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Jul 26, 2007 03:06 PM

Boston Recs for PDX Foodie

Hi, I am going to be at the convention center for a conference, but I read there isn't good foodies over there. If peeps could please recommend good chow places and the public tranist means to get there, this gal with an expense account from PDX will be grateful!

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  1. There really isn't any good food near the new convention center - but make sure that's where you'll be, not Hynes. There are tons of places near Hynes (the older, smaller center, right in the city).

    From the new one, you take the silver line to south station and from there you are near downtown, Chinatown, and the silly-named ladder district. Radius, Sel de la Terre, Jerne.

    Search the board for C'town rec's. I have bad C'town karma.

    The new center is near south Boston (not to be confused with the south end) and there are a bunch of new places opening there as it gets yuppified - someone help! That would be a short cab ride.

    Or take a cab anywhere else - cabs are not cheap but the city's not that big. You'd be in the north end or south end in no time.

    1. As a recent Bostonian who fled New England for the good life in PDX I can offer up a few suggestions. You are correct, there is very little good eating to be had near the convention center. In the Boylston/Newbury St. area I always found myself at Cafe Jaffa (60 Gloucester St.) munching on a freshly made falafel/hummus sandwich. They do a nice job with basic middle eastern fare. It's a bit of a hike but I also highly recommend the sandwiches and baked goods at Flour (1595 Washington). Their homemade Oreo cookies are one of the few food items I miss from Boston. Also a bit of a trek, but well worth the effort, is a trip to Pizzeria Regina (11 1/2 Thacher St.). If you like pizza this is a MUST! If you adore A Pizza Scholls in PDX this would be an interesting place to do a compare/contrast. IMHO it may be just as good (and I know that is saying a lot!). Regina has made the mistake of opening several satellite stores around Boston (including one in the Pru near the convention center). I warn you this is not a true Pizzeria Regina pie. The real deal can only be had at the original shop in the North End. If the expense account beckons I suggest both Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain and Oleana in Cambridge (both accessible by subway but a cab would be easier). If you want to experience the Boston version of the local, organic, sustainable food trend Ten Tables is the place to go. The tasting menu always impresses and at $25 or $35 (vegetarian vs. carnivore) the price cannot be matched. It's one of the best restaurants in Boston and has quickly gained a following of loyal foodies. If you are flying solo, request to sit at the tiny bar which overlooks the open kitchen. I guarantee you will be best friends with the chef by the time you leave. FYI--reservations here are a must since the place literally only has 10 tables. Oleana is the other Boston restaurant that always left me with a very happy belly. The restaurant is a recent James Beard award winner and does wonderful reinterpretations of all sorts of mediterranean/arabic dishes. The flavor combinations are out of this world and I still dream of the spicy carrot puree, spinach falafel, and Sultan's Delight . You can check out both menus at and While Boston is no Portland there are some very good meals to be had. Oh, and another nice (quick) lunch can be enjoyed at the Boston Public Library. They have a sweet cafe on the first floor that serves fresh salads and sandwiches. The real treat is to take your meal outside into the courtyard and behold the beauty of one of the great libraries in the United States. It's pretty spectacular. Enjoy your trip!

      8 Replies
      1. re: bakemeacake

        Thanks for the rockstar recommendations - you hit it on the nose my love of Apizza Scholls and Farmer's Market fair which you are REALLY missing this summer. Ten Tables is on the list as well and Flour sounds great too. Cheers, D

        And as M.Ward sings, "Every town looks the same when you left your heart in the PDX rain...."

        1. re: Cognac

          There's also a fairly new Flour near the new Convention Center in S. Boston.
          Farnsworth St off congress. Minutes from the Conv center walking.

          1. re: joestrummer

            If you have to just slip out for lunch, I was also going to suggest Flour. About a 10 minute walk from the Convention Center, decent options are Legal Test Kitchen (excellent gazpacho, clam chowder, and Rhode Island style calamari; entrees are fine, but nothing to write home about; don't bother with desserts) and Salvatore's, an Italian place.

          2. re: Cognac

            Although again be sure that you're not going to be at the Hynes Convention Center on Boylston, instead of at the Boston Convention Center on the waterfront. (Honestly, there really aren't many conventions at the new BCC because the Hynes is so much more convenient, so chances are about 50/50 you'll be at the Hynes.) Because if you're at the Boston Convention Center, you're pretty much hosed in terms of nearby food, although as joestrummer says, Flour has a new branch on Farnsworth Street nearish there. The BLT is the main thing worth eating, especially this time of year when you can get proper tomatoes. If you're at the Hynes...well, the city is yours.

            The good news, however, is that if you ARE stuck out there on the waterfront, you're only about a 15-20 minute walk to the North End.

            Public transit will be an issue if you're out at the new BCC, because our clever city planners cleverly put the clever new convention center way way out onto the waterfront, where the subways and bus, aren't. Bring comfy shoes and buy a street map.

            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

              Yeah, the new center isn't great for food options. A couple more thoughts that they won't challenge your expense account but are within walking distance of the new Conv center. Eastern Pier II does decent Chinese food w/ a seafood slant and they're on the water and minutes away walking.
              Yankee Trader is a little further down Seaport Blvd and has no view or ambience beside modern fish market but you can get a solid lunch there.

              Best bet would be to head to the N End or other more food-friendly nabes after your day at the convention.

              The new Center is served by the Silver Line now, so with a few train switches you can get anywhere you want.

              Where are your accomodations?

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                I am at the Hynes Convention Center so this probably changes things! Yes?!?!

                1. re: Cognac

                  For one thing - being at Hynes makes it much easier for you to get to Ten Tables if you want to go there. From Copley Sq. (or by the Christian Science reflecting pool on Huntington Ave.) take the 39 bus towards Forest Hills. I think there is a 39 stop within a block of Ten Tables. Also, Hynes is in Back Bay and close to the South End (many options - it would be a little further from Hynes than some South End options, but I really like the food at Toro and it is very good for eating at the bar) and Kenmore Sq. (I like Eastern Standard for eating at the bar - they make very good cocktails and a good grilled cheese among other things).

              2. re: Cognac

                Oh no, I am living in PDX now! Boston is but a memory (but a nice one). Seriously, I hope you will seek out Pizzeria Regina in the North End and do a little compare/contrast to A Pizza Scholls. My husband and I were just at APS this week and wondered aloud if it beat Regina (we couldn't make a firm decision either way--both are amazing). Eat well.

                1. re: bakemeacake

                  I smoked a doobie and am at the Hynes Convention Center - recommendations still stand?!?!

                  1. re: Cognac

                    Go to Godiva Chocolates in the mall.

                    1. re: joestrummer

                      Very funny! I rather have Hershey's.

                    2. re: Cognac

                      You are good. My recommendations all assumed you were at the Hynes (very few conventions take place out at the new center in South Boston). I hope you got a reservation at Ten Tables (you can take the orange line to Green St. and walk about 1/2 mile to Centre St. or just cab it). And don't forget Pizzeria Regina (North End only). You must try their margherita and report back.

                      1. re: bakemeacake

                        Thanks so my Brookline friend says Pizzeria Regina is good, but "dirty"....I am sure not by my hippie PDX standards. This is the same girl that has never ridden the T. I will make a reservation now for Ten Tables. Or do they have a bar I can just eat at? Will report back!

                        1. re: Cognac

                          Pizzeria Regina isn't exactly the Ritz, but I don't think of the place as especially dirty. There's lots, lots worse.

                          I'll definitely second Ten Tables as a fine place to go. If you really want to load up the expense account and get a stunning meal at a rather more formal New French/New American place, L'Espalier (on Gloucester Street) and Clio (on Commonwealth Avenue) are within easy walking distance from the Hynes.

                          1. re: Cognac

                            Well, yes, Regina has been around since 1926 so the place has a certain "sheen" but I wouldn't call it dirty (just lots of character). If you can handle the
                            "dirt twirler" aesthetic of PDX you can certainly handle an old-school pizza joint in Boston.

                            I would make a reservation at Ten Tables and if dining alone ask to sit at the bar. It is the friendliest spot in the restaurant.

                            I also agree with the reccommendation on L'Espalier. They have terrific food but it is decidedly more uptight/fancy than Ten Tables (it's very Bah-ston).

                          2. re: bakemeacake

                            And yes, you can also take the 39 bus to Ten Tables which will practically drop you at their door. It is a 20 minute ride from Back Bay (catch the bus across from the Public Library) or anywhere down Huntington Ave.

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