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Toronto Hound Visiting Boston in November

Hello Boston!

I have a conference in mid November (thursday - sunday) in your fair city and am looking forward to my first trip! Apparently the conference is at the conference center..I'd love to get the inside scoop on any great places to eat while I am there. I love all styles of food, but I imagine my budget will only support sort of mid-range pricing this time round. Any picks for quickie lunch? Home-y type food in a relaxing atmosphere? Also after some place a little hipper I can take a few girls (in their early 30's) where the food is good and the vibe is kinda rockin'

also...if I am not asking too much - should I stay right close to the conference center? (I've no idea if there are restaurants, etc. close by)..should I be checking out a different neighbourhood?

thanks in advance!

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  1. Ther are several 'conference centers' in Boston. Where exactly will you be staying?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      "Boston Convention & Exhibition Center
      415 Summer Street
      Boston, Massachusetts"

      sorry..I guess that might help!

      1. re: redhead

        From a food perspective I'd probably look to stay in other neighborhoods, that convention center in the seaport neighborhood. You may consider downtown or back bay, both of which will require a tad of commuting for your work stuff but will make the evenings a little easier. That said, Boston is a very small city and ten dollars and a taxi will take care of you.

        For a fun, not too expensive place with vibe you might consider the Good Life, which is on the edge of downtown and Chinatown (I think properly it's called the Leather District). Food is pretty good (I like the macaroni and cheese) and drinks are moderately priced. Further afield and up the price ladder a tad is Toro, which is Spanish tapas and good drinks, in the South End. As you're from out of town, I would recommend taking a taxi there after eight.

        1. re: sailormouth

          My 2 cents on best area to stay, with some food tie-ins:

          Downtown might be a better place to stay, as it's closer to places like Chinatown and the North End, which are good Chow destinations. It's also closer to South Station, where the part of the Silver Line serving the Convention Center originates, as well as intersecting points for all four major subway lines. Back Bay has little good chow and is only near the Green and Orange Lines, though it is closer to the South End, which does have good restaurants.

          There is a hotel right next to the CC, but not much in the way of good food nearby.

    2. RH -

      What are your Toronto faves? I'm a Torontonian who spent large tracts of summer in Boston and have become reasonably familiar with the territory.

      I do agree with the counsel to stay downtown. Something around Copley Square gives you easy access to transit, and good food in several different directions.

      And I can definitely second the Toro rec. Do know that they don't take reservations, and there can be communal seating involved - but food is great, atmosphere is great, and so are the cocktails!

      8 Replies
      1. re: Rabbit

        Just a small quibble: Copley Square is in the Back Bay area. I think (perhaps wrongly) of Downtown being in the Ladder District (at the Downtown Crossing T-stop) or Financial District, which is very close by that stop.

        Of course Boston is not hugely sprawling, so the whole location question may be moot.

        1. re: Rabbit

          hi Rabbit from Toronto! (and thanks to the Bostonians who have replied so far!)

          always a tough call in terms of where to stay when attending a conference - you want to be near the work stuff, but at the same time, when exploring a new city, it's better to be close to the chow!

          In Toronto, my tastes are pretty ecclectic - sort of depends on my budget..have had great meals at George and Perigee, but have also enjoyed some chow at Sneaky Dees and everything in between..I'll be with "the girls" this time round, so don't need anything romantic - prefer upbeat, casual environment, smaller plates, likely will not be after anything too trendy or ethnic (i.e, if I am going out in a group, I would suspect the vote would not be for specifically Indian/Chinese/Thai, but a fusion-y place would probably do fine)..of course if there are any seafood recommendations, I'm up for that (as long as it is not one of those old school-wear-a-plastic-lobster-bib places...although I suppose they have their charm too..)

          1. re: redhead

            I think the following would probably suit your budget, circumstances, and please a crowd of diverse tastes:

            Eastern Standard in Kenmore Sq. (just outside of the Back Bay, which, as another poster said, is not good for chow, but is great for shopping and walking around).

            Antico Forno in the North End, which is Boston's very charming Little Italy.

            Gaslight in the South End--don't confuse the South End with South Boston ("Southie")--is a very lively, reasonably priced brasserie that opened recently.

            1. re: redhead

              Toro in the South End if you want small plates...it'll be a little expensive, but not as much as Perigee.

              For asian food, you've got it a lot better in Toronto.

              Seafood is in most menus here because it's part of the local food supply so there aren't any really standout seafood only places that I can think of...

              1. re: Spike

                "really standout seafood only places"

                Neptune(North End)

                B&G(South End)

                DO NOT get caught in the Legal Seafood tourist trap.

                1. re: XBG07

                  Caveat is I think only the oysters and lobster rolls are good at both places. I've tried the fish entrees (I'm not into oysters or lobster rolls that much) and haven't been too impressed :-P
                  Neither are really fun places to hang w/ a lot of people though...they're both somewhat cramped.

                  1. re: Spike

                    Disagree. I've brought groups of 6-8 into Neptune(table by kitchen) and B&G(table in the window) and had a blast every time. I've been to both at least 10 times with a group. Great, friendly, attentive service and plenty of top-notch food to share. I've been consistently impressed with both places.

          2. Hey RH -

            (IMHO... must qualify)

            - Eastern Standard is a fanastic rec - great bartending, good food (including a raw bar that will get you your seafood fix), and great a vibe for hanging out with the girls.

            - This board will generally steer you away from Newbury Street, which is kinda like Toronto's Yorkville (but much less gross)... but I think Newbury can be quite charming, and I think it's worth a look. Granted, there are lots of crap "tourist" restaurants on this stretch, but I like Bouchee (some don't!), and again think it would be good for your group... not too expensive, good food, and decent bartending. Or else I like Tapeo, which is pretty great (and authentic!) Spanish tapas (the rabbit in juniper is wonderful, so is the octopus).

            - The South End is kinda like West Queen West... lots of wonderful, funky little restaurants. Someone already recommended B&G (great for seafood), and Toro, but there are lots of other wonderful choices here... Union Grill ("American" bistro-ish), the new Gaslight is getting good reviews, or I like the Butcher Shop (across from B&G, and you could really do both in one night if you were bar-hop-y), or Rocca might be good for your group. The Beehive is "the" South End cocktail spot right now. Reviews here are mixed - some find it cougar-y, some rave... we haven't been, so I dunno. I'd give it a go if the girls are up for a night out.

            - Might be worth a trip to the North End ("Little Italy"), but I haven't found a place that we love. Feels move like NYC's LI versus' Toronto's (which is full of little cocktail-y boites).

            - If you want to get splash-y-er for one night, you might consider Mistral or Sorellina.

            - There is a recent thread on "Lucky's Lounge," which I think is close-ish to your conference centre. I've never been, but I've flagged it for a future visit... sounds a little like the Reservoir Lounge, perhaps very good for your group?

            Boston is a great foodie city, and I think you'll have a wonderful time. Here (for what it's worth... and perhaps worthy of its own thread), is my most personally noteworthy observation about Canada versus US resto-ing:

            In the US, they take their bartending very seriously. Bartender/mixologists seem to be revered almost like chef's in Boston (and kinda generally in the US). And the bartending in Boston is wonderful!! Cocktail-ing is an art around here. Ingredients (fresh citrus is not unusual!) are top-notch... and you often "get" to call your liquor (Americans!!! this is not the case in Canada)... so do enjoy your Boston bartending... go for the "fancy" cocktails... it will be a treat!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Rabbit

              On that note two of the places in the city proper with top-notch bartending, if that interests you, are No. 9 (on Park St., Beacon Hill) and Eastern Standard, which is on Commonwealth Ave in Kenmore Square. Both are relatively expensive for drinks and No. 9 would probably be better done in as a couple or solo, while ES works great for a group. A cheaper option with similar caliber cocktails is Green St. in Central Square in Cambridge. That one would work with either a group, couplet or solo and has the advantage of being in neighborhood packed with nightlife. They have decent food as well.

              If I were doing one just for drinks I would choose No. 9, which will be between $10 and $12 a drink, plus tip, then Green St., around $7-9 and ES somewhere in the middle, but the quality is pretty good at all three. At any of them if you're not sure what you want from the menu just tell the bartender what you like and don't like and have them choose.

              1. re: Rabbit

                you are a wealth of knowledge rabbit! I'm definitely putting "beehive" on my list - have read about it on other sites...the fact that in some circles I may be considered a bit "cougar-y" makes me feel like it is a place to check out!

                :)

              2. The convention center is in the Seaport district, near the Institute for Contemporary Art and the Children's Museum, and a short walk to Chinatown. There are some lunch recommendations for the Seaport district in this thread:

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/39340...

                1 Reply
                1. re: breadlover

                  You guys have been so helpful! I am book marking this page for my reference...my group will be so surprise that a gal who has never been to Boston is so "in the know"...I'm gonna post you one more question though..