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Weekend Boston Trip- Name 5 affordable MUST VISIT restaurants!

Hi there!

I am new to ChowHound and so excited to have found it!

My husband and I are visiting Boston this weekend and want to take in as much authentic Boston as we can, including food! Since we only have 2 days and somewhat of a sparse budget, I am looking for some recommendations of where to eat out while there...

***If you could name 5 places to eat (lunch and/or dinner) that is no more than around $20 or less per entree, what you would you recommend???***
Also, if we wanted to splurge one night for a great dinner (which, for us would be no more than $40 per person), where should we go?

Of note, we are staying at the Westin, Copley Place, but could take the T anywhere it goes or walk a few blocks or so. Also, type of food doesn't necessarily matter, but we love Italian, Mexican, seafood, "American," or will try anything too!

THANKS for ANY and ALL suggestions!

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  1. In no particular order:

    1)Pizzeria Regina - North End
    2)Antico Forno - North End
    3)the bar at Chez Henri - Cambridge, between Harvard and Porter Sq.
    4)The Helmand - East Cambridge
    5) Garden at the Cellar - Cambridge, between Harvard and Central Sq.

    For the splurge, do you want to spend $40 per entree or or $40 for 2 or 3 courses?

    1 Reply
    1. re: pollystyrene

      Thanks for the suggestions! For the splurge- probably around $40 per entree... (Basically, want to stay under $100 for the meal out for both of us, not including alcohol, of course.)

    2. Boston is very expensive (though not if you're from London). You could try the Japanese noodle places in the food court at Porter Square (it's a little slice of Japan in Boston).
      Petit Robert Bistro's entrees are no more than $20, and lunch is reasonable too. Lala Rokh is a beautiful Persian restaurant (think Northern Indian food, less spicy) that is not too pricy. Peach Farm for good Chinese. Durgin Park is an old Boston institution--it's cheaper at lunch and you can't beat the Indian pudding.

      1 Reply
      1. re: whs

        Good Splurges:
        No. 9 Park
        Hamersley's Bistro
        Via Matta
        O Ya

      2. Piz. Regina is a great suggestion, go at an off time. If you want to spend more time in the North End, I'd splurge at Prezza. Altho you could do their special deal in the bar area where 2 people eat 3 course meals for only $45. No choices tho. I'd walk over to B&G in the south end from your hotel, nice walk and good food. Split some stuff and you'll stay at the $20 mark. You could get breakfast or lunch at Charlie's which is just a 10 min walk over to Columbus Ave. Old style counter type spot.

        1. Some interesting recommendations from others - here's mine.

          Stay away from Mexican in the areas you will be visiting - there are a couple decent places but nothing worth a special visit, unless you feel like you would like you want to sample the ubiquitous Anna's Tacqueria for cheap ($4) burritos while walking about.

          For Italian, spend some time strolling through the North End at lunchtime and make it the main meal of the day - grab some snacks at Neptune Oyster, roll around the corner to Artu for some great sandwiches (anything with the roast pork, lamb or homemade marinated eggplant), grab a gelato on Hanover Street, then pop into a salumeria for some Italian goodies and Modern Pastry (avoid Mike's) for some Italian cookies to pack back to the hotel.

          For something really unique, if you are planning on exploring the South End, find Orinoco on Shawmut. Tiny place - will feel like a hidden gem - don't let Venezuelan food dissuade you. This place rocks! Go for a later dinner on Saturday, after walking off your North End goodies.

          If you are going to head over to Cambridge, check out recommendations for Central Kitchen, Rendezvous and Green Street Grill.

          If you are going to Cambridge and feel like walking, head to Inman Square and check out East Coast Grill and O Cantinho.

          Another suggestion would be to do a search on "crawl" and Boston or Cambridge to get some sampling ideas for different neighborhoods.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            Avoid Bob Dob's advice when he speaks of Mike's. Mike's is great!

            1. re: pollystyrene

              I second pollystyrene's advice. I LOVE Mike's Pastry!! Especially their Ricotta Pie. To die for. Also, very good Lobster Tails and Sfogliatelle. I only wish I could find a Ricotta Pie as good as Mike's in Manhattan, where I live.

              1. re: pollystyrene

                That's a long simmering debate. Mike's vs. Modern vs. Maria's

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  I would throw Napoli Pastry into the mix.

            2. I will once again give away my patented Pizzeria Regina trick (as it tends to frequently have lines out the door):

              Boldly walk right past the line, into the pizzeria, and take seats at the little bar on the left. It's first come, first served. And really, what's the difference between eating pizza at the bar and eating it at a table? The bartenders are just as (humorously) surly as the waitresses.

              Food hint: order a few small pizzas, don't get them overloaded with toppings (one topping per pie tops is my rec), and ask for it to be cooked well-done.

              Final Regina's tip: ONLY eat at the original in the North End.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Bostonbob3

                In my experience, the seats at the bar have always been taken, too, when there's a line outside. I think the real trick would be yelling "Fire!" Maybe a table or two would clear out, but only if they were almost done anyway.

                People keep recommending the small pizzas at Regina's. Why's that?

                1. re: pollystyrene

                  I eat there nearly every weekend, and there's almost always a few seats at the bar. Not 100% of the time, but very, very frequently.

                  The small pizza order is due to crust consistency. The small pies taste just as great, but don't get as "floppy" or soggy at the tips.

                  Ordering them well-done adds to the greatness that is Regina's.

                  1. re: Bostonbob3

                    The bar only bas 4 or 5 seats right? More often then not when I would go with a friend, the seats were filled as well. Tips never have a chance to get soggy when I eat there.

                    1. re: Dax

                      Heh. My trouble is, the pizza is so molten right after it cxomes out of the oven. I let it cool, thereby creating soggy tips. The smalls eliminate the problem both ways (less cooling time, more stable crust to begin with).

                      I believe the bar has 6 seats. And again, I'm a regular there, and far more often than not there are always at least a couple seats available. At the very least, it's worth the effort to check it out versus standing in line for an hour.

                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                        I don't think I've ever left Regina without the roof of my mouth scalded. It's worth the pain.