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Boston advice [Moved from Austin]

I've noticed that there are a *lot* of people on this board from Boston...and I'd love to get your input on places to eat good food before I ask the Boston board. I am going to Boston for a week in March. I've never really experienced it, and am looking for the best places to dine. I love all types of food, and am open to absolutely anything - just as long as it's delicious! Here's what I'm looking for, specifically....

1.) best fancy place for dinner, anywhere in town

2.) reasonably priced places to eat in the North End (non-touristy) --

3.) ditto for the South End

4.) any places worth going to out of town? We're planning on driving around the area (Lexington/Salem/etc.)

5.) best place for fresh lobster and/or seafood

6.) A good vegetarian place near the Back Bay/South End

7.) is there any food that is specific to the region I should try? If so, what and where?

Thanks for your input!

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  1. go ahead and post on the boston board!

    but anyhow..

    2.) reasonably priced places to eat in the North End (non-touristy) --

    carmen or sage (which may be closed to move to a now location when you are here).
    neptune oyster is a real treat too.

    4.) any places worth going to out of town? We're planning on driving around the area (Lexington/Salem/etc.)

    if its warm, get clams in ipswich. if you like diner food, the three sisters owl diner in lowell is my favorite in the region.

    5.) best place for fresh lobster and/or seafood

    the barking crab or neptune oyster.

    7.) is there any food that is specific to the region I should try? If so, what and where?

    boston has probably the best portugese food in the US - try muqueca or o cantino in cambridge's inman square. lots of good and super cheap vietnamese food too. we also have tons of irish pubs, tip a guiness at the burren in davis square or the plough and stars in central square.

    enjoy your trip.

    1. great questions!

      1.) best fancy place for dinner, anywhere in town
      Om - Cambridge
      Prezza - North End
      Sel de la terre - Long Wharf

      2.) reasonably priced places to eat in the North End (non-touristy) --
      Carmen

      3.) ditto for the South End
      Sorriso, Franklin Cafe, Delux, Addis Red Sea

      4.) any places worth going to out of town? We're planning on driving around the area (Lexington/Salem/etc.)
      Tuscan Grill - Waltham
      Lindbergh's Crossing - Portsmouth (worth the drive!!)
      Clam Box - Ipswich

      5.) best place for fresh lobster and/or seafood
      Neptune Oyster

      6.) A good vegetarian place near the Back Bay/South End
      Addis Red Sea
      Really though - I think Boston is a very veggie friendly town for the most part.

      7.) is there any food that is specific to the region I should try? If so, what and where?
      Food is pretty diverse here. If you're a beer drinker there are lots of great pubs and lots of good breweries (Beerworks for beer and Plough & Star for everything come to mind). The only thing I really wish were better in the area is BBQ, other than that you should be able to find everything you love and lots of good surprises in between.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kittychow

        Re: no. 4. If you're going to Waltham, the Tuscan Grill is certainly very good, though my first choice in that town would be Il Capriccio followed by La Campania. All three are strictly dinner places, no lunch served. There's also excellent Mexican at Taqueria Mexico, good Cambodian at the local Elephant Walk outpost, decent BBQ at Bison County (though probably not up to Austin BBQ standards), good Italian sandwiches at Domenic's, respectable Thai at Erawan of Siam and Green Papaya, and respectable Indian at New Mother India.

        Waltham in fact has several fine places to eat. Nothing else for tourists there, though. Might be best to eat there as part of a jaunt to Lexington, Concord, or the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, which are enjoyable tourist day trips from Boston and not too far away from Waltham by car.

      2. I would stay away from the Barking Crab. It's the dirtiest place in Boston, if not the country. And the foods not good either. All other recommendations above won't disappoint.
        CocoDan

        1. I hope you enjoy your time in Boston!

          2.) reasonably priced places to eat in the North End (non-touristy) --
          Pizzeria Regina, Umberto's (only open for lunch), Antico Forno (brick oven pizzas and pastas), La Summa, L'Osteria. I'd also go to Grotto on Bowdoin Street- it is not technically the North End but offers a great prix fix and the food is wonderful. I also love Sage but it might be closed (and is a little pricey)- I'd call and check

          3.) ditto for the South End
          Franklin Cafe, Flour Bakery, Union (bar menu is affordable), Giacomo's on Columbus takes reservations if you want Italian and are not near the North End

          5.) best place for fresh lobster and/or seafood
          Neptune Oyster in the North End, Legal's (all over), Mare (North End), B & G (South End)

          6.) A good vegetarian place near the Back Bay/South End
          It is in Cambridge but worth the trek- Oleana offers a wonderful vegetarian menu.

          7.) is there any food that is specific to the region I should try? If so, what and where?
          I think Chinatown is fun to explore- try King Fung Garden on Kneeland (scallion pancakes, chow mein are must orders), cannolis from modern pastry in the North End, lobster roll from J. Hook's on the waterfront or Kelly's; people also recommend going to Durgin Park in F. Hall.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bostondiner

            If you go to Galleria Umberto in the North End, note that it's best to get there when they first open at 11:00 AM (or even before, as the line starts forming before then and gets long; it's a cafeteria style place, cash only). As lunchtime goes on, things start to run out, and when everything's sold out, they close, sometimes as early as 1:00 PM. But if you want non-touristy South Italian comfort food (calzones, Sicilian cheese pan pizza, arancini, panzarotti, and ham and cheese panini is pretty much their whole menu, plus wine and beer in cups) at '50's time-warp cheap prices, it can't be beat. Definitely one of my faves in the North End.

          2. I was just on the Sage website- the North End location will be open until mi-March when they move to the South End location (former Cafe Umbra on Washington). I think it is a very cozy, intimate and romantic place to have dinner. The pastas really shine (especially the gnocchi). The lobster dish is really tasty as well.