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First time in Boston...give me Top 5 must eat at restaurants

I've never been to Boston and all I know that one of the places I must go to is Blue Ginger/Ming Tsai's restaurant. Where else do I need to go? Where do all the locals go? What must I eat? Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Dessert?
Love all foods.

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  1. Help us out a little: what do you like to eat? how much do you like to spend? where are you coming from?

    1. Blue Ginger is a bum steer and it's in the suburbs.

      Where are you from, and what are some of the comparable restaurants in your town that you'd like us to steer you to?

      Where are you staying? Do you have a car?

      What's your price range?

      What types of foods are you looking for?

      What is important to you? Meeting people, atmosphere, etc. , in addition to the food.

      You'll save everyone a lot of time, including yourself , if you give us as much detail as possible. You'll get lots of thoughtful responses if you put some effort into your inquiry.

      1. Yes, as mentioned, if you give more specifics needed you'll get even better recommendations.

        OTOH, if I was back in town, my personal Top 5 favorites and ideal five-day eat-a-thon would be:

        Upper end/dinner:
        Craigie on Main, Troquet (with wine pairing), No 9 Park, Prezza, Clio

        Casual dinner/leisurely lunch
        Neptune Oyster, Eastern Standard, Marliave, Taranta, Taiwan Cafe in Chinatown

        and, of course, drinks at Drink

        1 Reply
        1. re: Rubee

          (Adding links with maps, info, and past Boston Chowhound comments):

          -----
          Taiwan Cafe
          34 Oxford St, Boston, MA 02111

          Neptune Oyster
          63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

          No 9 Park
          9 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108

          Prezza
          24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

          Taranta
          210 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

          Eastern Standard
          528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

          Clio
          370-A Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

          Troquet
          140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

          Marliave
          10 Bosworth Street, Boston, MA 02108

          Craigie on Main
          853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

        2. I have to recommend Oleana. The food there is truly unique. If you are staying in Boston then it's a bit out of the way in Cambridge near Central Square.

          www.oleanarestaurant.com

          Another thing I recommend to all Boston visitors is an ice cream tour of all the great ice cream places here...Toscanini's, JP Licks, Christina's.

          4 Replies
          1. re: avass

            I also strongly recommend Oleana, and Tosci's and Christina's for sure, but J.P. Licks is best skipped in my book. I would also skip Blue Ginger, but to be honest I haven't been there for several years.

            As for Boston more generally it's hard to say --- you can get many wonderful lists that are non-overlapping.

            Clio, L'Espalier, and No. 9 Park are world-class restaurants and quite expensive.

            Oleana, Craigie on Main, and Ten Tables are terrific restaurants at a slightly more modest price-point.

            Locke-Ober is a unique example of "old Boston". Grill 23 is a unique institution as well.

            O Ya, Uni, and Oishii are terrific and terrifically expensive Japanese restaurants. Oga's, Shiki, and Toraya are terrific Japanese restaurants are a more modest price point.

            The greater Boston area is home to some of the best Chinese food in the US: Fuloon, Wang's, Sichuan Gourmet, and Jo Jo Taipei chief among them.

            There are some famous places for breakfast like Sound Bites, famous lunch spots, such as Chacerero, terrific bakeries such as Flour, and some unique dinner places such as Emma's or the Helmand.

            Other options of note are R.F. O'Sullivans or Bartey's for burgers (and the latter for local color), Dok Bua for Thai, Hi-Rise Bread Company for sandwiches, Blue Ribbon BBQ for BBQ, Baraka Cafe for North African, and Tacos Lupita for Salvadorian.

            I'm not trying to be comprehensive --- I'm sure I've left many people's favorites (and even some of my own) out.

            1. re: lipoff

              Be sure to check on whether places are open at lunch before going out of your way. Some of the high end places (like 9 Park) are NOT open for lunch.
              One of my favorites, and a nice medium level on price and atmosphere, is Eastern Standard, a big place in Kenmore Square/ Boston (near Fenway Park). Very good food and very good, creative, cocktails. Lovely atmosphere.
              In Harvard Square, I really like Upstairs on the Square, and I like Harvest. Both are special (i.e., not inexpensive).

              1. re: lipoff

                thank you so much for all the recommendations..can't wait to research their menus and narrow down the list!

                1. re: Pinkwasabi

                  PLease let us know what you settled on and how the places were. I too am going to Boston (May) and asked the same question. For what it's worth, there seem to be a few places (Neptune Oyster, Eastern Standard, among others) that are consistently recommended, so they are high on my list of possibilities. Oelana's menu looks fantastic as well

            2. thank you for all your recommendations. We love seafood, Italian, local flavors, fusion, truly....we like to try the whole range of diner food to high end...its whatever everyone gets excited about. We're from California, we'll be staying with family, and I hate to not be specific but we like all good. A recommendation for each...but I find that whatever is everyone's favorite...it usually leads us to great food and experiences.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Pinkwasabi

                For seafood, check out the interesting menu and different take on seafood at Great Bay in the Commonwealth Hotel in Kenmore Square, especially good is their deconstructed NE Clam Chowder.

                1. re: Pinkwasabi

                  For a "Boston" experience, the following options are accessible foodwise, memorable, and far different than anything you'll find on the Left Coast:

                  1. Neptune Oyster (traditional oyster bar known for freshness and bold flavors)

                  2. Helmand (one of a kind Afghani restaurant)

                  3. Prezza (best example of modern North End cuisine)

                  4. Mother Anna's (best example of old school North end red sauce Italian; oozes old world charm)

                  5. Bristol Lounge (fabulous high end establishment that manages to be sophisticated, yet casual. Boston Public Gardens location makes it very special)

                  6. O Ya (modern Japanese, incredibly detailed presentation and preparation, most expensive restaurant in city)

                  7. Jacob Wirth (one-of-a-kind Wursthaus, dates back to 19th century; food is OK; great place to grab a brew and try som schnitzel.)

                  8. Beehive (food has its detractors and then some, but it is arguably the coolest space in the city; has a great drink list; and live music.)

                  9. Franklin Cafe (great South End place; excellent fod; late night dining)

                  10. Hammersley's Bistro (IMHO, and with apologies to Craigie Street; still serves the city's best contemporary cuisine.)

                  As you will see, there are so many wonderful options. You will surely enjoy our city and restaurants.