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Need HELP!!!

I'm leaving for Boston in 6 days, and I am doing all the restaurant planning. So, as usual, I can never make up my mind about where to go. So, I was hoping to get both recommendations, and opinions. There are 3 of us, and we will eat almost anything:) We'd rather not have any Chinese just because we have great Chinese where we live, and eat it often.
Recommendations for:
Great Irish Pub (w/authentic food)

Opinions on:
Pit Stop BBQ
Kingfish Hall
Union Oyster Hall
Daily Catch
Warren Tavern

Are they good, bad, or just okay?

Any help is welcome!

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  1. You can kill two birds with one stone and get an Irish breakfast at The Burren, an Irish pub in Davis Sq., on the red line in Somerville (2 stops out from Harvard Sq.).

    1. Rather than limit you to just those places you listed... with a little more info we can put those places in context and also give you some others / better spots...

      Where are you staying (location or hotel)... type of food for those 6 days (ie. Italian, seafood etc), price point... this board will fix you up.

      5 Replies
      1. re: WineTravel

        We are staying right near Merrimac St. close to the Fleet Center. No Italian and no Asian. (Not picky...we just eat enough of that at home, and want different food). Seafood and Irish are the only two required, everything else is just whatever. Price point is basically cheaper for breakfast and lunch and more expensive for dinners. We're only there for 3 days (we're leaving in less than a week, which is why I really need help!!). We will basically try anything and go anywhere that the T can take us. Oh, and the seafood place needs to have amazing clam chowder...one of my travel partners is dying for the real thing:) Thanks so much for any help!!

        1. re: milkyway4679


          I'd recommend Durgin Park at Quincy Market. You can get food there that you won't find at home, like their Indian Pudding. You can also get very good clam chowder, fried clams, baked Schrod and fried Fisherman's platter. They also have Yankee Pot Roast, Boiled Dinner as well. It's also got lots of old Boston atmosphere.


          1. re: milkyway4679

            People say the Banshee is kind of a dive, have only walked by. Kinsale is close to your hotel, I think people say they do an Irish breakfast. The Durgin Park rec is a good one. Warren Tavern is old and I guess has decent pub food, still have never gone. I'm surprised no one has told you to only get freshly shucked oysters at the bar of the Union Oyster house. You could take the blue line to Revere Beach and get your seafood at Kelly's. A short walk from the hotel will get you to Neptune Oyster for higher class seafood and the Daily Catch is the next street over for a completely different atmosphere. I think Kingfish is okay but haven't been there in a long time. Pit Stop BBQ isn't so T friendly I don't think. Redbones in Davis Sq. on the red line gets some bad marks but it's a fun place and if you like beer, they've got em.

            1. re: milkyway4679

              Where are you coming from?

              While you say no Italian, you are very close to Pizzeria Regina in the North End. Excellent pizza, just don't get too many toppings and many order the pizza well done for a little extra char on the crust. Broken record, out.

              1. re: Dax

                Coming from the other side of New York...so we have awesome pizza and Italian, and excellent Chinese food.

          2. For "Irish", go to Matt Murphy's in Brookline.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Alcachofa

              I'll second Matt Murphy's for their food.

              As for Kingfish Hall, if you're heading to the Faneuil Hall area for seafood, I'd actually go to McCormack & Schmick's over Kingfish - it's a chain, but I've found their seafood to be really well prepared and very fresh. There was more variety there, too.

              1. re: Alcachofa

                I think Matt Murphy's has gone downhill recently. Still love the fish and chips, but the other things haven't been that great when I've sampled them recently.

              2. For Irish pubs in downtown Boston, I like Emmets, Kinsale, Hennesey's and the Green Dragon. The Banshee has more of a reputation for Guiness and possibly fish and chips. It's also in Dorchester, which may or may not be convenient for you. Kingfish Hall has a nice atmosphere and the seafood is good, but it's right in Faneuil Hall along with all the crowds. I would prefer Neptune Oyster on Salem St. in the North End. Daily Catch has it's followers, but I find it too close and warm in the summer. Union Oyster House is a tourist trap, but if you must go, then go to the raw bar.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Pegmeister

                  I'm not crazy about the food at Emmets, but I like the atmosphere and the location. I've had some good meals at the Kinsale, and think the atmosphere is pretty nice there, too. I also like Kitty O'Shea's in the Financial District for food and drink, plus they have good entertainment every now and then.

                  If you have time to travel a bit outside of Boston, I'd consider heading to Jamaica Plain and trying James's Gate. That's probably one of my top 2 or 3 Irish pubs to go to in the Boston area. The Druid in Inman Square, Cambridge, also has some good food and is an authentic, no-frills type of place. Their burgers and steak tips are excellent, IMO.

                  1. re: Pegmeister

                    I think, foodwise, Emmets, Kinsale, Hennesey's and the Green Dragon are not in the least Irish, except maybe for a token shepherd's pie, or some such stuff. Also, food is mediocre, with Kinsale rising to "kinda decent for certain things." I have been meaning to try Kitty O'Shea's, probably based on hidden's previous posts, but everytime I look in, it just seems so "meh".

                    Warren Tavern: go for a beer and atmosphere, not food.

                    1. re: Alcachofa

                      For good Irish pub food, I also would go to Matt Murphy's (not too long a haul on the T), though it's not as cozy since they redecorated. For cozy pubby atmosphere, James' Gate in JP or the Plough and Stars in Cambridge (where I shockingly haven't been since they reopened--I hear the food is good too, but not especially Irish). (It's a little more convenient to the T than the Druid.) I would not go to the Kinsale really for any reason other than to watch the World Series ...

                  2. Of the six places you listed I'd go with Daily Catch (but only the one in the North End, and note it's an Italian place) and maybe Kingfish Hall (though I prefer Neptune Oyster, which is also in the North End and isn't Italian).

                    Union Oyster House is lousy except for raw oysters and beer at the bar. Warren Tavern is mainly just lousy, though the atmosphere is kind of old-time attractive. Pit Stop BBQ will be very tough to get to from where you are, isn't at all conducive to eating in, and may now even be closed (saw a report here a while ago about a "For Sale" sign there); I'd avoid it. Haven't been to Banshee.

                    I'd second most of the suggestions you're getting thus far, though note that not much of the food is going to be authentically Irish anywhere outside of the heart-attack special breakfasts. For a non-Irish breakfast, Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe in the South End is a good choice.

                    1. The only listing that you might enjoy is Kingfish Hall. The food and atmosphere is good but it is pricey and touristy. However it is very close to where you are staying.
                      Definitley take the red line to davis and head to the burren. They only serve irish breakfast on weekends as most pubs do. You might want to ask if there are any places to walk to from your hotel. Davis Sq is a nice place to walk around-it wont blow your mind but its very comfy. try jp licks ice cream after dinner. you can also head to redbones in davis for bbq-great beer selection and quick service (once the long wait for a table is done) Davis is two stops from Harvard Sq
                      I second the recommendation on neptune oyster and a walk around the north end. you will have good solid seafood there.
                      i also recommend durgin park-its a good time and the food is solid. if you get the indian pudding-get extra ice cream! that stuff is sweet lava!
                      hope everything is great!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bernie71

                        I used to love the bbq at the Pit Stop...but my husband wasn't thrilled with it. I always ordered the ribs and he always ordered the chicken. That was quite a few years ago now, and I can't say what it's like now. The poster that said it's not conducive to eating in...was pretty much right.

                      2. Banshee isn't worth the trip.
                        If you do go to Dorchester go to the Eire Pub in Adam's Corner.
                        Not dark and smoky pub style but it's the real deal Boston Irish-American pub with great Irish bartenders in shirt and tie. Good enough for Presidents Reagan and Clinton.

                        If you go to Durgin Park or end up in Faneuil Hall, as many tourists do, I'd recommend the Black Rose for the pub experience.
                        Can't comment on the food, but the Guinness is great and they say there's a steak and egg in every glass.

                        I'll also second or third Regina's or at least the North End for dessert.
                        While you have great pie in NY Regin'a is a real Boston experience and the NE one of our best neighborhoods.

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: joestrummer

                          It doesn't seem like we're going to find a decent Irish meal! Seafood, I'm looking into several of those, and also wanted to ask about the...Summer Shack I think it's called? A friend mentioned that they loved the seafood there...is it that good, or just touristy? I always try to avoid anywhere that is too touristy. We are probably going to go to Durgin Park, what would be the best time to go...lunch or dinner? Thank you for all the recommendations, and anymore would always be appreciated!!

                          1. re: milkyway4679

                            Summer Shack is lousy, expensive, and touristy -- definitely not a board fave here and I think for good reason. You're much better off going for seafood at Neptune Oyster or B&G Oysters in the South End, where you'll get miles better food for the solid amount you'll pay, and neither place is especially touristy.

                            If memory serves, Durgin Park serves from its dinner menu all day but also has some lunchtime specials. It probably won't matter all that much when you go, though it might be less crowded at lunchtime. Be sure to get the Indian pudding with vanilla ice cream for dessert, which is unique to the area.

                            1. re: bachslunch

                              My somewhat hazy memory is that Durgin Park does a pretty good job with seafood. The chowder is good as well. Their specialty is an enormous serving of prime rib but don't overlook the seafood.

                              1. re: BBHound

                                You can get a decent Irish meal at Goody Glovers ( the only irish bar in the North End) plus they have outdoor seating and pour a proper pint. Cheers!

                                1. re: phatchris

                                  Thank you all so much!! All of your suggestions were helpful, and I was able to create 3 days of wonderful food:)

                                    1. re: foodiesrus

                                      Haha, we actually haven't left yet...but soon, so here is the list of places we will be eating at:
                                      The Blackstone Grill
                                      Daily Catch in the North End
                                      Bova Bakery (or Mike's Pastry)
                                      The Green Dragon
                                      Durgin Park
                                      Charlie's Sandwich Shop

                                      Thanks again:)

                                      1. re: milkyway4679

                                        If you have a choice between Bova or Mike's, I'd personally opt for the latter. Maria's and Modern Pastries are excellent North End bakery options as well. I'd place Bova in 4th place after the other three.

                                        Or if you don't mind packing on a few pounds while you're here, you could give them all a sample....

                                        1. re: bachslunch

                                          Thanks, I will probably end up at mike's.

                                          1. re: milkyway4679

                                            You will love Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe for breakfast. A unique and delicious experience - Not open on Sundays though.

                                          2. re: bachslunch

                                            Bova is good, however, if you happen to be in the North End around 3:00 in the morning, as it is open 24 hours a day. I go there more than Mike's or Modern, as I often find myself in the North End late at night. But I do prefer Modern over Bova (and Mike's) in general.

                          2. We ended up changing the plans a little bit. Here is the final listing of where we ate, and how I thought they rated.

                            Blackstone's 3.5 stars
                            Mare 4 stars
                            Gelateria 3.5 stars
                            The Green Dragon 3 stars
                            Anthony's Pier 4 4 stars
                            Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe 4 stars
                            Cafe L'aroma 4 stars
                            Lulu's (in little Italy) 3 stars

                            Thanks again to everyone for all the help:)

                            4 Replies
                              1. re: Aromatherapy

                                Most likely lobsters. Can't think of anything else they serve that would make it their favorite meal of the trip. Anthony's Pier 4 can be enjoyable... a nice table with a window view, steamed lobsters, the killer popover (make sure you get a HOT one). I like to go every year or so and also tap into their excellent wine list, very reasonably priced, although I still miss seeing Anthony hanging around the place. Certainly not what it once was but still worth a trip for a lobster fix and a trip down memory lane.

                                1. re: bgavin

                                  Maybe they type the number "4" twice by accident. ;-b

                              2. Pit Stop BBQ - Best BBQ in New England, but that's not really saying too much

                                Banshee - Fun bar, and you might be the only Americans in there, but the food is nothing spectacular

                                Kingfish Hall - Probably the best choice on your list

                                Union Oyster House - A bunch of tourist nonsence. Food is rotten.

                                Daily Catch - Second best choice on your list, but might be too Italiany for you.

                                Warren Tavern - Hasn't been worthy of recognition since 1798

                                Since you will be on Merrimac Street, Neptune Oyster is a must.

                                Also, gourmet Irish food is a very new thing, and really only exists in County Cork, Ireland. To imagine that they have some of the most fertile seafood grounds in the world, and collectively as a nation hate seafood, is a shame. I heard they're coming around now that different cultures are moving in. You can get an Irish Breakfast at the Kinsale which is not too far from Merrimac Street (2 Center Plaza, I think). You might even be able to get that at Goody Glover's near Neptune in the North End.

                                1. I got the fresh grilled salmon at pier 4, and no, the four stars were not a mistake. From excellent service, to wonderful food, we had a great dinner, and wonderful water views. I have eaten some excellent salmon, but this was properly cooked, and well-made. I enjoyed the food very very much, as did both of my dining partners.