Casual with lots of atmosphere for out-of-town family with kids?
Several members of my family (3 adults and 2 children – ages 5 & 7) are coming to Boston for a visit. I haven’t been in the city for very long so I’m looking for a few recommendations. I’d like to err on the side of a fun/interesting atmosphere rather than the absolute best food if that choice must be made. They’re all from small town Louisiana, so I’d like to take them to lively places that aren’t stuffy.
Something in the North End (with pizza as an option for the kids), a seafood place, and Chinatown are all on the list. I recently went to Taiwan Café and loved it so I’m planning a family style dinner there for one evening. Any recommendations for the North End? Looking for causal places with lots of “Boston” atmosphere…
Suggestions are much appreciated.
I agree with the Deluxe Town Diner & Alewife Summer Shack. For lots to look at and a feeling that something is going on, I'd add in Cambridge: East Coast Grill, Middle East (food is not great, but lots of very local atmosphere), Bartley's burgers or Charlie's Kitchen, Dali (in Somerville).
In JP: Bella Luna/Milky Way, Zon's.
re: dulce de leche
Sorry, as someone from Louisiana I have to disagree with taking your guests to either Summer Shack or East Coast Grill. Both offer southern dishes that are really not authentic and won't impress - they can get better food at home.
Pizzaria Regina is a great recommendation though, because it is uniquely Bostonian.
Many thanks for the suggestions. Here's what I'm thinking right now.
Daily Catch - North End
Taiwan Cafe - Chinatown
Deluxe Town Diner - Watertown
Union Oyster House or Durgin Park
Pico or Joe V's (I live in the South End)
Suggestions for any other "atmosphere-heavy" places that aren't total tourist traps would be great.
I love Joe V's.. I know it doesn't have a great rep on the boards here, but I really like their pizzas. I'm not a huge fan of entrees there, but it's probably my favorite pizza in Boston (yoga pizza, the I just worked out pizza, funghi), and I don't think they get enough credit for it. However, I'm thinking the kids may have more fun at Picco, and it's a bit more fun to walk around Tremont after dinner.
It looks like a fun list.
I would consider Neptune Oyster instead of the Union Oyster House, similarly priced and equally casual, because Neptune does most seafood very well, and Union only does oysters well. As you already know, the North End is good for grazing, so you can minimize any economic damage from Neptune by heading to Regina, and back to Hanover street for dessert.
Are the kids planning to visit the Children's Museum, Science Museum, Aquarium or other museums? That could influence recommendations.
I would take them to Reginal Pizza on Thatcher Street in the North End (not a Regina Pizza in a shopping mall), to Durgin Park, and to the Summer Shack next to Alewife Station. All three are fun and great with kids. You should avoid going to Regina Pizza on Friday or Saturday nights, or on nights when the Bruins or Celtics play at home, unless you want a long wait for a table and very tough parking.
Pizzeria Regina, on Thacher Street in the North End, would fit the bill for you. (All they serve is pizza, though ,so pizza would be the option for both kids and adults.) Lively, bustling, and definitely loaded with local atmosphere! And as Eatin in Woostah says, you can move on to one of the bakeries for cannoli afterwards.
When my family from Louisiana was visiting, we took them to both Durgin Park and Union Oyster House. Both are very family-friendly and have traditional Boston atmosphere and food. The raw oysters here are typically quite different from those in Louisiana, so if they are raw bar fans Union Oyster House could be a good and different experience. Then you can walk over to the North End and get cannolis at one of the bakeries.