NYC Hound need recs
For lunch you might try Casablanca - they are sort of the quintessential "Harvard Square" restaurant with an interesting mix of people. Since Boston/Cambridge is famous for its schools, this makes for an interesting choice and the food can be quite good. The people watching is usually great.
i'd second the casablanca rec. you can read on this board about their burger and other dishes. while i like darwin's and hi-rise, i find them to be just your typical gourmet sandwich places, nothing special for a new yorker i suspect. cardullo's does make a nice sandwich with duck confit, but it's mostly a gourmet market.
downtown people like chacarero for lunch, but the waits can be long.
This is the second time recently I've seen someone speak positively about Casablanca. Have they changed ownership? When I lived in Cambridge, the food was OK and the service affirmatively awful.
Also, you'd be surprised re the sandwich situation in NYC. I've yet to really find a place like Hi Rise or Darwin's. I also second the Bartley's rec someone mentioned. Personally, however, I'd head up Mass Ave to Elephant Walk for Cambodian or either Boca Grande or Anna's for a burrito.
Lunch in Cambridge:
Excellent sandwiches at Hi-Rise
Annoying lines and a celebrity chef at ASSBar
Old school with a side of sweet potato fries at Bartley's
Burgers at Miricle of Science
Sandwiches at Plough and Stars
Algerian-Tunisian at Baraka Cafe
Boston for dinner:
Given your lack of criteria, I shoot off of the hip:
Prix fixe at Grotto
Tuscan at Trattoria Toscana
Seafood at Neptune Oyster
Troquet. I'm pretty sure you could get away with $60/pp if you don't order an entire bottle of wine.
In full disclosure, I would probably choose a cuisine that isn't as well represented in NY (Portugese, Brazilian, etc) by venturing out to East Boston and Somerville.
For dinner, I would suggest:
Sorellina (see a review I wrote today from a w/e visit) - excellent food and lovely atmosphere. Chic, but not stuffy.
B&G Oysters - excellent seafood in a nice enviro. It's a small place, excellent service, not "fancy" but pretty funky. They also have an excellent wine list. You could also do apps (oysters!) here and cross the street to the Butcher Shop for dinner. Haven't been to Mare or Neptune, so can't compare, but have been to lots of other seafood places, and it remains my favorite.
Stella - Italian-ish funky South End spot on Washington St. Can get loud, but better in "side" room. I think their food is better than most South End fare, service is good and I LOVE their cioppino - one of my faves. Their fish is consistently good as well.
I wouldn't recommend Stella, more style than substance I think.
Is Chez Henri in Cambridge open for lunch? Great Cubano there. Like Miracle of Science burgers too.
You can eat just about anywhere for $60 if you rein in on the wine. I'd eat at the bar at No. 9 Park and have the prune gnocci. Or try Lala Rohk - cosy Persian food on Beacon Hill - very Boston location, interesting food. Haven't been to Neptune Oyster/Mare, but next time I'm in No. End plan to go to both, heard great things. Hammersley's is pretty much a Boston classic, not edgy but with a really nice ambiance, bistro-y, known for amazing roast chicken.
Mangia Mangia is one of those totally off-the-bearten-track places in the North End that's non-locals rarely venture into. It's worth the detour from the main drag in the North End. On Endicott Street. Get a hot sub -- chicken parm's good.
You could probably get a dish of Alaskan King crab at Jumbo Seafood in Chinatown for $60. I'd call and check for availability. Steamed with garlic or flash fried and stir-fried with ginger and scallions. Live salt and pepper eel is great too.
Chez Henri is worth going to for dinnner as well. The menu in the dining room is great....They have some of the best sweetbreads I have ever tasted.
You could also try Oleana in Cambridge
As far as downtown goes, I always like Pho Republiqe for fun and good food as well as Les Zygomats for some great live music and quality food.