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NY Chowhounds just moved to Boston - what are your neighborhood favorites?

Help! We just moved to Boston (living in the financial dist temporarily) - wondering what your favorite restaurants are. As in NY, I'm sure it will be easy to find the great splurges so would specifically love your tried and true favorites. Went to B&G Oyster last night and liked alot. We will eat anything as long as food is good, fresh and consistent. Thanks so much...we're so excited to eat in your city.

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  1. I think Boston has exceptionally good...
    Pizza: Pizzeria Regina, Santarpio's, Umberto Galleria, Emma's (each with a unique, interesting atmosphere)
    Indian: Tamarind Bay (the Zagat favorite), Kebab Factory, India Quality (and many others)

    From where you are, I think you should explore the North End and Chinatown, both within short walking distance, both offering lots of delights. And make sure to hit Formaggio Kitchen or at least South End Formaggio.

    6 Replies
    1. re: aventinus

      You've just thrown the gauntlet down. As a Native NYer who's lived in the area since 2000, no Boston pizza is still no match for a slice on the street from NYC. There's just something about it that just doesn't match what Boston can do. The only place that I found to have a good slice of cheese pizza that I acutally enjoyed was at a little place in Clevland Circle called Presto Pizza. Everything else was pretty much garbage.

      1. re: archer823

        From what I've seen on Chowhound, everyone thinks the pizza from where they grew up is the best. I didn't grow up in New York, and I like NYC pizza, but average New York pizza is as awful as average Boston pizza. Cheap, convienient, portable fuel, but nothing you'd go out of your way for, and nothing to boast about.

        There are a handful of standout pizza joints in every town. New York, being 13 times the size of Boston, maybe has 13 times as many standout pizza places. But a great Boston pie has as many virtues as a great New York pie. It boils down to a religious discussion: "my preferred style is better than your preferred style."

        1. re: archer823

          btw Archer, you should try Bostone PIzza on Newbury for a great NY style slice.

          1. re: archer823

            I actually have not spent more than a couple of weeks in NYC, and I certainly am not saying Boston has better pizza or Indian than NYC. I'm simply saying Boston has better pizza and Indian than most of the places I've lived (e.g., DC and LA). Those two categories and ice cream and Portuguese are the only ones I can say that about. I don't doubt NYC has better overall pizza.

            1. re: archer823

              Pino's Pizza in Clevland Cir is pretty good too. It's one of the few place my old roomie and I (both transplanted NYers) know we can find a reliable slice. Also passable is Same Old Place in JP, for pies.

              1. re: archer823

                I don't think aventinus said that the Boston pizza was BETTER than NYC pizza. Just that those that s/he mentioned had their own unique atmosphere.

                And everything that MC Slim JB said. :-)

            2. Your first assignment is to compare B&G Oysters to Neptune Oyster in the North End. Both have lots of proponents. I fall in the latter camp; think it's simply unique. Your second, I agree w/ Aventinus, is to visit Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge. Until FK opened a branch in NY, it was one of our major claims to superiority--and hey, it's still the flagship. Your third depends a lot on what you mean by "neighborhood favorites." Are you saying you're looking for the whole package--good food, truth to locality, etc.?

              4 Replies
              1. re: tatamagouche

                Tatamagouche, we took your assignment and went to Neptune Oyster last night...it was soooooooo delcious. The only bad thing is they ran out of lobster rolls - maybe a positive otherwise I wouldn't have tried anything else there...so I can't compare to B&G but will be back very soon. I had the red snapper with pecans and soft bread - I have NEVER had red snapper this tasty and fresh. My boyfriend had the sturgeon and our friend had the monk fish...everything was superb and totally unique - just as everyone has said here. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

                1. re: gramercyfoodie

                  I live around the corner from Neptune, but I'm moving away soon--and the first time it occurred to me that I'd be leaving Neptune, I literally had second thoughts about the relocation, even though I'm moving for love. Hey, lovers come and go, but fried oysters with pickled beef tongue are forever.

                  Anyway, glad you enjoyed it.

                  1. re: tatamagouche

                    Awwww... you will be missed, but I think you're making the right call. You can visit any time. We'll hold your seat at the bar.

                    To keep it chowcentric, is the oyster/beef tongue dish always on the menu? Or is it a special?

                    1. re: yumyum

                      Aw, thanks! Not a signature, sadly...

              2. First, leave the financial district. Great choices include:

                King Fung Garden, Chinatown
                Toro, South End
                Central Kitchen, Cambridge
                East Coast Grill, Cambridge
                Neptune Oyster, North End
                Eastern Standard, Kenmore Square (not during Red Sox home game)

                Formaggio Kitchen, Cambridge is really amazing (South End is OK and a long walk from financial district)

                Ice cream is another highlight here -- Christina's, Toscanini's, and Herrell's all merit a try (JP Licks and Lizzy's do not fall in this tier based on my experience).

                Further afield, try the Clam Box in Ipswich, Farfar's Ice Cream in Duxbury, and the Lobster Pool in Rockport/Gloucester.

                If you're lucky with the lousy search function that it seems will never be fixed, you can find lots of details and recs for all of these.

                5 Replies
                1. re: rlh

                  Thanks so much everyone - I should have said we are happy to travel to all neighborhoods.
                  Tatamagouche - when I say neighborhood favorite I mean favorites in each neighborhood a step down from fussy white table cloths but not necessarily truth to locality...however, I'd accept any and all rec's! Thanks again.

                  1. re: gramercyfoodie

                    FWIW, you do have a couple of decent options in the FD: Sultan's Kitchen (Turkish luncheonette), Sel de la Terre (modern Provencal), which sometimes gets mixed reviews but which I've relied on wholeheartedly even for some special occasions, and o ya, a PRICEY but precious sushi bar.

                    A quick, arbitrary (first that come to mind) list of other nabe faves, all of which you'll find tons of posts on:

                    North End: Neptune Oyster (raw bar/seafood w/ very adventurous chef), Taranta (Southern Italian–Peruvian), Maurizio's (Sardinian-leaning), Antico Forno (simple, hearty)

                    South End: POPS (still new; it's a whole package thing--adorable, very friendly, solid affordable food), Metropolis Cafe (POPS before POPS came to be), Toro

                    Central Square/Cambridge: Rendezvous (Med), Baraka Cafe (North African), River Gods (super-funky bar)

                    Inman Square/Cambridge: East Coast Grill (seafood/BBQ), O Cantinho (Portuguese cafe), Christina's Ice Cream

                  2. re: rlh

                    How can you mention Rockport/Gloucester and not mention Helmut's Streudle in Rockport?

                    1. re: SLL1065

                      With all due respect, the struedel at Helmut's arrives by truck each day in cardboard trays.

                    2. re: rlh

                      Clam Box is amazing! They serve some of the best fried clams I've tried in New England. Also try Horton's Seafood down in East Providence, RI. The drives to both places are worth it.

                    3. My current favorite low-key, inexpensive-to-moderately priced restaurants are:

                      Garden at the Cellar- a pretty gastro pub on Mass Ave between Harvard and Central Sq in Cambridge

                      The B-Side Lounge- kind of a dark, hipster-ish diner with a great bar in East Cambridge. Terrific cocktails and some good, fresh food. Try the Sidecars.

                      Johnny D's - half bar, half earthy restaurant with good, cheap brunches, good vegetarian options, and music some nights. In Davis Sq. in Somerville.

                      The Diesel Cafe, also in Davis Sq. is a great coffeehouse with a kind of industrial atmosphere but comfy seating and good snacks and sandwiches.

                      I agree about ice cream (and sea food) being Boston's claim to fame. Toscanini's on Main St. in Cambridge is unbeatable for ice cream.

                      I would agree about the pizza if you weren't from NY, where there's great pizza on every corner. You'll probably only be happy with Pizzeria Regina in the North End (the satellite locations are quite inferior). Emma's Pizza in East Cambridge is also good and might satisfy you in a different way.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pollystyrene

                        you guys are wonderful - thanks so much - keep them coming!

                      2. You've gotten some really wonderful suggestions above.

                        Might also try some ethnic spots in Allston/Brighton: Reef Cafe (Middle Eastern), Carlo's Cucina (Italian), Shanghai Gate (Shanghai regional Chinese), Jasmine Bistro (more or less Hungarian), Aneka Rasa (Malay), and Rangoli (Indian, with some southern examples of this cuisine).

                        In Brookline, there's some worthy Thai (Dok Bua, Khao Sarn), sushi (Super Fusion, Tsunami, Ginza, Fugakyu), Indian (Rani), Turkish (Brookline Family Restaurant), and shawarma type spots (Rami's for kosher and Shawarma King for non-kosher).

                        Best sushi I've ever had in Boston (or anywhere else) is at the Chestnut Hill outpost of Oishii. It's tiny, though.

                        For old fashioned Yankee cooking, Durgin Park in Faneuil Hall is the best option (best version of Indian pudding with ice cream). For fancy and very expensive Boston Brahmin fare, Locke Ober is the spot to go (lobster stew is great).

                        A couple other South End musts at the reasonable end of the price range: Franklin Cafe (excellent neighborhood place that's also open late), Addis Red Sea (Ethiopian), Picco (best Boston area ice cream not also based in Cambridge).

                        A couple other reasonably priced places in the North End, all Italian: Giacomo's (also in the South End), Daily Catch.

                        Other worthy possibilities in Chinatown: Hei La Moon, China Pearl, Chau Chow City, or Emperor's Garden (dim sum), Peach Farm, East Ocean City, or New Jumbo Seafood (Chinese seafood), Pearl Villa or Hong Kong Eatery (more standard Chinese), Pho Pasteur, Xinh Xinh, or Pho Hoa (Vietnamese), Taiwan Cafe (Taiwanese), Penang (Malay), Shabu-Zen (Japanese hot pot).