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Opinions needed - Visitors from England looking for restaurant suggestions

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My friend's parents are coming over from Sheffield, England this week and will be staying for a month! I've been asked to provide some good restaurant suggestions with this as guidance: "likes all food so everyting is fair game particularly stuff that they are unlikely to get in England". I figured I should go to the experts on chowhound for this one. What would you suggest?

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  1. Food "unlikely to get in England" = nearly everything!? Stay away from the Irish pubs and curry houses and I think you'll find plenty.

    My current top five:

    Vinny's at Night
    Santarpio's
    Neighborhood Restaurant (weekend brunch)
    East Coast Grill
    Dok Bua

    1. Seafood! Lobsters, shore dinners, clambakes, etc.
      Combine with an outing to the North Shore - Portuguese places for that style of seafood; various clam shacks; Chinese-style seafood in Chinatown at Jumbo or Taiwan Café.

      1 Reply
      1. re: peregrine

        Besides clam shacks and Portugese, I'm surprised no one's added some sort of Mexican (Tu y Yo, El Pelon, Ole for starters). Bring them for a cubano at Chez Henri for nice or to JP for casual. My English via Ireland friend loved Regina. Also BBQ somewhere, I guess East Coast could serve that function or Firefly's (I'm thinking of places where you can sit and relax). I'd add Charlie's Sadnwich Shoppe and some diners, you don't see that much over there.

      2. As an Englishman, food I'll miss when I go back includes good seafood, good beef, Vietnamese, and Ethiopian. I'd suggest a drink/bar food at the Top of the Hub - yes it's overpriced, but the view counts as "unlikely to get in England".

        1. To add to the list:

          Bob's Southern Bistro
          Magnolia's

          Also, although you might not think it's a good idea, my English friends are STILL talking (two years later) about when I took them to Bugaboo Creek. The steaks are good, the kitschy atmosphere is definitely an American experience. It might seem tired and cliche to us, but it's all new to them. Sort of like someone from London wondering what all the fuss is about Wagamama opening here.

          Redbone's BBQ
          A dining car diner, like Town Line in Watertown, or the Wheelhouse in Quincy. I don't think the dining car experience ever made it out of the US.

          Durgin Park

          1. Uniquely American experiences (semi-Boston specific) for a Brit:
            Your favorite steakhouse (plenty to choose from Ruth's Chris, Abe & Louie's, etc.)
            Mue Que Ca (Brazilian)
            Ole (Mexican)
            Firefly's (BBQ)
            Magnolia's (New Orleans)
            Boston Beer Works (Burgers & Fries and hopefully a rowdy Sox game)
            Cracker Barrel (old school southern / midwest)
            Giacomo's North End(American style old school Italian)
            Toscanini's Ice cream and a walk through Harvard SQ
            Blue Ginger (upscale Asian fusion)
            Speed's Hot Dog (if you can find him)

            2 Replies
            1. re: InmanSQ Girl

              Good rec's.
              For clam shacks near Boston I'd recommend Tony's or the Clam Box on Wollaston Beach in Quincy.
              Great harbor and city views.
              Of course you'd get a more New England experience at one of the North shore places.

              If they're spry I'd definitely take them around Fenway during a game, but I'd recommend a beer at the Cask and Flagon or Baseball Tavern and a little dining al fresco from one of the sausage stands.

              For burgers and fries I'd suggest Sullivan's at Castle Island.
              Historic and scenic area and could be a nice counterbalance to an expensive dinner.
              Can't spend a month in Boston without visiting the Irish Riviera

              1. re: joestrummer

                Castle Island burger and fries is definitely a historic and scenic experience, but not exactly amazing taste-wise. I mean I liked the dogs and fries (frozen, crinkle cut) there as much as the next guy, but be forewarned it's not exactly a culinary sensation.

            2. Find them some good steaks, whatever else you do. While English food is overly criticized in this country, there is no doubt that American beef is superior to English beef.

              Then do yourself a favor when you go to England, and get some lamb, which is equally superior to American lamb.

              1 Reply
              1. re: zebedee

                For some unique and wonderfully prepared local seaffood I would suggest a trip to Winchester to try the Catch Restaurant. Small restaurant with excellent seafood and very nice wine list. Catch is an upscale dining experience but compared to prices in the UK I think you guests will certainly enjoy. It will also give the chance to get a bit outside the city too.

              2. Clams Shacks on the North Shore
                Steak (I'm certain almost anyone can recommend this better than I)
                Central or South American - think Mucequa in Inman for Brazilian, Rincon Limeno in East Boston for Peruvian, or maybe cheap and simple tacos at Tacos Lupita (Porter Square) or Taqueria El Amigo (Waltham).
                Neptune Oyster in the North End showcases local seafood quite well. B&G in the South End would also do. Both these restaurants are also in unique neighborhoods.
                East Coast Grill would also highlight seafood as well as bbq.

                3 Replies
                1. re: gini

                  Thanks everyone! This really helped me identify some cuisines I hadn't thought of being unique to Englanders! I'm sure with all these reccomendations they'll have plenty of choices and a great Boston experience!

                  1. re: sonicchef

                    Ditto on the steaks, say my English husband.
                    Also, whenever his family is over, they are all over the ice cream 24/7 - English ice cream is crap and they love our Boston ice cream!
                    Plus, Redbones. I don't love their food, but their beer and atmosphere is the best.

                    1. re: obie119

                      Don't underestimate the charm of "family" and chain restaurants for a Brit. The stereotype of U.S. food in the U.K. is that you get massive portions, and this is one way to guarantee it.

                      I took my mother to various places I think are good; she found IHOP on her own and preferred it to everything, apart from Sugar and Spice in Porter Square which we visited just a few too many times for my liking. But, it sounds like these people are more adventurous.

                      Sushi is routinely much better here than you will find in most parts of the U.K.

                      Mexican, beyond a few Chilis dotted around the country, is also almost nonexistent. And since Chilis is barely Tex Mex, anything here is a revelation.
                      In fact Mexican is the single thing you just can't get anything like in the U.K. I strongly recommend this and to ply them with proper margaritas.

                      I can say from personal experience that U.S. gourmet burgers are beyond all expectation for Brits, and that can be good and bad. The idea of a burger you order like a steak is unexpected, as is the quantity of meat involved. If they don't like that (and I waver myself), Flat Patties in Harvard Square is a nice non-chain representation of the kind of burger Brits are used to.

                      Lobster is incredibly expensive, fairly rare, and essentially poor and misunderstood in the U.K., so that would be a good option.

                      Pizza and other Italian food can be pretty good in the U.K., but Italian-American style food the like of which is nicely commodified by Vinnie T's could be an enjoyable option, or any of the home-style restaurants in the North End.

                      And Frappes. Bigtime. For me, anyway.

                      Don't take them anywhere for fish and chips, especially since they are northerners. They will just laugh at it. Ditto Indian food.