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Apr 26, 2009 02:29 PM

First time in Boston - 2 adults no kids - what are your favs?

My huband and I will be in Boston for the first time at the beginning of June. We are so excited because we love places rich with history and culture. What are the must eat Boston favs? We will have a car. We will be in Boston for 4 nights and Hyannis for 2 nights. Price is not a concern but will probably only have 1 or 2 super expensive meals. Looking more for atmosphere than anything else. My dh is crazy about seafood, we both love asian and italian. A good burger or pizza at a neighborhood hangout is just what we are looking for.

I've read tons of posts - we already have The Fat Cat in Quincy for the lobster mac and cheese on our list. I am a fan of Diners Drive-ins and Dives and know that Mike's City Diner was on a past episode. How is their breakfast? Also read hat Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe has great pancakes - true?

Thank you - I am tons of excited to finally visit Boston!!!


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  1. Definitely spend a night in the North End of Boston (Italian section). Lots of great restaurants for Italian fare, and also Pizzeria Regina for pizza. For seafood, take a day to go up to Ipswich/Essex area (about 1 hour drive from Boston) for great clam shacks. JT Farnham's is my favorite, but again, search the board for lots of other recommendations. Have fun!

    5 Replies
    1. re: mabelm4050

      I will check out the North End. Pizzera Regina looks delishish - I'm hungry right now. Dinner was a long time ago! :) Thanks!

      1. re: tdmort

        Try the St. Anthony's all time favorite if you like a "white" husband's #1 pick is the Capriciosa (sp?) well done!

      2. re: mabelm4050

        In my opinion, avoid Ipswich/Essex and go to Neptune Oyster. Fried Clams to die for and they make their own tarter sauce that you will want to eat by the spoonful. Everything else there is top quality too.

        1. re: pariss

          i am a die-hard neptune fan, but for somebody who doesn't live near the ocean, there is something very nice about fried clams, beer and a salt marsh view, ya know?

      3. Neptune Oyster should be a must, and I also highly recommend the combo of Drink/Sportello for a very adult evening out, as well as Toro, Eastern Standard, and East Coast Grill for top Boston meals that aren't super upscale (for that, it's probably Clio, O Ya, L'Espalier, Radius, and No 9 Park)..

        Don't expect great meals, atmosphere or service in Hyannis (but do check out postings on the New England board to minimize the level of disappointment).

        3 Replies
        1. re: rlh

          Thanks for the suggestions. Both Eastern Standard and East Coast Grill look like good options!

          I was afraid that I'd be disappointed with the food in Cape Cod....too touristy. I will check the NE board. Thanks again

          1. re: tdmort

            The Cape can be disappointing for food. However, you need to go to Wellfleet and Provincetown for some good food such as The Mews or Jimmy's Hidewaway in Provincetown. These towns along with other in the Lower Cape such as Eastham and Truro represent what's left of the "Old Cape". Others may have their opinion but I have been going to the Cape since I was a child in the 60s and have seen it change. As for Hyannis, check out Tugboats or the Black Cat... both are close to the Harbor and the ferry action to the Islands. Good people watching, too! :)

            1. re: teutvik

              I love to people watch - thanks! Jimmy's Hideaway looks good.

        2. A board search is a must for questions like this, though you've already gotten some good advice from mabelm4050 and rlh. For my aging but still useful North End report, please see:

          Also, if you're going to choose between Mike's City Diner and Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe, I'd opt for the latter.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bachslunch

            I just took a quick glance. Wow....awesome. Thanks so much!

          2. Make sure to check out Cambridge... great place for walking, architecture and people watching. For drinks, check out Temple Bar between Harvard Sq. and Porter Sq. Rialto at the Charles Hotel is a good choice for upscale or Cuchi Cuchi in Central Square for eclectic! Legal Seafoods, although a chain, is a must when in Boston for seafood. Check out Harvard Sq. location next to Charles Hotel.

            6 Replies
            1. re: teutvik

              don't know that i'd consider a visit to legal's a must for anybody. but in harvard square is bartley's burgers which is one of the few remaining semi-divey places over there. an institution. i'll add upstairs on the square for drinks and a bite, because the place is so worth seeing, and i do like rialto.

              temple bar and cuchi-cuchi ... meh.

              i'll also vote for neptune -- still one of my all time faves.

              the op doesn't say where they'll be staying. it's nice to be able to ditch the car and walk our city.

              for fine dining, i'll offer bina osteria, the last high end place to open in town. the food is very modern italian, and some of the best dishes i've had in boston in a very long tijme. the space is cool, the wine list eclectc, the service very good and the owners are lovely people. it's in downtown crossing.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Bartley's burgers looks fab - thanks for the suggestion! I will be staying in Newton actually. I figured since we will be spending most of our time in Boston and then Cape Cod I'd ask for recs for those two places. Thanks so much.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  I also just checked out the menu for bina - looks great. And I love the fact that there's a store so we can grab something to take back to the hotel room. This is going on the list for sure. I was sold when I saw the word carbonara!

                  1. re: tdmort

                    the carbonara is heaven in a bowl.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Isn't that the very definition of carbonara? :)

                  2. re: hotoynoodle

                    Avoid Legal's at any location (well, maybe the airport) - just mediocre and uninspired.

                2. You just might want to eat all your meals in the North End! It's got the history and culture you're looking for; Neptune Oyster (not Italian) is widely regarded as the best seafood place in Boston; Mamma Maria serves delicious, upscale Italian in a charming, romantic townhouse; and the original Pizzeria Regina offers the city's best pizza (only one or no toppings or you'll ruin the crust!).

                  Since you'll have a car, you might want to drive through Cambridge into the bordering town of Watertown for pancakes at the Delux Diner. I haven't had them yet, but folks here rave about them.

                  For the other expensive meal, I'd suggest Scampo. It's in in the old Charles Street Jail, and the architect retained some of the jail's features. It's a great, majestic space (again, filled with history), and there's great food by chef Lydia Shire.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: pollystyrene

                    A lot of folks are recommending Neptune Oyster. Does Barking Crab compair to it at all?

                    1. re: tdmort

                      Barking Crab is like a beer hall with ok but not great seafood - fun for what it is but not CH unlike Neptune or B&G.

                      1. re: tdmort

                        No, Barking Crab isn't even remotely close to Neptune Oyster in terms of food quality. I'm one of several folks on this board who greatly dislike the place, and I for one would strongly recommend not going there.

                        1. re: bachslunch

                          Another huge naysayer here for anything beyond beer and a nice view at the Crab (and maybe some lukeward Sysco battered fries if you're starving) - the only thing worse is the Fan Pier Daily Catch across the street - nothing to merit going there -ever. No Name is far better (and that is not a recommendation of it either) if you must dine on the water.