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Visiting from NYC: 3 questions

I need help firming my my eating agenda for a weekend visit from NYC next weekend.

Firstly, let me thank all of you Boston Chowhounds for giving such helpful and pointed feedback! I have been able to distill a lot of great info from running searches and viewing other posts. But, I do have a few clarifying questions I think you can help with.

Dilemma 1: Dinner Friday
Arriving around 8pm Friday night and need a dinner destination. We are staying near the Boston Convention Center. Likely we will do a minimal amount of trekking around that night. Anything worthy in the Waterfront or nearby Downtown area? Nothing too $$ as we are saving our big hitter for Saturday. No sports bars. Nothing asian (as we get plenty of great thai, sushi, chinese in NYC). Nothing we need a reservation for.

Dilemma 2: Breakfast
We have 2 morning meals in Boston so ideas for favorite places around town are great. Again...likely Downtown area will make the most sense since we'll start our day there. Diners, cafes, coffee shops - we are open. Great coffee is a must.

Dilemma 3: Knock our socks off dinner
We have already decided on Pizzeria Regina and Neptune Oyster for lunches. But...I want to find our really amazing meal of the trip (though i expect this pizza is going to make me a sincerely happy girl!!). In general...we want incredible and interesting food. This does not mean "weird" or 'trendy". We ate at Chez L'Epicier in Montreal and it was one of our favorite meals ever. Very recognizable ingredients, but put together in surprising ways (peanut crusted seared tuna, basil spaeztle, pineapple creme brulee). Amazingly delicious, lovely space, good service, well-priced. We don't mind a pricey venue, but it has to be a good value.

My short list so far includes Sel de la Terre, Eastern Standard. What am I missing? Seafood, French, Italian, Indian, Spanish - we are pretty open to cuisine except for asian.

We are looking forward to your fair city! Thank you for your insights and I promise to let you know our impressions.

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  1. #1: Lucky's in South Boston - Or St. Alphonsus, also in South Boston (formerly Potbellies). Search the board for more pub on both.

    #2: Downtown is largely a wasteland for breakfast places, unfortunately, especially on the weekends. I always like to stroll the North End before the crowds hit to get some pastries and a cappuccino (which is traditionally a breakfast drink after all...). If you are in the Quincy Market area, for coffee, you can stop in to Red Barn Roasters in the historic Faneuil Hall building for the decent cup of coffee outside of the North End.

    #3: Near the Convention Center, google Persephone, which is part of the Achilles Project website. I had a thoroughly enjoyable meal there recently, though maybe not quite as surprising as the Montreal items. The website will give you a good bead on things.

    Good luck!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      Lucky's is a great idea, I forgot all about that. Live music and fun vibe. And I love their sliders. And may even be able to get seats at bar with it still being summer crowds.

      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        BOB>... i couldn't agree more with #2. However... has anyone had breakfast at Moo?? Argueably the best in town (obviously expensive for the average breakfast though). I do have to say the best cooked eggs in town all the way around. We all know that eggs are not an easy task for even the most skilled of chefs and Moo does it like none other in town....
        I had ducasse breakfast at the plaza athenee paris in march, and mind you i don't fine dine often for breakfast (just a point of reference) and this Moo's eggs and pancakes on par!!

        1. re: bowmore36

          Thanks, Bowmore - I had no idea that Mooo... did breakfast. Good thing to know.

      2. Hmm. I don't live downtown, so I can't really help with breakfast. I would consider No 9 Park for a knock-your-socks off dinner of delicious recognizable ingredients combined in interesting ways. It's well-located for strolling the Common and Public garden and general downtown sight-seeing.

        1. My suggestions would be:

          1. Dinner Fri night: Persephone, 283 Summer St. Walking distance. Menu: http://achilles-project.com/flash/Din...

          If you're in the mood for decent chowder or fish, the No Name Restaurant is also nearby. Or Morton's steakhouse which, altho a chain, is sometimes exactly what you're, or should I say I am, often in the mood for after traveling: Nearby and reliable.

          2. Breakfast Saturday: Flour Bakery, 12 Farnsworth St, off Congress. They're famous for their sticky buns, which Bobby Flay unsuccessfully challenged in a Throwdown.

          3. Eastern Standard sound like a good pick if Sox are not playing that night.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Niblet

            Geez...No Name, huh? Lots of negative pub on that one - I know the poster is from NYC, but sheesh. ;) Some reviews advice specific choices, like fried clams. Others say to avoid completely - choose wisely.

            Re: Persephone - One person's knock your socks off is another person's casual cheap Friday night. lol

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              Hah! I was replying to yours above as you were replying to mine...I was thinking the same thing about Persephone. Snacks are good and that's usually the way I eat.

              I knew I might get flak for No Name, but I remember the chowder being good. And the fried clams. Plus it's nearby and there aren't that many decent places that are open after 8pm near the new convention center.

              1. re: Niblet

                I enjoy No Name myself, but I always order the same thing when I go...a bowl of Fish Chowder and the Fried Fisherman's Platter. Both are so good, I've never had the urge to try anything else. I've heard that the broiled fish options are not as good, so if you do try it, stick with the fried platters.

                Also, be aware that NoName is NO atmosphere either. It's paper placemats, paper cups, service is efficient but sometimes a bit rough, and you will be in and out in under an hour.

                1. re: mwk

                  I always enjoy their fish chowder and fried clams too.

                  Definitely not fine dining; but worthwhile.

                  First restaurant I ever went to in Boston; in the late 70's. It was BYO and groups would be lined up outside with coolers..:)

                  1. re: mwk

                    The fish chowder at the No Name is awesome but I was really disappointed with the fisherman's plate that I had there several months back.

              2. re: Niblet

                Haven't been to the Seaport area Morton's, but if it's like the one near the Pru Center, I'd say give it a pass.

              3. I love Chez l'Epicier, but the two you mentioned, while quite good, don't really match up with that level. For a similar but possibly better executed meal, you could try Troquet, which has a superb wine list, or Craigie Street Bistro, which has a smaller wine list but traditional French food often with a heavy dose of innovation. They're two of the better restaurants in Boston and neither are particularly formal, so maybe just a small step above Chez l'Epicier atmosphere-wise, and also price-wise.

                I know you said no sushi, but. . . you might consider O Ya. It's near your hotel, best new restaurant outside of NYC according to some guy that writes for a paper. And it's really good.

                1. For breakfast between the Convention center and Downtown is Mul's Diner in South Boston (on Broadway near Dorchester Avenue. It's received good buzz for their eggs/breakfast.