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Must Go To Boston Restaurants?

Boston foodies alert! I'm a DC foodie visiting Boston on Sat, Mar 27 to 29, and am wondering which restaurants I must go to. I will be visiting with a friend from Chicago, as well. Not sure where I am staying exactly, but I am staying with someone who has a car, and I am comfortable using the T. My favorite meal is brunch, so great brunch place suggestions are very appreciated. I love sea food and my friend loves red meat. A co-worker who grew up in the Boston area said I need to go to Wallistown Beach, look for clam shacks and devour some freshly caught clams. Does this still hold water? I go to any level of restaurant - from hole in the wall to expensive.

Also, what are some great night spots? I love to dance!

Any help would be appreciated.


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  1. Okay, can't help much with brunch but, I do live right near "Wollaston" beach and the Clam Box is opening next week. I can vouch for the clam shacks here on the south shore, yet if you do a search you will find some strong support for the Clam Box on the North Shore. Can't speak to that Clam Box on the North Shore, as I've never been but trust the opinions of other posters. In Boston, for fried clams or seafood, Neptune Oyster on Salem St in the North End is great and I'm sure you won't be disappointed. I'm sure others will help you with the night life plans. I'm a bit of slug and tend to be asleep by 9:00!!

    1. There are many great brunch places in the Boston area. My personal favorite is Henrietta's Table in Cambridge. It's within walking distance from the Harvard Sq. T stop. Their weekend buffet is definitely worth the price. The service there can be uneven though.

      3 Replies
      1. re: DolceVita100

        I'm giving more thought to brunch, probably because selfishly I really enjoy brunch and rarely go out for it. Metropolis in the South End does a nice job, and I love their chicken sausage with a Monte Cristo. Also, Harvard Gardens is creative with their breakfast pizza. Haven't been to Henrietta's table for brunch, but sat at the bar one day with a glass of wine, mid-afternoon and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

        1. re: DolceVita100

          Wow, I thought the brunch at Henrietta's Table was absolutely awful. Not many choices, expensive, chaotic service, food was entirely forgettable. I literally can't remember what I ate there (unusual for me) except that I didn't finish it. There wasn't a buffet, though, it was all menu when I went around Tgiving weekend.

          What is it that you like about it?

          1. re: dulce de leche

            I would say that most of the food at Henrietta's Table is forgettable, except I always remember that the portions were tiny and I left hungry.

        2. For brunch, you absolutely must go to Scup's in the Harbour if you'll be here on a Saturday or Sunday. There's hardly any space to sit down, but this was the best, most unique, most legendary experience I've ever had for brunch. If you go, you must get the millionaire's bacon. Did I mention that I love it?


          2 Replies
          1. re: ineemeeny

            Brunch - Mistral(sunday only), Craigie on Main(sunday), Toro(Sunday), Sel De La Terre, Aquitaine

            Seafood - Neptune Oyster (traditional..oysters, grilled fish), Peach Farm or East Ocean City(non-traditional..geoduck, alaskan king crab, scallops on shell)

            1. re: mgcmonkey

              I just tried Mistral’s brunch for the first time, and I can’t say enough good things about it. It is my new favorite brunch spot.

              Panchy, I don’t know if you can fit it in, but I highly recommend it.

          2. What are some dishes or food items that I must try before departing back to DC? Beyond clam chowder, which is an obvious.

            1 Reply
            1. re: panchy

              If I was going to be here for just a few days, I would head myself over to Scampo for a lobster pizza.

            2. The brunch at East Coast Grill is awesome. I'd also try to go to Craigie on Main, Via Matta and Toro. That would be an incredible, gut-busting weekend (I have no restraint, though).

              1. Bricco and Mamama Maria are a couple of great high end Italian places in the North End.

                Sorellina is another good high end Italian place in Back Bay.

                Mistral is great place to go for dinner in the South End/Back Bay.

                My favorite pizza place is the original Regina’s in the North End on Thacher St. (not their other locations). It is well know and gets busy on the weekends. Be prepared to wait in line during lunch or dinner on the weekend.

                Figs is a Todd English restaurant that does gourmet flatbread pizzas that is nice but casual, and the food is very good.

                The All Star Sandwich Bar is Cambridge is my favorite place to get a sandwich. I love the Atomic Meatloaf, but they also have new original creations everyday that are always worth trying.

                The Parish Café is another good bet for interesting sandwiches in Boston, but I prefer All Star.

                Oishii is a good sushi place, but expensive. The original location is in Chestnut Hill. It is very small. Just the sushi bar plus one table. They open at 1:00 PM on weekends. I recommend showing at 1:00 if you don’t want to wait at lunch time. They are closed Mondays. There is also a newer location in the South End. It is has a more modern décor and much more seating. The food is equally good to the other location, but the atmosphere is not the same.

                Toro is a good tapas place in the South end, but it can be crowded on the weekend. Arrive early if you don’t want to wait long.

                For bunch Aquitaine in the South End is a good bet. I recommend the Croque Maigret (Duck Confit and Gruyere Parisian Pressed Sandwich with Tarragon Mustard). The eggs benedict are also very good here. It gets very busy for brunch, so I recommend a reservation.

                The Harvest in Harvard Sq. in Cambridge is another good brunch spot.

                I saw some people recommend Henrietta's Table for brunch. If you do not want a buffet, you might want to consider it for lunch of Monday. I really like this restaurant’s point of view on food, which focuses on local sustainable ingredients when available. And the food is very good.

                Rialto is in the same hotel as Henrietta's Table. It is good choice for dinner in Harvard Sq.

                9 Replies
                1. re: Dan Boston

                  Wow thanks so much! I was thinking of going to Scup's In the Harbor for brunch on Saturday because it is on the way in from Logan. Your thoughts? is the wait long? Thanks.

                  1. re: panchy

                    I’ve never been to Scup’s, so I can’t help you there. Also I’ve heard great things about the brunch at the Franklin Southie, but I have yet to try it myself.

                    1. re: panchy

                      I went to Scup's a half hour after they opened on a very rainy Saturday, and we got seated right away. But I imagine if the weather's decent, you should try to get there as soon as they open: 10am on Saturday.

                      I'm so glad you've decided on Scup's! You'll never forget it!

                      1. re: Dan Boston

                        Just made a reservation for Sunday Aquitaine brunch. Thanks so much for the specific recommendation. I am very excited!! Does anyone else have suggestions on what to order? Any good breakfast drinks they are known for?

                        1. re: panchy

                          they may not have it on the brunch menu, but have made it for me anyway - the steak frites with truffled fries are among the best i've ever had. i now live in NY (spent 2 years in boston) and still haven't found better.

                          for high end, sorrellina was my favorite. mistral and radius were both very good, as well.

                          fugakyu for japanese. great rolls and a good shabu-shabu.

                          1. re: chewbie

                            I keep hearing about Sorrellina, Mistral and Radius. What would you recommend getting at each? I still need to figure out our dinner locations. Also, has anyone heard of Finale Desserterie & Bakery and Prohibited? I hear dessert at Finale is amazing, and the speakeasy at Prohibited is fun. However, the person who recommended the speakeasy does not drink alcohol, so I want to know if its cheesy or not. If anyone has been to DC, does it resemble Gibsons or PX?

                            1. re: panchy

                              At Mistral I really like the Dover Sole - it is flown in daily, at Sorrelina -they generally have some really good specials (and the tuna tartare is always on the menu and always good). I'm not a big Radius fan so I can't help there.

                          2. re: panchy

                            I liked Aquitaine's brunch very much, especially the Croque Maigret, though it is not a light meal at all!

                        2. I would check out Galleria Umberto's in the North End Monday through Saturday for true Sicilian North End Pizza, for a great slice of thick crust pizza. Forget Regina's, it's touristy and awful. They also have calzones, panini, panzarotti (potato croqettes) and arancini (rice balls). Their pizza is the best slice in the city and they are old school, Old Country Italian. I have been going there for pizza for decades, I used to be a North Ender and have been going there for decades. Get there early, as they start bringing out the pizza around 10:30 am, the lines are already out the door, and they close when they run out, which is usually 1:00 pm or so. Another place for seafood is the old Boston standard, Legal Seafoods, who has served consistently excellent seafood in Boston for decades. Their clam chowder is wonderful and you can't go wrong with anythng on their menu. There is one downtown on State Street, and one in the Park Plaza Hotel, however, you can check online for all of their locations. Have a wonderful time in Boston, it's a great city to live and visit!

                          24 Replies
                          1. re: foodie1859

                            Just out of curiosity, but is my assumption correct that Legal Seafoods tastes better in Boston than anywhere else because of fresh ingredients? I ask because there are a number of Legal Seafoods around here, and they are mid-level on seafood in my opinion. Case in point, they are all located in malls.

                            1. re: panchy

                              Legal Seafoods is the top seafood restaurant in Boston. I have dined here for decades, and their quality is superior. I have dined both in Boston and at Reagan National Airport in Washington, and the quality is consistent. Where do you live and what specific Legal Seafoods have you dined at and why do you consider them mid-level? Which seafood restaurant do you prefer?

                              1. re: foodie1859

                                I am going to have to strongly disagree. Legal Seafoods (or "Legal's" as everyone seems to call it) is by no means "the top seafood restaurant in Boston." As evidence, may I present the Everything Bagel tuna entree? This horrid mistake-of-a-menu-item consists of poppy, sesame and caraway seeds and dried onion flakes crusted on a chewy piece of tuna which is then drenched in Russian dressing. Have I mentioned I hate this dish?

                                Better seafood can be had, in no particular order, at Neptune Oyster, Highland Kitchen (smoked fish cakes- yum), Craigie, O Ya (duh), Pescatore, Dorado & Woodman's and that's just places I've been to lately.

                                1. re: Parsnipity

                                  You may disagree, but that's what this board is all about. I believe in presenting choices and let everyone decide for themselves. This visitor to Boston got plenty of advice on where to eat, and I look forward to hearing about his trip and where he went and what he enjoyed. I stand by my comments. Eating out is very personal and IS a matter of taste. Your taste is different from mine, but I look at their enduring success and I always enjoy what I have there. As a former resident of Boston and frequent visitor to Boston, I enjoy trying out new restaurants and sharing my comments with the groups I bring into the city. I still am a Bostonian at heart.

                                2. re: ecwashere7

                                  What restaurant do YOU think is the best seafood restaurant in Boston? And, by the way, I don't agree with kwdeb on anything they posted.

                                  1. re: foodie1859

                                    Neptune and ECG are far better choices. Furthermore, I'd even choose a place like the Daily Catch over Legal's.

                                    If Great Bay were still open, I'd also choose that. There's so much more to offer in this city than chain restaurant food.

                                    Great Bay
                                    500 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                                    Daily Catch
                                    2 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                                    1. re: ecwashere7

                                      That's your opinion. Daily Catch is a bit too crowded for me.

                                      Daily Catch
                                      2 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                                  2. re: foodie1859

                                    1859er: Few people I know who consider themselves 'foodies' would agree that Legal Seafood is by any stretch of the imagination the 'top seafood restaurant in Boston'. As such it is a bit absurd to get testy about the matter - this topic has been done to death on this list time and again. It is possibly that Legal is the most well-known seafood place in town, but that is about it. The seafood is usually fresh, but in my experience there are two huge problems. 1) Quality of preparation: Dishes tend to be both completely unimaginative and often overcooked, for my taste at least. There is nothing wrong with fresh seafood simply prepared, but overcooking and bland preparation completely misses the point. 2) Prices are quite high for what you get.

                                    Neptune is a place that combines fresh oysters of many varieties, a few twists on classics (lobster roll, fried clams), and imaginative preparations that offer refreshing accents but never overwhelm the seafood. Aside from being equally expensive (if not more!), Legal is in no way comparable: only 3-4 varieties of oyster at any time, classics are fine but not great, and most recipes are routine. In my view, the only times to go would be for the brilliant happy hour (dollar oysters, several cheap bar menu items) or a dinner paid by someone else for which an unoffensive, comfortable place is necessary.

                                    I agree with ecwashere's alternate suggestions, and would add that if one merely wants simply classics, Courthouse Seafood in East Camb is a fine option (though obviously the ambience is lacking).

                                    1. re: elbev

                                      I think the term "foodie" is a bit overused and vague on these boards. Define yourself and what you think a "foodie" is. You say that Legals is unexciting to you, and things are "overcooked", and that you say, is, and the key word is "YOUR TASTE". Everyone has different tastes but there are proper ways to prepare seafood and Legals does not miss. For you, it seems to be UNEXCITING, which underscores my point that there is more to eating out than the meal itself. It is fine that Legals is BORING to you, but I do not need to be entertained and their presentation to me is just fine. Evertime I visit there, I am satisfied. Food does not need to be presented spectacularly to WORK. And it does.

                                      1. re: foodie1859

                                        Legal is pretty solid. Not the best, but solid. There are worse places. I'd say they're a notch below Summer Shack, and a bit better than my last few trips to The Barking Crab. Moulton's in Medford is better than any of those.

                                        The Barking Crab
                                        88 Sleeper Street, Boston, MA 02210

                                        Summer Shack
                                        310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

                                        1. re: foodie1859

                                          In this case I mean foodie as people who take food seriously (do not use the word much, then again, it's not my nickname). My only point was to say that Legalz, while solid if unspectacular, is hardly a 'must go to' resto in Boston.

                                          1. re: elbev

                                            How seriously do you take food? What is your favorite restaurant in Boston?

                                    2. re: panchy

                                      I have not dinned in any Legal Seafood location outside of Boston. My assessment of the Boston locations is that they are generally consistent, good, but not great seafood restaurants. I have never had a bad experience at Legal, but I have also never had anything that was great there. I have certainly had better fish dishes at other Boston restaurants that are not exclusively seafood restaurants. For example the butterfish at Blue Ginger (in Wellesley), the sea bass at Bricco, the striped bass at Market, the salmon burger at Henrietta’s Table, the fish tacos at both La Verdad and Dorado, and the fish and chips in the Bristol (Four Seasons) are all better than anything I’ve had at Legal. I don’t tend to eat at many restaurants that are just seafood, so I can’t offer a better seafood restaurant option unless you want sushi. Although I did eat at Jasper White's Summer Shack one time a few years ago, and my memory of it is that it was pretty good.

                                      In regard to Galleria Umberto's vs. Regina's, I like them both, but they are very different. At Galleria Umberto you order at the counter and bring the food back to your table. As stated in a previous post, the pizza is Sicilian. You have no choice of toppings (I can’t remember if they offer pepperoni). At Regina’s you sit down and a waitress comes and takes your order. It is a brick oven, Neapolitan style, thin crust pizza. The pizzas are made to order, so you can choose your own toppings. It can be touristy, but I still think the pizza is very good. It is my favorite pizza place in Boston.

                                      1. re: Dan Boston

                                        I believe that that poster looked for a variety of experiences and seemed open to all types of food and price ranges. This is a great approach to dining, and I believe allows him to experience as much as he can. I think that's it's a great thing to have consistent quality in a restaurant, and Legal Seafoods has lasted as long as it has because of its commitment to quality. There is, of course, much more to dining than just the food and the poster gave us his full consideration. As far as Umberto's and/or Regina's, as a former resident of the North End, I can tell you that Umberto's is a far better pizza, and although casual, delivers the goods. I have always relegated Regina's to a chain type of restaurant, which is awful. This is not a true representation of the North End, and the visitor should know that.

                                        1. re: foodie1859

                                          I'm so mindboggled at the idea that one person can simultaneously dismiss the Thacher Street Regina as a mediocre touristy chain restaurant AND tout Legal Seafood -- the living definition of a mediocre touristy chain restaurant -- as being somehow representative of both "real Boston" and quality seafood that I'm genuinely wondering if these posts aren't some kind of deadpan joke.

                                          As for the Umberto vs. Regina debate, it's not even a contest. As in, literally, the pizza at Umberto and the pizza at Regina are so utterly different from one another that there's no point to comparing them. You might as well claim that steak tartare and cheeseburgers are entirely interchangeable, since they're both made of chopped-up beef. I love both Umberto and Regina, but comparing one to the other makes no sense.

                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                            What is astounding to me that you are so "mindboggled" by what was not a comparison of two different types of pizza. We are all entitled to express what we think is the best, and as I said, my post was aimed at the visitor to the city. I am curious to find out about his visit. That's the great thing about vibrant discussion on these boards. You are certainly entitled to your opinion AND taste.

                                            1. re: foodie1859

                                              "I would check out Galleria Umberto's in the North End Monday through Saturday for true Sicilian North End Pizza, for a great slice of thick crust pizza. Forget Regina's, it's touristy and awful. "

                                              I'm sorry for mistaking that for a comparison.

                                              And I said that I was mindboggled not by the comparison of two different types of pizza, but that someone could simultaneously and without irony dismiss a great restaurant as a tourist trap AND celebrate the biggest tourist trap in Boston as a great restaurant.

                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                I was not comparing the two pizzerias at all. There is no irony in my post, so stop saying so. I do not agree with your taste and you don't agree with mine. Let's leave it at that.

                                                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                  100% Agree with Barmy.

                                                  I held off on piping in on the Legal's argument, but this comment... "I can tell you that Umberto's is a far better pizza, and although casual, delivers the goods.." pushed me over the edge.

                                                  They ARE two completely different types of pizzas and different dining experiences. Sure the sheet pizza at Galleria Umberto is tasty and no question that grabbing a slice, an arancini and a coke for $3 is a deal...but Regina's offers an authentic "slice" (no pun intended) of Boston and the North End. It's boisterous with old-school waitresses and a decor that hasn't changed much in decades, and the thin-crust pizza that comes out bubbling hot from a true brick oven is delicious. In my opinion it is head and shoulders above Umberto's, (in both atmosphere and quality)but I wouldn't ever make the unequivical statement that say that Regina's is "a far better pizza" --they truly are very different. Anyway hopefully the OP can see the forest through the trees and make the best decision.....

                                                  1. re: twentyoystahs

                                                    To me, Umberto's is the better of the two experiences, since having been a resident of the North End and knowing this great family and their wonderful pizza, to me this is what the neighborhood is all about. My posts are not meant to put anyone "over the edge"! I agree they are two totally different experiences and I await the visitor's post.

                                              2. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                BarmyFotheringayPhipps, thank you for your post. Let me add to your thoughts by saying that I was not even trying to debate Umberto vs. Regina. I even state I like them both. As you point out, they are very different, and I was simply trying to explain each of their styles so Panchy can decide which to eat at on this visit to Boston.

                                                Panchy – Maybe you can try them both and give us your thoughts. Just kidding.

                                                1. re: Dan Boston

                                                  That's what it's all about, give us your thoughts. I'd love to hear from you, Panchy. And if you visit the North End, another great stop is Salumeria Italiana on Richmond Street. The staff is so nice and you can get lovely products here. Can't wait to hear from you. Ciao.

                                                  Salumeria Italiana
                                                  151 Richmond St, Boston, MA 02109

                                          2. re: panchy

                                            You are being too kind. It is a chain and no better than any other chain, the fish quality may start out great but this is a place for high volume and not much else.

                                            1. re: Instinctive cook

                                              You said it, about the quality, and it is always consistent quality. What is your favorite seafood restaurant?

                                        2. First of all, no-one who is from the area eats "brunch". If you do skip breakfast, it just goes to lunch. If you want to get a feel for Boston, you got to do what the people do. Don't go to Starbuck's, go to D and D's, etc...

                                          If you want a slice, hit Pizzeria Regina's. The one is the North End is great but there are others around--just Google it. if you want to try the Sicilian, try Umberto's as well. I prefer to fold my oily slice and eat it on the go like everyone else that's why I like Reginas. While your there, swing by Mike's Pastry for a cannoli as well, then you can say you did the North End.

                                          Seafood is always good at Legals. You can't go wrong.

                                          For red meat? Aside from the Grill 23's and other steak houses, try the roast beef sandwich places. I prefer Harrison's in North Andover, but if it's too far for you, then hit up Kelly's. It's unique to New England and it's worth the trip I promise. Be careful--you'll get hooked.

                                          If you want a steak and cheese, go to D'Angleos subs. It's a local chain.
                                          Don't be afraid of local chain's. They are surprisingly good.

                                          D'Angleos, Dunkin Donuts, Papa Gino's. Believe me, I now live and work in another city in the midwest and would give my right eye for a decent slice or a good sub.

                                          Another place that is good is the 99's. Anyone can tell you about it. Local chain. Good food. Good atmosphere and pretty fairly priced.

                                          Everyone's got their opinions about the best this and the best that, but just ask a working guy in a van who is on a delivery and he'll tell you a good place for lunch (sorry...brunch). Good luck!!

                                          Mike's Pastry
                                          300 Hanover St, Boston, MA

                                          Grill 23 & Bar
                                          161 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: kwdeb

                                            I have to disagree with a lot of this post. To say that no one from the are eats brunch is absurd. I wish less people ate brunch so I could have an easier time getting a table at some of these places.

                                            North End or Station Landing Reginas only. The other ones are sad sad imitations.

                                            DO NOT GO to the 99. I love their boneless buffalo wings but everything else there is barely above Applebees level.

                                            85 Main St, Tewksbury, MA 01876

                                            1. re: kwdeb

                                              I have to also disagree with just about everything written above. Telling someone to go to Dunkin and the 99 is awful advice.

                                              Chain restaurants are something you should be afraid of, especially D'Angelo's. Are you kidding me?

                                              As for brunch: SDLT, dante, ECG, Tremont 647, and even Craigie all have fantastic brunches. The only one that isn't crowded is probably dante (and it should be).

                                              And Papa Gino's!!!!!???? I wouldn't feed my dog Papa Gino's. They can't even make their pizza look appetizing on TV.

                                              I think my head is going to explode.

                                              Tremont 647
                                              647 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118

                                              1. re: kwdeb

                                                People in Boston don't eat brunch? Locals don't go to Starbucks? Seems like you haven't been here in a long time, kwdeb, or else you are talkin g about a very specific group of people. Because you'er wrong on both counts.

                                                1. re: kwdeb

                                                  Please note that the opinions are perfectly valid, but radically different from most who post here - and I find the dismissive comment about the poster's favorite meal of brunch kind of rude. I don't like generally like brunch out either (I mostly agree with Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential notes on it), but at least let's be courteous and considerate.

                                                  You can frequent most of the chains highlighted here in places other than Boston -

                                                  Please consider focusing on uniquely Bostonian food destinations to make the most of your trip - like Neptune Oyster, Drink, Regina (Thatcher St is the real thing). and Eastern Standard, for a start) - save Steak & Cheese subs/grinders/hoagies for Philly, unique artisanal-roasted coffeehouses for the west coast (or maybe NYC as of recently), and steak for anywhere. Mike's Pastry is a pretty good call, but I'd opt for Maria's around the corner or Modern down the street. Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge is unique, special and worth the excursion as well. East Coast Grill is another Cambridge institution that may be resting on its laurels a bit now, but I still think it's great.

                                                  Enjoy your visit!

                                                  Neptune Oyster
                                                  63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

                                                  Formaggio Kitchen
                                                  244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

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

                                                  Eastern Standard
                                                  528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                                                  Maria's Pastry Shop
                                                  46 Cross St, Boston, MA 02129

                                                  Modern Pastry
                                                  257 Hanover St, Boston, MA

                                                  348 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                                                  Pizzeria Regina
                                                  11 1/2 1/2 Thacher St, Boston, MA 02113

                                                  1. re: rlh

                                                    Hi all, just a quick heads-up that we split off a discussion about artisanal coffee into its own thread, which can be found here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/696082

                                                  2. re: kwdeb

                                                    The Davis Square McDonald's was jumping this afternoon when I walked by on my way to Diesel. Must be what the locals eat. I'm so out of the loop.

                                                  3. Just as an update, the clam box on Wollaston Beach is open for the season. I stopped for my first batch of clams just a few weeks ago, and they were good. Hopefully, your trip will be a fun one filled with great food.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Pegmeister

                                                      Hooray! I am so excited and my co-worker will be very happy that I am revisiting her husband's favorite childhood place to eat.

                                                    2. Hi, Panchy. Fellow female here. Thanks for your comments about your trip. I was not offended by your opinion about Legals. I go way back with them. I hope you enjoy your trip and report back. I await your experiences. If you are in the North End, I also recommend Caffe Vittoria, on Hanover Street, which has wonderful Italian coffee, pastries and gelato. Ciao.

                                                      Caffe Vittoria
                                                      296 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: foodie1859

                                                        Nobody out here goes further back with Legal than I do - I grew up a block from the original Inman Square location in the '50s and early '60s, back when it was just a hole-in-the-wall fish market with a takeout fish & chips counter.

                                                        So, from my perspective: although I still miss the original, and feel that they have become overly corporatized over the - holy smokes, literally over half a century now - that I've known them, they have not strayed that far from the original concept of very fresh, relatively simply prepared seafood.

                                                        What has changed is the culinary world around them, which now offers many more options in terms of creativity and variety (ethnic and otherwise) than Legal attempts to present. As a result, I very rarely set foot in one any more. But I won't jump on the dog-pile of "Legal sucks!" advocates out here either.

                                                        1. re: BobB

                                                          BobB, As you are someone who is familiar with the original Legal I’d like to get your opinion and on thier fish and chips. Fish and chips is one of my favorit comfort foods, but I’ve always found the batter at Legal to be doughy. I prefer a crunchy exterior. Has this always been the style at Legal or have they changed?

                                                          1. re: Dan Boston

                                                            I haven't actually ordered fish 'n chips there in more years than I care to think of, but my recollection is that it was neither crunchy nor doughy, more a sort of light, non-greasy breading. But that's certainly something that could have changed since I last had it.

                                                      2. Panchy, you know by now you are caught up in lots of diverse local opinions.

                                                        I came to college up here back in the dark ages and left in 1977, but have been back since 1988.

                                                        Legal...lots of folks love to dump on them, some defend. I would not go there to spend $35 - $40 total, and I would not get a lobster roll there, but I do love the tuna burger. And when I just want to pop in and get something I know I love for under $15, it fits. Ask for a vegetable if you don't want the cole slaw and they will give it to you. Same for the fries.

                                                        You will see lots of love for Neptune Oyster on this board and in my opinion well deserved. Seafood is not cheap .... search Neptune here and you will see a huge range of recs, mostly concurring around similar items. The hot lobster roll, etc.

                                                        There is also a lot on this board about clam shacks. Your search for Neptune will show you that many love the fried clams at Neptune. I would eat anything at Neptune, with pleasure, that is fish. The fried oyster appetizer on top of pork is fantastic if you eat pork. Go early and know it will be crowded.

                                                        I would second Sel de la Terre for brunch and also East Coast Grill in Cambridge. ECG has some admirers and many detractors here. It's loud, I like most of the food. It's a real local place. Scup's.. I haven't been, would love to, and it sounds like a unique local place that chowhounds love.

                                                        Neptune Oyster
                                                        63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

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

                                                        Sel de la Terre
                                                        1245 Worcester Street, Natick, MA 01760

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Madrid

                                                          Saw that my post got linked to Sel de la Terre in Natick.
                                                          There are two branches in Boston...one in Back Bay and one one the waterfront near the Aquarium. Natick is a western suburb.

                                                          But seeing that reminded me: this is not food related. but if you do find yourself near the Aquarium (Sel de la Terre and also a Legal right there), check out the mbta.com boat section. There is a really cheap boat that goes between the waterfront near the Aquarium and the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston...near the bunker hill revolutionary war monument and the Navy Yard where the old historic ship the Constitution is. The one way boat trip takes about 10 - 15 minutes and is cheap,,even if all you do is go round trip and not get off the boat, you'll see great views of the city. I live close to Charlestown and would not want to mention any spots to eat on the Charlestown side of the trip, But if you want a brief stopover, and a drink, the Tavern on the Water is close to the ship dock. Just don't eat there! It's a huge tourist trap with great views.

                                                          Sel de la Terre
                                                          1245 Worcester Street, Natick, MA 01760

                                                        2. How was your trip to Boston? What restaurants did you visit? Please update us.