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Good food, reasonable prices

So the New York parents are coming for a visit, and we'd like to take them out without having to also take out a second mortgage. They know good food, so I am looking for a really good restaurant in Cambridge, Somerville, or Arlington areas that will satisfy but isn't crazy expensive. Any suggestions? They like everything, though not as keen on Mexican.

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  1. Might help to define "crazy expensive". Does this include alcohol/are drinks important? Would a quasi-dive like State Park work or do you need something a little nicer on the inside?

    2 Replies
    1. re: mkfisher

      Cost would not include alcohol/drinks. State Park would not do. Someone has suggested Oleana, which I haven't been to in a long time. But I do love that they have outdoor seating, and I think their prices are reasonable for the quality of food, service, and ambiance. Am open to other suggestions, as well. Thanks!

      1. re: mglassman

        If Oleana works in terms of price, you can pretty much go anywhere in Camberville. As others have mentioned Bergamot, Commonwealth, Sarma and Hungry Mother all work. Would also add La Brasa.

        PS - Oleana does not take reservations for the outdoor seats, so it can be a challenge at peak times.

    2. If you are looking for something that is not very expensive and serves food that I think is some of the most unique in Boston I would Suggest Oleana on Hampshire St. in Cambridge. If you have never been there they feature dishes with a strong Mediterranean and Middle East influence. There is a long list of interesting and delicious meze (appetizers) and a selection of meat and seafood entrees. If anyone is a vegetarian they will find a lot of options including a prixe fixe vegetarian menu. They offer a nice selection of wine and beer. I like their desserts to and highly recommend their version of Baked Alaska. It can be easily shared between two or more. I find their prices to be reasonable with the meze in the $8.00 to $12.00 range and entrees around $20.00 to $30.00.

      1. I would choose Bergamot. Other fine choices include Hungry Mother, Bondir, Puritan, Commonwealth, Bronwyn (if the unique menu appeals), Blue Room, West Bridge, Sarma.

        1. If your NY parents are anything like my NY parents, then I'd recommend Puritan & Co or Bergamot.

          I love Oleana, and I took my parents there a couple of years ago, but it was just a bit too much for them. They feigned polite enjoyment, but they were sort of befuddled by the whole thing.

          Puritan and Bergamot both work well because they have interesting options, but feel familiar and comfortable.

          Also, my parents are HUGE oyster fans, and I'm fairly certain they have never been happier then the first time I took them to Island Creek Oyster Bar.

          4 Replies
          1. re: VintageMolly

            Yes, I was thinking about Bergamot since they offer a price fixe menu. Can't get a table for Oleana that day, but that's okay. I think I'm looking for something a wee bit more low-key, yet good food. I don't need a "special occasion" place. They appreciate really good bistro food, seafood, and good Italian. I live right near Bistro 5 which is good, but maybe pricey for five people dining out. I'll look into Island Creek Oyster Bar. They do like oysters! Also, been wanting to try Puritan.

            1. re: VintageMolly

              Okay, checked out OCOB--looks good, but a tad pricey. Also, I should mention that I can't take them to any place where the music or din is really loud. They are sophisticated eaters, but their hearing is not so great these days. What about Posto or Catalyst? I've been to a office party at Catalyst, but not sure what the acoustics are otherwise.

              1. re: mglassman

                Posto can be really loud. Catalyst would seem to be more than you want to spend, but I like it quite a bit.

                1. re: mglassman

                  That narrows it down quite a bit: Bergamot or Catalyst, I would say. ICOB is pretty good acoustically too. The other vary from medium loud to very loud.