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Boston Restaurant Recommendations


dweller
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yo, iriee! Saw this shot of Shane MacGowan in Boston and thought of you at the show.

Where did you end up for dinner (and later!) and even better, how about a recap of the Seafood Show?

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 5 weeks later...

I'm a college student in the Berkshires, and my dad is coming to visit from California for the weekend. He's going to drive me and a friend up to stay a night in Boston (which I've never visited before and know nothing whatsoever about.)

So - I'd love some ideas for places that serve excellent food in a somewhat casual/laid back atmosphere. My dad and I are experienced foodies but my friend, while very flexible and cool about such things, is not....hopefully there's somewhere that can satisfy us both? Price isn't really a factor, although my dad probably wouldn't look too kindly on dropping 300 a head on a couple of silly teenage girls.....

My dad is also interested in trying Ming Tsai's Blue Ginger - is it worth it?

And if there's anything else that I CANNOT MISS IN BOSTON OR MY LIFE WILL BE INCOMPLETE, I'd love to know! :smile:

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My dad is also interested in trying Ming Tsai's Blue Ginger - is it worth it?

Blue Ginger is very worth it. It is very good and in hasn't disappointed on any level in the 7 years I've been going. Highly recommended. If you want to do the seafood thing, B&G Oysters in the South End has the best lobster roll in town, although far from the cheapest. East Coast Grill in Inman Square Cambridge is very good, and one of my other perennial favorites is Dali, not far from Inman Square just over the Somerville line. It has a really fun and funky atmosphere and excellent tapas.

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Ming's is great but not really in Boston (close suburb of Newton).

If you do not eat at Clio's, definitely go for a dessert tasting: Rick Billings the Pastry Chef is one of tops in the country by my palate and eye.

Sage in North end is a great bet: make sure to make a reservation since it is small. An alternative in the north end that is great for sea food is Mare.

Another you could try is Toro in the South End: very enjoyable tapas.

Stop by Mantra in the Ladder district for a drink and a snack.

A 3:00am try South Street Diner on kneeland for you last bite of the night.

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Marco's - great Italian - upstairs, small and cozy. Lisa will take care of you.

Neptune Oyster - has got B & G beat by a mile and a half. Try a mix of oysters and then oddly, the burger! It's a killer!

Both are in the North End

I also love Eastern Standard - it's very "grown up".

Clio but bring your credit card.

I also love Hammersly's (sp ?) in the South End. It's one place you should order the chicken.

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I'm a huge Asian food addict, although I don't know how interested my friend would be. (Though I'd love suggestions for the future.)

Something representative of New Englandish specialities but is 1. not inundated with tourists and 2. actually tastes good might be excellent.

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If you all like seafood then B&G is the place.

Smart but relaxed. Great wines. And really good food with some regional influences and lots of regional products. Though I would not necessarily eat the famous lobster roll. While theirs is very good it still is a lobster roll.....never understood what should be so special about lobster on a roll other then when eaten from a shack at the beach.

Everything else is more interesting. My favorite being the spicy lobster stew. And obviously the oysters. But it is hard to go wrong at that place. Only the desserts are sometimes a bit uninspired.

Anticipating that someone will now post that Neptune Oyster is even better I have to say that I do not see that on any level. For me the dishes at B&G are more original, better executed and presented , and the wines are more interesting by far.

Edited by glauer (log)
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I also want to include Summershack (alewife) . Great take on local food.

I love Summershack too. There's a smaller outpost in Boston proper--Back Bay area--with a more limited menu, which is fine if you want to stick to the basics, like fried clams, etc. Maybe good for lunch.

Sage in the N. End (moving sometime soon ? to the South End) is wonderful. Visiting friends have enoyed the Daily Catch for seafood pasta. Huge portions in a very small cramped place but can be very good. I have not found their famous fried calamari to be very good, though (for best fried calamari, see Peach Farm, below). If you are in the N. End for a meal or as a tourist, do dessert or afternoon coffee and cannoli at Modern Pastry on Hanover Street.

Someone else recommended Peach Farm for Chinese. It is one of the best in Chinatown, INHO, for seafood. Don't be put off by the unremarkable basement location. Start with the salted pepper squid (fried with bits of jalapeno peppers, absolutely addictive), ask if they have fresh scallops and if yes, do not miss them--served in shell with plenty of garlic (and sometimes vermicelli). Ditto with soft shell crabs. The ginger lobster is excellent. If you order fresh fish or eel, they will bring it to you, flapping around in a bucket, for inspection before taking it to the kitchen. If you are feeling adventurous, the cold jellyfish salad is tasty.


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Summer Shack can be fun indeed. But if someone else was paying and willing to spend a bit of money then I would rather do something along the lines of B&G, especially if wine is also relevant.

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East Coast Grill in Cambridge has lovely seafood.

You've got enough North End recommendations but I'll still add in Maurizio's on Hannover.

Hammersley's is always a favorite.

If you want good pub food and a place to watch the game, Christopher's is a good bet.

Clio, Rialto, et. al. are always lovely as is Blue Ginger.

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you must must MUST try 'abe and louie's' on boylston street. the best steakhouse i have ever been to (and i've been to many, since it is an addiction of my family's). coincidentally my boyfriend was the chef there several years ago.

but they have FABULOUS food, a very nice atmosphere, and wonderful waiters who will recommend their favorite dishes, tell you which wines/beers go best with what food, and search all around the diningroom/kitchen to find the last piece of their delicious raisin pumpernickel flat bread (YUM).

seriously though - if you eat meat, particularly steak, this is a must! :smile:

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Of these recommendations, which of these are a great only-in-Boston type places? I can get great modern French or Italian in many cities, but you can't get, say, great lobster everywhere. From reading other threads I'm leaning toward Neptune Oyster and the Daily Catch though posters here make a good case for B and G (we're only here 2 days). Summershack sounded good to me, and just the kind of thing I was looking for until I read a thread on *another* board where poster after poster slammed it as mass produced, chain-like food.

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well, on "that other board" most of my favorite restaurants are regularly blasted. I actually get slightly worried if the places I like get a lot of positive comments there. It is the equivalent to the Zagat guides and thus inevitably popular mediocrity wins out.

So you really need to know what kind of experience you want. I like the Summer Shack, especially the Alewife location, but it is a huge place and just for that the cooking is certainly standardized to a certain degree. But when you pick the right items you can have a fun and delicious meal there. And do not forget: It is called "shack" for a reason.

There is no point comparing it to B&G. They both serve seafood, but otherwise the experience could not be any more different (actually they both can also be rather loud).

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The grilled clams are great and I also like the clam ceviche. Oysters are also very good.

For entrees I like the bluefish and also the pan roasted lobster (though the latter is a significant investment). Then I guess the clam bake is something very local and original but I am not a huge fan of boiled lobster. As a rule of thumb I would say the simpler and "more natural" the preparation the better the dish.

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Summershack is certainly not high end in terms of ambiance, that's for sure. They do pump out a lot of food, so there is a certain efficiency and speed that maybe some critics would say gives it a chain-feel. Not cheap, either.

However, there is nothing chain-like with the food quality and taste. The pan-done lobster in a butter sauce is AWESOME! When they have them, the FRESH Louisiana shrimp appetizer lets you taste what fresh shrimp really tastes like.

And, when you can get awesome New England fare and show up in jeans if you want, I'm a customer.

-mark-

---------------------------------------------------------

"If you don't want to use butter, add cream."

Julia Child

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Well, here's what we ended up doing (if you're interested.) I had a fantastic first visit and can't wait to return again. Thanks for all the reccomendations...I will remember them when I go back.

We got into the Taj, where the concierge informed us that Peach Farm was "gross". We immediately knew we had to go. Our meal there was fantastic - pan-fried (HUGE) oysters with scallion and ginger, and the salt fried combo of pork, squid, and prawns. And hell, it even had some modicum of ambience, which is more then a lot of my favorite Chinese joints back home in California can offer.

Dinner that evening was Sel de la Terre. It was pretty loud in there, but overall the food was quite good, though I wish there had been slightly more options. We had a special duck appetizer featuring dried duck, a duck terrine, a few slices of roast duck, and an amazing "shot" of whipped duck broth. I also enjoyed the curried chopped salad. My barbequed salmon was smoky and falling-apart rare, just the way I liked it, and the lentils it came on were addictive. My dad's porkchop was equally tender, and the pomme frites on the side were pretty standout. Service was a bit slow, but that's my only true complaint.

We also visited Le's in Cambridge - pretty good Vietnamese, although a few dishes were too sweet or soupy. The shrimp that came with the do it yourself spring rolls were simply divine, however.

I have a bus ticket I didn't use, so I'll definitely be returning again...what a cool city.

Longer writeups with pictures on my blog if you're interested. (Scroll down.)

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Hi my husband and i both cook for a living and grew up on the east coast but now reside in San Francisco. We're coming to Boston to see our families, and want to eat interesting food, money doesn't really matter( we don't have much but spend it all on dining) where should we go? we've been to blue ginger and pignoli and we're going to hugo's in portsmouth.

Thank you

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No 9 Park gets raves, as does Clio for top dollar spots. Many posts about both. If you're going to Hugo's, Clio might be too much of a muchness...

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