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Torontonians Coming To Boston This Week - Specific Questions

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Great message board!

My wife and I and kids (15 and 12) are coming to Boston this Thursday for five days. We won't be renting a car.......all suggestions should be taxi or subway friendly. Staying at Back Bay Hilton.

1) Have booked L'Espalier for the "adults' decadent night out".

2) Want a terrific Sunday brunch for all of us. Is Aujoud'hui worth it? Is there a better choice?

3) We all love crabs -soft shell, steamed, cakes - where's the best bet?

4) Favorite family Italian place?

5) Any food treats we just shouldn't miss? (We're a family that travels on its stomach.....)

Many thanks in advance!

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  1. ...I usually eat at the Barking Crab. It is located outdoors, under a tent, on the Fort Point Channel (north of Congress Street). It is walking distance from South Station (on the Red Line). It has a GREAT view of the Financial District skyline from across the channel.

    For Italian, I think Boston is not the right place to try it. But you could get pizza from Regina's in the North End. It's good, especially when compared to the sorry state of New York pizza. It's from the 50s and has atmosphere, too.

    One of the unfortunate things about Boston is that people don't eat out all that much. There aren't enough discriminating customers to support so many great places, IMO.

    I tend to take visitors to the Taiwan Cafe on Oxford St in Chinatown. It's very good Taiwanese food. My favorites are: Taiwanese style dumplings, beef with yellow chives, sauteed snow-peas with garlic, and "20 cups" chicken (a star-anise sauce I think).

    Also, I have taken guests to Jacob Wirth's, an old German restaurant (not all it used to be, according to long-timers).

    Sorry I don't have much in the way of recommendations that fit your list...

    Oh, try cannoli (with ricotta) at Maria's bakery. It faces the Central Artery from the North end, and is located right next to Pace's grocery. Pace's, incidentally, makes a great Italian cold-cut sandwich (classic Italian-american style) with good sopressata on a sesame roll.

    FYI: Boston highlights that don't fit your requests would be, for me:
    -Locke-Ober (very old Boston classic, dark wood-paneled room, menu items still dating back decades $$$)
    -Rialto (new French, in Charles Hotel in Harvard Square $$$). Never been disappointed.
    -Anthony's Pier 4 (NOT for seafood as advertised to tourists, but for the underpriced Bordeaux wines that you could get with an OK, overpriced steak). Atmosphere is excellent especially when seated by the bar, and especially when seated by Anthony himself. See his picture with the Pope, and with the Bulger family (Whitey Bulger, mob member, not included).
    -If you had a car, I'd say go the the Ipswich Clam Box on Route 1A in Ipswich, for their fried seafood platter.

    There are a lot of bad restaurants out there. If you're stuck in the North End looking for Italian, I would recommend Sage, although I have not been elsewhere (though I have also never been recommended to go elsewhere).

    Adam

    1. As for crabs...well, Boston is not a very crabby town.
      Skipjack's in Boston, Brookline, and Newton has "Maryland Crab Cakes" and they MAY sometimes have soft/hardshell crabs - call first. Although I've never had crab at Skipjack's and although it's been some time since I ate there, I never had anything I didn't like at the place.

      I have had softshells at Legal Seafoods (for a very high price) and was NOT impressed. Another place that occasionally may have crab is the Dixie Kitchen on Mass. Ave. I've never been there and again, CALL first.

      Years and years ago, I had crab cakes at the Union Oyster House that were pretty good, but these contained rock crab meat, not blue crab. That was perfectly fine with me, but it certainly wasn't Maryland-style.

      I think that Skipjack's has an annual crabfest where they serve steamed crabs, but I'm not sure what time of year that happens - haven't seen any ads for it lately. If you can't find the crab you want, then go for lobster!

      1. 5 days...so many choices!! L
        espalier is a good choice for splurge dinner...

        do you like Chinese? East Ocean City in Chinatown has fabulous seafood..tanks full of live fish and shellfish...Grand Chau Chau for dim sum..New Shanghai

        seafood near you...for a family..Atlantic Fish Co has recently been redone and is good..nice atmosphere and good view

        Brasserie Jo is good and very close to you

        North End/waterfront...Sail Loft is nice for lunch..traditional Italian..Massimino's Cucina...then a walk around Hanover St for coffee and dessert..

        Cambridge...Blue Room..great menu and nice brunch (I've heard, I haven't had brunch there)...burgers..Bartley's in Harvard Sq

        BBQ..take Red Line to Davis Sq...Redbones..people will argue as to best bbq..I think Blue Ribbon is best but Redbones has great bbq and a fun roadhouse atmosphere..go early to avoid long waits

        there's lots of other's...what is your price range...I'm also trying to make recommendations based on having your 2 kids along..

        1. How weird. Another woman and myself posted at almost the same time with some of the same recommendations and now I don't see either of those posts. If they're really gone, I'll again briefly mention the Blue Room for brunch; Skipjacks (Brookline Village location only) is having their annual crab festival; Bricco, Sage, Terramia, Antico Forno and forgot Marcuccio's for North End Italian; McCormick & Schmick's for seafood, Green St. Grill in Central Sq. for carribean; and Davio's and Sonsie for Newbury St. people watching w/ decent food.

          1. L'Espalier is a great idea for the adults night out, you'll love it.

            Brunch at Aujord'hui is fabulous and you can't go wrong. Another idea is the lavish brunch at Henrietta's Table in Cambridge - they are renowned for it. It runs about $40. The atmosphere is more cozy and comfortable than Aujord'hui if that appeals to you, kind of a "country kitchen feel". The brunch is excellent, with a huge selection -- a great raw bar, pates, carved meats, seafood, pastas, eggs, etc. For Italian, although there are so many great choices in the North End, I second Bricco's - I love the food and they have nice full length windows that open to the sidewalk so it's great for people watching. As for food treats you can't miss - Well of course LOBSTER! Have a great trip!