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A Week in Boston

  • t

First of all – thank you for your valuable input on the food scene. We will be spending a week in Boston the end of September. We are staying at the Park Plaza and will take the T or walk. After months of combing this site, here is our plan. Dinners at Via Matta, Rendezvous, Chez Henri Bar, Gargoyles Bar or Franklin Cafe, Sel de la Terre for the wine dinner (Bordeaux), Polonia for something different and Tremont 647. For lunch it's – Antico Forno, Pizza Regina, the cafe at Isabella Stuart Museum, Rachel's (on Friday) and East Coast Grill. Any glaring omissions? Will report back in October.

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  1. Good list, although Franklin Cafe is your only restaurant in the South End [edit: oops, so is Tremont 647.], a very nice walking neighborhood which is also a restaurant hub, as well as relatively walkable from Park Plaza (or a short ride on the Silver Line).

    One quibble -- East Coast Grill isn't open for lunch. Dinner and sunday brunch only. Same owners have the All Star Sandwich Bar down the street, see lots of recent reviews for feedback on that. My experiences there have been great, but they do still seem to be working the kinks out.

    IN terms of omissions, you are around the corner from Chinatown (zillions of reviews), if that's of interest. And there's very good Thai food in Brookline -- Dok Bua and Khao Sarn, if that's not something you have at home. But I wouldn't argue with any of the places you have on the list, just a matter of preferences.

    1. Yeah, that is a great list. But I agree with previous poster, get an East Coast Grill dinner in there somewhere. I'd substitute it for Tremont 647 if you had to choose, food is *somewhat* similar and I think ECG is a better choice. You definitely want to eat in the South End one night though, so make sure you get to Franklin or try B & G if you like seafood.

      1. Rationale for Tremont 647 vs. Union, Metropolis, Aquitaine, Dish, Anchovies....?

        1. I would never put Tremont 647 on any fine dining list. It's mediocre at best. I suggest heading down to Jamaica Plain and getting a spot at "Ten Tables" (inventive, simple, well-executed seasonal New American). Did I also mention it is an amazing value?

          4 Replies
            1. re: Tam

              Ten Tables is excellent, and if you wanted to see another area of Boston (JP, funky, great shops, stores, a beautiful pond, arboretum, and more) I would definitely recommend a visit. You can take the Orange Line T to the Stoney Brook T stop. When you get out you're right at the corner of Lamartine and Boylston. Walk all the way up Boylston (abt an 8 minute walk) to Centre; 10 Tables is at 593 Centre.

              1. re: Tam

                If you're staying at the Park Plaza, just walk to Back Bay Station or stand across from the Copley Plaza Hotel and the 39 bus will drop you a block from 10 Tables. Two stops before is the Alchemist Lounge where you can have a drink before or after (full bar, only beer/wine at Ten Tables).

                1. re: Joanie

                  Thanks for that Joanie. I'm clueless about the bus system....

            2. Here's a little North Ender inside-info on eating at Pizzeria Regina when the lines are outside the door: just walk past the lines and go to the little (about 6 seat) bar. There's rarely anyone sitting there, and it's first come, first serve so you don't have to wait for the lines or a table.

              Just don't do it when I'm trying to eat there. :)

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bostonbob3

                Thanks - I'd read your tip before!

                1. re: Tam

                  I have neighbors who want to kill me for giving that tip out. :)

              2. Shanghai Gate (or New Shanghai in Chiantown, closer to Park Plaza), Cafe Baraka, Tamarind Bay, Trattoria Toscana.

                1. I'm bummed that East Coast Grill is not open for lunch. That was going to be our last meal before we flew back home. Plan B - Tremont 647 and Polonia are out and ECG and 10 Tables is in. So many great spots and so little time!

                  1. Defintely switch it up and go to East Coast Grill for dinner. You can swap it for Rendezvous or Chez Henri. Also, you didn't mention Oleana. It's also in Cambridge, a recent James Beard winner, and wonderful. You'll need a reservation.

                    1. I'll suggest Eastern Standard and Uni (Clio gets very good reviews on this site but I haven't been there yet). Eastern Standard would make a nice late lunch or dinner, Uni would be a nice light diner don't know if it's is open for lunch.

                      1. If you have a lunch free, I think Eastern Standard is a good rec. A bonus: if it's nice you can sit on the patio and people watch.

                        1. I liked Ten Tables, but don't think it's that similar to or that much better than Tremont 647. There's also literally only 10 tables inside, so you'll want to make a reso before trekking all the way out to Jamaica Plain. JP is okay, but the South End is definitely where it's at food/cocktail-wise. Tremont 647 also has a great brunch if you have a Saturday/Sunday daytime meal open. Also awesome in the South End is Toro for Tapas.

                          Definitely have a mojito at Chez Henri-they're the best in the city.

                          Have fun--you are going to eat so well!!!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: holly golightly

                            You are right, Ten Tables is not at all similar to Tremont 647. It's much better. I do, however, agree that you need to make a rez there, it fills up. If you can get in on a wed night you can participate in their prix fixe $25 dinner, a great deal, three courses off the menu (app, entree, dessert) for $25 bucks. It's popular though, so call soon to see if you can get in. If you can't go on a Wed night, no worries, it's still great food and good value.

                          2. I did make reservations for Friday at Ten Tables. Wed was out because of Sel de la Terre. Monday was a possibility - they are having a special dinner wine/cheese - but in the end I thought having a reservation on a Friday night was best. Before I read the most recent responses, I was obsessing about our last day - here's what I wrote:

                            Where would you take out-of-town visitors on a Saturday? Our flight doesn’t leave until 5:15, so we have most of Saturday to do...what? This is our last day after a week in Boston – so we will have done all the touristy things. Where is your favorite, possibly not so well known place you would take friends to – chow included of course?

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Tam

                              What else are you doing besides SeldlT and 10 Tables? If you haven't spent *too* much time in the south end during the week, you could get the Sat. brunch at Aquitaine (make a reservation) which is usually reliable despite the recent comment. Makes for a good walk before you leave town. Or if you haven't gone to Allston yet, you could try one of the many ethnic restaurants there (Malaysian, Brazilian, Columbian, Korean, Indian, etc). Take the B line to Harvard Ave. and walk around there and Brighton Ave. and pick a place. It's a funky little area that you may not have seen.

                              1. re: Tam

                                I am not sure where you're coming from, but a nice leisurely outing to Hei La Moon in Chinatown for dim sum might be a way to spend your Saturday.

                                The other option for me would be to go East Boston and hang out before your flight. Rincon Limeno for Peruvian, Cafe Italia for dessert.

                                Neither of these itineraries is higher end like your previous interests, but they do give you a taste of the local flavor.

                                1. re: Tam

                                  yeah, tell us what your itinerary for the week will be...that way we can make a (non-redundant) suggestion for sat.
                                  --the north end, maybe?
                                  --harvard square?
                                  Both great places to walk around, people watch, shop and eat great food.

                                  1. re: twentyoystahs

                                    We are meeting friends and they are showing us the North End. The next two days we are doing the Freedom Trail, visiting all areas along the way throwing Harvard in there somewhere. One day we will devote to the the Fine Arts & Isabella Stuart museums as well as Back Bay area. We are going to Quincy and Lexington/Concord two other days. That leaves us one catch up day for anything we missed as well as Sat till the flight leaves.

                                    1. re: Tam

                                      I would definitely walk around the south end then. It's fairly close to your hotel and a pretty area with brownstones. If you want brunch at Aq., you do need a res but you could also grab something at whatever looks good (tho not as many places are open for lunch). Certainly the most convenient option without repeating something you've done.

                                      1. re: Tam

                                        Check out Little Q hotpot in Quincy. I've heard that the food court there is also great.

                                  2. Ummm, let's not forget Central Sq people. Central kitchen is an amazing intimate place. I like Steve J, but to me Rendezvous is still working out the kinks. I also have to give major major points to the ne Green Street Girlle. They have pulled it all together. I have dined there 4 times and it has been great (which if you knew me, I am quite a critic - in the biz for a long long time). The chef comes from a few select places, lastly Eastern Standard...great menu, great dining room.

                                    And have you people totally forgotten Rialto? Jody Adams, James Beard winner, Best Chef, East Coast....her food is still amazing and now there is Noir for late night cocktails!!

                                    I am very disappointed ;)

                                    1. You could also do a day trip to the North Shore. Maybe head up to Marblehead, walk around, grab a bloody Mary at the Barnacle and a casual lunch at the Landing, overlooking the harbor. It's a classic New England town, absolutely gorgeous if it's a nice day. Then come back down 1A and head right to the Airport (abt a 1/2 hr from M'head)....
                                      You should check out the South End too, that's something you may be able to do if you have dinner there one night.It's definitely a cool neighborhood to grab drinks, have dinner, walk around a bit.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: twentyoystahs

                                        We won't have a car - can we do this on the T?

                                        1. re: Tam

                                          Not to Marblehead, that I'm aware of, but you could take the Commuter Rail up to Salem, or further up to Rockport. I think I'd pick that area over Quincy any day.


                                          1. re: Tam

                                            It's a bit of a walk from the Salem commuter rail station to the interesting bits of downtown Salem, I'd take a cab. Also the commuter rail is really mostly set up for commuting so there aren't too many trains outbound in the morning or inbound in the evening or at all in the middle of the day (or on weekends). That said, I'd highly recommend Salem and the north shore both for the chow (think clam shack) and for the Peabody-Essex museum. Perhaps you could rent a car for the day.

                                        2. Quincy has to be in because husband is a John Adams buff. But your idea to rent a car is great. Maybe we could do that on our last day, go early to the airport, get a car, drive up north and get back by 3:00. Do you think that is too much? Traffic might be a factor, however we're talking about a Saturday. Just thinking about a clam shack is making me drool.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Tam

                                            We're veering out of chow territory here but here we go:

                                            North Shore to the airport is very easy, no need to go through the city. I'd rent the car in town, preferably at your hotel, and return at the airport, no need for a second airport trip. PEM opens at 10 so, depending on your morning timetable, I'd walk around downtown Salem a bit, go to the PEM, then find a nice shack for a late lunch and on to the airport.

                                            Back on chow, perhaps someone can recommend a great breakfast place between Boston and Salem. There's lots of info on North Shore clam shacks on the board which you can find by searching. Perhaps a stop for Peruvian take out in East Boston on the way to the airport...

                                            Have fun!

                                            1. re: Tam

                                              Tam, you might not have to go to Quincy, as the Boston Public Library has an exhibition of John Adams' personal library:


                                              This would allow you to stay in Boston, hitting the various restaurants in the area vs. driving out of town (unless you want to do so!)

                                            2. Hmmm. Your problem is that Salem doesn't really have "clam shacks", per se. I'm sure you could find a place to get fried clams, but it won't be any sort of "classic" shack on the water, or anything like that.
                                              Personally I think Salem is just ok and if you're going do a town on the North Shore close to the airport, I'd do Marblehead. Much more charming --You can park your car and walk around old town (keep in mind when you first drive into M'head you drive into the newer section of town, keep driving toward the water and you hit "old town...) walk everywhere... Do some shopping, have drinks and lunch overlooking the harbor, and then head straight back on 1A to go to the airport.
                                              Another option: if you don't rent a car, is to take the commuter rail to Rockport. This is a great town, highly walkable...again no real "clam shacks" but you can get lobster in the rough at "Roy's Lobster Pool," a little fish store/shack on Bearskin Cove. It'll be tough to T it and then make it to the airport by mid-afternoon though. You could also rent a car and drive to Rockport (abt 45 min North of Boston) and then drive to the airport. Not all that complicated (but not as convenient as M'head.)

                                              Good luck.

                                              PS, Nothing against Quincy, but don't spend TOO much time there. There are so many more places to see in Boston proper as well as south and north of Boston.