Boston in a weekend
Chowhounders - My husband and I are heading to Boston for a quick trip. I have never been and he has only been once in his youth. We are definitely foodies and would love some suggestions for our trip since it needs to be a quick representation of what the city has to offer. We only have Friday afternoon/evening and Saturday through the evening on our own to explore. Could you please suggest some great restaurants for the following? We really need help!
1. Specialty food store or snack place (i.e. bakery, chocolate, gourmet shop, etc.) for mid-afternoon snack
2. Pre-dinner drink and appetizer place
3. Dinner place
4. Breakfast place
5. Lunch place near Fenway (we are planning to check out the baseball game)
Some things that might help... We are staying at the Taj Hotel near the Public Garden. We love wine. For dinner, we would expect spend $20-30 for entrees but love finding those hidden treasures known only by the local that satisfy tastes and budgets alike. We are open to all types of food but particularly like Italian, French, Asian, and especially fusion! Our tastebuds are in your hands!
1. Flour Bakery in the South End. It is a nice neighborhood to stroll through, kind of the Soho of Boston.
2. No. 9 Park (French-esque?) in Beacon Hill for drinks and apps. Beacon Hill--Charles St. and Mt. Vernon St. in particular--are charming and quintessentially Boston. No. 9 is renowned for its cocktails, and its food, and is right on the common (at the other end of the park and common from your hotel).
3. Grotto, also in Beacon Hill, is just a short walk past the right side of the State House and down the hill. It's a cozy, bohemian (exposed brick and red velvet) basement Italian place with rich and delicious food. Try the gorgonzola and short rib gnocchi.
5. Eastern Standard in Kenmore Sq., just around the corner from Fenway Park. If you're planning to go to the game without yet having tickets, you may have to do some fancy maneuvering. Either way, Eastern Standard (also French-esque) is worth the trip. It's a strange thing to recommend, but their grilled cheese sandwich is fantastic. The bone marrow, raw bar, burger, and just about everything on the menu is highly regarded.
Pollystyrene is right about the Red Sox ticket situation. Do not assume you can get tickets (except at unreasonable prices) at game day.
If you like Italian, you should visit the North End. There are many good restaurants and a board search will help you narrow down what choices make sense. The area is unique and makes for a great experience. Bachslunch did a terrific overview of North End restaurants a few months ago.
For brreakfast/brunch, several restaurants in the South End, not far from your hotel, have good deals. On Saturdays, both Aquitaine and Union have $9.95 briunch deals that are quite good (same ownership for the two). They are near your hotel and the South End is a fun neighborhood to explore.
I second the choice of Eastern Standard near Fenway. But it can get busy. A good second choice is Petit Robdert Bistro a bock away.
Petit Robert Bistro
468 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215
Union Bar and Grille
1357 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118
569 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118
I had dinner at The Dish last week for the first time. It was good, but not great. Something I'd categorize as "great if you're in the neighborhood but not something to go out of your way for" If you want something delicious in the S End I'd suggest Franklin Cafe - a board favorite, for good reason.
I also strongly second the recommendation for Eastern Standard (the grilled cheese is really that good). The whole menu is fantastic though. And if you can't get tickets to the game you can watch it at the bar or sit outside and enjoy the people-watching.
Agree completely with heathermb re The Dish. It's a great neighborhood spot, perfect for neighbors who want to grab a quick bite or meet up with friends but certainly not "destination dining." That said, if it's a nice evening it's one of the better patios for outdoor dining --on a fairly quiet corner of the south end --unlike many of the others located either on busy tremont or washington streets.
Eastern Standard is great, and I also recommend Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe. Only open M-S (not sunday) and if you go on a Saturday, get there early --before 9 --otherwise be prepared to wait in line....
Two suggestions for a pre-dinner drink and appetizer ( both are above your budget for dinner) would be #9 Park (great cocktails, great food) and Troquet (great wines, great food).