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Back Bay & North End Lunches

Hello -

First time poster to Chowhound but always love reading the reviews. I live in Chicago and I am going to be in Boston for just one night for work. I am staying in the Back Bay. I am looking for suggestions for a lunch spot fairly close by my hotel - the Hilton. I am willing to walk a little but need something that won't take too long as I don't have time for a leisurely lunch when I first arrive. I have reviewed lots of postings and it's clear that the food in the area is not the best and overpriced.

I have narrowed it down to a few options and would be interested in some feedback or additional recommendations.

Piattini on Newbury
Parish Café
Flour Bakery on Washington- this looks pretty close. Is it walkable?

I am also planning to have lunch in the north end the day I leave to head back to Chicago. Here are my options. I would love feedback.

Giacomos – open for dinner?
Prezza – open for dinner?
Antico Forno
Pizzaria Regina
Galleria Umberto
Neptune Oyster

Any suggestions for a quick breakfast spot near my hotel or on the way to the ICA? Something simple - just a place to grab a pastry/coffee.

Thanks!

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  1. of your choices, i don't believe piatinni is open for lunch. flour is great, but probably a 15-20 minute walk from the hilton. parish is very good. brasserie jo is very close to your hotel (alsatian) and quite nice.

    your north end selections are good, but most are not open for lunch. neptune is one of my favorite restaurants in boston and would be my top pick on your list.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Thanks for your feedback.

      Back Bay - Piattini on New Bury is open for lunch. At least they have a lunch menu on their website but I can't find anything about hours.

      I don't mind the walk for Flour if its worth it. It seems like it just counter service so I can make up the time by not having a true sit down meal.

      We have Brassiere Jo in Chicago so I would prefer to try a local place. It is very good though.

      North End - are you referring to Giacomos and Prezza not being open for dinner? I believe the others are open for lunch. I know Neptune is so it's good to hear that it is such a top choice of yours.

      Thanks!

      1. re: bmccadas

        i'm sorry if i misread your post. it says you're having lunch in the north end...

      2. re: hotoynoodle

        Except for Giacomo's & Prezza, all of those are indeed open for lunch (in fact Umberto is only open for lunch). The Newbury Piattini used to be. I'm with hotoynoodle that Neptune is exceptional, but the other 3 are very good too.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Piattini on Newbury is open for lunch...I go all the time.
          I'm actually taking my admin there for lunch tomorrow.

          it's EXCELLENT

        2. Flour just opened a new location off Congress Street in Fort Point which is on your way from the Back Bay to the ICA. Flour doesn't do eggs for breakfast, but they have great pastries. The Fort Point Flour to the ICA is very walkable (not sure what day you are in town by they are closed on Sundays).

          1. Flour is a hike and while it's counter service, it might be tough to sit and eat. Altho if it's nice, the park would work. You can always grab a burger at Abe & Louie's which is fairly well liked on this board. And the buffet at Bhindi Bazaar is pretty good and quick. Those are both closer than others mentioned.

            If you can go at a slightly off time, P. Regina wouldn't be a problem for lunch. Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe isn't too far from your hotel on Columbus and is a Boston experience for breakfast. Other Side Cafe probably has some breakfast stuff. For just pastries, there's a cafe in the food court of the Prudential that's not bad. Plus the ubiquitous Au Bon Pain.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Joanie

              the op doesn't say if she'll have dining companions. regina's is no good if you're alone.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                I will be alone. So maybe Antico Forno or Neptunes for lunch in the north end are my best bets?

                Thanks for the information about the other Flour Bakery. That's perfect! I will be in town Wednesday to Thursday so I am okay on the ICA.

                I have to be at 60 State Street for a 3:30 pm. Any good lunch spots near there? I could bypass eating my hotel and head to this area instead. It's a pretty touristy area as well so I thought I would have better options in the Back Bay.

                1. re: bmccadas

                  I would DEFINITELY go to Neptune's for lunch. You can grab a seat at the bar, have a leisurely lunch, and feel totally at ease dining there alone. You'll get some delicious Boston seafood and have an opportunity to be in the heart of the North End. It gets much more crowded in the evening and even tho you'd be solo it'd be tougher to snag a seat at the bar.
                  I think Flour is great, and it fits the bill perfectly for a coffee and delicous pastry...
                  Re your State Street meeting --that could be the day you go to Neptune, the North End is probably only a 10 minute walk from 60 State Street. If you're looking for something different, (and more casual) you could grab a chilean sandwich at a local stand in downtown crossing (abt 5 minutes from 60 state street)....it's called Chacacero, if you do a seach on the board you'll find LOTS of praise and posts on this spot. One of my favorites and definitely something you can't find anywhere. Hope this helps.

                2. re: hotoynoodle

                  Depends on your appetite.
                  Kidding. Sort of.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    Most of the people I know can eat most of a small pie at Regina's.

                  2. re: Joanie

                    Flour in Fort Point is not a hike to the ICA. And it is counter service but it has a much larger seating area than the Flour in the South End. Flour would be good for breakfast before the ICA, not the business lunch.

                  3. Piattini is your best option in Back Bay. I absolutely love that restaurant and think that it is completely underrated! I usually stray away from Newbury street restaurants, but this one is actually really good!

                    In the north end, i LOVE antico forno! very casual and very authentic!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: NiKoLe1625

                      Thanks for all of the feedback. I will report back on my experiences when I return.

                    2. Pagliuca's in the North End is my is my personal favorite restaurant in the NE, last I new there lunch menu was half price but it has been a few years since I have been there for lunch.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Kcjones106

                        I just wanted to report back on my trip to Boston. Here is where I ended up. My travel plans were changed because of flight delays so my time in Boston didn't turn out as expected.

                        Pizzaria Regina - Veryy good. Not what I expected but good none the less. I prefer less cheese and a thinner cross so it was really more of an issue of my personal preferences.

                        Flour - I had a tasty lunch here. Good sandwiches, great cookies. I ended up taking a loaf of their multi-grain home on the plain with me and just finished the last slice today. Delicious! Very similiar to a couple of bakeries/cafes in Chicago.

                        Giacomos - had a wonderful late night dinner there. Homemade pasta with lobster and shrimp. Excellent.

                        Rachel's Kitchen - I had a tasty egg sandwich here and walk over to the gardens to enjoy it. What a bargain!

                        Thanks for all of your suggestions!