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3 you CAN'T live without?

What are your 3 most cherished restaurants? If they disappeared tomorrow, you'd need therapy? Price or cuisine is not a factor. It's tough...leaving out a lot of favorites.

Gargoyle's
Thai Moon
Crazy Dough

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  1. Fire and Ice
    Xinh Xinh
    Linden Diner

    1. Uni
      Hei La Moon
      Southeast Asian (Lowell)

      1. If I think about the restaurants in Boston it would actually hurt me to hear are closing, I'd say:
        Bob the Chefs (I think he's now calling it Bob's Southern Kitchen)
        Apollo
        Pho Republique

        Honestly I think it's healthy for restaurants to turn over otherwise you end up with places like La Tour D'Argent serving the same duck for 400 years. Nothing exciting about that. Although they sure know their duck.

        So I have a lot of favorites but if pushed to pick three I couldn't live without I'd pick these three not for the food but for the experiences.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Chaumiere

          This is good as it gives me some new places to try. I figure that if CH's had to pick just 3, they must be pretty good.

          1. re: Chaumiere

            chaum, did you see that a CH posted today that they think apollo closed? it was in the leather district thread...

          2. If any of you do try Apollo don't go there before midnight. It's just not fun when it's dead. It's best between 1 and 4 am.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Chaumiere

              That's one of the more interesting comments about a particular restaurant. Now I need to stay awake till then.

              1. re: Chaumiere

                they serve the sake in plastic water pitchers, and the bathrooms are sketchy to say the least. sorry, if i'm having sushi, the place should be sparkling clean. my last experience there was so bad, (old lipstick on my glass, brown iceberg under the seaweed salad ands saba that had seen better days)i will not go back.

              2. Metropolis Cafe
                Butcher Shop
                Franklin Cafe

                1. Great question - really made me think.

                  I have a wicked sweet tooth, so:
                  1. Petsi Pies!!! (drool)
                  2. the renamed Mix Bakery
                  3. Toss up between JP Licks; Benson's, Toscanninis, and Christina's. Basically, I don't care, as long it's some kind of interesting- and pure-flavored ice cream that isn't crammed full of "bits" (nuts, chocolate chunks, candy, whatever).

                  Then there are some restaurants that I go to very often, but I go because of the relaxing atmosphere, rather than because of the food (the food is good in all cases, but more B+ if you order well, rather than A level). If these restaurants closed I'd be at a loss for where to go for a laid-back evening out:
                  1. Bristol Lounge/bar at Aujourd'hui
                  2. Oak Bar
                  3. Aquitaine Bis

                  There are tons of other places whose loss would be very upsetting but not utterly devastating...I'm definitely a creature of habit and have so many fond food memories of specific places.

                  1. 1) B&G
                    2) JP Lick's
                    3) Ten Tables

                    1. 1. Pigalle: my favorite special occasion joint. If I'm going to consume a pint of duck fat and two sticks of butter at dinner, I prefer Pigalle's touch and vibe to that of Radius, Aujourd'hui, No. 9, etc.

                      2. Redbones: the 'cue is hit or miss (I generally prefer Blue Ribbon), but it can be very good when it's on, the draught beer list is fantastic, and the ambiance is perfectly dirty.

                      3. Rendezvous: my new crush.

                      4. Sel de la Terre: I've heard the complaints, but have always had perfect food and service.

                      1. Gargoyles
                        Sel de la Terre
                        Helmands

                        1. I can narrow it down to two:
                          Redbones
                          Ken's Ramen

                          Since #3 is always changing, everything else is clearly not essential. Can I say Trader Joe's? If they left town, it would hurt me more chow-wise than any single other business (other stores and markets are all substitutes for each other, but there's only one TJ's).

                          1. Cafe Polonia
                            Kebab Factory
                            Taiwan Cafe

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ScubaSteve

                              I definitely need to try Kebab Factory. Never been there. Thanks.

                            2. Blue Ribbon (Arlington)
                              J.P. Licks
                              Toss up: Ittyo (Porter Square)/China Pearl (dim sum)

                              I'd be able to live without the last two, but I'd be sad. But Blue Ribbon is down the street and yummy.

                              1. Santarpio's, East Boston
                                O'Sullivan's, Somerville
                                New Bridge Cafe, Chelsea

                                1. El Pelon
                                  Chalie's Sandwich Shoppe
                                  Umi

                                  1. Tamarind Bay
                                    The Blue Room
                                    Pu Pu Hot Pot

                                    1. That is a tough one..............considering my favorite Mexican place in Waltham is GONE and I am so very, very sad.

                                      1) Tuscan Grill - the BEST Foie Gras I have ever tasted in the whole world.
                                      2) Carl's - best steak and cheeses for hang-overs (try the Porkey with bacon :-))
                                      3) Blue Ribbon - my heart belongs to their Pulled Pork and no one elses.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: LovesFoieGras

                                        Which Mexican restaurant was that? Seems like there have been a lot of closings of restaurants lately!

                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                          The Hungry Coyote on Moody Street, next to Tempo in Waltham. I think they didnt pay their bills or something, I saw the police in there one night serving them papers!!

                                          1. re: sheitoon

                                            Yes, you do. Go on a weekend when they have a wide variety of sides -- grits, mac n' cheese, collards. I love the brisket and I love the pulled pork, but together they are sort of the same on the plate. One or the other and some ribs or sausage is a better combo. I *heart* blue ribbon.

                                            1. re: sheitoon

                                              Blue Ribbon has the best bang for the buck of any good restaurant I know. Their BBQ is delicious and very reasonable. I live near the one in West Newton sq. and go once a week for lunch and sometimes get take out for dinner. It's kind of rustic inside, no tables just benches along the wall, but that's ok for lunch.

                                          2. The Clam Box.
                                            O Cantinho.
                                            Taiwan Cafe.

                                            1. Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe and Il Cappriccio in Waltham.

                                              1. In no special order, Cafe Polonia; LaGalleria 33 and Donovan's. I need the hungarian goulash at Cafe Polonia; the lobster raviolis; veal parm or mixed grill at LaGalleria and Donovans is my everyday place; although Sonny's is a good substitute for Donovans because they make a great pizza!

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Pegmeister

                                                  That's another pick for Cafe Polonia. Where is it located?

                                                  1. re: Sal Monella

                                                    it's on Dorchester Ave in South Boston, walkable from Andrew Sq T stop on the red line. Good spot.

                                                    Website:

                                                    http://www.cafepolonia.com/

                                                  1. 1. Cafe Belo
                                                    2. La Mamma
                                                    3. Mary Chung's

                                                    1. Gargoyle's
                                                      Trattoria Toscana
                                                      Neptune

                                                      For me, real Chinese is really only 4 hours away in Queens.

                                                      However, I would also be in fits of despair if Public House, Davis Square Liquors, or James Hook disappeared. Alternatively, if all the Peruvian, Brazilian and Portugese restaurants suddenly vanished, I might need some medical assistance.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. I was sad when the Wursthaus closed as I'd had good memories there. Now, for the same reason, I'd choose in Boston:

                                                        Legal Seafood
                                                        Casablanca
                                                        East Coast Grill

                                                        Outside Boston:

                                                        L'Auberge Chez Francois
                                                        Grand Central Oyster Bar
                                                        Grammercy Tavern

                                                        1. I read this to mean places that I use all the time and are not easily replaceable (ie: if Essex Seafood closed, I'd be really sad, but then I would pull myself together and head down to Farnhams and get over it. I love Taiwan Cafe but now Mulan can help me out there. Sichuan Garden can be replaced by Sichuan Gormet, etc.)

                                                          So, for me, the really irreplaceble are:

                                                          1. Tacos Lupita -- there are other Salvadoran joints close to me, but no one makes a torta like TL. I got over the grumpy lady a long time ago.

                                                          2. East Coast Grill -- if I couldn't sit at the bar, slurp down some cold oysters and scarf up tuna tacos at least once a month I'd be very very sad.

                                                          3. Gargoyles -- in addition to the excellent bar food (don't care for the dining room) the bartending is just superb. Maureen and Paul will have a cure for what ails you and are just nice people to boot.

                                                          1. Xinh Xinh
                                                            J&J
                                                            Tacos Lupita

                                                            Campo de Fiori in Harv Sq used to be on the list, but I have been managing to make do with Il Panino Express and Angelo's since its sad demise.

                                                            1. Gosh, I thought this would be an easy question, but I am having trouble thinking of 3 restaurants I would really miss. I guess it would depend on who took their place. Actually, I am going to be very sad if Lumiere moves out of West Newton and over to South Boston.

                                                              I think this says something very bad about my loyalty to a particular place. Maybe someone should start a thread - Which 3 restaurants do you wish would leave Boston.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: ptrefler

                                                                My problem too, I'm always trying new restaurants and not a regular at any one place. Plus with no SO, I don't have that go to place that you just bop out to all the time. Altho I'm always sad when little joints close, like Ann's on Huntington Ave. (which is now Betty's).

                                                              2. Darn it, the one I couldn't live without was New Taste of Asia. Therapy?

                                                                1. We are in Boston frequently and it's a given that my husband will fall asleep and wake up craving Butcher Shop! I dream of Pigalle.

                                                                  1. Oleana
                                                                    Helmand
                                                                    Pho Pasteur / Le's

                                                                    ;)

                                                                    1. great question ... really got me thinking.

                                                                      Silvertone
                                                                      King Fung
                                                                      Tacos Lupita

                                                                      1. Rami's
                                                                        Blue Ribbon
                                                                        Christina's

                                                                        1. Mary Chung
                                                                          Clam Box
                                                                          Petsi Pies

                                                                          1. Taqueria la Mexicana
                                                                            Wang's (mostly for the dumplings)
                                                                            Xinh Xinh

                                                                            honorable mention for The Paddock

                                                                            Wanted to have an all-Somerville list but had to put Xinh Xinh on there

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: bella_sarda

                                                                              I like your list a lot, especially the nod to Somerville :-) -- but am not convinced on Xinh Xinh -- tried it only once and found the beef stew to be the only standout. It was delicious -- rich beefy melty-fat goodness with a kind of cruller to dip in the 5-spice flavored broth. What else is great? ( I dunno, maybe bump up a Xinh Xinh thread if you want to respond, to keep it all neat and tidy?) Oh, and x x was where we ran into gourmaniac by coincidence and got to meet another respected hound! Overheard us talking about Floating rock and said hi -- you never know where another hound is lurking!

                                                                              1. re: yumyum

                                                                                I must confess I have eaten only a limited number of items from Xinh Xinh---I go when I am craving pho, so I have pho! I have had the mixed seafood & meat one and a roasted pork one, and tried some of a friend's soup (not a pho but a vermicelli noodle soup) that was very spicy and excellent. I really love the quality of their broths and the freshness of the garnishes. I think I like the mixed ingredients one the best. Somehow they sneak in a quail egg and some kind of liver that I have yet to properly identify. Sorry I am so bad with the names of these items. I also like the vietnamese crepe appetizer, which is good for sharing with a group. The reason this place is critical for me is because I work downtown and there aren't many lunch spots I love near my office. So this is indispensable, especially on cold days.

                                                                                1. re: bella_sarda

                                                                                  We tried the vietnamese crepe (banh xiao) and it was greasier than versions I've had elsewhere. I guess I need to go back. I was much more a fan of the place that preceded them so I might not be giving them enough of a chance. That beef stew was really good though, and perfect for the weather....

                                                                            2. Said this before on another post, but my current local favorite is Little Q in Quincy.

                                                                              1. 1) Noch's
                                                                                2) Rod Dee 2
                                                                                3) Reef Cafe

                                                                                1. EVOO, Somerville
                                                                                  Gargoyles, Somerville
                                                                                  Sushi Island,Wakefield

                                                                                  1. Losing Neptune Oyster might truly kill me.

                                                                                    Sushi Corner is a happy habit - it would be very hard for me to find a replacement (unique combo of quality, price and convenience).

                                                                                    Mexico Lindo would be tough but I'd probably live as we don't go *that* often. Mexico Lindo is tied with Hugh O'Niell's which we rely on for decent pub offerings within walking distance.

                                                                                    1. Ooh, good thread.

                                                                                      My three are my go-to restaurants that I never seem to grow tired of:

                                                                                      India Quality - I couldn't live without a decent Indian restaurant in Boston and, IMO, this is the only good one (in all fainess, I haven't tried Kebab Factory - apparently, a fave among CH'ers)

                                                                                      El Pelon - best burritos, best quesadilla, delicious fried plaintains (although, these can be hit or miss - but, when they're good, they're SO good)

                                                                                      Stella - every meal that I've had here has been good. The mussels app alone is enough to keep this in my top 3. Hands down, the best appetizer in Boston

                                                                                      1. I'd have to pick:

                                                                                        Addis Red Sea
                                                                                        Peach Farm
                                                                                        Mike's City Diner

                                                                                        I know it's not a fancy list, but these are the places I eat often because the food is great, and I can afford it.

                                                                                        1. For me, it would definitely be:

                                                                                          East Coast Grill, Cambridge. (does that make me lame and predictable? Love the place.)

                                                                                          Sichuan Gourmet, Billerica. Hands down the best way to get close to Sichuan food in the area. I finally tried all the comparable dishes at Mary Chung's last night and while they were serviceable in a pinch, Sichuan Gourmet is really in an entirely different league, in my opinion).

                                                                                          Mu Que Ca, Cambridge. Very fresh, made with care, incredibly homey, and right in my neighborhood. If they closed, I would be horribly depressed. If they got a beer license, on the other hand, I would probably throw a party.

                                                                                          1. 1. Shino (cheap sushi, usually good)
                                                                                            2. Teatro
                                                                                            3. Buddhas Delight

                                                                                            1. I work a block away from Chinatown so that's where I go for lunch and dinner for about 15-20 meals a week. Having said that, my 3 are:

                                                                                              Taiwan Cafe
                                                                                              Penang
                                                                                              King Fung Garden

                                                                                              1. Cuchi Cuchi (for cocktails)
                                                                                                Umi (hands down the best sushi in town)
                                                                                                New Saigon Sandwich Shop for spring rolls (mmmmmm)

                                                                                                1. Well, as long as this thread's been revived...I count on these 3 for easygoing hospitality combined with menus that point to restlessly creative chefs:

                                                                                                  Neptune
                                                                                                  Taranta
                                                                                                  Eastern Standard

                                                                                                  1. Well, there's always another restaurant, another bright young chef with more talent and optimism than experience. And you'll always have your memories of places you love, even when they go by the wayside. There are worse things than leaving the stage before you've outstayed your welcome. Who would you rather be: Laura Brennan of Caffe Umbra, or whoever's running the Union Oyster House? One's the oldest continuously-operating restaurant in the country, the other's our favorite now-closed restaurant in Boston, a place we'll be missing for many years.

                                                                                                    That said, my current standbys, other places I'd sorely miss if they went away, include Trattoria Toscana, Khao Sarn Cuisine, and Taberna de Haro. Their common denominator is food that we happen to love and think is a good value, plus extraordinary hospitality by the chefs, owners, and their staffs. These are the folks who noticed us by our third or fourth visit and started treating us accordingly: not like regulars, exactly, but like potential regulars, which made it easier to become actual regulars.

                                                                                                    That's a good place to be. Not a true friendship exactly -- we don't know each others' kids' names -- but it's a rare business relationship based on mutual affection and respect. You might forgive so-so food or service in such a context, but these folks never fail to deliver at a very high level, never take our business for granted. We try to respond in kind with regular custom, copious referrals, good tips, and civil behavior, even when we're having a little wine. These are places it would hurt us to lose.

                                                                                                    1. My list is hardly upscale but always a good take:
                                                                                                      Artichoke's in Malden, get the lobster and veal when it's offered
                                                                                                      Great Wall in Bedford, great Chinese
                                                                                                      Mike's Roast Beef in Everett, hardly a restaurant but I couldn't do without their roast beef.

                                                                                                      1. Silvertone
                                                                                                        Neptune
                                                                                                        Toro

                                                                                                        Losing any of these would hurt my heart.

                                                                                                        1. India Quality - I'd weep!

                                                                                                          Hamersley's

                                                                                                          Bostone Pizza - Please make it!

                                                                                                          1. Franklin Cafe
                                                                                                            Le Petit Robert Bistro
                                                                                                            Trident Cafe

                                                                                                            1. Shanghai Gate
                                                                                                              CF Donovan's
                                                                                                              Newbridge Cafe

                                                                                                              (What can I say? I'm all about the comfort food!)

                                                                                                              1. Off the top of my head, my three favorite restaurants are:
                                                                                                                Hei La Moon
                                                                                                                Chilli Garden
                                                                                                                Shangri-La

                                                                                                                But the three that would leave a hole in my heart are:
                                                                                                                Rod Dee (Brookline)
                                                                                                                China Pearl
                                                                                                                Redbones

                                                                                                                And can we see some love for Beijing Star?

                                                                                                                1. OK, I need to do three more:

                                                                                                                  Lobster Pool (Rockport)
                                                                                                                  Regina's (North End)
                                                                                                                  Doyle's (JP)

                                                                                                                  1. Eastern Standard (for the cocktails and salad nicoise)
                                                                                                                    Toro
                                                                                                                    Audubon

                                                                                                                    1. L'il Vinny's (we get take-out there whenever I am too busy to cook)
                                                                                                                      Taranta
                                                                                                                      L'Osteria (for the family memories & the veal piccatelle)

                                                                                                                      Honorable mention: even though I don't get there too much anymore, Virgilio's Bakery in Gloucester for the St. Joseph's sandwich

                                                                                                                      1. Flour (I'm a junkie for twice baked brioche)
                                                                                                                        Oishii II (awesome sushi close to me in the western burbs PLUS you can bring the kids)
                                                                                                                        L'Espalier

                                                                                                                        1. Great thread!

                                                                                                                          I didn't see Moqueca (Inman Square) on the list. I have never eaten anywhere like it and think it might be the single place I would miss the most if it closed. There are other places I like a lot, but would miss this one the most b/c it is so unique.

                                                                                                                          1. Chez Henri (for the Cuban)
                                                                                                                            Zon's (for the mac and cheese)
                                                                                                                            Redbones (for everything!)

                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                            1. re: lgc3

                                                                                                                              ditto on The Clam Box, The Sun. brunch buffet at the Langham Hotel(was the Meridien) and Hi Fi Pizza in Dorchester