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Staying in Newton, restaurants to recommend?

bistro66 Dec 29, 2008 05:44 PM

We're going to be staying at the Indigo Hotel in Newton with our ten year old, who is a pretty adventurous eater. I read the pans of Blue Ginger, and we've been away from Boston for so long that I really don't know the restaurant scene any longer. Does anyone have any suggestions? We enjoyed Elephant Walk years ago, it sounds like it's bad now, we used to love Biba, Hamersley's Bistro, Icarus, Olive's but they sound like they've fallen off. We left Boston in '95, so you can imagine that the city really exploded after we left, sigh. Anyway, we are willing to spend up to $100 and enjoy Asian, Italian, Spanish, New American, French, Vietnamese, and we would either go into Boston or stay in the Newton-Wellesley area. We used to like Appetito but it's been around six years since we've been there. Anyway, I'll take any advice I can get. Otherwise I'll just consult my 2007 Zagat's, but I haven't had much luck with Zagat's, the guides often miss the mark.

  1. l
    Lucymax Dec 30, 2008 11:30 AM

    A little ways above in this thread, you asked about Locke Ober. In my opinion, don't bother unless you have a strong sentimental reason to revisit it. I find the food a little bit too rich, not "well rounded," if I may use that phrase. It's also not very relaxing, meaning, it looks very very formal. Bump this one down the list. Someone mentioned Eastern Standard -- I really like that place, and the cocktails are amazing.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Lucymax
      bistro66 Dec 30, 2008 01:35 PM

      Hi all. I'm at the Indigo and using my husband's laptop, it's awkward. Thanks everyone for the great tips. Unfortunately Lumiere and Kouzina are closed on New Year's Day, and we've been invited for other nights. Looks like lunch for those places...I'll try some of the restaurants in town, maybe we'll have better luck.

      Thanks again!

      1. re: bistro66
        bistro66 Dec 30, 2008 01:58 PM

        Neptune Seafood is open on New Year's Day. Any opinions on Oleanna?

        1. re: bistro66
          macadamianut Dec 30, 2008 02:51 PM

          Go downstairs to the restaurant. Have a drink and an appetizer and tell me what you think. You will want to eat there. The food is really excellent and I do not like hotel food. Fun place and there is going to be a snowstorm. You can just walk downstairs.

          1. re: bistro66
            gramercyfoodie Dec 30, 2008 03:41 PM

            if you mean neptune oyster...it is favorite here.

            1. re: gramercyfoodie
              macadamianut Dec 31, 2008 03:07 AM

              I love Neptune too but it is small and will be hard to get into at the last minute.

              1. re: macadamianut
                gramercyfoodie Dec 31, 2008 04:04 AM

                I don't think it will be terrible on New Years day...as long as you know you could wait for 15-30 mins it is very manageable and worth the wait (imo),

          2. re: bistro66
            AHan Dec 31, 2008 04:00 AM

            I'm pretty sure neither of those are open for lunch.

            1. re: AHan
              bistro66 Jan 3, 2009 08:41 AM

              We ended up at East Ocean City in Chinatown and had a cosmic meal. It is as great as ever. We tried Bokx for breakfast and a drink, both times it wasn't open, it didn't open until 4:PM on the last day of our visit and we had to hit the road. Blue Ribbon Barbecue was great for lunch, my husband liked it and he is into barbecuing and smoking. We were invited other nights. Some great chefs up there.

              Indigo is a great little hotel. We'll try Lumiere and the other places on the next visit. Really wanted to check out Bokx but the times didn't work.

              Thanks everyone for your suggestions! The weather was pretty frigid, and my son had a virus, which made it a bit challenging to travel around. We really re-experienced Boston in its true essence.

        2. Science Chick Dec 30, 2008 08:17 AM

          For a quick lunch, you should also hit Blue Ribbon BBQ in West Newton. Counter seating only, but well worth the trip!

          1. e
            emilief Dec 30, 2008 07:02 AM

            In Wellesley, Vela on Washington street in Wellesley Hills Square is excellent Italian. Blue Ginger is a great restaurant despite the group of people who dislike it. I highly recommend that you take the Green Line a short distance to Waban square and eat at Kouzina. The owners are Greek and French. Not really Greek food- Greek with a modern and french twist. A great place for kids too- they have pizza and a kids menu as well as lots of great seafood and meat choices. It is small so a reservation is a good idea.

            2 Replies
            1. re: emilief
              TheTrout Dec 30, 2008 08:02 AM

              Another vote for Kouzina in Waban. Best way to describe the food - Mediterranean. It's everything a great "neighborhood" restaurant should be - interesting food, moderate prices, kid friendly, nice folks who run it & work there!

              Since you left Newton in '95, some wonderful places have opened here. Lumiere in West Newton & 51 Lincoln in Newton Highlands are both "new American" and Ariadne in Newtonville offers "Mediterranean" cuisine. All three rival some of the better " white tablecloth" downtown restaurants - with the added advantage of being nearby and easy to get to.

              1. re: TheTrout
                veggielover Dec 31, 2008 10:14 AM

                I would also like to recommend Kouzina. It is our neighborhood go-to restaurant. For New Year's Eve they are offering a 4 course dinner with a half bottle of champagne for $45..a real bargain.

            2. b
              bakerboyz Dec 30, 2008 05:03 AM

              I would highly recommend in West Newton, Lumiere: New American; In Wellesley, you can get good sushi at Yama and very good Italian at Vela; I second Trattoria Toscana in the Fenway area of Boston for Italian. I was recently told that Fiorella's in Newton has very goos southern Italian but I have never been.

              2 Replies
              1. re: bakerboyz
                bistro66 Dec 30, 2008 05:21 AM

                I love how the towns up there have such superior restaurants. We always go into NYC for special occasions. Princeton is getting good restaurants but it's slow, and slower still in this economy.

                Trattoria Toscana sounds great, we are planning on going to the MFA. Thanks so much for the suggestions!

                1. re: bistro66
                  bakerboyz Dec 30, 2008 05:37 AM

                  FYI, Trattoria Toscana I believe is only open for dinner. If you were in the Fenway during the day and wanted a quick and very good bite, around the corner from Trattoria Toscana is El Pelon for excellent burritos and fish tacos and cheap!

              2. a
                AHan Dec 30, 2008 04:37 AM

                How about exploring Moody St in Waltham? There's an abundance of various restaurants, and it's only a 5 minute drive from your hotel.

                4 Replies
                1. re: AHan
                  bistro66 Dec 30, 2008 05:17 AM

                  That's a good idea too....we used to go to Monsoon, when we were living in Newtonville. I went to Brandeis, that town's really become a culinary haven.

                  1. re: bistro66
                    AHan Dec 30, 2008 05:35 AM

                    What year? I'm '83. Waltham food certainly got a lot better after that. All the failed downtown retailers left low-rent opportunities for restaurant openings. The area has developed a reputation since.

                    1. re: AHan
                      bistro66 Jan 23, 2009 06:32 PM

                      Class of '81! Waltham was rather a dump then, except for Grover Cronin. But I was coming from New Brunswick so it looked like a fine New England town to me.

                      1. re: bistro66
                        AHan Jan 24, 2009 04:33 AM

                        Yeah, Moody St. wnet downhill, had a restaurant-based revival, but I am afraid many of the remaining stores have closed in the past two months. A lot of empty storefronts now.
                        I don't miss the 1 AM runs to Dragon Chef--can't believe they are still around.

                2. m
                  macadamianut Dec 30, 2008 04:02 AM

                  The Steakhouse in your hotel is quite delicious. I have eaten there twice. It's called Bokx 109. It's very pricey but very good. The cocktails are very good too. They serve cotton candy that is warm and just made when the check arrives. The side dishes are delish especially the creamed spinach and the au gratin potatoes. I went with friends from work so I didn't eat everything I wanted. Looking forward to going back and trying more. The table next to me got the chilled seafood platter as an app and I wanted to sit with them. It looked amazingly good and fresh. The hotel looks really nice too.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: macadamianut
                    bistro66 Dec 30, 2008 04:21 AM

                    Two of my friends work right near there. One said it's good but overpriced. We'll see. My son is coughing away as I write, he's been sick, currently we're still planning on going but maybe not too far. I love good cocktails! I will definitely check it out.

                  2. steinpilz Dec 29, 2008 06:53 PM

                    At the Indigo you're near the T so all of Boston is available to you.

                    Judging from your comments sentiment would guide some of your choices, you shouldn't pay too strict attention to "pans" of places like Blue Ginger - I tire of going to the same gas station but it has nothing to do with the "gas" or service. Sentiment is one of my favorite emotions - "personally satisfying," and I don't think that others opinions really matter regarding my personal favorites.

                    Hammersley's isn't ever diss'd on this board, Elephant Walk still gets good reviews, Olives is sort of ignored but English's King Fish gets some good comments (for good reason IMO).

                    Appetito is happily ongoing in Newton Centre (where I live) so I'll suggest a return there.

                    Some other well regarded suggestions:

                    Spanish: Taberna de Haro on Beacon in Brookline, Toro in the South End
                    Asian: Shiki in Coolidge Corner, Uni in Back Bay
                    Italian: Trattoria Toscana, Prezza
                    American: Neptune Oyster in the North End, East Cost Grill in Inman Square, Marliave
                    French: La Viole on Newberry Street, Eastern Standard at Kenmore Square
                    Vietnamese: O Ya at South Station (not really Vietnamese but very well regarded),

                    Here's a good guide to recent great food in Boston, also a guide to my answer as I haven't been to all of these places:


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: steinpilz
                      bistro66 Dec 29, 2008 07:09 PM

                      Thanks so much!!! I did see that favorites post and found it a bit dizzying, but I'll look through it. I am so glad to see East Coast Grill on your list. It was always our favorite. My dad ate Pasta from Hell there, I shared it with him and couldn't finish it, I remember marveling at his stamina for such a hot dish, it was aptly named. We never liked Chris Schlesinger's other place in Kendal Square much, near Cambridge Brewery. Funny how those New American chefs are still going strong 20 years later.

                      1. re: steinpilz
                        bistro66 Dec 29, 2008 07:17 PM

                        Do you know anything about Lydia Shire's Lochober's?

                        1. re: bistro66
                          steinpilz Dec 30, 2008 04:14 PM

                          Locke Ober is a famous old Boston restaurant in an interesting location, expensive, the food is sort of old fashioned fancy (as mentioned by Lucymax). It pretty much always gets good reviews.


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