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LA Hound seeks Recs

Hi all, I'm an LA hound who will be in Boston with my g/f early June, trying to get a head start on trip planning. Will be in town from Friday morning 'til Monday evening, but am attending a wedding on Saturday so no dining out that day. Looking for meal / restaurant recs for our stay. Am staying downtown, will have a car. I'd like to do at least one very nice dinner - someplace trendy and romantic, probably Friday night - not worried about $ for that meal, and the rest of the meals more moderate (around $20pp before drinks). Would also like to focus on things that can't be found in LA, or are much better in Boston than what we have in LA. Would appreciate any recs.

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  1. Hasta, I don't specialize in the high-end restaurants, though many will be along to make recommendations. In general, it helps to know which hotel you will be staying at.

    Furthermore, unless the wedding is far outside the city, renting a car could border on silly. For a three or four-day trip you will find that every place you want to go is convenient by walking or taking the subway. Car rentals and hotel parking will reduce your budget for food considerably.

    Enjoy your visit.

    1. Who needs a car in Boston? You are asking for $$$ parking and tickets. Cancel that reservation.

      Otherwise, for trendy and nice go to O Yea on East St. High End Asian OR Sorellina in the Back Bay for Italian.

      When in Boston, you must eat New England clam chowder. I recomend either Neptune Oyster in the North End or any Legal Seafood chain.

      1 Reply
      1. re: saltyair

        LA transplant here. Avoid the Boston Mexican and Asian, it is far superior in LA. I recommend sticking with Italian, Spanish, and seafood. I would suggest a nice Italian restaurant in the North End, such as Terramia. It is by no means trendy but you can't replicate it in LA.

        Agree completely on ditching the car unless the wedding is out of town.

      2. For trendy and romantic there's Sorellina, upscale Italian in Copley Sq. For lunch, there's Parish Cafe in the Back Bay, where each gourmet sandwich is created by a different Boston chef.

        I agree that Italian and seafood are Boston strengths, in contrast with LA. My chowish LA friend loves the North End because it's charming, there's nothing like it in LA, and a few places there serve amazing food. My favorites are Mamma Maria and Prezza (both expensive), and Pizzeria Regina, which serves only pizza and does it right.

        If L'Espalier hasn't relocated to its less charming hotel space by then, I'd go there for lunch--very reasonable compared to dinner prices, and the townhouse atmosphere is quintessentially Boston.

        For a modern take on Yankee cooking, I'd recommend Green Steet in Cambridge. They also have very good cocktails (ask for the long cocktail menu).

        I don't do seafood, but most on the board rave about Neptune in the North End and B&G Oyster in the South End.

        5 Replies
        1. re: pollystyrene

          These are all great recs. Definitely go to the north end, so NOT LA. Maybe try one of the many Portugese places on Cambridge St. in Camb. and also Atasca on Hampshire. Get a drink at the Top of the Hub or the Last Hurrah in the Omni Parker House. There's always the oldest restaurant in the country, the Union Oyster House where everyone will tell you to only sit at the bar for oysters. I'd also eat one meal in the south end which is also very not LA.

          1. re: Joanie

            If you were in the Faneuil Hall area anyway, it's a great idea to stop in to Union Oyster House when it's NOT exactly lunch or dinner time. Sit at the old raw bar, have some oysters and/or chowder (which they serve with corn bread) and a cold brew. It's very pleasant.

          2. re: pollystyrene

            Will second pollystyrene's recommendation of Green Street Grill for updated Yankee style cooking. For an upscale version, Locke Ober is very good. For the downscale old-fashioned version, Durgin Park is your best option.

            Joanie's suggestion to seek out Portuguese cuisine is an excellent one. We're also known for seafood, and I'll rave about Neptune Oyster or B&G Oysters for that; East Coast Grill (Inman Square, Cambridge) also does seafood, as well as BBQ, very well.

            We've also got first rate ice cream. Toscanini's (Central Square, Cambridge) and Herrell's (Harvard Square, Cambridge) are especially good. Some folks also like Christina's (Inman Square) but I'm not so much a fan.

            For North End Italian, Prezza and Mamma Maria are top notch high end spots; Antico Forno, Pagliuca's, and Maurizio's are excellent moderate price options; Pizzeria Uno is great for pizza; and Galleria Umberto is great for super cheap lunches.

            And for fancy upscale romantic spots, L'Espalier, No. 9 Park, Clio, Aujourd'hui, Pigalle, and Icarus are all well worth considering; all explore the New French and Eclectic American realm to varying degrees. But there might be some crossover with LA territory there.

            1. re: bachslunch

              I think bachslunch meant Pizzeria Regina, not Pizzeria Uno. That, or he's got it in for LA dwellers.

              1. re: pollystyrene

                Good catch, polly -- definitely meant Pizzeria Regina. Pizzeria Uno is pretty darned awful.

          3. I would recommend Prezza for your North End meal. Also make a visit to Eastern Standard or No. 9 Park for the best cocktailing in the city.

            1 Reply
            1. re: heathermb

              all great suggestions above - for romantic and not LA try Lala Rokh, persian, in beacon hill, and plan a lovely walk around Charles street and the boston commons. have a drink at the bar at the four seasons and watch the street traffic and the boston commons. if you like exploring neighborhoods, take the train to east boston and have lunch at Angelas - while LA has great mexican and boston does not, east boston is unique and diverse, and angelas has great inexpensive food. explore the south end for its architecture and food, maybe breakfast at Mikes Diner, lunch at B & G Oysters. Mamma Marias, Maurizio and Taranta are great north end choices, along with Neptune's Oysters, but a walk through the north end with a stop for expresso and cannolis can't hurt either! Enjoy our city.

            2. I'm also from LA and have been living in Boston the past few years for a fellowship.

              There are a number of Boston/New England experiences that I would not miss during your stay. The North End is indeed very special and you will find a number of favorite restaurants by looking through this board. My "go to" restaurant would be Neptune Oyster, although not classic Italian. Check out the neighborhood bakeries too and make sure to order a "lobster tail" (it's not what you think).

              Other New England experiences include fried clams, steamers (soft Shelled clams) and a visit to a Lobster Shack. Your car could come in handy for these.

              2 Replies
              1. re: adobokid

                good point re: car adobokid - if you come in june a day trip out to a great lobster place like Chaunceys Creek near Freeport, ME (about an 1 1/2 drive) - bring your own wine, a special desert from a good bakery, and eat lobsters in the sun on the deck of the creek. definitely New England!

                1. re: teezeetoo

                  Just for accuracy...Chauncey's Creek is in Kittery, ME, just over the NH border...an hour plus (per Mapquest).

                  Other lobster shacks and "best lobster roll" are discussed an infinitum (ad nauseum?) on the New England board.