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5 Days in Boston

My wife and I will be spending 5 days in Boston for a combination work/vacation trip. Any suggestions on 2 to 3 restaurants in each of the following categories would be greatly appreciated:

- high end dining - price up to $200 per head including beverages
- restaurants at anywhere from 50 to $100 per head
- cheap eats - what shouldn't be missed such as lobster rolls, burger joints, etc.

We will be staying at the Fairmont Copley Plaza and won't have a vehicle.

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  1. For high end dining, my favorite would be Clio at the Eliot Hotel. I think it is the most inventive restaurant in Boston. Also in the same spot is Uni, where I would recommend the omakase tasting.

    If you have any interest in Chinatown, I'd head to King Fung Garden for peking duck (which you have to order 24 hours in advance). I was just there this weekend and it was delicious as always. Also very good are their homemade chow mein noodles. Service is always very friendly, the food really yummy and very inexpensive. They don't serve alcohol but you can BYOB.

    I love the burgers at Audubon Circle. The rest of the menu is very good as well and also pretty inexpensive.

    For seafood, I'd hit B&G Oysters in the South End. There is always a big variety of oysters and they also have a very good lobster roll or lobster BLT. There is a nice patio out back for when the weather is nice.

    Enjoy your trip!

    1. If you're up for lobster rolls, there are three good options for casual dining in Cambridge that are very different, all easily accessible by the MBTA Red Line (subway).

      Jasper White's SUMMER SHACK is located right outside the Alewife Station on the Red Line. Jasper is a local celebrity seafood chef and does an excellent job on the classic overstuffed lobster roll, $15.50 w/fries. The rest of the menu is also excellent, including raw bar. It's a large restaurant that attempts to replicate classic New England clam shack ambiance ... I find it a bit noisy, some like it. But the seafood is real fine, better than more famous Legal Sea Foods.

      Alternatively, Charlie's Kitchen is a classic Harvard Square student hangout where you'll find an eclectic patronage, from construction workers to international celebrities. It is a saloon, but they are reknowned for their twin lobster rolls served with fries, a bargain at $6.50 (single available for more delicate appetites) and a fine selection of beers and wines. Less refined, but very good indeed. There are a few sidewalk tables when the weather is good. Harvard Square is good for an after-dinner stroll, especially on weekend evenings. Just a few steps from the Harvard stop on the MBTA Red Line Square, near the Charles Hotel at the corner of JFK and Eliot St. www.restaurant.com/charlieskitchen

      Finally, the classic Legal Seafoods has a branch at Harvard Square in the Charles Hotel complex. Legal is widely known for their impeccably fresh seafoods, the menu features a wide variety of options including the lobster roll plate for $17. They have a number of outside tables in the Charles' courtyard, probably the only reason you'd go there and not to the Legal branch in the Back Bay. I have a curmudgeonly attitude about Legal, feels like mass-production chain restaurant atmosphere to me, but it's loved by zillions.

      16 Replies
      1. re: Avid Rita

        Sorry to jump in here, but I think Summer Shack is positively awful. B&G Oysters is wonderful and close to the OP's hotel, so no reason to send him across the river for overpriced bad food (or to the other Summer Shack location that actually is walking distance to his hotel).

        1. re: Blumie

          Sorry, the Summer Shack is not awful.

          It may not be chow-worthy due to the high prices and inconsistency across the menu... but I have had some good food there. Just go in with measured expectations and go with the basics.

          1. re: nomadfromcincy

            They seem not to screw up lobsters, but in general -- and based on a sizable sampling -- I think the place is awful. As with all things chowish, YMMV.

            1. re: Blumie

              What dishes do you find to be awful? Let's be specific to help folks as much as possible.

              Personally, I find that they do lobster pretty well all-around. The fried seafood is fine -- not North Shore quality, but good enough. I would stick with fish blackened or grilled.

            2. re: nomadfromcincy

              There doesn't seem to be a way to reply to your most recent post, so I'm replying to this one again.

              You seem to be getting fairly defensive over something that's very subjective. You seem to like this place; that's great. You're not the only one. I don't like the place, and I suspect I'm not the only one either. I've eaten there at least 10 times, and although I cannot recall specifically what I had, I do not care for the place. (In fairness, I do recall having a decent meal at their Mohegan Sun location, but again cannot recall what I had.)

              1. re: Blumie

                I don't think nomad was being defensive - just asking what you found so awful. Your earlier post said that the Summer Shack was "positively awful" but you gave no specifics, which wasn't as helpful to others, other than to tell them that one person said it was awful.

                Was it the noise? Was it the food? (You did say it was "overpriced bad food" - what was so bad?) Was it the cheesy decor? Was it all of the above?

                I think nomad was just looking for a bit of clarification for anyone else reading this thread down the road.

                I've been to the Alewife Shack several times; mostly when they first opened; definitely not within the last year or so, so things may have changed. But Jasper's pan-roasted lobster was always good; they had an excellent raw bar. Service was spotty at times if you sat at tables; but sitting at the bar was always good.

                1. re: Blumie

                  I agree about Summer Shack not being worthwhile. The fried food is decent, and the pan roasted lobster is alright (though pointlessly messy) as well, but beyond that it's all downhill from there. The place strikes me as being pretentiously unpretentious, like they believe the food holds up so well that they can be sloppy about everything and it'll only add to the charm. The portions on all their fish entrees are rather small, and overall everything is kind of meh. They usually don't cook the fish quite right, everything's sort of lukewarm, and the presentation is not good either. If everything cost about $5 less it would be sort of ok, but you can get much better service and food for the same price at other places.

                  There's absolutely nothing wrong with their raw bar, however, so if you're looking for oyster or whatever, go for it.

                  1. re: Blumie

                    i've eaten at summer shack 4 times, every time i found the service kind of crappy, and the food boring, cold and waaay expensive.

                    1. re: Blumie

                      I am just looking for details. If it is that awful, it should be an easy question.

                      I don't even like the Summer Shack that much... I just think this board's value is tied to details, not absolutes.

                    2. re: nomadfromcincy

                      Dear Weener,

                      I won't make a big list of places I like since so many others have replied, and a lot of their responses are fine. I must, however, try to be perfectly clear that the Summer Shack is a DISASTER. That someone would recommend it is shocking, especially in a forum like this. Please disregard these "recommendations" - this restaurant will absolutely disappoint you if you have even the smallest bit of self-respect. From the sloppy attitude to the outrageous prices to the boring food, no facet of the place fails to insult.


                      1. re: Eddie Van Hungry

                        That's a little overly dramatic.."shocking".."the smallest bit of self respect"..."no facet fails to insult?"

                        Did Jasper White punch you out or steal your girlfriend?

                        It's not the best restaurant in Boston but it's certainly not the disaster that you make it out to be.

                        1. re: Eddie Van Hungry

                          Eddie, welcome to the board. Since I haven't seen any of your recommendations... I would love to hear more about your preferences.

                          1. re: Eddie Van Hungry

                            Howdy all, it's started to get a little heated and personal. Please, let's keep things polite and friendly; we'd like to keep these boards a place where folks can express their chow opinions freely, even if they disagree. Thanks!

                            1. re: Eddie Van Hungry

                              I have to say - for someone to reply to someone like Nomad who is a well-respected Hound (and also insulting everyone else who likes Summer Shack) - you lose credibility. I don't love Summer Shack - but I would NEVER put a blanket statement. I have had some great meals at Summer Shack. The pan-roasted lobster, the "lobster corn dogs", fried clams, the raw bar, the Brazilian collards. And Jasper White's "Lobster at Home" is one of the best cookbooks I have ever bought.

                              1. re: Eddie Van Hungry

                                Ok, I'll take a step back from my previous post's harshness. While it is true that I have eaten there a half a dozen times with consistently poor results, I will concede that my comments were a bit over the top. I think there are tons of great places in town, and hated to see that a visitor might go to what I consider a bad choice on the recommendation of this board. Posters here are phenomenally knowledgable about Boston food - much more so than I - and are always great at heaping praise on those who deserve it. Although I have posted plenty of positive opinions on the site's old format, leading off here with a scathing indictment was unwise.

                                That being said, clear and strong opinions are what make this site valuable as well as entertaining, and previous descriptions of the Shack in this thread included "crappy", "boring", and "pretentious". Hardly warm and fuzzy.

                                Nomad asked some of my favorites; it includes a lot of the usual suspects - B&G, El Pelon, Eastern Standard, Toro (!!), Gardner Cafe, Little Stevie's Pizza, Catch (Winchester), Radius, Upper Crust, Regina, Carlo's (Allston), Pigalle, Lumiere, Butcher Shop,.......

                                I'll leave the Wall of Shame post for another time.

                                Finally, to Rubee:
                                I'm not sure how giving my opinion here voids my credibility. I'm happy that you've had some good experiences at the SS - clearly I have not, and my voicing of that in no way "insults" those who like it. I agree with you that Jasper's books are good. His "Cooking from New England" is one of the greatest sources of regional cooking history, and full of fantastic, delicious recipes. My copy has a broken spine, stained pages, handwritten notes, and hours of fascinating entertainment to boast of. Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with what I posted.

                                1. re: Eddie Van Hungry

                                  I used to go to the Alewife location when it first opened and I thought it was decent. I used to have the clambakes and they had a "Smashing Crabs" night which was fun and it's boiled crabs so hard to screw up.

                                  That being said, I haven't been to Summer Shack in several years - and it certainly isn't the best seafood in town. I would 2nd the B & G recommendations but it certainly wouldn't fall under "cheap eats" either. I'm planning on a trip to Neptune Oyster for the lobster roll - is "Connecticut Style" the correct term for just butter & a toasted roll?

                                  I do think people should be able to recommend whatever they think is good to them. One man's meat . . .

                          2. For burgers, try R.F. O'Sullivan's or Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage. Can't help you w/ lobster as I'm allergic. For a nice meal, maybe try Mistral. I've never been to Clio, but I've consistently heard good things. Another option is Excelsior (the bar area is great for food and drink & they have dining upstairs which is good). For steak, I'd do Abe & Louie's or Grill 23.

                            1. There are better places to go than the Summer Shack, though it's not all that bad.

                              I agree about O'Sullivan's and Mr. Bartely's for burgers. Try either (or both!) and you won't be disappointed. O'Sullivan's is a bit tougher to get to if you don't have a car, but it's perhaps a 15-minute walk from the Porter Square T stop.

                              Another good place for great cheap eats is Pizzeria Regina in the North End of Boston. The pizza there is some of the best in New England, and the price is definitely right. It can get packed, though, so if you hit it, either go early or late during dinnertime.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                And with O'Sullivans, you're *this* close to Petsi Pies, if you hit it on the right day and time.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  I've heard so many great things about Petsi's so I've got to try them out for myself!! :-)

                                  1. re: BackBayGirl

                                    I lived right near Petsie Pies one summer. Amazing. Try the caramelized onion, gorgonzola, and ham biscuits. I've really never had anything bad there, and it's such a warm, inviting place. However, as Linda implies, the hours are irregular.

                              2. There are many great places that have been and might be recommended, but when I think about the truly "not to be missed" places, two come to mind:

                                East Coast Grill: this place probably is the most recommended restaurant on the Boston board, and with good reason. The food is great, the service is great, and the experience is fun. Price wise this would be one of your $50 per person places. Note that from your hotel you'll probably want to take a cab (it's accessible by public transportation, but you're much better off with a 15-minute cab ride), and they do not accept reservations, which usually means a wait if you're not seated by 7:00.

                                Chacarero: this is a Monday-through-Friday-only lunch place in the downtown crossing area (easily accessible by the T from your hotel). They sell exactly one product -- albeit in several different varieties: a Chilean sandwich called a chacarero, which in its basic form consists of grilled chicken or beef on a homemade round loaf of bread topped with muenster cheese, steamed green beans, fresh tomatoes, salt, pepper, hot sauce, and avocado spread. It's a wonderful sandwich that I have never found anywhere else. (There's another place in the Allston neighborhood that now sells chacareros. Although many on this board rave about the place, I didn't think it was as good. Plus, it would be a hassle for you to get there from your hotel.)

                                1. I always go to Hammersley's Bistro (walking distance from your hotel) when I'm in Boston. I once had some really nice oysters with finely diced apples and a vinagrette, as well as a bouillabaisse that was superb.

                                  Across the street from Hammersley's is another nice restaurant called Truc (mind you, this was 6 years ago). I had a great lamb dish there.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: souschef

                                    Truc closed years ago and turned into Perdix which has also closed. Nothing in that space right now.

                                    And Chararero is open til 6 or 7PM, so not lunch only.

                                    1. re: Joanie

                                      Yes, you're right, they claim to be open until 7 (although by 6:45, they're always done serving sandwiches and just finishing cleaning up). So if lunch doesn't work, you could go a grab a sandwich to take into the Commons for an early dinner. (Note that in my experience, though, the sandwich should be eaten as quickly as possible after being made.)

                                  2. Here are some more suggestions for you:

                                    For Hamburgers, I really like the ones they serve at Miracle of Science in Central Square (it's on Mass Ave). They serve them with red potato home fries that are really quite good as well.

                                    For Lobster Rolls, this may take a little work, but my favorite lobster roll comes from Rachel's Kitchen (12 Church street in back bay)- it's a hot, buttery mound of sauteed lobster meat served on a toasted brioche roll, and it's just amazing. Thing is, they're only open for lunch, they only serve the Roll on Friday, and they tend to sell out pretty quickly, so ideally you'll want to get there before noon. Their other food is quite good and reasonably priced, but it's really worth making the trip for a lobster roll if you have the time.

                                    Finally, since no one else has mentioned it, Neptune Oyster in the North End is a really nice (mid to high priced) place for seafood, including oysters, of course.

                                    1. In the high end category, don't overlook the Oak Room right there in the Copley Plaza. Please don't be put off by the fact that it a hotel restaurant - The Oak Room is actually a throwback to the classic hotel dining rooms of the past with excellent steaks and chops, fresh seafood, and side dishes such as creamed spinach and Delmonico potatoes, all presented with nicely subdued old school service. My personal favorite is the superb veal chop. If you eat there, be sure to try their upscale version of Boston Cream Pie (assuming you have room for dessert). For a less formal setting, you can also order off the Oak Room menu in the adjoining Oak Bar.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: groaker

                                        I second the Oak Room -- I had an excellent steak there. Good martinis, too.

                                        If you like fine wines, I would recommend the Wine Cellar. It's located in the Back Bay. It's small/cozy but the service is excellent. They are known for their fondue but they offer prix fixe menus at different levels of expensiveness, depending on how much you want to spend. Also their reserve wine list is excellent! http://www.bostoncellar.com/

                                      2. As far as Boston favorites go:

                                        For a burger, go to the Miracle of Science in Cambridge. Or if you just like greasy burgers with fun names, go to Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage in Harvard Square.

                                        For dessert, don't forget to go to the North End to get some freshly-filled cannoli. Mike's Pastry is the most well-known bakery for cannoli.

                                        Why not have Boston creme pie at the restaurant where it was originally invented? That's Parker's Restaurant at the Omni Parker House hotel. http://www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/...

                                        If you want to stop off for a beer, it's kind of fun to go to The Littlest Bar. It's in that area between Tremont St. and Washington St.

                                        I usually take out-of-towners to the Union Oyster House, near the Faneuil Hall area, for some clam chowder and oysters. http://www.unionoysterhouse.com/

                                        ETA -- if you're looking for fancy dessert place, try Finale! Everyone enjoys pretty desserts. I've tried the molten chocolate and manjari mousse and both were excellent. http://www.finaledesserts.com

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: panda_chowhound

                                          I must admit I'm not a huge fan of Finale. I say this having visited many times, but only the Hravard Square locale. I've had better dessert in many restarants where you can also get a great meal, and the service is abysmal. They go through servers like WWI second lieutenants.

                                          1. re: panda_chowhound

                                            Please don't take offense, but with the exception of the burger recommendations, these recommendations are all appropriate for someone looking for the tourists' perspective of Boston, not the Chowhound perspective of Boston. I would never recommend to a Hound that they go to the Parker House, Union Oyster House (for oysters, go to B&G) or Finale. And as for Mike's, most hounds prefer Modern down the street.

                                            1. re: Blumie

                                              I don't think touristy is always bad. For example, I like the Indian pudding from Durgin Park on occassion. Similarly, I like taking a visiting friend for a dozen raw oysters while sipping beers at the raw bar (only) at the Union Oyster House, the oldest restaurant in continuous service in the U.S. Is it a destination? Maybe for the oysters and a couple of beers but not for a full dinner. Perhaps if you're in the area.

                                              B&G has a signicantly larger variety of oyster types and is typical South End as compared with traditional Boston (Union Oyster). And the majority of the food I have tried there is quite good, albeit expensive.

                                              I agree that Finale and Mike's are way over-rated.

                                              1. re: Dax

                                                I agree completely: touristy is not always bad. I am sure that panda_chowhound shows his/her guests a great time when they visit Boston.

                                                But I always assume that someone posting on this board is looking for the best chow, not necessarily the historic or tour book places. If that's all they're looking for, they can pick up a copy of Fodor's; they don't need us.

                                                1. re: Dax

                                                  If I were visiting from out of town and someone sent me to ANY of those places (save for Bartley's and **maybe** Union) I'd be pretty angry.

                                                  I love Miracle of Science but it is above average bar food.
                                                  Bartley's Burger Cottage in Harvard Square can be fun and I love the thin-batter clam shack-esque onion rings. Great if you're in the Square and the grill guy is fun to watch because no matter how in the weeds they are, he keeps every single order in his head.

                                                  You wouldn't ever catch me setting foot in Parker's and definitely not Finale unless you adore sub-par over-priced dessert. Ew.

                                                  The Littlest Bar has been closed for months now, no?

                                                  1. re: MB fka MB

                                                    Fair enough, everyone is welcome to his/her own opinion. I was just saying freshly shucked raw oysters and a few bars at the raw bar at Union Oyster House has never disappointed me. FWIW, I have only been there like 3 times in 8 years here so maybe I haven't been enough to sample the worst. I said I agreed with the Finale and Mike's comments. Never been to the Parker House.

                                                    1. re: MB fka MB

                                                      Dax - not directed at your post in particular, just the list of restauraunts. (Somehow I cannot reply directly to your post below?) Still getting the hang of all the newfangled site. :-)

                                              2. Abe and Louies for steak is amazing(high end). You might also want to try Five North Sq. in the North End for great Italian(50-100/person depending on wine).

                                                1. SALTSRESTAURANT.COM is a hidden gem.

                                                  In Cambridge just off of Mass Ave, near Miracle of Science.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: harlanturk

                                                    I'm a fan of Salt's too. My last meal there was a little below par, but I'm hoping to give them another try soon!

                                                    1. re: harlanturk

                                                      You sure about that website? It is for a defunct restaurant in Australia.

                                                      1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                        Looks right to me... brings up the place in Cambridge.

                                                        1. re: limster

                                                          You are correct, I dropped the "s" at the end of the name, either I had too much Riesling tonight, or they need to put an apostrophe in their name. ;-)

                                                      2. re: harlanturk

                                                        I agree on the Salts recommendation - I was a walk-in party of 4 several months ago (review below) and it was drop-dead great!


                                                      3. With all due respect to the debate going on here, I'm going to offer up my list of suggestions without commenting on the merits of any of the other suggestions. I'm pretty sure all of these should be within walking distance of the T, if not a cab ride. I'll also add that while some of these suggestions are destinations in and of themselves, others would simply be worthy meals if I were in the neighborhood.

                                                        $100 - $200 each: Clio, Radius, OM, Rialto, Mistral, omakase at Uni or at Oishii Boston (if you're here after it opens on July 13).

                                                        $50 - $100 each: East Coast Grill, Prezza, Blue Room, Sel de la Terre, B&G Oysters, Eastern Standard Kitchen, Gargoyles.

                                                        under $50 each: Khao Sarn, Matt Murphy's, Washington Square Tavern, Pomodoro, Antico Forno, Carmen, Tamarind Bay, North Street Grille, The Helmand.

                                                        Real bargains: Anna's, Upper Crust, Ernesto's, Pizzaria Regina, Redbones, Mary Chung, Taiwan Cafe, King Fung Garden, Rod Dee, Dok Bua, Mr. & Mrs. Bartley's, R. F. O'Sullivan's, Pho Pasteur, Chacarero.


                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: BJK

                                                          BJK, that is a great list! I will have to ponder it.

                                                          Some of my favorites that I could add:

                                                          Over $100 - Troquet is my favorite, especially if you are into wine
                                                          $50-$100 - the tasting menu at EVOO and the chef's whim menu at Craigie Street Bistrot, the No. 9 Park bar menu
                                                          under $50 - West Side Lounge, dinner at the Chez Henri bar, Grotto, Franklin Cafe, B-Side Lounge, La Morra for wine and cicchetti
                                                          Bargains - Santarpio's for the lamb and sausage, Tacos Lupita if you need to satisfy the taco/burrito craving, Peach Farm Seafood for Chinese seafood, Audubon Circle for good bar food
                                                          If you need a snack, I recommend Formaggio Kitchen in either Cambridge or South End to get some cheese/bread.

                                                          1. re: nomadfromcincy

                                                            Don't know where the OP is coming from but I'd add Floating Rock (Cambodian) and Rincon Limeno (Peruvian), both on the Blue LIne, for cheap eats.

                                                            1. re: nomadfromcincy

                                                              BJK and nomadfromcincy, great lists. I'll jump on this bandwaggon.

                                                            2. re: BJK

                                                              I would add Wang's Chinese Cuisine (formerly Wang's Fast Food) in Somerville to the "real bargains" list. Make sure to try the leek dumplings.

                                                              1. re: mhoffman

                                                                Thanks. It's a subset of a larger list I keep as a reference for those frequent moments when we ask one another, "So what do you want to eat tonight?" Most, if not all, of Nomad's list are on my "To Try" list, save Grotto and Peach Farm, each of which I somehow left off of my list, and La Morra and Wang's, each of which are on my list but I decided weren't either destination-worthy recommendations nor were they in a neighborhood where a tourist might spend some time doing other things. Great places nonetheless.


                                                            3. Excellent list. I really need to get to the Blue Room

                                                              1. See what you started, Weener?

                                                                1. Well sounds like you should stay away from Summer Shack!! Jasper White (the chef/owner who's pretty well known - at least around here) should be reading these comments: He would be appalled!! LOL! I’ve never been – but I have to agree that I’ve not heard great reviews, in general.

                                                                  For a “high end” restaurant, you MUST go to the North End (Boston’s famous Italian neighborhood) and go to Bricco on Hanover Street http://www.bricco.com/ It is absolutely amazing. I am Italian, come from a big family, many great cooks – and I’m considered the best cook in my (extended) family. So - I am VERY discerning, and very hard to please – especially when it comes to Italian food. You should not miss this restaurant. IF you can get reservations. Another North End “institution” is Pizzeria Regina. Best pizza in Boston. Santarpio’s in EAST Boston is excellent as well.

                                                                  2 more high end restaurants to try would be Chez Henri in Cambridge. Sort of French/Cuban fusion http://www.chezhenri.com/ I had an outstanding, memorable meal there recently. And Davio’s – very near your hotel, excellent as well.

                                                                  In the mood for Chinese? In China Town my favs are East Ocean City and Chau Chow City (if you’re not Asian, you’ll likely be one of only a few non-Asian people dining here).

                                                                  I agree about visiting the Union Oyster House (near Faneuil Hall) – very famous. DON’T have dinner there: Sit at the oyster bar, and have raw oysters and clam chowder and some nice cold beer!

                                                                  All the restaurants at Faneuil Hall are overrated – so don’t be tempted to go to the Union Oyster House for an appetizer, and eat dinner somewhere over there. NO!! Walk around, it’s fun – but NO eating! LOL!

                                                                  I disagree with the comments about East Coast Grill. I’ve been twice and was disappointed both times. Expensive - for what they give you.

                                                                  Legal Seafood (any of the locations, and there are several in Boston proper) is also very good: Consistent and always fresh.

                                                                  The Barking Crab is a very fun place on a warm night – they sometimes have live music. The food is not to die for, but it reasonably priced and passable.

                                                                  In Somerville there is Dali (Spanish / Tapas) and it is excellent. Across the street is EVOO, also very good.

                                                                  Hope you have a WONDERFUL visit to Boston!! Enjoy, it’s a great city.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: momscookin

                                                                    It's interesting, ECG is one of the most highly recommended places on this board, but it clearly has its detractors. I'm particularly surprised by the "for what they give you" comment (similar comments have appeared on other posts). I've never left ECG even remotely hungy (which has never, of course, prevented me from walking next door to Christina's!). Oh well, clearly a YMMV situation.

                                                                  2. Wow, 58 posts and counting! I don't think I've ever seen that on the Boston board. I feel compelled to weigh in with a few, mostly un-super-fancy recs:

                                                                    Modest and high-value: Trattoria Toscana (Tuscan), The Helmand (Afghan), Addis Red Sea (Ethiopian), Tamarind Bay (Indian), Cafe Polonia (Polish), Vinny's at Night (Sicilian).

                                                                    A bit fancier: Lala Rokh (Persian), Oleana (pan-Mediterranean, and I do mean all the way around the Sea), Caffe Umbra (rustic Italian and French), Metropolis (Med-leaning New American), Zafferano (I believe the term is Avellinese, rustic regional Italian in a nicer setting than you might expect), Beacon Hill Bistro (classic urban French).

                                                                    Comforting and fairly priced: Laurel, Franklin Cafe, Silvertone, the Blarney Stone (all four about comfort food), New Bridge Cafe (steak tips).

                                                                    1. All relatively inexpensive, under $25
                                                                      Bengali food at Royal Bengal
                                                                      Squid ink pasta and monkfish marsala at The Daily Catch (North End branch only)
                                                                      Sandwiches at Volle Nolle
                                                                      Gujarati at Namaskar
                                                                      Shanghinese at Shanghai Gate
                                                                      Singapore/Malaysian at Aneka Rasa
                                                                      Portuguese at O'Cantinho
                                                                      Brazilian at Muqueca
                                                                      Korean-Chinese at Buk Kyung II
                                                                      Cuttlefish balls at Rainbow Cafe
                                                                      North African (definitely preorder the squab bastilla) at Cafe Baraka
                                                                      Ice Cream at Toscannini's and Christina's