Arlington Center recs- pretty please!

Onions, for purely selfish reasons I am starting an Arlington Center thread. I’ve recently begun spending the working part of my life in the ole AC, as we like to call it. Actually, no one calls it that. But I do now know who Cyrus Dallin is, which should count for something. So, as someone with a fairly short lunch break and the potential to bring take-out dinner home, provided it can be biked back along to Somerville, please tell me what I should be eating within, let’s say a 12 minute walk of the library.

Thus far, I’ve dined on Thai Moon’s tasty but not earth-shattering Thai food. In years past we used to meet friends at Punjab, but it was always their pick not ours, and I found the food sub-par so have not returned.

I also stopped at the brand new Butternut Bakery last week and had a slightly unfortunate experience. I decided to splurge on some treats for my office, and saw lavender lemon shortbread in a package of about 6 squares for $7. I noted it said gluten free, which is not usually how I roll, so I asked what the flour type was, and was told it was almond and corn meals. Those are legit ingredients I recognize and like, so I bought it, but then upon inspection of the bottom of the package, it actually listed a gluten-free flour blend of rice and about 17 other ingredients, which I never would have bought. I did contact the store and they said bring it back for exchange, which I will do next time I have a chance. But kind of a bummer that they don’t know their own ingredients.

And that’s truly the limit of my knowledge. Help me lest I resort to the Whole Foods salad bar.


Search for Arlington in . Punjab doesn’t do lunch anymore. Pasha is pleasant. Toraya is good but their Chirashi is now pretty small. Jose’s Torta Mexicanacjust opened and it was OK. ZA for Pizza and salads.


In the ole AC there’s Mamadou’s for tasty baked goods and crepes (sadly closed M&T, re Google) and La Victoria Taqueria (much better than Jose’s, the surtido torta is great). The Kickstand may be a decent lunch option too but I haven’t been in a while.

WooRi Korean Fusion is what it says on the tin and was pretty good when I went for dinner a while back. Dunno how they’d do for a fast lunch though. My one experience at Noodle Market was okay but not enough to bring non-local me back, but if I’d try them again if I were eating AC lunch on the regular.

I’ll ask my local source if there’s something I’ve missed.


Pasha (Turkish) is all I’ve got for you but watching this thread with great interest.

@Parsnipity I feel your pain. Honestly I’ve never really been wowed by anything in Arlington Center. Like @T.B, I also like Kickstand a lot and in fact, I might be going today to meet a friend for lunch. It gets crazy in there at primetime but eating outside is nice. I tried Woo Ri a few years ago with my parents. The food then was a funny trendy mix, a la Allston Korean hip. The food was fun but then, again I have not gone back. My parents, who are decidedly not hip, were a bit confounded by the dishes. B and I used to like Common Ground when they first opened, about 4 years ago but the food has gone downhill so we haven’t been back in sometime. We may check it out again just to sit on the patio and see how the food is lately.

A neighbor friend just told me he likes Tango for the steak and chimichurri (I had just brought over some homemade chimichurri to him). I don’t know if they’re open for lunch, but Argentinian food might make for a hearty lunch.

Within a 10 minute walk of the library is Blue Ribbon which I know gets pooh-poohed by people but I’m not a barbecue eater so I can’t comment on the food. I know that it is a guilty pleasure for B. In addition to Toraya in that block is Magic Bites. I still haven’t gone into the bakery but I’ve had assorted dips purchased from LexFarm and everything’s been tasty. I’m pretty sure they carry bourek (and perhaps other savory bakery items) which is supposed to be good.

Bummer about the weird experience at Butternut. I had some of their baked goods at a local farm event and I was impressed by the young owner. I don’t have a sweet tooth but spring onion and B scarfed down her offerings that day.

Wish we had a good ramen joint in the “AC.”

ETA: Another n=1, at Zhu’s Garden, a vegan pan-Asian place. It’s a ~5 minute bike ride down Mass Ave, towards North Cambridge. I had an okay noodle dish some years ago but have not gone back. It was a serene lunch with a friend and it was nice to get a glass of wine. Maybe I’ll check that out today for my friend lunch. Wherever we end up of course I will report back.


More thoughts coming to me in Capitol Sq if you cycle or time a 77 bus just right…a slice at Otto when pizza cravings hit. We’ve had decent meals at Town Tavern (though I’m not crazy about the ambience). Barismo for a caffeine pick-me-up.

Thanks for recs so far- keep 'em coming. The problem is, I actually very rarely allow myself to eat lunch out so it’s got to be worth it.

Your posts have actually reminded me of how many places I’d tried over the years before working in Arlington. Several bike trips have brought us to Kickstand, and although I want to like it, I’ve always been completely underwhelmed by their sandwiches and baked goods. It’s a meh for me with a great location. Speaking of which, this Saturday 6/9 is Porchfest in Arlington (which is a great event Somerville originated and which has spread around the country) and Kickstand will have music all afternoon.

I’ve had Blue Ribbon as take out a few times and think it’s pretty good. I put it on par with Redbones, but since y’all have turned me on to BT’s, there’s no comparison. Also, BBQ for lunch is just too much for me to be functional for the rest of the workday!

I did pick up some chocolate almond croissants at Mamadou’s yesterday, and not only was the counter lady just about the nicest friendliest bakery staff I’ve ever met, they were delicious. The combination of chocolate and frangipane is seldom found. My DH commented that they reminded him of some fantastic pastry he’d only had in Vancouver. (I also returned my dud gluten-free items to Butternut which they happily took back. By the time I got there about 2pm there was nothing I wanted to exchange for, so just took a refund. Will try again, though as they were very nice about it).

People have been recommending Tango to me for literally years. I admit; we grill a fine steak on our deck a few times a season and I rarely head out looking for steak so it’s never been the right place at the right time. Maybe one of these days, although probably neither for lunch nor takeout.

My work Christmas party was in the function room at the Common Ground last December, and I barely contained myself from coming home and posting a polemic on the absolutely god-awful food and set up. Also, they charged me for a bowl of plain pasta for a kiddo from the kitchen because the sauce on the chafing dish of pasta was spicy. I will never set foot in there again, although perhaps the menu items are serviceable (as opposed to the function room slop).

I think I could just make it to Thana Thai, which I really like and I believe I’ve mentioned before.

Keep 'em coming!


I do like Otto, but since pizza is the default meal of all school functions and birthday parties and Friday nights when there is no dinner plan… I am perpetually pizza’ed out. But agree that theirs is one of the best.

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My friend and I did end up at Zhu’s Garden yesterday for lunch. And as with my first experience, it was fine but not memorable. We both ordered the same thing, Malaysian curry stew ($10 on the lunch special menu). It was a hearty portion with thinly sliced tempeh as the protein. A little bowl of soup to start and accompanied by jasmine rice. I would be very surprised if the curry sauce was made from scratch but at least it was spicy and I love going to a place where you don’t have to worry about animal products if you are a staunch vegan or vegetarian.

At Kickstand my go-tos are the smoked salmon bagel sandwich on Iggy’s multiseed bagel (which is huge and well-constructed - it never falls / slides apart; I can only usually eat half unless I’ve skipped another meal; importantly, I only get the Iggy’s multiseed since I detest OMG bagels) and the tofu Vietnamese summer rolls (ie, fresh rice paper). And sometimes when the craving hits, the Thai chicken curry soup.

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I’m with ya, sista. This is going to be a 2-day pizza week between a crazy school picnic last night and a half-birthday party we’re hosting for spring onion this Saturday at Chip-In Farm since the kid was born in hectic December. We’re doing RI cold pizza strips from DePetrillo’s. Yeah! (And yes, it is an apostrophe “s”.)


Pizza strips. I had to look ‘em up to see if they’re a Rhode Island thing.

Why, yes. You have expanded my world.


I am sorry that you were deprived as a child. You must’ve grown up in some backwards place. :thinking:

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I was deprived, too. And unlike the energetic Denise T-T, I have not looked it up.

Are cold pizza strips a thing where you undress while you eat cold pizza? The RI version of strip poker? Sounds exciting! Would that I were like most of you on HO, and 80 again!*



There’s a reason why we’re the outlaw (rogue) state. :wink:

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How did you know? :wink: Much of my childhood was spent in a sleepy town that had but one pizza place. Said pizza was ghastly and featured mushrooms straight from a can. Frozen supermarket pizza won out by miles.

I have been making amends in the decades since. Need to add pizza strips to my rehabilitation program.

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This caused me to do a spit take as I read this while drinking my morning tea. :rofl:

1 Like is an excellent resource for all things Rhody.

Apologies to @Parsnipity for de-railing this thread a bit.

We now resume regularly scheduled programming.

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And if one of HO’s esteemed moderators is listening, maybe the Rhode Island pizza strips comments can be split into their own thread?

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Do you think there’s any connection with Flatbread’s strip-like cut? On a round pie, this has always bothered me because you end up with edge pieces that are all crust. I rather like Flatbread’s pizza and flavors, but won’t order takeout from them because I have to hover over the chef station insisting they cut my pizza into wedges for eating in-house. It is the only equitable way.

Did a little research on my own this weekend at Noodle Market. We had an early dinner there Saturday amongst the Porchfest hullabaloo. In total, we ordered and shared and devoured 4 dishes plus the green papaya salad. Said salad was good, although a bit heavy on the iceberg lettuce and missing any dried shrimpy goodness. Nice heat level to the dressing, though.

Pad thai was too sweet for my taste and lacked acid. Pad See Yu had a very nice char on the edges of the noodles- they’re cooking with fire, alright.

A bun bowl was good, although couldn’t really compare to some Dorchester versions with tons of fresh herbs and interesting add ins. Still, I’d eat it for lunch happily. Same for a bahn mi sandwich- good value, tasty pork. No pate and minimal herbage, but overall delicious.

There was some odd back and forth as they tried to tell us we couldn’t sit at two 2-tops pushed together in a empty restaurant at 5pm and tried to put us inches away from the only other diners, a family with 2 toddlers throwing food (no judgement, I’ve been there, just wanted a buffer zone). But we just ignored them and sat down anyways, and service was fine the rest of the meal.

I’ll order the bahn mi for lunch, and fully recognize that they’re trying to span the pan-Asian-noodle genre which creates difficulty in doing any one dish authentically and excellently, but overall I’d eat here again.