Good food near Marriott Copley Place?
Will be attending a conference next week, taking place at the Marriott and the new convention center, and would like some recommendations for restaurants in the area. Would prefer not to have to hop on the subway, but will be taking cabs between the hotel and the CC, so anywhere roughly on the way between the two would be fine. I especially like seafood (and already know about the Legal right in the mall adjacent to the hotel) --Indian would be great as well. Regular comfort food, Thai, whatever is Chowish. Places open late would be a plus.
The best approach, since you're staing at the Marriott, would be to talk to a concierge there.
They're well-versed on the restaurants in Boston, have menues available, and are happy to help you with reservations. Until then, I second the Skipjack's recommendation and would add Atlantic Fish Co. Kashmir is an excellent Indian restaurant. Stephanies has tasty American comfort food. Brasserie-jo has food available 'til 1 AM. And Boston is a "chowish" city with many great restaurants.
My own experience with hotel concierges is a little less encouraging. Some have been the helpful, knowledgeable, even Chowish types you describe, but more often, they're little better than Zagat, i.e., good for addresses and general descriptions of places, but not especially discriminating or trustworthy. And a few are downright unscrupulous, clearly getting some kind of graft for referring guests to specific places.
One purely anecdotal example: I was staying at an expensive downtown San Francisco hotel, asked a concierge to recommend a place where a solo diner might get a good meal at the bar, and not confront crowds of swooning couples (it was Valentine's Day.) His one insistent suggestion was completely ridiculous, a tiny place I knew would be overrun with dates and had no bar seating, like sending someone to Carmen's on V-Day.
So my advice is, unless you're really pressed for time, do your own homework. Chowhound can be helpful, but again, you may not have good reason to trust every opinion here: do you know which posters on this board have similar tastes to yours? I personally would not be very happy had I followed some stranger's suggestion and ended up at a place like Stephanie's, which I think is wretched. And understand that following a concierge's advice can be a similar roll of the dice.
Still, I've had better luck trusting Chowhound boards in strange cities, especially at finding real hidden gems, than with the so-called pros. Vegas is full of examples: I've asked every concierge I've ever run into there what they think of Lotus of Siam, a clear local Chowhound favorite: not one of them will admit to having heard of it, much less recommend it. All their suggestions are Strip restaurants, like I need their help to figure out those places. Anyway, Steve, take the following recommendations with a grain of salt: I might be the kind of poster who looooves the Cheesecake Factory!
A couple of worthy Indians within a short cab ride: Bhindi Bazaar (closer), a good little place with a fair amount of geographic breadth (they even do Brit-Pakistani baltis). India Quality is still fairly close, and has a more typical Indian-American menu, little Southern and no Bengali stuff, for instance, but is very solid, one of my favorites.
For fresh fish and shellfish, I'm more likely to go to an Italian restaurant that does seafood well, like Taranta in the North End, or a Hong Kong style live-tank seafood place in Chinatown, like Peach Farm or Jumbo. We have some good local raw bars, too: Neptune Oyster (North End), B&G Oysters (South End), and Brasserie Jo (right next door to you) are among my favorites.
Another standby of mine is Morse Fish Co. in the South End, a retail seafood market that also does a brisk counter-service business of broiled and fried seafood. The fries (or rice) and slaw alongside are nothing special, and you'll be eating under flourescent lights at a Formica booth off a Styrofoam tray with plastic utensils, but the seafood is fresh, tasty, and a bargain.
Finally, I think it's worth taking a longer cab ride for the wood-grilled fish (as well as a variety of other seafood dishes, including raw bar) at the East Coast Grill across the river in Inman Square, Cambridge. Good luck, and please report back here on your experiences if you get a chance.
re: MC Slim JB
I'm with you on this, and in fact would trust Zagat before trusting the recommendation of a concierge at a Marriott. Whether or not its unscrupulous, concierges definitely develop relationships with restaurants that are based on factors other than the quality of the food.
The Marriott is a short walk/cab ride to the South End -- one of Boston's more chowish neighborhoods -- and if you search this board you'll find numerous threads with recommendations. Skipjacks is close, but you can do a lot better without traveling too far.
re: MC Slim JB
Howdy hounds, sorry to interrupt, but we had to prune this thread a bit -- discussing the quality of hotel concierges isn't within the narrow focus of this board, which is to share chowtips about Boston chow. You may start a new thread on the Not About Food board if there is sufficient interest. Many thanks for helping us keep the board on topic. Eat well!
Kind of odd advice for you to give, lorpa, considering that in your posts below you pretty much say you ARE the concierge at the Marriott.
(although this really confuses me "As concierge, we send guests to Legal. No complaints so far. But our favorites in the area are Skipjack's and Atlantic Fish Co. " - if your favorites are Skipjacks and Atlantic Fish, why send guests to Legal?)
Anyway.... I agree with Slim to check out India Quality for Indian. In that area, I've consistently had good meals at Laurel (http://www.laurelgrillandbar.com/ ) which is an easy walk across Copley Plaza.
i'd rather starve than eat at either stephanie's or skipjack's. terrible food, bad service.
weather is cold, so here are some spots within a few blocks walk of the hotel:
hammersley's for classic french and excellent service. just a few blocks away. douzo has great sushi and is just behind the hotel. abe & louie's, if you crave meat, is the city's busiest and most popular steakhouse. brasserie jo is a good take on alsace. bouchee on newbury is decent basic brasserie food, although has had mixed reviews on here. bukowski for beers and burgers.
in a cab, you're quite close to south station and les zygomates is there, again for french, with a very good wine list.
also quite close to north end, and neptune oyster is terrific. tiny though, so best not to go at peak times.
Spot on an your recomendations hoto except i would not include A&L as a steak place to eat. They use havarti on the onion soup instead of gruyere (the maitre d' almost fell over when i told him this fact), makes it more stringy and less flavorfull.
They can't cook a steak MR if it has a bone in it. After 2 tries with results being well done at the edge and raw at the bone I told the MD that I would take any steak the chef felt comfortable cooking MR. Instead of the correct "we can cook anything properly at A&L" , he told me he would bring over a boneless sirloin. Ouch!! It wasn;t that good but at least it was MR.
And so is stephanies and skipjack (although I am not privy to any of there tax returns) and you carved them out as lousy, and i agree with those two restos as bottom feeders. You wedged A&L in amongst some pretty good places, and I was just voicing my opinion that A&L although crowded (like Mortons and Micky D's) is not in the same league as Hammersley and BJ's.
Forty nights lastyear at Marriott Copley. Stay away fromthe hotel resto (haven't tried Gramelli's) but the sushi and Champps are horrible. I can not help w Thai, but here are some suggestions (also forget legal it's like saying McD's makes a good burger, blah):
Via Matta for great Italian
Steaks - Capital Grille is my favorite, Morton's, Abe & Lou's are both horrible. I forget the name but the one down Stuart before you hit Via Matta is pretty good.
Stephanies on Newbury - blah, a real tourist trap
Hammersly Bistro - Now you have some good food
Petit Robert Bistro - Great little place but a bit of a walk this time of year
Clio's - Could be the best meal I ever ate in Boston
L'Esplanier (i have butchered the spelling I know) - Also one of the best meals in Boston
Summer Shack - You'll find a wide range of opinions on this one but I really like it for some relaxing fish. The lobster has 2MM Mg of cholesterol, bring extra Lipitor
Oishi (Sushi on Washington) - A little dicey neighborhood, sushi very overpriced but i liked a lot.
Brasserie Jo - Very good and a nice wide selection if you have a varied companion pool
In Cambrindge - The hotel that has Henrietta's (which I like a lot as well) is another higher end resto with a woman chef. She is fantastic and the food was also top notch.
North End - Have eaten there a bunch and have no idea of the names. I usually take a cab and wonder around until my nose leads me into a resto. Never disappointed, but lots of threads on here.
For late nite bit, Bar 10 at the Westin (you do not have to go outside) has a great Arugala and cheese flatbread pizza. I like Turner's there as well and some people like the sushi bar but i got ripped off there and will not return. The Plam is not as great as the NY one and I could not get them to cook a MR steak properly.
Have fun. Boston's a great place.
The place in Cambridge you're referring to is Rialto at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square. Chef Jody Adams is now the sole proprietor, has redone the room and refocused the menu to exclusively Italian. I understand it just re-opened, and as a place I have always loved for special occasions (it's a bit pricey), I am anxious to retry it.
I like a lot of your suggestions, but yeah, spelling restaurant names isn't your long suit: it's Hamersley's, L'Espalier, Oishii, Clio. (Sorry, I suffer from recurring bouts of English Majoritis.)
For a variety of reasons, most of the restaurants in the vicinity of Copley Place are mediocre. And there is a surfeit of relatively expensive steak houses.
For good choices, head about four blocks south to the south end's restaurant row centered near Tremont and Clarendon Streets. While they won't be cheap, almost all will meet your criteria.
Another restaurant center is the area known as Park Plaza, about three - four blocks east of your hotel. Most of these are good, but avoid Bonfire.
And the Prudential Center is a culinary disaster.
If it is seafood you're looking for, there are a few places in the South End that have great options. Giacomos on Columbus is close to Copley and has fantastic Italian food. They also have a restaurant in the North End that is jammed every night. Beware that it is cash only, but lots of great seafood items. B&G Oysters had great seafood on Tremont St and we ate at the bar at Sibling Rivalry (also on Tremont) Saturday night and there were tons of great seafood options. My husband and I were both extremely pleased with our meals (him the tuna and me the potato-crusted bass). There is actually a new Indian place called Mela that just opened on Tremont or Kashmir on Newbury is excellent for Indian.
I have worked about 200 yards from the Marriott for 20 years now. Culinary options are better than they used to be, but still not that exciting.
There are 3 Thai restaurants w/in walking distance. Chili Duck, Bankok Blue both on Boylston and Thai Basil on Newbury. I wouldn't write home about any of them, but they are all OK.
Kashmir is on Newbury -- it's just ok, IMO. Has a lunch buffet. India Quality in Kenmore might be a better bet.
I would recommend Domani, which is right across the street from the Marriott. Brasserie Jo is a nice later night place, esp. @ the bar.
Have had terrible food at Skipjack's for the past year or so and will not go back. Ever. Same with Turner Fisheries. I would also skip Boucee -- if you want French bistro go to Brasserie Jo or Petit Robert.
There are a gazillion steak places w/in walking distance: Grill 23, The Palm, Abe and Louies, Capital Grill, Mortons. The Oak Room. Pick em.
Near the CC -- the Legal Test Kitchen is supposed to be pretty good.
I'd second Atlantic Fish Co & Skipjacks as being my choices for seafood in the Back Bay as well. I'd avoid Summer Shack on Dalton St (ugh). If I really had to pick though, I'd opt for a trip to Chinatown over any of these just for the better value and for more variety.
Aside from what's already mentioned for Thai (of which Chili Duck is my personal fave of the 3), I'd add Montien which is in the Theater District (edge of Chinatown).