My favorite place to dine???

... no fast-foods listed here -- just pricey stuff.

from Don Norris

Ooooph da. What a question! What a conundrum! There's about a zillion restaurants in this area, some good, some not-so-good, some just mediocre and some whose names I won't even mention.

Of course we have to save up for dinner at our favorite, Legal Seafood. Prices are high class too.

Top of my list: Legal Seafood in Peabody, where we are seated by a hostess, where the temperature is just perfect year-round, where the waiters/waitresses are not only knowledgeable, but humorous. The atmostphere is just fine, personal, comfortable, quiet, welcoming. And the food -- the seafood -- is out of this world. Cooked just right, served just right (and on time), and tastes like perfection.

Of course the menu is long and pricey, but the selection is large.

Why, just the other night our oldest daughter, Nancy, called us from Burlington, after a long day of shopping for a new wedding dress -- not HER wedding, her nieces', our granddaughter's. Nan was in Burlington, had found something she really liked, traded in her previously-purchased outfit, got money back, then went into Legal for a drink at the bar and a call to her parents. The end of it was that Lorry and I scooted over to Burlington Mall, where there is another Legal Seafood -- and boy, was it good. I ordered fried clams, and eight minutes later they arrived -- just out of this world. I had to bring half my meal home in a doggy bag.

That was Legal. It was so good, but it is expensive. My order was supposed to be $22, but there was an asterisk there that says something like "market price prevails."  For the three of us, our bill was $98, plus $18 tip.

But Nancy's new outfit was gorgeous.

I must say that the new Legal Seafood in the new Lynnfield mall, just off Route 128, is another story. It doesn't have the smart atmosphere of the Peabody restaurant. Nor does the food seem the same. Maybe it's just all in my mind.

Otherwise, my wife and I have to consult the bankroll while choosing where we will dine any particular night. If we feel plush, it's Legal; otherwise, there are dozens of other decent restaurants within driving range of Melrose -- or in Melrose, also.

Like Turners in Melrose, like Stearns and Hills in Melrose, or maybe the Mexican restaurant on Main Street, downtown. All excellent, a little pricey, but good food and good atmosphere.

Once in a while we renew our association with Grimsby's, at the junction of West Wyoming and the Fellsway. The atmosphere in the bar-section is delightful, food id above average, prices are, ah, modern-day-okay. We usually end up buying a delightful sandwich along with a two-dollar bottle of beer. The martinis aren't bad, either.

There are a zillion restaurants within ten miles of Melrose. Zillions of pizza palaces, many chains like Bickford's, which are okay, nothing unusual.

There is "The Restaurant" in Woburn Square (about seven miles west of Melrose} that is sort of cafeteria style, get-in-line thing. But the food is hot and good, and they now have a bar. Prices are very attractive. Food is good. Certainly clean and neat, unusual.

Top-of-the Hub restaurant in Boston is an experience -- high prices, but you can get a table touching the window. First wrong step and its a thousand-feet down. Scenery of the city is outstanding. Fancy food, expensive.

We re-discovered The 99 Restaurant in Lynnfield recently. It's a decent chain with an extensive menu, a long popular bar, and they chop prices to attract business. Food is good, service is extra-good, prices are reasonable. A good family restaurant. Last week we had very large Margaritas for $3.99.

Melrose is sort of an isolated esoteric island in the humongus sprawl of greater Boston, so there is just an endless choice of places to get a different meal. I feel we are blessed -- with good food. Even if these New Englanders murder the King's English. But that's another story.

September 2, 2016

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