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if an LA hound visits Boston, what would they eat?

[Note: This thread was moved from the LA board --The Chowhound Team]

Not sure if this should be here or back on the boston site. I have a guest coming from LA and wanted to take her to a place with food that is better in boston than LA (I,know, not much). Two cuisines I thought of were Portuguese (O Cantino) or Afghan (Helmand). Comments or other suggetsions from LA hounds?

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  1. Clam Chowder!

    (Edit: Legal Seafoods--for a chain--serves a great clam chowder, IMO.)

    1. I would say Portuguese as L.A. had NO Portuguese restaurants anywhere (except a small one just opened in the last year out in the inland empire {Claremont?} which almost no one has been to or heard of). L.A. does have a fair number of Afghan restaurants.

      1. a cuban sandwich at chez henri in cambridge, burnt caramel ice cream at toscannis also in cambridge, fugakyu in brookline, uni at clio restaurant, green street grill in cambridge...maybe restaurant l on newbury but that would be the only restaurant on that street, if you have the money to burn go to l'espalier on glouscester...if I can think of anything else I'll let you know

        1. My recs for Cambridge would be Henrietta's Table for b'fast or lunch and dinner @ Rialto.

          1. scratch fugakyu since there are plenty of great sushi places here even though I would go for nostalgia. I forgot oleana in cambridge...a must.

            1. Fried Clams (with bellies). They simply do not exist in L.A. The Clam Box is probably closed by now, but the Summer Shack always works.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BabyLitigator

                AGREE - Nothing like fried Ipswitch clams!!!!!

              2. Pizzeria Regina! I went to Boston for the first time last year, can't wait to go again this year... here's my mini reports..




                1 Reply
                1. re: Dommy

                  Big ditto on Pizzeria Regina. Stick with pepperoni or just plain cheese for best results. Beware of lines. Easily best pizza in the area. Only go to the original one in the North End, not the outlets.

                  Also ditto the Ipswich clams.

                2. Cannolis at Mike's. I'll second Pizzeria Regina. Herrell's Ice Cream. Fried clams and Indian Pudding at Durgin Park.

                  1. Portuguese, Spanish and Cuban food -- while there's Cuban in LA, our best is bog-standard on the East Coast.

                    Eastern European food, if any.

                    1. Any fish. I am not fond of fish but when on a business trip to Boston the group went to a Seafood restaurant. Since fish was all they had I ordered it.

                      OMG! It turns out that I do like fish, just not in L.A.

                      Must be the cold Atlantic. I went back several times.

                      The highlight for me was the Fish chowder. A bouillabaisse like offering that was amazing.

                      1. Italian. Italian. Italian. Including pastry and espresso at the-place-the-name-of-which-escapes-me-but-I'm-sure-you-know-it.

                        Then Turkish, which can actually call itself Turkish, at the Sultan's Table.


                        1. If I had someone coming in from Rome, I wouldn't take them to an Italian restaurant here.

                          In the same spirit, then, I'd take your visiting Angeleno to something that's unique to Boston (I know this is pretty much what's already been said, but people here love to repeat what others have posted as if they'd just thought of it themselves)

                          I'd listen to fellow Bostonians, and maybe do a search to find those who complain that the (whatever) they find here isn't as good as that back home.

                          And then be prepared to hear him grumble that Boston scrod just isn't the same as served by the Water Grill!

                          1. That, of course, should have been Sultan's KITCHEN.
                            And the cafe, if memory serves, is Cafe Vittoria.


                            1. forget pizzaria regina, try Ernesto's pizzeria in the north end. the slices are 1/4 of a 18" pizza...laaarrrge.

                              besides italian and clam chizzle, I don't think boston doesn't has much to offer. I didn't discover much in the area of mexican, chinese, thai or other ethnic eateries. I guess it reflects the city's demographics, as Boston doesn't have near the diversity of Los Angeles. I would grub some clam chowder, hit up the north end for a nice meal at a red sauce joint and finish the night with a canolli from Mike's Pastry. After that...I'm OUT.

                                1. An Angeleno visiting Boston should indeed go for the regional specialties:

                                  -- New England-style shellfish (lobster, lobster rolls, whole-belly clams, clam chowder, etc.)

                                  -- Portuguese cuisine (very rare in LA indeed)

                                  I don't think Italian food is that unique in Boston, to be honest. Good, sure (REALLY good in some places), but not particularly unique. As far as seafood, I really only started to love fish when I moved out west, having grown up on shrimp, crawfish and crabs (I'm Cajun) but never having had good fish out east (other than fried). Stick to the shellfish.

                                  1. I visited a friend in Boston two autumns ago, and one of the highlights of my trip was going apple picking. With the fall foliage, the scenery, and the variety of apples available, it was definitely an experience that can't be had in Los Angeles.

                                    1. from a trip i took a couple years back:

                                      in boston, the eating was unreal as well.
                                      got lobster and oysters at jasper whites summer shack,
                                      bbq and pulled pork at redbones bbq.
                                      a killer selection of meza and desserts at oleana (modern takes on armenian, persian and turkish)
                                      the best fucking cubano sandwhich i've ever tasted at chez henri.
                                      pastries and reinvented american snacks at hi rise bakery, Renee Becker is an interesting american-style baker (right down the street from formaggio kitchen)
                                      bought hand harvested fleur de sel at formaggio kitchen, one of the best gourmet shops in the us. ask to check out the cheese caves, great selection of artisinal products. julia was a regular here for years.
                                      went super high end at no.9 park. do NOT miss the prune gnocchi with foie gras and vin santo glaze
                                      and finally ate about 12 different meze and a plate of grilled meats by myself at baraka cafe. creative french tunisian with the best lemonade ever tinged with rose petals, cardamom, orange blossom, water, milk.

                                      some places i didnt have time to check out:
                                      bricco for high end italian and home made pastas
                                      Clio and their experimental sashimi bar, Uni
                                      Uni is a 10-seat sashimi bar by Boston's top chef, Ken Oringer

                                      1. Somewhere where you can get a good lobster roll. I miss those dreadfully out here. I know that Legal Seafood has one (had to do with that the last time I was in Boston, since I was on a limited time schedule). The lobster sandwiches at Alive and Kicking are also good.

                                        Agree also with the recs for Portuguese food. I love O Cantinho and Mucqueca (sp?).

                                        Of course, at this point, when I go back to Boston, I'm always torn between returning to my favourites or trying something new. It's so hard to decide, sometimes!

                                        (Ooh, and if you have time, take your guest to Burdick. Great hot chocolate, and the cutest chocolate mice.)

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: jacinthe

                                          I haven't had it, I've seen it recommended here, and have no idea how it compares to the Boston Standard, but The Hungry Cat has a Lobster roll with fries:


                                          Also, there are a few places that have Lobster sandwiches in L.A. Example - The Hotel Bel Air has a "Maine Lobster Club Sandwich with bacon, avocado and tomato & a side of some fancy slaw".

                                          1. re: JBC

                                            Ah, but the lobster sandwich at Alive and Kicking has none of that bacon, avocado, tomato stuff - just a lot of lobster on two slices of buttered twice-toasted bread. It was also conveniently located less than a block from where I lived there, and at just over $10 with tax, one of the best meals ever.

                                        2. I haven't been to Boston in a few years. However, one of the most memorable meals I had while there was at The Daily Catch. I love the food there and still think about how good it was!

                                          1. Mike's Pastry. I'm almost crying as I write that -- I miss that place so much. LA lacks bakeries like that because people don't have enough reckless abandon when it comes to their waistlines.

                                            1. I am very fond of Locke-Ober, a classic restaurant that is well-run and serves great food. Lobster stew!

                                              http://www.locke-ober.com/menu.htm (It also makes me wish for the day when Musso & Frank's gets the same treatment.


                                              I also love the Butcher Shop-- a great place for wine and tasty tasy meat snacks.

                                              1. Daily Catch? Hanover St. North End.

                                                1. I just moved to LA from Boston! Definitely go to Helmand. And get the pumpkin meat dish. It is deLICious- as an appetizer or a main course. Please don't go to Legal's for seafood, though. There are so many other, more charming options. For old-school style, try the Union Oyster House downtown near Quincy Market- nothin' like that in LA. The calamari at the Daily Catch is fantastic (and convenient for the cannoli!) and I also like Atlantic Fish Co. on Boylston. Other non-LA options: Upstairs on the Square, Bartley's Burgers, and my all-time favorite: Speed's hotdogs for lunch!

                                                  1. Wow, thanks for all the replies. Seems like there is a legion of expats in LA. I should have pointed out that this is for only one meal and I think we'll try of O Cantinho but will keep in mind othe suggestions in the event that Portuguese does not work for my guest. I'll report back.

                                                    1. Coincidently, I was just visiting a friend in boston last week and this is what I had. (I've lived in Boston for over year and had been craving some food that I couldn't get in LA.)

                                                      day 1:
                                                      arrived in boston.
                                                      -Neptune Oyster (North End): lobster roll, clam chowder (on the thinner side, but good)
                                                      -JP Licks ice cream (Newbury street)
                                                      -Mr. and Mrs. Bartley's Burger Cottage (Harvard sq.):bacon cheeseburger
                                                      -La Burdick (Harvard sq.): hot chocolate

                                                      day 2:
                                                      Trident bookstore and cafe (newbury street): close by to where i was staying. nice laid back coffee shop with free wireless and good food (wish LA have time like this). had fruit salad with yogurt and granola (homemade).
                                                      -Pizzaria Regina (North End): mushroom and sausage pizza
                                                      -Mike's Pastry (North End): chocolate dipped cannoli and pistachio macaroon
                                                      -Petit Robert Bistro (Back Bay): french bistro; was taken there for the first time; pretty good and well-priced for what it's serving. had sweetbread and wild mushrooms. yum. one of the best creme brulee i had so far.

                                                      day 3:
                                                      Trident cafe again (newbury street): Had eggs benedict, which was pretty good.
                                                      Flew back to LA

                                                      If only I had more time....

                                                      I agree about Helmand and having some portuguese (forgot the name.. in Inman sq.)I would skip sushi places (even good ones like oishii(Chestnut hill) or fugakyu (Brookline), you can easily find in LA)

                                                      Hope this helps.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: slbear

                                                        I second Bartley Burger. It is next to the Harvard Bookstore and across from the Yard. Fresh ground meat. The bun n' burger is a great deal. It is one of the few places that I will head towards rare on a burger.

                                                      2. Thanks again to everyone who posted here. The LA board is great and more active than our Boston group. We ended up with Portuguese and my guest confirmed that there are not good optins in LA for this cuisine. Much against my better judgement, we bypassed O Cantinho because it was absolutely empty at 7. We went instead to Casa Portugal which was fine but without the bold flavors of O Cantinho and also without the terrific pasteis de nata for dessert. I had the seafood in red sauce which was well prepared (particularly the whiting and squid) but wasn't that interesting. The portuguese fired potatoes were excellent and the vinho verde that teh waitress recommened was nice. Extra points for choosing a very inexpensive wine to recommend ($13 a bottle!). My wife had the pork and clams (just OK) and our guest had a spicy seafood stew. All in all, a nice but not spectacular meal. In retrospect, Helmand might have been a better choice.