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SF Hound visiting Boston 5/21-5/25 -Please review my planned eats

I'm going to be in Boston only for a short time and want to eat lots of good eats. Will be arriving Wed 5/21 at 4:16pm so we'll probably check in to our hotel on Newbury St by 6pm and will be starving. Any good eats in the area? We won't have a car, walking is fine for us.

Breakfast is included so won't need that.

Thurs: will need Lunch & Dinner ideas. We're planning to do all the tourist things: Freedom Trail, Ducks Tour, USS Constitution, Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall.

Fri: will need Lunch & Dinner ideas

Sat: will be at Battleship Cove, Fall River, MA - probably will need another post for lunch/dinner recs.

Sun: will need quick lunch anywhere nearby Newbury St

Some ideas I saved up from old post from Limster & others:
Sage -potato gnocchi
O Cantinho
Christina's ice cream - I have a major sweet tooth
HK Eatery
Napoli Pastry-gelatti
Mike's Pastry-pistachio macaroons
Rustic Kitchen -tagliatelle bolognese
Neptune Oysters, North End
Trani-cupcakes w/ vanilla or chocolate ice cream inside - sounds awesome
South End Buttery-Nutella brownies
Union Oyster House-New England clam chowder
Pizzeria Regina-North End
Santarpio's-sausage pizza (Windy liked)
Neptune Oyster House (Windy liked, lobster roll, razor back clams, fried clams)

I probably won't get to them all, but what should I keep & delete?

Thanks in advance, I will report back after the trip.

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  1. Too tired to respond to every item, but I say delete the Trani cupcakes with ice cream - heard that they're pretty tasteless because of their bad quality cupcakes and bad quality ice cream. :(

    Keep Neptune, keep Pizzeria Regina, delete O Cantinho because, sadly, it's closed now.

    Hoping other hounds help out.

    2 Replies
      1. re: Prav

        Agree w/ Neptune and Regina, keep Prezza for a nice dinner, I like Maria's for sweets in the North End. Union Oyster House is close to these places so a quick stop for chowder or oysters is fine, oldest rest. in America. That's a lot for one part of town and such a short time, I'd add some south end places. I like the cupcakes at South End Buttery, and Flour is great (try the BLT sandwich), both bakeries in the south end. Maybe add Deluxe for casual good eats (evening only, closed Sun.), Franklin Cafe, the Dish, Rocca has a nice patio, etc. For Sun. lunch/brunch in your area, Abe & Louie's is good. Not far from your area is Kenmore Sq. and Petit Robert Bistro, India Quality and Eastern Standard for good meals (if the Red Sox aren't in town). I think the Petit RB lunch is a great deal and it's served til 5PM. Allston is a quick trip out on the B line and has a million ethnic places you might want to check out.

      2. La Voile on Newbury is a nifty French bistro with great food. Very convenient for Wednesday evening.

        La Voile
        261 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

        1 Reply
        1. re: BBHound

          i would read up about la voile on chow. it started out w/ great reviews but many ppl were dissapointed with most of the dishes (including my friends and i)

        2. Welcome. One of my fondest food memories was a 4 day 20 restaurant chow crawl of the Bay area in the early 80s including Chez Panisse cafe and Zuni in its first or second year of existence. From your list, for sweets, I would recommend Maria's Pastry instead of Mikes, all the ice cream places (Boston has better ice cream than SF), I would replace O'Cantinho (closed) with another fine portuguese (check Itaunas's posts) and definitely Portuguese when in Fall River (check Louis' posts). I like HK eatery but you have better cantonese noodel places in SF. Perhaps Taiwan Cafe or Wings (for Shanghaiese) in Chinatown. Both pizza choices are good. The best Italian i've had here is Trattoria Toscana (near Fenway).

          1. Definitely add Eastern Standard to your list (when the Red Sox are not at home, which is May 23-25) for amazing cocktail craft and really good food

            Consider Green St Grill in Central Square Cambridge (T ride, #1 Mass Ave Bus, or 30 min or less walk from Newbury St.- or a short taxi)- my latest favorite for food and drinks.

            Skip the very overrated cupcakes at LuLu and seek out Petsi's in Cambridge or Flour for great baked goods.

            Try to get to Neptune Oyster for a lunch or dinner - it's unique to Boston and really good for raw bar and food in general but really small - it's really close to Quincy Market (so don't eat anywhere there..)

            1. I'm new to Boston, but loved La Verdad for Mexican. I lived in Mexico and think the tortas and tacos are pretty authentic.

              1. I think you were being coy when you said you have a major sweet tooth! If you end up in Harvard Square, drop into L.A. Burdick's. You can get chocolate drinks (hot or iced, in milk, dark or white chocolate) as well as pastries and other little goodies.

                Skip Rustic Kitchen... there is nothing so fantastic on the menu that you won't be able to find anywhere else.

                I agree with Eastern Standard too, even if just for drinks.

                L.A. Burdick
                52-D Brattle Street, Cambridge

                1. Lots of good advice above.

                  Arguably the best option for Portuguese food in Boston (now that O Cantinho is closed) would be Atasca, near the Kendall Square Red Line subway stop.

                  Will second the idea of skipping Lulu's, Rustic Kitchen, and (except for oysters and beer and maybe chowder at the bar) Union Oyster House. Will also suggest taking a pass on Limoncello (it's not a bad place, but there are plenty of North End spots that are better) -- Prezza, Mamma Maria, Maurizio's, Daily Catch, Pagliuca's, Giacomo's, and Antico Forno are all preferable in that neighborhood. Mike's is certainly good, though some on this board prefer Modern Pastries or Maria's; I think they're all well worth a go. Likewise prefer Toscanini's and Herrell's to Christina's for ice cream. I haven't had gelato at Napoli Pastry, but was not impressed with their cannoli or espresso (much prefer Caffe Vittoria for this pairing) -- but I do like the gelato at Gelateria very much. Mercifully, Trani has closed.

                  A really good lunch possibility near Newbury Street would be Parish Cafe on nearby Boylston Street near the Public Garden for their excellent sandwiches.

                  1. Delete Mike's Pastry and go to Modern Pastry for a ricotta cannoli instead. Bliss.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MenuPorn

                      No reason you can't do both. Those pistachio macaroons are amazing. I do also adore the chocolate chip cannoli at Mike's--though I eat it so infrequently I haven't had a chance to taste-test or compare.

                    2. As a fellow slave to things sweet or Italian, I say definitely keep Prezza, Pizzeria Regina, Mike's Pastry, and Toscanini's. Lose Lulu's.

                      Parish is a good idea for a quick, nearby lunch.

                      1. Will pipe up for Mike's for those pistachio macaroons (though that might have been my post that you saw), suggest considering Trattoria Toscana in the Fenway over the usual North End suspects, and echo the rec for La Voile in the Back Bay. I'm also a big fan of Tapeo (Spanish tapas), especially when outdoor seating is in season, for lunch on Newbury, but not everyone on this group feels the same.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                          Have always enjoyed Ciao Bella on Newbury, Abe and Louies around the corner and Petite Robert on Commonwealth Ave near Kenmore Sq has never disappointed! Also Davios in Park Sq, loud but good food.

                          1. re: SweatiePie

                            There is arguably no restaurant more reviled on this board that Ciao Bella. I'm not at all a fan, either. There may be as many as 70 Italian places in Boston better.

                            1. re: bachslunch

                              gran gusto for the best pizza, yankee lobster for casual fine lobster and fried clams, da vinci for very good italian, and i second parish as a fine casual place for lunch if you're swanboating.

                              1. re: bachslunch

                                Do not be tempted to try Ciao Bella because the patio looks nice. Here is a thread from last year.

                          2. I'm another SF-area hound, but I lived in the Boston area for 20 years before moving to the Bay Area some 13 years ago. I just got back from a short visit which included some of the old haunts (Toscanini's is still the best ice cream ever) but also many new favorites thanks to perusing Chowhound before the trip. Neptune Oyster House was fantastic. The clam chowder was the best that my friend and I had ever had, and my friend is an Ipswich native! It had an amazing clam broth flavor with a virtuoso balance of all the ingredients. The assortment of Massachusetts oysters and the steamed littlenecks were also first-rate. This is truly quintessential Boston cuisine in a nice atmospheric location and most highly recommended.

                            However there is a whole category of Boston-area restaurant that you can't get in the San Francisco Bay Area that I would highly recommend considering. It's the spicily declicious eclectic cuisine perhaps pioneered by Chris Schlesinger at the East Coast Grill (Inman Square) and then spread to several other restaurants such as the Blue Room (Kendall Square). One of the newer additions in this style is Rendezvous in Central Square, Cambridge, and my meal there was absolutely stellar. The appetizer was Rhode Island squid spicily sauteed with pepper, tomato, olives, garlic, fennell, and a few other things besides. The great squid taste was complemented, not overwhelmed, by the assorted other spices and savories which varied in combination from bite to bite in a great kaleidescopic effect. The entree was even better - Florida hopper shrimp sauteed with green garlic, chives, and rice cooked with squid ink. I love Florida shrimp in Florida and this is among the best shrimp dishes I've ever had. Both dishes went great with the local draft Ipswich Ale, but there's a very well-chosen wine list too. Service was wonderful.

                            This combination of spicing and creativity added to fine local ingredients is something I have yet to find in the Bay area outside of my own (simplified) home cooking, or in particular Cal-fusion places like Zitune and Mantra which tend to have a more region-specific palatte than the happy eclecticism of these Boston-area places. I really miss this in the Bay Area, so I think it makes a great complement (not a replacement!) for the more obvious seafood / Italian / pizza / ice cream choices.



                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mdg

                              Thanks all for the suggestions. Thanks Michael for your input. I definitely have Neptune Oyster House on my list because you and Windy (from the SF board) rave about it. If I have time I'll check out Rendezvous, sounds yummy.