Here are my updated suggestions for the Boston area, outside the city limits. This list has more on the less expensive side that the Boston list. It also consolidates stuff I have posted on incrementally. I guess this these places are cheaper because I go them more often. It does not include Cambridge as I covered it separately.
Blue Ribbon Barbecue (Arlington) It is rated as the top place for ribs in the Boston area. You can buy the tender, slow-cooked, pit-smoked meats (which include pulled pork, burnt ends, beef brisket, pulled chicken, and hot sausage) three ways: sandwich, platter, and "bulk." Blue Ribbon is located at 908 Massachusetts Ave. 781 648 7427. There is also a branch at 1375 Washington St, West Newton, 617 332 2583.
Warren Tavern (Charlestown) - burger and beer in historic setting. George Washington ate here and Paul Revere considered it a favorite. Perhaps some Ives ancestors also stopped in. Their site tells us that, “The Warren Tavern was probably the first building erected in Charlestown after the British razed the town during the Battle of Bunker Hill on 1775. It was founded by Captain Eliphelet Newell in 1780. Newell had been believed to have been a participant at the famous Boston Tea Party.” It is known more for the setting than the food but it provides good bar food. The Warren Tavern is located at 2 Pleasant St, Charlestown, 617-241-8142.
Neighborhood Restaurant and Bakery (Somerville) for breakfast. It is Portugese and amazing. A Boston Phoenix review raves about their experience and writes, “A plate of buttery eggs, spiced hashed browns, and mildly biting linguiça ($6.99) was perfectly simple and simply perfect.” It is located at 25 Bow Street, in Somerville, is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. (617) 628-2151.
Blue Ginger – This is a great place for Asian food in the Western suburbs. It is located in Wellesley and has received great reviews. Zagat’s says, “Rising above the fusion fray, chef-owner Ming Tsai sets the standard for East-meets-West cuisine with a transcendent menu that more than lives up to the buzz.” I have been there once and see why. The chef-owner has two cook books, “Blue Ginger” and “Simply Ming: East Techniques for East-Meet-West Meals.” It is located at 583 Washington Street, Wellesley, 781-283-5790.
Woodman’s – This is where the fried clam was invented. It still serves the best fried clams and onion rings I have tasted. Over 85 years ago, Lawrence "Chubby" Woodman invented the fried clam and the place has been providing them ever since. It is located at Route 133, Main St. Essex, MA on the North Shore of Boston (978) 768-6057 (800) 649-1773 and the clams come from the same town.
Vicki Lee’s – Belmont - Paul Tamburello of PT at Large recommended this great café and bakery in Bemont in the Cushng Square area where I lived in the late 70s. There is an espresso bar and old-fashioned soda fountain. The retail area offers hard-to-find ingredients and. They also do catering as well as tasting and cooking classes. The Vicki Lee’s web site has great pictures that you can enlarge. Vicki Lee’s is located at 105 Trapelo Rd, Belmont, (617) 489-5007. Another friend just went there on my recommendation and really liked it. Here is a great and more comprehensive write up that Paul recently did, Vicki Lee’s Café, Superb food on a small scale.
Kebob Factory – Somerville – I walk past this place a lot and have admired their $8 lunch buffet. Recently, I had lunch with a colleague there and it exceeded expectations. It is located at 414 Washington Street, Somerville, MA 02143
The Wine & Cheese Cask - Somerville - has been around for some time. I briefly lived above it in the early 70s. with some friends who worked there. They would party after work with stuff they brought up from the place. Apparently that tradition continues. It has a great selection of wines and smart people to help you figure stuff out. They also have excellent cheeses and meats such as serrano ham. Owing to the presence of the Spanish restaurant, Dali, across the street they have extensive Spanish wine, cheese and meats. Dali’s is only open at night. I covered it in a previous post and I highly recommend it for tapas. The Wine & Cheese Cask is located at 407 Washington St. Somerville, 617-623-8656
My barber told me about this great Brazilian place nearby him in Somerville, Cafe Belo. It is self-serve with a wonderful buffet. They also offer Brazilian BBQ. As their site says, “Brazilians were the first to raise cattle in South America, imported from Cape Verde to São Paulo in the 1530s. Churrasco (pronounced shoo-RAS-koo) or Brazilian barbecue was the traditional staple food of the gaúchos or cowboys of Southern Brazil for centuries before it spread to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo….many places are called churrascaria de rodízio because waiters move from table to table bringing different types of meats on skewers from which they slice portions onto your plate…The meats used most often are Brazilian sausages, different cuts of beef, pork tenderloin and chicken…White meats are marinated overnight in a mixture of garlic, salt and lime juice. The red meats are seasoned with sea salt only.” This place doesn’t have swords but the staff is very friendly.