HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
What's your latest food quest? Share your adventure
TELL US

Chowhound Top Neighborhoods

Suze123 May 18, 2009 01:04 PM

If money were no object, and if the only object were local food joints, and you could suddenly live anywhere in the Boston area, where would it be? South End, North End, Cambridge, etc? Where is the best foodie locale?

  1. galangatron Aug 17, 2009 08:03 AM

    i would add broadway in chelsea, union street in lynn, and day square in east boston to the list

    1. n
      nader Jun 15, 2009 04:09 PM

      I'm surprised - nay shocked! - to see that no one has mentioned Brookline yet. When I first moved to this corner of Boston, I thought my wife had chosen it for the safety, relative quiet and easy access to downtown.

      Little did I know, it was more than likely for the Thai (Dok Bua, Rod Dee, Pho Lemongrass), Japanese (Fugakyu, Yokohama, Ginga, Shiki, etc etc), Middle Eastern (Jerusalem Pita, Rami's, Shawarma King), Tex-Mex (Village Smokehouse, Olecito -soon!-, Boca Grande, Baja Betty's, Anna's), Italian (La Morra, Pomodoro, Bottega Fiorentina), New American (Lineage), bars with great food (Matt Murphy's, Washington Square Tavern, the Fireplace) and bakeries too (Clear Flour, When Pigs Fly, Athan's).

      Really, the list can be much longer, and all within walking distance of each other. And all are somewhere between good to great eats on a weeknight, for take-out or for a nice sit-down meal. And if we ever need something else, the C and D lines are always no more than a few blocks away!!

      2 Replies
      1. re: nader
        c
        CookieLee Aug 15, 2009 07:36 AM

        with all due respect, nader, Brookline does NOT consider itself a corner OF Boston. And yes, the food is great! If one does orient oneself to Comm Ave, there is a huge choice as mentioned above on Brighton Ave.

        1. re: CookieLee
          n
          nader Aug 15, 2009 05:20 PM

          the op asked for places in the "Boston area"... i take that to be any area within i-95. other areas mentioned are all worthy too - i just like the price:quality:variety ratio in brookline. ditto for certain parts of cambridge, somerville and brighton. still haven't been to east or south boston yet - but working on it soon. been here for less than a year...

      2. BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 18, 2009 10:17 PM

        I'd live within a 90-second walk to the Super 88 food court. Oh, wait, I already do.

        For the style of hound I am, I really can't imagine living anywhere other than Allston. It has its shortcomings -- I am continually astounded at the amazingly low quality of the pizza in my immediate neighborhood, there's not a single decent diner breakfast to be had, and my only options for hot dogs are Spike's and a Hess station (given the other option, I generally choose the Hess station) -- but I live within easy walking distance of 10 of my favorite restaurants in the entire city, and there are probably that many others that I'm happy to dine at.

        12 Replies
        1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
          t
          thegirlwholovestoeat May 19, 2009 06:08 AM

          The slices from Bravo aren't bad, although I have never ordered a whole pie...

          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
            h
            hlerm2 May 19, 2009 06:17 PM

            Couldn't agree more about the pizza especially since the upper crust became a crap shoot. ha ha so tell me please , with the exception of the asian places, give me five or six of your top picks in allston/brighton. have lived in the area a long time, its all college food and i graduated a long time ago help thanks barmy

            1. re: hlerm2
              BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 19, 2009 06:24 PM

              Well, cutting out the Asian places makes it harder since most of my favorite neighborhood places (Jo Jo Taipei, Shanghai Gate, Yoma, Gitlo's) are Asian, but I certainly would include Cafe Brazil (one of the more underrated restaurants in town), Deep Ellum (the best beer and cocktails in town, and a greatly improved menu since the original chef left), Carlo's Cucina (simple, unpretentious neighborhood Italian), and Saray (the best of the three Turkish restaurants to open locally in the last few years, and happily the only one to survive longer than a year).

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                StriperGuy May 22, 2009 10:08 AM

                Fairly bold claim to give Deep Ellum "best cocktails in town." There are one or two other rather decent contenders that come to mind.

                1. re: StriperGuy
                  BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 22, 2009 10:26 AM

                  It's a cumulative thing. No molecular gastronomy BS, no cutesy "guess what I'd like to drink tonight" games, just really well-prepared drinks in a cozy, unpretentious setting. It's about the entire experience.

                  1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                    StriperGuy May 22, 2009 10:32 AM

                    I've only been 2X but I've found the staff at Deep Ellum to have their own snooty attitude. Eastern Standard does pretty darn well in the cocktail realm and also manages to keep the attitude to a minimum.

                    1. re: StriperGuy
                      BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 22, 2009 11:16 AM

                      Really? Every time I go in, I get reminded what sweethearts the Deep Ellum staff are. I have never ever gotten a snooty vibe off anyone who works there, either wait staff or bartenders.

                      I will never forget one of the first times Allstonian and I went in, during a brunch service on a Saturday, the music that was playing sounded quite familiar, so I said to the waiter, "Who is this? It sounds like the High Llamas." He immediately geeked out and said "It is! It's a promo of their new album! It's not even out yet! Here, do you want to hear it? I was gonna play it again anyway, I'll just start it from the beginning." So we had a perfectly nice brunch accompanied by a special listening session of a new album by one of my favorite bands. That's not something that a snooty waiter would do.

                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                        StriperGuy May 22, 2009 11:43 AM

                        Yeah they sort of have the anti-attitude attitude... i.e. "we are the hip place and we know it, gosh aren't we low key and cool." Way back when I also had a real crap meal there, though I guess with the new chef things have changed.

                    2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                      MC Slim JB May 22, 2009 11:23 AM

                      I like Deep Ellum a lot; definitely in the upper echelon of cocktail bars, with the bonus that it's a great beer-geek bar.

                      Is the "molecular" crack aimed at No. 9? Cause they hardly ever indulge in that hoo-hah, which I agree is silly.

                      I don't mind the interactive ordering game at Drink, maybe because I always have a list in my pocket of things I'd like to try. Caveat: you need enough of the bartender's time to play it. the place can be kind of hellish on weekend nights when the staff is too busy to interact.

                      Green Street stands up well to Deep Ellum for high-level craft with a minimum of pretense.

                      ESK is still great for drinks, as long as the Sox are away.

                      I like Craigie's bartenders, a highly skilled lot, but that bar is a pain: too cramped, too slow.

                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                    3. re: StriperGuy
                      t
                      the modern serf May 22, 2009 01:04 PM

                      i'm rather conflicted about deep ellum. on one hand, their drink list when done right is pretty solid, they do pretty good pub grub, and theyve got a more "rock n roll" vibe than most of the other fancy drink places (eg green st, eastern standard.)

                      however, the charceuterie is usually pretty bad, much of the food is that bistro-on-autopilot which doesn't suit them at all, and their bartenders are pretty hit and miss. i feel kind of sexist saying this, but it seems like a lot of the girls behind the bar were picked for their looks; when one of them went over to green street she switched from daisy dukes to cardigans.

                      also, their ice is that macaroni-shaped crap that turns into slush when you shake it.

                      1. re: the modern serf
                        c
                        craigasaurus Jun 15, 2009 12:25 PM

                        A lot of the good bartenders from Deep Ellum have either moved on to, or double up, at Green Street. Makes sense b/c Green Street is more consistent in the cocktail department. Deep Ellum is good for newbies who are just getting into cocktails, but Max (the owner) is really the only one there on top of his game

                  2. re: hlerm2
                    t
                    thegirlwholovestoeat May 20, 2009 06:35 AM

                    Agree completely on Deep Ellum and Carlo's and will add Alfredo's (simple Italian takeout) and Taqueria el Carrizal (Salvadoran/Guatemalan).

                2. RoseWethersfield May 18, 2009 06:07 PM

                  I live in the Highland Kitchen neighborhood. I have to say that I've lived all over (Dorchester, SE, Newton, JP...) but the Highland is a real neighborhood bar -- perhaps the best neighborhood bar in the greater boston area. So...I vote for the neighborhood of the Kitchen -- we have a neighborhood bar and are in striking distance of some other great chow (Craigie, Tacos Lupitos, Oleana, Petsie's, Wine & Cheese Cask...)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RoseWethersfield
                    r
                    rknrll May 18, 2009 09:03 PM

                    ...Supreme Kitchen.
                    I've never quite warmed up to Highland Kitchen - but it's so close to me that I should give it another chance or two.

                  2. c
                    chowfamily May 18, 2009 05:12 PM

                    I'm firmly rooted but if money were not an issue and local food joints the object, I would rent a place in East Boston for a month and go from restaurant to restaurant to market until I knew it really well. Come to think of it, I'd like to try the same thing in several other neighborhoods - I assume calories are no object either.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: chowfamily
                      Aromatherapy May 18, 2009 06:05 PM

                      Best suggestion yet.

                      1. re: chowfamily
                        t
                        the modern serf May 22, 2009 09:28 AM

                        East Boston's rent and cuisine are cheap enough that you could probably do that. You can get a 3 bedroom place for about $1200, and there isn't a single entree over $20.

                      2. alwayscooking May 18, 2009 04:29 PM

                        I'm in the SE and happy to stay here. The downside is there's so many places to choose here and the surrounding neighborhoods that I too infrequently cross the river or use the T.

                        1. h
                          hckybg May 18, 2009 03:55 PM

                          I'd (still) live in Inman Square! I am always impressed by the quality at all price levels here, from Benatti, East Coast Grill, and EVOO down to Punjabi Dhaba, All-Star Sandwich Bar and Olecito. In between are a great number of unique places (The Druid, Muqueca, Casa Portugal, Midwest Grill, City Girl Cafe, Ole) and even amidst the recession new places keep opening (Tupelo, Trina's Starlight Lounge (soon))! We are also within a fifteen minute walk of Kendall and the Beacon St. area around Zoe's and Petsi Pies. A few grocery stores are within shouting distance, and Wine and Cheese Cask and Savenor's are five minutes away. There are other neighborhoods with plenty of great restaurants but I have never found another with such range. Sometimes it is hard to remember to leave to try other places!

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: hckybg
                            r
                            rovingfoodie May 20, 2009 06:25 AM

                            And if money *is* an object in terms of both rent and food prices, the Beacon St/Sacramento area is amazing - 5 minute walk to Zoes, O'Sullivan's, Petsi's, Pho n' Rice, Tacos Lupita, 10 min to the Porter Square Exchange's Japanese places in one direction and Wine and Cheese and Dali the other way, 15 min to Porter, Harvard, and Inman Squares. We moved in last summer and feel very lucky!

                            1. re: rovingfoodie
                              chickendhansak May 20, 2009 07:56 AM

                              All true rovingfoodie, but please add City Slicker Cafe! Unique (and in my opinion superb) pizzas as well as sandwiches, pastas, etc. I'm a big fan of the buffalo chicken and surf and turf (shrimp and bacon) pizzas.

                              1. re: chickendhansak
                                r
                                rovingfoodie May 25, 2009 06:46 PM

                                Oh yes, we had a great meal at City Slicker a few months ago - we've been meaning to get back there. Danny's Diner is another good place - love the pancakes instead of toast option with breakfast (and glad they've re-opened after the recent untimely passing of the owner.) And now it looks like I'll need to add the P&K Deli on Beacon to my list of places to try - they just got a good review on the Best Italian Subs board (I'll try to stop myself from asking for a hoagie - I'm from Jersey!)

                                1. re: rovingfoodie
                                  d
                                  djd Jun 1, 2009 08:08 AM

                                  Danny's reopened? I went by Saturday afternoon and the place was closed, and I haven't seen it open since Danny passed away, so I've kind of assumed the worst.

                                  1. re: djd
                                    chickendhansak Jun 1, 2009 08:43 AM

                                    Yes, it does seem to be open from time to time still.

                              2. re: rovingfoodie
                                enhF94 Jun 15, 2009 01:02 PM

                                Food Four Corners!

                                And Savenor's, though it's a grocery. Somervillefoodscene just reviewed Acme Ice.

                            2. MC Slim JB May 18, 2009 02:28 PM

                              Chinatown: Great in and of itself, best jumping-off point to all the other great chow neighborhoods via public transit.

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                SaraASR May 19, 2009 07:00 PM

                                I may or may not viewed lofts in Chinatown to buy because of the culinary lure it exudes.

                              2. Suze123 May 18, 2009 01:42 PM

                                hm....All good points. I do sort of like the tower idea. And I think Cambridge (while having many neighborhoods) should be considered a chowhound locale which includes Oleana, Salts, Cragie, Hungry Mother, etc.

                                And yes, thank goodness for the T and the fact that Boston really isn't that huge.

                                Oh, and money actually is an object for me personally...I was just asking to hear your thoughts!

                                1. StriperGuy May 18, 2009 01:39 PM

                                  Be a tough call between the South End on the high end and Allston on the multi-ethnic diverse. I would probably give the edge to Allston regardless of the price point.

                                  1. 9
                                    9lives May 18, 2009 01:39 PM

                                    At the higher end, there's probably a great concentration in the SE. Allston/Brighton has great variety. Chinatown, North End, East Boston all have their gems. I don't get to Dorchester or JP but they seem to have worthwhile places.

                                    Fortunately, Boston is small enough that it's easy enough to get to most neighborhoods and I don't have to pick 1.

                                    1. hiddenboston May 18, 2009 01:29 PM

                                      If money were no object, I'd probably buy the nicest townhouse I could on Beacon Hill and take the T to Allston every day. :-b

                                      I know this doesn't help much, but.....

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: hiddenboston
                                        p
                                        pemma May 19, 2009 01:16 PM

                                        Why not a cab?

                                        1. re: pemma
                                          hiddenboston May 20, 2009 07:44 AM

                                          Good point. Or a limo...

                                      2. Bob Dobalina May 18, 2009 01:18 PM

                                        How about this...If money were no object and I could build a giant soundproof barrier (sort of like the cone of silence from Get Smart) around the students swilling beer and yelling in the neighborhoods in Allston/Brighton, I would pick Brighton Avenue. Or maybe if money were no object, I could build a giant tower...something like that.

                                        1. gansu girl May 18, 2009 01:16 PM

                                          I'd move to Allston.

                                          1. n
                                            Northender May 18, 2009 01:12 PM

                                            Of course it really depends on what you like. I live in the North end and love it but not a whole lot of variety s to ethnic food., I think the South End has many more high quality and interesting restaurants and I prefer going there. I think characterizing Cambridge as a neighborhood might be a little misleading given its size - much as if you called Boston, ChinatownBack Bay, Fenway, North End and South End one neighborhood.

                                            Show Hidden Posts