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Visiting Brit

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So my cousin is in town for the weekend and I want to take him somewhere fun to eat, but not exactly sure what to aim for. I do not want anywhere too fussy/fancy. Something with a little novelty. As far as I know he eats everything. He's british and this is his first time in America. He definately would appreciate an odd/quirky place. I live in central square, but it doesn't necessarily need to be in that area. thanks!

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  1. Well we've all had a good go-around with the merits/non-merits of Durgan Park, but you have to admit it's quirky. Central Square by itself has an interesting mix of quirkiness, as does the North End. I hope your cousin enjoys his visit to Boston.

    1. I would bring him to Neptune Oyster in the North End. Get some classic New England seafood and then walk around the North End a bit, stopping to get cannolis and coffee along the way...

      2 Replies
      1. re: twentyoystahs

        Be careful going to the North End this weekend. This is biggest festival weekend of the year: St. Anthony on Friday/Saturday and St. Lucy on Sunday. The area will be packed and getting into your restaurant of choice will be difficut. Then again, maybe that experience is just what you want!

        1. re: BBHound

          Actually St. Anthony is Friday through Sunday, with the big procession on Sunday, and St. Lucy is Monday. It looks like fun if you're prepared for a big mob.

          I've lived in Boston all my life and never been to one of the North End feasts - BFP and I wimped out on the Fisherman's Feast last weekend (which *also* claims to be the biggest of the year) so we're thinking of going to this on Sunday.

      2. I know the food isn't stellar barbeque, but we had a friend from London who was so enamored of Redbones that he was convinced that his whole purpose in life was to open something very similar back home. We ate in the lower level.

        He also loved the Publick House and the North End.

        4 Replies
        1. re: bear

          I second the North End and BBQ. When my family and friends come over from the UK I try and pick something they wouldn't get at home. Mexican/Tex-Mex. Or brazilian. He probably won't be able to get his head around Mid-west Grill, in a good way. The cheesecake factory will also be a shock to the average Brit, but maybe not in a good way, and I probably shoudn't even mention it on Chowhound.
          A good diner or deli. Mike's in the South End. S+S in Inman.
          Given the current exchange rate, whereever you go he's going to feel like a millionaire.

          1. re: jonship

            I don't know about "Brazilian" to the extent we have it here, but they certainly have churascarias in London. They also have better Mexican there than in Boston.

            London does not have the caliber of Chinese food we do, to the extent we do. That would be quirky and tasty. Plenty of Chinatown recs on the board.

            Also agree with East Coast Grill for both seafood AND bbq. (Hell Nights are extremely rare; there none announced and they are NEVER on the weekend, anyway.)

            1. re: Alcachofa

              Is he from London?

              1. re: jonship

                Good catch. Perhaps not.

        2. My sister and her SO live in London and we took them to Neptune Oyster after picking them up from the airport. They still talk about it.

          Closer to you, East Coast Grill can be fun and quirky, with good food. It is especially quirky on Hell Nights ( their website can explain it better than I can ) and others on this board recommend the brunch, which is on my long to-do list.

          That said, they were also delighted by home cooking with local ingredients.

          1. How old is he? Charlie's Kitchen and Bartley's Burger come to mind for Harvard Square options. The Deluxe in the South End isn't exactly odd but it's nice kind of quirky. Pizzeria Regina isn't really odd but the service could be diplomatically described as "quirky."

            Not odd or quirky in my book, but just darn good;
            Neptune Oyster
            East Coast Grill (go for brunch)
            Eastern Standard

            1. There was another thread about UK visitors recently:

              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/410178

              If he is looking for Americana, I would second the suggestion of Bartley's, for the overall experience. That definitely impressed me at first. Or just any diner you like.

              If he is looking for international cuisine that's done well, or at all, here, then I'd say on average that Japanese food is better and that Mexican food is by far (even in Boston) the thing that will be beyond expectation, because in general in the UK we don't even know what it is.

              2 Replies
              1. re: chickendhansak

                I agree regarding Mexican. Hence the clarification above for London vs. UK.
                My sister couldn't find a can of black beans in Sainsbury's or Tesco's for a recipe I had given her. That's how lacking in Mexican food most of the UK is.

                1. re: jonship

                  I'm sure you can get dried black beans, if not canned. But it's not a big part of UK food.

                  Trying to make recipes from a cookbook is hard in the UK -- some of the Mexican spices are only available mail-order, and items like tomatillos you'll have to grow yourself. And I've never seen corn tortillas in the supermarket.

                  FWIW I have never found a decent Mexican restaurant in London, and I've looked. The only passable Mexican restaurant I know of in the whole country (based purely on my own narrow experience of course) was in Edinburgh, although there is now a good small taqueria open in Cambridge (yes, that one, not this one).

                  Oddly enough, generic supermarkets have more chili pepper styles than I've seen here so far. You can usually get abundant and fresh jalapenos, habaneros and bird's eye chilis in any supermarket -- hot food in home cooking is more and more popular. Even the famed Market Basket seemed poor by comparison on my one visit: jalapenos only, on that occasion.

              2. Maybe River Gods for apps and drinks then onto another place. Definitely quirky.

                1. Red Sox are away this weekend so you could do Kenmore Square and Fenway Park.
                  La Verdad for taco's, Petit Robert for a french hot dog or Popeye's for better than average American fast food.

                  1. thank you for all the suggestions! the thing about the north end is i just moved from there and hate the goddamn feasts.

                    i just went to ECG for brunch the other day and loved it. i would love to go back for dinner.

                    ive never been to durgan park. i just googled it...but i seem to be missing the point to how it's quirky...please explain

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: LAgirlinBoston

                      Depends on your definitely of "quirky"....Durgin Park is old school Boston --it's been there forever and so have the waitresses....it's certainly a Boston experience and extremely touristy & honestly there are much better places for food. If you're looking for a Boston institution I'd go sit at the Union Oyster House raw bar, suck back a few oysters & cherrystones and enjoy a cold beer or two; then venture on for dinner elsewhere.

                      1. re: LAgirlinBoston

                        My first suggestion would have been East Coast Grill. If you enjoyed brunch you should have a great time at dinner. Get one of their signature margharitas and some tuna tacos to start.