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Boston food scene?

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What restaurant's, deli's, sweet shops, confort food, bakeries, etc., do you feel really show what food in the Boston area is all about?

I'm new to the Boston area (coming from the midwest) and trying to get the feel of what's good here.

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What restaurant's, deli's, sweet shops, confort food, bakeries, etc., do you feel really show what food in the Boston area is all about?

I'm new to the Boston area (coming from the midwest) and trying to get the feel of what's good here.

Coming from the midwest, you have probably never had decent seafood. Start there.

Most of our beef comes from the midwest, so expect to pay double or triple what you are used to.

Be prepared for price shock about everything.

Jim

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I'd say that Boston food is pretty diverse. Yes, seafood is a big thing here, and visitors often think of lobster and clam chowder. However, you can really get it in many ways, from Chinatown, the North End (Italian), American (Legal's, Atlantic Fish, Great Bay), Portuguese (in East Cambridge), and many more. Down by the waterfront, there are a couple places where you can buy fresh fish.

There is a LOT of variety in ethnic food, especially over in Cambridge.

Near Harvard and MIT there's a lot of Indian food, of hugely varying quality. There's also Ethiopian, Thai, Tibetan, North African, Middle Eastern, etc. In East Cambridge, there's a decent Portuguese population, and there are a number of bakeries and restaurants. Cambridge also has Savenor's for specialty items and high-end meats, and Formaggio Kitchen for cheese.

On the Boston side, there are a lot of food areas:

Newbury street--generally overpriced and touristy, but some good eats are sprinkled in there.

North End--mostly Italian, from hole-in-the-wall cheap to white tablecloth nice dinner and everything in between. Some interesting small markets and butchers too.

Fanueil Hall/Quincy Market--generally VERY touristy, but I love the food court.

Kenmore Sq--Near Fenway and BU, so a lot of bar food and student hangouts

Chinatown--Decent range of Chinese cooking here, my favorites are Taiwan Cafe, Peach Farm (for Cantonese style food) and HeLa Moon (dim sum). There are also several large asian supermarkets here.

South End--There's a huge concentration of restaurants here, lots of good stuff.

I could go on indefinitely, but I'll spare you for now :wink:

Have fun exploring!

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I have lived in boston for almost 3 years and I still haven't had lobster. Crap, it sucks living with a boyfriend who hates anything that comes out of water.

don't forget to try the little places, I dont know how your food budget is but I can't eat at these really great expensive places: uni, clio, mare, etc. Where do you live in boston? we'll start off with great places around your area. Oh and what kind of food do you like, ethnicity wise?


BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

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nishla, have you been to beard papa's in quincy market? Its so cute!!! I love their cream puffs filled with vanilla cream. I also like the cute box it comes in and the dorky outfits the employees have to wear :raz:


BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

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SheenaGreena,

I live in Newton, but work in Beacon Hill. My favorite right now is Thai, but any real Asian food I go for. I haven't found a really good thai place yet.

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nishla, have you been to beard papa's in quincy market?  Its so cute!!!  I love their cream puffs filled with vanilla cream.  I also like the cute box it comes in and the dorky outfits the employees have to wear  :raz:

I haven't tried this place, but I'll definitely keep an eye out for it next time I'm in that area.

SheenaGreena,

I live in Newton, but work in Beacon Hill. My favorite right now is Thai, but any real Asian food I go for. I haven't found a really good thai place yet.

If you're in Newton, I would highly recommend checking out Russo's in Watertown. We go for produce, cheese and some deli items almost every weekend. In Chestnut Hill, you've got Oiishi for sushi which is really good (but they only have 13 seats). For Thai, I think King & I on Charles St is pretty good, but I don't eat a lot of Thai, so I may be way off base. I'm a lot more familiar with Chinese in the area, so feel free to PM me for suggestions.

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One of my favorite food destinations in Cambridge is the Japanese mall in the basement of the Porter Exchange building at Porter Square. There are little stalls with communal tables specializing in udon, ramen, sushi; a Japanese grocery store and a bakery that sells Japanese specialty breads. Try the tempura udon at the stall at the end of the hall.

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SheenaGreena,

I live in Newton, but work in Beacon Hill. My favorite right now is Thai, but any real Asian food I go for. I haven't found a really good thai place yet.

Have you tried Khao Sarn or Dok Bua in Brookline yet? Those are two great places to have Thai.


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

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khao sarn is my fav thai place in boston, I've had dok bua but I actually like khao sarn better


BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

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For Thai, I think King & I on Charles St is pretty good, but I don't eat a lot of Thai, so I may be way off base.

I tried them the second week I was here since they are around where I work. I was pretty dissapionted. I would have to say probably some one of the worst Thai I have ever had.

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For Thai, I think King & I on Charles St is pretty good, but I don't eat a lot of Thai, so I may be way off base.

I tried them the second week I was here since they are around where I work. I was pretty dissapionted. I would have to say probably some one of the worst Thai I have ever had.

Sorry to hear that. I should also have mentioned that I haven't been there in two years or more...if it's really some of the worst you've ever had, you must be pretty lucky, because I've had MUCH worse :wacko: Come to think of it, that's probably why I don't eat a lot of Thai food...


Edited by Nishla (log)

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I've talked about some of these on other threads but. should you want to cross the river...

-East Coast Grill in Cambridge; great location, cool (if crowded and noisy) vibe, wonderful fresh seafood and they do some nice work with slow-cooked meats too. I used to live quite nearby and we would eat there once/week.

-Chez Henri in Cambridge; good upper-mid level dining and they really care about their product (I'm not a fan of the wine list but...)

-Craigie Street Bistro in Cambridge; High-end, straight ahead French with an emphasis on what's fresh each day. Good food, nice wine list and a bit under-credited compared to other small, high-end joints.

-Blue Ribbon BBQ in Newton; probably the best barbecue in Boston right now (not that there's huge competition). Take out only (save for a few chairs and 2 tables).

-Petsie Pie in Somerville; a bakery specializing in pies. What more can I say/

-Village Kitchen in Cambridge; pretty darn good pizza

-I second the Porter Exchange recommendation

-Sullivan's in Somerville - a bar that serves HUGE, wonderful burgers and a bunch of crap. Burgers and beers are worth it, nothing else (but the burgers are great)

-Zoe's in Somerville: I think it has some of the best Chinese food outside of Chinatown.

-Christopher's in Cambridge; perhaps the best all-around neighborhood joint in Boston and it's areas. Good food, nice variety, good for a casual date, meeting friends, etc. Great place.

-Cambridge Common in Cambridge; same owners as Christopher's, much more bar-like, but good simple food and nice beer selection

-Out of the Blue in Somerville; a neighborhood seafood joint of surprising quality. Not fancy but darn nice, esp on a random weeknight. The fish is usually VERY fresh.

-Redbones in Davis Square, Somerville; not as good as blue ribbon but a great hang out place. Noisy and fun with pretty good food.

-Some interesting food shops include: Capone's (Union Sq, Somerville), Formaggio's Kitchen (Huron Ave, Cambridge), Russo's (Watertown)

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since you work in beacon hill there is a place called: the paramount on charles street. I have never been there, but supposedly they have great breakfasts and a great grilled cheese for lunch.

for places around the newton area check out cabot's on washington street. They serve mostly diner food and they have a great ice cream dessert menu. If you eat there I would suggest the patty melt with onion petals. If you want dessert I would also suggest an extra thick black raspberry frappe.

If you like bagels I would suggest going to rosenfeld's in newton center on 1280 centre st. I have never had a true ny bagel so I can't really compare it to that, but I love their pumpernickel bagel with cucumber dill cream cheese.

other suggestions include:

lumiere - french food

1293 Washington St.

west newton

sweet tomatoes - decent pizza (try the pesto)

47 Langley Rd (Cross Street: Beacon Street)

newton centre

Buff's Pub - awesome buffalo wings but I don't know about the other food. Besides everyone goes there for their wings.

317 Washington St (Cross Street: Centre Street)

newton

Oh and If you are into beer and wine go to Marty's Liquors on washington street (next to whole foods). They have an amazing selection of beer.


BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA

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other suggestions include:

lumiere - french food

1293 Washington St.

west newton

sweet tomatoes - decent pizza (try the pesto)

47 Langley Rd (Cross Street: Beacon Street)

newton centre

Buff's Pub - awesome buffalo wings but I don't know about the other food.  Besides everyone goes there for their wings.

317 Washington St (Cross Street: Centre Street)

newton

Oh and If you are into beer and wine go to Marty's Liquors on Washington street (next to whole foods).  They have an amazing selection of beer.

How could I have forgotten Buff's? The burgers are pretty good too (not nearly as good as the wings, naturally) and they usually have at least one interesting beer on tap. Great place. Especially after a golf game. And Lumiere, so romantic, so French...

I feel like I'm a stranger in my own home town. Memories......

There used to be a good Italian Deli on Washington Street in Newton that made it's own sausage. Does anyone remember the name?

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In Newton, think it's De Pasquale's...great sausages

Here are some of my other favorite shopping places..

North End..I like Sulmona or Susi for a butcher..Alba for produce, Salumeria Italiana for cold cuts, cheese,bread

Charles St..Savenors..great butcher..pricy

Newton Ctr..Dewar's great butcher but also pricy

James Hook downtown for seafood..or Wulf's in Brookline (slipped a little lately, Capt Marden's

Fromaggio..South End or Cambridge..cheese and cold cuts, bread.

That should be a good start :smile:

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Restaurants..all the above are good choices..especially like Khao Sarn and Bok Bua..a close second with BYO..few more:

Beacon Hill..lunch or dinner..Grotto (Italian)and Pierrot. (French)..nicer sit down..mid priced

Artu...good roast pork or lamb w eggplant, rotisserie chicken. I like Figs for pizza..but a lot of peole will disagree

Splurge meal...#9 Park St..Clio/Uni..back bay

North End..Neptune Oyster is a favorite..don't miss the hot, buttered lobster rol; also Daily Catch for Sicilian seafood

Szechuan Garden in Brookline Villlage is very good.

Anise in Cambridge...Szechuan

Mulan in Cambridge..Taiwanese

Tamarind Bay..Harvard Sq..Indian

Vietnamese..Xinh Xinh or Dong Khan in Chinatown..Anh Hong in Dorchester

Pizzeria Regina..North End original only..best traditional pizza in Boston proper(Santarpios in East Boston is right up there too)

Enjoy!


Edited by 9lives (log)

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Hi,

I second most of the above recommendations.

In Chestnut Hill, some of the best sushi in Boston is at Oishii, its a hole in the wall, but its great food (pricey, but good.)

Formaggio Kitchen (www.formaggio-kitchen.com), which I saw someone mention above, is definitely worth visiting! The prices are very high, but its worth just going in for the free cheese samples! Great, fresh produce and specialty items too.

Just down the street from Formaggio is the Hi-Rise Bakery, which has wonderful bread and I think the best sandwiches in Boston (try the Georgia Reuben)... its been in Gourmet a few times... its really great bread and a fun atmosphere... again definitely worth visiting.

Also, Harvard Square has a lot of good restaurants as well.

Welcome to Boston!

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Ah yes, Oishii. A friend used to live right on Hammond so we'd walk across Rt 9 and get a few pieces between innings during Sox games. Great place indeed!

Also, I forgot to give a mention to:

The Wine and Cheese Cask (Washington Street, Somerville) - good little wine shop with some unusual bottles available at times. Also, a new Savenors has opened across the street

Brookline Liquor mart (Comm Ave, Brighton) - despite looking like a cheap packie, this is one of the best wine shops in Boston. Large selection, knowledgeable staff, good with special orders and delivery. A bit pricey but good. Also, free tastings twice per week (Saturdays and maybe Wednesdays?)

I also like The Wine Bodega in the North End. It's on Hannover, right in Tourist Central but they're not bad. Free tastings on Friday which is nice.

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Just got back from a trip to Brookline/Boston. Here's some of the place we ate at.

North End - Floretine Cafe. The gnocchi was superb! Very well prepared food here. Of course, close proximity to Mike's Pastries may have played a part in my liking it so much. Funny thing about Mike's; I've had maybe a dozen cannoli from there without actually setting foot inside (mail orders, friends picking them up, one girl tried to woo me by making a "special trip"). Now I have. Yes it's a tourist trap (packed at 10pm); but it's still a memorable experience. They definitely have a smart system for quickly serving a high volume of people.

Quincy Market - Todd English puts out some good food at Kingfish Hall. I sort of wish it was in a low traffic part of town and not so commerical, but hey... it's almost like Olive's. Of course, the market itself has some surprising finds. I wish I wrote down names. There's an Indian stand worth trying in the south end (red counter; with a Tandoor right by the counter).

Brookline - Zaftig's Deli has some great food for lunch. My pastrami s'wich was top-notch. Sit at the counter if you like watching kitchen work. Hot foods are in the kitchen way in the back of the resto, but the sandwich station is right there. Gave me ideas for what to eat next time I'm up in B'line. Anna's Taqueria was good for caryout (way better Qdoba/Chipotle). There's a new wine/oyster bar in Coolidge Corner (forgot name; will revise and add it) which was awesome. G/F and I ordered marinated beef-tips and there had to be "at least" 10 oz of fresh and excellently prepared beef. Wine list isn't deep though; I noticed that for a lot of Spanish mains, there wasn't a Rioja or like being offered.

Sudbury - Longfellow's Wayside Inn was edible. I had a really great orange duck but the parsnip/squash puree, baked potato (2 starches :unsure:), and limp garden salad fell short. My G/F requested a medium well-done strip-steak and received what looked like medium-rare at best. Service was..eh.

~C


Edited by C_Ruark (log)

"There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic." - Bourdain; interviewed on dcist.com

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hmmmm, I was thinking about that for a long time. I really do not want to upset any one of my fellow egulleters........

but here it comes:

what is all the fuss regarding Mike's pastry about? Is anybody out here who agrees with me that their baked goods are barely mediocre (exception: the Ricotta crostata) ? I find most things are lacking in texture, I have found more off flavors than the aromas I had actually hoped for and often I doubt the quality of the ingredients used.

Partially this might be due to the fact that I am still comparing to italian bakeries in Italy (which are just different in most regards), but I do know bakeries in the US that really excite me. Best example for me is Cafe Ferrara in NYC. In my world they play several leagues above Mike's. Better ingredients and better preparation (unfortunately also even more expensive). For example the pastries here have a wonderful crunch (best examples are the Sfogliatelle and the lobster tail) and the fillings are first rate (real creams and custards).

So again, I hope I did not upset anyone, because I know this place has hardcore fans.......am I the only one who disagrees?

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hmmmm, I was thinking about that for a long time. I really do not want to upset  any one of my fellow egulleters....[W]hat is all the fuss regarding Mike's pastry about?

I'm not sure I am qualifed to break down MP's formula, but for some reason (and it could be an inflated desire to enjoy the experience) I really do enjoy their pastries. Having eaten a cannolo right in the heart of Palermo, I think I can qualify my opinion: I'm happy with their product. There are many a bakery, p-shop, and resto that mask hideous confections as cannoli.

All things said, I've never been to NYC... ever... really. But, we're going this spring; I'll add Ferrara to the list of eateries to investigate.


"There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic." - Bourdain; interviewed on dcist.com

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hmmmm, I was thinking about that for a long time. I really do not want to upset  any one of my fellow egulleters........

but here it comes:

what is all the fuss regarding Mike's pastry about? Is anybody out here who agrees with me that their baked goods are barely mediocre (exception: the Ricotta crostata) ? I find most things are lacking in texture, I have found more off flavors than the aromas I had actually hoped for and often I doubt the quality of the ingredients used.

Partially this might be due to the fact that I am still comparing to italian bakeries in Italy (which are just different in most regards), but I do know bakeries in the US that really excite me. Best example for me is Cafe Ferrara in NYC. In my world they play several leagues above Mike's. Better ingredients and better preparation (unfortunately also even more expensive). For example the pastries here have a wonderful crunch (best examples are the Sfogliatelle and the lobster tail) and the fillings are first rate (real creams and custards).

So again, I hope I did not upset anyone, because I know this place has hardcore fans.......am I the only one who disagrees?

For the record, I agree with you. There are some good Italian-American bakeries in Boston and its environs, but I don't consider Mike's to be one of them. Even in the North End, I prefer Maria's, Modern and Cafe Napoli.

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My three years as a student here are winding down. Largely I've found the food disappointing, though I've shied away from the highest-end (Clio, Mistral, etc.).

Here are some areas Boston seems particularly strong in.

Formaggio Kitchen: In a class by itself. For me this is clearly the pinnacle of the Boston food scene.

Ice cream: Toscanini's is as good as it gets for me.

Indian: Lots of good restaurants to choose from, but I think Kebab Factory gets my nod.

Chinese: Fabulous, fresh Cantonese at Peach Farm and New Jumbo Seafood. Good Szechuan at Shangri La and many other places. Shanghainese at Shanghai Gate.

Scones: For some reason, good ones are easy to come by in Cambridge and Somerville. Try True Grounds, Petsi's Pies, Oxford Spa, Sherman Cafe, and Mariposa Bakery.

Beer: Lots of good pubs with world-class brews, especially Publick House.

Coffee: Simon's is superb for espresso. Lots of places--Simon's, True Grounds, Petsi's--serve George Howell's Terroir drip coffee, which is great.

Malaysian: Aneka Rasa, Penang, and Rendang are all good, but especially Aneka Rasa.

Aghani: Helmand

Brazilian: Muqueca

Portuguese: O Cantinho

And here are some areas that don't seem that strong compared to other cities but have some notable restaurants.

Pizza: Pizzeria Regina is one of my favorites in the U.S. Also try Santarpio's and Emma's. Delivery pizza sucks, at least in Cambridge.

Sushi: Oishii and Fugakyu are very good.

Thai: Overall average or worse for a major city, but Rod Dee and Dok Bua are very good.

Middle Eastern: Reef Cafe, Sultan's Kitchen, and four superb stores in Watertown/Belmont. Also Oleana for upscale Turkish-influenced cuisine.

Cambodian: Floating Rock is a classic.

Burmese: Try the new restaurant YoMa.

Burritos: Boca Grande and El Pelon are great for the value.

Irish: I like the Druid in Inman Square.

And here are the weak areas. The first three go a long way toward explaining why I've been disappointed by the food here.

Cheap street snack catchall (pizza by the slice, Boba tea, doner kebab, whatever--it's very hard to come by)

Mid-range catchall (especially in Cambridge, it's very easy to go wrong for $20 an entree at some scene restaurant/bar, where they don't know how to make cocktails and really don't do anything right. moreover, it's very hard to go right.)

Bagels (Kupel's is acceptable, but overall the bagel scene here is a disaster. In most cities I'd eat a bagel almost every day for breakfast. Here I eat a bagel once every few months.)

Breakfast generally

Mexican (but give Tu y Yo a shot)

Korean

Ethiopian (places exist but...)

West African (places don't exist)

Cuban/Caribbean (though I remember a place called La Casa de Pedro in Watertown being good.)

German

Japanese non-sushi (I am not fond of the Porter Exchange)

Vegetarian places (they all suck)


Edited by eipi10 (log)

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