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Boston Restaurant Recommendations

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Just another thought on chains to consider. Some of the smaller chains, like Legal Seafoods, became chains because of the popularity of the original restaurant and customer demand. Food for thought. I'm not saying it's the best place to go, but I certainly wouldn't discount it simply because it's part of a chain.

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We've eaten at the Legal Seafood at Logan and I have eaten at it in the past (always with Texan colleagues working in Boston who didn't know any better). While it is a chain, it is good and I happily go there (to facilitate consensus with a group) and pick out the 1 or 2 things I know I love there (the portugese fish stew) but I would never pick it if I was in charge of the restaurant, the exception being at Logan where it is an excellent option.

Pam gave me a ton of options that I wrote down.

mmmMMMMM! I can't wait to come up there! It's not too cold or wet yet is it? Heh.

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We've eaten at the Legal Seafood at Logan and I have eaten at it in the past (always with Texan colleagues working in Boston who didn't know any better).  While it is a chain, it is good and I happily go there (to facilitate consensus with a group) and pick out the 1 or 2 things I know I love there (the portugese fish stew) but I would never pick it if I was in charge of the restaurant, the exception being at Logan where it is an excellent option.

Pam gave me a ton of options that I wrote down.

mmmMMMMM!  I can't wait to come up there!  It's not too cold or wet yet is it?  Heh.

We're in a bit of a deep freeze right now. Coldest we've had yet! Hopefully it will warm up a bit by the time you get here. I do agree with you on Legal's. I don't go out of my way to go there, usually end up there when someone else is in charge. Just went a week ago, and had the stuffed lobster, so it was still on my mind. If you want an old Boston feeling Seafood restaurant, the absolute best Best Stuffed Lobster in the city is at Jimmy's, down by the World Trade Center. All the waiters are mostly older men that have worked there for a million years. It has a very old school, step back in time feel to it.

Pam

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I've read about Sage, but can someone recommend a quintessential North End old school style Italian restaurant?  I am thinking something not too trendy but feels authentic.  Price no object.  I remember being able to walk around and smell deliciousness in the air around parts of the North End, so we would probably want to walk around before/after and get some pastry.

We also would want another dinner rec, not in the North End. 

Also, we're staying at the Millenium Hotel downtown but are willing to cab, take the T and of course walk a lot.  We'd love some great breakfast recommendations. 

Am I crazy for feeling obliged to re-visit Pizzeria Regina which I do remember

One of my favorites in tye North End is Assagio's, on prince, and the Daily Catch.

The Phantom Gourmet (http://www.phantomgourmet.com/ShowPage.aspx) recently agreed with me and also had some recommendation.

Also, do visit Finale (harvard square) for great dessert.

I also highly recommend a visit to South End. There's Flour (a great bakery! :wub: ), and a host of other great restaurants such as Geoffrey's Cafe - which has a great breakfast menu.

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Another real North End feel is Giacomos, also on Hanover street. They don't take reservations, so there's always a line out the door, and the prices are inexpensive, but the food is top notch. You pick your sauce, your pasta, and type of meat or seafood.

As I recall (I haven't been there in some years, but it was always one of my favorites when I lived around there) Giacomo's (and some of the other North End places) was cash only. It is worth going to (I remember one cold, rainy, January night having dinner there, a long line of people waiting to get in, with empty restaurants next door!) but best to be prepared. If the pumpkin ravioli in cream sauce is on the menu, it is to die from.


"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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try atlantic fish co. on boylston st. if you're looking for good seafood, or abe and louie's next door if you're big steak fans

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try atlantic fish co. on boylston st. if you're looking for good seafood, or abe and louie's next door if you're big steak fans

Oh, Abe and Louie's is sooooo good! They have the best steaks and prime rib, and if you do go there, you have to save room for the chocolate cake. The first time I went, we noticed at least a half dozen tables around us ordering the cake, so figured it must be good. It is to die for. Several layers high, thick, rich, dense, and fudgy, loaded with chocolate frosting. One piece is good for 2 to 3 people. Very good place, less stuffy than some of the other high end steak houses.

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Breakfast --- there's only one "must go" choice in Boston: Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe on Columbus Avenue. Run by the same family for the past 80 +/- years (they must be doing something right), you'll sit at communal tables with an eclectic mix of young professionals, neighborhood locals, politicians, students, young families, etc. The pancakes, omelettes, french toast and famous turkey hash take simple diner/breakfast fare to another level.

North End --- Regina's: forget it. Always overrated, and now not even as good as it once was. If a North End pizza is what you want, try Antico Forno (on Salem Street) --- far more authentic and a much more pleasant spot (great salads and antipasti as well).

I would second the Giacomo's recommendation.

For the more "upscale" North End experience: Prezza, Bricco, Carmen's, Sage.

For North End "traditional": not as easy as you'd think (a lot of tourist traps in this category) .... But, I'd try Strega, or maybe Piccola Venezia, both on Hanover Street.

Other dinner options --- Radius, Clio, Mistral recommended above: all very good, very trendy and very expensive. Another "sure bet" which has kind of fallen off the radar screen: Hamersley's Bistro (South End). If you're a wine lover: Troquet on Boylston Street. For a kind of new-wave asian/western fusion thing: "L" (the old Cafe Louis --- at the rear of the Louis store on Berkeley Street). I'd skip Legal Seafoods and the Naked Fish --- you'll find better seafood at any of these places.

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Well we survived Dec 26 and Dec 27 in Boston. The snow and cold was too much for us and we curtailed a lot of our plans. I know how terribly lame that sounds, and I used to be much more hardy....

We did have dinner on that Sunday in Cambridge at Upstairs at the Square. First we went to Kingfish in Fanueil Hall and had oysters (delicious) and grilled calamari on polenta with a harissa sauce (good, but I like polenta to be sturdier and the harissa was wicked salty). We went to Upstairs after walking around in the snow for a while (and getting very friendly help from 2 different strangers when the cab driver dropped us off at the wrong street). That restaurant was very cozy and fun in setting, but we were a little disappointed in the food. I had a cavatelli pasta with mushrooms and acorn squash that didn't dazzle me and made me upset that we weren't in the North End at that moment. My husband had a chicken dish that was flattened or something? I don't remember. We did love the carpaccio appetizer.

Monday we walked around Boston Common and Beacon Hill until we couldn't take it anymore and then took a cab to Regina Pizzeria on Thatcher. You could not have designed a better moment. We sat at the bar, ordered draught Sam Adams, a puttanesca pizza and a pepperoni pizza and chatted with another Regina pilgrim coming from Denver to reminsce. My mouth still waters thinking about that pizza. There is nothing comparable to it in Houston, probably Texas. Then, after a nap (and eating some leftover pizza in the hotel room - cold, congealed Pizzeria Regina is better than Houston's best...) we went to Monica's in the North End and were dazzled yet again. We had their mussels in smoked tomato broth which was spectacular and a tomato-mozzarella salad which is something my husband always orders even though there were a lot of other appetizers I would have preferred BUT the cheese was some of the best I've tasted. Then I had chicken saltimbocco with sage and prosciutto which was delicious but next to the unbelievable veal chop marsala, it lost some of it's glory. Then tiramisu which was definately a cut above most. Impeccable service, 2 great half bottles of wine -MMMM! I will dream about those mussels and the veal chop.

Then Tuesday in the airport (we got there wicked early after hearing all the travel debacle) we had lunch at Legal Seafood there and again had delicious oysters and I had a thai-style soup with seafood, maybe Rasan or Tasan soup? I forget the exact name but it was very good.

Excellent visit, I would not rush back to Upstairs on the Square but must give them snaps for some upcoming really innovative wine tastings/dinners on a flier I saw. Maybe it was an off night since it was a snow emergency on Dec 26.

Thanks for everyone's advice and if you ever need Houston dining recs, please go to the Texas forum.

SuperLuckyCat

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Well we survived Dec 26 and Dec 27 in Boston.  The snow and cold was too much for us and we curtailed a lot of our plans.  I know how terribly lame that sounds, and I used to be much more hardy....

We did have dinner on that Sunday in Cambridge at Upstairs at the Square.  First we went to Kingfish in Fanueil Hall and had oysters (delicious) and grilled calamari on polenta with a harissa sauce (good, but I like polenta to be sturdier and the harissa was wicked salty).  We went to Upstairs after walking around in the snow for a while (and getting very friendly help from 2 different strangers when the cab driver dropped us off at the wrong street).  That restaurant was very cozy and fun in setting, but we were a little disappointed in the food.  I had a cavatelli pasta with mushrooms and acorn squash that didn't dazzle me and made me upset that we weren't in the North End at that moment.  My husband had a chicken dish that was flattened or something?  I don't remember.  We did love the carpaccio appetizer.

Monday we walked around Boston Common and Beacon Hill until we couldn't take it anymore and then took a cab to Regina Pizzeria on Thatcher.  You could not have designed a better moment.  We sat at the bar, ordered draught Sam Adams, a puttanesca pizza and a pepperoni pizza and chatted with another Regina pilgrim coming from Denver to reminsce.  My mouth still waters thinking about that pizza.  There is nothing comparable to it in Houston, probably Texas.  Then, after a nap (and eating some leftover pizza in the hotel room - cold, congealed Pizzeria Regina is better than Houston's best...) we went to Monica's in the North End and were dazzled yet again.  We had their mussels in smoked tomato broth which was spectacular and a tomato-mozzarella salad which is something my husband always orders even though there were a lot of other appetizers I would have preferred BUT the cheese was some of the best I've tasted.  Then I had chicken saltimbocco with sage and prosciutto which was delicious but next to the unbelievable veal chop marsala, it lost some of it's glory.  Then tiramisu which was definately a cut above most.  Impeccable service, 2 great half bottles of wine -MMMM!  I will dream about those mussels and the veal chop.

Then Tuesday in the airport (we got there wicked early after hearing all the travel debacle) we had lunch at Legal Seafood there and again had delicious oysters and I had a thai-style soup with seafood, maybe Rasan or Tasan soup?  I forget the exact name but it was very good.

Excellent visit, I would not rush back to Upstairs on the Square but must give them snaps for some upcoming really innovative wine tastings/dinners on a flier I saw.  Maybe it was an off night since it was a snow emergency on Dec 26.

Thanks for everyone's advice and if you ever need Houston dining recs, please go to the Texas forum.

SuperLuckyCat

I haven't been to Monica's, thanks for the tip. Will have to check it out! Be glad that you're back in the South...we are getting pummelled again today with snow.

:)

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I'll be visiting Boston for 2 days/2 nights and needed a couple dinner recommendations for an eclectic group: two college-age children and a celiac. We want to spend some time treking the historic parts of town and would love a small and historic B&B if you have any recommendations there as well.

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I recommend The Elephant Walk - they have a special celiac menu with two locations - one in Cambridge and one in Boston. It's French-Cambodian.

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*bump*

Late next week. 4 adults, 5 nights, Cambridge and Boston area - we'll be staying near Harvard, but we plan to visit historic Boston. We like wine. We like almost any kind of food. Being Midwesterners, we're especially interested in finding good seafood places in which to gorge ourselves. However, I'll be out and around during the day and looking for good inexpensive hole-in-the-wall joints for lunch, especially Middle Eastern, North African, or possibly Indian or Afghani. No doubt a wander around the Harvard area will turn up the usual university complement of good cheap international cuisine that doesn't exist in Duluth, but I welcome recommendations.

Does Boston have a waterfront area with good restaurants? Any in particular that we shouldn't miss?

Are there any food shops that I absolutely, positively must not miss? (Too bad Penzey's doesn't seem to be open yet.)


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Does Boston have a waterfront area with good restaurants? 

Um... no. Not a one of which I'm aware. Zip.

However,

Are there any food shops that I absolutely, positively must not miss?  (Too bad Penzey's doesn't seem to be open yet.)

You can do Penzey's mail order, but you can't do the North End mail order, andStephen already did your homework for you on the NE neighborhoods thread.

Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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*bump*

Late next week.  4 adults, 5 nights, Cambridge and Boston area - we'll be staying near Harvard, but we plan to visit historic Boston.  We like wine.  We like almost any kind of food.  Being Midwesterners, we're especially interested in finding good seafood places in which to gorge ourselves.  However, I'll be out and around during the day and looking for good inexpensive hole-in-the-wall joints for lunch, especially Middle Eastern, North African, or possibly Indian or Afghani.  No doubt a wander around the Harvard area will turn up the usual university complement of good cheap international cuisine that doesn't exist in Duluth, but I welcome recommendations. 

Does Boston have a waterfront area with good restaurants?  Any in particular that we shouldn't miss? 

Are there any food shops that I absolutely, positively must not miss?  (Too bad Penzey's doesn't seem to be open yet.)

If you want to really treat yourself, eat at No. 9 Park, right on Boston Common, by the State House and Beacon Hill. www.no9park.com has menus to check out. The restaurant is exceptional and has homemade pastas that melt in your mouth. I just got back from a cooking class earlier tonight in Boston, taught by the chef, Barbara Lynch. One of the dishes we sampled was prune stuffed gnocchi in a foie gras butter wine sauce.

For Seafood, I'd suggest Jimmy's Harborside, right on the water, by the World Trade Center in Boston. It's been around forever, and the waiters have all been there that long too! Fresh, New England Seafood, and by far the best baked stuffed lobster I've had anywhere (and I've had them just about everywhere in Boston). Right around the corner from Jimmy's is a much more casual mostly fried seafood restaurant that has also been around for ages, called The No Name. Legend has it that their Fried Clams are the best in Boston.

Another option, with locations throughout the city, and one right on the water by the Boston Aquarium, and by Fanueil Hall, is Legal Seafoods. Yes, they are a chain, but a local Boston one. All their seafood is as fresh as can be, and it has a touristy Boston feel to it....also has an excellent baked stuffed lobster, and crab cakes that are full of big, sweet chunks of crab.

If you like Italian, don't miss a walk through the North End, near Faneil Hall, or if you want to sample 18 different kinds of oysters, head over to South Boston's new B&G Oysters, which also has traditional lobster rolls, fried seafood, and wines picked especially to complement the fresh, raw shellfish. I haven't been here yet, but am dying to go, especially since Barbara Lynch of No. 9 Park, told us why she opened this second small restaurant. It was because she couldn't find a restaurant that offered more than one kind of oyster, or that had the kinds of crisp wines that she wanted to go with them.

Cambridge has plenty of diverse ethnic restaurants. There's a great Indian one right in Harvard Square, think it's called the Bombay Club. I ate there once and loved it. There's also an Ethiopian restaurant in Central Square, that I almost went to a week ago, but had to cancel. I've been told it's great, and very inexpensive. Asmara. Here's a link w/more info on them,

http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/citizen/ALON2-05.HTM

There are other seafood restaurants right in Fanueil hall too, casual, and even takeout. There's a Todd English restaurant there too, called Kingfish, that could be hit or miss. I've eaten there a few times, and it's been good or bad, it's just not consistent, so I hesitate to really recommend it, as I've heard the same feedback from everyone I know who has eaten there.....sometimes good, sometimes not.

There's a ton of great places to eat in Boston, hope you enjoy your visit.

:) Pam

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there is a new oyster bar called Neptune that carries oysters from around the country. It was easier to get into, and cheaper than B&G if oysters are what you're after. It's in the North end.. I'll find the menu and tell you exactly if you want to go.

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there is a new oyster bar called Neptune that carries oysters from around the country. It was easier to get into, and cheaper than B&G if oysters are what you're after. It's in the North end.. I'll find the menu and tell you exactly if you want to go.

Yes, please. I don't know whether I can sell the rest of the gang on oysters, but I'm sure pushing for it.

Thanks to all of you so far for the great advice - more is welcome too, if you think of it! I'm getting really excited about this trip!


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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*bump*

Late next week.  4 adults, 5 nights, Cambridge and Boston area - we'll be staying near Harvard, but we plan to visit historic Boston.  We like wine.  We like almost any kind of food.  Being Midwesterners, we're especially interested in finding good seafood places in which to gorge ourselves.  However, I'll be out and around during the day and looking for good inexpensive hole-in-the-wall joints for lunch, especially Middle Eastern, North African, or possibly Indian or Afghani.  No doubt a wander around the Harvard area will turn up the usual university complement of good cheap international cuisine that doesn't exist in Duluth, but I welcome recommendations. 

Does Boston have a waterfront area with good restaurants?  Any in particular that we shouldn't miss? 

Are there any food shops that I absolutely, positively must not miss?  (Too bad Penzey's doesn't seem to be open yet.)

North African; Addis Red Sea, in the South End of Boston. Reasonable, authentic, amazingly flavorful food. The best boston has to offer. It's not washington, DC, but it's GOOD!

Indian; Tamarind Bay in Harvard Square is doing amazingly creative things that people are comparing favorably to the best in London. Also try Bhindi Bazaar, on Mass Ave and Newbury Street, in Boston, for an authentic menu divided by region.

Close to the waterfront, and on the Fort Point Channel, is the Barking Crab, the closest you'll find to a clam shack without heading out of town...I believe their heated, closed-sided tent will be open for the season by the time you're here...Big picnic table, lovely view of the Boston skyline. The fried clams are great, as is anything on the specials menu. lots of fun..

East Coast Grill, in Inman Square, Cambridge, is a popular choice among locals for their favorite seafood, and a great place to bring out-of town guests. There's an oyster bar, Black and blue tuna tacos that are a crime they're so delicious, with their sashimi-grade tuna and avocado slices, my favorite entree, black and blue pepper-crusted tuna, and creative, everchanging specials using the freshest seafood. There's ever some great BBQ options if you have recalcitrant carnivores. It's probably my number one recommendation for you.

To get a grip on your lobster craving, i would suggest going to peach farm seafood in Chinatown, and getting their twin lobster special. Two hacked and stir-fried lobsters, in ginger and scallion. Also, great steamed oysters on the half-shell with black bean sauece(you can order individually) and supreme steamed scallops on the shell with ginger and scallions.

I have to disagree with a previous poster; I wouldn't send a dog to Jimmy's or the No Name...Both WERE good, in the case of the No Name, it used to be great. No more.

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A friend recommended Durgin Park in the Quincy Marketplace to me today. He says it will be a "memorable experience" more for the atmosphere (crotchety old waiters and a 200-year-old tradition) than for the food, but that the food is decent for a reasonable price. Sounds amusing if I had longer to stay, maybe, but I might be reading too much into it. He used the words "legendary" and "must go". Opinions, anyone?


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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If finding a memorable dining experience is your goal, then you need good food to accomplish that. So, I would skip Durgin Park. I do think that only tourists to Quincy Market go there, and the food does not need to be good because they have no repeat customers. If being served by a surly wait person is what you're looking for, you can surely find that elsewhere around town at a much cheaper price!!!

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If finding a memorable dining experience is your goal, then you need good food to accomplish that.  So, I would skip Durgin Park.  I do think that only tourists to Quincy Market go there, and the food does not need to be good because they have no repeat customers.  If being served by a surly wait person is what you're looking for, you can surely find that elsewhere around town at a much cheaper price!!!

That's kinda the feeling I had about the recommendation, but I wanted to hear more from a local. Thanks.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Here's my report. What with one thing and another, we had a whopping 1/2 hour to walk around through the North End on our way someplace else, too late for lunch and too early for dinner. So much for my advance plans and the lunch recommendations. :hmmm: That evening, we wandered Hanover Street perusing menus, trying to choose among the mind-boggling selection of Italian restaurants along there. Sicilian? Northern? Southern? We were too tired, really, to even be able to think about what we were reading. An observant and enterprising gentleman popped out of a door and pointed to the Specials posted on a blackboard outside. "This is the best place," he claimed, "right here, and we have the best specials!" We bantered back and forth (I'm a sucker for that eye-twinkling sales pitch, all else being equal) and he assured us that if we didn't like the food he'd give it to us for free. (We didn't believe him, but that's the sort of banter I'm talking about.) The specials that day were veal scallopini wrapped with prosciutto and some other things (told you I was tired) on a bed of spinach, and salmon stuffed with something, with a pesto sauce. We liked him. We liked the look. We went in to give our appetites to il Villaggio Ristorante.

We came away just on the uncomfortable side of pleasantly full, having wined and dined at a moderate cost. (It wasn't cheap, but it cost less than the surrounding restaurants' menus suggested they would.) Two of us had the veal special, one had lobster ravioli, one had another veal dish. The salads were fine and meals in themselves. The bread - well, I've had better, but the dipping oil made up for it. Whatever unnecessary appetizer we'd asked for first turned out not to be available, so we were each given a glass of wine (a nice pinot grigio) as compensation; the chianti we later ordered turned out not to be available, so they gave us a bottle of more expensive chianti at the same price.

As we chatted with the waitress we learned that neither the staff nor the owner of this Italian restaurant is in fact Italian, but it didn't seem to matter. The food was quite good, and I'm glad we went. It turned out that the gentleman who'd lured us in was indeed the proprieter, and I wish he'd been around at the end of our meal so we could thank him for his sales pitch.

Add Il Villagio, 230 Hanover Street, to your list of places worth visiting. Monday night was slow, but we were told that reservations (617-367-2824) are a good idea on the weekend.

Edited for spelling.


Edited by Smithy (log)

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I know some Bostonians who will be surly to you, and you won't have to eat dusty cornbread or gloppy beans. If you're interested.

hey...we're not so bad, really.

In addition to the North End thread cited earlier, another thread had a lot of recommendations, including some of mine :smile: . They include a favorite cheese shop, Formaggio Kitchen, easily the best selection in Boston.

Though this is too late for Smithy (sorry!) who was looking for a N. African place in Cambridge, I really like Casablanca, in Harvard Square. Lots of tasty "small plates" of which many are vegetarian, at a very reasonable price and informal atmostphere (note: eat in the bar area, not the dining room, there's a high per person minimum in the DR).



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