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Visitor from Toronto seeks ambiance, affordability and great eats!

Hi CHers,
I am looking forward to a trip to Boston with my husband to visit some friends in a few days. They have put together a short list of restos for a nice dinner for the four of us, which are:

Butcher Shop, Stephi's on Tremont, Neptune, Tamarind Bay or Parish Cafe.

These friends know our interests quite well, but essentially we are looking for somewhere with a great vibe/ambiance, that is a place to make a nice night out of dining experience, without breaking the bank. We like main dishes that include seafood options for me and comfort foods or steak for husband, and we like to have a variety of veg choices as well. We are staying in Cambridge but right on the T at Kendall Square so the location is not of too much import to us.

So, which of the above do you most heartily recommend?

We will be in Boston for only two full days, and I' also love any other suggestions you might have for foodie adventures - shops, markets, etc, to visit, wine stores, that sort of thing. I am not a museum person, I prefer to be a tourist by tasting!

Please point me in the right direction if you can!

I promise to return the favour should you wish to stray north!

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  1. Funny selection - sort of scattershot - can't go wrong with Neptune and plenty of people like the Butcher Shop. The other three are not really places I would say you have to visit, but I think they are ok, just nothing special.

    Since you are staying at Kendall, check out Hungry Mother - that might fit the bill. Also check out the Blue Room at Kendall - another fine restaurant with lots of the options you seek.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Bob Dobalina

      I'm with Bob on this one, I have not eaten at the Butcher Shop personally but it definitely has its fans. Neptune imo is the best of the bunch on that list, it is arguably the best seafood restaurant in Boston, I have never had a bad meal there.

      Another option which you might want to look into is Toro in the South End for Tapas. Nice Vibe/Atmosphere, good cocktails, excellent food and a menu that will satisfy meat eaters, vegetarians and seafood lovers alike.

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      Toro
      1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

      1. re: Matt H

        another vote for Bob's suggestions. I would add Tupelo, in Inman Square, for southern comfort food, and Rendezvous in Central Square for good food in general. My favorite up-scale, not too pricey, unique place would be Erbaluce and you are walkiing distance to Friendly Toast if you like fun breakfasts.

    2. I'd try Oleana. You are moderately close and I think the food there (especially the appetizers) is fantastic.

      1. I'd suggest trying to get a seat at the bar at Craigie. The Neighborhood menu is one of the best deals in the city. Craigie has AMAZING food. Also, you can't go wrong with Via Matta for Italian. Another option is Green Street Grill. It looks like a dump from the outside, but has great food and cocktails.

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        Green Street
        280 Green St, Cambridge, MA 02139

        Via Matta
        79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

        Craigie on Main
        853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

        2 Replies
        1. re: ecwashere7

          Dinner at Green Street last Saturday night was solid to delicious as usual and their cocktails are back near the top tier in the area for me.

          1. re: rlh

            Yeah, if you're staying in Kendall you're close to a ton of great places. Aside from Hungry Mother, Green Street, and the bar at Craigie, you might consider Garden at the Cellar or Rendezvous.

        2. Thanks all for the recs and suggestions! I am not sure we will want to eat dinner where we are staying or if we will want to explore with our friends, but it is good to have some places nearby too...

          Any suggestions for stores/markets to check out? Food stuffs,wine, bakeries, great salads, etc, all interest me.

          1 Reply
          1. re: LemonLauren

            Formaggios in Cambridge (Huron street) is one of the best cheese shops in the country. If you are into Armenian/middle eastern. Mt Auburn Street in Watertown has several good bakeries/ food stores (Sevan, Arax). Welcome to Boston from a TO expat.

          2. Totally forgot this one... Dante is another amazing Italian restaurant pretty close to your locale. Its right around the corner from the Museum of Science in the Royal Sonesta. It seems to never have people there because its kind of hidden. Amazing Italian food.

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            Dante
            5 Cambridge Pkwy, Cambridge, MA 02142