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My office is moving to the Back Bay - where will I have lunch now?

What are the good lunch spots in Back Bay? My office is moving to a new space near Arlington Street and Boylston. We're in Davis Square now and I usually take-out and eat at my desk. Sandwiches, soup, and sushi are the norm for me. What are my options? I usually spend between $5 and $10 on lunch. Is the Parrish Cafe any good? Thanks in advance for any advice!

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  1. Davio's to Go has daily soup and pasta-of-the-day specials. Legal Seafood has take-out chowders. If you are up for a brisk walk, you are in a nice spot to explore Chinatown. I used to collect menus and call ahead to save time. There is an earlier thread titled "Take away salads near Copley" that has some great ideas. Enjoy the Public Garden!

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowfamily

      I second the Parrish rec, and I also like that Finale (Park Plaza) will turn any of their sandwiches into a salad. Would welcome other thoughts!

    2. Not only is the Back Bay not great in general, but you're in a pretty bleak part of it. Most of the great lunch options (Bostone, Deluca, Wisteria, Kashmir) are on the other side of the nabe.

      You'll be pretty limited to dreck like Fire and Ice, Souper Salad, and the crap that's in Park Plaza.

      1. Saigon Sandwich isn't too far and it's cheap. Emerson Cafe on Boylston and (almost) Tremont makes OK sandwiches.
        The burrito stand in the transportation building is OK too.
        Sorry, no outstanding rec's in that area from me.
        Hope you have more than a half hour for lunch!
        Good luck.

        1. I like the Parrish Cafe for lunch - The Susan Regis sandwich is one of my favorites there, but I think it might run you a little over $10 for lunch....

          1. Rachel's Kitchen in Bay Village is nearby and good for lunch.


            Rachel's Kitchen
            12 Church St, Boston, MA 02116

            1. my stomping grounds included: Bangkok Thai on Boylston, Parrish (yeah, pricey but I love Elephant walking on eggs), Au Bon Pain (great soup prices), Souper Salad (you'll get burned out quick), this mythical transportation building has a small food court with pretty awful choices but a Dunks. You'll find yourself at Calif. Pizza Kitchen, Rock Bottom Brewery, PF Changs for group outings. Jacob Wirths and Mon Tien are pretty close too. There is also the cafe in the BPL and Trader Joes to stock up on snacks for later. Chinatown is really not far either.

              My best advice: bring a lunch and head for the garden! Oh, and, get off the T at MGH and walk through Beacon Hill and the garden...truly makes working downtown worth it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MaineRed

                Appleton Bakery (appletonbakery.com) isn't a bad walk on a nice day. It's at 123 Appleton Street @ Dartmouth in the South End. They have a wonderful variety of sandwiches and daily specials.

                1. re: MaineRed

                  Checkout Flash's for lunch too...I think it's on St. James.

                2. The sandwiches at Nashoba Brook Bakery on Columbus near Clarendon are really good and fresh. For a greasy spoon, Billy's on Berkeley near Tremont is good.

                  Nashoba Brook Bakery Cafe
                  152 Commonwealth Ave., Concord, MA 01742

                  Billy's Sub Shop
                  57 Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02116

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: lissy

                    Welcome to my world for the past 23 years!

                    No one wants a sit down lunch every day, but Parrish, Flash's, Jo Brasserie, Bankok Thai, Thai Basil, are all good. JB has a reasonably priced soup/sandwich/salad deal.

                    Beacon Hill is a quick walk, Antonio's and Paramount are our usual places there.

                    Like others have said, Chinatown isn't far either.

                    Bostone and Upper Crust pizzas are both passable. Most people like Bostone better -- there is also Viga (is that the right name) near Davios. Uno is ok if you like their food and they are fast.

                    I started the Take Away Salad thread which you should check out. Also the Au Bon pain in Copley Place has a large salad/hot food bar.

                    IMO Nashoba makes the best sandwiches. Au Bon Pain, Souper Salad and the place next to talbots that I am spacing out the name of are what they are. All have soup too but IMO ABP is the best. The deli place in the PSquare building isn't bad.

                    Davio's take out stand is great. Good sandwiches and pizza.

                    Newbury: There is a burrito place on newbury that I haven't tried. kashmir's indian buffet is pretty good. Steve's is good greek and Cafe Jaffa is good middle eastern. But like someone else said, they are a walk away. There is also a food court in the Pru with a Qdoba and some other mediocre stuff.

                    Places I'd suggest avoiding: Skipjacks, Maggiano's, Fire and Ice, the Southwestern place across from Fire and Ice (again, spacing on name), PF Changs, Applebees, Stephanies, Subway and Jacob Wirths.

                    Wendy's is really fast (like 2 min in and out) but avoid BK at all costs. Very skeevy and has frequent visits from Boston Fire hazmat. BGood does burgers but they are an acquired taste. Take the T to Uburger for better.

                    Best option: bring your lunch

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        Bouchee isn't THAT bad. Pretty good burger.

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          Why exactly?? Bouchee has a perfectly good lunch and friendly service. It is overpriced, but so is most everywhere in the area. However the OP is forced to deal with this due to the location of their office.

                          To put a place down just because it is a BBRG restaurant is a bit short sighted.

                          1. re: Gabatta

                            IMO Bouchee's food is terrible and overpriced. The onion soup has gone from bad to inedible.

                            Service is usually inept, with a side order of snotty and inattentive depending on the circumstance.

                            I haven't had the burger.

                            Cookboat can visit or look up the many other comments here about the place.

                        2. re: C. Hamster

                          The Southwestern place across from Fire and Ice is the Cottonwood Cafe, if memory serves. And yup, I'll agree it's a no-go.

                      2. Walk down Berkeley into the South End to Berkeley Perks cafe for great sandwiches and relaxed atmosphere. The croissant place in the Park Square building does a nice Italian sub. Can't remember the name, but there's a Euro-feel cafe on Newbury between Berkely and Clarendon that also has terrific sandwiches and coffee. (L'Aroma?)

                        Sola on Bolyston and their sister pub in the Park Plaza building have good pub food and really good burgers.

                        Douzo on Dartmouth for sushi and other lunch specials. I heard there's a new sushi place in the old Guyahama space on Boylston across from the Pru but haven't been yet.

                        1. Sebastian's runs The Map Room cafe in the Boston Public Library - good sandwiches and salads and you can eat in the courtyard if it's nice out! Reasonable prices too.

                          1. The posters above pretty much cover the area options. Nothing spectacular, but in a decent 45min-1hr. lunch break you can walk to Chinatown, parts of the South End, Beacon Hill, or DTX and double/treble/quadruple your options. I'd add:

                            - The unnamed sandwich place next to Talbot's is Rebecca's, they're decent.
                            - Troquet used to have a good takeout sandwich deal, not sure if that is still going on.
                            - Coda (old Tim's, next to Clery's) is starting lunch next week, sounds promising.
                            - Rachel's Kitchen has a $12-14 lobster roll special on Fridays, they have said if you call ahead they will save you one (they run out quickly)!
                            - Globe (right on Copley) is a default after work eating/drinking place, decent pub food.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mbtabus69

                              I was decidedly not fond of Globe when I went -- I'd recommend avoiding it. And that goes double for the Rattlesnake Bar and Grill on Boylston, which should be on everyone's no-go list in that part of town foodwise.

                            2. I'm lucky to live close to where I work, so I just go home. But, on days where it's not possible or things are busy, I'll go to Viga. It's not bad. Decent lunch (pizza, sandwiches, salads) for a reasonable price. The lines look long, but they go fast. If you want a burger but don't want it to hit your waistline so much, B. Good is a good option. I second the Berkeley Perk. They have wonderful sandwiches and great coffee. Appleton St. Bakery is good too and not terribly far.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: BackBayGirl

                                b.good? You mean the place with the burgers that have more calories than Wendy's?

                                1. re: tamerlanenj

                                  You've brought this up before, but it's apples/oranges, or at least apples/apple pie:


                                  1. re: Allstonian

                                    OK, I agree that the point I'm making is a little simplistic, especially when you consider that the air baked fries have much less calories than the Wendy's versions. However, have you ever had a b.good burger? Uh, they don't exactly taste, well...good. I think all things considered I'd just go with Wendy's.

                                    1. re: tamerlanenj

                                      I'll definitely agree that b.good makes the hamburger equivalent of a Diet Coke, something you consume to fool your brain into thinking you're eating some bad-for-you comfort.

                                      I'm much happier with their turkey burgers, and their veggie burgers even more so. Still by no means unnecessary-road-trip-for-great-chow material, but as I've said before, it beats the heck out of a wilted iceberg lettuce salad with low-fat dressing or similar ostensibly healthy and mediocre lunch fare.

                                      Their air fries and stir-fried veggies are above average in this genre as well.

                                      1. re: finlero

                                        I think the b.good burger and fries are OK and they satisfy a craving when I don't want the all out, full fat version I would get anywhere else. I also really like their chipotle chicken sandwich.

                                        1. re: lissy

                                          Oh, don't get me wrong, I grab a b.good hamburger every now and then too (as I said in the linked post above, I lead a secret double life of health nut by day, chowhound by night).

                                          I just meant that, specific cravings for beef aside, pound for pound, calorie for calorie, the turkey and veggie burgers taste more like real food to me than do the hamburgers.

                                2. re: BackBayGirl

                                  Second Viga.
                                  Good hot wraps, burrito style with rice.

                                  Davio's stand is very good, but expensive for every day.

                                3. Add Shino Express Sushi which is close by on Newbury,
                                  Also new "Samurai" Sushi next to Chilli duck (IMHO best Thai in area)
                                  across from Pru was ok, seemed like i was paying for "elegance" though

                                  Also on Tuesday and Friday try the Copley farmers market:
                                  $5 Goat cheese picnic
                                  $6 Sandwich from herb guys (SW corner) or Iggys
                                  $2 Giant Cookie
                                  or mix and match your own

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: sbs401

                                    Does Iggy's still have a tomato and mozzarella sandwich on French bread?
                                    A co-worker here in our office in Allston keeps yapping about the wonderful sandwich she used to get at the Farmers Market in Copley, as we heat our Lean Cuisines (yuk)

                                    1. re: ginnyhw

                                      Yes. I had one a few weeks ago and but was underwhelmed. They have ham and gruyere sandwiches too.

                                      Iggy's has moved their stand to the Boylston St. side now.

                                      1. re: C. Hamster

                                        i had the tomato/mozz on a baguette a few weeks ago (eh), and more recently an artichoke spread, sun-dried tomato, cheddar, red onion (maybe a few more things?) on "not a baguette" (not sure what kind of bread it was on, but it was loaf bread, not a baguette), which i thought was pretty good but over-priced ($6). pizza at $2.50 for thin rectangular slices the size of a 3.5x5.5 note card. tried the potato pizza and tomato/basil pizza (sorry, blanking, don't think there was cheese though). not too shabby.

                                    2. re: sbs401

                                      MY coworker and I like to head down to the Trader Joe's on Boylston across from the Hynes Convention Center entrance - pick up some some good, reasonably priced preprepared sandwiches, burritos, etc. It just feels healthier :)

                                      b.good's burgers are a bit more caloric than I would like from a place that markets itself as a healthy option, but knowing that the beef is fresh and hand-packed makes it a superior option to the other fast food places. I love the "el guapo" burger - whatever the spicy sauce is on there is delish! and the baked "fries" are cheap and satisfying for a savory treat, without the grease.

                                    3. Just to add my 2 cents - I walked to Chinatown a lot, with bahn mi being my usual target. Can't beat that for a$2.50 lunch. I also sometimes hit the Chinese bakeries for a variety of buns if I wanted a lighter (and dirt cheap) meal. I've also made it back in just about an hour at HK Cafe on Harrison Ave when I crave noodles (but you have to time it right because the crowds are crazy at lunch).

                                      Most of these spots have been mentioned, but I also frequented:
                                      Laurel's when I wanted something "fancier" (but on the cheap)
                                      Thai Basil & Shino's on Newbury
                                      Shaw markets for their salad bar (or sandwiches, cooked food, fruit)
                                      Maggiano's for pasta (they do small portions for lunch)
                                      On a nice day, I'd walk further down to Cafe Jaffa for kebabs or Chili Duck for Thai
                                      Kashmir for their $9 lunch buffet
                                      Piattini on Newbury (hope it's still there)
                                      The little Japanese supermarket on Newbury (almost to Mass Ave) for their onigiri
                                      Food court at Pru (not my top choice - but if I had to choose a "quick meal", I'd opt for Q-doba or the Pizzeria Regina that's in there)
                                      Au Bon Pain for their salads

                                      There are tons of more expensive sit down options too.

                                      1. You're two blocks over from me! I tend to bring a lunch because the ABP/Souper Salad route gets old really quickly, but when I do go out:

                                        Parrish has great sandwiches; I tend to go there when I want to get out of the office and have a real lunch. The people I work with also go to 29 Newbury a lot, but I find their food to be just ok and their service at lunch to be painfully slow. Shino Express on Newbury is where I go for sushi because it's nearby and cheap. Tealuxe on Newbury has sandwiches and salads (not sure if their lunches are take out). During the summer and fall, on Tuesdays and Fridays, the Farmer's Market in Copley Square has really delicious options. Delucca's on Charles Street (there's one on Newbury, too, but I think that's further away from where we are than Charles would be) makes great sandwiches and has good snack food, too. Bonus: the walk across the Garden and up Charles Street and back is a good, quick I-am-having-a-horrible-day-and-I-hate-everyone release.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: jsjs09812

                                          I really like the subs at the Newbury Deluca. $5.99 for a ginormous sub of any vareity; the italian is probably my favorite (ham, salami, capicola, mortadella)

                                          1. re: tamerlanenj

                                            tamerlanenj: where is the Newbury Deluca? At least once a month, the savory crave strikes the Muffalata (sp?) at the Davio's lunch counter had been my go-to. but for a better price and the same distance to walk, I'd like to check it out. thanks.