4 days, 3 nights in Boston
For a conference. V. likely, I will be dining alone. Porbably staying somewhere near Copley Square (still searching priceline for the right combination). I'm looking for recommendations re:
--best breakfast place (diner, cafe, or otherwise)
--any interesting grocery or food specialty stores
--2-3 great places to eat (love any cuisine, open to new ideas/concepts--would like one good French or Italian bistro-esque spot; new American/Latin, a steak place, etc.--places w/ exceptional salads/sides are particularly welcome.)
--good walkable shopping areas/neighborhoods that aren't touristy.
I'm from Bethesda/Washington DC---don't mind walking or taking the train/a cab in the least, to get to interesting spots.
Many thanks for your help!
Anything on the green line or south end is reasonably close - Boston is a small city -
Just made this recommendation on another thread - check out http://www.mikeandpattys.com/ for breakfast reasonably close to you.
For the interesting grocery stores, you should take the B Line to Packard's Corner stop and check out Super88 and continue walking down Brighton Avenue into Allston. Check the board for Allston-based recommendations - there are many non-touristy spots here, with leanings toward Asian and Latino chow.
For Italian bistro, I am sure folks here will recommend Trattoria Toscana - I have not been but it gets a lot of mention here. Also, take the green line to North Station and explore the North End. For the solo diner, you might also consider Via Matta near your hotel - it's restaurant-y rather than bistro-esque, but you can eat at the bar and the chow is pricey but good. I would also recommend checking out Orinoco in the South End, among the many other very well-regarded places, like Toro. Actually, Toro may be better suited, given that you can get a seat at the bar and tapas it.
re: Bob Dobalina
For the North End, she should get off at Haymarket or Govt. Center. Prezza has a great bar to sit at, also Lucca. In the Copley area, Petit Robert Bistro for French on Columbus Ave. is a short walk or the Kenmore Sq. location is another 5 min. As you may have noticed, the south end has a ton of restaurants and is nice to walk around. Many places on Tremont, Washington and Harrison Ave. plus the aforementined Orinoco on Shawmut and the Franklin a few blocks in the other direction. Not as conducive to solo dining as some others i don't think. Flour Bakery on Washington St. is good and not a bad walk. And the two easy lunch places are Charlie's on Columbus and Steve's on Hereford and Newbury.
For a French Bistro-esque spot, I would also check out Sel De La Terre on Boylston (pretty much IN Copley Sq). I frequently eat solo at the downstairs bar. The bartenders are nice, the food is great. If you go on a Monday night, they have $1 oysters.
For good sandwiches you can check out Parish Cafe on the corner of Arlington and Boylston.
Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe on Columbus is a classic diner and great for breakfast. Good pancakes, huge omelets.
Try Flour in the South End or near the Children's Museum. Amazing bakery- you can actually reserve Flour's award winning sticky buns online. Also try Myers & Chang (Chang runs Flour) for reasonable Taiwanese comfort food. The Trident bookstore cafe on Newbury is a good spot to people watch. The North End is always a tourist spot, but a great area to wander around (and a visit to Mike's Pastry on Hanover is mandatory if you are anywhere nearby). This area has a few Italian grocery stores, too, as well as a gelato place on Hanover. Dim Sum in Chinatown is another option, and another interesting place to wander around (bakeries, food stores, etc.)
I second and third the rec's about Flour Bakery as well as many of the other ideas.
But, if you want a nice city Boston walk and eat AND find interesting shopping---walk from your hotel, through the Public Garden and onto Charles Street. There are all sorts of shops, owned by locals on Beacon HIll. All sorts of dress shops, doorknobs stores, odd antiques, a fab paper/card shop, even a lovely interesting Tibetan book and clothing shop.
The walk from your hotel takes about 15 easy minutes.
If you decide to try Beacon Hill, here are some great local places to eat:
For breakfast--The Paramount
Figs and Upper Crust are great fun pizza lunch stops. And Artu is a solid lunch taverna. Beacon Hill Bistro is more upscale, "lunching", but very good.
If you really want local flavor,there is nothing quite like a beer and a sandwhich at the Sevens on Charles Street.
On the other end of Charles is one of my favorite bistros, Pigalle. Run by Kerry and Marc Orfaly, it is a quiet jewel. Marc also has a family style wonderful Italian place, hole in the wall upstairs, called Marco in the North End. Love it. Again, small, often overlooked. Great staff. If you are in the Northend, try to get into Neptune Oyster. Sit at the bar. Enjoy!
Place for a splurge for a foodie? Tony Maw's Craigie on Main. Get a reservation, then a taxi to Cambridge,and even if you dine alone--they will love you. WIld breathtaking food. And nice to boot.
Fav place for lunch or dinner, local, always good, great bar & great staff: Eastern Standard, up near Fenway Park. Love them.
Hope this helps.