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The Best Boston Restaurant


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62 replies to this topic

#31 amytraverso

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Posted 27 April 2004 - 02:01 PM

I lived in the North End for 6 years, and much as I wanted it to be great, I found that most of the food was overpriced and not all that good.

Some exceptions: Prezza was good the two times I was there (but that was a couple of years ago). I hear Bricco has been resurrected by its new owners (haven't visited yet). But my favorite two places are Carmen and Antico Forno. Carmen has the better food of the two...I've never had a bad meal, and its prices are remarkable in a world of tourist traps. Warm, cozy atmosphere (but near impossible to get a table on a Friday), competent waitstaff, deftly interpreted classics, and nary a Pasta Primavera or Eggplant Parm in sight. Antico Forno is good with salads, fish, red sauce, and casseroles. Avoid the pizza. Great prices, and you don't have to fight the crowds to get a table.
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#32 TrishCT

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Posted 27 April 2004 - 07:23 PM

I lived in the North End for 6 years, and much as I wanted it to be great, I found that most of the food was overpriced and not all that good.

Some exceptions: Prezza was good the two times I was there (but that was a couple of years ago). I hear Bricco has been resurrected by its new owners (haven't visited yet). But my favorite two places are Carmen and Antico Forno. Carmen has the better food of the two...I've never had a bad meal, and its prices are remarkable in a world of tourist traps. Warm, cozy atmosphere (but near impossible to get a table on a Friday), competent waitstaff, deftly interpreted classics, and nary a Pasta Primavera or Eggplant Parm in sight. Antico Forno is good with salads, fish, red sauce, and casseroles. Avoid the pizza. Great prices, and you don't have to fight the crowds to get a table.

I actually loved the pizza I had at Antico Forno a few months ago... a simple margherita-- sauce cheese, basil.

But then again, I totally recognize that pizza is a personal thing. I happen to enjoy pizza that has a thin yet bread-like tasting crust, sauce that tastes like fresh tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella, which because its baked in a super hot wood oven is almost fused with the crust.

Just my preference and I think Antico Forno does it well.

#33 amytraverso

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Posted 27 April 2004 - 07:48 PM

I actually loved the pizza I had at Antico Forno a few months ago...  a simple margherita-- sauce cheese, basil.

But then again, I totally recognize that pizza is a personal thing.  I happen to enjoy pizza that has a thin yet bread-like tasting crust, sauce that tastes like fresh tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella, which because its baked in a super hot wood oven is almost fused with the crust.




The pizza may well have improved since I was last there. At one time, it didn't have that nice crusty-chewy contrast, but it sounds like this has changed. Glad to hear it! It really is one of the hidden gems of the neighborhood.
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#34 cigalechanta

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Posted 28 April 2004 - 07:49 PM

Oleana in Cambridge on Hampshire St and Troquet on Boylston in Boston.
have not disappointed.
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#35 hshiau

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 08:00 PM

We very much enjoy Hammersleys Bistro every time we are in Boston.Mistral is also very good, Radius is wonderful as is Julien at the Langham.

I went to Mistral last Tuesday and was very disappointed. The scene was great...packed...but the food just didn't do it for me.

For appetizer, I had the seared foie gras with confit of duck in a brioche and tart Wisconsin cherries. The cherries were a little too tart and the brioche too dense. The confit was prepared just right and the foie very nice. Together, the dish was too salty and I think they're trying to do too much with this dish and the tastes overwhelm each other.

For my entree, I had the grilled striped bass. Started off badly when the server almost spilled the entree onto my lap. It was served hot in the skillet...way too hot. After about 5 minutes, I was finally able to taste my dish. The skin on the bass was too salty and the meat was almost completely tasteless. The beans were so undercooked that they were still hard. The waiter was very apologetic and brought me a sauteed spinach as a side.

This was a pretty bad meal and I will definitely not be back to eat. The scene isn't bad though and drinks after work or after dinner would definitely be a possibility.

#36 cigalechanta

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Posted 18 July 2004 - 08:17 PM

You guys are tough! I live here but am only a fan of chefs and restaurants,
I like Aquitaine, Hamersley,Henrietta's Kitchen, Orliana (Sp?)
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly....MFK Fisher

#37 hshiau

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Posted 19 July 2004 - 05:07 PM

You guys are tough! I live here but am only a fan of chefs and restaurants,
I like Aquitaine, Hamersley,Henrietta's Kitchen, Orliana (Sp?)

One last comment. I saw the waiter consistently ask other tables as they were leaving what hotel they were staying at so he could call them a cab. I was dining solo and he didn't bother. I dislike being treated like a second class citizen because I'm alone. Since I was on an expense account, he could only benefit. He would have gotten a better tip even though I didn't like the food.

#38 agbaber

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 09:00 AM

Last time I ate at Mistral they drove me home in a chaffeurd car.

It was pretty neat.
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#39 Saucy Girl

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 10:56 AM

One of my favorite places to eat is the East Coast Grille in Cambridge - The chef, Chirs Schlesinger is a genius. They have many fish offerings nightly, as well as BBQ. There is a tropical feel to the menu (the fried plantains served with home made guava ketchup are out of this world), as well as to the restaurant. There is an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs do their stuff. They have a large bar with a generous offering of cocktails, including a ULTRA SPICY, TRY IT IF YOU DARE, Bloody Mary. THey also have quite a raw bar too.
The wait can be outrageous - on a Sat if you don't get there by 6ish, you may have a 2 hr wait. It is worth it......

#40 hshiau

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 01:39 PM

This was a pretty bad meal and I will definitely not be back to eat. The scene isn't bad though and drinks after work or after dinner would definitely be a possibility.

Upon further review, I've decided I'm an idiot and should never say anything definitely about a place until I've been there a couple of times. Maybe it was a bad night...maybe not. I can't judge until I do it again. Apologies.

#41 bluekale

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 05:38 PM

I recently ate at Sage in the North End, and my meal was simply amazing. It began with a corn custard with morels and peas, and then moved on to a sampling of the three unbelievable pastas/rice dishes on the menu, and concluded with a fabulous and unorthodox peach and plum strudel. Based on this meal (which in toto cost $30 exactly), I would consider Sage to be one of the best restaurants in the city. That being said, I have not tried many of the places mentioned in this thread, and am mainly comparing the food to places I've eaten in New York.
Luke

#42 Kouign Aman

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:19 AM

Four years later, what would you rank the best?
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#43 cigalechanta

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 11:28 AM

My three favorites at the moment are La Voile #1
La Bouchée #2-both on Newbury St.
And the Rendezvous-Mass.Ave in Central Square
Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly....MFK Fisher

#44 ejw50

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 08:22 PM

Four years later, what would you rank the best?

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expensive (my picks) L'espalier, No 9 Park, Radius


cheap - Rod Dee (either location), Pho Pasteur (Chinatown location)


Nothing really stands out in the 'middle' category at the moment.

#45 Chris Amirault

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 08:47 PM

Would you stick Oleana in expensive or middle?
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#46 ejw50

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 07:28 PM

Would you stick Oleana in expensive or middle?

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Oleana doesn't have the $100 - $150 testing menus (not that I remember), so I guess I'd put it in middle-expensive.

I"ve only been once, but Oleana does have excellent food. In particular, I appreciated the dessert menu which is a little adventurous but not weird. It's not one of those creme brule, chocolate cake, and ice cream dessert menus. The flavors on the two we tried were outstanding.


On the topic of dessert, Finale is totally overrated (IMO as always).

Edited by ejw50, 01 June 2008 - 07:30 PM.


#47 CHEFDV

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 09:30 PM

If you are looking for bostons top wine and food experience my money goes to Ken @ Clio everytime. His food is constantly evolving and updated to reflect the change in techniques up to the moment while staying true to traditional flavor. That to me is highly respectable and it works well with wine which isn't the case when lesser chefs go crazy with techniques and flavors. Cragie Street is awesome for the same reasons!

#48 Mussina

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 02:22 PM

I would be interested in recent Boston recommendations as well. It is a bit of a drive for me so I would like some place worth it. Rendezvous was a favorite but we've had four disappointing meals in row. No. 9 Park failed to impress with its tasting menu a few years ago -- what are people thinking if it now? Eastern Standard had great drinks but only so-so food. What do people REALLY like???? I so want to like Boston food b/c it is so much closer than NYC but to date I have been underwhelmed. If there is great food to be had PLEASE share with the group.

#49 wax311

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Posted 18 June 2008 - 10:52 PM

I really like Ten Tables in JP. It's probably the best value for fine dining I have ever had or seen. On Tuesday nights they have four course tastings with wine pairings for like 40 bucks. The food is consistently very good, whereas in my experience some of the more expensive options in Boston are pretty inconsistent.

Craigie Street is very good but a bit pricier, and for a special occasion I'd hit L'Espalier, and I've heard great things about O Ya.

#50 Timh

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Posted 19 June 2008 - 06:28 AM

Craigie is a former F&W best chef, O Ya is a newly recognized F&W new chef as well as being listed by Frank Bruni (NY Times) as the top new restaurant in the country.

#51 sandercohan

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 10:43 AM

I really like Ten Tables in JP.  It's probably the best value for fine dining I have ever had or seen.  On Tuesday nights they have four course tastings with wine pairings for like 40 bucks.  The food is consistently very good, whereas in my experience some of the more expensive options in Boston are pretty inconsistent.

Craigie Street is very good but a bit pricier, and for a special occasion I'd hit L'Espalier, and I've heard great things about O Ya.

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I have to second the Tuesday and Wednesday night tasting menus at Ten Tables. Very nice meals, appropriate amounts of food, and not very pretentious at all.

#52 kristin_71

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 03:31 PM

Im going to be in Boston next week. Actually in Peabody for a work thing but I am going to spend some time in Boston. Looking for moderately priced, untouristy type food. I don't want super expensive, but something worth the value. I won't be with anyone, just dining by myself unless so egulleter wants to meet me and show me the untouristy side of Boston. :smile:

Edited by kristin_71, 05 August 2008 - 03:44 PM.


#53 Chris Amirault

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 06:08 PM

I had another great meal at Oleana last night -- the brisket is to die for. I'd definitely try to get there if you can find your way to Cambridge.
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#54 kristin_71

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Posted 05 August 2008 - 07:05 PM

I may be finding my way over there.... Thanks Chris, if you have any other suggestions let me know. I am going to try to get there on Monday when I arrive and then maybe Tuesday evening.

#55 kristin_71

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Posted 06 August 2008 - 11:59 AM

I am currently attemping a reservation at O Ya for Tuesday night. I figure why the hell not, ya only live once! LOL!

ETA I have a reservation at O Ya on Tuesday at 7!!! I am really looking forward to this!! With that in mind I am going to have to find a reasonable, maybe Italian restaurant in the North End. I think the dinner at O Ya is going to be my extravagant expense for the short time I am there. :biggrin:

Edited by kristin_71, 06 August 2008 - 12:25 PM.


#56 pam claughton

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Posted 19 August 2008 - 03:20 PM

I am currently attemping a reservation at O Ya for Tuesday night. I figure why the hell not, ya only live once! LOL!

ETA I have a reservation at O Ya on Tuesday at 7!!! I am really looking forward to this!! With that in mind I am going to have to find a reasonable, maybe Italian restaurant in the North End. I think the dinner at O Ya is going to be my extravagant expense for the short time I am there.  :biggrin:

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How was Oya? I haven't been there yet. And where did you end up going in the North End? So far, I haven't had a bad meal anywhere there.

:) Pam

#57 Chris Amirault

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 07:08 PM

I wanted to bump this up because I had my first meal at No. 9 Park last week for an anniversary dinner, and, top to bottom, it was terrific. We hung at the bar with Ted, who was both a terrific ambassador for the restaurant and a fine bartender to boot. He made my wife a Hummingbird (a Paloma variation with St. Germain), and, when I asked for something challenging, he made me a drink he's calling Scotland the Brave: perfect.

Dinner was also top-notch. We started with a peekytoe crab amuse (great) and the justly famous prune-stuffed "gnocchi" (more like agnolotti, methinks), served with pieces of foie that were stained with Vin Santo; it was paired with a cocktail called the Salvatore (didn't get ingredients). We also had a confit baby octopus with cepes and matsutake mushrooms; the octopus had been crisped up somehow (grill? fryer?) so it was both melty and crunchy, two things that I don't associate with octopus.

The entrees were also terrific: a porcelet choucroute and a lamb saddle and shoulder. The lamb couldn't be improved upon, and the pork had only one flaw, an excessively salty mustard sauce dabbed next to the plate. The coconut and smoked banana dessert was excellent, but the chocolate cardamom sorbet was one of the best desserts we'd ever had.

It was one of the top three or four meals we've ever had.
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#58 John Rosevear

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 08:03 PM

I've had several great meals at No. 9 Park and one or two better-than-great ones. It's my favorite place in Boston for that kind of restaurant experience -- and as Chris said, the bar is excellent.
John Rosevear
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#59 hyperpalate

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 02:53 PM

Seems like it may be time to pose this question again...one more time in this new season...I will be in Boston for several days and plan on doing the north shore one day and a Red Sox game one evening and one dinner at the "best restaurant" in Boston. My current research has led me to a choice between Menton and Craigies (leaning toward Craigies.) I would welcome any and all suggestions re itinerary and food. i.e. suggestions for pre-game restaurant/bar near Fenway or strong opinions Yea or Nay re Craigies etc. Thanks v. much!

#60 LindaK

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 07:46 PM

With regard to your Craigie vs. Menton question, I have not yet been to Menton, but I hear good things and generally like Barbara Lynch's restaurants, esp. No. 9 Park. Craigie is good, and the new location is very popular, with a crowded bar scene. The atmosphere at Menton sounds much more refined. The menus are quite different too. So I'd say it depends on what you're looking for.

As for your question about destinations near Fenway Park, so as not to hijack this discussion, I started a new topic on that very subject here: Best food and drink near Fenway Park