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Weekend in Boston

Coming to Boston for an extended weekend - all pleasure and no business. Arrive Saturday and leave Tuesday. Plan on walking around, eating, walking some more, eating some more, perhaps sitting at a cafe and then eating again.

Would love advice on what part of the City to stay in (Back Bay, Financial District, etc.), as we have a hotel booked but I am thinking of something more modern. More importantly, I would like to stay somewhere close to great food, and definitely need advice on the most important meals of the day: breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Also will welcome advice on places to to relax after dinner with a fine glass of something wet.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. The best neighborhood for food is the South End, which is directly adjacent to, and an easy walk from, the best neighborhood to stay, the Back Bay. Unfortunately, until the Mandarin Oriental is completed, I cannot think of any more modern option. I highly recommend the Eliot Suites Hotel (make sure to book a suite, and not a guest room, and request a high floor overlooking Commonwealth Avenue), which sits atop Clio, one of Boston's best upscale restaurants.

    1. OK that's a start. I was thinking of the Eliot or The Lenox. Now let's get to the food! Am happy to get off the beaten track.

      Brunch? Lunch? Dinner?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Cereal Killer

        Well, give us something to go on here. What's "great food" to you?

        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

          I'm looking for your favorite places to eat. I've got 4 days to gorge myself on Boston's finest, whether that means white tablecloth or greasy spoon.

          If you had 4 days in Boston, where would you eat? No limits. Seafood OK. Meat OK. Ethnic OK. 4 a.m. snack OK.

        1. Seriously? Nobody in Boston has any favorite places to eat?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Cereal Killer

            Sure! You can get a good list by reading here: http://www.chowhound.com/boards/12

            If you do that, and then come up with a short list of places that interest you, I'm sure you'd get lots of advice from us about how to optimize your experience at those places.

            1. re: Cereal Killer

              Of course, we all do. The problem is without knowing anything about your tastes our advice won't be worth much. For example, I have NO tolerance for spicy food, just can't eat it. If you like a lot of spice in your food then you probably wouldn't agree with my list of favorites.

              I'll throw one out there for you: Prezza - it's my favorite spot in the North End. Fave dishes include the polenta with meatballs (I ask to leave off the sausage b/c it's too spicy for my taste); the crispy prawns and the egg raviolo.

              1. re: heathermb

                > The problem is without knowing anything about your tastes our advice won't be worth much.

                I'd have to agree with this. We all love to yammer on about food (just ask our friends and coworkers who roll their eyes when we don't shut up about our food conquests), but without a little knowledge about your tastes (and "I'll eat anything" isn't especially helpful either), we're not going to be much more help than if you grabbed a Zagat guide at the bookstore.

                A few random "chowish" spots around town you might not see in Zagat, I'll put it on you to exert some minor modicum of effort and search the board for more detailed info:

                Angela's Cafe (East Boston) - Poblana-style Mexican
                Gran Gusto (Cambridge) - Campanian-style Italian/pizza
                All Star Sandwich Bar (Cambridge) - upscale sandwiches pretending to be downscale sandwiches
                Speed's Hot Dog Wagon (Newmarket Square) - big, awesome hot dogs in a random outdoor setting
                Baraka Cafe (Cambridge) - North African
                Cafe Polonia (Dorchester) - Polish

            2. The Nine Zero is a modern hotel. It's across the park and common from the Back Bay.

              Nearby, check out Parish Cafe, Grotto, and the bar at No. 9 Park. Walk a bit further for Sorellina and Vlora in Copley Sq. A bit further still is Eastern Standard in Kenmore Sq., and Mamma Maria, Prezza and Pizzeria Regina in the North End.

              1. Jury's Hotel on Berkley St is both close to the So. End and is in the Back Bay area. The newest and hotest hotel in town is The Liberty, which was a former jail. Jury's was the former headquarters for the police department. They both have very good restaurants in them, but Scampo's at the Liberty is the current hot spot in town. There are many very good restaurants in the So. End. On Monday you might head to Pops for the best sandwiches around or to the Union Bar and Grille for very refined dining. Hamersley's is also within walking distance and is one of Boston's finest places. Many chows consistantly recommend the Neptune Oyster on Salem St. in the No. End. According to many, you will get the best lobster roll in town, if you get the one with the melted butter instead of the mayonaisse one. I lke them both. You might think about going across the river to Dante's in Cambridge, and have a wonderful lunch on their patio overlooking the city, or you might go to the Daily Catch in the new courthouse in So. Boston and overlook the city from a different perspective. Saturday night will probably require a reservation so it might be easer to eat where you are staying, but the next few nights should have open tables no matter where you go. Enjoy youselves.

                3 Replies
                1. re: ghostcat

                  Thanks muchly. I am staying at the Eliot, and am thinking of the following:

                  O Ya for dinner Saturday – reservation already made.
                  Sunday brunch - thinking of Toro - any thoughts on their brunch?
                  Sunday dinner was thinking of The Butcher Shop - recommended by a former Boston chef now settled in Toronto

                  Monday brunch - thinking of Pops I want lobster at some point and may go to City Grille for a lobster at the bar. I understand that a lobster roll may be in order instead.
                  Monday Dinner is still open - Prezza or Hammersley's or ...

                  Tuesday for lunch I want to hit Chacarero for a famous sandwich. Flight is out at 8 pm so not sure I'll get much other than brunch and late lunch in.

                  Thoughts appreciated

                  1. re: Cereal Killer

                    You could always stop at Santarpio's for some pizza on your way to the airport...

                    1. re: Cereal Killer

                      If it's a lobster roll you're looking for, you could go to B&G Oyster first, then cross the street to the Butcher Shop and have a cheese tray and wine for dessert. Haven't been to Prezza yet, but I really enjoy Hammersley's especially when you can sit outside. As for Pops you can't miss with the reuben. In thinking about it you may want to go to Prezza so that you can enjoy the North End and stop for an expresso or dessert at either Marias, Modern or Mikes. I won't pick a favorite here as it always starts a debate.

                  2. How about the Paramount for breakfast or Panificio for lunch? [both on Charles St.]
                    you could do takeout from panificio and then walk down to the esplanade & eat it overlooking the Charles. have a great time - not everyone is nasty in Boston!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: beegirl23

                      Thanks - hadn't read about either Paramount or Panificio....

                    2. Boston is made for walking and chowing, one of my favorite activities here. Search any of the locations below and you'll find lots of choices for stopping along the way.

                      Mass Ave is great, all the way from Porter Square (I'd even extend that to Davis Square down Elm Street) through Harvard and Central Squares and over the river into Back Bay (or Beacon Hill via Main Street).

                      Cambridge Street from Lechmere, through Inman Square, and on to Harvard Square is good.

                      Commonwealth Ave is also great, looping down Harvard and Brighton Aves in Alston, then all the way past BU, Kenmore Square, and Back Bay, to the Common.

                      Beacon Street is good, from Kenmore Square out to Coolidge Corner or Washington Square.

                      Going across Harvard Street from Coolidge Corner into Alston, and back down Brighton Ave, would also be good.

                      Have a great visit.

                      1. Lots of solid recommendations already here and on the linked threads.

                        That said, note that for some not-to-be-missed, tip-top cocktail craft and pretty great food, try the bars at Green St Grill in Central Square, Cambridge (red line stop or #1 bus on Mass Ave or long walk from Eliot) and Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square (the Sox are not in town THIS weekend so it should not be too crazy - an EASY, short walk from your hotel).

                        The short rib and mussels appetizers and soft shell crab special at Green St are great, and the frites at Eastern Standard are consistently great.

                        Toro for drinks (pisco sour and carmelized lime mojito, specifically) and tapas (get the corn!)is another top pick for me.

                        East Coast Grill is a long-time favorite and kind of unique (get the Wet Bone!) in Inman Square, Cambridge

                        The (small and potentially crowded) bar at Chez Henri in Cambridge has the top Cuban Sandwich.

                        4 Replies
                          1. re: rlh

                            Yeah, I am not sure what Toro's brunch menu is like, but I highly recommend it for dinner one night. No reservations so you'd have to get there early, but lots of great small plates/tapas (esp that corn, don't miss it!), it's one of my favorite spots in Boston.

                            If you can swing it on Mon or Tues (not open on Sun and Sat it's too crowded unless you get there really early) go to Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe on Columbus Ave --basically on the edge of S. End & Back Bay. Quintessential little spot with the best french toast in Boston and LOTS of local history.

                            1. re: twentyoystahs

                              Had a great weekend in Sunny Boston thanks to those who advised wisely. Eliot Hotel was definitely good enough. We pretty much hoofed it everywhere, so we didn't get to any out of the way spots.

                              Highlights - Dinner at O Ya on Saturday night was really spectacular (if you can find the place).

                              Tasting menu at Mare was quite good, although that may have been the bottle of sparkling and oysters BEFORE the tasting menu kicking into effect.

                              Dinner at The Butcher Shop at the bar on Monday night was also really excellent, and both the wine list and the bartender were fantastic.

                              Unfortunately Charlie's was closed (he's on holiday) so we didn't get brunch there and ended up at Pops instead due to immediate hunger pangs. Good sandwich, but not what I was craving.

                              Also had brunch at Toro (and cocktails) and think I should have needed the advice and had dinner there instead. Also grabbed a quick brunch at Flour Bakery one early afternoon.

                              Due to late evenings we really only got in 2.5 as opposed to 3 meals per day. However, we did also manage to get a Lobster Roll at Neptune (along with some Oysters) which was stellar and some cannoli(s) at Modern and some Gelato as well.

                              Good times.

                              1. re: Cereal Killer

                                You did really well. Thanks for reporting back!

                                Now where is that swell UES Mayor's report?