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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Bali Hai, Lynnfield, MA (restaurant)
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Bali Hai, Lynnfield, MA (restaurant)
The Granite Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 02, 2005
Posts: 820
From: Nashua, NH
Posted: 2007-02-20 3:31 pm   Permalink

It's really great to hear a good report about Bali Hai.

I had the often mentioned bad experience with the food but good experience with the booze, but I was there very late at night, and ordered some typical appetizers that might have had some age to them.

I wind up driving by there quite often so I'm definitely giving it some more chances! I actually drove right by it the night you were there and wondered if you were still there (around 10:00) but I couldn't stop because I drive an '81 VW Vanagon Camper that hasn't been liking this cold much and is never guaranteed to start again.

Thanks for the post, it offers a new hope!

[ This Message was edited by: The Granite Tiki 2007-02-20 15:33 ]


 
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Zeta
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 13, 2007
Posts: 2105
From: Atlantis/Basque Country/Spain/Mexico
Posted: 2008-08-04 03:27 am   Permalink

A menu from my collection:

When I went there in early 2005 the owner sold me 7 mugs and gave me the menu as a gift. Has a printed price, Souvenir Menu: $ 3.00 Dollars.
I really liked this place, It must have been nicer on it's heyday.

Z


 
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Dustycajun
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 16, 2007
Posts: 5150
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Posted: 2011-08-29 4:49 pm   Permalink

Spotted this cool old matchbook on ebay a while back from the Bali Hai with a nice illustration of the A-Frame entrance.



The back of the matchbook has this rendering of the Tiki from the front of the building. Anybody guess the country/region of origin for this style?



DC


 
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Limbo Lizard
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 24, 2006
Posts: 780
From: Aboard the 'Leaky Tiki', Dallas
Posted: 2016-02-19 11:38 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2011-08-29 16:49, Dustycajun wrote:
... Anybody guess the country/region of origin for this style?



I'm guessing Indonesia. Perhaps they couldn't find any art from the fictitious Polynesian isle of Bali Hai, but they found - and used - a mask from the island of Bali.


 
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DixonAlibi
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Aug 01, 2015
Posts: 82
From: NYC from PDX
Posted: 2017-09-09 6:07 pm   Permalink

Went here today when they opened at noon and got a Mai Tai, some Crab Rangoon, and noodles. The Mai Tai wasn’t amazing, but it was made with rum, orgeat, and orange curaçao. It was pre batched, but still decent. The crab Rangoon and noodles were good as well. Nothing insanely special, but good! I didn’t see any mugs, but on the way out, saw some under a glass case by the front register. They no longer use them at were selling the remaining ones for $7.50. I bought two! Will add photos when I’m home on my computer!

 
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Michelle66
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 05, 2011
Posts: 66
Posted: 2017-09-21 03:25 am   Permalink

Been home this week on vacation, and after two abortive attempts to eat at Kowloon (due to menu issues), finally decided to give Bali Hai a try.

Bali Hai is a place I remember from the 1970s, seeing it every time the folks drove up 128 on the way to the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers.

The restaurant's yellow sign was one of the few lighted landmarks I used to look out for on the way back home (along with a nearby Sunoco sign and neon Elks Club sign that are also both still visible from the highway).

The sound wall that now lines 128 blocks view of the Bali Hai sign, but if you can find your way to Moulton Drive, it's still there in all its 1970s glory.

Anyway, after never eating at this restaurant for more than 40 years, FINALLY gave it a try.

Glad I did.

It's definitely an older place. But, the carpet was clean and the vinyl seats in the booth we sat in looked somewhat new.

Got a Scorpion bowl for two and it was POTENT! God, was it potent!

We ordered the Bali Hai platter (a plate of appetizers, piled HIGH for under $20), plus an order of Peking Raviolis for $5.

Boston-style Chinese food...strong drinks...old-school decor...all for CHEAP money. (Our waitress was attentive, humorous, and earned her 25-percent tip.)

So, including the tip, the entire meal was only $60, and that price includes an order of shrimp lo mein I got to go (along with the leftover appetizers).

Also bought two vintage Bali Hai mugs for $7.50 each as we were leaving.

Has the Bali Hai seen better days? Obviously.

But, the fact this place has managed to survive in these days of the gentrification of Rt. 1 and the entire North Shore area, is nothing short of miraculous. You should definitely check it out before it inevitably succumbs to the times.


 
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bamalamalu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 20, 2006
Posts: 996
Posted: 2017-09-21 12:03 pm   Permalink

So glad to see current good reviews of this place! I also used to live in the area, but it's been ages since I was back. Makes me happy to know they're still going. It's fun to hear that they're still so cheap, too. I was there once with several friends and we were ordering all sorts of crazy-named drinks - "even if you hate it, who cares? It's $3.50!"

(Hope the issues at Kowloon weren't anything major?)



 
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Michelle66
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 05, 2011
Posts: 66
Posted: 2017-09-21 6:59 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2017-09-21 12:03, bamalamalu wrote:
So glad to see current good reviews of this place! I also used to live in the area, but it's been ages since I was back. Makes me happy to know they're still going. It's fun to hear that they're still so cheap, too. I was there once with several friends and we were ordering all sorts of crazy-named drinks - "even if you hate it, who cares? It's $3.50!"

(Hope the issues at Kowloon weren't anything major?)





The "menu issues" I had at Kowloon were nothing major, but were irksome to me just the same.

After flying to Boston from Tokyo on a 13-hour flight, I was cranky and VERY hungry. After clearing immigration and customs, getting my rental car, THEN driving up route 1A and route 1, I was not too thrilled to learn that Kowloon doesn't serve combination plates after 5pm.

(Since I wasn't about to order four different full-sized boxes of food, ended up getting a pizza down the street at Polcari's/Pizzeria Regina.)

The next day, I was still craving Boston-style Chinese food, so headed off of Kowloon and got there 5 minutes after they opened.

The teriyaki nuggets were unavailable has they had "sold out the night before"...

Getting denied two days in a row kind of soured me on Kowloon, which lead me to giving Bali Hai a try.

Speaking of which...

I went back again tonight for a take-out order, as I return to Tokyo tomorrow.

Got a combination plate with teriyaki beef, pork chow mein, and fried rice, all for something like $6.50.

I'd say the food was way more flavorable than the stuff Kowloon sells, and Bali Hai's beef teriyaki strips have be the best ones I've ever had. They were flavorful, nicely cooked, and so tender. Nothing like the leather-like strips of meat many places serve.

While I sat waiting for my order, a few locals can in and the restaurant staff greeted them by name. This gave the Bali Hai a homey feeling that the Kowloon totally lacks.


 
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bamalamalu
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Joined: Mar 20, 2006
Posts: 996
Posted: 2017-09-22 11:10 am   Permalink

Ah, dud that you couldn't get what you wanted at Kowloon. But glad Bali Hai was there to satisfy the itch.

But now you've got me dreaming of Regina's pizza!

Safe Travels.


 
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Michelle66
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 05, 2011
Posts: 66
Posted: 2017-09-23 6:43 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2017-09-22 11:10, bamalamalu wrote:
Ah, dud that you couldn't get what you wanted at Kowloon. But glad Bali Hai was there to satisfy the itch.

But now you've got me dreaming of Regina's pizza!

Safe Travels.



You also know Pizzeria Regina? It's a must-visit every time I go home to the Boston area. (If I have the time, I try to go to the one on Thatcher St. in the North End, but the Polcari's on Rt. 1 was a decent enough alternative.)

FWIW, if anyone is looking for a hotel suggestion for the area, I recommend the Homewood Suites in Peabody. It's right on Rt. 1 North – a couple of miles down the road from Kowloon (and Polcari's). The Bali Hai is less than a mile away.

The hotel has a hot breakfast buffet every morning, free light dinners from Monday to Thursday, and they even have a real popcorn maker in the lobby so you can help yourself to a complimentary bag any time you'd like. (The rooms are all 1-bedroom suites with full kitchens.)

Highway access to the hotel from 128/I-95 is also a snap as there is a special access road that juts off the ramp to Rt. 1 North. (It's amazing how much time was saved by using that little shortcut.)

Got back to Tokyo last night. Hopefully, Bali Hai will still be around the next time I head back to the States. While it's not as iconic as Kowloon is to the area, I think its lower prices, more-flavorful food (what I ate, anyway), and generous amounts of alcohol in their cocktails, make it a good bet (if not better).

I'm really glad I finally got around to eating at Bali Hai. Memories of their teriyaki beef strips and Peking ravioli are still making my mouth water.


 
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bamalamalu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 20, 2006
Posts: 996
Posted: 2017-09-26 11:38 am   Permalink

I lived on Salem street for several years so am very familiar with the Thatcher Street Regina's (and used to give directions to my place in typical manner - "when you get to that corner where Polcari's used to be...")

Unfortunately all my family in MA has moved so I won't get back to visit for some time.
Boy, do I miss pizza and Chinese food!


 
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mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 352
Posted: 2017-10-09 2:26 pm   Permalink

Michelle66, if you crave Boston-style Chinese food and you ever make it to Cape Cod, get to Tiki Port. Great vintage decor, food is pretty excellent and the drinks are well done. They serve a mean London Sour. That gets little mention on TC but it's a Trader Vic invention and one of our favorite exotic cocktails. If you like Scotch, have one!

 
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Michelle66
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 05, 2011
Posts: 66
Posted: 2017-10-16 9:48 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2017-10-09 14:26, mike and marie wrote:
Michelle66, if you crave Boston-style Chinese food and you ever make it to Cape Cod, get to Tiki Port. Great vintage decor, food is pretty excellent and the drinks are well done. They serve a mean London Sour. That gets little mention on TC but it's a Trader Vic invention and one of our favorite exotic cocktails. If you like Scotch, have one!



Thanks! If I'm ever on the cape, I'll need to try them out. (A friend of mine lives on the cape, so I'll mention it to him.)

As for London Sours, they are readily here in Tokyo. (Trader Vic's at the New Otani Hotel is just a 20-minute train ride away!)



 
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Michelle66
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 05, 2011
Posts: 66
Posted: 2018-09-24 09:01 am   Permalink

I just returned to Japan after spending a week back home in the Boston area.

And that meant two huge meals at Bali Hai (which has supplanted Kowloon as my go-to restaurant).

Both meals were tasty, cheap, and were washed down with potent scorpion bowls. The service was friendly, and the off-peak times we were there allowed us to just relax and enjoy what might have been our final visits to the place...

You see, the restaurant is now on borrowed time and will likely be demolished for new construction soon... (A proposal to build a block of luxury apartments was recently rejected by the zoning board, but something is sure to give in the future.)

http://homenewshere.com/middlesex_east/article_790c925e-9cad-11e8-8c02-f383e5441ada.html
https://www.itemlive.com/2018/08/06/lynnfield-planning-board-not-grant-permit-apartment-project-bali-hai-venue/

Since Bali Hai might be gone next year when I heard back home, I was sure gonna enjoy this year!

Here's the food from the first night (my first meal after a 12-hour flight!). A pu-pu platter, some shrimp lo-mein, and (from the Polynesian section of the menu) a tasty dish called "Delights of Three" (chicken, beef, and shrimp, cooked with bok choy and water chestnuts):


And the high-octane scorpion bowl for two (very drinkable and only $12.50!):


After dining, I talked a bit with the hostess (a friendly woman named Elaine). She was happy we were so taken with the place, so she went out back and got us each an old souvenir menu (shown earlier in this thread).

I had bought a set of the Bali Hai mugs on sale in the front display case last year, but asked if it might be possible to buy a pair of the Bali Hai plates.

She said it would be OK, but that they'd be used (fine with me!).

Elaine told me that the plates have a metal interior, which makes them extremely strong and why the restaurant still uses them after 40+ years. (A google search showed that the manufacturer ("Jackson Custom China") went out of business in the mid-80's, which makes Bali Hai's continued use of the vintage plates that much more impressive.)

We ate again at the restaurant two nights before heading back to Japan (so, the leftovers could be eaten the next day instead of wasting them).

Stated with a plate of Peking dumplings, and one of teriyaki beef strips. We got the "Delights of Three" again, and an item originally on the vintage menu called "Bali Hai Volcano". (Based on its name, I assume the dish once had a more elaborate presentation. Now, the waitress gets the dish sizzling on a pre-heated cast iron plate.)

The meal was another good one! (But, I love this kind of old-school, suburban-USA, Chinese food. No hifalutin "fusion" or new-age cuisine here. 1970's-style food, at 1970's-style prices. My kind of place!)

We dropped by on Friday night to pick up the plates, and got there during their busy time. The dining room was quite full, and the bar area was loud and boisterous. It made me sad to think that all of the regulars who obviously love the restaurant might have to find someplace else to go.

So, if you're in the area, head to Bali Hai before it gets gentrified out of existence. You'll be glad you did! (Seriously. While Kowloon has its more-elaborate decor going to it, Bali Hai's food is a lot more flavorful, and pretty much half the price. And, Bali Hai does NOT skimp on the alcohol! (Kowloon's drinks are pretty much just straight juice.)

Here's one of the Bali Hai plates I bought:


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