Bites Nearby: Friendly's Restaurant

This long-standing New England ice-cream parlor also has a variety of sandwiches, salads, breakfasts and dinner entrees.

, with franchises in both Watertown (560 Arsenal St.) and Waltham (1111 Lexington St.), and several hundred other locations in New England, is still a popular spot for diners who like to add an ice cream sundae or other frozen desserts to their meal. One of the specials is a choice of one of eight different entrees, a bottomless soda or iced tea and a two-scoop sundae for $9.99. They also have salads, soups and some low-cal entrees.

Suggested dish: After considering one of the specials that included an entree, drink and sundae, we decided instead on an "under 555" special: one of four dishes with fewer than 555 calories. We had the Sweet & Spicy Grilled Shrimp, which came with eight grilled shrimp in an orange sauce with peppers, broccoli, snap peas, carrots, and red onions over rice pilaf and sesame seeds ($8, 490 calories).

The dish was quite satisfying, with a good balancing of the shrimp, lots of vegetables, an aromatic sauce and rice. The shrimp -- eight good-sized ones -- broccoli and onions were particularly good in the sauce. Overall, it didn't taste like a low-calorie dish, probably because of the succulent shrimp and spicy sauce.

The vibe: Casual, efficient and -- at least our waitress was -- friendly.

Cool factor no. 1: The salads also have their calorie counts listed, after the ingredients, including a break-out of the calories for the dressing, which typically accounts for 300 - 400 calories.

Cool factor no. 2: If you want a sweet treat, it's hard to beat 21 choices of ice cream and 23 different toppings.

Cool factor no. 3: Frozen yogurt would be a good addition to the dessert offerings.


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