We got our Berkshires choices down, now we need Boston rec's!
my dear friends ( husband & wife ) from SF are coming to the east coast the beginning of november. they will be here in the berkshires with me for 3 nights and in boston for 2.
for the 3 nights they are here we are doing:
old inn on the green
baba louies pizza take out & monday night football :)
i need some recs for boston! i have read so many great things about no 9 park ( the bar/cafe more specifically ) i told them they need to try there for sure. other than that, i dont know? places we went together to in SF that we l loved were ( if this helps anyone )
belden place ( plouf )
i know no 9 park will be pretty $$$, so maybe some moderate places?
i know when they goto vegas they always goto one of those steakhouses ( prime, craftsteatk ), does boston have any that are strictly boston and not a chain?
nothing too ethnic needed...
they will be staying in the back bay area...i know she will love newbury street, maybe some recs near or on?
thanks so much!
ps- this is their first time anywhere NEAR the east coast, so any TOTAL ONLY boston places too...
The recs for Neptune (seafood in the North End, and I'd follow it with pastry at one of the great North End bakeries), and KO Prime (Ken Oringer's non-chain steakhouse) sound good to me. I also like all of bachlunch's North End recs, and the Parish Cafe rec for sandwiches. I'd add Grotto, a charming Italian place in Beacon Hill, which is very near the Back Bay.
I also vote for Neptune Niccole! For another lunch spot I'd recommend Garden of Eden in the South End. Delish pastries, Mac and Cheese and Chicken Pot Pie. If they are going to be in Boston for Sunday Brunch, I'd HIGHLY recommend Meritage at the Boston Harbor Hotel. It is not cheap but the spread is extravagant! An include buffet of pastries, cheeses, salads, etc, little amuse bouche style plates that are passed, pancakes, french toast, eggs bennie, etc made to order, great coffee and fresh squeezed OJ AND a great view of the Boston Harbor. They validate parking as well. I think you should have your friends go to Pizzera Regina in the NOrth End! There is nothing like it in the Berkshires or San Fran (but I do love Baba Louies too!!)
Enjoy time with your friends!!
My pleasure! Your friends are lucky to go to JA! :) I know there are many opinions on the steakhouses but I consistently have a great meal at Grill 23 but it is $$$.
I do like Taranta in the North End and I forgot to mention Franklin Cafe in the South End.
It's out of the way, but Clear Flour Bakery in Brookline is one of my favorites!!!
Also, b/c your friends are from SF, and if they like chocolate, it might be "fun" to take them to Burdicks in Cambridge and eat yummy chocolates! Let me know if you have more specific requests. :)
Boston has no shortage of steak chain spots, but I've liked the local options better. The Oak Room and Grill 23 and Bar are excellent but about the same price as the fancy chains. Frank's Steak House (North Cambridge) is a more blue collar, blue hair steak place with decent quality and reasonable prices. I've seen mixed reviews on K.O. Prime and Moo on this board -- haven't been, though.
For unique to Boston experiences, there's:
a. old fashioned Yankee cooking (Indian pudding with vanilla ice cream and the like). Durgin Park in Faneuil Hall is the place to go for this at a reasonable price.
b. seafood, especially fried clams, steamed clams, lobster, lobster rolls. Neptune Oyster in the North End is the best local option unless you head out to the North Shore to spots like The Clam Box (Ipswich) or J.T. Farnham's (Essex).
For Italian, the North End has several choices. Prezza and Mamma Maria are excellent but pricey, Antico Forno is more moderately priced. Trattoria Toscana in the Fenway area and Carlo's Cucina in Allston are worthy and reasonably priced such spots outside the North End.
Back Bay in general and Newbury Street in particular are great areas to stroll and clothes shop but mostly bad and overpriced places for chow except for Tapeo (tapas), Other Side (student-slanted comfort food and breakfast), Trident Bookstore and Cafe (ditto), Emack and Bolio's (ice cream), and maybe Piattini (Italian small plates). Parish Cafe a block over on Boylston Street does excellent innovative sandwiches and is a fine spot for lunch.
Boston hounds will be better for off the beaten path, but when we visit Boston and are on Newbury Street, a nice place for post shopping drinks is the bar of the former Ritz-Carlton--now the Taj Boston. This was the ORIGINAL Ritz-Carlton hotel, the one the chain is based on. Why they gave up the grande dame is beyond me. Views of the Public Garden and if it's chilly, it's great to sit next to the fireplace. For that total Boston experience, how about lunch at Durgin Park--there's nothing like it in SF. Upscale restaurants in Boston may not impress visitors from San Francisco, though Hamersley's is nice. It has a definite Boston vibe--the chef Gordon Hamersley, along with Lydia Shire and Jasper White are pioneers of the modern New England culinary scene. The roast chicken with lemon, garlic and parsley is delicious.
You can combine your desire for Italian and seafood at either Neptune Oyster in the North End, or Giacomo's with locations in both the North End and the South End. Both are terrific. Between the two, I'd recommend Neptune Oyster. Giacomo's South End location is less crowded than the North End location.
If you liked Fresca and are willing to get off the beaten path, you could look into some of the hole in the wall Peruvian places like Betos/Peaches and Cream or Victor's in East Boston.
The Publick House might satisfy your moule frite cravings a la Plouf, they've got a great beer selection and a decent Belgian menu on top of nicely tweaked pub food.
I vaguely remember reading in one of the local mags or weeklies that one of the guys that owned or operated Mecca opened a place here, but it's not on my radar.
There's a few local boston steak houses -- several opened recently e.g. KO Prime, Moo, Boston Public (where the chef used to cook at Cafe Kati in SF, if that's a useful reference for you).
The pastry chef at Grill 23 and Excelsior trained at Farallon under Luchetti, but I've never had her desserts.
Perhaps some of the cicchetti at La Morra in Brookline might echo that of Pesce (caveat, never been to Pesce, opened just after I left SF). I do remember enjoying the risotto at La Morra - perfect pearly insides for each grain of rice -- al dente in a way that's hard to find.
You could check out some of the small plates at O Ya, very good and very expensive. That should fill the modern Japanese niche held by Ponzu.
The restaurant opened by one (or more?) of the Mecca partners is 28 Degrees. But while you might find it interesting to see how SF 90s lounge translates to 21st century Boston (and it does) over a cocktail there, if you only have two dinners here, I'd recommend eating at one of the other places mentioned.