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Must eats and sees in Boston


torakris
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Ah, I see, then.

I had been wondering what the difference was between the $75 tasting menu and the $125, and I guess it's not the number of courses, but the use of the extremely expensive ingredients. (Example, the "regular" kumamoto oysters, which are my favorite vs the ones with uni and foie gras).

Well, I can see how it might be a bit overpriced then, but I think the $75 menu is perfectly reasonable. Still wish I had been there for that night, though. :wink:

Andrew Baber

True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me

to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check

If you don't move yo' feet then I don't eat, so we like neck to neck

A-T-L, Georgia, what we do for ya?

The Gentleman Gourmand

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I am taking notes everyone!

I was initially thinking about trying places that were somewhat unique to Boston or take advantage of the fresh seafood, definitely going to get a clam chowder, but now am very tempted by the Portuguese restaurant and the Cambodian one as well.....

Basically something I wouldn't be able to eat often (if ever) when I am at home in Japan and anything more exciting than most of the offerings here in Cleveland. :angry:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I've noticed a couple of recommendations for Union Oyster House, but be forewarned: the building and location may say "Boston" but the food says "Get me out of here!"

Durgin Park in the nearby Faneuil Hall area is better but it can be hit or miss. The chowder is generally good and I've had good fried clams there. Still, I don't think I could recommend it.

For something a little more upscale in the same area you could try Kingfish Hall and it could be a good little lunch spot for someone on a budget.

When I hear Legal Sea Foods, I hear "chain". That said they do make a tasty lobster bisque.

If you want a real New England experience head up to the Clam Box in Ipswich, a New England seafood shack of the first order, the only thing missing here is the view. Portions are huge, so you may want to split a plate with a friend.

"Democracy is that system of government under which the people…pick out a Coolidge to be head of the State. It is as if a hungry man, set before a banquet prepared by master cooks and covering a table an acre in area, should turn his back upon the feast and stay his stomach by catching and eating flies." H. L. Mencken

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I would also warn anyone away from any cooked food at Union Oyster House, but you can't beat the raw bar...They always have fresh, LOCAL shellfish, very reasonably...But you're right, avoid the rest of the menu like the plague..

I am the anti-Legal Seafood poster child, but again, even I am forced to admit, their clam chowder, and underated-fish chowder, is the one I would squander my claories on...As for anything else, eat elsewhere, you can find much better...

I have heard good things about KingFish Hall, but when I need a clam shack fix and don't have the time to go to Essex, and my beloved Essex Seafood, I go to the Barking Crab, on Fort Point Channel...Lovely veiw of the skyline, tent with open sides, damned good fried clams...I've even had a tuna-steak there that rated highly....

For Hong King style seafood, you've got to go to Peach Farm Seafood in Chinatown...Huge, steamed oysters on the half shell with black bean sauce($8.95 for 6, and believe me, you won't finish them...They're available by the piece..)...great salt-fried things...Love the squid...twin lobster specials, most notably in ginger and scallion....

BUT, for a budget lobster splurge, head to Victoria Seafood (also Hong Kong style), right on the B-branch of the Green line, in Boston/Allston...They constantly do 2 lobsters for $12.95, provided you spend $5 more...Not hard to do, with a bowl of, say, pea pod stems...Again, go for the ginger and scallion prep...People who live and work in Chinatown come out here, because they know the prices are better :wink:

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Argh, Victoria Seafood always looked really sketchy to me (and almost always empty, but I wasn't always looking at prime time.), and always passed them up for Brown Sugar Cafe, T's, Den's Cafe, or even Kayuga!

Gonna have to check it out next semester.

Andrew Baber

True I got more fans than the average man but not enough loot to last me

to the end of the week, I live by the beat like you live check to check

If you don't move yo' feet then I don't eat, so we like neck to neck

A-T-L, Georgia, what we do for ya?

The Gentleman Gourmand

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I'm usually the only gwailo in the place :cool: ...

Definitely low on the decor scale, usually full of familes eating big platters of the lobster specials...I've even introduced a few suburban friends to its delights...

Why go to brown Sugar when Dok Bua is so close? Or Khao sarn, if you require that white tablecloth atmosphere? :biggrin:

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In JP there is a fine offering of food as well-

Dining in JP may be a good choice, considering it is convention week....

All are on Centre St.....

1) Bukhara: Reasonably priced, very good Indian food

2) JP Seafood Cafe: Japanese, Viatnamese and Sushi - excellent and again, reasonably priced.

3) B'an Chaing House: Thai - delicious! Great Pork ribs and fabulous Nam Plaing (I probably butchered that spelling) - it is a fish fillet served w/ little pieces of pork and fermented beans.

4) Wonder Spice Cafe: Thai - very solid Thai food, but the service is only sub par.

For a little bit of more fine dining experience, also on Centre st you can find:

10 Tables - Excellent! One of the best dining experiences in town. There are 10 tables with an open kitchen. The food is contemporary w/ Italian and French influences. The portions are reasonable.

On Tuesday evenings they do a wine tasting dinner - 3-4 courses, each paired with wine. You get a tutorial on the wine you are drinking and get to take home a sheet that describes the wines you consumed. THe food is exceptional. I recently ate dinner there and had a Vanilla-Reiseling Carrot soup to start, and a Roasted Salmon served with a Sabayon. It was incredible. They use as much local, organic produce as they can. I believe that they take reservations.

Arbor- very pricey, but again, worth it for the dining experience. The place is always packed. I ate there last Feb 14th, and the food was great- contemporary, american, hearty.

Good Luck!

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Carlos Cucina Italiana is there, and is excellent, under $20 italian.

Yeah, Carlo's is pretty good. I was going to take my mom there last weekend but it was closed for vacation. Poo!

Whe I lived in Somerville, Giacomo's on Hanover St. was always a favorite.

Whenever I'm passing through that way, I always stop in at Toscanini's in Cambridg for ice cream. In JP you'll be near JP Licks, which is good too.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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  • 3 years later...

Update on the cheap(er) eats?

We'll be in Boston late June / early July, almost-4 year old in tow.

Possibly no access to a fridge.

Somedays we'll want an actual cooked breakfast. Other days, a picnic with bakery good and fruit will suit fine.

Almost-4 is pretty good in restaurants. However, dinner is the hard time of day - tired, been in too many restaurants, had a day full of being told to behave, etc.

Need a couple very child-friendly places, or takeout in the line up for those days when its clear we are just not gonna be able to sit still and keep the noise down for a whole meal.

I took notes thru out this thread, and am wondering if there's any new recommendations you can share, these several years later.

Thanks!

For my own easy reference, I'm linking this Oct 06 discussion eating in boston with toddlers - esp last posts

and this :Boston food scene - Nov 07

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Flour Bakery in the southend is really good for pastries and lunch. Possibly the best roast beef sandwhich I've ever had. To go,along with cheese from Frommagio's is as good as it gets for a picnic.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Update on the cheap(er) eats?

We'll be in Boston late June / early July, almost-4 year old in tow.

Possibly no access to a fridge.

Somedays we'll want an actual cooked breakfast.  Other days, a picnic with bakery good and fruit will suit fine.

Almost-4 is pretty good in restaurants. However, dinner is the hard time of day - tired, been in too many restaurants, had a day full of being told to behave, etc.

Need a couple very child-friendly places, or takeout in the line up for those days when its clear we are just not gonna be able to sit still and keep the noise down for a whole meal.

A favorite for dinner out with friends with small children is the Summer Shack, Jasper White's seafood place, in Cambridge. A bit out of the way with a car, easy on the T--it's across the street from the Alewife station. Food is mostly seafood, simple but excellent. Some kid friendly options such as corn dogs. Good beer and wine list. It's big, informal, with room for the kids to move around, and they generally love to look in the lobster tank at all the critters swimming around.

A good place for picnic fare is the North End. Good Italian delis for cured meats, antipasti, cheese, bread, etc. I like Salumeria Italia on Richmond Street. Also excellent bakeries--I'm a fan of Modern on Hanover Street (others would argue for Mike's or Bova). Take your picnic to nearby Columbus Park. It's on the water. You can watch the boats, and there's lots of room for kids to run around, including a spray fountain they can run in, in case it happens to be warm.

Can anybody comment on The No Name Place? It was highly recommended to me as a dirty local dive with excellent seafood...Also the Publik House?

Perhaps I'm not doing it justice, but I think of No Name as tourist destination. The Publik House is in Sturbridge, which is quite a ways from Boston.


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  • 4 weeks later...

For the most part, agree with LindaK ... Publik House is going to be quite a ride out of the city. No Name is good, but touristy -- for fish or seasfood, I'd go with Union Oyster House (UOH) for the raw bar; Legal Seafood or Durgin Park for cooked fish/seafood. Re the previous comment that Legal is a "chain" ... well, yes it is, but it began in Boston and still is run by the founding family. The clam chowder is good enough that it's been served at every Presidential Inaugural since JFK in 1960. Durgin Park has atmosphere and history (Calvin Coolidge was a regular there, just like JFK was a regular at Union). If you can take a bit of a ride (or go by T), Jasper White's Summer Shack is real fresh, New England traditional fish and seafood. SS is definitely child friendly, as is Durgin Park. Union Oyster House, if you're in the middle of lunch time, may be too crowded and too rushed.

Make some choices based on where in the city you are. If you go to the Computer Museum or the Children's Museum, No Name will be a very short ride away; UOH and Legal about 10 minutes more by cab. Go to the Aquarium and UOH and Legal are very close by ...

Have fun ... it's a great city -- I grew up there and still call it "home".

JasonZ

Philadelphia, PA, USA and Sandwich, Kent, UK

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The menu isn't New England, but Orinoco, in the South End and more recently in Brookline Village, has delicious, casual Venezuelan food at very reasonable prices. The wait at the South End restaurant is long--no reservations--but I haven't been to the Brookline location yet, it looks bigger so perhaps not a problem. they do take-out. web site: http://orinocokitchen.com/home.cfm

Chinatown is always kid friendly. Dim sum is always a good choice on a budget. I like Chow Chau City, they have dim sum weekedays at lunch upstairs, and all day on weekends.

If you go to the Children's Museum, there's a place around the corner for lunch that I am fond of, the Channel Cafe at 300 Summer Street. So-called because it's just off the Fort Point Channel, an inland waterway in the city. Nothing fancy but interesting and tasty salads, soups, sandwiches. Added bonus, part of the space is an art gallery featuring the work of artists who live in the building. Another nearby place I like is Lucky's, on the corner of Congress and A Streets. Good comfort food, though I'm not sure I'd consider it kid friendly, maybe for lunch. at night there's live music and an active bar scene.

For picnics, now that summer is here, the farmers markets sprinkled around town can be a good bet. In central Boston, I frequent the Government Center market on Monday and Wednesday, and the Copley Square market on Tuesday and Friday. They are sprinkled around Boston and Cambridge, so ask wherever you're staying if you have one nearby. In addition to produce, there's at least one bakery often selling sandwiches, savory croissants, etc. in addition to bread, pastries, or pies, and there's someone selling fresh goat cheese at Copley. the season is still early here in New England, esp. for fruit, but there are excellent strawberries right now.


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Tomorrow's the big night. We're staying one night right on the edge of the Theatre district, looks a couple blocks from Boston Common.

Any place around there that will work for dinner for a small person who's been all day on a plane? Or shall we just stop at the nearest place thats serving?

Also, any good breakfast places? The hotel menu is scary pricey.

We're looking forward to Summer Shack, icecream, a few stops at Hanover street and a number of other recommendations from this thread. Thanks all, for the input.

Also, not so cheap... is there a better / not so good location of Legal Seafood? My boss raved about them.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I didnt have the best laid plans. We didnt get to many of the recommended locations.

We did have fun. What a wonderful city!

Next time, I SWEAR I'll print out a map early, and mark the recommended food options on it!

One night, I had crabcakes at Legal Seafood in the Prudential Center. Too much food, so one became lunch the next day, between two pieces of foccacia. Happy me!

There's an interesting pan asian place at the Quincy Market where we ate dinner one night. I'll have to dig up the name. The host seemed to think that 'attitude' was what was required from him. Fortunately, the waitress made up for it in spades. I'd have preferred less prevelance of the piquante note, but enjoyed the meal. I hadnt had fried asparagus since Jr High latin class. It was a treat, tho not my preferred preparation.

We ate twice on Hanover St - once at ___________ (sigh). The munckin and spousal unit had mussels for the first time and they were a big hit. As was the rest of the meal - superb eggplant parmigiana.

The second was lunch at The Daily Catch. Monkfish for him, squidink pasta putanesca for me and the munchkin to share. Absolutely wonderful. We also had mussels 'sicilian' style - very good. There's a pic somewhere I'll try to post. I got the appetizer portion of pasta and am glad I did. We didnt manage to finish, tho I tried mightily, not wanting to let a molecule of the flavor go unappreciated. The monkfish was delightful, with the texture just right. We left happy.

Two times we stopped for gelato at Gigi's, trying a total of 7 flavors. Not bad (not up to the spouse's italian referents), and it was where we were, when we needed it (for munchkin behaviour mod). We also tried the gelato at Mikes pastry shop. YUCK. Bad flavor, bad texture.

The lines for pastries were too long for the attention span, so we bailed.

We also ate a couple times at a place near Acton called Not Your Average Joes, which we enjoyed. Kid friendly but better than usual entree choices for the adults, and well prepared. I had a succotashy thing: polenta, corn, peppers, bacon etc that was very good and interesting. The plates are huge, and the portion looked huge even on that big plate. I managed about half of it. The mustard crusted chicken and rosemary scallops were very good. We had the chicken twice and it was consistently well prepared. We also enjoyed their coconut shrimp appetizer (I prefered it without the dipping sauce), and the crab cakes. One friend didnt like the crabcakes due to the presence of celery.

The day we planned to eat at the Summer Shack, things went awry, and we had to skip it. :(

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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