Montrealer coming to Boston... looking for good food
I will be coming down to Boston from my current home of Montreal for a weekend in March. I am looking for some good food at any price. I would like to find at least one "well worth the price" place and one "I can't belive it only cost that much" place. We love food and are open to any kind of cuisine. And of course, if any of you come up to Montreal, I would be more than happy to make some reccomendations for you.
Agreed that the Japanese food stalls at Porter Square are good and cheap, though I'd definitely avoid the sushi bar, Kotobukiya (not to be confused with the grocery there by the same name, which is good). There's positive feedback for Kotobukiya on this board, but I've been to that sushi bar on at least four occasions over the years and found the sushi past-it every time (strongly fishy tasting). Oishii in Chestnut Hill is well worth the trip for sushi, if that's what you want, and my first choice for sushi -- but unless you go on an off-hour, be prepared to wait as the place is tiny.
The break-the-budget suggestions you've gotten (Radius, Clio, No. 9 Park, Pigalle, Oleana, Salts) are to my mind all excellent ones -- and one could add Aujourd'hui and Rialto to that list -- though if I had only one meal to eat in Boston, it would be dinner at L'Espalier. I'd just find another way to pay the rent that month....
Having lived in Montreal for 6 years prior to moving here to Boston, I must admit I was terribly disappointed with most food options in town for a while. First, I could not get over the price difference. Food at prices I was used to paying for in Montreal was much lower in quality and in order to get very good food, it costs almost twice as much as home. Second, I had been under the impression that Boston was known for its seafood, but I had a terrible time trying to find any that was good and not fried. It took me a while to come around to the concept of a lobster roll...
So what is worth going to? I would not bother with a steak house or Oishii in South End (if you have a car, Oishii in Chestnut hill is worth the trip). Montreal has better. Even most of the recs about I think are basically french, and again Montreal has much better. Here is a list of few places that I think are worth trying:
1. B&G Oysters. Go, sit at the bar, have a couple of oysters and a glass of wine.
2. Oleana. Tasty eastern med feed, well worth it.
3. Walk around the north end. Enjoy the shops. If you feel like eating, don't eat on Hanover but go to Sage (if it is still open, is it?). Or, if you miss B&G, try Neptunes in the north end.
4. I agree, the brazilian bbq idea is a good one, that was never as good in Montreal.
For a one restaurant to try and break the budget, Clio, No 9 Park, or Radius are all good options.
Boston also has much better hispanic/latin food options. I find it fun to go down to JP on Washington and try arepas or other latin specialities. Do try these things out while you are in town.
I looked at your Montreal posts, and you appear to have a pretty sophisticated palate. Go to Clio,http://www.cliorestaurant.com/ or No 9 Park http://www.no9park.com/ for high-end. Another lovely place that seems to have fallen off the radar is Hamersley's Bistro http://www.hamersleysbistro.com/. I don't know how the Japanese food is in Montreal, but for high-end, go to Oishii http://www.oishiisushi.com/. For cheap, go to the food stalls at Porter Square--there's a little Japanese mall where you can graze on udon, ramen, sushi and doughnuts filled with adzuki beans.
I would recommend a night of Brazilian and Portuguese food in the East Cambridge environs. Start with appetizers (fava beans and cod cakes would be delicious) and a bottle of wine early at O Cantinho (http://www.atasca.com/ocantinho/index...) then move across the street to Mu Que Ca for delicious Brazilian fish stew. O Cantinho costs about what you'd expect but Mu Que Ca feels crazy inexpensive for the lovely feel and great food. Portions are big at Mu Que Ca.
"well worth the price" options:
Oishii for sushi in the South End for
No. 9 Park on Beacon Hill for the Chef's tasting menu
Henrietta's Table in Harvard Sq., Cambridge for brunch
Om in Harvard Square for drinks and dinner
"I can't believe it only costs this much" options (which I don't find too often):
Franklin Cafe in the South End.
Prix fixe at Grotto on Beacon Hill and Rendezvous in Central Square, Cambride.
Pho at Le's (multiple locations) - although some folks think the large bowl of pho at $5.95 is pricey, I feel it's a major deal.
You may want to clarify what kind of $ you mean. "Well worth the price" means radically different things to the posters you'll find here (for example: I would have to eat a meal I could never make and would dream about for months to say that about, if I spent over $100 - which is an average bill for other posters). That said, here are a few places which seemed liked by most: Oleana, Clio, Salts, Franklin Cafe, Grotto, Ten Tables, and Pigalle.
Here are few semi-recent threads that might help also:
Also, if you're only going to be in town for a weekend, you might want to avoid the North End. You can also search the board by cuisines and get better results than your hometown's board - which, I'm heading to this weekend and I'd love your suggestions for the best, inexpensive (entrees < $20) places to try. I'm not dissing the Montreal board... I'm only saying that this board seems more active and likely to get recent results when searching.
Having been to Montreal, you'll be pleasantly surprised at all the different types of cuisine Boston has to offer. I was amazed at the abundance of awesome restaurants in your city and can't wait to return. The North End has an array of mostly very good Itailian places. If it's quality steak you desire, try Capital Grille, Smith and Wollensky or Morton's. All a little pricey, but excellent fare. Before you leave Montreal, check out the Phantom Gourmet website... www.phantomgourmet.com
re: Gary Grill
I wouldn't bother with the Phanton Gourmet website. You'll find a wealth of opinions here from honest customers. If you insist on checking it out, do so with this thread in mind: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/329988
For a real Boston experience, be sure to get some fried clams and a lobster roll. You can find recs here. I'd offer some but anything I'd recommend would be out of the downtown area and you're not going to wan to travel if you'e only here for a weekend.