In Boston for 1st time, where should I eat?
I do think the North End is a great place to visit and I like Mama Maria's, but last night I ate at Rocca, a wonderful South End Italian restaurant specializing in the food of Liguria. Everything was superb, especially the pasta. I had the special--trofie made with chestnut flour, which is traditional and hard to find. Mixed in with the obviously hand made trofie were crispy bits of pancetta, a little escarole ,and bits pf pear. The person I was with had the gnocchi with meat sauce which was also marvelous. We ate the fried cauliflower to start-a good and slightly decadent choice as it is served with mayonnaise!- but my favorite appetizer is the farinata, a delicious chickpea crepe-also traditional and hard to find- served here with carmelized onions and a little salad. In addition to delicious food, the service was warm and friendly and the place is stunning.
ipm, if you like thai, boston has some of the best stuff on the east coast. i've been missing it ever since i moved to manhattan!
it's been a few years since i lived in boston and i only get to visit occasionally, so others are going to be far more knowledgable than me -- but i think khao sarn in brookline is a good option. a lot of ppl recommend brown sugar. if you like your thai food very sweet, it's not bad (good quality ingredients), though it's a bit too sweet for my tastes.
i'm also a fan of steinpilz's suggestion of bukowski's for beer. the selection is mind boggling, the atm. laid back, unpretentious and fun (if crowded). it's supposed to have pretty decent pub grub, as well.
for more high brow pub grub, check out washington square tavern, a very pleasant (also very crowded) neighborhood place with a good wine list and decent selection of beers.
p.s. oh, almost forgot. a few months ago, i had dinner at oleana in cambridge. i actually think the turkish influenced style is pretty unique and so far, nyc doesn't have anything like it as far as i know. it was pretty solid. you might want to check it out.
Other Hounds may elaborate but here are some that I'd suggest (search the board for vast detail):
Neptune Oyster for seafood, oysters, lobster
Uni for sashimi
Eastern Standard for cocktails and french bistro style foods
East Coast Grill for grilled and spicy seafood
O Ya for sushi/sashimi -- it's very expensive though
Publick House for a great selection of beers
Bukowski's downtown for beers
I don't eat the first three on your list, but for Italian, go to the North End. It's a great area to visit anyway, and has about 100 Italian restaurants, some great, some awful, some in between.
Pizzeria Regina (only one topping, if that, to preserve the perfectly crisp nature of the thin crust)
Mike's Pastry (for cannoli)