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Jun 4, 2009 10:34 AM

two twentysomethings on a boston foodie adventure :)

Hi Everyone!

My bf and I are visiting boston from July 1 - July 5 from toronto and thought I would ask all you boston chow fiends for some advice.

Prices are flexible, we'd like to hit some more expensive and some more affordable places. We're staying in the North End on a Battery Wharf hotel. It would be great to eat a couple nights around the hotel but we have no problems exploring all of Boston.

A little about us.. we're in our 20's (25 & 29) so would like places that are generally open a little later, some newer/trendier (yet still tasty!.. quality over style right?!). Also some fun bar suggestions would be awesome.

Would like to have at least one romantic dinner, but otherwise want to be in fun and busy environments and watch the boston locals do their thing.

Thanks so much in advance! Really looking forward to the trip!

oh! and is boston clam chowder really a must have??

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  1. Five days - that's a lot of chow opportunities. Here are some ideas to start - check them out in more detail by searching this board:

    North End: Prezza, Neptune Oyster (in spite of the erratic owner, it's really great and pretty unique), Maria's Bakery, Taranta, and Pizzeria Regina. I think Mamma Maria is quite romantic with great food but not so new or edgy.

    Great bar with solid food: Eastern Standard in Kenmore Square (not during a Sox game)

    South End: Toro, B & G Oyster

    Clam Chowder - a must if you love clams, cream, and potatoes - the thick version is good at Legal Seafood or Dry Dock Cafe (excellent food, zero atmosphere, best for lunch) and the thin version is really good at Kelly's Roast Beef or Moulton's Seafood in Medford (which I love but don't recommend as a dining destination for visitors - it's too basic and too far afield from public transit).

    I hope that's a helpful start.

    Best cocktail craft: Drink (a must -good but pricey food upstairs at Sportello as well)

    Cambridge: Green Street, Chez Henri, Miracle of Science (great burger or breakfast burrito), Emma's (thin pizza), Dolphin Seafood (bare bones fresh seafood on a budget) and Christopher's (best veggie burger) - many would say Craigie on Main (only for cocktails and open late with good bar menu in my opinion)

    1 Reply
    1. re: rlh

      i say yay to all these recommendations except B & G Oyster. It's nothing that special and it's quite pricey. Instead, definitely go to Neptune Oyster for seafood (try the hot and buttered lobster roll).

    2. Based on your criteria look into the following:

      North End (Little Italy): Lucca (Italian)
      Pizzeria Regina (Pizza)
      Neptune Oyster (Seafood)

      Trendy/Active: Toro (Tapas) South End
      Union Bar and Grille (American) South End
      Eastern Standard (American-French-Excellent Cocktail) Kenmore Square
      Silvertone (American) Downtown Crossing
      Franklin Cafe (Modern American) South End

      Romantic Dinner: L'Esplaier (French) Back Bay
      No.9 Park (Italian-French) Beacon Hill
      Craigie on Main (French) Central Square

      Expensive but the Best: O Ya (Japanese) Leather District

      For Cocktails/Bars: Drink (Fort Point-South Boston)- A must in my opinion
      Alibi in the Liberty Hotel (Beacon Hill)

      Pubs: Mr. Dooley's (Financial District) Irish Pub

      Lounge/Music/Bar: Enormous Room/Central Kitchen (Central Square)
      Middlesex Lounge (Central Square)

      Being from Toronto originally I have shown a Torontonian or two around Boston so I think this should get you started, enjoy!

      774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

      O Ya
      9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

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

      No 9 Park
      9 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108

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

      Eastern Standard
      528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

      1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

      Franklin Cafe
      278 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

      Union Bar and Grille
      1357 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

      Central Kitchen
      567 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

      Lucca Restaurant
      226 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

      69 Bromfield St, Boston, MA 02108

      348 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

      Craigie on Main
      853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

      Mr Dooley's Boston Tavern
      77 Broad St, Boston, MA

      6 Replies
      1. re: Matt H

        While Craigie serves excellent food and bevvies, I think calling it "romantic" in the traditional sense is kind of stretching it: the atmosphere is a little too boisterous and the service not quite fawning enough.

        That said, their across-the-street neighbor, Salts, is super and hard not to deem romantic, although certainly not a cocktail place.

        1. re: montuori

          I think the way the poster described herself and friend, Craigie would be a great choice. I've had some quite romantic dinners there myself, though not of the quiet candlelit variety.

        2. re: Matt H

          A question about L'espalier... is it a unique enough french bistro experience to make it worthwhile?

          We have quite a lot of french restaurants here in t.o...

          I am looking forward to some of the amazing italian that I've seen on a couple of menus online. It's handmade pasta everywhere!! So exciting!

          1. re: joellita

            honestly, l'espalier isn't a must try.

            1. re: joellita

              It's not a bistro - it's a pretty formal, quite upscale place in a luxury hotel - impeccable service, impressive (and costly) wine list - seems a little sterile to me but not enough to recommend against it if you are looking for some of the very best food in the city. I think you will lower the average age there by a few years as well...

              1. re: joellita

                I agree with the other responses that L'Esplaier is not a "must try". It is excellent though and fits the Romantic evening request.

                If you are looking for something more along the lines of Italian I would go with Mama Maria or NO.9 Park for something more formal. As you mentioned as well coming from Toronto you will probably appreciate our upscale Italian restaurants here quite a bit more than L'Esplaier.

            2. In addition, Meritage in the Rowes Wharf hotel is nice with a good view and a short walk from you. Not sure what people think about Sensing these days which is closest to you (.99 bites on Wed. tho!). I'd add Taranta for the north end cuz it's a nice space (ask for a table looking at the Custom House) and a blend of Italian and Peruvian. Fun place with cheap food and a bar scene is the Deluxe in the south end. Interesting chef inspired sandwiches at the Parish Cafe on Boylston St. Teatro by the Common is bustling, Italian. Also Via Matta and Davio's closeby.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Joanie

                Will most likely visit sensing as we're staying at the fairmont battery wharf... was curious as to what peoples thoughts were on the restaurant?

                1. re: joellita

                  We had a very nice meal at Sensing, but found the service a bit lacking, waited for a second glass of wine (I was halfway through my entree before it came), waited a while to get our check, that sort of thing. That said, my wife's cod in lemongrass was divine, and I'm not a huge seafood guy.

              2. I cant disagree with anything thats been stated.
                One other option Id add is some drinks at The Landing -down on the Wharf-close to your hotel just beyond the Marriott Long Wharf, followed by dinner at Sel De La Terre on State Street-directly behind the Landing. One of my favorite summer evenings...

                1. I agree with the Mamma Maria rec for your romantic dinner, plus it's right in the North End. I also wouldn't miss Prezza in the North End.

                  For a newer, trendy, very lively spot, try Scampo in the Liberty Hotel, a gorgeous building that used to be a jail and retains some of the jailhouse features.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: pollystyrene

                    And if you're going to Scampo, you may as well stick around at Alibi for drinks! :-)

                    1. re: CreativeFoodie42

                      Scampo / Liberty Hotel is a perfect recommendation.

                      1. re: Angel Food

                        scampo has a great and secluded patio too.