Asian Restaurants Around Davis Square, Somerville, Massachusetts

Want the taste of Asia without the time-consuming expense of flying halfway around the world for dinner? If you live in Davis Square in Somerville, Massachusetts, you have no need to board a plane. Chinese, Japanese and Thai food is available at several locations not far from your door�or directly on your doorstep if you ask for delivery, which most of the following restaurants provide.

China Sun. 7 Holland Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144. (617) 625-6068. If you can’t bear walking more than two steps from the subway, this is your restaurant. Just come up from the T at the Holland Street exit, and there’s China Sun in all its low-priced, high-fat glory for your take-out or eat-in pleasure. Be warned, however: Of all the Asian restaurants around Davis Square, this place wins the worst prize. Its eating area is small, with hard, uncomfortable seats. The air conditioning functions poorly in the summer. Furthermore, the food frequently drowns in grease and/or doesn’t live up to its name; for example, my sweet and sour pork was actually just sweetâÂ?¦and soggy. You’ve got much better options.

Dragon Garden. 261 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144. (617) 623-4383. In the heart of Davis Square, easily accessible by all public transportation, Dragon Garden offers better-than-average Chinese food. Their tempura’s a little flabby, but the crab rangoons are crisp and actually taste like crabmeat. Though take-out lines grow long, especially late at night, Dragon Garden always has seating available. If you’ve got a craving for some good-tasting pseudo-Asian fare and you don’t mind eating under neon pictures of animated waterfalls, hit Dragon Garden.

East Asia. 868 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144. (617) 666-8282. Walk or bus yourself down to Powderhouse Square (just five minutes out of Davis) for Mandarin and Thai cuisine at East Asia�if you can brave the crowds of Tufts students, that is. Noisy, dark and overflowing with people, eating at East Asia is like eating in a high-school cafeteria during a power outage. The food, about on par with Dragon Garden (see above), varies in quality; for example, my chicken chop suey tasted like bouillon with water chestnuts in it, but the beef teriyaki had more character. Opt for take-out or delivery.

Fusion Express Cafe. 195 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144. (617) 623-3354. Take a straight shot from Davis Square down Elm Street, either by bus or foot, and, before you get to Porter Square, you’ll see Fusion Express. Like so many other area Asian eateries, you can barely sit down here without stepping on someone else’s toes. But, with its low lighting and cloth napkins folded in water goblets, Fusion seems like a true restaurant where you can enjoy your food with leisure. And, oh, what good food it is! Serving Thai cuisine with some Japanese influence, Fusion pleases your palate with bountiful, healthy fare that doesn’t sit too heavily in your stomach. I recommend their spring rolls, a bouquet of savory, salad-like flavors. Relatively inexpensive and delicious. I wish they delivered!

Golden Light. 24 College Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144. (617) 666-9822. It advertises itself as inexpensive, but Golden Light actually runs a buck or two higher than local comparable restaurants. What are you paying for? I can’t really tell. Sure, it’s convenient (just a hop, skip and a jump from the Davis T’s College Avenue exit) and cute, with white tiles and pink tables for a neo-retro diner feel. However, eating there is like eating at a gas station – very loud and cramped. You’re better off ordering take-out. I find the Mandarin Chinese food thoroughly unremarkable, though. Perhaps you’re paying for the fact that Golden Light stays open until the wee hours of the morning, a profitable decision when most of the square’s establishments close around midnight or 1:00 AM.

Yoshi’s. 132 College Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144. (617) 623-9263. http://www.yoshis.net. Not technically in Davis Square, but in Powderhouse instead, Yoshi’s is nevertheless worth the extra mile. You’ll have to take the bus or walk a bit to reach this Japanese restaurant, but you’ll be rewarded with a smorgasbord of sushi and booth seating with a low-key ambiance. Yoshi’s is one of the most spacious restaurants on this list, so you can have a little privacy with your meal. Sushi lovers will lick their lips over Yoshi’s sweet tamago (egg omelet) or maguro (tuna) nigiri, both mild and smoothly textured sensual delights. More expensive than other restaurants (because of the sushi), Yoshi’s provides swankiness and good food. Too bad it’s only open for dinner.

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