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Staying in Newton, restaurants to recommend?

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.

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  1. 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:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/506024

    3 Replies
    1. re: steinpilz

      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

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

        1. re: bistro66

          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.

          http://www.lockeober.com/menu.htm

      2. 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

          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. 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

            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

              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

                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

                  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. 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

              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

                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. 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

                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

                  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.