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Oct 19, 2007 01:36 PM

Recommendations for Downtown Boston

I will be spending three days in downtown Boston for a conference next month, and was hoping to find great places for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I'm staying at the Hyatt on One Avenue de Lafayette, and was hoping for places within walking distance. I'll be with my husband, so I'm looking for little cafes, bistros, diners, etc... nothing too ethnic. A great place for coffee would also be great. Thanks, 'hounds!

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  1. Pigalle is upscale French, and largely Hound-approved. Silvertone is a nice place for drinks and bar food. Both are in the theater district within walking distance of your hotel. Parish cafe serves gourmet sandwiches on Boylston St., a walk in the opposite direction. Chinatown is also nearby. I never eat there, but there are many threads about it.

    5 Replies
    1. re: pollystyrene

      Thanks, Polly.

      My husband and I also love Italian. Any good Italian places nearby?

      1. re: katiepie

        Teatro, just a few blocks from your hotel, is good for Italian. Good Life, for very good upscale pub food, is just a block away and is a good option for lunch or a more casual dinner. One of my favorite places, No. 9 Park, is just a stroll across the park away. Don't expect a table in the dining room without a reservation, but they offer a more casual, but still great, menu in the lounge. If you can snag seats at the bar, you can order off of either the lounge or the dining room menu.

        For coffee, you're surrounded by Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts (if you call that coffee). There's also a Peet's, a fantastic SF-based chain, several blocks away, but it's not open on the weekends. My favorite coffee in the area comes from Rachel's Kitchen, a 10- to 15-minute walk away. I love their lattes. Note that they are not open on Sundays, and if your trip is in November, forgettaboutit, as they are closing up to open a new restaurant in Cambridge. I don't know what I'll do for coffee then!

        [Edited to add: I see you're trip is in fact next month. So it looks like Peet's may be the best you're gonna get in the immediate area.]

        1. re: katiepie

          For Italian, there's also Grotto, another board favorite. It's a walk across the park and then down the hill to the right of the State House.

        2. re: pollystyrene

          I am a big Silvertone fan, excellent food, excellent wines and wine prices. It is very high energy and loud though, in case that is not what you are looking for.

          A favorite of mine, perhaps underrated here, is Blu adjacent to the Sports Club LA in the Ritz on Avery Street, half a block from your hotel. Excellent food, healthy theme, nice views of downtown, not exorbitantly priced. Might be perfect for lunch.

          1. re: Carty

            I used to drop into Blu pretty regularly but it sort of dropped off my radar. I generally ate in the bar area. Any dishes that you'd recommend? like lunch or dinner? Dante Magistreros used to do an amazing gnocchi dish.

        3. You may be tempted to try Jer-ne at the Ritz...avoid that temptation.

          For lunch, you ought to seek out the Chacarero for Chilean sandwiches and the Falafel King for great ... you guessed it!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            actually the ritz just got a new chef and menu and i had a very good lunch there saturday. after months of major suckage.

          2. i think pigalle is overrated and food portion is very small. service is very slow as well, you better off going to petit robert.

            4 Replies
            1. re: troyboy77777

              Big fan of Petite Robert also (Kenmore location). Also, on Newbury I always suggest Piatini and Tapeo.

              1. re: troyboy77777

                I was in fact very impressed with Pigalle's food (delicious, though not huge portions) and service (very attentive and not unduly slow) when I've been -- upscale French to be sure and I think a first rate version of it.

                Petit Robert (have only been to the one in Kenmore Square) strikes me as a different kind of French place, serving more of a working-man's type of cuisine and a worthy version thereof, with desserts a specialty. Service seemed more perfunctory, distant -- and yes, slow -- there, but I've had worse.

                1. re: bachslunch

                  I agree Pigalle is absolutely delicious, though quite expensive. They have an interesting problem with a vibrating table which is annoying if you're not in the mood for it.

                  For Italian, you should think about venturing to the North End if you haven't ever been to Boston or to that neighborhood, it's close by in this small city, and easy to find a good meal.

                  1. re: Fatty 2x4

                    Please elaborate on the vibrating table!

              2. Only a short walk away, in the emerging fort point area, you will find the Flour Bakery / Cafe. The sticky bun is to die for. The lemon scone will melt in your mouth. The coffee cake is light and moist. The service is a bit flaky but hey, they're kids and they are so cute.