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Restaurants & Bars

Za, Arlington (long)

GretchenS | Jan 22, 2005 05:09 PM

Had dinner at Za Friday night. Cute small space, bustling. You can call ahead to put your name in and it's probably a good idea. Three growns and two kids shared 2 salads and 3 pizzas -- plenty. The arugula, clementine, shaved fennel and ricotta salata salad with pine nuts and citrus vinaigrette was wonderful. Nice combination of flavors, very fresh, dressed on the light side, just as I like it. Did not try the iceburg, red onion, grated carrot and applewood bacon salad with buttermilk blue cheese dressing but it was pronounced delicious. Pizzas: tomato mozzarella with add ons: caramelized onions and kalamata olives (kids' choice, I think we've created chowpups); portabella mushroom, roasted red pepper, caramelized onion, roasted garlic and goat cheese; and diced and mashed potatoes, applewood bacon, sweet onion, gruyere, thyme and scallions. All the pizzas were very good, the potato one was superb. Thin crust both crispy and a bit chewy, good proportion of filling. The tomato sauce on the kids' pizza was very fresh-tasting, not overly sweet or cooked-down.

Tomato mozzarella pizza $6, add ons .50 or $1, specialty pizzas (3 on menu, another on blackboard) $10-11, salads $6-7.50, wine about $23/bottle -- about 5 reds and 5 whites. Beer too, didn't pay much attention. Chocolate milk is available -- the real thing that you have to stir. I don't think they have dessert.

Service was outstanding. Extremely nice and polished waitress, plus a manager on the prowl who checked in with us no fewer than 4 times -- not obtrusively, we engaged with him rather than the other way around, but NOTHING that was happening in the dining room escaped him.

Unanimous decision that we'd return.

138 Mass Ave in Arlington (between Capitol Theater and Alewife Brook Parkway), 781-316-2334.

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