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Boston Restaurant Recommendations

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Ivy on Temple Place just opened. Have heard good things - Italian small plates.

Has anyone on this board tried Ivy? Every bottle of wine on their menu is supposedly 24$.


Eating pizza with a fork and knife is like making love through an interpreter.

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I just had brunch with my family at Lineage in Brookline last weekend, and while the service was a bit slow, the food is great - seasonal, classic brunch stuff with a bit of a twist. I had the cod hash, which had lardons and a poached egg on top. In my opinion, it has a more interesting brunch menu than the majority of the South End brunch places, which we used to frequent when my sister lived in the South End. I will say, however, that you can't beat the sticky toffee pudding at Caffe Umbra.

If you want something that's a little more neighborhood-y, check out either Baraka Cafe (Tunisian) on Pearl Street in Central Square, or Central Kitchen. If Baraka is busy, it helps to speak either Arabic or French. My all-time favorite restaurant in Boston and Cambridge is Craigie Street Bistrot. My second-favorite restaurant is Pigalle, which is fantastic every time. Both would be great for a romantic dinner... I liked No. 9 Park, but it certainly wasn't out-of-this-world, and they certainly did treat me and my friends like the college students that we were.

For mid-priced-but-excellent-sushi, try Bluefin in Porter Square, in the Porter Exchange building. For Chinese, my parents are steadfast fans of Peach Farm in Chinatown.

And as always, if it's ice cream you're wanting, you can't beat Toscanini's in Central Square.


Edited by mimblewim (log)

in love, as in gluttony, pleasure is a matter of the utmost precision.

(italo calvino)

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Silvertone, mentioned upthread, is one of my faves and quite a bargain. I also love Pigalle (which would be convenient for you, foodiehall.

David - great job on the sox tix. I don't know what time of day your game is, but Elephant Walk, suggested upthread, is a close walk to Fenway. There is also a great little street kind of behind Fenway, I think it's called Peterborough) where there is a wonderful taqueria (El Pelon), great sushi (Umi) and good thai as well (Rod Dee II). All are a great before the game and most of outside seating so you can get some sun while you eat.

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do yourself a favor and go to NO. 9 Park.

HA! We took your word and that of others and went to No. 9 Park and were NOT favorably impressed. That place is a ripoff, IMO! If I were a Bostonian, I'd never set foot in there again. The only positive thing I can say is that I enjoyed the bread/rolls. Hey, Honeymoon Guy---if you're looking for a reasonably priced meal in a place that is even minimally romantic: No. 9 Park is not for you and your bride! The tables are so close together that you're practically sitting in your neighbor's lap. And forget about having any sort of private conversation....you wouldn't be able to hear your companion anyway what with all the din in the claustrophobic dining room. We were seated next to a 40-something couple who were obviously on a first date....the lady was lovely, the guy was a loser. Probably took her there to show her how much money he could spend on dinner. The owner must be paying an arm and a leg in overhead what with her choice location right off Beacon Hill; I got the distinct impression a big percentage of our meal cost was going toward the rent. The food was OK, but not what I'd consider a good value. 'Nuff said about No. 9 Park.

On a positive note: we very much enjoyed our meal...the food/general ambiance/service...at Pigalle. I'm back home now; hub is still in Boston, now attending a conference. He reports that he and his associates have been pleased with dinners at Troquet and Hamersley's Bistro. I regret that I missed going to those places. Many thanks for all the suggestions!


CBHall

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do yourself a favor and go to NO. 9 Park.

HA! We took your word and that of others and went to No. 9 Park and were NOT favorably impressed. That place is a ripoff, IMO! If I were a Bostonian, I'd never set foot in there again. The only positive thing I can say is that I enjoyed the bread/rolls. Hey, Honeymoon Guy---if you're looking for a reasonably priced meal in a place that is even minimally romantic: No. 9 Park is not for you and your bride!

You bring up a good point: any vistor to Boston should be prepared for sticker shock, regardless of where they eat. I have a friend who moved from DC to Boston and estimates that dinner out costs 1/3 more on Beacon Hill than Capitol Hill. I imagine that, coming up from North Carolina, the shock must have been even worse ('less your prices are higher than I remember). On a recent trio, I thought there were a lot of places that I found pretty decent, but not worth price, including B&G and Pigalle.

On No. 9 Park, I didn't eat in the dining room, but did eat in the lounge -- romantically dark, but very elbow-to-elbow as well. Fortunately, I thought my small plates were excellent.

And I think the person who slammed the North End was indeed a bit crotchety. :wink: Only a masochist would drive ther, but it is well worth taxi-ing, T-ing or walking into the 'hood, still one of the country's coolest urban mazes and home to a zillian mid- and low-priced restaurants. Pizzaria Regina serves up a fine pie in funky surroundings -- go early or late. Other than that, the locals can better recommend a red-sauce Italian place that will make you happy. Budget time to wander aimlessly and, of course, see the Old North Church. And have dessert at one of the coffee houses on Hanover Street.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I don't think it was so much sticker shock as it was the place being over-hyped. Certainly we expected to pay more in a Boston upscale restaurant than we would here in Raleigh....we've been around; we didn't just fall off the turnip truck. :wink: And we've got some places down here that wouldn't be anyone's idea of inexpensive. I guess I'm of the mind that when a place charges big bucks, it should have something more going for it---say, ambiance---besides good food and IMO, No. 9 didn't cut it. And here's one of my pet peeves regardless of where I'm eating: these small servings of entree/dessert in the middle of a huge plate. I can't imagine the size of No. 9's "little plates"....what would that be, two bites? And nothing whatsoever about the dining room struck me as "romantic"....it may as well have been a sports bar---without the widescreen TVs, of course.


CBHall

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I don't think it was so much sticker shock as it was the place being over-hyped.  Certainly we expected to pay more in a Boston upscale restaurant than we would here in Raleigh....we've been around;  we didn't just fall off the turnip truck.  :wink:  And we've got some places down here that wouldn't be anyone's idea of inexpensive.  I guess I'm of the mind that when a place charges big bucks, it should have something more going for it---say, ambiance---besides good food and IMO, No. 9 didn't cut it.  And here's one of my pet peeves regardless of where I'm eating:  these small servings of entree/dessert in the middle of a huge plate.  I can't imagine the size of No. 9's "little plates"....what would that be, two bites?  And nothing whatsoever about the dining room struck me as "romantic"....it may as well have been a sports bar---without the widescreen TVs, of course.

No turnip truck references implied. :biggrin: More a warning for those who will follow in your footsteps, and a reflection of my own surprise how pricy Boston can be.

And, though I like the flying saucer-sized plate topped with teaspoon-sized course thing, the small plates were reasonable appetizer portions served on small plates. Maybe the lounge is the place to be, as ambience expectations are lower and the plates are less artful/pretentious.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Maybe the lounge is the place to be, as ambience expectations are lower and the plates are less artful/pretentious.

The lounge is definitely the place to be at No. 9. In fact, I think the bar seats are the best places to be in the house. Very knowledgeable bartenders and you can order from the lounge menu as well as the dining room menu.

I go to the bar regularly, but my one dining room experience will not be repeated.

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Don't be fooled. Jasper White's Summer shack SUCKS! There are better fast food places. Don't go! Stay away. 

As for East Coast Grill, I've never had a good meal at one of Chris Schlesinger's restaurants. ECG, had cockroaches running across the table. When he owned Back Eddy, they took a reservation and when we showed up a few minutes later they told us they had no water all evening and couldn't feed us.

You know...I have to totally and completely disagree with the above post. The problem with Jasper White's is inconsistency. Some of them are better than others, and it can also depend on what you order. Since it's your honeymoon, and you're not traveling with kids, I would skip it, and go for B&G Oyster or Neptunes.

As for East Coast Grill and Chris Schlesinger... that's pretty harsh stuff above. I've found ECG and the staff there to be tops! The menu is creative and interesting -- particularly for this part of the country, and Schlesinger is Beard-recognized for his cookbooks. He's no "hack" running a dirty restaurant. I'm pretty surprised by what you wrote above. Plus, if ECG was such a dump, why would the NYTs food critic spend a week there as a waiter? pah-lease....

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Don't be fooled. Jasper White's Summer shack SUCKS! There are better fast food places. Don't go! Stay away. 

As for East Coast Grill, I've never had a good meal at one of Chris Schlesinger's restaurants. ECG, had cockroaches running across the table. When he owned Back Eddy, they took a reservation and when we showed up a few minutes later they told us they had no water all evening and couldn't feed us.

You know...I have to totally and completely disagree with the above post. The problem with Jasper White's is inconsistency. Some of them are better than others, and it can also depend on what you order. Since it's your honeymoon, and you're not traveling with kids, I would skip it, and go for B&G Oyster or Neptunes.

As for East Coast Grill and Chris Schlesinger... that's pretty harsh stuff above. I've found ECG and the staff there to be tops! The menu is creative and interesting -- particularly for this part of the country, and Schlesinger is Beard-recognized for his cookbooks. He's no "hack" running a dirty restaurant. I'm pretty surprised by what you wrote above. Plus, if ECG was such a dump, why would the NYTs food critic spend a week there as a waiter? pah-lease....

I also agree here.

ECG is IMOP pretty unique to Boston--there are really few --if any--places quite like it anywhere.

It is also a lot of fun.

I believe that when visiting a city people should seek out places that are somewhat unique to that place.

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Last night we went to Grotto for their recreation of the multi course Big Night dinner, from timpano to whole roasted pig. Thought I would share. I didn't get pictures of everything...

Started off with an antipasto buffet - proscuitto, mozzarella and tomatoes, crustini with herbed goat cheese and foccia.

Next was the chicken consume with carrots and 3 hand rolled pasti.

Finally something I took a picture of - the tri-colored risotto consisted of: green - pesto, white - parmesan - red - seafood.

tn_gallery_38820_2855_36714.jpg

The timpano was a much lighter version than in the movie - simply stuffed with pasta and sausage and baked in an egg washed pasta crust. The sauce was magnificent - tangy and spicy.

gallery_38820_2855_11004.jpg

My neighbor didn't eat meat and had the chef make him gnocchi for his 4th course instead of the timpano.

gallery_38820_2855_39500.jpg

This is where things start to get hazy. We had artichokes, mushrooms, asparagus, sautéed broccoli rabe, seared salmon, seared scallops, truffle crusted prime rib, roasted lamb, and suckling pig. I only managed to get a terrible picture of some of the vegetables. gallery_38820_2855_1025306.jpg

Finished off the evening with mixed berries in a light sauce, dusted with sugar. gallery_38820_2855_34198.jpg


Eating pizza with a fork and knife is like making love through an interpreter.

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For interesting food and great(sexy atmosphere) I recommend starting at Toro, eating a few bites, then go up the street to B&G Oyster, then, walk down to The Butcher Shop. Very cool, great food, intimate yet convivial.

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I can't believe you were that dissapointed with NO.9 park (i mean i can if you say so), but i had one of the best meals of my life there. the food was fantastic, service parallel to the food. yes it's expensive, but no worse than anywhere in nyc. it's amazing that an experience could vary that much.

HA! We took your word and that of others and went to No. 9 Park and were NOT favorably impressed. That place is a ripoff, IMO! If I were a Bostonian, I'd never set foot in there again. The only positive thing I can say is that I enjoyed the bread/rolls. Hey, Honeymoon Guy---if you're looking for a reasonably priced meal in a place that is even minimally romantic: No. 9 Park is not for you and your bride! The tables are so close together that you're practically sitting in your neighbor's lap. And forget about having any sort of private conversation....you wouldn't be able to hear your companion anyway what with all the din in the claustrophobic dining room. We were seated next to a 40-something couple who were obviously on a first date....the lady was lovely, the guy was a loser. Probably took her there to show her how much money he could spend on dinner. The owner must be paying an arm and a leg in overhead what with her choice location right off Beacon Hill; I got the distinct impression a big percentage of our meal cost was going toward the rent. The food was OK, but not what I'd consider a good value. 'Nuff said about No. 9 Park.

On a positive note: we very much enjoyed our meal...the food/general ambiance/service...at Pigalle. I'm back home now; hub is still in Boston, now attending a conference. He reports that he and his associates have been pleased with dinners at Troquet and Hamersley's Bistro. I regret that I missed going to those places. Many thanks for all the suggestions!

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I can't believe you were that dissapointed with NO.9 park (i mean i can if you say so), but i had one of the best meals of my life there.  the food was fantastic, service parallel to the food.  yes it's expensive, but no worse than anywhere in nyc.  it's amazing that an experience could vary that much. 

OK....let's not even consider the money factor then; money isn't an issue with us anyway when dining in restaurants, whether we're out of town or at home. We do, however, like to get good value for our money and No. 9 didn't cut it---with us. We just didn't like the place with regard to ambience, service and food. Frankly, I don't even remember what we got to eat. I just remember thinking I wanted to get dinner over with and get out of there. I'm sorry we didn't eat dinner at our hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, where I can highly recommend the breakfast. And the service there leaves nothing to be desired.


Edited by foodiehall (log)

CBHall

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Maybe the lounge is the place to be, as ambience expectations are lower and the plates are less artful/pretentious.

The lounge is definitely the place to be at No. 9. In fact, I think the bar seats are the best places to be in the house. Very knowledgeable bartenders and you can order from the lounge menu as well as the dining room menu.

I go to the bar regularly, but my one dining room experience will not be repeated.

This sums up my sentiments. I could not get over how much more positive the experience in the Cafe is compared to the restaurant. None of the stodginess. Sound doesn't seem to carry as well. Knowledgeable and friendly staff. Better price point.

They don't take reservations in the Cafe but the several times we went in the 15 months we lived in Boston, we never had to wait very long if at all.


Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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Here's two places I haven't seen mentioned yet,

Mistral. This is one of my absolute favorite restaurants. Great atmosphere, and food to match. It's a great special occassion restaurant, you really feel pampered. Standout dishes were a luxurious lobster bisque, and a silky glazed salmon.

Via Matta. This was a pleasant surprise. I knew the service would be good, because it's owned by Radius and their attention to detail is one of their key strengths. I just didn't expect the food to be so good. The whole experience was wonderful. Ten of us went for my sister's mother-in-law's birthday and we had two young girls with us. They split dishes in the kitchen without us asking, for the girls dessert, and my sister and her mother-in-law couldn't decide on two dishes, so they ordered one lobster pasta and one spaghetti pomodoro and got separate dishes for both. Little touches like that made the service special, but the food put the experience over the top. The spaghetti pomodoro is swoonworthy, it's an al dente, spicy dish that I can't wait to have again.

The crunchy eggplant appetizer and mussels were also fantastic, as was the dessert the girls split, deconstructed homemade 'oreo' cookies, with a tiny cup of cream frosting and soft cakelike chocolate cookies.

That said, it's a bit pricier than I expected. A side dish of artichokes was $15!

Can't wait to go back.

:)


Edited by pam claughton (log)

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I will secong Craigie Street. I'm not a native of Boston/Cambridge but recently had the opportunity to eat at Craigie...food was really well-done and tight. Standards in that kitchen are extremely high and I can almost guarantee you that the meal will be stellar.

It's a little off the beaten path, and insanely tiny, but its a great place with a cool hole-in-the-wall vibe. Don't miss it.

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Hey guys..... me and a small group of my friends are heading to Boston in a couple weeks for the Phillies Boston series and we're looking for a good place to grab a GREAT STEAK while we're up there. Any ideas?

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Depending on your budget, I'd suggest Grill 23.

Check out thier Web site Grill 23


"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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The usual for steak - regardless of budget or location:

Brasserie Jo.

Capital Grille - dry aged beef: Kona Crusted Sirloin or Porterhouse.

Mortons: Porterhouse or Cajun Rib Eye.

Smith & Wollensky.

Abe and Louie's.

Here are the less steak-centric, cheaper recommendations near Fenway:

Eastern Standard - hopping bar scene, compentently made drinks, decent food, down the street from the park.

Petit Robert Bistro - reasonably priced French food.

Trattoria Toscona - had an amazing Tagliata Di Manzo Al Rosmarino grilled beef steak perfumed with rosemary and olive oil two weeks ago - reasonably priced Italian trattoria set in the fens.


Eating pizza with a fork and knife is like making love through an interpreter.

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THANKS everyone!!!! I think I'm going to have to go with Abe's!!!! i was doing some research of my own and I saw that they were supposed to be really good and I like to try and get to steak houses that you can't go to anywhere else!!!!! :biggrin:

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Boston is getting better each month in terms of the food served, but worse each month in terms of its prices. It's far more expensive to eat out here at comparable medium to upscale places, especially with respect to wine, than it is in NYC, Philadelphia, or San Francisco. That said, the best upscale restaurants in the city, in no special order, are: Hamersley's, which offers consistent and simple in the best sense French bistro-style food; #9 Park, where Barbara Lynch's kitchen has helped to raise the bar; and any of Michael Schlow's restaurants: Via Matta, Radius, and Great Bay, with Via Matta the best of the three. Ken Oringer continues to attract attention at Clio, but his new place, Toro, is, I think, far better due to the sheer fun of dining inforamlly on delicious Spanish food. Other chefs with places worth noting include: Jody Adams, Ana Sortun, Chris Schlesinger, and Jasper White. For mid-level dining, Harvest, Oleana, and East Coast Grill are all pretty wonderful. For places that are unique to the region, try Casablanca or CK's Shanghai--both attract loyal crowds. The cheeseburger at Casablanca is great. For simple and inexpensive food, you'll do well at: Galleria Umberto--truly the best Sicilian pizza in the country; Mr. Bartley's--great burgers; the Japanese noodle shops in Porter Square. Also worth noting is Brown Sugar for Thai food. There's not a single Japanese sushi restaurant worth going to in the city. Chinatown is good if not plain and cheap in terms of ingredients. The Italian restaurants in the North End are fun, but none are that good--Marco's is new and maybe the best of the bunch. For BBQ, you have East Coast Grill (Schlesinger), Redbones, and Blue Ribbon. The best Indian restaurant in the city is Tamarind Bay. Many pubs offer good beer and decent food--the best is Matt Murphy's in Brookline. The bottom line is that Boston is basically a college town with first-rate, cheap food with so-called ethnic flavors and a few, vastly overpriced places for mom and dad to treat the kid when they come to visit; certainly, there are the few places that are costly and worth it that are noted above, and certainly Boston is a fine place to eat out, but take what you eat with, well, a grain of salt.

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