After shopping in Waltham at an Indian grocery called Patel Brothers, we decided to give Solea a try for lunch, for a couple of reasons. First, we’d never eaten there before, and second, we had been invited to a potluck Tapas party on Sunday, and we were looking for a little inspiration. Sadly to say, we didn’t find it at Solea.
My wife and I shared five Tapas plates: baked goat cheese with tomato & basil; snails; a Spanish antipasto platter, a moroccan sheherd’s pie, and a fifth dish so bland that neither of us remember what it actually was. Our choices can charitably be described as a mixed bag. The goat cheese dish was pretty good. By that I mean it was nothing special, but it had acceptable flavor. The snails were not very good. I’m going to admit that I am no expert in the snails department, but my wife grew up in Europe, and I’m confident that if I didn’t like them and her opinion was that the dish fell well short of being good, then the snails just weren’t very good. The antipasto platter had some rather lousy (dry) cheeses and also an appearance was made by some very dried out (probably) Corando prosciutto trying to pass itself off as Serrano ham. The kitchen staff had smothered it in olive oil in a failed attempt to disguise its lack of suitability for human consumption.
That brings us to the Moroccan shepherd’s pie, which was the odd man out of the group. It was absolutely great, like no shepherd’s pie I’d ever tasted. The ingredients were traditional, but the dish was spiced wonderfully. If only the other dishes had even approached this one, it would have been a wonderful meal.
Now the damages. The service fell well short of mediocre, and we each had a non-alcoholic drink. With tax and tip, the bill for lunch was on the wrong side of $50, and did not reach the quality standards of the Panera bread chain. One star.
Solea Restaurant & Tapas Bar
388 Moody Ave.
Waltham, MA 02453
(parking on street)