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Apr 5, 2010 12:27 PM

eating and marathoning and, well, eating ...

Hello, all. Four of us are swooping in from the Twin Cities and hanging 'round Boston on the big weekend ahead (and staying just west of Briggs Field, Cambridge way), and I'm obviously looking for some sage suggestions before I hit the pavement Monday. Some previous posts hit the mark, but alas ...

We plan to load up on the North End Sunday night (Antico Forno, Al Dente among the most discussed). Are there any NE hidden gems we should consider? We're looking for good-great food, reasonable prices and authentic. Also, would love to know of some post-race possibilities. Nothing fine dining, too chi-chi. We'll be low on fumes but hungry (sublime sandwiches/burgers?) and thirsty (great pint??) and looking for a place with some Boston buzz.

Thanks much!

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  1. As a Chowish former marathoner, I 'd skip the North End zoo and go to La Morra for Italian, or Rendezvous for good food and a good Sunday night deal with less stress and better value! The last thing you want is to be with 1000 other marathoners stressed out in a tourist attraction.
    If you're in Cambridge, I'll suggest Henrietta's table for a low-key but above pub food experience afterwards. local food, good beers, etc.

    La Morra
    48 Boylston Street, Brookline, MA 02445

    6 Replies
    1. re: cpingenot

      Along those same lines, any number of the Italian places in North Cambridge/Somerville will work for your carbo loading - in no particular order - Vinny's, L'il Vinny's, Pescatore, Gran Gusto. Also second La Morra.

      La Morra
      48 Boylston Street, Brookline, MA 02445

      158 Boston Ave, Somerville, MA 02144

      Gran Gusto
      90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

      1. re: Bob Dobalina

        thanks! Yeah, I gotta imagine places will be overrun everywhere. Sadly, I didn't know the North End had gone so touristy. It's been quite some time since I've been back (Mom used to work downtown; Dad in Quincy). Final question: A good sandwich joint? Is All American overrated?

        All American Cafe
        152 Gore Rd, Webster, MA 01570

        1. re: tbone64

          Sam LaGrassas or Al's State Street

          Al's State Street Cafe
          110 State St, Boston, MA 02109

          1. re: tbone64

            Assume you mean All Star Sandwich Bar in Inman? I don't get there enough, but it has good sandwiches.

            All Star Sandwich Bar
            1245 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              The North End has good (mostly high end) places, but my experience is that there are also a lot of bad places, some quite pricy for not very good food. They also tend to be small, so when you get a lot of people in from out of town thinking "italian" I suspect that the whole place will be mobbed. If you really want to go- I'd suggest lunch on Saturday instead of a big meal on Sun night. I like Pomodoro but some people have had awful experiences there, and it's tiny.

              I really WANT to like ASSB, but I've been a little disappointed every time-It would be hard to live up to all the hype. I must admit to not being a sandwich connoisseur, but if you're lucky on service, Darwins can be pretty good, and people in my office swear by Al's on State Street.

              24 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02445

              State Street Cafe
              114 State St, Boston, MA 02109

        2. re: cpingenot

          agree on North End being MOBBED....unless you go real early you just end up using precious energy waiting in line......try Toscanno/Figs/Paramount on Charles St BHill which all have pasta......Toscanno has very good Italian.......Also Grotto is off beaten path but very good Italian and may not be as crowded as the aforementioned....Post race...Franklin Cafe in South End .....also Abe &Louis Steakhouse has a good bar will have a good buzz.......went there after running one year and had a nice filet and glass of wine which hit the spot....have fun and put your name on your shirt(you'll be happy you did)

        3. The North End will be mobbed, but one place that is often off the radar is the Waterfront Cafe, and dare I say it, but IMHO their pizza rivals Reginas. The Waterfront gets mobbed whenever there is a soccer game, but there have been many a busy weekend in the North End when I was able to walk right into the Waterfront. I think it's because people just don't wonder down past the end of Hanover.

          1. Two of my favorite mid-level-priced North End restaurants are L'Osteria and Massimo's. I like both of them better than the two you mentioned. Had one meal at Al Dente years ago and never went back. Antico Forno is pretty good.

            Antico Forno
            93 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113

            104 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113

            Al Dente Restaurant
            109 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113