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Help a Brit for Thanksgiving

Hi all,
I need some help and hoping this is the right place to get it.
Im travelling from England to Boston over Thanksgiving and staying at the Boston Sheraton in Dalton Street. I would like to try a proper Thanksgiving meal, and have no idea where to go. I emailed the hotel a couple of times asking for advice and they havent bothered responding.

So what I would like to know from those who know the area is where is nice place (that is not already booked up), thats not too far from the hotel (prefer walking distance, but happy to take a taxi) and that will server a good Thanksgiving meal?

Also, if you happen to know a nice place for breakfast, that would be helpfull as well.

Thanks in advance

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  1. I used to work at Eastern Standard and when I was there they would do the full spred for Thanksgiving. Most of the hotel restaurants in Boston will be open at least partially for the holiday, but close to where you are staying ES may be the best option. Breakfast is a wide ranging variety, but for Thanksgiving day once again it would probably have to be at a hotel once again.

    1 Reply
    1. re: FoodArt

      If I may, I don't know why you're coming here that weekend, but if you're not a pure tourist I hope that your organization would have the courtesy to find you a host family for that day.

      Thanksgiving is a big deal in Massachusetts and New England, and if possible, your best bet for a traditional real meal is to hook up with a local family, if possible. As someone who has "saved" out of towners before, it's one of the few times of year that, as a group, we're extremely hospitable and friendly. The hotel places, while great, should be your last option.

    2. Here's a listing of places that were open last year. The Oak Room nearby is very traditional. I, myself, would probably opt for something less so like Sel de la Terre.

      1. Many restaurants are closed that day. Using Open Table (www.opentable.com), I found 21 restaurants open, most of them in hotels. Of the group, Eastern Standard looks to be the best choice. It also works well for solo diners and is convenient to your hotel.

        Breakfast tends to be hotel centered. There is a local institution that's well known for breakfast: Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe on Columbus Ave. It's closed Sunday and may also be closed on the holiday.

        Eastern Standard
        528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

        1 Reply
        1. re: BBHound

          I agree with the recommendations. Eastern Standard is walking distance from your hotel. It is a nice stroll on Commonwealth or Beacon Street.

          Charlie's Sandwich is a great local breakfast spot.

          On the other end of the spectrum, the Sunday brunch at the Four Seasons is expensive but a great value, if you consider it a main meal of the day. It is a nice opportunity to enjoy excellent seafood, meats, and almost everything else. This one should also be reserved as soon as possible, and they are likely to respond.

        2. I think you'll find that a Thanksgiving dinner is very much like a traditional English (or in my case Irish) Christmas dinner, with the possible choice of Yams as a veggie option and the addition of Pumpkin Pie for desert! ;)

          As someone else said, Charles Sandwich Shoppe is a good choice for breakfast if it's open. Otherwise, Steve's Greek on Hereford, a 2 minute walk from your hotel, could be a (not as good) alternative. If all else fails most of the hotels do decent, but expensive, breakfast or brunch.

          I'd 2nd the choice of Eastern Standard for dinner, I've haven eaten there yet, but have only heard good things about it. And it close enough walk to, and just far enough to walk off Thanksgiving Dinner!


          1 Reply
          1. re: mick_t

            I completely disagree, sunday roast consists of roast, yorkshire puds, parsnips and brussell sprouts and roasted potatoes followed MAYBE by treacle or bread pudding. About the only similarity is the fact that there is meat veg starch and sugar which, truly, can be said of any meal.

            Thanksgiving is a big family do all over America and generally consisits of a turkey filled with stuffing (while recipes vary, it is usually a bread based stuffing) mashed potatoes, gravy, candied yams or sweet potatoes and maybe peas or something similar followed by pecan pie or pumpkin pie.

            It's really worth it to have a nice, family thanksgiving, but as that does not appear to be an option, ES sounds like it may accomodate.

            Good luck!

          2. Henrietta's Table, at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square (a 10-15 minute taxi ride from your hotel), is open for Thanksgiving. I would expect them to serve an excellent traditional Thanksgiving meal.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Blumie

              I agree with Blumie. Henrietta's Table would serve an excellent traditional Thanksgiving meal. They focus on traditional New England food - it's their specialty - so Thanksgiving is right up their alley, and I'm sure it would be perfectly executed.

            2. Thanks for all your help guys. I have booked my table at the Eastern Standard!

              2 Replies
              1. re: emotionalvampire

                eastern standard is fine for breakfast also. and though legals is a chain, the one in the Prudential Center is walking distance from your hotel, and the fish, oysters, etc. is very good and very reliable. pretty good bar as well.

                1. re: emotionalvampire

                  Great choice with the Standard. Just wanted to add that the raw bar there is consistently out of this world. Not traditional T-day fare, but if your there, and you are into shellfish, you should give it a wirl.

                2. My favorite Christmas meal was had after standing in line at Punjabi Dhaba in Cambridge --not your typical holiday! So I would suggest a stroll thru Chinatown too...Boston's a great walking city! Also, I happen to like the atmosphere at the bar at ES rather than the dining room--there are tables in the bar as well...

                  Although many places will be closed on Thursday, Wednesday is a huge drinking night out as everyone returns to town to see old friends. On Thursday night, you'll see more restaurants open and bars too.

                  Be forewarned that Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) is an all-consuming shopping holiday--stay far far away from Newbury, Copley Plaza, Downtown Crossing...unless that's your sort of thing :)

                  1. Open Table just sent out the Boston Area Thanksgiving Restaurant round-up yesterday and it's pretty slim pickins. I would consider making a reservation soon. The link is http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?p...
                    Sel de la Terre looks like a winner to me. Most of the others are hotel restaurants or out of town.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: ginnyhw

                      Well I made a reservation on Oct 16 and today (Nov 1st) I have an email from Eastern Standard via Open Table cancelling my reservation.
                      Not ver helpful really!

                      1. re: emotionalvampire

                        Bummer. Looks like ES will not be open that day.

                        Looking at the listings on Openteble, I think Sel de la Terre would be your best bet. It's not nearby, however; about a 45 minute walk. If you want something close, I think your best choice would be Brasserie Jo in the Colonade Hotel. Reserve right away, though.

                        1. re: BBHound

                          I see that Rialto, in Harvard Square, also is doing Thanksgiving. Even though both are 10-15 minute cab rides away, I definitely would choose Sel de la Terre or Rialto over Brasserie Jo. If you really want to stay within walking distance, you might call Clio and ask what they're doing that night. They're listed as being open, but opentable doesn't indicate that they're doing anything different than their regular menu.

                    2. My daughter and I will also be visiting Boston over Thanksgiving just to get away and spend a little time together before she graduates from college and I begin spending holidays alone. Are there any recommendations for a low-key, relaxing Thanksgiving dinner, perhaps family style or early day brunch, that are reasonably priced ($50 per person). I've been to open table and checked out some of the restaurants (Cafe Fleuri looks like an option). We'll be staying at the Park Plaza in the Back Bay area so anything near by would be great so we could walk it off afterward, but we're certainly willing to take a taxi to find a good meal. Thanks!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: kkoontz

                        McCormack and Schmick may be a chain but they are remarkably reliable if staid and offer thanksgiving dinner as well as their regular fish menu. Right at the Park Plaza I believe. And as noted above, Henrietta's Table, in Cambridge at the Charles Hotel (you can redline train it from Park Street right to Harvard Square) will offer an exceptional dinner. That said, Cafe Fleuri should be just fine as an option.

                        1. re: kkoontz

                          I highly recommend The Fireplace in Brookline for a meal in general and their website says that they are serving 'Cider-Brined Local Heritage Turkey with Apple & Sage Brioche Stuffing, Apple-Squash Puree, Cranberry-Vanilla Compote & Rich Turkey Gravy' for Thanksgiving (as well as a myriad of other options). It isn't exactly close to where you will be staying, but it has a very relaxing atmosphere that you might appreciate.

                        2. Interesting that your two interests here-- thanksgiving dinner and breakfast-- are definitely two American institutions where taste and "authenticity" do not necessarily correlate with price or style..... both are synesthetic experiences in which the surroundings add so much to the experience of the meal. I had friends from England staying with us this summer and despite all the Chowhoundish meals we ate in Boston, they talked most about the greasy spoon breakfast we ate in Western Mass. I imagine the South Street Diner will be open, its a 24 hour joint by one of the train stations. I whole-heartedly recommend you eat breakfast there-- its a short cab ride from where you're staying (most of the city is) and finding a cab on thanksgiving day shouldn't be too hard and there is no traffic.

                          As for thanksgiving dinner, if you can't be with a family look into places that may be more likely to pull out families on the sake of tradition. Maybe Durgin Park? I think they've been open in the past, and its family-style sitting in some of the rooms so you could maybe find some surrogates for the day. Good luck, I'd love to read a report of your experience when it's over.

                          1. I'm glad you booked a table at Eastern Standard. It's one of my favorite restaurants, and they generally have very good service, with waiters who really know their food/wine, so it's a good choice:). Staying at the Sheraton, you shouldn't have a tough time finding a good breakfast spot. I'd recommend anywhere on Newbury St.--though I'm not sure if they serve breakfast or just brunch--my favorite spot is Sonsie.

                            15 Replies
                            1. re: ellstah

                              I have to disagree - there are few places on Newbury street that I would recommend when there are so many genuinely good spots within a short walk/T/cab ride from the Sheraton hotel.

                              For a nice sunday brunch I'd recommend Tremont 647. They do these wonderful egg scrambles and I always save room for their house-made donuts - wow.

                              Also, Aquitaine does a nice brunch as well (and I think they may also offer it on Saturday).

                              1. re: heathermb

                                Adding links...

                                Tremont 647
                                647 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118

                                569 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118

                                1. re: heathermb

                                  I second Aquitaine, and 647 for that matter, although I prefer the former

                                  1. re: heathermb

                                    It's been years since I've had it, but I do remember the brunch at Sonsie being decent. And Steve's, also on Newbury, is popular for diner-quality breakfasts (although I am not a big fan). But all of that said, I agree with you that Newbury Street generally is best avoided when on a quest for real chow.

                                    1. re: Blumie

                                      The filet mignon eggs benedict at Abe & Louis is GREAT! and it's only $16, all things considered, that's pretty good, and it's delicious as well!

                                  2. re: ellstah

                                    Newbury Street does not have one restaurant worth visiting for the merits of its food. Not one.

                                    Sonsie is a BAR with a Nazi chef who demands that you not only order all three courses at once, but that there be no substitutions. That is lunacy.

                                    First of all, the food is sub par, second of all, I eat out a lot, maybe 5 or more times a week, I always order several courses and am worth the amount of time I spend at the table with my guests. That said, I have NO IDEA what I want for my entree when I order my app. If restaurants like Clio, L'Espalier and Davios don't demand such a ridiculous order procedure, who is this jumped up sous to tell me that I have to KNOW and order right away.

                                    Sonsie is overrated, which is an understatement. The servers and bartenders are nice though.

                                    Avoid Newbury at all costs, not just for this trip, but always.

                                    1. re: foodie07

                                      You might not have to travel far at all: I called the Boston Sheraton and asked if they would be offering a Thanksgiving buffet or dinner (many hotel restaurants or catering departments do). Someone in the restaurant told me that they usually offer a Thanksgiving dinner each year but she didn't expect the menu for another week. (Maybe eying the competition to see what they might be offering?)

                                      That being said, either they are incredibly busy or just inept. My own email was ignored and it It took four attempts to reach a live person as opposed to voice mail. Keep asking for the locals to make some recommendations.

                                      1. re: MysticYoYo

                                        I would expect any Thansgiving dinner being offered by the Sheraton to be remarkably bad. I would avoid it at all costs.

                                      2. re: foodie07

                                        I like to bust on Newbury Street too, but I'm only half-serious. It's just fun to dump on, like chain restaurants or Faneuil Hall or most of the North End, which don't deserve the crowds they get compared to the less-heralded places we love to discuss here. Newbury Street and other tourist-guide-praised restaurant clusters may be godforsaken, but they're not utterly godforsaken: there are always oases to be found, a dish or two worth eating.

                                        While not my first choice for Spanish food, Tapeo serves passable tapas, has good Spanish wines, a very nice sangria, and a lovely patio. Marcello's has at least half a menu that's decent (the Persian side, very nice kebabs). I don't love Sonsie, but think it's very good at weekday breakfast and decent at weekend brunch; even though I don't like the dining room experience, I've never been forced to order three courses at once there. The steak frites at Bouchee is a pretty good deal at lunch (it's a sirloin), even though the whole experience feels a bit like Epcot Center France, to be expected from the Back Bay Restaurant Group folks. The underground Thai place is respectable as such Westernized Thai places go. Cafe at the Taj is rather nice, and a better bargain than you might imagine at lunch. Trident is actually a fine old place for breakfast or lunch, nothing spectacular, but they don't mind if you linger with a newspaper or book.

                                        Yeah, Newbury Street is much worse that the average visitor is led to believe, and hardly worth the attention of adventurous Chowhounds, but you don't have to starve there, either.

                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                          And you can always cross over to the Other Side for an earthy casual bite and groovy beverage.

                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                            Equally, you don't have to spend your money there. The recommendations that you gave above all came with some kind of disclaimer. Furthermore, "decent", "pretty good" "respectable" and "actually..." are not words that I want associated with a restaurant I would pay money to eat at.

                                            The OP didn't ask where he could go and "not starve".

                                            He asked where he could get a nice meal. SO really MC Slim, you have proven my point. There are plenty of restaurants in downtown Boston where he can get a nice meal without sacrificing ambiance, flavour or price, why else would he come to Chowhound? We are, after all, meant to be foodies, not recommenders of passable fare.

                                            1. re: foodie07

                                              My post wasn't offering recs to the OP but responding to what I thought was an exaggeratedly harsh take on Newbury Street: "Avoid Newbury at all costs... always." I'm pointing out that it's an easy target (I've spent plenty of time here busting on it myself), but in fact has a few decent options that an absolutist view will overlook.

                                              Sometimes it's convenient, desirable, or unavoidable to dine on Newbury St. I like to at least nudge people toward the better places there so they can avoid, say, Stephanie's or Charley's. A tip on a decent place a block away can be more useful than one on a Chowish place a mile away. As I said earlier, Newbury Street is hardly worth the attention of adventurous eaters, but in a pinch, Chowhounds can make the best of a less-than-optimal situation.

                                              (Incidentally, you may find that not everyone on Chowhound loves the term "foodie" nor is eager be labeled one; founder Jim Leff in particular uses the term quite pejoratively.)

                                            2. re: MC Slim JB

                                              I think I noticed that Marcello's closed and that a b.good is going into that space.

                                              1. re: lissy

                                                Ach, bummer. I'm not such a fan of b.good. I did see this list on bostonchefs.com of places that are doing Thanksgiving dinner, many of which are pretty swanky fine-dining types of venues, some located in hotels: Aujourd'hui, Aura, Avenue One, Bristol Lounge, Chiara, Chillingsworth, Excelsior, The Fireplace, Grill 23 & Bar, Harvest, L'Espalier, Regatta of Cotuit, Rialto, Sandrine's, Sel de la Terre, Turner Fisheries and UpStairs on the Square.

                                            3. re: foodie07

                                              La Voile seems like it will be outstanding.

                                          2. May I ask what you're doing in Boston that week? That knowledge might help some of us a bit push you some where. If it's a business thing, there is no shame in shaming your business people from setting you up at the very least for a Thanksgiving dinner. Even the most heartless of corporate hosts will do that.

                                            If you're on something of a grown-up (or less than grown-up) gap year you should be able to find a host with appropriate planning. I'm very tempted to take you in myself.

                                            1. Hi,

                                              I did some internet "sleuthing" and came up with this list of restaurants offering Thankgsiving Day menus. The one at the Four Seasons looks really good to me, maybe that's your best bet.

                                              Also, if you want a really memorable Thanksgiving, you might consider renting a car and going out to the Old Sturbridge Village celebration. In addition to some really traditional New England Thanksgiving food, you will really get a sense of the history of the celebration. I know that Plimouth Plantation seems like the place to be, but I'd prefer going to Sturbridge, personally.

                                              Hope this helps.


                                                1. How was your Thanksgiving, vampire?