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Boston Restaurant Recommendations


dweller
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Hello good people of the New England Forum,

I have the pleasure of visiting your great city for one day on Friday, May 27 and I am looking for a dining recommendation.

I had been thinking about going to Blue Ginger, but that’s basically because that is the only restaurant I could think of…

I will be in town all day... from about 8am until whenever... I just have to be in CT the following afternoon.

I would like a good dinner reservation, but of course there is a lot of other eating I could do and I would appreciate any suggestions.

Thank you!

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I'd say go to Sage in the North End. Intimate space (read: small) with very good food. Their gnocchi is incredible.

Though I do not think that Sage is the best of the best restaurant in Boston I think there is good reason to consider. First, you should still be able to get a reservation. Second, and perhaps more important, it will place you in a neighborhood (perhaps 'the' neighborhood) with a lot of food related activity in the evenings that you can partake in before and after dinner. (A good example of how location would be your friend is that you can skip dessert at Sage and head down to Modern Pastry afterwards for a cannoli.)

Any particular type of food you are after?

Edited by slbunge (log)

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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Where will you be staying? There is nothing like strolling home from a good dinner. A short taxi ride is fine but more than that detracts.

Sage is wonderful, I agree, if you're close to the North End or downtown. Forget Blue Ginger unless you're staying in the western 'burbs anyway. If you're only in Boston for one night, don't spend it figuring out transportation.


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Yes, Sage is a great idea, and you can walk down Hanover street and have dessert at Caffe Vittoria or Mike's Pastries. Caffe Vittoria has the best tiramisu. There's also plenty of other restaurants too in that neighborhood.

If you want to treat yourself for Lunch, go to No. 9 Park, by Boston Common. Lunch is a great way to experience the amazing food there.

Other good dinner suggestions if you don't feel like Italian, there's Clio, Mistral, and Radius, those are my favorites in Boston. Though there are many, many, more.

Depends what kind of food you like.

:) Pam

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OK, Here is my 2 cents.

There is a little place on a dead end side street off Hanover called Ida's. Great veal (that is all Iv'e had there), great atmosphere ( like you were in a family's home). That is where I would go.

Cheers,

HC

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Sibling Rivalry?

This could be a decent suggestion as well, although I have never eaten at the restaurant. But, thinking of accessiblity and the fact that essentially across Tremont street are two restaurants that are also worth checking out: The Butcher Shop for a decent glass of wine (and some charcuterie) and B&G Oysters.

Also, if you have time, you would be a short walk from South End Formaggio whose cheese selection is topped in the area (and perhaps all of the eastern seaboard) only by it's parent Formaggio Kitchen across the Charles River in Cambridge.

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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If you ARE in the western suburban area (which is on the way to CT and could merit a lunchtime detour...), I can't recommend HIGHLY enough that you visit Oiishi, too in Sudbury on Rt 20 IF you are passionate about sushi, sashimi, etc. -- it's as good as it gets and there's seldom much of a wait at lunch time, or on a weeknight (if you're OK sitting at the sushi bar) -- it's a different story about the waiting in the tiny Chestnut Hill location, though the food is just as stellar. I hope you have a chance to enjoy it during your visit.

Other personal favorites in town include Chez Henri (French Cuban bistro fusion), Central Kitchen (basic bistro), East Coast Grill (seafood et al), and The Helmand (elegant, affordable Afghan, but hard to get reservations) in Cambridge, as well as B&G Oyster in the South End in Boston and Radius downtown (pure flavors, New American -- great prix fixe lunch menu).

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If you ARE in the western suburban area (which is on the way to CT and could merit a lunchtime detour...), I can't recommend HIGHLY enough that you visit Oiishi, too in Sudbury on Rt 20 IF you are passionate about sushi, sashimi, etc. -- it's as good as it gets and there's seldom much of a wait at lunch time, or on a weeknight (if you're OK sitting at the sushi bar) -- it's a different story about the waiting in the tiny Chestnut Hill location, though the food is just as stellar.  I hope you have a chance to enjoy it during your visit.

Other personal favorites in town include Chez Henri (French Cuban bistro fusion), Central Kitchen (basic bistro), East Coast Grill (seafood et al), and The Helmand (elegant, affordable Afghan, but hard to get reservations) in Cambridge, as well as B&G Oyster in the South End in Boston and Radius downtown (pure flavors, New American -- great prix fixe lunch menu).

These are many of my favorites too (had dinner at Central Kitchen last night, yum). I've never tried the Sudbury Oiishi but the tiny place in Chestnut Hill is close to Boston and worth the wait, the sushi chef came from Nobu in NYC, and even a non-sushi connaisseur--moi--was dazzled. B&G is good but overpriced I think, and though my one foray to Radius was impressive, I don't much care if I go back unless I'm with a friend with an expense account.


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  • 1 month later...

Hey everyone,

My husband and I are visiting Boston for the first time in a couple of weeks. We have only two nights there and don't know where to begin when it comes to picking out places to eat.

To get a real, non-tourist, taste of the city, I would love to hear everyone's suggestions? We would like to keep the meal under $100 bucks for the both of us if possible. We love great wines, all types of food, market hopping---the usual foodie stuff. We're literally open to just about anything.

Where do the foodies, chefs, food writers and culinary prof. like to hang?

Thanks!

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I hope you have a wonderful visit. I love living near Boston and try to take advantage of the restaurant scene as much as possible. There are plenty of high-end "name" places, a fair number of which I have dined in. If you order carefully you could get out under $100. The ones I like are L'Espalier (high end French, 617 262 3023), No. 9 Park (really well executed French and Italian food, 617 742 9991 ), Clio (French- Asian fusion 617 536 7200), and Radius (innovative with a modern vibe, 617 426 1234). Jasper White's Summer Shack is very casual (and reasonable) and serves really good fresh seafood (617 867 9955). One of my new favorites is Carmen (617 742 6421) in the North End- Italian, small, great food at reasonable prices, and apparently a lot of food professionals eat there. The North End is the Italian section of town so it is loaded with restaurants- Sage is excellent (617 248 8814) as is Artu (617 742 4336). Really, I've never had a bad meal in the North End plus it is a great place to people watch. Boston also has a Chinatown- I like to take my family to Chau Chow City on Essex Street (617 338 8158) which is delicious and does have dim sum on the weekends.

Of course that is a list of many more restaurants than you will have time to dine in. What I recommend is eating lunch at No. 9 Park (Clio might serve lunch too, call ahead in either case). Go sight seeing (or take a nap :raz: ). Eat dinner at Summer Shack or Chau Chow City. The next day eat lunch in the North End and while you are there pick up the fixings for a picinic (my favorite market is Salumeria Italiana on Richmond, I like the wine shop on Hanover, and Mike's for a cannolli). Drop your stuff off at the hotel, go explore, and then have a picinic at the Public Gardens or on the banks of the Charles.

Have a great time! :smile:

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Indeed, I think you must plan on spending some time in the North End. It is a fairly small neighborhood but is densely populated with great food options from restaurants to slumerias and wine merchants and pastry shops. Some are certainly geared toward the tourist (Mike's is a good example) but there are some true gems. I wrote about my favorite food places in a forum here.

There is some discussion here about No 9 Park. I say eat at the cafe rather than the restaurant. Far better value.

Summer Shack is a decent choice for a Lobster Salad Roll which is classic New England. There is one in Cambridge and one in Boston.

Also, additional discussion that was written to help out another Boston visitor can be found here. Read through the whole thing because there are great recommendations from Formaggio Kitchen in the South End (or their original store in Cambridge) to Peach Farm in Chinatown and lots of good stuff between.

Feel free to ask about specifics, here or via pm, as you start to flesh out your plans.

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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Thanks so much. This has been VERY helpful. Glad to hear about all of the great opportunities in the North End since that is where we are staying--can't pass up great Italian food opps-- not much to be found where I live.

Thanks again!

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For something completely different, you could try Lala Rokh, which is a Persian restaurant. The food is elegantly spiced, kind of a lighter, more subtle version of Indian. It's on Mt. Vernon St, just off Charles St in Beacon Hill. The room is beautiful, and the neighborhood is wonderful to walk around in. (John Kerry has a townhouse just up the hill on Louisburg Square.)

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My absolute favorite restaurant of all time is Craigie Street Bistrot, which is tucked into a little residential neighborhood in Harvard Square. You won't regret going there: www.craigiestreetbistrot.com. I tend to spend maybe $40-60 there when I go. Also in Harvard Square is Upstairs on the Square (google the name and it should pop up), which has fantastic decor and the best butterscotch pudding I've ever had in my life.

I also like Central Kitchen in Central Square, which will run you maybe $30? It's quite good, the restaurant's interior is a surprise after the slightly dingy outside, and the last time I was there I had an unbelievably good blueberry-white chocolate bread pudding. Another gem in Central Square is Baraka Cafe (http://restaurants.boston.com/restaurants-view-baraka_cafe.htm), which is French-Tunisian. If you speak French or Arabic, you will get seated more quickly.

The most expensive food I have ever had in Boston was Aujourd'hui, but it was also extremely good. I would go there more often if I could afford it. They have excellent desserts and impeccable service. Plus, there's a pretty view of the park from the windows. It's upscale French without the pretention of the waitstaff at L'Espalier. Another great place to go around that area is No 9 Park, which is less expensive but equally as good. In fact, it might have been better. The table I had was probably not the best in the house (I guess it was obvious that we were grad students) but I actually enjoyed the glimpses of the kitchen that I got.

For the South End - my favorite restaurant there is Aquitaine, which is French. Picco, which is in the new apartment complex next to the arts center (East Berkeley and Tremont Street?) has great pizza and a fantastic, huge meatball sandwich. We've never made it to dessert there, but ask for the dessert pizza, which isn't on the menu. I also really like Addis Red Sea for Ethiopian food (http://www.addisredsea.com/). On the edge of the financial district is Pigalle (http://www.pigalle.com), which I went to during Restaurant Week. Despite the fact that I looked like a college student, and so did my two friends, they treated us really well and the food was great. In terms of French restaurants, my favorite three are Craigie Street Bistrot, then Pigalle, then Aujourd'hui.

For Chinese food, go to Peach Farm for dim sum. My favorite bakery - which my family used to go to every weekend when I was a kid - is Hing Shing Bakery, near the Chinatown Gate. Down a couple doors from Hing Shing is a place to buy peking duck, squid, pork, etc - and it's the best in the city. If you want to partake (it's a takeout type of operation), get there early on Saturday morning.

For just dessert, skip Finale, which is really only good for cocktails, and go to Burdick's in Harvard Square (on Brattle Street, I think, near the intersection at Church Street - just google "LA Burdick"). Their chocolates, and hot chocolate, are wonderful.

For Thai food - this is a bit of a hike - check out Bamboo in...Brighton, I think? Here's a link with info: http://restaurants.boston.com/restaurants-view-bamboo4.htm. This is the best Thai food I've had in Boston, though I hear that Sweet Chili in Inman Square (http://www.sweetchili.com/) and Brown Sugar Cafe on Commonwealth Ave (near the Shaw's Supermarket in Allston, on the Green Line) are also really good.

And finally, you cannot go to Boston without having ice cream. I am currently in Chicago and I miss Tosci's (Toscanini's), which is on Main Street on the edge of Central Square (at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Main Street). My other choice for ice cream would be Christina's in Inman Square (1255 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA), which, if you're into cooking, has a great spice store next door (which, alas, is only open during the day).

Edited by mimblewim (log)

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

(italo calvino)

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  • 2 weeks later...

For an old Boston experience you might want to try Jacob Wirth's, which has been there forever. The menu doesn't have as much German food as it once did, but there's still some, along with a great beer list. Another oldie is the Union Oyster House. Sit at the raw bar where Daniel Webster once sat, and enjoy the clams and oysters. However, I've heard bad reports about the rest of the food there.

Durgin Park was once a Boston must, but is now a tourist joint to be avoided. The waitstaffs' legendary brusquness became downright rudeness the last time I was forced to go there. Nobody needs it.

For something different at lunch you might want to try Boston Speed's hotdog wagon in Newmarket Square. Speed is a legend in his own time.

And I heartily second Toscanini's. Their burnt caramel is to die for.

"Last week Uncle Vinnie came over from Sicily and we took him to the Olive Garden. The next day the family car exploded."

--Nick DePaolo

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I am going to be in B town the end of Aug. for 4 days to go to Sox games and was starting to look for places to eat so finding this forum was like a wish come true. Of the many places I've read about I have notice that # 9 park mentioned pretty often, any idea on how far in advance I need to reserv. if I want a weekend spot. Thanks all anymore suggestions are welcomed. Especially seafood places. We'll be staying at the Park Plaza which I've read good and bad about but it's suppose to be close to everything.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello, I'm going to be in Boston for lunch on Sunday 21st August with two other foodie friends. Any suggestions for a really special meal? Between us, my friends and I have eaten all the way from Michelin 3-star restaurants to street food in Asia ad enjoy anything as long as the food is first-rate.

I looked up some of the restaurants mentioned in this thread. Not surprisingly, they're mainly closed on Sunday. The only exceptions I found were in Chinatown, like Penang. Any suggestions? One of us will be driving and used to live in Boston ten years ago, so getting around won't be too difficult.

The three of us are attending a conference for 5 days in Andover, New Hampshire. Any interesting food destinations around there, or on the way from Andover to Boston?

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Hello, I'm going to be in Boston for lunch on Sunday 21st August with two other foodie friends. Any suggestions for a really special meal? Between us, my friends and I have eaten all the way from Michelin 3-star restaurants to street food in Asia ad enjoy anything as long as the food is first-rate.

I looked up some of the restaurants mentioned in this thread. Not surprisingly, they're mainly closed on Sunday. The only exceptions I found were in Chinatown, like Penang. Any suggestions? One of us will be driving and used to live in Boston ten years ago, so getting around won't be too difficult.

The three of us are attending a conference for 5 days in Andover, New Hampshire. Any interesting food destinations around there, or on the way from Andover to Boston?

My favorite bakery in Chinatown is Hing Shing Bakery near the Chinatown gate. I'm not sure if it's open on Sundays (I think it is...) but a couple doors down there's the most fabulous peking duck/other roasted animals place - it's basically takeout, where they chop the stuff up for you and pack it in styrofoam for you. In terms of dim sum, China Pearl is where my family usually goes.

I also like the South End. Aquitaine has a great brunch, as does Union Bar and Grill. I think they're both open on Sundays. If you were here on Saturday, I would recommend Baraka Cafe at 80 1/2 Pearl Street in Central Square - it's this tiny French Tunisian place. Brownie points if you speak French or Arabic (and you will get seated faster, probably).

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

(italo calvino)

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  • 1 month later...

I'm meeting clients in Boston and I need three distinctly different types of reccomendations for them and for myself. Near the Four Seasons helps, but I will also be doing some time in the vicinity of Harvard Square.

The three asks are:

1) Spectacularly luxurious. Food is not the object here. Flawless and virtually obsequious service is. The food should be good, but the service needs be perfect. Price is no object.

2) Good food, hip atmosphere. Moderate-high price OK. Experimental food OK. Near nightlife for appropriate for 30-something Europeans really OK.

3) Excellent food, mid-high price in an atmosphere that's more restaurant than club. A place where you don't have to yell to be heard. Any and all types of cusine welcome (this is the recco for me).

Finally, if there are any good low-rent joints not too far from the 4 Seasons -- from ethnic to greays spoon, feel free to chime in.

Thanks.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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