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One night in Boston...looking for fun, interesting, casual (+solo dining)

Spending a night in Boston next week and I'm looking to go to a friendly spot (i.e. I can wear jeans) to eat alone and have some really good food. I'm not looking to spend a whole lot, but not looking for cheap eats either.

I like seafood appetizers and meat entrees. Good beer is a plus too! I'm not looking for "ethnic" necessarily, although if there's an izakaya you can recommend I'd be all over that. Modern American food is probably the buzzword that best describes what I'm after.

I'll be staying at a hotel on Boylston Street. Looks like it's close to the Hynes convention center and the Boston Public Library...sorry, I really don't know Boston. Willing to cab it to a reasonable distance.

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  1. if you are looking for japanese food, I like Clio/Uni bar. O Ya is great but very expensive, and i like Oishii. i also like Cragie on Main or Neptune.

    What is your price range?


    O Ya
    9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

    3 Replies
    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

      Neptune sounds like a perfect choice--you can eat at the bar and get a lobster roll--not cheap at $25, but a consensus favorite and not a bad price when you are only paying for one diner. If the weather is decent, you could walk with relative ease.

      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

        Second Craigie, especially at the bar. Other options: The Gallows, Towne, Toro and Hungry Mother.

        1. re: cambridgedoctpr

          Price range is less than a hundred, including drinks. I'm thinking mains in the high teens low 20s.

        2. if you walk maybe 5 or 6 window-shopping blocks east on Boylston just past Charles st, you can try Troquet. Downstairs bar is jeans-friendly. Start with cold lobster salad, then the duck (or duck confit if you want a bit cheaper), all excellent (and yes, they have Chimay Blue). or cab it to Bergamot in Cambridge. Excellent beef short rib. if they're out of the short rib, go next door for kebabs and curry (and the Wine & Cheese Cask across the street has a good selection of beer to take out.)

          140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

          1. I love Craigie, but I think I'd actually recommend the nearby Rendezvous over it for this purpose (cheaper and easier to get a bar seat).

            1 Reply
            1. re: dfan

              if you want to stay in your hotel area, I'd recommend Bistro du Midi, Eastern Standard Kitchen, Lucca on Huntington, or Sel de la Terre. Many of the above recommendations take you to Cambridge which, while it has great restaurants, seems farther afield than you need to go for the one evening you're in Boston. The walk to any of these places is fine or a short cab ride if you're not into walking and all are bar and food friendly. ESK is probably my first choice for eating solo.

              Eastern Standard
              528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

              Sel de la Terre
              774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

              Bistro du Midi
              272 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

            2. Wow...these are all really great recommendations. I'll check the reviews on this board.

              Thanks for all the feedback...decisions, decisions.

              I'm leaning towards Craigie. Some oysters and that lamb heart meatball or the fried pig tails sound great.

              4 Replies
              1. re: grandgourmand

                The crispy fried pig tails are divine.

                1. re: kimfair1

                  the crispy half pigs head is even better!

                  1. re: barleywino

                    Keep plugging at the wife to join me on one of those, but I just can't get her to bite yet. Maybe I need to get her a few more of their excellent cocktails first before broaching the subject!

                    1. re: kimfair1

                      i would suggest ordering one and whatever you can't finish, take it home...to be honest, it's more fat than meat but what meat is there is amazing (and don't miss the crispy skin of course). just be prepared to dig around to find it.

              2. Island Creek Oyster Bar. It's brand new and it kicks some serious butt. Great food, great drinks and it feels comfy enough to wear jeans. It's located in Kenmore Square. They have some really delicious seafood options. Their donuts are incredible.

                Island Creek Oysters
                296 Parks St, Duxbury, MA 02332

                1 Reply
                1. re: ecwashere7

                  2nd island creek. far larger than neptune which now always has a damn line to get in.

                2. Pull a stool up to the bar at The Franklin Cafe.You'll have a wonderful evening with great food. Open late.
                  278 SHAWMUT AVE
                  BOSTON, MA

                  1. Well, thanks for the tips everyone.

                    Turns out it wasn't solo dining, as a co-worker ended up with me. Unfortunately, he didn't like the sound of the Craigie menu (too bad, I really wanted to try the pig tails) and wanted seafood. So we ended up at Island Creek (didn't like the prospects of a lineup at Neptune).

                    Overall, a really good experience. We split the seafood platter for four. The oysters were absolutely delicious. Among the best I've ever had. Alas, the rest of it was a bit weaker, in relation to the fantastic oysters, that is. The lobster wasn't very sweet. And they halibut crudo was just a huge chunk of halibut. Very tasty, mind you, but it would have helped if they sliced it thinly or something. Cocktail shrimp were large and tasty. Had raw clams for the first time...not a huge fan.

                    Overall, a few beers all this fresh seafood and i'm a happy guy. Prices weren't too bad either.

                    After this, we headed to Eastern Standard Kitchen for a few drinks. Pretty happening vibe there. Very good beer list and I had a $10 daily offal dish, which turned out to be sweetbreads. Not bad, but it could have been crispier and was underseasoned. My companion had the hanger steak and fries which he enjoyed.

                    On the way out of town, my flight was delayed, so I ate at legal seafood at Logan. C bar or something affiliated with legal seafood. Man, what a disapointment. Poor service and the oysters were small and virtually tasteless. The crab roll was pretty decent, and not a bad deal at $13. I guess the experience highlighted how good the oysters were at Island Creek.

                    Thanks, and I look forward to returning to Boston to try out Craigie.

                    Eastern Standard
                    528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215