One Night in Boston
I will be moving to Boston from San Diego with my wife on December 20th. This Tuesday, 11/27, I will be making my first trip to Boston for an interview. We are moving on account of my wife's career. Though I do appreciate change and enjoy adventure, I am finding it difficult to get excited about the move. I'm hoping that someone can recommend a place to go for a meal that will say "this is why you live in Boston".
I will be staying in Cambridge but am willing to travel as far as need be. I will be living in Brookline so if there is anywhere of particular interest to eat, see or do let me know.
Several great spots in Arlington
Asiana Grille - 444 Mass Ave, Chinese & Thai
Sweet Chili - 472 Mass Ave - Thai
Cafe Barada - 201 Mass Ave - Middle Eastern,
Neillios - 218 Mass Ave - upscale sandwiches, homeade soups, italian entrees
La Buona Vita - 450 Mass Ave - Small Italian place http://www.labuonavita.com/
I third the Blue Room, esp. if you're staying at the Marriott in Kendal Sq. Harvest is good too. You might want to check out the Washington Sq. Tavern in Brookline when you move here. People here know I always recommend Sonsie on Newbury St. which is fun, loud and a scene if you're into that at all (altho Tues. should be fairly quiet). I also like Torch on Charles St. and Salts in Central Sq. Cambridge. Or you might want to try Olive's or Kingfish Hall by our golden boy Todd English. (P.S. Did anyone see the William Shatner Iron Chef? I heard Todd won but missed it.)
Some random suggestions that avoid the usual high-end "great" restaurants of the area:
1.Aquitaine on Tremont St in the South End: a French bistro that has actually improved with age
2. 224 Boston St., in upper Dorchester near Everett Sq: a wonderful neighborhood bistro in an unexpected place.
3. Harvest, at the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, focusing on fresh local fare in American style
4. Sandrine, an Alsatian restaurant in Harvard Square
5. Tuscan Grill, on Moody Street in Waltham, a formerly down-at-the-heels industrial suburb that has reinvented its urban core, a story that is replayed all over New England in myriad ways
6. Harrington Farm, way out in the foothills of Mount Wachusett in Princeton, MA: a classic rural New England restaurant about an hour's drive from Boston (though they developed a function hall to accommodate weddings, etc.; sort of reduced the incredible intimacy of the place)
I also second the recommendations for the Blue Room and Portuguese/Brazilian fare, which may be more available in New England coastal regions than anywhere else in the country, due to historic ties with the fishing trade
I second the recommendations for Oleana and also East Coast Grill, but Cafe St. Petersburg in Brookline Village is a wonderful place. The food is Russian and excellent, there is a great vodka selection (try the house horseradish variety), and there is usually a piano player. We went for my husband's birthday last week and had a marvelous time.
Having finally escaped Boston for the West Coast, I don't envy you your move! Nonetheless, I think starting out with a good meal is a great idea. Whoever suggested the East Coast Grill was right on target--they have really tasty (if somewhat expensive) food and a good, festive atmosphere. For a quieter scene, I really like On The Park, which is on Shawmut Avenue in the South End. It's very small, but they have very good (not fantastic, but very good) food and a wonderful ambiance. The servers are generally friendly, and the setting is beautiful, tucked in among a bunch of brownstones in the South End. If you want something a little different, that you probably can't get in every city, I would go to Atasca on Broadway Avenue in Cambridge. They have wonderful Portuguese food. If you do go there, I highly recommend ordering off the "small plates" menu and skipping the main dishes. Although the descriptions of the main dishes may be mouth-watering, they never live up to the small plates. In particular, the sauteed squid with polenta croutons is a must. The fava beans are also good. And the white wine (vinho verde--never mind about the etymology!) is cheap and good. They also have a nice selection of ports for after dinner, and good desserts.
Good luck in Boston--I really hope you end up liking it!
I save Clio for my birthday each year. It is at the Eliot Hotel at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue, right on the edge of Back Bay. Although very expensive, the food is out of this world. The Tasting menu (something like sixteen tiny courses the night we had it) is something I will never forget but it is EXTREMELY expensive.
Other memorable options:
OLEANA - winner of all sorts of awards; fascinating Middle Eastern / Meditteranean / Morrocan / Turkish influences; a really amazing chef, Ana Sortun, at the helm.
L'ESPALIER - world class french food in a charming townhouse
SILKS - a good forty minutes drive into the suburbs to the Stonehedge Inn might help understand the good aspects of Boston; beautiful countryside on the way there; updated French food with New England touches; the type of place people get engaged
MATT MURPHY'S - Who knew that Irish food in a downscale pub setting could be so darn good? The freshest ingredients to make perfect fish and chips and heartwarming soups and shephards pie. What's more, it's in Brookline.
Let us know which one you choose!
When you get settled in Brookline - search out the Golden Temple for tasty chinese - the menu is not the usual and the decor is beautiful - and they make mean cocktails. The address is 1651 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA 02445-(617) 277-9722.
There are tons of wonderful places to eat in Boston - don't worry! In cambridge I would recommend East Coast Grill on Cambridge Street. Great fish and drinks. A little bit noisy. Or the Blue Room which is over by the Kendall Theater/Cinema - they have great food, and a good wine and beer list.
In Boston, Casa Romero is good for Mexican style cuisine - very romantic atmosphere and great food/margaritas - you might want to call for a reservation. Bamboa is great as well - that's in the South End, Franco-Brazilian cuisine. Ym. Hope this helps. Good luck!