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Visitor from Toronto seeks ambiance, affordability and great eats!

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LemonLauren Dec 21, 2009 05:41 PM

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. Bob Dobalina RE: LemonLauren Dec 22, 2009 03:34 AM

    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
      Matt H RE: Bob Dobalina Dec 22, 2009 06:41 AM

      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
        t
        teezeetoo RE: Matt H Dec 22, 2009 06:57 AM

        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. s
      SunGlow RE: LemonLauren Dec 22, 2009 07:09 AM

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

      1. ecwashere7 RE: LemonLauren Dec 22, 2009 07:53 AM

        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
          rlh RE: ecwashere7 Dec 22, 2009 11:51 AM

          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
            r
            robwat36 RE: rlh Dec 22, 2009 12:03 PM

            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. l
          LemonLauren RE: LemonLauren Dec 22, 2009 03:42 PM

          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
            g
            gourmaniac RE: LemonLauren Dec 23, 2009 05:46 AM

            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. ecwashere7 RE: LemonLauren Dec 23, 2009 06:19 AM

            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

            1. p
              pasuga RE: LemonLauren Dec 23, 2009 04:55 PM

              Another whole-hearted recco for Neptune's. The North End, where it's located, has great shops, and small food markets and bakeries that are worth exploring. Just wander the streets (Salem, Hanover, Richmond and Parmenter) and keep looking in windows. Especially check into the Salumeria on Richmond, half a block down from Hanover, and there's a great wine/liquor store a little further down the street that has some amazing imports.

              1. l
                LemonLauren RE: LemonLauren Jan 10, 2010 02:13 PM

                my sincere thanks to everyone who sent us to Blue Room. i managed to get my friends to cancel at Butcher Shop and we went to Blue Room on a cold late Dec Tuesday night , and it nothing short of the best meal i have had out in a while. as an oenophile i loved the wine list and was pleased with the new world variety. i actually sent th ewine list link to a bunch of wino friends form Toronto and they loved the eclectic list too.

                we started with the beet salad btwn husband and i, shrimp/chorizo skwers for one friend and fish cakes ( i think?) for the other. my main was the skate, first time i had ever tried this kind of fish, and i LOVED it. the fennel and tapenade it came with was perfect for my salt-lovin palate. two of our party also loved the sage gnocci, and the duck/pork cassoulet was a lso a big hit, esp the duck in it. we finished full but had the cookie plate to complete the evening and it was perfect.

                we had lunch at parish cafe th eenxt day wihch was also good, but nothing as great as blue room! thanks again!

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