I'll be working in this neighborhood again, and need some affordable and relatively quick places to grab lunch and dinner within a 10 minute walk of Berkeley & Columbus. Chinatown is way too far, as is much of the South End and the Back Bay. I'll be working long hours and going back to work after dinner, so I probably won't be drinking with my dinner.
I know that I've got a pretty small area to choose from, but I don't need a great restaurant. I just need a restaurant close by with one (or a few) very good lunch or dinner entrees. No dietary restrictions, and I've got a very big appetite so quantity is a plus as long as there's matching quality.
Picco, DeLux, and the Parish Cafe are the only lunch places that I remember liking. Any menu changes or recs? I also need more variety. Any great soups or stews nearby? Is there a way to put together a decent lunch at Fire + Ice? Is Viga worth the long lines?
For dinner, I liked the Franklin Cafe but need more variety. Masa was fine, but expensive for a quick every day dinner (on my tab) and then back to work meal. Any cheap ethnic food in this neighborhood?
I remember trying once but not going back to the Stanhope Grill, Benigans, Fire + Ice, Cottonwood, 33, Laurel, Via Matta, McCormick and Schmicks, Legals, Rustic Kitchen, and Sibling Rivalry. Oysters at 28 degrees were okay, dinner wasn't so good. I think that B&G might be further than I want to go for a meal. Did I order poorly? Any recent chef changes, or very good affordable entrees at these places?
I think Addis was way too slow, and Maggiano's had a wait, so I ended up at Legals. Is this typical?
Grill 23, Smith and Wollensky, Flemings, Palm, Bonfire, Mistral, Icarus, Excelsior, DaVinci, Davios, and Pigalle are all close, but they look way too pricey. Do these places have a bar menu or any specials? Is it okay not to drink at the bar?
Or are there any happy hour specials where I can get a good dinner without feeling weird about not drinking? Any other bar menu recs?
Am I missing anything? I'm looking for a better eating experience this time a round. Thanks!