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Five Favorite Places to Eat Among Frequent/Veteran CH Posters?

Not sure if and how this thread might work, but as I mentioned in another thread, I'm curious as to which places the frequent/veteran posters on the Boston board of Chowhound consider as their personal favorites. Is anyone game for this?

Since I seem to spend way too much time on this site, I guess I can be a part of this, so I'll go first. My five favorite restaurants in the Boston area (as of this moment!):

Denly Gardens, Weymouth
Alia Ristorante, Winthrop
Angela's Cafe, East Boston
Santarpio's, East Boston
Dok Bua, Brookline

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  1. Hammersley's
    Hola (in Marshfield)

    4 Replies
    1. re: Northender

      I really do have to get to Hola one of these days. So much praise for the place...

      1. re: hiddenboston

        shanghai gate
        dok bua
        washington square tavern

        1. re: teezeetoo

          interesting to go back three years and look at my response - the only one that's fallen out of my rotation is tupelo - prefer S & I Thai to dok bua but still am fond of dok bua. Would probably add Rendezvous as my 5th choice now. But Shanghai Gate, Washington Square Tavern, and Erbaluce remain on my top five list.

        2. re: hiddenboston

          Just a lot of fun and great little plates and you don't have to drop a bundle. The wine list has great values in the low $20.00 range. I t was really worth the drive although a designated driver is a good idea.

      2. Mamma Maria
        Garden at the Cellar

        1 Reply
        1. re: pollystyrene

          Three of mine have changed. Now it's:

          Mamma Maria
          Cuchi Cuchi

        2. I guess >5 years qualifies me...

          S&I Thai
          Cafe Mami
          Rincon Limeno
          Hei La Moon
          Sichuan Gourmet, Framingham

          2 Replies
          1. re: Luther

            Hei La Moon still up there for you? What about the alleged downturn in quality?

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              I never liked their dinner menu items so this is strictly regarding dim sum. I've been about once a month and over the last year I'd say it's better than it's ever been. Pretty consistent even on weekdays.

              There will always be occasions when the food isn't as good, but I'd say that's the exception.

          2. Craigie on Main
            Gallaria Umberto
            Carlo's Cuchina Italiana
            Shanghai Gate
            Hugo's (Portland ME) -not here I know, but it is my favorite overall restaurant.

            1. I've posted a few times, so I'll add my current favorites:
              Fat Cat, Quincy,
              Cafe deParis, Quincy
              Prezza, North End
              Shabu Zen, Chinatown
              Silvertones, Downtown

              4 Replies
              1. re: Pegmeister

                I don't know if I make the cut regarding your exclusive criteria

                1. re: Pegmeister

                  What do you usually order at Cafe de Paris?

                  1. re: SOBoston

                    This is a pretty old post, but things haven't changed much at Cafe deParis. I still stop there on a regular basis. IMO they have the best pizza in the Quincy area. Darcys makes the pizza but you can order from the cafe side. Great buffalo chicken, or more traditional pepperoni and onion and they even have a Guiness beef and potato pizza that's quite good. Petite filet is consistently cooked to order and of high quality, while admittedly it's a smaller 6 oz portion the price is only $18. Their appetizer of seared scallops is well done and even better is the chopped salad topped with scallops. Parmsean crusted haddock is always fresh and a popular dish. Not crazy about their fried calamari. Specials generally change around once a month. This is a good solid neighborhood stop with plenty of regulars.

                2. I don't know if I qualify, but here goes:
                  Sichuan Gourmet (Framingham branch - hope Brookline rumor is true!)
                  Washington Square Tavern
                  Peach Farm

                  1. Hei La Moon (dimsum sundays around 11 only)
                    Winsor Dim Sum Cafe
                    Sichuan Gourmet (billerica is much better food but less atmosphere than framingham so we prefer that branch)
                    Sea Basket (yea i know its in maine but still)
                    South East Asia - Lowell ( it may not be as good as it used to be but its still damn good and the spiciest asian food i have found)

                    1. I like this idea! Ill play-even if I dont qualify :-)
                      Coppa, South End
                      Villa Mexico, Beacon Hill
                      Santarpio's, East Boston
                      O'Hara's, Newton
                      Dok Bua, Brookline

                      1. i'll play.
                        grotto (Beacon Hill)
                        bon savor (JP)
                        shiki (Brookline)
                        peach farm (Chinatown)
                        lumierre (Newton)

                        1. Toro-South End
                          Taco's Lupita-Somerville
                          East Coast Grill-Cambridge
                          Myers and Chang-South End
                          Picco-South End

                          1. I'd actually like to hear what the NEW posters are enjoying ... for those of us who've been around for a while, I can almost predict their top 5.

                            I could go on and on about favorites like Mulan or PFS, but in the same exploratory vein, one new (to me) place that is currently knocking my socks off is Erbaluce. Draghi is doing some remarkable things in that kitchen.

                            16 Replies
                            1. re: yumyum

                              Another great idea...why not start a new post?

                              1. re: yumyum

                                Ok yumyum,as a "newbie" I'll bite - see if these were in your predictions:
                                Rino's Place - East Boston
                                The pasta amartriciana (sp?) with fresh pasta in nothing great to look at. Then, you put it in your mouth ........... O.M.G.!
                                Sake - Saugus
                                I''ve only had the sushi there, but I like to think of this as Sakurabana with parking! Fave is the butterfly sushi, which is a mild shite fish (yellowtail maybe) with a citrus flavor.
                                Villa Francesca - North End
                                My in-law's favorite North End place - would hvae never tried it if they didn't drag me there & was surprised how good it was. Usually get the veal with artichokes & anchovies - can't remember the name of the dish unfortunatelate but maybe CocoDan does.
                                LoConte's - North End
                                My fave North End restaraunt. It's laid back enough so it feel like you're eating at home, & it's a "white sauce" place, which I prefer vs a "red sauce" place. Reasonable prices too. LOVE the ziti,asparagus (when in season), & shrimp over ziti - it's in a lite white / almost brothlike sauce with garlic & lemon.
                                Abe & Louie's - Boston
                                I know it's not a fave of the 'hounds, but for a great steak & great service it's kinda hard to beat. Plus, it's got the fresh crabmeat cocktail & pan-seared tuna apps, which are 2 of my favorite starters.
                                Would have maybe substituted Sapurito's in Hull for Abe & Louie's but haven't been there since the "new" owners took over ......... Yup, it's been that long ago but I used to go quite frequently & absolutely loved it - hope it's still as good.
                                2 more out of the Boston area if you ever want to road trip:
                                Surf - Nashua, NH
                                The have miso grilled salmon on the menu ............ & I can never bring myself to order anything else since that is sooooooo good. But, I can always get my hubby to order something different so I get to try different things. Unfortunately, once you try the miso grilled salmon, you crave that "taste" - kinda like a Japanese / sushi kinda taste that nothing else will satisfy. Kinda like going to Speeds & seeing the have pastrami ....... but you just gotta get the dog!
                                On The Marsh - Kennebunk, ME
                                If you want White Barn Inn type food & service - only less stuffy (& less price), this is the place. Limited menu, but everything I've ordered here has been great. The scallop & steak dishes I have had have been outstanding - one of the most tender & flavorful steaks I've ever had was here. Menu changes seasonally, so the only "regular" items on the menu are the mussels with oven roasted tomato broth (Hubby said he would drive there every week just to have them) & the Apple Boleyn desert (a whole peeled,cored apple baked in pastry ) - both are great.
                                Sorry for being so wordy, but I just wanted to "up my game" & try to make you proud of a "newbie"! Thanks for all the years of advice!

                                1. re: southie_chick

                                  This is SO what I was hoping for ... this is off the beaten path and I love the Kennebunk suggestion especially! Thanks for posting and please keep it up. New posters are what keep the board fresh and interesting ... the rest of us can be like a broken record. I'm sure my fellow "veterans" would agree.

                                  1. re: yumyum

                                    Thanks yumyum - that realy put a smile on my face . Yet another one I love WAY off the beaten path (any time you have to drive past Yankee Magazine HQ's, you know it's off the beaten path!) is Burdick's in Walpole, NH. It's an hour & a half fom my house in Nashua, NH but it's SO worth the trip. They do a lot of game dishes in the winter - the rabbit saltimbocca was out of this world! They also own a market next door to the restaurant so they will run next door to get the cut of meat you want if you don't find it on the menu. Not crazy about the pastries there, I usually get a cocoa to go for the trip home.

                                    1. re: southie_chick

                                      TOTALLY agree about Burdick's - great addition. They also have a lovely little market a few doors down... And lots of free chocolate samples at their adjoining chocolate shop (which they could never get away with in Harvard Sq - they'd be depleted in minutes!)

                                      1. re: southie_chick

                                        Your recommendation of Burdick's sounds really interesting. When you have a moment please supply a little more info. I had rabbit at Marliave in Boston for my very first time and it was lovely!

                                        1. re: Pegmeister

                                          Sorry it took so long to get back to you. It was done in the style of a traditional veal saltimbocca - a boneless rabbit "cutlet" wrapped in imported prociutto (can't remember if the menu said it was imported but it tasted like it was) pan sauted 'till golden brown in a white wine/sage type sauce. I think it was served with a sauteed spinach but I'm drawing a blank on the veg now. It's a beautiful, romantic type setting at the restaurant, & the service is great. Just wish it wasn't so far away.

                                          1. re: southie_chick

                                            Sorry - it was rude of me not to ask - what type of rabbit did you have at the Marliave?

                                            1. re: southie_chick

                                              Thanks for the update. That dish sounds wonderful. I have a place in Gilmanton, NH so I need to check out how far it is from Walpole. The rabbit I had at Marliave was wrapped in prosciutto with a white wine mushroom sauce. Dish sounds similar, but at Marliave the leg was done truffled mushroom stuffed. I would definitely get it again.

                                              1. re: Pegmeister

                                                If you like rabbitt try the version at Erbaluce. Best I've had in Boston.

                                                1. re: Pegmeister

                                                  Was the leg boneless? I'm not big at ordering things with bones in them at a restaurant since I'm not the best at deboning in public. Can't remember if it "originally" had mushrooms - I don't do "shrooms so I alwasy order without them. Don't know where Gilmanton is in relation to Walpole - I'm a newbie to New Hampshire (Nashua) myself so I have a tendency to drive "home" to Boston when I crave something. Hubby thinks I'm crazy for driving 110 miles for clam strips (roundtrip) but it's pretty much the same roundtrip from Nashua to Walpole - sometimes ya just gotta do it. Good food & good times are worth it. Now, if anyone is heading toward Tannersville PA, I know a GREAT place for apple crumb pie!

                                                  1. re: southie_chick

                                                    No, the leg wasn't boneless, but the meat was tender enough so that it was easy to remove from the bone. I initially wasn't a fan of Marliave, but I've had some really nice dishes there lately, especially the beef wellington.

                                        1. re: southie_chick

                                          On the Marsh sounds wonderful! I am planning a birthday pilgrimage to Hugo's in Portland next month to take advantage of the weekday 2-for-1 tasting menu, and may need to incorporate a stop in Kennebunk on the way there or back! Thanks for the advice.

                                          1. re: ziggles

                                            You're going to love Hugo's. It's my and my wife's favorite place anywhere. The tasting is the best way to go there as well. Have a great meal!

                                            1. re: ziggles

                                              Ziggles, check the website for On The Marsh before you head down there - it's seasonal so it may be closed for the winter by now.

                                        2. Hungry Mother
                                          Shanghai Gate
                                          Galleria Umberto
                                          Ten Tables

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                            Tough , and not sure I'm either frequent or veteran, but places that I find I end up going to repeatedly are:
                                            East Coast Grill
                                            Sichuan Gourmet (Billerica)
                                            Sushi Island
                                            Gran Gusto
                                            O Ya (okay not repeatedly, but I wish)

                                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                              Speaking of Shanghai Gate -- I just had the lion's head meatballs there for the first time. Man, those are some big balls!


                                              1. re: yumyum

                                                Wow!! they are, and if you squint your eyes, you can see the lion's head.

                                                  1. re: Prav

                                                    I found them to be quite delicate. Prav, I don't recall, do you remember if they charge by the ball ?

                                                    1. re: Nab

                                                      They do, you can order a sack of two... though check your bill carefully, as I got shafted last time.

                                              2. Great Post:

                                                Neptune Oyster
                                                Taiwan Cafe
                                                Craigie on Main
                                                Peach Farm

                                                1. I'm in ( not in any particular order, with one exception):
                                                  Villa Francesca, North End (going Sat. night) Our Fav.
                                                  *Fat Cat, Quincy (the best go-to any day of the week).
                                                  Orta, Pembroke/Hanover line (current Italian go-to for reasonably priced, great food).
                                                  Grille 23 & Bar (all around great experience).
                                                  Alba, Quincy (how can you beat good food, more than decent wine list and free parking).
                                                  Of course this could all change tomorrow.

                                                  1. This is where I go these days:
                                                    (with family)
                                                    Basta Pasta Cambridge
                                                    Deluxe Town Diner

                                                    (with husb)
                                                    Gran Gusto

                                                    (with friends)
                                                    HIghland Kitchen

                                                    11 Replies
                                                    1. re: dulce de leche

                                                      Dulce, can I suggest that if you hit a line for brunch at the Deluxe Town Diner, check out Red Lentil across the street? They are open for brunch on the weekends, and do a fine omelet. So you can't get real meat sausage there, but they have pancakes and eggs - beats waiting in line out in the cold.

                                                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                        Hey, thanks for the tip! The rest of my fam does not eat pork, so no great loss (except for me).

                                                        Is it next to the nut place? Can you eat lunch for breakfast there?

                                                        1. re: dulce de leche

                                                          It is next to the nut place - actually, I think it might be in the nut place. I think it might have replaced the nut place?

                                                          Here's a link to their brunch menu - not sure if they are doing everything listed here, but definitely have some lunch-y items.

                                                          1. re: Prav

                                                            No, we are talking about The Red Lentil which is next to the nut place (Fastachi) which is still going strong.

                                                            1. re: Nab

                                                              I've never heard of this place - I must try it! Maybe I'll stop in Watertown after work and grab some nuts.

                                                              1. re: Prav

                                                                from their website:

                                                                "And when it comes to delivering the fruits of our labor, we painstakingly hand pack them with the utmost care. Pampered, over-protected and spoiled? Perhaps. But that's why when you eat any nut, you'll always judge it by a Fastachi."

                                                                1. re: Prav

                                                                  love fastachi and their nuts and chocolate. very nice people also.

                                                                2. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                  interesting to hear about Red Lentil- There have been a series of ill fated restaurants in that spot- I remember one place with the unfortunate name of "Sushi Grill" when I used to live around the corner. This place looks like it has a nice menu- I wish them luck in breaking the curse of that spot. Town Diner has made it, hopefully some spillover will help them. I'll try to try it sometime when I'm at Coolidge Hardware.

                                                                  1. re: cpingenot

                                                                    Red Lentil's better than Town Diner.

                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                      Psst...Red Lentil folks...you need to hire more or better servers.

                                                                      You know when you sit down at a place and just get the vibe that the food's going to take a really, really long time? When you think that you see hungry, desperate looks of other patrons toward the kitchen? When you sit for about 10 minutes and the water glasses haven't been filled and you just got a menu?

                                                                      Look, I really like the food at Red Lentil, but when they are busy (like they were yesterday at brunch), they need to a) get their act together and b) turn on the friggin heat.

                                                                      We shuddered in our coats for about 10 minutes and I made the executive decision to get out before we got involved. I doubt that the one waitress in the room even noticed. I thought there might have been a second one, but then I couldn't tell because she did not appear to be professionally dressed.

                                                                      C'mon Red Lentil folks - I like your meatless cuisine - I like the flavors of your food - don't drop the ball on service. There have been enough warnings from folks on these pages already. I know you are new at this business. Just get it together, ok? I promise to keep coming back, because I really have enjoyed all the food you've put out so far. But the service thing is really going to limit my love for you over the long haul.

                                                            2. re: dulce de leche

                                                              I am not a frequent poster (but frequent reader for sure!), but here are my 5 tops:

                                                              1. Hamersley's
                                                              2. Prezza (egg ravioli is worth the trip!)
                                                              3. La Campania, Waltham
                                                              4. Pellana Steak House, Davners
                                                              5. Michael's, Newburyport (decent food, nice water view)

                                                            3. floating rock
                                                              rincon limeno
                                                              jnj turo turo filipino cuisine
                                                              taiwan cafe
                                                              s&i thai

                                                              honorable mention: phien's kitchen

                                                              1. Galleria Umberto
                                                                Craigie on Main

                                                                1. Does 4 years make the grade?


                                                                  1. This is a perfect Friday afternoon distraction -

                                                                    Hammersly's Bistro
                                                                    Hungry Mother
                                                                    Ten Tables
                                                                    T.W. Food

                                                                    1. Hard to pick 5 - I'm so mood-driven when it comes to food. Here're mine, in no particular order:

                                                                      Sichuan Gourmet (Billerica)
                                                                      JoJo TaiPei
                                                                      Myers & Chang


                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: gansu girl

                                                                        Picco is awesome - they were close on mine

                                                                        1. re: gansu girl

                                                                          Just home from Great Taste in Chinatown and thinking that they trump M&C. I think it's impossible for me to pick *just* 5 - or to pick w/o using categories!


                                                                          1. re: gansu girl

                                                                            We are big fans of the bubble teas at Great Taste, currently our favorite spot for them

                                                                        2. I think I've been on the boards for a little over three years, though for the first year and a half I lived in Worcester and mostly posted on the New England board. Sadly, as I think about where I really like to eat and actually go often, I'm starting to miss Worcester. I'm now in the 'burbs and am having a harder time finding places I truly love and frequent. But five places that I really do like quite a bit where we actually go often are:

                                                                          Daikanyama, Lexington
                                                                          Sichuan Garden II, Woburn
                                                                          New Jang Su, Burlington
                                                                          Pasha, Arlington
                                                                          Ixtapa, Lexington

                                                                          1. Five favorites overall, at any level, high to low? Or five value-priced, eliminating the priciest joints? Or five all-time favorites (including defunct restaurants?) I get asked about my favorite a lot, and I always have to qualify it, at least in categories of high/medium/low for price/formality of food/formality of service.


                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                              Slim, I think the point is NOT to qualify here: value priced, high-end, whatever, all lumped together.
                                                                              Also seems that all-timers (including defunct) would be another thread (OP specified five faves "as of this moment").
                                                                              My five:
                                                                              O Ya (have only been twice, but wow)
                                                                              Tacos Lupita
                                                                              Garden at the Cellar

                                                                              1. re: garlic breath

                                                                                GB, I think you and I must have the same palate.

                                                                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                Please? No qualifications. Just five personal favorite places across the board that make you really happy these days.

                                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                  Whatever you like, MC. It could be a bucket of blood, a high-end French restaurant, a family-friendly American spot, a quick-food place, and a restaurant that serves Viking food (well, maybe not the last one). Probably want to keep it limited to restaurants that are still open, I'd say.

                                                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                    Agreed. I feel too much like Rob Gordon trying to answer this query.

                                                                                    1. In no particular order (and prepared for some possible flack). This is at the moment.
                                                                                      No. 9 Park
                                                                                      Eastern Standard
                                                                                      Garden @ the Cellar
                                                                                      Craigie on Main
                                                                                      - if 6 were allowed I'd toss in Nepune, but I haven't been there in a few months.

                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Food4Thought

                                                                                        Hey F4T, what do you like at Garden @ the Cellar? We went for the first time last weekend after hearing good things and I was totally unimpressed . . . the only thing I liked were the truffle fries and the chickpea fries we had while waiting at the bar for our table. My chicken & waffles was pathetic - dry as dust waffle w/hardly any flavor (and the teeniest drizzle of maple jus, not nearly enough to moisten or flavor the thing, and rubbery, unflavorful chicken. My theory this is a good barfood place, but I don't know - enlighten me!


                                                                                        1. re: gansu girl

                                                                                          GG - whenever I go to Garden @ the Cellar, I tend to get lots of apps and sides and am always happy. The cod fritters have always been great, and the burrata is fabulous. For the record, my other four faves right now are:
                                                                                          -Green Street
                                                                                          - Pongal (Billerica)
                                                                                          - Highland Kitchen
                                                                                          - Kathmandu Spice (Arlington)

                                                                                          1. re: gansu girl

                                                                                            The ricotta mushroom flatbread is excellent (they have other flatbreads, too), the tater tots and soups are very good, and, not even expecting a cocktail menu, I was surprised at how good the French Gimlet was. Looking forward to going back and trying more of the menu. I hear their croquettes and cod fritters are good, too.

                                                                                            1. re: gansu girl

                                                                                              When I visit, I eat much like Bluebell. Quite honestly I don't think I've ever had an entree there. I mix it up w/ small plates and apps, we almost always get a 4 side tasting, and we love the soups too. My wife is a big fan of the Roasted Beet salad w/ Pistachios and Goat Cheese.

                                                                                              It's one of the few places that I could order pretty much exclusively "vegetarian" (depending upon your deff.) and come away completely satisfied.

                                                                                              1. re: gansu girl

                                                                                                Thanks, everyone - you've confirmed my thoughts, and thanks to you, The Garden will get another visit from GG and crew . . . cocktails, multiple munchies and a salad on the side are a great way to make a meal, IMHO.


                                                                                            2. Craigie on Main
                                                                                              Eastern Standard
                                                                                              Ten Tables (JP)

                                                                                              1. Don't qualify, but what the heck:
                                                                                                1) Troquet
                                                                                                2) Toro
                                                                                                3) Rincon Limeno
                                                                                                4) Oishii- South end
                                                                                                5) Regina's- Original and if pizza well-done

                                                                                                1. Ok, so I'll play - within Merrimack Valley, my (latest) favs are:

                                                                                                  Sichuan Gourmet - Billerica (severe addiction going on for this place, especially dan dan noodles)

                                                                                                  Friends Bar and Grill - Lowell - fantastic portugese food

                                                                                                  Cafe Azteca in Lawrence - awesome mexican

                                                                                                  Tepthida Khmer in Lowell - excellent cambodian

                                                                                                  Pho 88 in Lowell for fantastic vietnamese

                                                                                                  1. I don't get out much these days, but here are places I've been to repeatedly recently and I know I can always count on for a good meal:

                                                                                                    Gargoyles on the Square (Somerville)
                                                                                                    Fu Loon (Malden)
                                                                                                    Sushi Island (Wakefield)
                                                                                                    U Me (Stoneham)
                                                                                                    Silvertone (Boston)

                                                                                                    1. Neptune Oyster
                                                                                                      Miracle of Science
                                                                                                      Eastern Standard
                                                                                                      Za (Arlington)
                                                                                                      Oishii, Too (Sudbury)

                                                                                                      1. Craigie on Main
                                                                                                        O Ya
                                                                                                        Neptune Oyster

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: rlove

                                                                                                          Mmm Coppa. Just had a really amazing meal here (no surprise, of course.) Everything delicious, right down to the olive oil served with hearty bread. A place that truly lives by "God is in the details," at least based on my first visit. A really nice glass of Barbera, excellent ricotta starter, piping hot, tender and tasty chicken milanese, and the pesto trophie pasta dish....All exceptional.

                                                                                                          My 4 others would probably be:

                                                                                                          Hungry Mother
                                                                                                          Craigie On Main
                                                                                                          Ten Tables (JP, haven't been to Cambridge yet)

                                                                                                        2. Neighborhood favorites are Petit Robert (Kenmore Sq), Tratoria Toscana and ESK.
                                                                                                          Big night on the town is Grille 23 although we prefer the low key and lower prices in the hood.

                                                                                                          1. I'm sure I don't qualify, but...
                                                                                                            Sichuan Gourmet (Framingham- never been to Billerica tho)
                                                                                                            Neptune Oyster
                                                                                                            Xinh Xinh
                                                                                                            Blue Ribbon BBQ Arlington (eating it tonight so it's on my mind)
                                                                                                            Craigie on Main

                                                                                                            1. just 3 as i'm eating out less these days

                                                                                                              Thai Moon - arlington
                                                                                                              Penang - chinatown
                                                                                                              Xinh Xinh - chinatown

                                                                                                              1. Here's my five favorites:

                                                                                                                Ten Tables
                                                                                                                Ten Tables (I like it so much I've listed it twice)
                                                                                                                Pizzeria Regina on Thatcher

                                                                                                                I'd also put Chez Pascal on this list, it's on the Pawtucket/Providence border, great French food.

                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: winedude

                                                                                                                  hehe, my spouse will say I should list Dok Bua 5 times!
                                                                                                                  Dok Bua x 2
                                                                                                                  Reagle Beagle
                                                                                                                  Petit Robert Bistro (I've only been to the Kenmore site)
                                                                                                                  Chef Chang's (for the peking duck and chow fun with spicy black bean sauce)

                                                                                                                  1. re: winedude

                                                                                                                    Since you love Ten Tables so much, what are your favorite dishes at Ten Tables?

                                                                                                                    What are you favorite dishes at Orinoco?

                                                                                                                    1. re: Torolover

                                                                                                                      I love the mixed grill at Orinoco, and the hand cheese arepa...

                                                                                                                      1. re: Torolover

                                                                                                                        I am not winedude but I am going to butt in anyway! Because I've only been to Ten Tables once, but I am still very happy thinking about 1) the giant roasted marrow bone starter and 2) the chocolate terrine with sea salt and Thai basil ice cream.

                                                                                                                        I would put Ten Tables on my list if I had the cashmoney to go there frequently.

                                                                                                                        1. re: dulce de leche

                                                                                                                          The chocolate terrine with sea salt and Thai basil ice cream is seriously one of my favorite restaurant desserts ever.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Torolover

                                                                                                                          One of the great things about Ten Tables is that I've almost never had the same thing twice (other than the chocolate terrine with sea salt and thai basil ice cream, which is amazing, as others have noted). It's the only place where I routinely have the vegetarian tasting menu (not being a vegetarian), but each time this tasting menu has wowed me. Last time, the amuse bouche was cold melon soup with fresh thyme, followed by a lemon grass soup (I could have eaten a quart of that, with 3 slices of sourdough bread, and called it a meal--fantastic), then a salad with arugula, endive, grana padana, and an orange vinaigrette, followed by house-made cavatappi with locally foraged mushrooms, then a palate cleanser of grapefruit granite, and for the desserts we each (there were 4 of us) got different desserts. All for $28/person. Not big portions, but every bit was delicious.

                                                                                                                          1. re: winedude

                                                                                                                            Last year I had a vanilla panna cotta from Ten Tables - and I'm still thinking about it... probably one of the best restaurant desserts I've ever had. Wish they would write a cookbook... I actually didn't love the chocolate terrine (too one-note for me) but the Thai Basil ice cream was heavenly.

                                                                                                                            1. re: sallyt

                                                                                                                              I assume that is Christina's Thai Basil ice cream, which they occasionally serve as a special...I had a cone last year and it was, indeed, awesome and unique.

                                                                                                                              1. re: hckybg

                                                                                                                                My guess (and it's only a guess) is that the thai basil ice cream is made in house at Ten Tables....

                                                                                                                                1. re: twentyoystahs

                                                                                                                                  JP or Harvard Square? I've only been to JP, but they could never fit an Ice Cream machine in there. That kitchen is cramped!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: almansa

                                                                                                                                    I would only guess Christina's because they do make a lot of ice cream for upscale area restaurants and they famously sell the surplus from special orders as special items on their menu. Thai basil seems so obscure, but it is certainly possible that it is pure coincidence.

                                                                                                                      2. Thanks, all! I'm going to try to get to all of the places you mentioned by the end of the week (hehehe).

                                                                                                                        1. I'll go value driven:

                                                                                                                          Galleria Umberto, NE
                                                                                                                          Alia, Winthrop
                                                                                                                          Causeway, Gloucester, seafood
                                                                                                                          Lewis', Essex (prime rib)
                                                                                                                          Rossetti's, Winthrop

                                                                                                                          1. We've been going to different places recently, but find ourselves magically attracted to the following:
                                                                                                                            - Rendezvous
                                                                                                                            - Shangri-La (in Belmont - for "Dimsum" (Brunch really but everyone knows it as dimsum)
                                                                                                                            - Szechuan Gourmet in Billerica (Still the best Szechuan food around)
                                                                                                                            - Udipi Bhavan in Lowell (exit 32 off route 3 and then around the bend)
                                                                                                                            - Courthouse Fish (The restaurant) in Cambridge


                                                                                                                            1. Fat Cat, Quincy
                                                                                                                              Lineage, Brookline
                                                                                                                              Brasserie Jo, Boston
                                                                                                                              Union, South End
                                                                                                                              Hamersley's, South End

                                                                                                                              1. places i frequent (er, slum), that don't get tons of love on this board...

                                                                                                                                grendel's den (bargain)
                                                                                                                                buff's pub (wings)
                                                                                                                                cambridge brewing (beer)
                                                                                                                                deep ellum (cocktails)
                                                                                                                                james gate (atmosphere, winter)
                                                                                                                                barking crab (deck, summer)

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: BoDubya

                                                                                                                                  Love Buff's! Not gourmet fare but the best wings this side o' Buffalo!

                                                                                                                                  And I think Cambridge Brewing is pretty good too, for an eclectic beer selection and good pub food :)

                                                                                                                                2. Neptune
                                                                                                                                  Hungry Mother
                                                                                                                                  Pushcart Pizza
                                                                                                                                  Deep Ellum
                                                                                                                                  Does Drink count?

                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: phatchris

                                                                                                                                    This could probably be adjusted slightly every week, for me. But:

                                                                                                                                    1. O Ya
                                                                                                                                    Best restaurant in Boston, period, IMO.

                                                                                                                                    2. Coppa
                                                                                                                                    Bold, exciting flavors; feels like very modern, forward-tilted cooking, unlike many places in greater Boston.

                                                                                                                                    3. The Butcher Shop
                                                                                                                                    Barbara Lynch's exquisite, signature palate of low low-notes paired with ultra-bright ones always hits me perfectly here.

                                                                                                                                    4. FuLoon
                                                                                                                                    Hot. Numbing. Szechuan-peppercorn-oil-infused dreaminess.

                                                                                                                                    5. Toro
                                                                                                                                    Modern again, in that Coppa way (er, well...vice versa); doesn't feel like it's pandering to local tastes via some Caesar-wrap-loving focus group.

                                                                                                                                    Maybe even in that order.

                                                                                                                                    Honorable Mention: Grill 23
                                                                                                                                    For the semi-regular splurge on a dark-crusted Kobe cap steak, med-rare, chased by a tannin-rich Bandol red—at perfect cellar temp.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jolyon Helterman

                                                                                                                                      What are your favorite dishes at Coppa and Toro?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Torolover

                                                                                                                                        • The nontraditional take on gambas al ajillo
                                                                                                                                        • Fried pimientons
                                                                                                                                        • Chorizo and garbanzos
                                                                                                                                        • The tripe "Collinsville" thing that Bissonnette also did at KO Prime
                                                                                                                                        • Cauliflower a la plancha
                                                                                                                                        • Burger
                                                                                                                                        • That tortilla espagnol sandwich that I don't even think they do anymore

                                                                                                                                        • Blue Ribbon Pizza
                                                                                                                                        • Pesce al Mattone
                                                                                                                                        • Skirt steak
                                                                                                                                        • Marinated cauliflower
                                                                                                                                        • tuna crudo tapa, which may have been a special; I only see the pincho on the menu
                                                                                                                                        • the hot octopus dish

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Jolyon Helterman

                                                                                                                                          Would like to add the grilled corn w/crumbly spanish cheese on top (not manchengo but now can't remember what type) to the Toro list (i know, i know, overexposed,but oh-so-good)

                                                                                                                                          And yes, second that marinated califlower @ Coppa. Simple and basic, but good.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: twentyoystahs

                                                                                                                                            That cheese is cotija, and I'm thrilled to have found a local source for it (South Bay Stop & Shop) so I can make my own version of the Toro elotes at home. Not that hard, really: grilling the corn just so is the trickiest part.


                                                                                                                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the info; and yeah, I know it's fairly simple to make...now even simpler since I know the specific name of the cheese. In the summer grilled corn is a staple in this household ;)
                                                                                                                                              The pan con tomate is another dish that is so delicious, but also pretty basic and simple to make. Grill bread lightly, drizzle w/olive oil, rub with garlic and fresh summer tomatoes. Mmmm.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: twentyoystahs

                                                                                                                                                If you keep your eye out for queso seco (which is commonly used on similar cheese products asuming you are not looking for the anejo), you widen your options. Particularly there are more Salvadoran options, including Don Guanco which appears to be made in New England and several from NYC. Those free you from having to buy Tropical brand cojita which is overall pretty lousy. Also there are a lot more Salvadoran cremas around to pass on the corn. For the Pan con Tomate just grill cheese in the place of the bread (queso frier is convenient for this, but unfortunately most of the brands are tasteless... I would look for a Brazilian Queijo de Coalho but its harder to find).

                                                                                                                                  2. I'll go with frequency as my personal all time favs would by similar to a lot of other Boston based posts- Places i tend to dine at more than 2 or 3 times a year:
                                                                                                                                    El Sarape (weymouth)
                                                                                                                                    224 Boston Road (Dorchester)
                                                                                                                                    Orta (pembroke)
                                                                                                                                    Scarlet oak (Hingham)
                                                                                                                                    Ecco (weymouth)

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                                                                                                                                      I was trying to do that too but I seldom go anywhere more than twice (or even once) a year. All I got is Costello's and Green St. There must be one more (besides pastries at Canto 6).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                                                                                                                                        I've only been to the Scarlett Oak Tavern once, but the experience I had was remarkable due to the wonderful service. Moreover, the food was awesome too...although it was a Valentine's Day that I soon hope to forget.

                                                                                                                                      2. This is not a static list, but at the moment...

                                                                                                                                        Gourmet Dumpling House
                                                                                                                                        Zoe's (Somerville)
                                                                                                                                        Tacos Lupita

                                                                                                                                        1. Hiddenboston, I usually avoid these topics, although something funny is that when you suggested it I had been tossing about some sort of "what do you plan to eat this year." Kind of a New Year's resolution of new things to try and where to eat more. I don't really have five all time favorites right now, especially for dinner where there are lots of interesting new options but I can't call any one of them a "favorite" and for some favorite foods I don't have one particular favorite restaurant. Plus there are some disappointments (Bina changing, El Paisa seems to have gone downhill; the Everett Pampas is excellent for churrasco, but lousy buffet; Fuloon is great but a bit less predictable at lunch; TLM expansion was promising, but execution isn't 100%). But for lunches, here are 5 that I keep going back to. Solid execution, some exceptional dishes, good atmosphere for sit down places and you can hold a conversation over a longer lunch.

                                                                                                                                          Toraya, Arlington (anything off the specials bd, zaru soba in summer, bento boxes, agedashi tofu)
                                                                                                                                          J+J's, Somerville (perhaps soley on the basis of bacalhau a lagareiro)
                                                                                                                                          Amici's, Medford
                                                                                                                                          Abbondanza, Everett
                                                                                                                                          Courthouse, Cambridge (I am especially fond of getting fish from the market to have it cooked in the restaurant as well as the specials. Also worth getting some of the pickled peppers and olives, plus Portuguese sodas which are only available from the market to round out your meal.)

                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: itaunas

                                                                                                                                            Having *finally* gotten over to try Pastelaria Vitoria Broadway I was reminded just how great J+J is. PVB was fine, although the salgados are massive (too big) and not as good as J+J. The x-tudo is a BOMB of food for $6 though and the folks couldn't have been nicer as I pointed and grunted. I'll go back but first I need a trip to J+J.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: yumyum

                                                                                                                                              The pastelaria is certainly one of the places I frequent the most, but I wouldn't put it on a favorite list. And I more or less limit myself to the fried pastels and the x-tudo. As you note the salgadinhos are just a bit too big and the fillings are not great (the pastel suffers a bit because of this too), but because of the turnover they can be trusted to be fresh and they do the best fry job on pasteles. If I were to order one of their salgadinhos it might be a quibbe. I am surprised though that you have done so well at J+J's as I gave up on their salgadinhos a while back, but would be glad to hear if they are better. In Somerville I would still go to Petisco's first as their fillings are still good, although the frying can be a bit inconsistent (I think I prefer their mini party salgadinhos) and they oversalted the coxinha dough once. The Padaria Brasil Bakery in Union also might be worth a shot, but I haven't been in a while.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: itaunas

                                                                                                                                              Amici's, huh? Do you like it better than Armando's in Cambridge? I guess I finally need to head to this place.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                I did a direct comparision of pies between Amici's and Armando's a few years back which was posted, where I gave a slight edge to Armando's (thinner crust, romano gave the chease a bit more bite), but there were some things I liked about Amici's. I haven't done a direct comparision, but I am a bit happier with Amici's these days. I haven't seen Armando in a while (although I did see his car near Simon's) to see how he's doing, but the pies have been a bit inconsistent.

                                                                                                                                                What I like about Amici's is the owners make all the dough and stretch all the pies, so they are consistent (and hand stretched unlike Stella's). They use decent quality cheese. Since my earlier posting I think they switched from stanilus sauce (probably saporito) to escalon bonta sauce, to which they add some italian seasoning. So be prepared to taste a hint of rosemary on your pizza which is certainly unusual. They also do a slower bake. Its not going to compare to a good Regina's pizza, to Angela's in Saugus (the crust here gets some nice malty flavors presumably due to a slow rise and then the hot hot bake), or Santarpios garlic/sausage. Its not for everyone but for me it compares decently to Armando's, John's in Chelsea (another place where the owner makes the pies), Stella's, Angelo's (ages since I have been here), Ernesto's (this seems to have improved recently). Haymarket, Pini's, La Ronga, Two Paisans (similar to stellas), and Puccio's to me are a step down, but can hit the spot -- La Ronga I got an excellent slice recently, Haymarket one excellent one and a bunch of lousy ones, but the sauce seems less cloyingly sweet. Bocelli is pretty close and inexpensive for a sit down restaurant with beer/wine/cordials, but they do skimp a bit assembling the pies.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: itaunas

                                                                                                                                                  Conley's in Watertown also does a pretty decent pie and have a full bar menu. I also recently had their garlic steak tip sandwhich which was excellent. Some of their other bar food items are pretty basic.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: itaunas

                                                                                                                                                    I've really enjoyed Picco's pizza - their crust has a strong sourdough flavor, is crispy on the outside, and very moist on the inside around the edge. Definitely not a traditional thin crust or regina-styled pie. The Alsatian one has caramelized onions, bacon, and creme fraiche, but the dough would be good all by itself.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: nsenada

                                                                                                                                                      I haven't made it to Picco yet, but have never heard a bad thing about it. Puccio's is a Sub/Pizza shop on MIddlesex Ave Medford, near the Malden line. They are very convenient to Wellington Circle and deliver to all the businesses around there, but close on the early side. Their dough is also pretty unusual -- its a touch on the thick side and puffy (sort of like a sicilian, but its a regular pie and crisper on the bottom -- I would bet some sugar and oil in the dough but that is just a guess). Sauce is pretty basic salt/pepper seasoned, not the best cheese mix. It reminds me a lot of Ernesto's and not just the large slices. Incidentally I think the best pizza at Ernesto's is also pretty non-traditional (chicken, bacon, onions, tomato slices, ranch (?) dressing).

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: nsenada

                                                                                                                                                        We are HUGE Picco fans over here, and the Alsatian is our absolute favorite - we had friends in from Toronto last fall and we took them there. I think they thought we were off our rockers the way we raved about the Alsatian before it came, but once they tasted it, they wanted to order another one! Agree that the crust, no matter the toppings, is outstanding.


                                                                                                                                                2. Highland Kitchen, Somerville
                                                                                                                                                  Eastern Standard, Kenmorel
                                                                                                                                                  Orinoco, South End
                                                                                                                                                  Oleana, Cambridge
                                                                                                                                                  Flour, South End

                                                                                                                                                  1. Craigie on Main (love dinner, bar, and brunch)
                                                                                                                                                    Hungry Mother
                                                                                                                                                    Gran Gusto
                                                                                                                                                    East Coast Grill
                                                                                                                                                    Iggy's (I'm in heaven with a chocolate croissant and a coffee)

                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I don't really leave Cambridge all that much.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: heypielady

                                                                                                                                                      Me, either! Thanks for reminding me that I can go to Iggy's and get it straight from the source my own self.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I've started and stopped a contribution to this thread a dozen times. Picking five even if you slice it thin is excruciating. And for all my notes and journals and electronic helpers, I can't shake the nagging feeling I'm forgetting something important.

                                                                                                                                                      It's tough to leave Toro off, but no reservations makes it more work than it's worth sometimes. There are newer places that I'm enamored with (O Ya, Erbaluce, Craigie, Coppa, and Estragon come to mind), but a short track record keeps them off. Historically speaking, I'd want to include old favorites (L'Espalier before the move, eat, Caffe Umbra, Olives when English actually cooked there, the B-Side, South End Galleria, many others). Many deserve inclusion for doing one or two things that are stunning (Angela's, Rami's, Pho Viet, Ken's, Speed's, Wang's, Regina, Grill 23, Hamersley's, etc.).

                                                                                                                                                      Certain fine small restaurants I might include if they were in my neighborhood and I could patronize them more easily (Ten Tables, Garden at The Cellar, Rendezvous, dbar, Lumiere, Hungry Mother). Some I love for being better than they have to be (Audubon, Highland Kitchen, Silvertone, Vinny's, Deluxe Town, Mary Chung, etc.) And there are many traditional-cuisine restaurants that deserve a mention (Brookline Family, Dok Bua, Casa Portugal, Rincon Limeño, FuLoon, Toraya, Orinoco, Floating Rock, Taberna de Haro, Baraka, Petit Robert, New Shanghai, Xinh Xinh, etc.) I don't think much of the food at Drink, but as a serious-cocktail lover, I want to include it anyway.

                                                                                                                                                      I guess I'll kick in five that I really like a lot, tend to patronize regularly, and maybe am including for sentimental reasons as much as great food over a period of years:

                                                                                                                                                      Trattoria Toscana
                                                                                                                                                      Franklin Cafe (original South End location)
                                                                                                                                                      Peach Farm
                                                                                                                                                      Green Street (great bartending being crucial here)
                                                                                                                                                      Neptune Oyster

                                                                                                                                                      That was really difficult, and I can't say I feel good about the whole process. Ask me again tomorrow, and I will have another list.


                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                        Thanks MSJ, I've been patientently awaiting your reply on this thread. :)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                          Nice list(s). I'm currently in therapy to deal with the guilt of not picking Hamersley's, Neptune, Craigie, and New Shanghai. But I'm fine. Really. Just fine. [Exhale.]

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jolyon Helterman

                                                                                                                                                            That's exactly what I experienced: some place is going to get ignored unfairly. For instance, I notice I didn't mention a single Indian restaurant: file that under "traditional", probably India Quality.


                                                                                                                                                          2. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                            Bravo Slim! I know it was hard, but you did what you could and we appreciate it! What is it that you love at Rami's?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: globalgourmand

                                                                                                                                                              I love Rami's turkey shawarma. It has gotten a little scary-pricey lately, but they're the only ones I know doing it, and my Israeli buds say it tastes just like what they remember fondly from Tel Aviv. I can't judge it that way, but it is way up there in my local pantheon of shwarma/döner/gyros/al pastor.


                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                                Shawarma on the street in Tel Aviv cooked over charcoal is WAY better than Ramis.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                                  Sweet, my next meal before a film at Coolidge. Done.


                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: globalgourmand

                                                                                                                                                                    Bear in mind that they observe Shabbas, and therefore close early on Fridays and are closed all day on Saturday.

                                                                                                                                                            2. in no particular order
                                                                                                                                                              Dok Bua
                                                                                                                                                              Peach Farm
                                                                                                                                                              Phien's Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                              My House

                                                                                                                                                              1. I'm going to add 5 more. :-b

                                                                                                                                                                Cronin's Publick House, Quincy
                                                                                                                                                                Topacio, East Boston
                                                                                                                                                                Cambridge Common, Cambridge
                                                                                                                                                                Genki Ya, Brookline
                                                                                                                                                                Shanti, Dorchester

                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                                  I think you're breaking the rules.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                    I believe the starter of each thread makes his or her own rules. Or perhaps I'm sadly mistaken on this one.... ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                                    What do you recommend at Cambridge Common? The wings are above average, but we haven't hit on anything else we'd order again there. It is closeby and we would love to go there more if I knew what to order.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                                                                                      I mostly go there for beer and tater tots following a jazz-vinyl binge at Stereo Jack's across the way. The tots are basic Sysco, but it's surprisingly hard to find them around here.

                                                                                                                                                                      In fact, I think I know what I'm doing next Saturday afternoon...

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                                                                                                                                        Lower Depths also has tasty basic tots done a few ways.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Gabatta

                                                                                                                                                                        I love the boneless wings there, and the tater tots go great with beer. Burgers are decent as well. It isn't outstanding food by any means, but a friendly comfortable place (with a terrific beer list) that I like to go to when I'm not looking for that Next Great Restaurant. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                                                                                                                                                          I always enjoy the sweet potato fries there...really good.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. Not sure if I qualify, but currently:
                                                                                                                                                                      Ten Tables (JP, haven't been to Cambridge yet)
                                                                                                                                                                      Coppa (although I've only been once; would swap in Highland Kitchen if Coppa came off)
                                                                                                                                                                      Green Street
                                                                                                                                                                      Hungry Mother

                                                                                                                                                                      If just cocktails were allowed, I consisently spend more time (and $$$) at Drink than anywhere else right now.

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bostonbroad

                                                                                                                                                                        Places I go to a lot...

                                                                                                                                                                        Izzy's in Cambridge (for the Roast Pork)
                                                                                                                                                                        New Shanghai (for Szechuan)
                                                                                                                                                                        Santarpios (the combo grill is too good)
                                                                                                                                                                        La Papusa Guanaca (for papusas and empanadas)
                                                                                                                                                                        Galleria Umberto (for the arancini)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bostonbroad

                                                                                                                                                                          You and I have (almost) exactly the same list! (except for my Toro for your Green St) :)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I'll stick to Medford/Davis Sqr--and our local places:

                                                                                                                                                                          Chili Garden, Medford (excellent Schezuan, DC loooves the green peppers and mustard chicken)
                                                                                                                                                                          Redbones (mostly for the beer and Tuesday turkey dinner)
                                                                                                                                                                          Renee's Cafe, Holland St, Somerville (breakfast)
                                                                                                                                                                          Guru the Caterer (delish and not heavy Indian food; www.guruthecaterer.com
                                                                                                                                                                          )Craigie on Main (fancy/special occasion)

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MaineRed

                                                                                                                                                                            More detail on the Tuesday turkey dinner at Redbones please!

                                                                                                                                                                          2. OK, not sure if I count as a veteran (looks like my first long review was published in 2006) or frequent (have been pulled away by other things in the past year or two), but I'll bite:

                                                                                                                                                                            Favorite local places (with newborn twin daughters, this is where I go most of the time; being within a stone's throw of Porter & Davis Squares is awfully nice in this respect):
                                                                                                                                                                            Qingdao Garden
                                                                                                                                                                            Gargoyle's on the Square

                                                                                                                                                                            Five go-to destination locations:
                                                                                                                                                                            FuLoon, Malden
                                                                                                                                                                            Dalí, Camberville (throw brickbats at will, I don't care how much better you think Taberna de Haro etc etc are)
                                                                                                                                                                            La Voile, Back Bay
                                                                                                                                                                            Gourmet Dumpling House, Chinatown
                                                                                                                                                                            Brookline Family Restaurant, Brookline Village

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Currently on my "buy" list:

                                                                                                                                                                              Hungry Mother
                                                                                                                                                                              Highland Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                              Red Lentil
                                                                                                                                                                              Pho 'n' Rice

                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                                                                                As someone who doesn't eat meat and cringes at spending more than $25 on food for one meal, my list is a bit different.

                                                                                                                                                                                Rangzen - Amazing buffet.
                                                                                                                                                                                Silvertone- Chill vibe, good food and prices
                                                                                                                                                                                Brookline Lunch- Their jam and harissa sauce elevates their breakfast to another level
                                                                                                                                                                                Hammersly's- I feel compelled to name one higher end place, and this comes to mind
                                                                                                                                                                                Cambridge Brewing Company- Love their beer, great patio

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: teezeetoo

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm guessing Kinopio means Brookline Lunch in Central Square, Cambridge, which does Middle Eastern dishes (like zataar bread, a pretty typical Levantine breakfast dish) as well as American breakfast food. I wouldn't expect to see harissa there, which I think of as North African.


                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                                                                                                                                                  Wow...my list is different now too.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Strip T's
                                                                                                                                                                                  Highland Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                  Oleana / Sarma
                                                                                                                                                                                  Life Alive
                                                                                                                                                                                  Three Little Figs

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Sichuan Gourmet (Billerica)
                                                                                                                                                                                  Oishii (Chestnut Hill)
                                                                                                                                                                                  Peach Farm (seafood only)
                                                                                                                                                                                  The Helmand
                                                                                                                                                                                  The Blue Room

                                                                                                                                                                                  Chowingdown in Boston since 2001.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tir_na_nOg

                                                                                                                                                                                    D' Annes (Abington)
                                                                                                                                                                                    Polcaries (Woburn)
                                                                                                                                                                                    Old Colonial (Norwood)

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Rod Dee 2
                                                                                                                                                                                    Al Dente
                                                                                                                                                                                    Farm Grill & Rotisserie

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. O Ya
                                                                                                                                                                                      Neptune Oyster
                                                                                                                                                                                      Craigie on Main
                                                                                                                                                                                      Hungry Mother

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. If I ever leave Boston, these are the 5 places I would miss most:
                                                                                                                                                                                        GALLERIA UMBERTO (NORTH END)
                                                                                                                                                                                        CK'S SHANGHAI (WELLESLEY)
                                                                                                                                                                                        MR. BARTLEY'S BURGERS (CAMBRIDGE)
                                                                                                                                                                                        SCAMPO (BOSTON)
                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't think there is a 5th place.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. The 5th, I forgot:
                                                                                                                                                                                          HI-RISE (CAMBRIDGE)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I'll add some old tattered favorites that I haven't seen mentioned:

                                                                                                                                                                                            The Publick House
                                                                                                                                                                                            Bukowski Tavern
                                                                                                                                                                                            Legal Seafoods
                                                                                                                                                                                            Japers's Summer Shack

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Hi-Rise Bread Co.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Emma's Pizza
                                                                                                                                                                                              Christina's Homemade Ice Cream

                                                                                                                                                                                              I might put in Taiwan Cafe instead of FuLoon. I've had so many meals there. But man, I eat at Hi-Rise A LOT. I'm just waiting for a sandwich to be named after me. Oleana will always be special to me, I met Ana Sortun when she catered an office party in the years she worked at Aigo Bistro in Concord. Years later when I ate at Casablanca and I asked the waiter to say hi, she sent out a lovely asparagus app on the house. I only met that one time, so I thought that was really sweet of her. I think she really is one of the best in Boston. Emma's I think, has a right as any to claim the title "Boston Pizza". I love their history as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                              With the exception of FuLoon, these places shoulda coulda woulda been pretty good for that dude's TV show, that guy who never called me, oh Anthony Bourdain.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I was talking to a friend in NY last weekend about Boston food. He said, "I guess Boston is famous for Ice Cream." I kind of slouched back and sighed when I realized he was right. After all, we eat more per capita than any city, no? Maybe that's our food culture, who knows. Why did that thread get locked? And why did the mods delete cambridgedoc's compliment on my food photos? They are just being mean to me obvi.

                                                                                                                                                                                              So Bourdain should of done an ice cream tour. I really don't eat the stuff, but I will go to Christina's once a year. I think it's the best. Hard pack, plentiful and great but not ridiculous flavors. Tastes like New England to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                              375 Main St, Malden, MA 02148

                                                                                                                                                                                              Hi-Rise Bread Co
                                                                                                                                                                                              208 Concord Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                                                                                                                              Emma's Pizza
                                                                                                                                                                                              40 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                                                                                                                              134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Don't qualify, but that doesn't seem to matter:

                                                                                                                                                                                                Angela's Cafe (East Boston)
                                                                                                                                                                                                Great Taste

                                                                                                                                                                                                24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

                                                                                                                                                                                                Great Taste
                                                                                                                                                                                                201 Main St, Milford, MA 01757

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. In no specific order

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Blue Ribbon
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Redbones [Only 1/2 Price apps at the bar]
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Walrus and Carpenter

                                                                                                                                                                                                  55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Locutus

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Walrus and Carpenter is so overlooked probably because it's in the food court. I love to sit at the little bar with a glass of wine, some oysters and the steamed shrimp. I've had some interesting conversations there with tourists. One gentleman from Russia asked me to take pictures of him with his lobster and then he wrapped up the shells to take home and show everyone. I really tried to talk him out of it but he was determined.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pegmeister

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I dont think overooked is correct. I think people know its there,but think of it as the same quality food in the rest of the market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I love the place so much i worked there part time for 10 years or so. It has been a while since ive been there

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Locutus

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Your probably right I know people who won't even walk through the market, their loss I guess. I'm also really amazed at just how efficient that tiny space is. I would love that steamer set up in my own kitchen and they even bake up their own rolls, although the clam chowder is purchased.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. In no particular order, these are the five places I would miss if I moved away:

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Galleria Umberto, North End
                                                                                                                                                                                                    CK's Shanghai, Wellesley
                                                                                                                                                                                                    East Coast Grill, Cambridge
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hi-Rise Bakery (on Concord Avenue), Cambridge
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Flour Bakery


                                                                                                                                                                                                    East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Flour Bakery + Cafe
                                                                                                                                                                                                    12 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: scotty27

                                                                                                                                                                                                      well, there is someone else on the board who must get CK's attention when he eats there; as you added it to your top 5 list. I find most of the menu to get ok to good chinese american food well beneath the ability of the chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I would add Cragie - again i am one of the few who does not mind their attitude; Uni Bar, Coppa - I seem to be one of the few on this board who thinks highly of the pizzas - Sichuan Gourmet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sichuan Gourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Maybe I'm being sentimental about CK, maybe not. I sent two people there last week: They ordered all shellfish off the menu and were blown away by the precise, clean flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree about Craigie; funny, i don't see attitude there, but I know many people do as well.


                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Guru the Caterer (Somerville)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tu Y Yo (Somerville)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hei Lei Moon (Chinatown)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Strip T's (Watertown)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Qingdao Garden (Cambridge)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. revving the old thread after a chance encounter got me thinking all weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Places that just keep pulling me back and the dishes why.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. -Taqueria el Amigo : the Platos Mexicano

                                                                                                                                                                                                        runner up: the daily buffet at Kebab and Tandoor: Fried chicken in the food court part on your way out for dinner and Indian groceries to boot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. -B.T. Smokehouse: the Brisket Reuben. Was recently in Sturbridge for a conference and ate here three times in a 24 hour period, with breakfast thursday morning being the left overs from wednesday dinner. My stomach hurt and the counter girl noticed, did not stop me

                                                                                                                                                                                                        runner up: the wednesday chicken special at Blackstrap in Winthrop. 4Lbs. of chicken in 8 pieces, 2 Lbs of mashed potatoes, salad, 4 biscuits, and gravy on the side for 20usd before 6pm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. -Mulan: pan fried dumplings. could eat these until i pass out

                                                                                                                                                                                                        runner up: bbq pork Bahn Mi at pho viet in the super 88 food court ( and if there in the afternoon before they run out, a side of beef chow foon from Kantin)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. - Imperial Pizza: well done garlic and sausage sicilian, preferably by the older pizzaolo, with the glasses, during the day. pizza coma for 15usd in Brighton center

                                                                                                                                                                                                        runner up: Stella's , one-topping eaten in house, Watertown
                                                                                                                                                                                                        god, i love the Santarps/Regina nexus downtown but as i hove close to 60 years old, searching for parking has become both less tolerated AND more difficult than when i lived in the South End.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        5.- Ten Tables: Duck two ways. Outside limit for affordability comfort for my own economic strata, but elegant enough without being too precious for birthdays, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        runner up: Courthouse or Morse fish ( depending which side of the river one is on) : whatever is freshest. Not a fish fan but goddamn people love it so if it is left i my hands i will choose a fish market that cooks rather than a restaurant that has been storing the fish for days in a walk-in cooler that is opened 200 times a day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hashing this out makes one realize how many you are leaving out. Cant even imagine the choice for MC slim or anyone who writes about food for a living, or those with substantially more disposable income than I.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        More often than not I would just as soon spend that 50 dollars on excellent product and roll up the sleeves at home. I am consistently stunned by the amazement of people when you serve them competently made home cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        " You MADE this yourself?!?"
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Its not brain surgery. stop watching people cook on t.v. and try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        That said, sometimes somebody else can do it for you. These are my choices (currently) of places and food that i would be truly sad if they were to close.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Moulton's Seafood (Medford)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mario's (Lexington)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Luigi's (Bedford)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ravi's (Malden)
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bacci's (Stoneham)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Toro, South End
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Island Creek Oyster House, Kenmore Square
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bergamot, Camberville
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Neptune Oyster, North End
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Toraya, Arlington

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: rlh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not to be too picky, but ICOB is Island Creek Oyster Bar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                OK TO be too picky

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. These are the places I actually go most frequently:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Zoe's (the late lamented), since replaced by Golden Garden
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Deep Ellum

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Erbaluce really belongs on this list, but they are just far enough away from where I live and work that I don't make it often enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Honorable mentions:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                TW Food
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Central Kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Courthouse Seafood
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Alive & Kicking
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Fish Market Sushi Bar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Washington Square Tavern, Brookline
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Regal Beagle, Brookline
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hamersley's Bistro, Boston
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Silvertone, Boston
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Menton, Boston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. 1 Stockholders Rte 18 South Weymouth
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Massamino's Endicott St Bosotn (North End)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. Atlantic Fish Co Boylston St Boston.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Denleys Garden Lake St Weymouth
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5. Grill 23 Berkley St Boston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Don't think I even replied last time. A bit less adventurous now that I have kids, and more than 5 but:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Strip Ts
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Szechuan's Dumpling
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (I give any resto with horrific use of apostrophe extra points, joking)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Taqueria El Amigo
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Twin Seafood (Concord)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Walden Italian Kitchen (pizza)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Asian Gourmet
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Red Lentil

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I looked into this. Turns out the owners are guys named Tony Antojito and Fred Szechuan, so no foul.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          What are your latest favorites at Asian Gourmet? Have not been in a few months..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: hargau

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Gosh almost everything thought the beef with tangerine peel was a miss. Rice cakes particularly good. Clams, turnip cake, beef noodle sa cha sauce...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              yea the house special rice cake dish was always one of our regulars. Soup dumplings, hot & sour soup...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We went last night, not too good. Tried the beef noodle sacha, the ingredients were ok but the sauce was basically soy and way too salty. The photo showed nice large leafy greens but what we got were thin little stems of something... Turnip cake was a bit off tasting and served with a large black curly hair on top.. The waitress removed that from the bill when we pointed it out.. Hot & Sour was ok but luke warm temp wise.. Diced dried chicken was decent. Not SG level but ok in a pinch.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Room was VERY loud and smokey from the grills.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hargau

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's too bad we've never had a bad meal in 5-6 outings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Places I adore:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oishii Chestnut Hill
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yely's Coffee Shop
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bar at Clio, Uni
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ten Tables

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Places I find myself at regularly:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Xinh Xinh
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lord Hobo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Pho 2000, Dorchester
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Strip T's, Watertown
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oishii, Chestnut Hill
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Rami's, Coolidge Corner
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Shake Shack, Chestnut Hill

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. In my Arlington/Somerville/Medford/Cambridge "neighborhood":

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chilli Garden
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yume Wo Katare (but usually end up at Sapporo due to long line)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If it was closer I'd go to Gene's Chinese Flatbread a lot.