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Wednesday lunch in Boston/Cambridge

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I'm a relocated Bostonian, living in North Carolina the last 3 years. I haven't been back up to Boston in about a year, but will be there this week for the Red Sox home opener! Most of my time there will revolve around being at the games and seeing friends at our old haunts. Which aren't necessarily the same places I'd go for great food. My only food-focused outing is Wednesday lunch. If it was dinner, I'd likely be thinking about revisiting some places that have some memories for me -- 647 Tremont, Franklin Cafe, Sage, Craigie Street or maybe the Blue Room. Or I might take the opportunity to try Rendezvous, as it's right around the corner from where I'm staying. Obviously none of these are options for lunch -- I mention them to give an idea of what I'm looking for. Any good ideas for a Wednesday lunch where we can have some great food and wine. I'm looking for somewhere either in Harvard Square, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, or the North End. Thanks for your help

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  1. Some ideas from my list of newish or recently-refreshed places, plus a couple that aren't that new but maybe you missed:

    South End -- Pops (brand-new, beautiful, value-priced New American/Eclectic), Petit Robert Bistro II (modest traditional urban French), Orinoco (cool, tiny Venezuelan), Toro (good Spanish tapas, a bit crazy-packed), 28 Degrees (trendy lounge/restaurant with good small plates), Union Bar and Grill (handsome upscale New American with great service and cocktails, recently made its menu more affordable)

    North End -- La Brace (mid-priced Italian chophouse: great grilled meats, excellent pasta and seafood, but some downhill murmurs here lately), MarcO (upmarket Roman cuisine); Sage is in the process of moving to the old Caffe Umbra space in the South End, but its North End location is still open, I believe.

    Kendall Square -- Anise (upscale, authentic Sichuan with good cocktails)

    Central Square -- Green Street (no-longer-divey value-priced American, great cocktails), Rendezvous (excellent value, upmarket New American, great service, good cocktails)

    Harvard Square -- OM (occasionally brilliant if uneven Eclectic, cool atmosphere, so-so service), Tamarind Bay (creative but authentic Indian, haven't been back lately, so can't confirm recent downhill reports I saw here)

    Fenway -- Trattoria Toscana (modest, authentic, superb Tuscan and other Italian, maybe my favorite mid-priced restaurant in town), Eastern Standard (brasserie French, American, Italian, great cocktails)

    Back Bay -- Sorellina (slightly overpriced, chic, creative Italian, great apps and pastas), Douzo (upscale Japanese in a good-looking room, good sushi)

    JP -- Ten Tables (outstanding value for French-influenced New American under a new chef, tiny and extraordinary), Alchemist Lounge (new hipster bar with good modest food, great cocktails)

    Beacon Hill -- Bin 26 (excellent, buzzing wine bar with good small plates)

    Downtown -- Good Life (suddenly interesting with a chef grabbed from the North Street Grill, doing pretty much what he did there: excellent creative pizzas, sandwiches, salads, pastas at nice prices).

    3 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Those are all open for lunch? Really? Good news. Maybe I'll try tentables this week!!!

      1. re: gyppielou

        Oof, sorry, I missed that part of the OP's request; I now notice that "lunch" is in the title, too. Derrr. Many of the places I mentioned are *not* open for lunch, including Ten Tables, I'm afraid.

        Here are some recent recommendations I made for some nice lunch places I like: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/388589

      2. re: MC Slim JB

        For Harvard Square, there's also Upstairs on the Square.

      3. neptune oyster in the north end is new, terrific and owned and operated by a very nice guy. extremely creative chef, interesting wine list.

        bin 26 enoteca on beacon hill, as mentioned by mcslim, is open for lunch, and i love it there.

        pops in the south end is getting great buzz, but i've not yet been.