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Mar 28, 2009 05:42 PM

First time in Boston this July

My husband and I will be spending 1 night in Boston in July. Our hotel is in Cambridge. Can you give us suggestions for a lunch and a dinner? We're fairly open-minded about trying new things but don't particularly look for Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, etc. We're from Florida so we love fresh seafood. We like good sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, sausage, Italian, including pizza. We like to try dishes that are locally important. I'd really appreciate some guidance.

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  1. Cambridge has hotels scattered all over the place. If you want to eat near where you are staying, you'll get lots of advice if you mention the name of the hotel. If you are in Harvard Sq. which has some great dining options you can easily get into Boston proper on the Red Line, which is a subway. If you are at the Sonesta, Dante is a great restaurant with a patio over looking the Charles river,and is close to the Green Line, which is a trolley that can take you to Haymarket and bring you to the No. End where you can find probably the best pizza around at Pizzeria Regina and some of the best seafood at Neptune Oyster. It's amazing that you can plan so far ahead, and I'm sure you'll get lots of opinions on this board.

    1. Legal Seafoods in Kenmore Square (right near Cambridge and probably where you will be staying) has great fresh fish and Blu is also great and pretty atmosphere. Fire and Ice is a fun place to go with many different options. Border Cafe is also yummy in Harvard Square. If you are in downtown Boston - Stephanies on Newbury is one of my favorite restaurants along with Grill 23, Davio's, Atlantic Fish Company, and Charley's. Legal Seafoods has downtown locations too. Stella in the South End is a favorite too! Hope this helps!

      11 Replies
      1. re: jmf2188

        sorry, jmf, but i think you're going to find more dissenters than fellow fans on most of your recs, not to mention that there is no legal in kenmore square. personally, i'd rather starve than eat at border cafe, fire+ ice, stepanie's or charlie's. stella isn't much of a step up and certainly is quite far from cambridge. blu has been very ho-hum since dante left and i always hate walking through a gym and a cafeteria to get to it.

        depending on where the op is staying in cambridge, we might give better ideas. with just one day in town, i can't imagine wanting to schlep all over the universe for meals.

        bartley's burgers in harvard square would be fun for lunch -- a local and unique slice of yesterday. agreed with pizzeria regina and neptune is one of my personal top 5's. prezza in the north end is also excellent. an easy walk from the red line on this side of the river is bina osteria at downtown crossing -- modern italian that kicks serious butt.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Agreed wholeheartedly with hotoynoodle here. Of jmf2188's suggestions, I can only agree with Grill 23 (excellent steak place), Davio's (very good Italian emphasizing steak), and Atlantic Fish (not bad, but I like Neptune Oyster better). Not a fan of Blu, Border Cafe, Fire & Ice, Stella, or Charley's, and would suggest Stephanie's most readily for an expensive dessert and not a lot else. And Legal Seafood is about on a par with Atlantic Fish.

          H's suggestions of Mr. Bartley's, Pizzeria Regina, Prezza, and Neptune Oyster I can easily get behind.

          1. re: bachslunch

            i have yet to have a good meal at Neptune Oyster but all this good talk about it is inspiring me to to try it again!! I LOVE Stella (even though the service was terrible) - surprised you guys dont like it. Agreed with Mr Bartley's though - yum.

            1. re: jmf2188

              stella's menu is so pedestrian and its service so snotty, i just can't be bothered. spaghetti and meatballs? caesar salad? orechiette with sausage? it's like a north end time warp from the 70s but with really uncomfortable chairs. sage down the street is far far better.

              however, this really is off-topic since that deep part of the south end is not easily accessible from cambridge.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                true - not exactly the area to be suggesting. however...i have never been to Prezza and I just looked at the menu and it looks delicious - every dish! what are some of the best dishes to get there? I am definitely going to try it out!

                1. re: jmf2188

                  i've never had a bad meal at stella. order what looks good to you. the pastas are outstanding.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    not paying attention to my own self. i meant i've never had a bad meal at prezza. oops. i've stopped going to stella.

        2. re: jmf2188

          There is no Legal in Kenmore plus Legals's has dropped so far in terms of quality of both food and service that I cannot recommend it anymore. Also, I don't know of any Legal's downtown, but they spawn so quickly maybe one has landed there.

          Fire and ICe, I'd avoid also. Overpriced fake Mongolian BBQ. You'll have to send your clothes out to be laundered after eating there.

          Border Cafe and Stephanies are popular with tourists who overpay for really mediocre food.

          Grill 23 is fabulous. Davios is too. Great food and cocktails.

          Blue Room in Kendall Sq. is good and fun. East Coast Grill is also good and fun and offers a killer bloody mary bar at . brunch.

          It will be easier to offer sduggestions if you can be specific about where you are staying and $$ range etc.

          1. re: C. Hamster

            The OP may have meant to refer to Legal's in Kendall Square. (Sometimes I say Kenmore instead of Kendall and vice versa, alas.)

            For lunch, I would have to agree with the earlier suggestion of Mr. Bartley's. It is good, enjoyable, and definitely one of those places that many people would think of when you mention Cambridge.

            1. re: PinchOfSalt

              "The OP may have meant to refer to Legal's in Kendall Square. "

              Yes, except that Kendall Square isn't "right near Cambridge..." But whatever. I wouldn't send anyone there on their first trip here.

            2. re: C. Hamster

              for better or worse, there is a legal right near the aquarium now.

              i also really like central kitchen, emma's and green street over that way.

          2. For upscale dining try Scampo in the Liberty Hotel. The hotel used to be one of oldest jails in Boston and was completely renovated. It is a great place to wander around looking at the building and Scampo is certainly one of the better upper end dining spots in town right now. Try the lobster pizza as an appetizer to share. You won't be disappointed.

            1. 1. There is no Legal in Kenmore (although we've pretty much established that already)
              2. Grill 23 is a great suggestion... its a bit pricey and at times noisy, but the food is consistently very good. I am not really a steak person, but have had some excellent fish dinners there.
              3. Stephanies - NO. I have had nothing but horrible service there and it is extremely overpriced for just okay food. In fact, I would stay away from pretty much anything on Newbury Street. All of the restaurants tend to be tourist traps at best, with the exception of Piattini.. a lovely hidden gem that might be a good place for lunch.
              4. Stella - too far, and food is just eh. There are better places in the south end, but i think if you have only one night, you'll probably want something more excessible
              5. My suggestion: Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square. Easily accessible by the T (literally walk out of the station and its right there). Food is great, bar scene is great and you will definitely have a great meal!