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A Romantic Getaway For 2 Foodies -- Need Recs!

n
nader Jun 6, 2007 10:33 AM

Hi all, and thanks in advance for any and all help.

The plan we have so far is to spend 2 days in Boston and 2 days in the Cape Cod/Nantucket/Martha's Vineyard (not decided yet!) areas. For the Boston portion of the trip, we'll be staying at the Hotel at MIT in Cambridge.

We are both grad students, so budgets are a little (but not too) tight. We think $5-10 for breakfast, $15-20 for lunch and $30-40 for dinner are what we can afford per person. We eat any and all types of food, but are really looking for Boston specialties here (chowder, pizza, etc).

We need ideas for:
Day 1 (Friday)
lunch near Harvard/MIT area
dinner near Newbury Street/Public Gardens
drinks afterwards

Day 2 (Saturday)
breakfast near the hotel (Cambridge area)
lunch near Boston Common
dinner near Faneuil Hall or by the waterfront - MUST BE A SEAFOOD FEAST!!!
drinks afterwards

We don't mind traveling a little to get to a really great spot for food, but nothing that really sets us off course! Any other ideas (esp. where to go afterwards!) are appreciated too!

  1. gini Jun 6, 2007 01:38 PM

    If Neptune is too spensive and the waterfront is a must, I've read some good reviews about the fried seafood and patio at Barking Crab recently.

    Lunch near the Common - what about dim sum or Chinese one of the days? Hei La Moon and Chow Chow City are the most consistent, with China Pearl getting a fair showing recently. Or you could go to Taiwan Cafe for either brunch or some of their great menu.

    Dinner in that area (other than Chinatown) could be at Silvertone (American comfort food), or you could hoof it to the South End (not too far depending on where you end up) and try some of their more reasonable options.

    5 Replies
    1. re: gini
      t
      twentyoystahs Jun 6, 2007 01:48 PM

      I agree about the Barking Crab; probably your best bet. If you want a "down home" New England seafood dinner with chowder and lobster, this is the closest you're gonna get in Boston. Believe it or not, there are lots of places like this both south and north of Boston --famous little clam/seafood shacks along many of the coastal towns --and if you do a search on chowhound you can find lots of recs --but you'll need a car. The city of Boston doesn't really support these types of spots....

      1. re: gini
        JSchwo7 Jun 6, 2007 01:52 PM

        The Barking Crab is always a good time. And as far as lunch near the common, try the Parrish Cafe. The menu is made up of sandwiches, entrees, and even drinks invented by Boston chefs.

        1. re: JSchwo7
          t
          twentyoystahs Jun 6, 2007 02:04 PM

          Parish Cafe is a great lunch suggestion. Great sandwiches and interesting beers on tap. On Boylston St near the Common & you can walk along Newbury Street after if you want...

          1. re: JSchwo7
            c
            Cheffrank Jun 7, 2007 04:39 AM

            Has the Barking Crab improved recently? I agree that it is a great place for a drink and (maybe) an app or two but my food experiences there have been forgettable at best. Legals Test Kitchen is nearby and I have heard so so reviews there but it might be fun to see new technology at work in a restaurant. Just my 2 cents.

            1. re: Cheffrank
              t
              twentyoystahs Jun 7, 2007 06:40 AM

              No Barking Crab hasn't improved, that I know of. It is what it is. Fried fish, chowder, lobster in the rough. Certainly not spectacular but not bad either.
              But the OP specifically asked for a "down-home seafood dinner" place and I wouldn't put LTK or the original Legal's in that category. Or Neptune or B&G either.

        2. n
          nader Jun 6, 2007 01:05 PM

          Thanks for all the ideas!

          The plan so far is:
          lunch at Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage
          breakfast at Miracle of Science
          dinner at Neptune Oyster's

          So... I still need ideas for a lunch and dinner near Newbury St/Public Gardens/Boston Common that isn't Italian. And in case Neptune Oyster's is too pricey (their menu isn't online yet!), can anyone recommend a "down-home" New England seafood dinner with lots of good chowder and lobster?

          Thanks!

          4 Replies
          1. re: nader
            j
            joestrummer Jun 6, 2007 01:30 PM

            For drinks at night, if the weather is nice, I would recommend Dante in the Royal Sonesta Hotel on the Charles River.
            Not far from your hotel, with patio overlooking the river with city views.
            It's expensive but the walk along the charles afterwards is free and que romantico!
            If the swan boats in the Public Gardens aren't too crowded that's also a romantic escapade for probably pennies per kiss.

            1. re: nader
              e
              emilief Jun 6, 2007 02:17 PM

              Excellent dinner near the public gardens is Troquet- although it may be slightly out of your price range, but ok if you do just an entree and drinks.

              1. re: nader
                b
                bachslunch Jun 6, 2007 06:01 PM

                Coming in late to this thread, and so far you've gotten some good suggestions.

                1. wasn't aware that Miracle of Science does breakfast, though they do good quality pub grub for lunch or dinner. If MoS doesn't do this meal, a decent breakfast alternative in the area would be Brookline Lunch.

                2. lunch options in the Newbury Street/Public Gardens/Boston Common area: try Parish Cafe for great sandwiches, Trident Bookstore Cafe, or head to Chinatown (Gini's suggestions for dim sum are very good). Chinatown is also a great spot for dinner, with options such as King Fung Garden (the cheapest of all these), Peach Farm, Hong Kong Eatery, East Ocean City, New Jumbo Seafood, Grand Chow Chau, or Pearl Villa (all Chinese), Pho Pasteur, Xinh Xinh, or Pho Hoa (all Vietnamese), Penang (Malay), or Shabu Zen or Ginza (Japanese).

                3. good quality down-home New England seafood, especially at a decent price, is surprisingly tough to find in Boston. I'm not at all fond of Barking Crab, myself. Legal Seafood is better but notably more expensive, and it has its detractors on this board. No Name sits somewhere between these in price and quality. And Summer Shack is lousy and pricey. I'd stick with Neptune Oyster, regardless of cost (having dinner at King Fung Garden will likely leave enough money in your pocket to afford the moderate splurge).

                1. re: nader
                  k
                  kbw18 Jun 7, 2007 10:22 AM

                  Alternative to Neptune Oyster: The Daily Catch on Hanover St. in the North End. Reasonably priced and amazingly good Italian seafood specialties. The weather is warmer, so the wait outside on the street should be pleasant.

                  Lunch near Public Gardens: Parish Cafe on Boylston Street near the corner of Arlington St. has sandwiches designed by Boston's best known chefs, and a wonderful outdoor patio right on Boylston Street (unfortunately next to a large construction area right now). If you want to eat a picnic lunch on the Boston Common, Felafel King is a great hole-in-the-wall lunch counter on Winter Street near Downtown Crossing (no seating).

                  New England seafood dinner: you may be out of luck in Boston for the real thing, unless you're interested in trying Legal Sea Foods. But No Name restaurant on Fish Pier does all of the local specialties well and is a long time institution (stick to simple - they falter if pushed too far). The Barking Crab is the same thing for more money, but you're eating outside on a dock in a wonderful fun atmosphere - and sometimes that's worth it.

                2. d
                  DoubleMan Jun 6, 2007 10:40 AM

                  My only solid recommendation, which I am sure will be echoed by others, is to go to Neptune Oyster for dinner on Saturday.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: DoubleMan
                    n
                    nader Jun 6, 2007 11:10 AM

                    I think that's a good bet, especially considering all the reviews its been getting.
                    So let's scratch off Saturday night's dinner... Neptune Oyster it is! Now, how about drinks near the waterfront that night....

                    1. re: nader
                      Joanie Jun 6, 2007 11:18 AM

                      Intrigue in the Boston Harbor Hotel has outdoor seating. The other two bars in the hotel are nice and if Meritage is still serving those homemade veggie chips as I think someone said they are, I'd plunk down at that bar for a nice glass of wine. The Miracle of Science just outside Central Sq. serves breakfast, brunch and lunch, just kind of across from the hotel, so an option for two of your questions. Via Matta and Teatro would work for the Newbury/Public Gardens request. Not too bad a price, esp. if you split pastas and apps and such. Drinks at No. 9 Park. Or Silvertone downtown if you want something livelier. Or the Via Matta bar, or Davio's bar across the street.

                      1. re: Joanie
                        t
                        twentyoystahs Jun 6, 2007 11:29 AM

                        I second the Miracle of Science rec. Great burgers there and a fun vibe.
                        Teatro is a great choice for your Fri night dinner. It overlooks Boston Common (tho' no views from inside the restaurant..) Fun, lively Italian spot with good food and atmosphere. Pretty reasonably priced too. Definitely get the antipasto to start, lots of interesting tastes and fun to share. The pasta dishes are all excellent too. You could grab drinks at No 9 Park before-hand..it's a swanky restaurant with some of the best bartending in the city...also overlooks the common (on the other side, abt a 7 minute walk to Teatro.)
                        For lunch I might recommend a restaurant in the North End --do you guys like pizza? Pizzeria Regina (the original, in the N.E) is one of Boston's best. You might want to do this on a different day than the Neptune Oyster Bar dinner, just 'cause they are in the same neighborhood.
                        I will let others chime in on good places for drinks afterwards, for both nights. Have fun!

                        1. re: twentyoystahs
                          n
                          nader Jun 6, 2007 12:24 PM

                          Sorry to mention this a little late, but we're not big fans of Italian for some reason. We do, however, love pizza - which we will do at Regina Pizzeria (the address I have is on Thatcher St. - is that right?).

                          Also, does anyone here recommend Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage over Miracle of Science for burgers on the first day?

                          1. re: nader
                            b
                            Bostonbob3 Jun 6, 2007 12:42 PM

                            Yeah, Regina's is at 11 1/2 Thacher (no second "t).

                            Neighborhood/local tip: if there's a long line outside, just walk right past everyone and grab a seat at the bar. If you don't mind eating at the bar. I like it because I never have to wait, and you can see them making the pizzas from there.

                            Another hint: order your pizza well-done. It's best that way at Regina's, with those delicious scorch marks and crispier crust.

                            1. re: nader
                              t
                              Taralli Jun 6, 2007 01:56 PM

                              Depends if you want something stronger than a soft drink w/your burger. No license at BBC. I'd go to MOS across the street from your hotel.

                              1. re: nader
                                j
                                joestrummer Jun 7, 2007 03:01 PM

                                No, I wouldn't recommend Bartley's over MOS, just for atmospheric reasons.
                                Bartley's is usually crowded and loud. MOS is very laid back.
                                And what's a burger without a beer, really?
                                Had a great burger and beer for $15 , good tip included, the other day.

                          2. re: nader
                            b
                            BostonBarGuy Jun 6, 2007 12:47 PM

                            Be sure to get to Neptune early, especially on Saturday. You will love Neptune. Also, be aware that the bill can easily creep above your stated price preference. Have a great weekend.

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