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Did I miss something by not stopping at Panifico?

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Pegmeister Nov 15, 2007 03:49 AM

Found myself on Charles Street over the weekend and hungy. The first place I thought of was Panifico because I had heard some positives, so off I went. The place was hectic and loud, and also not very clean, yet the food look good. It just wasn't what I was looking for that day, so I ended up at 75 Chestnut. Am I missing something? 75 Chestnut wasn't very busy which was surprising because the food was excellent and so was the service.

  1. p
    Pegmeister Nov 15, 2007 06:08 AM

    It's funny, I actually stopped at the Beacon Hill Bistro and had a drink at the bar to check it out. I thought the restaurant itself looked rather cold and stark, but I definitely would go back and sit at the bar for a lite bite. 75 Chestnut was a treat, so I guess I made the right choice.

    1. p
      pastrytroll Nov 15, 2007 07:41 AM

      I've had the same experiences with Panificio

      1. CocoDan Nov 15, 2007 06:42 AM

        Peg,
        Thanks for the info on 75 Chestnut. I've been trying to get there since the renovation. I'll now make more of an effort based on your recommendation.
        CocoDan

        1 Reply
        1. re: CocoDan
          p
          Pegmeister Nov 15, 2007 07:43 AM

          OMG try the porterhouse pork chop. I don't know how they made it so tender, It was served on top of shallot mashed potatos with a drizzle of juice from the chop. Also enjoyed the mussels in tomato broth with chorico.

        2. Alcachofa Nov 15, 2007 06:47 AM

          You didn't miss much, although I think elanja's reaction is a bit much.

          Agreed the Paramount is better. I wouldn't compare it to 75 Ches or BHB. Too different.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Alcachofa
            Bob Dobalina Nov 15, 2007 08:01 AM

            Agreed. It's not spectacular, but not abysmal either.
            "Nobody goes there any more - it's too crowded." Y. Berra.

          2. w
            wontonton Nov 15, 2007 08:48 AM

            Agree with most of the comments here. I don't like their take-a-number and sit down ordering system either. Anyone been to the Back Bay location lately? Are they doing a good business? That corner has been cursed for a long time.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wontonton
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              shraquel Nov 15, 2007 08:02 PM

              I have been to the Back Bay location twice. Both times the service was just fine but the food was pretty terrible and quite overpriced. The quality of the food doesn't jive at all with the nice-looking interior.

            2. StriperGuy Nov 16, 2007 05:52 AM

              Panificio is great for a slice of pizza, a cookie, or a pastry, and their coffee is great.

              Mostly just a nice casual place. I don't eat "meals" there as they are okay, but not their forte. More about the coffee, pizza, and the vibe.

              1. Dr.Jimbob Nov 17, 2007 06:35 AM

                Panificio was my go-to place for the seven years that I lived in Beacon Hill -- sort of my neighborhood bistrot in the original French sense of being an extension of my living room, where my wife and I went when we didn't feel like cooking. So it has the good and bad bits of being a neighborhood haunt, in that we adored the food, we liked and were liked by the staff, but we haven't been back at all since moving out of the Hill. But my wife could always count on the steak thing and I could always count on their chicken broccoli penne to deliver when we needed some comfort food. We thought of the meals as a strength, but admittedly perhaps as a neighborhood joint rather than a Destination Place. It's also the case that there's been a moderate amount of staff turnover recently, possibly in part because of the opening of the second branch on Mass Ave (which I didn't like, partly because there was none of that make-yourself-at-home feel, the prices were higher and I didn't think the food was as good), and this may have affected the experience on Charles Street as well.

                75 Chestnut is sort of odd -- it's tucked into a back corner, and Cheers (owned by the same people) presumably gets a lot more business between the location and the TV link. The vibe has struck me as a little more grown up than at Panificio, and it seems to be the place where we meet up with old friends when we're in the 'hood now. The menu is mostly fairly classic stuff, though I like the twists that get put in to make it interesting, and I think they have one of the best burgers and one of the better cups of clam chowder in Boston. Oh, and their triple chocolate dessert suite is an incarnation of Pure Evil. My only gripe with 75 Chestnut is the draft beer list, astonishingly shallow for a place that seems to want to be a neighborhood pub.

                Paramount has turned me off for brunch because of its principal virtue -- the public school cafeteria feel and the astonishingly cramped surroundings have made me tend to avoid this place for brunch. Dinner is a different deal entirely; the food is excellent, though the prices were just high enough for it not to be a regular destination when we lived there.

                I don't think you made a mistake by going to 75 Chestnut, but then I don't think you would have made a mistake walking into Panificio either. Or Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro for that matter, or 75 Chestnut, or the Paramount for dinner.

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