One dinner on a Sunday night in May
Toronto hound, coming to Boston for a family event in May. We will be pretty tied up while we are in town, but will have Sunday night open for dinner. Not looking for something super -expensive but fun and interesting. We are staying in Cambridge but are happy to travel in to the city. Thanks
My suggestion would be Scampo in the Liberty Hotel. Scampo has a great menu with a very wide range of choices so although it is known as one of the high-end restaurants in the city you can order a bunch of smaller appetizers, pastas or pizzas and not spend a fortune. The restaurant has a real "buzz" to it and is very lively on most nights. If you decide to try it don't miss the Lobster Pizza (signature dish), the Elephant Ear Walking (trust me on this one it's a type of bread) and anything from the mozzarella bar. Scampo is located in the Liberty Hotel which used to the city jail for Boston so be sure to check out the lobby and the Alibi Bar.
I recall reading the Philadelphia boards and asking the hounds there to guide me for at least two months before our last visit. They sent me to Tinto, at the time it was the newest restaurant from a chef who was only known locally - Jose Garces.
He cooked a superb meal for us. If I had been staying five nights in Philadelphia I would have eaten at Tinto 5 times. When you don't have a lot of times to dine, you want the best.
Right now, I would say that you should try Craigie Street, Erbuluce, or Coppa. Those kitchens are lead by chefs who could rise to international fame as did Chef Garces.
Personally, I wish he has stayed in the kitchen at Tinto. The Food Network is a waste of his talent, but I can always hope that he will bring a Tinto to Boston with someone of his caliber in the kitchen.
East Coast Grill & Raw Bar-get a reservation for 6+ people! This is a Cambridge Classic at Inman Sq. Super-fresh seafood, insane live-fire grill, tropical flavors and some bbq on the menu too. Check out the specials and the raw bar (simple, but why go over-the-top when you have the best O's on the planet?) I've taken a few big family events there...and lots of out-of-town friends and everyone from San Fran to Chicago, Cincinnatti to Amsterdam, London and Saudi Arabia is still raving about it. You won't be dissapointed...and dining is casual, which is always nice with tons of family around when you might want to have a little more fun, and be a bit less formal, at dinner.
Chez Henri is another classic...more pricy & posh than ECG is. It's just outside of Hvd Sq headed towards Porter. It's small...reservations will be key. Ask for both the bar menu & the regular menu when you sit at a table.
Hungry Mother is phenominal if you enjoy traditional Southern Food that has been elevated to new heights. Their seasonal menu is truly inspired. Coming from Toronto, this would be a good place to try for a flavor you can’t get outside the US…heck, you can’t really get this inside the US either…it is that good! Trust in the barkeep…order the 99. You will need reservations for this place…and it’s good you’re looking 3 months in advance b/c this tiny place fills up fast and they are full each and every night.
Oh, and if you're tied up and need a quick bite around Harvard Sq or Inman, go to one of Darwin's Limited locations and you'll be pleased w/ the food, price & speed of this gormet deli/sandwich counter.