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Seven days in Boston and Salem

Yes, it's another one of those "what to eat while we're there" posts.

Our son is off to college and we will be taking our first trip to the Boston area as a couple. Never been to this part of the country, wanted to get your ideas regarding
seafood, north end Italian and dessert places. We have no car and will be using public trans but we understand Boston is a great walkable city.

Understand that Salem may not have the best food places but any recommendations would be welcome.

Thanks-
Empty nesters from Hawaii

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  1. I took a globetrotter friend visiting from Alaska to Salem a few years ago. We had lunch at Finz on Pickering Wharf; my meal (roast haddock - which was flabbily baked) was blah, hers was very good (seared ahi tuna, wasabi-dusted french fries). At the Peabody-Essex Museum (which is drop dead fascinating) coffee shop, she had what she said was the best corn muffin she'd ever had, and she has traveled to every continent (yes. Antarctica included).

      1. In Salem, don't miss The Grapevine and 62 on Wharf for upscale, and the Old Spot, Witch's Brew and In a Pig's Eye for more casual/pub style food.

        1. Four of us ate at Sixty2 on Wharf in Salem this past Saturday, and were extremely impressed. My expectations were not particularly high, probably because as much as I love going to Salem (very) regularly, I have yet to find a dependable “go to” place to eat there. But our meal was a success from beginning to end on all fronts.

          1. I agree with recommendations already posted for Sixy2onWharf. I haven't been to Grapevine lately, but consistently hear good things. If you're in the mood for Asian, Fresh Taste of Asia has excellent food. And I recommend a stop at A&J King bakery for breakfast pastries, bread, and other goodies. Their coffee is wonderful. You can read reviews of several Salem restaurants on our blog.

            http://www.northshoredish.com

            1 Reply
            1. re: Northshoregirl

              I second the A&J King recommendation. Everything I've tried there has been fantastic. Their tea is also very good. Not food-related but I also second the recommendation for the Peabody Essex Museum when you're in Salem.

              I hope you have a wonderful trip!

            2. Aside from Italian, I think the best seafood and dessert places are in the North End.

              Seafood: Neptune Oyster
              Dessert: cannoli at Mike's Pastry
              Upscale Italian: Mamma Maria and Prezza
              Moderate Italian: Monica's Restaurant
              Pizza: Pizzeria Regina (only the original in the North End); the best pizza in the city.

              1 Reply
              1. Thanks for everyone's input. I think we have a pretty good idea of where to try while in Salem and will also be zeroing in on the North End recommendations, especially Mikes. We can't really get cannolis in Hawaii so this should be a treat.

                One last question- we have been told that Asian Garden has the best "authentic" dishes in Boston's Chinatown. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

                Thanks Again-
                Emptynesters

                4 Replies
                1. re: emptynester

                  Please go to Maria's or Modern Pastry instead of Mike's! The cannoli are much better and filled to order at both.

                  1. re: carbalicious

                    Or go to all three places (Mike's, Maria's, and Modern) and get 1 cannoli to split at each. 1.5 cannoli per person isn't totally unreasonable, especially if you are walking around the North End. Then you can choose your own favorite.

                    1. re: greenzebra

                      I think that's a good (and fun) plan. That's what I did long ago, and Mike's won for me.

                  2. re: emptynester

                    Hmmm, I've been reading this board for 6 years and I don't seem to recall anyone even mentioning Asian Garden. Am I wrong? Please, veteran chowhounders, give our visitor-to-be some great Chinatown recommendations.

                    Thanks,
                    Joanne

                  3. A&J King Artisan Bakery. I wish it was closer to Boston. Too good!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: catsmeow

                      Absolutely AJ King especially for an almond croissant. Also, surprisingly enough the cafe at the Salem Waterfront Hotel has the best crabcake eggs benedict I ever tasted..

                    2. For Chinese in China town my choices would be the Peach Farm and East Ocean City.

                      1 Reply
                      1. Everyone's responses have been great. We really like the sampling three idea for the cannolis and will try the three bakeries- a side by side taste comparison, excellent idea.

                        Regarding the Chinese restaurant, we'll try Peach Farm, sounds like a winner.

                        Someone mentioned we should try a restaurant in Somerville called the Mt. Vernon restaurant on Broadway? (Near the Sullivan T station) Does anyone have any thoughts on this one? Is it relatively safe in the evening?

                        Thanks