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May 17, 2009 10:02 AM

Top 5 Boston Restaurants

I'm going to Boston with family for Mem Day weekend and would like opinions on reservations. What is the best restaurant in the North End? The best in the South End? We loved La La Rokh, East Coast Grill, Elephant Walk in its heyday when we were living up there...tend toward more inventive cuisine but doesn't need to be the trendiest. How's Oleanna? Hamersley's Bistro? Would love to hear your opinions!

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  1. IMO, Hammersley's is eh and their oft touted roasted chicken, I found over salty and the skin less than perfectly crisped. My suggestions for the 'best' without regard to $ - although there are perfectly good places for a tad less.

    Pizzeria Regina - Pizza
    Mamma Maria - not a red sauce Italian
    Prezza - a slight move away from a traditional Italian American menu
    Neptune Oyster - American seafood

    O ya - excellent Japanese small plates

    Bina Osteria - my fav - awesome Prix Fixe lunch $25 (dinner $65)
    No9 Park - more upscale
    Espalier - upscale
    Mistral - good food in a lovely comfortable setting

    SOUTH END - This area is full of restaurants and bars. A good place to restaurant hop.
    Masa - SW, great brunch deals Sat & Sun
    Union Grill - New American, great brunch deal
    B&G - Seafood (my preference over Neptune given the atmosphere)
    The Butcher Shop - Meat
    Myers+Chang - new fusion Asian
    Toro - for tapas and drinks

    Ten Tables - New American

    Craigie on Main - a chef who idolizes meat from snout to tail.

    1 Reply
    1. re: alwayscooking

      Love your list alwayscookin'. I gotta get busy. ;)

    2. My top five haven't changed in a long time, despite having tried quite a few new places:

      Mamma Maria (North End)
      Prezza (North End)
      Grotto (Beacon Hill)
      Eastern Standard (Kenmore Sq.)
      Pizzeria Regina (North End)

      I think both Oleana and Hamersley's are somewhat overrated. I love one dish at Oleana: the ricotta dumplings. Everything else I've tried there has been just okay, and overpriced. I love the atmosphere at Hamersley's, and the service is some of the best I've experienced. As a vegetarian, I haven't had the pleasure of the roasted chicken, but DC's have loved it, along with the garlic mushroom "sandwich." I found the food to be fine, but not great. I'd only go back if someone else were paying. The wooden chairs are uncomfortable for that long a dining experience, and the room can get very warm.

      1 Reply
      1. Most people love Oleana. I think it's fine and really enjoyed the fried mussels. I would pick Prezza for the north end and would not describe it as "a slight move away from a traditional Italian American menu". It has many grilled items and lots of interesting pastas and apps. I think Hamersley's would serve you well in the south end and agree with Union, Toro and B&G for dinner. I personally had a great dinner at Banq but maybe it was better cuz it was 3 courses for $29 (M-Th special).

        1 Reply
        1. re: Joanie

          Mamma Maria

          Eastern Standard
          Sel de la Terre
          Neptune Oyster
          Afternoon Tea at the Four Seasons/Bristol Lounge

        2. Top 5 overall (my opinion):
          No. 9 Park (Beacon Hill)
          Mistral (Back Bay)
          Salts (Cambridge)
          Meritage (Boston Harbor)
          Clio (Back Bay)
          (haven't tried L'Espalier yet, probably also the best...)

          By neighborhood, other excellent restaurants are:
          NORTH END: Prezza, Mamma Maria, Carmen, Taranta
          SOUTH END: Icarus
          THEATER: Pigalle
          BEACON HILL: Grotto
          BACK BAY: Sorrelina, Sel de la Terre
          CAMBRIDGE: Rialto, Dali, Orinoco
          KENDALL: Eastern Standard
          OUTSIDE BOSTON: Blue Ginger (Wellesley)

          2 Replies
          1. re: athena877

            Just to help the OP, Eastern Standard is in Kenmore Sq.
            Isn't Orinoco closed?
            Dali is in Somerville.

            1. re: Joanie

              Orinoco has two very healthy restaurants serving Venezuelan cuisine: one in the South End, the second in Brookline Village. Casual, fun, moderate, highly recommended.


          2. I'd add Troquet to the list