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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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).
South End- Franklin Cafe is an awsome little spot serving dinner till 130 am every night (which by the way is late here in Boston). Good food at a reasonable value. Steak Frites for 25 bucks with a nice 30-35 dollar bottle of wine, a good late night dinner.
North End- Personal Favorite is not italian, but rather Neptune Oyster. Great selection of Oysters and other raw bar items, very creative and well executed food in this tiny and casual spot. The neptune burger is very good and a great deal (i think about 12, including fried oysters). One of my favorite restaurants in Boston. Do Lunch here.
Chinatown- I don't really hear about it too much on this board but I think Ginza does a fairly good job for sushi, and especially late night when not too much is happening in Boston. Good Maki roll selection and edamame is a great starter.
Cambridge- Formaggio Kitchen. Awsome. Go at lunch time get a sandwich, some cheese, maybe a bottle of wine, and some fresh fruit. Great little shop. For a more typical meal try out Rendevous or Central Kitchen in Central Square. Both are fairly hip, good food, and moderatley priced(but far from cheap).
Not Boston- Arlington- Blue Ribbon BBQ- great selection of BBQ with differenet styles. Platters are about 10 bucks, come with excellent sides, and the BBQ is usually the best you will find in Boston. NC pulled pork is my personal fav. 15 minute drive from Boston.
Ipswich- The Clam Box- Fried Native Clams, Other Fried Seafood, Onion Rings, Fries, Soft Drinks, thats about it. Cool place, a bit of a haul, but worth the stop if you want to head up to the beach in Ipswich, which is highly recommended.
Medford/Revere Beach-Kelly's is a kinda local chain that started at revere beach that has roast beef, seafood, and other quality sandwiches. A good step up from fast food. I recommend the Reuben. Always a wise choice.
Let's add another neighborhood to the mix: Fenway/Kenmore.
Kenmore Square used to be a bunch of dives but has changed markedly in recent years. Check out:
Eastern Standard - A board favorite
India Quality - Best Indian in Boston
Petit Robert Bistro - Great French bistro fare
Going west from the Square on Beacon St., check out:
Audobon Circle - Way above average pub grub.
Elephant Walk - Cambodian/French.
Taberna de Haro - Good tapas.
In the Fenway (across the Pike), check out:
Trattoria Toscana - My Favorite. Great Tuscan food.
Brown Sugar Cafe - Popular Thai. Across Jersey St. from TT.
Peterborough St between Jersey and Kilmarnock - There are several neighborhood type places with good food and reasonable prices.
Avoid this entire area before Red Sox home games.
Welcome to Boston.
lots of good recs here already, but here's a couple more:
for the allston neighborhood, i'd also add in yi soon--a taiwanese bakery that's my fave in boston for chinese style baked treats. there's also a fairly good bubble tea place right nearby that has solid bubble tea and good tea eggs.
porter square in cambridge has a few attractions: the porter square exchange has a number of stall type restaurants and the best japanese market in town. i'm fairly lukewarm on the noodle joints, but cafe mami in the front has pretty good tokyo style street food such as tonkatsu and hamburg set meals. up the street a bit on mass ave is the greek corner, which has homey style and inexpensive greek food that isn't really worth a special trip but is a good option if you're in the neighborhood. also nearby porter are tacos lupita (a latino place with good tortas, pupusas, etc) and petsi's pies (a bakery with really excellent scones and tasty tarts).
near to inman square there is also the kebab factory, which doesn't seem to get a lot of mention here (though someone did previously bring it up in this thread) but in my opinion is one of the better indian places in town. i'm also a fan of some dishes (like the chaat selection) at punjabi dhaba in inman proper. a bit further along cambridge street close to inman is also new deal fish market, which to me is the best place to buy fish in the area.
if you're feeling like a road trip (or want to go just a little further after hitting formaggio's in cambridge), head to the 500 block of mount auburn street in watertown and check out arax and sevan markets. these are armenian places with great lamejun, taramasalata, baklava etc. relatively nearby is also shangri-la in belmont, which is a small taiwanese restaurant that has dim sum on weekends and interesting items like pig ear salad on the menu. there's also a nice little greek market called sophia's greek pantry in belmont with lots of greek specialty items like locanico (sp?) sausage.
down in south boston there's a great little polish restaurant called cafe polonia, which is certainly worth a look: http://www.cafepolonia.com/
lastly, since you're in the financial district you're fairly close to the waterfront so i'll bust out my recommendation that i've posted so many times that long time board readers i'm sure are completely tired of hearing about: on a nice summer day go to j. hook's, buy a couple lobster rolls, walk across the pedestrian bridge and go out by the water by the i.m. pei moakley courthouse and soak up the atmosphere.
re: passing thru
As long as we're talking Inman Square, that's a good place for Portuguese cuisine: O Cantinho is arguably the best option and has already been mentioned above, but there's also Casa Portugal, Sunset Cafe, and Portugalia, plus Muquesa for a different, seafood casserole based take on this cuisine. Atasca, O Cantinho's slightly more upscale cousin, is also excellent, located near Kendall Square.
And Porter Square has other ethnic options of varying worth, most notably Elephant Walk for Cambodian and, further north, Qingdao Garden for the most authentic Chinese in Cambridge.
re: passing thru
And if you go to Cafe Polonia, which I highly recommend, go across the street to the Baltic European Deli to stock up on a huge variety of wonderful kielbasa and bacons, as well as frozen packages of some of the restaurant specialties, such as stuffed cabbage or bigos (cabbage stew).
Antico Forno in the North End is the an affordable little spot in the NE that actually makes terrific food. Great oven baked dishes. A nice change from the pricery, mediocre tourist spots on Hanover St.
Funny how I think of desserts first!!! Grew up with mom making homemade stuff.
You have to go to Lulu's Bakery in the North End - hop, skip and a jumpr from the financial district. They are famous for their cupcakes and have award-winning biscotti.
Welcome to our fun and easy-to-get around city!!!
My favorite neighborhood places:
Metropolis Cafe (South End): asparagus "tartare," mussels, hanger steak bordelaise, shredded endive salad, salmon with horseradish crust (reasonably priced and cozy)
Franklin Cafe (South End): anything they do with grilled squid, steak frites (always hopping, inexpensive, friendly scene, open late)
Dok Bua (Coolidge Corner): great Thai food in general, crispy chicken pad Thai, boneless duck (an unofficial BYOB)
I'm totally psyched about hounds exploring East Boston, especially all sorts of places I've never eaten at (see this for example: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/155995 ) and I think there's lots of undiscovered goodies in that area - lots of Colombian, Peruvian and Salvadorean places, as well as a couple of old school Italian places.
Some places that I like include Rotisseria Cancun in Maverick Sq. (Salvadorean), El Rancho Grande (Mexican) in Day Sq., Rincon Limeno (Peruvian) in Day Sq., Victor's place (Peruvian), Topacio (Salvadorean). But I'm woefully undersampling the area and definitely missing lots of good stuff.
East Boston along with East Somerville (try Los Paisanos there, and a couple of Brazilian churrasco places with mineira farofa), might be good hunting grounds for a chowhound.
For Italian in East Boston, definitely try out Rino's Place. It's absolutely amazing. They make their pasta fresh. Raviolis are made to order. The last time I went there was lobster ravioli on the special which my friend ordered. There were actually hunks of lobster meat in the ravioli and on top in the sauce. Not the usually vaguely pink lobsteresque things you usually get when you order lobster ravioli--and it was only $19.
For authentic Mexican in Eastie (most Latin American places in Eastie are either Salvadoran or Columbian), try Rosticeria Jalisco in Day Square and Taqueria Michoacan on Saratoga St. by Orient Heights T Station, I have just recently tried both and am definitely going back--both places are dirt cheap. too.
If you are interested in breakfast, I've never heard it recommended here before, but Betty Ann Food's, 565 Bennington St. in Eastie makes amazing fresh donuts every day and fresh baked scones which are to die for. You need to get there early though as they are only open from 7 am. to 10:30 am and when they run out, they run out. It's a little hole in the wall and there is usually a line in the morning.
If you want something traditional like Lobster Roll or fried clams, try Kelly's Roast Beef on Revere Beach. You can take the Blue Line to the Beach if you are not driving. It's open all year round, but obviously more fun in the summer since there are only take-out windows and you can sit on the beach and enjoy your meal. (Kelly's has other locations with sit-down restaurants, but I believe your first time at Kelly's should be at the original beach location.)
A neighborhood of Boston called Jamaica Plain has some great neighborhood-y eateries. I would recommend Zon's for what I'd call relaxed, yet upscale comfort food. There is a lot of Cuban and Caribbean food. Just wander down Centre St. and look for it. You can go to Doyle's, a bar that is old and atmospheric and has been the backdrop for a number of movies. The food there is bar food, but it's worth it for the atmosphere. You can try a more upscale place called Cafe D, which has wonderful food. And if you just wander down Centre St., you will find many interesting ethnic restaurants.
How about Cafe Italia in Eastie ? Somehow always gets overlooked. Great everything and a pie I think that can compete with any.
I really like The Helmand in Cambridge for great Afghan food. It's just a minute or two across the salt and pepper bridge.
Did anyone mention India Quality in Kenmore Square? If not, I'll throw it in. Best Indian in the city....maybe better than all the Indian in NY too. go now!
I think I need to print out this whole thread and keep myself busy for the next few years, there are some wonderful suggestions here and it is great to hear where and why they are so good. If possible could we add what T-stations they are near (Color Line, Stop Name) so some of us not so familiar with the street names can locate them easier with our Charlie Cards. I love to fly around Boston on the T's and this helps greatly.
My personal favorites are mostly neighborhood restaurants. A few I particularly like are:
Zon's, Jamaica Plain (great burgers and mac/cheese, Bohemian environment)
Dok Bua, Brookline (absolutely incredible Thai food near Coolidge Corner)
New Bridge Cafe, Chelsea (best steak tips in the Boston area, IMO)
King Fung Garden, Chinatown (a bit of a dump, but outstanding Chinese food)
Santarpio's, East Boston (surly waiters, old-school environment, and terrific pizza)
Geoffrey's, Roslindale (friendly upscale comfort food restaurant)
Shanti, Dorchester (good, solid Indian cuisine in a nice environment)
I'll recommend steak tips at the Quiet Man Pub in South Boston. Broadway stop on the Red Line and you can practically throw a rock there from the Fin. District.
Also consider Vietnamese in Fields Corner, Dorchester, also on the Red Line.
Haven't been lately, so I won't choose one of the Pho places over another.
Thanks for the compliment on user name. Definitely an homage and hopefully not sacrilegious.
re New Bridge- I've only been once vs dozens of times @ the Quiet Man.
Tips were overcooked (although quite tasty) and sides were good but not great.
Better size at the QM too.
Think I got them on an off day?
Do you get them with the BBQ sauce? (I didn't.)
I took a trip to Chelsea for them and was definitely underwhelmed.
I'll also second your Shanti rec. Little jewel in Savin Hill.
Nearby is the Ba Le which has great banh mi (Vietnamese sub) sandwiches.
There's also a banh mi and BBQ place just north of Fields Corner T stop, on the left side of Dorchester Ave.
Name isn't coming to me right now.
I lived in Manhattan for years and Boston has some good restaurants. I get very frustrated because nothing compares to the dining choices in New York, especially inexpensive, great ethnic food. Still have not found amazing Chinese, Indian or Sushi. We go back once a month and I get my fix. The following are my favorite Boston restaurants:
Union Bar and Grill - South End
Sage - South End
Stella - South End
Metropolis - South End
Hammersly Bistro - South End
Oleana - Cambridge
Petit Robert Bistro - 2 of them - one in South End; one in Kenmore Square
Via Matta - Copley Place
Prezza - North End
Hope this helps.
Where have you been for Chinese, Indian and Sushi that you did not like?
What regional/provencial Chinses & Indian uisines do you prefer? While Boston may not have the overall breadth of offerings and number of such restaurants found in NYC, it does have some specialties and as Limster suggests, some better regional offerings. Let the local hounds steer you in the right direction!
The variety of nearly every cuisine is of course greater in NYC, but a single "amazing" restaurant isn't hard to find for any genre in Boston. I wouldn't comment on Chinese, Indian, or Sushi in Boston until you've had:
Chinese: Sichuan Gourmet, Shanghai Gate, Shangri-La, Peach Farm, East Chinatown, Wang's, Qingdao, etc, etc
Indian: Kabab Factory, Chennai Woodlands, Kabab & Tandoor, Salt & Grain
Sushi: Oishii, Oga's, Uni
Cafe D - great little (seriously, it's tiny) spot for low key dinners and weekend lunch. Don't miss the steak frites or Cesaer salad. Yummy desserts.
JP LIcks - this is the Mothership, the store they make the ice cream at (or so I've been told). In the winter, they have a fire blazing and yummy hot chocolate.
Bukhara - Indian food, good veggie options
Wonder Spice - good Thai place
MIlky Way - bowling alley with drinks and food from Bella Luna, the restaurant upstairs.
JP Seafood Cafe - fresh sushi and Korean food, they deliver in JP
Publick House - pub with like a zillion beers and great burgers
Washington Square Tavern - also great burgers and drinks
Beacon Street Tavern - sister restaurant to Washington Sq. Tavern, amazing desserts, addictive sweet potato fries
Misono - on VFW Pkwy, has parking lot, good sushi and Korean food
Bernards - at Chestnut Hill Mall, fun, modern Chinese, lovely presentation, some dim sum offered on weekends (no cute little carts though)
For American comfort food and a fantastic wine-list with next to no mark-up, try Silvertone, 69 Bromfield St. at the border of Beacon Hill and Downtown Crossing. Also good in the area is Grotto (Bowdoin St.).
This thread could go on for all eternity. There's a lot of great food in the Boston area. I'll try and limit myself to a few places in/near my 'hood (Davis Square) that haven't been mentioned:
- Redbones BBQ: good bbq here, and GREAT beer. Belgians and craft brews on tap, rotated frequently. I can recommend the chicken, sausage of the day, brisket, and Memphis ribs. Collards like I get back home (NC). I love the vibe too, especially during the week. If you're not interested in the beer, Blue Ribbon has a more authentic NC style pulled pork. Redbones is still the total package for me.
- Wang's Fast Food: nondescript restaurant with the best dumplings you'll ever have. Ming Tsai is quoted as saying that the "spinach dumplings are just like my grandmother's." Authentic northern Chinese, with hand cut noodle dishes and dumplings. Other favorites are the shredded pork and bean curd, pork and scallion, and salt/pepper spare rib. The noodle soups and dumplings are the main draw though. If you go on the right night, you can hear a couple of generations of women singing Chinese opera in the back as they make the noodles. If you're in the Somerville area, they deliver. Open late. Wonderful.
- Tu Y Yo: Authentic Mexican (NOT Tex-Mex). Rich moles, seldom seen delicacies (e.g. tacos de chapulines), and slow cooked dishes from family recipes. Superb. And there's a waitress there who'll break any man's heart ;-)
- Rod Dee: great Thai food. Primarily a takeout joint, but there are a handful of tables. When Dok Bua (also highly recommended) seems a bit too ambitious, Rod Dee is the place. Ask for it "Thai style" if you're not afraid of the heat.
- Pomodoro: my favorite Italian in the North End. Best red sauce - get the calamari as a vehicle for the sauce. They have a wonderful salt cod dish as well. Right across the street from Cafe Vittoria and Mike's Pastry.
all the suggestions are good.
My favorites are the Hamersley Bistro and petite Robert in the south end. Also Toros but not if with people we really want to have a conversation with, as it's too loud.
Oleana in Cambrige,(beautiful garden dining but alas no reservations) Dali's in the somerville border for tapas as well as his son's Tapeo on Newbury St., His Wife's place Chuci-Chuci in Centrla Sq. No matter what anyone says, Legal Safood is still the freshest fish you can eat. They have their own microbiologist so you'll never get sick and the fish are so fresh they don't need to be prepared fancy.IMHO!