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In town from NYC - Recommendations Please

My wife and I will be visiting Boston for a weekend next month. I need your help in helping us decide where to eat. We will be staying in the Back Bay area. This is my first time in Boston and want to see what Boston has to offer restaurant wise. This would be for a Friday and a Saturday night. Besides from having great food, the restaurant should be trendy (i.e. not boring) and have a vegetarian friendly menu, as my wife is a vegetarian. Good wine list a plus. Meal for 2 (without wine) should not exceed $150.

Thanks for your help!

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  1. You might want to stop at a few restaurants for cocktails & apps to experience the various dining scense. You can visit a wide range of restaurants all within walking distance to each other.

    Cocktails/apps (all on Wash St)
    Toro - few choices for veg apps though

    Cocktails/Dinner (up to Tremont):
    Sibling Rivalry
    Hammersley's Bistro

    or Dinner (further up to Columbus)

    End Up: (Tremont)
    Beeehive (ignore any lines

    5 Replies
    1. re: alwayscooking

      All of the cocktails/apps places noted above would also be fine for a full meal. I would have added B&G Oysters and Butcher Shop to the tour of the South End and Neptune Oyster in the North End but I'm not sure how veg friendly they are. Also Eastern Standard has some good food and great cocktails in Kenmore.

      1. re: JoeM

        I used to LOVE those places too but then I went vegetarian and sadly they really have nothing to eat for me.

        BTW - Toro has only a couple of app plates for veggies so not a great meal place but fun vibes.

        1. re: alwayscooking

          It's across the river, in Cambridge, but maybe you should look at Helmand? It's Afghani (if I remember correctly), the restaurant is very pretty, and it's many people;'s favorite restaurant. I believe it has lots of vegetarian choices. It's in east Cambridge, so not all that far from Back Bay.
          A very hot trendy place right now: O Ya, which is a Japanese place downtown near South Station. They might have vegetarian choices, I'm not sure.

          1. re: Lucymax

            I second the Helmand rec. O Ya has plenty of veg options, especially if you like mushrooms. It's very expensive, though, not within the OP's $75pp budget. (Although the Helmand is such a great value, it might balance it out if you did both!)

            1. re: Lucymax

              I will "third" the suggestion for Helmand. The Vegetarian Special may be the most diverse vegetarian entree I've ever had the pleasure of consuming. Easily T-accessible from the Lechmere station.

      2. I would add Oleana in Cambridge as a great choice for a wide selection of vegetarian foods.

        1. For veg friendly in the back bay, I like Vlora. In the South End, I'd say Rocca or Pops. My favorite veg friendly places aren't near downtown but are worth the trip - Oleana (best veg tasting menu I've had around here and would be within your budget) and Upstairs on the Square. Helmand and Craigie St Bistrot would work as well. I would have to recommend against Sibling Rivalry for a vegetarian unless they have changed their menu - the one time I went, the veg meal the chef whipped up was disappointing, uninspired, and expensive.

          1 Reply
          1. re: soxchik

            Great advice, soxchik. I agree with all of it!

          2. Although not from Boston, I visit often, and am sensitive to vegetarian issues. I highly recommend Lala Rokh, a Persian restaurant on Beacon Hill. Since first eating there about five years ago, I have not visited Boston without having a meal at Lala Rokh. They have an eggplant appetizer that is just astounding. It is one of the few restaurants I've eaten at where the food is so tasty I want to lick my plate clean. Unless the menu has changed considerably since my last visit, a vegetarian shouldn't have a problem getting a very good meal.

            1. When my friends visit from NYC, we almost never dine on the Boston side of the river; I find that Cambridge and Somerville have a different enough vibe from New York that people are more able to judge the eatery itself, instead of contrasting the metro areas. Here's a short list of mid-scale, unique places in Camberville with plenty of vegetarian and meat options. Search the board for any of these for much (much, much, much...) more info:

              -- Bistro-style --

              Oleana - refined Turkish/Mediterranean, great meze and desserts, nice wine list by the glass, lovely patio on nice nights, the vegetarian meze tasting menu is well within your budget and a great experience

              Chez Henri (bar only) - French/Cuban, great Cuban cocktails, terrific fancy Cubano sandwiches. The dining room serves tasty enough chow, but the bar menu is the real draw here.

              Upstairs on the Square (Monday Club Bar only) - New American, distinctly Cantabridgian, pretty good wine list. "Downstairs" at Upstairs has perceptibly better food than the more formal dining room upstairs, and is more fun too.

              Green Street - New American comfort food, phenomenal cocktails. Looks vaguely sketchy from outside, but inside is anything but.

              -- Purer ethnic --

              Baraka Cafe - excellent North African, no alcohol, cash only. If possible, call 36 hours in advance and order the squab b'stilla. It's also right around the corner from Green Street if you want to grab a cocktail before/after/both.

              Atasca - Portuguese, particularly good seafood, again a nice patio.

              Helmand - Afghan, great breads, the pumpkin kaddo appetizer is a board favorite.

              5 Replies
              1. re: finlero

                That's a great list for that side of the river Finlero. I'll have to bookmark this!

                1. re: Rubee

                  Thanks, Rubee! By the way, I don't think I have your email, but any chance you'll be in AZ around Thanksgiving week?

                  1. re: finlero

                    Absolutely! I''ll post my email in my bio.

                2. re: finlero

                  And an added note to the OP about Chez Henri: they also have a lauded veggie Cubano.

                  1. re: finlero

                    Having tried CB more than once & Tangierino(Charlestown), recently, I'd go w/Tangierino. Their 7 veggie couscous was chock full of all manner of veggies including parsnips. An eggplant, zalook, side was scrumptious. Their b'stilia was so amazing that we're going to ask, in advance, that a whole one be made just for our table. You do not have to order a portion in advance. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/552910

                  2. You must not miss the North End, Boston's Little Italy, for quintessential Boston charm and great food. My favorite restaurant there is Mamma Maria. I'm a vegetarian, and have never had trouble ordering a sublime meal there. I recommend the homemade wild mushroom ravioli (and the Osso Bucco for carnivores). Skip dessert and go to Caffe Vittoria around the corner for coffee and cannoli.