Coming to Boston. Expense account dinners needed. and GOOD & fast lunches
Hi all. Staying at the park plaza. 3 nights of dinners needed & will have 4-8 people each night. Don't mind a cab ride to the North End one night, but would prefer to walk or short cab the other 2.
No capital grill, smith & W or any chains we can get at other cities. No Vinny Testas either.
Is Legal any good or Is Turner Fish better?
Lucca? Grill 23?
Any good quality lunch spots near the park plaza? Again, no chains please..... (unless local and outstanding)
To be perfectly honest, I have had very sub-par dining at Legal's near the Park Plaza lately. I would recommend just about anywhere else. Troquet has good seafood dishes as does Petit Robert, but I wouldn't call either of them New England style places. Only from the buzz on here, notwithstanding the above poster's dislike of Locke-Ober, it still might be your best bet for New England seafood without traveling much. And if not, well, it's an expense account meal. Also, and this is more to the rest of the group, where would Neptune fit in this melange?
Expense account: (in no particular order)
Rialto (in Cambridge)
I went to Ocke Ober on Saturday (I saw it mentioned above) and was quite disappointed. The Oak Room is quite beautiful but I might just go to the bar for a drink and eat elsewhere.
Definitely Legal Sea Food not Turner's. watch out though, they take reservations and will seat you "within 20 minutes" of your reservation. Sometimes it doesn't quite work that way and sometimes it does. If you are adventurous, I would second East Coast Grill in Cambridge for Sea Food and their raw bar.
I like Cottonwood Cafe in the back bay for lunch. If you ask them to be quick, they usually are, especially if you come around noon not 1.
Don't miss drinks in the Oak Room at the Plaza, a grand room in a grande dame.
The Park Plaza is at the edge of different neighborhoods: the Back Bay, Bay Village, Chinatown, the so-called Ladder District (better known by locals as Downtown Crossing, but concierges might prefer the neologism), and most importantly for restaurant purposes, the South End. Walk down Columbus to Clarendon St and then down Clarendon to Tremont St and you'll find, among other delights, Hammersley's Bistro.
The Back Bay is full of a lot of convention-oriented places. Lots of good but not great food, places like Clio being the exception rather than the rule. You might also try L'Espalier, a bit closer than Clio.
Locke-Ober in Downtown Crossing is the grande dame of Boston restaurants, and while it's been a couple of years since I was there last, I liked what Lydia Shire had done to the place. A unique Boston-only place.
Aujourd Hui in the Four Seasons overlooking the Public Garden has a well-earned reputation.
I don't know if you'd be up for a trip to Harvard Square, but Veggie Planet is AMAZING! It's a super creative pizza/ soup/ salad place- good for lunch. You can order all sorts of really inventive pizzas such as mexican, peanut curry and about 1000 other options. You can also ask for the concoction on brown rice- but i must say the pizza is almost completely grease-free. It's as though they put the veggies on a dense pita bread. It's completely vegetarian, but as a meat-eater i wasn't phased. In fact i didn't even notice until after the fact! A great/ inexpensive lunch or dinner option.
i also like veggie planet (especially "portabella redhead" - pizza with red pepper spread, feta, and mushrooms) but two warnings (1) veggie planet can be really, really slow- especially if you get there at peak lunch time (i.e. i've waited 25-30 minutes for food) and (2) there's not that much variety if you want soup or salad (i.e. there's one soup per day and there's usually two salads that taste quite similar).
Having worked in the Back Bay for the last 12 years, I'm not sure good and fast for lunch are in the same subset. For any sit-down restaurant you will need a solid hour, possibly more. (Avoid Piattini's, the food is good, but lunch service can be a nightmare.) Given that, Davio's, Via Matta, the Four Seasons, Laurel, P.F. Chang's, Skipjack's, the restaurant at Jury's are all good to excellent and within reasonable walking distance.
There's also an Irish pub in the Park Plaza building which is decent and might be a good bet for faster in and out.
If I could choose anywhere in the North End to take a group from out of town it would be Mamma Maria's.
Definitely Legal's over Turner Fisheries.
For the best selection of fish/seafood I say go to Legal. Much better than Turner Fisheries. YOu will have ten times more choices than B&G and options of how you want whatever cooked. B&g is a small place- not for a group. Also, they have 2-3 tables and then only couter seating so the chance of getting a reservation is 0- believe me I have tried.
Go Legal- we eat there often and have never had anything that was not delicious.
Mistral is very close (just up Columbus past Berkeley) and best suited to expense accounts considering most of the dishes are somewhat over-priced. Get a reservation. I love the foie gras & duck confit app and the 1/2 duck with risotto.
If you're talking expense account lunch, No 9 Park is just a short walk across the Boston Common.
For a quick lunch, Rachel's Kitchen is nearby as well. I like their reuben and they also have good breakfast sandwiches.
I wholeheartedly agree with Clio. Definitely a great expense account spot. B&G Oysters is a small place in the South End which is quite close to the Park Plaza. I'm not sure I'd go there with 8 people but with 4 you can make a reservation the day of. I'd definitely go here over Legal or Turner. In the North End, I love Sage as well but it's also a smaller spot and I'm not sure they can accommodate a big group, but Prezza, also in the North End certainly can.