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Jul 30, 2007 11:28 AM

Baltimore 'hound seeks diverse recs: lobsters, Back Bay, Cambridge, etc.

Greetings from Charm City. We are traveling to Boston this Sunday, staying four nights, with a total of eight family including various children aged 8-16 (all of whom are mostly game for anything). We are staying at the Jurys Hotel in Back Bay (no car, so limited to the T for the most part) and would be interested in recs on the following:

1. Lobsters, preferably out of doors/near the water.

2. Places within a mile or so of the hotel, esp. for breakfast but also dinner.

3. Anything in Cambridge.

Also interested in current thoughts on several haunts of old -- Bartley's Burger Cottage, E. Coast Grill, Locke-Ober (adults only, to be sure) -- and the Summer Shack, which we visited four years ago.

Thanks for your suggestions.

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  1. 2. Breakfast - Rachel's Kitchen in Bay Village, about 5-6 blocks from your hotel, has awesome breakfast sandwiches (request on Brioche). Mostly takeout as there is only seating for about 6 people. Call ahead, walk over and pick-up, take to Public Garden to eat.

    1. Lobsters out door and next to the water gives you The Barking Crab off the Northern Avenue bridge.

      One of my favorite breakfast places is Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe, which is an old Boston institution in the South End near Mass Ave. I love the turkey hash.

      2 Replies
      1. re: lergnom

        Charlie's is on Columbus between West Newton and Dartmouth (not exactly near Mass Ave.).

        1. re: lergnom

          I was going to suggest these two places as well. Good for younger folks too.

          "Anything in Cambridge" Well, that's quite a lot. Have anything specific in mind? Bartley's still makes a nice burger. If you've been before you already know what to expect. Not a thing has changed.

          ECG is still terrific. Since you'll be here on weeknights you can get a reservation in advance. I'd grab a cone from Christina's (right next door to ECG) for dessert.

          I'm not a Summer Shack fan I find it overpriced and pretty blah. If you search the board you'll find lots of comments. I recall seeing something positive posted about it recently. I'd rather go to the Barking Crab than either SS location.

          Locke-Ober is still very good but I might consider a couple other places since you've been there already but it's tough to make a solid rec not knowing more specifics on the cuisine and atmosphere you might want to check out. Clio, Mistral, Craigie Street, Prezza, Salts are all lovely in their own way, and ideal without children/teens. Again, easier to assist with a bit more info.

        2. Welcome to Beantown, Hon.

          I echo the Barking Crab for #1. Make sure you pair that with a visit to the new ICA.

          #2 - Rachel's Kitchen is a great spot, but VERY tiny, i.e., your entire entourage would fill the seating possibilities. Still, a good breakfast option.

          For #3 - There are also tons of interesting places in Cambridge - Oleana's summer patio is a delight. ECG is still very good - If you are willing to head over to Inman Sq., you might also consider O Cantinho, which is a cute little Portuguese restaurant - nothing like that in Bawlamer. I might also recommend Emma's Pizza in the Kendall Square area (a bit of a walk from the Kendall Sq./MIT t-stop).

          The South End has a ton of little eateries, but not too sure which ones would be best for your crew - Maybe Orinoco on Shawmut or you might enjoy Addis Red Sea for Ethopian with the kids too - sit on the floor, eat with your hands...

          The kids might also like the Other Side Cafe - nothing special but funky surroundings - that's at the end of Newbury and Mass Ave. in the Back Bay for lunch one day.

          If you want to go fancy, the Four Seasons has an afternoon tea that is purportedly kid-friendly.

          There are also tons of large venue dining options closer to your hotel, such as Paparazzi or a few chain restaurants, but the chowhounds tend to sniff at these. But again with such a group, they may not be the worst option. (Just avoid Firefly, an American Bistro, which I think is close to your hotel - it's just plain bad.)

          There is an excellent sushi place near your hotel, Douzo, but IIRC, Baltimore sushi is heads and shoulders better than Boston's, and it's a little pricey.

          The Parish Cafe is on Boylston nearby with good late breakfast / early lunch options.

          If you walk to the Common on one of these days, try to continue toward Downtown Crossing / Park St. area for the Falafel King or Chacarero.

          Hope this helps...

          1. You definitely should go to Rachel's for breakfast. There won't be seating for all of you- so yes- call ahead- but it's worth a visit for sure. And walkable from Jurys.

            I also agree that Barking Crab is great for lobster and outdoors- and kids since it's more casual. Joe's American Bar and Grill on the waterfront is always fun too and has lots of seafood although I don't know about lobster.

            The Summer Shack is highly, highly overrated in my opinion. It makes me look around and wish I was at the beach---and not in an overthemed restaurant paying $8 for a corn dog.

            Jury's has a small outdoor dining area, actually, although I believe it's off the bar so not sure about all the kids. But you will probably find that a pleasant place for a drink and snack, at least.

            Bartley's Burger Cottage will probably be just like you remembered it! It's delicious and cheap. East Coast Grill is GREAT but a bit out of the way if you're limited to the T and have several kids in tow. A fun place in Fanueil Hall that I took my boyfriend's sister and niece - with five of our friends - is Kingfish Hall- if you can sit in a booth upstairs, do it! The kids and adults will like it there- the food is soo delicious and the decor is really fun. Not cheap though. But they DEFINITELY have lobsters- many, many kinds.

            Have fun!

            1. About Locke-Ober. Three of us were there recently for lunch. We were completely prepared to love it. We didn't. For one thing, everything is way too rich -- I admit I have found this with this chef in the past. But all of us felt while it wasn't terrible, it just wasn't great.
              Cambridge- Has no one mentioned Harvest restaurant? This is a very good, very reliable special restaurant. The service is good, too. They have a wonderful enclosed terrace area, would be heavenly on a nice evening. I don't think I've ever had a problem with anything at Harvest. Worth stopping in for drinks and app's if you don't have time for dinner. Also, Upstairs on the Square. This is a restaurant that has a special, funky but high-end style. They have two restaurants, actually -- the main floor is more casual and includes the bar, and the upper floor is the "fancy" restaurant, more expensive and more quiet. On the main floor, try to sit in the front glassed in area facing the little park.

              Places within a mile of your hotel -- look up some of the posts about the "South End" (this is not the same as South Boston, FYI). You are within about 2 blocks of the South End and it is fabulous with restaurants. I'll let others recommend, since I don't go there all that often.