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Your number one?

I was with a group of friends for the weekend who were from Washington DC and New York city although many of them had gone to school in Boston. Talk eventually came around to food and restaurants and they asked what my favorite restaurant in Boston is. I was stumped. I mean, I love Rendezvous and East Coast Grill and Peach Farm seafood and Mulan and Gran Gusto and now Highland Kitchen and Hungry Mother are ringing my bell, but I don't really have a number ONE. Do you?

What's the place that immediately comes to mind when asked this question? I know for one friend it's Neptune Oyster. Another is all about Prezza. Yet another will happily dine at Eastern Standard every week and never tire of it.


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  1. Oishii (Chestnut Hill) - from the "never tire of it" school.

      1. Blue Room, for the many reasons enumerated in as many posts. I have yet to try the new menu (about 3-weeks old) and so will do so tonight!!!

        1. Oleana - hands down my fave in the area. It has never disappointed me. Its tough to find creative and yummy vegetarian with a great setting in this area. Bonus points because the meat eaters I'm with always enjoy it as well.

            1. My personal favorite? Probably Jasmine Bistro in Brighton.

              1. Prezza for me, but No 9 is a very very close second.......

                Aside from the food (and cocktails), the great staff at both of these places are why they're such favorites.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Rubee

                  Yes, that was you.

                  It's so much easier when you have chums who you just KNOW where to find them when they are in town. :-)

                  1. re: yumyum

                    Ah, I love that my friends know me so well.

                    I'm just hoping that Prezza has their clam 'chowder' with bacon mash and fried clams when we go next month, and the corn raviolini with pancetta, and the crispy squash blossoms with creamy polenta, and the arancini with lobster, and........

                    1. re: Rubee

                      It was on the menu this past Friday night. I finally scored a soft shell crab, having been shut out all season. Worth waiting for.

                      1. re: Northender

                        Oh boo. I just looked at the menu and the clam chowder is no longer there. I did see some other appetizer favorites though - pimientos de padron peppers, and wood-grilled clams and sausage. The new clam risotto with cherrystones and fried clams looks great too. Heading there tonight, feel free to stop in and say hi!

                        1. re: Rubee

                          I had the pimiento de padron peppers a week ago... so good!

                          1. re: Alcachofa

                            There were some REALLY hot ones in there last night - luckily the one I tasted was sweet.

                            Corn raviolini was also delicious.

                            1. re: heathermb

                              Oh boy, so glad I didn't pass you a hot one; they had me tearing up.

                              The clam risotto was delicious too. E was still talking about it this morning - only Prezza would "garnish" it with fried clams. So good.

                              1. re: Rubee

                                Missed you guys again. One of these days the stars will align, there will be soft shell crab AND Calm chowder for all!

                2. Oleana/L'Espalier or L'Espalier/Oleana - I can't choose, I won't choose and you can't make me. :-0)

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Harp00n

                    Good call -- I'm surprised Oleana hasn't come up more. But then, the thread did kinda get hijacked.

                    1. re: yumyum

                      What! Are you calling me a thread terrorist! :)

                      But really, as a Bostonian no longer, I'd have to leave it at Neptune or Taranta, for so many reasons both strictly culinary and sloppily sentimental.

                    2. re: Harp00n

                      I didn't want to start a new thread so I'll put it here: I had lunch at L'Espalier today (my first visit ever) because I wanted to catch them before they move. I chose the Summer Lunch Degustation and the Vintners tasting, and asked about the availability of Foie Gras, which is not on the lunch menu - but somehow was included alongside the scallop dish. The food quality definitely lived up to the hype as expected, and the service was even better than that.

                      But my main reason for posting today is, they will be moving this Saturday so you only have 3 days left to visit the Gloucester St. location.

                      Oh and to keep it on topic, yes L'Espalier is my new #1, though I'll admit I have yet to try many of the CH favorites (it's a long list but I'm steadily working on it.)

                      1. re: tbiscaia

                        Nice feedback tbiscia,
                        If you haven't been to Oleana, it's great anytime .But please try to do so whilst the weather is good in their "Irish Room" aka Paddy-O Dining.


                    3. Is this a I-love-so-much-but-don't-get-there-often or a I-love-to-death-and-am-a-regular? I have a different leaning for both. For the latter, probably Gargolyes on the Square gets my number one spot, but I do hate to make it so definite.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: gini

                        Yeah I get the distinction but it's more of a gut reaction I'm looking for. Someone says "gini, what's your favorite restaurant in Boston?" and without a beat you say ..... Durty Nellie's! (or whatever)

                        1. re: yumyum

                          Damn, you know me so well. I heart that place.

                          1. re: yumyum

                            Durty Nellie's is BostonBobs favorite!!

                        2. If number one is the place that you go back to week after week and can't miss being there on a certain day, I guess at the moment, that would be Artu. There is something about a Sunday afternoon with a nice glass of wine, and a shrimp scampi pizza.

                          If it's the place that you would cry if it closed, then it would be Neptune Oyster.

                          1. I could not pick just one. I'm kind of like Rob Fleming when asked what his 5 favorite songs are. There would have to be different categories and types. And lots of asterisks.

                            1. I am so not a favorite's guy. For me variety is the spice... I never seem to hit the same place 2X in any 6 month period. After reading these posts the first reaction I have is I really have to hit a few places that I have neglected of late: never been to Gran Gusto. And it has been ages since I have hit Jasmine in Brighton or Oleana.

                              I must admit I have never had a really awesome meal at Gargoyles, very good yes, but amazing no. Guess I'll give that another whirl as well.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                Since I cannot remember ever finding it disappointing, and since I just had a really wonderful meal there, and the service and atmosphere are great, right now it's Harvest in Cambridge.

                              2. Very tough call, but I have to say right now it's Toro for the combination of excellent bartending, amazing food (not just the corn!), fun atmosphere, and not stratospheric prices.