Torontonian in Boston
Always wanted to go, but never have had the chance. Really looking forward to seeing this city I've long admired from afar.
Looking for suggestions on authentic Italian, real Mom and Pop stuff. Remember, I'm from Hogtown; more Italians there than any other place on Earth outside Italy. I'll be spending a ton of time in the North End and would love some suggestions specific to that area.
Also looking for some serious Irish flavor, again, nothing chain or corny in it's forced "Oirish"-ness.
Lastly, some recs on where to get an excellent beer and I'm also interested in checking out some market and butchers shops and the like.
THANKS IN ADVANCE!
Be sure to search the board. We've had a zillion posts about the North End recently, and a good thread on Irish too. Matt Murphy's and the Druid are your best bets there, but not in downtown Boston. Are you willing to travel?
Kill two birds with one stone -- salumeria italiana in the North End is a great market. GREAT lamb and spicy eggplant panini across the street at Artu.
If you are looking for Irish flavor (but not great food) I would recommend The Littlest Bar (if it's still open) and Mr Dooleys on Broad Street. The former is a tiny, charming, uniquie-to-Boston space and being the only non-Irish person there is always a possibility. Unfortunately, it's on the chopping block and it's days are numbered. If you go to the latter and Terry is tending the bar, then you'll probably get a chance to meet one of the most congenial bartenders in Boston. They have live music on the weekends that could border into McIrish, but some of it is quite good.
For more Irish-heavy bars, try The Irish Village in Brighton or Ned Kellys in Dorchester. Mind you, these aren't places to go here a sesiun, but frankly, not many younger people in Ireland do that anymore either, and they are in Irish ex-pat populated neighborhoods.
Trattoria Toscana is true Florentine cooking. It's near Fenway Park on Jersey Street. Best bowl of pasta in the city. Carratierra is unreal. 24 seat restaurant totally unassuming.
In Harvard Square, Pinnochio's has great, GREAT Sicilian pizza.
Formaggio kitchen (http://www.formaggiokitchen.com/) in Cambridge or the South End
The Haymarket. Go Friday for shopping, Saturday for the atmosphere (perhaps the rudest market in the North East)
Not unique to Boston, but you might want to check out Trader Joe's since I don't think that's made it to Toronto (or even Buffalo).