.
                      -Darwins coming soon near next to Middlesex.

                      and many good suggestions in the thread!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: deglazer
                        Luther RE: deglazer Jul 3, 2014 06:31 AM

                        On the topic of lunch buffets, if OP has time to sit down at one, it's not too far a walk over to Rangzen on Pearl Street, which is head and shoulders over the Indian options. Lots of simply cooked meat and vegetables/fruits, really a unique setup.

                        1. re: Luther
                          jgg13 RE: Luther Jul 3, 2014 09:26 AM

                          Ohh yeah. Back when I lived in central that was my go to working from home "i'm hungry" lunch

                          1. re: Luther
                            digga RE: Luther Jul 3, 2014 11:05 AM

                            Definitely in my top 5 choices for lunch when I worked in the area. Gotta get there early, though, since it gets crazy busy and the place is "cozy" (read "tiny"). We used to show up right around 11:45-ish and get seated right away.

                            1. re: Luther
                              deglazer RE: Luther Jul 3, 2014 02:55 PM

                              Good point - I'd agree with that. It's definitely a more interesting experience with better variety.

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