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Toronto chowhound first visit to Boston/Worcester

Heading for BIFF (check out my friends movie at www.pontypoolmovie.com), my first visit to Boston. A serious fan of local, fresh, seasonal food at fair prices. Not necessarily organic. I own a restaurant in Toronto (www.alicesrestaurant.ca) and am very interested in diners, out of the way hidden gems, small, unpretentious and really interested in seafood (i'm guessing they do it right in Boston), breakfast joints, sandwiches and what i think of as all American food (burgers, dogs, chili and the like).

Any recommendations? I'll have a car and most days free (i hope).

Also, good pubs? In the sense that they're unpretentious, cheap-ish and feature good, local beer and American wines by the glass. Or a joint that makes a mean martini/manhattan!

Thanks in advance, hounds!

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  1. While in Worcester, the home of the dining car check out thr Boulevard Diner and Parkway Diner. O'Connors Pub is not far. On the way to Boston stop at Tommasso Tratoria for some of the best locally sourced food in the area. The Dive Bar and Armsbey Abbey have the best beer selection, local and Belgian in Worcester. I'll recommend Doyle's in Jamaica Plain for atmosphere. Another midway point is Stone's Public House in Ashland. Try to go Sunday for the blues jam. BTW, is Fed still not here?

    1 Reply
    1. re: trufflehound

      Hey, thanks! And do you mean is Fred Not Here still her in TO? i tend not to go to that part of town (v. touristy!) but last i saw it was still there. but like i said it's been a while since i hit that part of town.

    2. I'm no diner expert, but consider putting the Town Diner (a/k/a Deluxe Town Diner) on your list. it's in Watertown, not far from the Cambridge border. Do not do this on Saturday or Sunday morning -- the wait it just too much. But I like it for a weekday breakfast.
      One of the famous burger places around town is Bartley's Burger Cottage in Cambridge, right near Harvard Square. I find it difficult to get in to -- you might have to wait for a table. Try eating early or late, maybe that will help.
      I'll second Doyle's, at least for atmosphere -- a shrine to Boston politics, but also very comfortable.

      1. Another Worcester stop for you -- George's Coney Island for their super tasty and equally cute hot dogs in a very deco space. Great neon out front and untouched inside.


        1. For Worcester recs, check out the New England board. That's where most of the Worcester discussion takes place. For sure, while there visit George's Coney Island, and also the Wonder Bar for a great pizza and step back into the '30s. If you have a good appetite you could really do these both for lunch the same day. The pies at Wonder Bar are small. Scarf that up (I highly recommend either the Calabrese or just pepperoni and cheese). Then head to Coney Island and get two dogs with chili, mustard, and onion.

          Check out Craigie on Main in Cambridge for great locovore chow. I'd say the prices are fair for what you get, but it's not inexpensive.

          You might also like Central Kitchen and Henrietta's Table.

          Others here may disagree with me, but I also really like East Coast Grill for fresh seafood. Unpretentious, very American, and fun.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Eatin in Woostah

            George's is ok...but I reallly prefer hot dog express. Great quality dogs and toppings. Larger dogs than George's.

            Also, if you like fish you should definitely check out Baba sushi. Wilson, the owner, presents some of the best and most artistic sushi in New England. Rivaled only by Oishii, IIMHO. Also for amazing pizza, try Corner Grill for super thin pizza with amazing, fresh toppings. I love their pesto pizza!

            1. re: Science Chick

              Agreed, Baba Sushi is the best sushi I've had outside of Boston. I actually like it better than Oishii.

              I've never had hot dog express, but you can't beat the combo of dogs and atmosphere at George's.

              1. re: Eatin in Woostah

                The atmosphere at George's is cool for sure....but I really think their dogs are quite ordinary. Ray's is more of a stand (on Park Ave.), but REALLY good.

            2. re: Eatin in Woostah

              My mouth is watering. And i'm getting pretty excited. I'm gonna surprise my boston buddy. come to the movie, we'll be having a party afterwards. thanks for everything. don't hesitate to post on toronto boards if you need any help.

              1. re: stapler

                Let us know where you go, and enjoy your time here!

            3. I'm from Toronto and I went to Boston couple summers ago, here's the places we ate at, the daily catch was amazing they serve the pasta in the pan at your table.. I had the best clam chowda at Joe's American Bar and grill, they put dill in the chowder which made it just that much more special here's the address.100 Atlantic Avenue Boston, MA 02110. If you walk along Hanover street at night it's amazing and there is an little Italian bakery that makes Boston cream pie to die for, we brought back a half a pound of the little cookies,, and there is Italian ice cream everywhere..Over all it was my fave American city so far..most the places we picked where cheap but amazing, the daily catch is Sicilian and they use fresh squid ink in the sauces and the home made pastas, we also went to a small Italian place in the north end there is a small street off a main street where the cobble stone is very rough and the sidewalks are narrow there is a slight hill and most of the restaurants have steel planter boxes in the windows it reminded me of old Quebec you almost expect a horse and buggy to drive by it's that vintage, but we walked everywhere for the 3 days we were there and had a great time, we also went to a nice little pub near the huge white bridge close to the TD field it's close to a good oyster house..sorry I don't have more address but most stuff in the north end isn't hard to find.. enjoy your trip and good eats..

              2 Replies
              1. re: lovleyladyT

                Glad you had such a memorable time in Boston. No offense, but Joe's is a local chain and I wouldn't recommend it to any looking for an authentic Boston experience. Many great places around for good chowder. The North End is certainly ripe with quaintness, and many good things are there for the eating.

                1. re: Science Chick

                  Will second Science Chick on this, with some suggestions for good New England clam chowder places:

                  -for the thick gloppy kind: Legal Seafoods.
                  -for the thinner kind that actually tastes like clams: Neptune Oyster or B&G Oysters.

              2. If you're coming to Boston and you like hot dogs, you absolutely must check out Speed's Hotdog Wagon.

                For some reason the Place Search won't find it, but here's the Place link, with lots of good info on how to get to it as well as links to threads where it's been discussed:


                1 Reply
                1. re: Chris VR

                  Trying the Place link again.

                  Speed's Hotdog Wagon
                  54 Newmarket Square, Boston, MA 02118

                2. Second Speed's - nothing more hole-in-the-wall.
                  If you're in that area, also check out DJ's market in Andrew Square for a nice kielbasa sandwich. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/499093

                  For great breakfast, try the Neighborhood Restaurant in Somerville (Union Sq.) - Portugeuse fisherman breakfast is great.
                  Also, try Victor's on North Beacon in Watertown - enjoy their movie posters with homage to Pacino.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bob Dobalina

                    Speaking of holes in the wall -

                    Also try some chow at Villa Mexico - it's the authentic taqueria inside a gas station - on Cambridge Street in Boston, near Beacon Hill.

                    FINALLY got down there to try one - I think it's the best burrito I've had in Boston. Toasted on the outside, delicious carnitas, black beans, outstanding flavors! Darn good.


                  2. Another thing you might want to try while you're here is an authentic New England fried clam. If your schedule won't allow you to head to Ipswich for the real experience, I believe there's a place in East Boston that's been highly recommended- Belle Island Seafood. You'd need a car for that one.

                    I haven't been but from l I've read here, you'll probably want to check out Drink, which seems to be taking an innovative approach to unique cocktails. Be sure to read this thread for an idea of how and what to order http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/586458

                    Lately my favorite cocktail bar is Silvertone, not really a touristy kind of place, but definitely hopping. And lordy I do love their calamari. It seems to be popular after hours with local chefs too.

                    Belle Isle Seafood
                    1267 Saratoga St, Boston, MA 02128

                    69 Bromfield St, Boston, MA 02108

                    348 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                    1. In addition to some great recommendations already for Seafood when I want something affordable and very unpretentious I like Yankee Lobster in the Seaport. If you want to go for what I believe to be the best Seafood restaurant in the city try Neptune Oyster in the North End.

                      For Sandwiches you really cannot get more unique than Chacarero, which is a Chilean Sandwich place in Downtown Crossing.

                      Marliave also in Downtown Crossing offers a very good comfort food menu, sandwiches and excellent cocktails.

                      Green Street in Central Square also offers an excellent and diverse menu, some of the best cocktails in the area, solid beer selection and wine list.

                      Regina's Pizza in the North End is excellent and also very affordable and probably the best pizza in the area.

                      For Beer I would look to Bukowski's Tavern in Back Bay and Deep Ellum in Allston.

                      Now I usually would not recommend a Southern BBQ joint in the Boston area, but as a former Torontonian who also spent a bit of time down South I know that good BBQ is impossible to find in TO. There is a place here that does it right though which is Blue Ribbon BBQ with locations in Arlington and Newton.

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

                      26 Province St, Boston, MA 02108

                      Regina Pizza
                      11 1/2 Thacher St, Boston, MA 02113

                      Blue Ribbon BBQ
                      910 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

                      Green Street
                      280 Green St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                      Yankee Lobster
                      300 Northern Ave, Boston, MA

                      10 Bosworth Street, Boston, MA 02108

                      Deep Ellum Bar
                      477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

                      50 Dalton St Ste 4, Boston, MA 02115

                      1. If you're about the food more than the atmosphere, and you're looking for really fresh Boston seafood, go to Moulton's Seafood, 178 Winthrop St, Medford MA

                        Very fresh (<24 hours from catch) seafood, cooked simply (baked, broiled or fried) and extremely well.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sablemerle

                          Moulton's is awesome, but....it's not really a place that the non-locals will appreciate and pretty off the beaten track.

                        2. The Somerville Theater hosts a lot of the films for the festival. It's in Davis Square. Just a block or two away is Redbones. If you like barbecue, it has its fans. However, the reason I mention it is that the Underbones portion (head right down the stairs when you enter) has great local atmosphere, friendly bartenders who play interesting music from their iPods, and a really excellent selection of regional (and national/international) beers on tap. I think it would fit your criteria for hole in the wall as well as for local beers. Plus, if you are there late enough the fried pickles on the late night menu are the best snack in existence. Sometimes I stay out late just to eat them.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Parsnipity

                            Fried pickels and beer? I'm in! Apparently we're staying in harvard square, which sounds v. posh. Leaving tomorrow morning and can't wait to experience all things Boston. Know it's going to be a great trip and you boston hounds are the best. Thanks, thanks, thanks. Oh, and will report back.