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Back Bay Twenty Years Ago - Anyone remember these restaurants?

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Remember two very good small restaurants: Allegro I think was one, maybe on Hereford and Boylston? The other was a little french place, maybe Newbury around Clarendon, with an outside patio in the summer, started with M? Anybody with a better memory than mine? Hard to have a worse one!

  1. The french one was where Bouchee was recently, right? Was it DuBarry? And was the other one where the Cactus Club is? (assuming that's still there?) I remember both of those places, and now it's bugging me as well. I'm sure the name of the other one will come to me in the middle of the night.

    I should add that I also recall them as being very good, but in retrospect I don't think my palate was particularly refined at that time.

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    Cactus Club Restaurant & Bar
    939 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02115

    2 Replies
    1. re: purple bot

      Du Barry sounds right. Very exotic in it's day and a beautiful patio.

      Racking my brain for the place by the Cactus Club.

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      Cactus Club Restaurant & Bar
      939 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02115

      1. re: 9lives

        When I was in school, my French class took a trip every year to eat at DuBarry. It was always the highlight of the year!! We would all get dressed up and take the train "in town" and eat at what was by far the fanciest place we had every been and speak in French the whole lunch.

    2. Don't remember the French restaurant, but I remember Allegro very well and very fondly. Boylston Street was their second location; the first was on Moody Street in Waltham, where Iguana Cantina later resided for many years. The Waltham outpost was the first "nice" meal I ever had in Boston and Boylston St was our go-to for special occasions in the first few years of our marriage.

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      Iguana Cantina
      313 Moody St, Waltham, MA 02453

      1. Mirabella might be what you are thinking about . Today it is L'Aroma Cafe.

        Penny
        http://www.bostonzest.com/

        5 Replies
        1. re: BostonZest

          yes, it was Mirabella. Thanks. The board discussion about the "lack" of good French and Italian restaurants in Boston was aggravating us so we went back in memory to what was delightful for its time and how things evolve. When I was a youngster in new york i had my first artichoke at a little neighborhood Italian joint around 14th street and 8th avenue called Il Faros. It was a revelation. I have no idea if it was as good as my memory, but I'm clear that it gave me good memories. Le Boucage, Allegro, Mirabella were all personal and delightful. They weren't Cote D'Or or Taillevant but I learned from each one. Here's to the small, the local, and the good which educate our taste. The first Jean George restaurant I ate at in NY was a little place called JoJos I think. I remember it as a more exciting event than the tasting menu I had at Jean George because it was so intensely personal. That's how I find Erbaluce: not always perfect, not inevitably excellent, but decidely personal. Thanks so much for the name.

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          Erbaluce
          69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

          1. re: teezeetoo

            if i recall, mirabelle also had an included service charge and did not last very long because the service was awful.

          2. re: BostonZest

            I still remember a fab concord grape sorbet i had at Mirabella!

              1. re: BostonZest

                I don't remember bad service, though others might have experienced that. I remember an inviting menu and pleasant interior and outside space and a nice European-feel vibe.

          3. Allegro was Jimmy Burke's first solo. He went on to open many places such as Tuscan Grill on Moody St. and a few Iguana Cantina's. He now owns Orta in Pembroke where he has dumbed down his food by a factor of 10X.

            http://www.mohegansun.com/sitelet/win...

            1. I remember the French restaurant but the name escapes me.
              Division Sixteen was my favorite place in the neighborhood.
              The best burger I have ever had.
              Nothing else comes close.

              9 Replies
              1. re: dmullin699

                Division Sixteen, with the Patrick Nagle posters, those little art deco lamps behind the bar and overflowing with Boston University students from South America and the Middle East - had the most insanely good Buffalo Wings.

                1. re: mikeinboston

                  Nachos weren't too shabby either..:)...but that burger!

                  1. re: 9lives

                    I remember the potato bombs at Div 16. I think that's what they were called. Anyone else remember them and know where you can find a similar item today?

                  2. re: mikeinboston

                    Second and third that. Everytime I think of those burgers, I observe a minute of silence for what those burgers stood for: first time paying 10 bucks for a burger (in 1982!), youth, the ability to eat one of those things and (a) not put on any weight, and (b) not feel it for the next 48 hours, and for the best burger ever.

                    1. re: mikeinboston

                      Boy do I miss those Division 16 buffalo wings! And, I think it they had one of the most underrated bugers - and the fries were good too!
                      Got in trouble there one night 'cause one of my friends (Richie) called up my boss (who he was good friends with) & told him I wasn't coming to work that nite 'cause I had to drive him home 'cause he was too buzzed to drive. BOY did I hear that when I got to work the next nite ........ 'cause I didn't ask my boss to stop by for one with us!
                      Richie was also the one who introduced me to Ciro & Sal's on Boylston Street - LOVED that place.

                      1. re: southie_chick

                        Ciro and Sal's is still open in PTown.and very popular

                        1. re: 9lives

                          Popular is one thing ....... but is it good? Not the same "Ciro & Sal's" as when they were on Boylston Street (I believe they opened the P'town one after the Boylston Street one). They broke up years ago & one of them kept that restaurant & the other opened another restaurant under another name (don't think it's opened any more). Food wasn't as good after the split (haven't been there in eons) & don't know if it ever went back to being as good as the old Ciro & Sal's.

                          -----
                          Ciro & Sal's
                          4 Kiley Ct, Provincetown, MA 02657

                          1. re: southie_chick

                            I've been to the P-Town Ciro & Sal's a couple of times in the past couple of summers: it's very inconsistent, and when it's bad, it's dreadful.

                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                            -----
                            Ciro & Sal's
                            4 Kiley Ct, Provincetown, MA 02657

                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              I haven't eaten there for years but I'll take your both your words for it.

                              Just knew it was there..no info beyond that.

                              Yes...PTN came after Boylston.

                  3. We miss DuBarry!!

                    I miss the Newbury street cafeteria place, too. Forget the name.

                    And the old Flash's -- sort of a down-on-your luck cafeteria but great grilled cheese and fries.

                    Richards, next to Flash's, where we watched the first Space Shuttle explode.

                    1. A fabulous little "tea room" on Newbury, between Arlington and Berkeley...does anyone remember the name? Also another little "tea room" on Boylston...think it had "The Women's Exchange" in the name...served puff pastry swans filled with vanilla ice cream and hot fudge sauce...so delicious.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: atdcom

                        Womens Industrial Union or something like that ... The name is still on the building and I walk by it all the time, so I should know. Its where the paper store is now I think.

                        1. re: atdcom

                          English Tea Room on Newbury w/sweet poppy seed salad dressing.

                          1. re: atdcom

                            Remember Genji, further up Newbury?

                            1. re: Veggo

                              Most memorable dinner was after a Wagner/Mahler night at Symphony Hall w/1st row seats. When Seiji & friends took the table across from us, he asked how we liked the performance.

                              1. re: Taralli

                                Very cool, and great story.

                          2. One of my first fine dining experiences was at Cafe Budapest. It was in the Back Bay, but I don't remember exactly where. And who was the woman who owned it? Of course I had the cherry soup.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: pemma

                              It was in the basement of the Copley Square Hotel, where Saint is now. I never ate there, but it was certainly one of Boston's legendary restaurants when I was growing up. The owner was Hedda Rev-Kury, and she came to a sad end; there's a story here:
                              http://www.bostonmagazine.com/article...

                              1. re: Allstonian

                                I've not had occasion to think of Cafe Budapest in quite awhile...had some fun times in there in my Boston days. Thaat's back when the "fine dining" options were terribly limited. Thanks for bringing it up, sad end and all.

                                1. re: Allstonian

                                  Thanks for the link. Sad, but interesting.

                                2. re: pemma

                                  If you want a taste of that Hungarian food, you can still get it at Jasmine Bistro in Brighton Center. The owner cooked at Cafe Budapest for many years. He also does French bistro fare (from his days cooking in Paris) and periodic specials from his native Baluchistan. But his Hungarian food is always my favorite.

                                  http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                3. DuBarry was on Newbury for MANY years. But the place we LOVED in the area was the Half Shell on Boylston.near Exeter.

                                  and down off Hereford in the alley behind Newbury was an alta cocina Mexican restaurant, Casa Romero. . They had Wonderful food.

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                                  Casa Romero
                                  30 Gloucester St, Boston, MA 02115

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                    The Half Shell was good. Havent thought of that place in years. My dad's favorite.

                                    Casa Romero is still open.

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                                    Casa Romero
                                    30 Gloucester St, Boston, MA 02115

                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                      Yes, Casa Romero is still open. Actually went for the first time in many, many years and the food was mediocre to poor, sad to say.

                                      -----
                                      Casa Romero
                                      30 Gloucester St, Boston, MA 02115

                                  2. Wow, you guys are really bringing back memories of my first years in Boston! I came to school here in 1978 and stayed. Back then I wasn't a chowhounder wannabe yet but I remember most of these places.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mtm7654

                                      Including the roast beef sandwiches and knishes at Buzzy's on Storrow Drive?

                                    2. Sorry, but we need to lock this now.

                                      Chowhound's mission is to help everybody eat better right now, today. Nostalgia threads are fun, but they usually end up chatty, taking a lot of space and diluting Chowhound's effectiveness.

                                      If there's a particular dish that you remember and you're trying to find something similar, feel free to start a new thread on that.