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Discussion

where is the "it" restaurant of Boston?

I just had a baby, so I haven't been out for a good meal with a great atmosphere in over a year. We are looking to go to the new "it" restaurant of Boston. Hungry Mother, O Ya and Market come to mind... Any other suggestions? Clearly, I've been out of the loop!

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O Ya
9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

Hungry Mother
Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

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  1. I would't say Hungry Mother...and Market is run by the same people @ District, Rumor, etc and turns into a club around 10ish.
    I would say anywhere in the South End is trendy but you're also getting really good eats and a nice atmosphere. Toro and The Beehive get my vote for mature adult fun :-)

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    Toro
    1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

    8 Replies
    1. re: BellatrixStar

      I sat down for dinner at Market at 9PM on Saturday, left around 11:30 and didn't notice that the restaurant had turned into a club. There is a lively bar scene in the hotel lobby outside the restaurant, but that is an entirely separate space.

      1. re: heathermb

        There are actually TWO "Market"s in Boston - one being Market Lounge, the nightclub on Water Street, and the other being the new restaurant at the W Hotel. (I guess we've run out of restaurant names and are forced to recycle now....)

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        Market Lounge
        120 Water St, Boston, MA 02109

        1. re: laura jean

          the w hotel is also opening a "living room" space, so is now being sued by the living room people in the north end, lol.

          curious what the op means by "it" ? are you more interested in the food, or some kinds of "scene"? what demographic do you feel like you fit? what's your price point? is cocktail craft a priority?

          it's such a broad/generic question it's like the recurring "what's good in the north end"? thing.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            We were hoping to find a place with a "scene" and great food- but more than anything the food. Something like Toro (but we have been there many times and were looking to try something else. Thanks for all of your help!

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            Toro
            1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

            1. re: d.maurer22

              Yes, I was definitely talking about the original Market in Boston...not the W's.
              If you like the atmosphere @ Toro then you'd really like The Beehive...trendy atmosphere and the food there is actually really good, live Jazz music almost every night of the week but it does get a bit crowded so definitely book a reservation. I just sampled some cocktails at Post 390 today...another scene type/hot spot place.

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              Toro
              1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

              Post 390
              406 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116

              1. re: d.maurer22

                Went to Market at the W on Thursday night for the first time. Definite "scene" overload. I really wasn't impressed especially since the staff was uber snobby. It reminded me A LOT of the meatpacking district in NYC like six years ago so I guess if you don't get out of Boston much, it may appeal to you.

        2. re: BellatrixStar

          I think Toro and Beehive are good suggestions, altho it sounds like BH's food isn't top notch. Not super new but Via Matta always feels pretty happening. Eastern Standard is hopping but not new, altho with the downhill alert, maybe not. For upscale comfort food, there's Post 390 in Back Bay. Sportello/Drink in Ft. Point?

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          Eastern Standard
          528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

          Toro
          1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

          Via Matta
          79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

          Post 390
          406 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116

          1. re: Joanie

            post 390 is sure a scene, but their food and bartending remain very rocky.

            bistro du midi, in the old excelsior space looks to be open any day.

            coppa will be open in a day or two..

        3. It seems like Craigie on Main is still very much a hot table. I suspect East by Northeast will be a very good scene when it opens in Inman Square, supposedly by the end of the year.

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          Craigie on Main
          853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

          7 Replies
          1. re: hckybg

            Any affiliation with the seafood restaurant with the same name in the Hamptons, or just a flat out rip off of the name?

            1. re: Gabatta

              Doesn't appear to be related. So that's it, only one restaurant in the whole, wide world can have the name?

              1. re: CookieLee

                The namesake is a fairly well known restaurant with a somewhat unique name. I don't immediately see the significance in the name for the Inman location, thus I assumed it may be a knock off of the name. Not a big deal, just an observation which may be more significant to some who spend time on eastern LI, than others.

                Certainly, more than one place "in the whole wide world" can use it. If it was my place I would want something totally unique, but that's just me.

                1. re: Gabatta

                  I'm certain it's neither. East by Northeast will be a modern Asian restaurant, perhaps "Momofukuesque," as Devra said it.

                  1. re: hckybg

                    Since my family lives in Amagansett and some one drives me to the Montauk ferry every Sunday night, I need to chime in to say that East by Northeast in Montauk is not something to which a new restauranteur should aspire. Totally meh. And, my mother still reminds me, the very worst coffee I have ever had with a meal.
                    http://www.harvest2000.com/ene/menu.html

                    1. re: bgavin

                      Ha, well I wouldn't worry too much--this place is alluding to a different "east." They will be serving Asian food and it looks like it will be open very soon.

              2. I haven't been there, but Ginger Park (formerly Banq) is new and exciting, judging at least by MC's recent view in Stuff at Night. Being in the South End, it's likely to have an "it" vibe. I personally love Erbaluce. I'm not sure if it's the "it" place, but the food is fabulous and has major locavore cred.

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                Banq
                1375 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

                Erbaluce
                69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                1 Reply
                1. re: bella_sarda

                  Love Erbaluce. Also Il Casale if Belmont is in your "local" orbit. Estragon and Rendezvous are both favorites of ours. And L'Espalier remains wonderful, though we really like it best for Monday wine night.

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                  L'Espalier
                  774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

                  Erbaluce
                  69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                2. those are all great recs- thanks so much!!

                  1. This is an interesting question, made think there needs to be a taxonomy of It Places, maybe something like:

                    Foodiot It Places -- people are there because they simply *must* try the food. Generally fine dining venues with rave MSM reviews and/or awards. Recent examples: Craigie on Main, O Ya, Il Casale.

                    Scenester It Places -- people are there for the fabulousness more than the food; it often has a kind of meat-market vibe. This does not necessarily preclude it from having good food, but you feel lucky if the food is good. Examples: Post 390, Market/Living Room, Bond, Ginger Park.

                    Chowhound It Places -- all about the food, and usually not benefiting from the ministrations of a well-oiled marketing/PR machine. Often traditional restaurants, "authentic", out of the way, inexpensive. Examples: Angela's Cafe, Fuloon, Gran Gusto.

                    I'd love to see other examples of this idea, and additional categories.

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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                    O Ya
                    9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

                    Gran Gusto
                    90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

                    Craigie on Main
                    853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                    Post 390
                    406 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      O YA . When we had a baby that was the first place my wife wanted to go. Sushi, champagne sake, on and on. Not much of a scene but go somewhere after for drinks.
                      Market at the W has really good food and more of a scene but tough to get resos on the busy nights. My rec would to go early and sit at the bar

                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        It-ness of a different stripe - Hipster It Places (HIP) : Lord Hobo, Trina's, Deep Ellum in its opening days, maybe Friendly Toast, etc. You can grade by the number of fixies out front and the amount of ironic facial hair+tatts inside. (Mind you, I am one of those cycling folks - with gears+brakes, thank you, AND I frequent these kinds of places...I'm just saying. MC's post made me giggle!)

                        1. re: digga

                          fixies and ironic facial hair ... you still got it digga!

                          Was just remarking to a friend he would hate Marlowe and Sons in Brooklyn (one of my faves) because of the abundance of muttonchops -- not on the menu.

                          1. re: digga

                            old-guard hipster It Place: the other side! parking my bike with brakes & gears in front of it in summer made me self-conscious! still, the nachos are like, five days' meal for me.

                          2. re: MC Slim JB

                            jojo taipei in the chowhound-it category?

                            1. re: hyde

                              I would say so. The list is pretty long, but I'd include JoJo.

                              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                            2. re: MC Slim JB

                              Just had our second lunch at Gran Gusto and LOVE this place! It's certainly a hidden gem in North Cambridge. They have the freshest and best prepared seafood salad... homemade pasta and desserts were all wonderfully prepared. This may be my new lunch spot for a while! I love how the owner comes out to greet everyone in his warm Italian way.

                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                Gran Gusto is WAY WAY overpriced. Food was okay, but just suck it up and go into the north end. Mare is coastal italian that rocks!!!

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                                Gran Gusto
                                90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

                                1. re: awarr83

                                  The pizza at Gran Gusto, which is likely better than anything comparable you will find in the North End (Regina and Galleria Umberto are also great, but different styles), is not expensive at all--$10 to $16.