5 days of lunching alone
Visiting Boston in a couple weeks. Husband will be at a conference during the day and I am looking for lunch recommendations for dining alone - maybe some good people watching spots. He is a vegetarian, so the suggestions in the post below are great! We are staying in the Back Bay area, but I will be out wandering/exploring all days so anywhere is game. Thanks!!
A few North End recs: Volle Nolle for sandwiches; Ernesto's for pizza; Galleria Umberto for arancini.
Volle Nolle serves very good, moderately creative sandwiches. It's a pretty tiny space, but if you get a seat in the window you'll have great people-watching opportunities onto Hanover Street. The owner is notably sweet -- there are thoughtful little touches lilke re-wrapping leftovers for takeout and including a new pickle spear - sounds minor but it conveys their caring attitude.
Ernesto's serves excellent, enormous (1/4 of a full pie) slices in both classic and slightly yuppie-ish configurations. I haven't been in a while but it's always been one of my favorite pizzas in the city. Some people-watching opportunities onto Salem street - less touristy than Hanover, more local color.
Galleria Umberto is an institution - cavernous room with huge lines at lunch but they usually move fast. Super-cheap. Square slices of pan pizza, no topping options. I think their pizza is just good, not great, but I really like the arancini, and if you're in the mood for a full-on starch bomb, the panzarotti.
Lots of other places in the North End - Neptune Oyster is a board favorite but I've never been so I'll let others chime in.
Any place basically. Also Petit Robert Bistro in Kenmore for well priced French food, Chili Duck on Boylston for Thai, Bhindi Bazaar for Indian buffet, Abe & Louie's and the Palm lunch is the only time you can get their excellent burger, lunch specials at Taiwan Cafe, Sam Lagrassa's downtown for good sandwiches, Chacarero for Chilean sandwich, Plough and Stars between Central and Harvard Sq., Bartley"s Burgers in Harvard Sq. at an off time.
Taiwan Cafe and King Fung Garden in Chinatown
Miracle of Science and Mary Chung in Central Square Cambridge
2nd Street Cafe in East Cambridge (a few blocks walk from Lechmere T stop or longer from Kendall Square - great salads, soups, and sandwiches, but not much there in terms of people watching
Boca Grande burrito in Porter Square or Kendall Square Cambridge
South End Formaggio for sandwich/prepared picnic/cheese and eat outside in a South End park
The weather should be nicer by then. You might want to get a sandwich at The Parish Cafe and bring it less than a block away to the Boston Public Garden. I'm not sure when the Swan boats start there, but it's very scenic.