Need some Friday night help [Arlington MA and environs]

B and I have a night out alone this Friday (spring onion is attending a party at his karate studio). We have a very small window of opportunity (6-8 PM) so we need to stay fairly local to Arlington. We want to pony up to a comfy bar to eat in our jeans and t-shirts so hopefully we won’t need reservations and no place that is stuffy. No tasting menus. We don’t have the luxury of several hours. A couple of places I have in mind are La Bodega (Watertown) and Country Mile (Belmont-Watertown-ish). We could do Branchline but we are trying to go someplace that is new-to-us.

Can anyone offer any suggestions (or more data points on the 2 places above)? Thanks, Onions!

ETA: The karate studio is directly across the street from Jimmy’s so there’s always that.

Please help us, Onions.

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Ironically those were going to be my three suggestions (Bodega, Country Mile, Branchline). We go to Country Mile and Branchline fairly regularly, Bodega only a few times. We like them all. Country Mile and Bodego are both heavy on small plates that you would share (I always feel compelled to put this out there - because of that we never get out of either place on the cheap and we often wonder if it was worth what we spent . . . but some of that is just costs in the Boston area). We are partial to Country Mile - but we have been following the owners and the bar staff for years now, so its personal on some level. Country Mile is definitely the smallest of the 3 but if you were there at 6 I would like to think you could get a seat at the bar.


This is not a recommendation because it has been at least 10 years since I have been, but Tryst in Arlington Center is a possibility. Anyone have any intel on it? Less travel time for you than the Watertown spots.

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Funny, I always forget about places in Arlington center, probably because I’ve never been wowed by anyplace of the few places we’ve been. It’s been at least 4 years since I’ve been to Tryst and we liked it, even though it was for dreaded brunch (2 friends were in town, meeting my spring onion for the 1st time so that’s why I can remember the time frame). B and I have enjoyed our other meals at the bar there, too. I’m going to take a gander at the current menu. Thank you!

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I always feel this way about small plate/tapas places, which is why I decided against the new location of Gustazo in Porter Sq. I didn’t realize that Country Mile skews this way, too. Even so, I’m leaning towards CM (though the out-of-the-way locale of La Bodega speaks to me). Thanks for chiming in.

Have you tried Real Italian Gusto in Medford center?


We normally don’t go for straight-up Italian but I remember this place from a friend’s report who lives nearby and likes the food. Thanks for bringing that one up.

But that reminds me; maybe we could try Semolina again (it’s more eclectic than Italian). With Tufts out for the summer, maybe it’s a bit more manageable, crowd/noise-wise. Tomorrow looks to be nice - maybe the patio would be pleasant?

ETA: I just mapped out both places in Google Maps and it’s 20 minutes of red traffic to either place. That’s 20 minutes of precious eating time so I guess both Medford places are out.


Dear Onions - please don’t revoke my Hungry Onion license… After all that effort, B and I ended up going to our usual old favorite. We assessed travel time, guarantees of seats at a comfortable bar, Sox-Yankees game on, and landed at PJs Ryan’s. We got there right around 6:20 PM and our favorite bartender, Mike, was working so we got great attention from him especially since we heard that we were spring onion-less that evening. He may have slipped us some free beer accidentally…Oops.

I wanted to thank you all for answering my call for help. We will try to expand our horizons next time we have a free evening. Hope y’all ate well this weekend. Enjoy the good weather while it lasts!


It’s never a sin to stay with a tried-and-true, especially with a Sox-Yankees game on. What did you have to eat?

Useful to know that a new contender did not win out over your tried-and-true choice this time.

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This lapsed vegetarian-pescatarian gave in to her cravings and got salad with steak tips (perfectly medium) and B had some kind of grilled chicken sandwich, I think. Goblets of cheap but decent red wine go so well with steak tips, by the way. :wink:

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Salad and steak tips can definitely hit the spot!

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And we were eating on the early side, so I wasn’t ravenously hungry. Just a wee bit hungry.

I snacked after hours. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

I’ve been wanting to try Country Mile ever since reading MC Slim’s review in the Improper, and this thread combined with the fact that they now take reservations finally gave DH and me the nudge we needed.

The menu is about 2/3 small plates and 1/3 tinned seafood; we opted for 4 small plates and enjoyed them all. My favorite dish was probably a salad with royal trumpet mushrooms, endive, capers, a carrot sauce, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and probably a couple of other things I’m missing; this was a delightful mix of flavors and textures. I also really liked the monkfish sliders, which reminded me on sight of McDonald’s fillet of fish sandwiches. I haven’t had one of those for years, but the sliders were delightful - monkfish, with some crunch from kohlrabi and green apple, and some additional acid from a small assortment of pickles that came with it.

The space is airy, casual, and comfortable, and the service very friendly. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our meal and will definitely be back.