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Seven Meals in Boston - Comments? Suggestions?

Wife & I will be in Boston 9/9 to 9/13, arriving 5'ish on Saturday evening, so I have Saturday dinner plus lunch and dinner on Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday (Wed we go to the Cape, early Thursday we head to Maine). Staying at Park Plaza, and all meals must be easy distance from T, preferrably in conjunction with our touring - in other words, she will be mad at me if I spend inordinate amount of time traveling to & from meals. Our touring plans include Duck Tour, Prudential Tower, Newbury St. area, Freedom Trail, Harvard Square area & Glass Flowers, Beacon Hill walking tour. Have 5 PM Sunday tickets to Blue Man Group. As eaters, I'm adventurous, she not so much and she won't eat any pettable critters (veal, rabbit, duck, venison, lamb, etc.) The 7 meals are:

Legal Seafood - fixed in stone - this is Saturday night, right across from hotel, will retire early after long day of travel.

Durgin-Park - I figured it for lunch on our Freedom Trail tour - don't really want to change this.

Pizzaria Regina - lunch or dinner, as fits plans. This is also pretty much a must do.

Chinatown - lunch or dinner. King Fung Garden, Peach Farm. Maybe Jumbo Seafood, East Ocean City.

Harvard Square - lunch. Originally planned Bartleys Burgers until I read lots of posts here. Need suggestions for this one.

North End Italian - dinner. I have a list of modest-priced, mostly red sauce places - Antico Forno, La Summa, Pomodoro, Cibo, Mother Anna's, Daily Catch, Artu, L'Osteria, Al Dente, Giacomo's.

Seventh Meal Unknown - could try another NE Italian, or walk to Franklin Cafe. Helmand or Addis Red Sea sound interesting.

Only the first 3 are fixed. Will need the most help with Harvard Square and the 7th meal. I'm thinking Chinatown will probably be a lunch, so all 3 lunches will be decided (Durgin-Park, Harvard Square, Chinatown). Suggestions?

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  1. Consider Taiwan Cafe for one of your meals in Chinatown. My favorite dishes are beef with pobanlo peppers (kind of spicy, on occassion), S&P fried pork, the xiao long bao (steamed soup dumplings), oysters in black bean sauce, and the taiwan style fried dumplings. Wash down with some Tsing Tsao.


    Tuesday nights (I think from 6 to close, but call ahead) are $1 oysters nights at McCormick and Schmick's in your hotel. They also have an ok happy hour menu (prices ranging from %1.95 to $3.95) from 4 to 6 PM and 10 PM to midnight most nights. Not a destination but if you get hungry late night.

    Definitely work in a visit to Regina's. Be prepared to wait a while outside during peak hours. Don't get too many veggies on your pizza.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Dax

      The New Golden Gate on Beech Street is another Chinatown gem.

      1. re: Dax

        //Definitely work in a visit to Regina's. Be prepared to wait a while outside during peak hours.//

        Hate to give up my North End locals trick, but as we're all Chowhounds...

        If there's a line outside Regina's, just walk past them all, and see if there are seats at the little bar inside (there almost always are). Then just sit down there; those seats are first come, first serve. Naturally, if you have 10 people in your party, or won't eat at the bar, this doesn't work. Otherwise, it's almost always effective.

        1. re: Bostonbob3

          I tried for two seat at the bar this Saturday around 1:00 with my GF and had no luck. We had only a 15 min. wait outside which wasn't bad. The weather was awesome, and I got to entertain the tourist with my Boston accent.

          1. re: Bostonbob3

            I always do this too and more often than not get reasonably lucky as parties larger than 2 don't want to do this. However, the last two times I've been, no dice. Also if one/both of the stools closest to the kitchen is/are open, don't bother. Pick-up orders lean over you, glasses pile up on the end, and it can get very tight in the last spot with people coming/going from/to the kitchen.

            If the line is crazy long, you can always order a pie to go and walk out to the water front.


        2. Since you'll be here Sunday and Monday, be sure to check the hours for places you're planning to go to make sure they're open for the meals you are after.

          Also, you might want to say where you're coming from, so people don't recommend something you could get better back home. Texas?

          Franklin Cafe and Helmand are long time favorites. Not so with Addis. But there are some great restaurants in the South End, seems not to be on your radar, maybe because it's off the tourist trail ... but it's very close to your hotel. Much better value for money at every price point than the Back Bay, IMO.

          Harvard Sq:
          - Tamarind Bay, Indian in a nice room, 75 Winthrop St.
          - Don't know what they do for lunch at Upstairs on the Square but worth checking on

          1. I don't think there's any reason to take Bartley's off the list if you're in the mood for a burger. Altho the seating may be a dealbreaker for you. If you want to walk into Central Sq., Miracle of Science has a good burger (and other stuff) in much more comfortable surroundings. Cambridge 1 in H. Sq. has great fancy pizzas and salads (not 100% it's open for lunch, I assume). Henrietta's Table by the Charles Hotel would be good, fresh ingredients.

            The Franklin in the south end is a good idea since it's an easy walk from your hotel and a great place. You could check out the south end in general and see what looks good. Shouldn't be too crazy on a Tues. nite.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Joanie

              I agree that Bartley's should stay on the list. In addition to the fact that there are not a lot of other good options in Harvard Square, I think their burgers are great. Of course some do not, but that's true of every burger place: the only more controversial subject on Chowhound is barbecue! Plus, it's a Harvard Square institution that everyone should visit at least once.

              1. re: Joanie

                I'd also keep Bartley's on the list. Do be aware that if you sit inside you will emerge smelling like YOU have been lightly smoked and deep-fried. Which may appeal to you, or not. Cambridge One is definitely open for lunch, I'd second that rec. Super-thin crust grilled pizzas and nice salads. Also, Dax is spot on about the Regina's pizza -- any more than two toppings (and really, one is best) and there's a strong risk of soggy crust.

              2. I just had lunch at Tamarind Bay in Harvard Sq. I thought it was very good and the buffet had a lot of items I don't usually see. If you are in the mood for a burger while you are there I would keep Bartley's on the list. It is cramped when school is in session, but it's worth checking out, especially as a tourist. Cambridge 1 is suppose to have great pizza and beer (more gourmet type pizza), so if you are not sick of pizza from Regina's, that might hit the spot.

                1. Sorry, stepped out to work for awhile, now at lunch. OK, Bartley's is back on the list, along with Tamarind Bay and Henrietta's Table for Harvard Square. Probably not Cambridge One, as we'll already be doing Regina.

                  Since Pilgrim asked, we're in Lubbock, TX, where we have tons of restaurants, almost all chains. Halfway decent Mexican food and BBQ, but seafood here means Red Lobster, Italian means Olive Garden. I travel a lot, the wife does not. This will be my fifth trip to Boston, her first - in fact she's never been to New England. All my previous trips have been business - most food decisions were made for me.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: deubster

                    That said, you might want to concentrate more on seafood and Asian but your list is good. You've probably seen B&G Oysters written about here, a good option for sitting at the bar and enjoying seafood, at a price. Chili Duck a few blocks up Boylston has good Thai food. Indian lunch at Tamarind Bay in Harvard Sq. might be a little different from your normal choices. For Regina, if you go in the middle of the afternoon, there will be no line (on a weekday at least).

                    1. re: Joanie

                      Second Chili Duck. And get the chili duck. Oh, how I miss Chili Duck!!

                    2. re: deubster

                      Lots of good suggestions -- a couple more for Harvard Square. You might consider it more of a snack destination. I don't know how you feel about sweets, but Burdicks chocolates is always worth a visit for their hot chocolate and/or pastries. Herrell's and Toscanini's are both good for ice cream (I don't have time to do a search, but their respective merits, as well as Christina's, which is in Inman Sq. and not as convenient, have been debated numerous times here).

                    3. A couple of tips on places you've already tagged:

                      Legal Seafoods: tends to do better with simpler, more classic preparations that made their brand back in the day. Smoked bluefish pate app is a must if you've never had it. It would also be a place to try bluefish if it's on the menu (it is peak season), since they'd know how to handle it. You can ask your server if they have the light chowder available (it's not on menus anymore, but some places have it on hand for special requests from time to time); it's better than the thicker stuff they've kept on the menu to satisfy tourist expectations for thicker chowder....

                      Durgin Park: the prime rib is awesome. Indian pudding for dessert is a must unless you'd not like the idea of it.

                      Regina's: order your pizza well-done (they invite you to specify doneness). (It will be furiously hot, too) I am not a fan of their supposedly fabled sausage (it reminds me of Sbarro's). The pepperoni is wonderful. The simpler, the better, because the real beauty of the thing is the bread/crust. All you can have is pizza and beverage; there is nothing else on the menu.

                      Harvard Sq: Well, Bartley's is wonderful for burgers and for the scene. But, if you want a more beautiful experience, try Sandrine's, a lovely Alsatian bistro on Holyoke St a couple of blocks closer to the Square. Henrietta's Table in the Charles Hotel off (very) nearby Brattle Square is also worthy for modern American cuisine that's not high-end.

                      Seventh Unknown: Franklin Cafe is the best of those you've listed.

                      1. In Harvard Upstairs on the Square is good, but I would strongly recommend changing your Legal Seafood dinner near the Park Plaza for a Legal Seafood lunch at the Harvard Square one, which I have found to be head and shoulders better. I've had several bad experiences in that location, both food and service related.

                        Perhaps check out Via Matta or Troquet, which are also very close. Via Matta is sort of new Italian, Troquet known best for their wine. At any rate, they are both good backups in case of inclement weather and not wanting to go far from the hotel.

                        1. I agree with the Taiwan Cafe suggestion for lunch (or dinner). Peach Farm would be my other choice.

                          If you have time, it is a really nice walk from Central or Harvard Square to Inman Square through pretty Cambridge neighborhoods. Lots of great eating options there, especially East Coast Grill, O Cantinho, Moqueca and Christina's Ice Cream.

                          This reminds me that you should eat lots of ice cream...in Harvard Square, try Toscanini's and/or Herrell's. Christina's in Inman if you can get there.

                          1. Hi,

                            One more suggestion for something you aren't going to get in Lubbock. There are two delicious Shabu-Shabu restaurants in Chinatown. Shabu-Zen on Tyler St. and Kaze on Harrison Ave.

                            Shabu-Shabu is Japanese fondue, essentially. Each person gets a personal pot of boiling broth and a platter of fantastic fresh meats and/or seafood and veggies, which they cook in the broth and dip in various sauces. It's fun, healthy and delicious. Also, Shabu-Zen makes great fruit smoothies (the Watermelon and Raspberry ones are my personal favorites).

                            As for the Addis Red Sea, it's one of my favorite restaurants in the area and I highly recommend it. It's also unusual, fun, and delicious.

                            1. Wow. Lots of good tips. I looked at Chilli Duck's website, since it got a nod and a second, plus it's right by the Pru center. Looks pretty good, and reasonable. On Sunday, we plan to do an early Duck Tour, then do the observation floor of the Pru Tower. Seems like a good time for a lunch, and since we're right there ... OK, gotta figure what to shuffle ...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Blumie

                                Not exactly between, but close enough: the immortal turkey hash at Charlie's Sandwich Shop on Columbus Ave (b/t Holyoke and Braddock) is not too far from the Pru....

                              2. I'd have to second (or third?) the recommendation for East Coast Grill followed by Christina's ice cream. It is a bit off the beaten track in Inman Square, but you can get there from Harvard or Central squares or Leachmere station with a nice walk, a short bus ride, or a cheap cab. Since you're from Texas, I'd skip the BBQ at ECG and focus on the seafood. Very very different from Legal's. Christina's ice cream is right down the street and is a must if you're in the neighborhood.

                                1. In Chinatown I would seriously consider either New Shanghai or Wing's for Shanghainese food. The former served skillfully made appetizers and snacks, the latter's more homey.

                                  If you want to go for Cantonese, I'd add Gourmet Seafood to the list, I think the cooking is a bit more careful and detailed there, also the menu is a bit more consistent across the board; other places often excel in one area but are weak in others (e.g. Peach Farm is great at steaming, but I've never been particularly impressed with the fried stuff; reverse is true for Jumbo).

                                  For a more simple meal in Chinatown, I'd definitely get the glazed roast pork/char siu at China Pearl Best Cafe, it's one of the best roast meats in the area.

                                  I'd also consider Cafe Baraka for Algerian/Tunisian food; that's in Central Sq., in Cambridge.

                                  1. I enjoyed Durgin Park and the prime rib served there. Antico Forno was a nice cozy place with a reasonably priced menu, the Wednesday night we were there had a full house. I'm glad you reconsidered the stop at Bartley's in Harvard Square. I thought the burgers there were excellent and enjoyed the atmosphere as well.

                                    1. You really need to fit some ICE CREAM into your schedule!

                                      1. Obviously, though I thought I might get away without planning them, hoping that they were abundant enough that I could pop into whichever one was handy as the mood strikes. For example, I've noted a new Gelateria on Hanover and think it will work well for our Freedom Trail walk. Also, the wife, when looking at the hotel's website, linked over to the website for Finale's and insists we go there at least once. Though most on this forum say Finale's looks better than it tastes, and is expensive to boot, the Mrs. will have her way in this matter (as in most).

                                        So, are there any ice cream shops worthy of making a destination?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: deubster

                                          Go to Napoli's Pastry on Salem St. instead of Gelateria on Hanover for gelato. Christina's in Inman Sq. Cambridge for ice cream.

                                        2. That's a hard & fast rule when we travel. Local guys only - oops, not exactly true. The rule actually is that we don't eat at places we've got back home. That allows us to enjoy some chain places like Legal Seafood. We're definitely doing Finale's, it's right in our hotel. And she's seen the Molten Chocolate Cake on their site and commented on it. As much as I hate to admit it here, she loves the "Triple Chocolate Meltdown" at Applebee's - hopefully Finale will show her what can be done with a good idea.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: deubster

                                            Given how convenient it is for you, I think you should try Finale. But you should moderate your expectations, as discussed in this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... . As I indicated in my post in that thread, I think Finale is better than people make it out to be, but unfortunately not as good as many of us would hope for.

                                            (Oh, I see from your post above that you've already researched Finale. I'll leave this post for others, though.)

                                            1. re: deubster

                                              If she is a total fiend for rich chocolate desserts you may try Burdick's in Harvard Square. Nice for coffee too, perhaps an upscale ending to Bartley's.