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Jul 8, 2010 02:25 PM

San Francisco Hound returning to Boston after many moons needs 2 days of dining

Greetings-returning to Boston after more than 10 years at the end of this month. We have just 2 days and need guidance for breakfast, lunch and dinner walking distance from Beacon Hill. We are good walkers. (We can take a cab home at night if needed).

Have reviewed various posts and so far, Neptune and Summer Shack sound good. Prefer not Italian per se but welcome seafood, meat, local fresh ingredients, pasta etc. (We get spoiled here in SF but I know Boston will feed us well). Omelettes for breakfast would be lovely. Good salads for lunch. Love great food but prefer more casual dress. In my post college days (30+ years ago), lived in Back Bay and Beacon Hill and worked in South End. Know things are very different. So appreciate fellow Hound advice.

Summer Shack
310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

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  1. I think that Summer Shack is nothing special.
    Neptune is great.
    You will be amazed at the changes in the South End - try B&G Oyster and Union Bar ad Grill. Take a look at Copa.
    Closer to Beacon Hill, look at Erbaluce and Bistro du Midi.

    Enjoy your trip

    Summer Shack
    310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

    69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

    Bistro du Midi
    272 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

    1 Reply
    1. re: bgavin

      Thanks for the fast reply, bgavin. Your suggestions look very promising! Erbaluce is right near where I began my Social Work career so I will need to try that for at least one meal.

      69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

    2. I agree that the Summer Shack is nothing special. For nice eggs for breakfast I would look to Sound Bites or the Ball Square Cafe in Somerville, or Henrietta's Table in Cambridge.

      Erbaluce is a great suggestion, as is the idea of walking through the South End to see the changes. Lot's of interesting restaurants on Tremont and Washington Street in particular.

      For lunch you might enjoy the Parish Cafe for interesting sandwiches, or one of the Cambridge 1 locations for interesting salads. For a departure, try the Clover Food Truck or Speed's Hot Dog truck!

      Sound Bites
      704 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144

      Henrietta's Table
      One Bennett St., Cambridge, MA 02138

      Ball Square Cafe
      708 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144

      Summer Shack
      149 Alewife Brook Parkway, Cambridge, MA 02140

      69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

      Tremont Cafe
      418 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

      Clover Food Truck
      Dewey Square (at the South Station T-stop exit), Boston, MA

      1. I am a bit counter-chow on Neptune vs. Summer Shack. Other than they both serve seafood they are quite different experiences and I enjoy both.

        Neptune has very, very well prepared innovative seafood dishes. It is in my opinion a poor value so I don't eat there regularly. I find the service distant, at times even openly arrogant. The setting itself (very small with no reservations) can be challenging. Some quirks with how the menu is structured (e.g. an obsessive aversion to carbs). All in all a bit of an ordeal but extraordinary food.

        The Summer Shacks are (relatively) large and very accommodating. The seafood is very fresh and usually well-prepared. Jasper's pan-roasted lobster is one of the best dishes I have ever had anywhere. Can be zooey. Great for kids and large groups which, of course, affects the experience for others.

        They are both (now) Boston institutions, I always worry that in insisting on comparing the two we steer folks away from one of two very good choices.

        Summer Shack
        310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

        2 Replies
        1. re: Carty

          I agree that the service at Neptune can be some of the worst in Boston. Worse then arrogant. I for one will never eat there again.

          1. re: StriperGuy

            thank you! i thought it was me. everybody on the boards raves about neptune, i found everyone there to be an a**hole.

            i also find the summer shack grossly overpriced.

            im no big fan of fish, but if i have to, its courthouse fish in cambridge, Morse fish company on washington (across from the cathedral) in the south end, or new jumbo seafood on hudson street in chinatown.

        2. Thanks to everyone for your guidance. I am reserved at Erbaluce. So just need one more dinner. I am getting scared off from Neptune given comments about service. Service is very important-hate arrogance and lousy service in general. Atmosphere is important-So, welcome suggestions for seafood within walking distance of Beacon Hill--prefer smaller place with nice personnel and great food. Also, hope for breakfast & lunch suggestions WALKING distance. Thanks for your help.

          69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

          3 Replies
          1. re: NanceN

            You are doing yourself a disservice to Boston food if you insist on walking distance to Beacon Hill. Unless I've forgotten something, only No 9 Park is truly great and in walking distance. Lala Rokh and Scampo are both pretty good.

            I wouldn't go out of my way to go there, but the Beacon Hill Bistro is decent for breakfast and brunch if you are in the neighborhood. Paramount would also be a breakfast option, and Panificio for a casual lunch.

            Beacon Hill Bistro
            25 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114

            No 9 Park
            9 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108

            144 Charles St, Boston, MA

            215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

            Lala Rokh
            97 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02108

            1. re: NanceN

              I'd recommend Parish Cafe, Marliave, and/or Grotto for lunch.

              1. re: pollystyrene

                Summer shack: i agree that the pain-fried lobster is one of the best dishes that i have tried in boston, and there are excellent oysters.

                But much else disappoints.

                So, it is a funny restaurant. The best is fantastic but most of the food is merely
                good - fresh, carefully prepared but not worth a trip from the west coast.

            2. Thanks for all the input--Summer Shack is a maybe. I may need to try Neptune Summer shack for our 1st dinner given their great menu, location and generally excellent reviews. I am prepared for attitude but can hope to miss out on that. Thanks for the lunch advice. Grotto looks good and convenient. Will let you know our experience.

              If you are ever in SF, a new favorite is Farina for lovely staff (mostly Italian so you can practice if you wish), fab foccacia with burrata and prosciutto, My meal was perfect including lamb chops that melted in my mouth and a delicious cassata cake desert. Stylish decor but unpretentious.

              3 Replies
              1. re: NanceN

                Definitely let us know how you make out, both for the dinners and the other meals.
                Just got back from San Fran and my very first meal at Greens. Fabulous.
                Will look at Farina next trip, esp given how disappointed I was at my old favorite Kuleto's.

                1. re: bgavin

                  If you find yourself in San Diego- check out a place called Tender Greens for lunch/dinner- unbelievably fresh proteins (fish, meat etc) and salad greens/grilled veggies etc. At first I thought your post was about Tender Greens and my mouth actually started to water!

                2. re: NanceN

                  If you like cassata, Modern Pastry does a great version.

                  Modern Pastry
                  257 Hanover St, Boston, MA