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Feb 7, 2011 07:49 AM

NYC Chowhound - Places to eat in the South End? Standout Homestyle places in North End?

Hey there -
I live in New York City, but used to live in Back Bay in 2001 and 2002 and I come back once or twice a year to visit. I've eaten at many of the old standbys throughout the years. I've been reading about the fantastic bistros and smaller local places opening in the South End and would love to hear your thoughts. I've eaten at Sibling Rivalry and am looking for something slightly more casual. Barbara Lynch restaurants as good as advertised? Any cuisine recs other than sushi would be appreciated.

Also going to visit the North End - any favorites?

Sibling Rivalry
525 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116

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  1. Barbara Lynch's places tend to be precious all around: atmosphere, portion, and price. Usually good food, but B&G and the Butcher Shop especially never fail to give me sticker shock when the final tally comes (really? $40 after tip for a hot dog and glass of wine?)

    I'm not as frequent a visitor since I moved to northern New England, but the South End has some of my favorite more casual (relatively) places. I've had many good meals at Pops, for instance, and Estragon has some damned interesting and delcious tapas (though the board tends to prefer Toro, I myself have never been). Petit Robert is affordable and solid French brasserie food.

    As for the North End, I've given up trying. There are good places, but so many bad ones, and even the good ones (Mamma Maria, Lucca) can disappoint terribly on a very busy or off night. With a gun to my head, I like the no frills and hearty tasty plates at Five North Square. Try Carlo's Cucina in Allston.

    1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

    Lucca Restaurant
    226 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

    Five North Square
    5 North Square, Boston, MA 02113

    4 Replies
    1. re: tamerlanenj

      I don't think B&G will cause sticker shock for most NYers, particularly when one factors in the quality of the product. (I could be wrong, of course, but I love the place!)

      I'm a big fan of Coda for when I'm looking for tasty comfort food at a reasonable price. I used to alternate between Coda and POPS, but I find Coda to be consistently better.

      1. re: Blumie

        Thanks to you both! I hate coming to town and asking my local friends to pony up NYC prices. But I am still curious

        Tamerlanenj - I have eaten at both of those North End places and agree with your assessment. I wont put a gun to your head :)

        Blumie - Both Coda and Pops look good, I'll see what my local kids prefer.

        I have a few weeks to figure it all out, I appreciate your response!

        1. re: tracyw19

          A North End absolute must if you have not been: Neptune Oyster.

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

          1. re: Blumie

            But not really a "MUST" if you have been to a raw bar in New York and/or Pearl Oyster Bar.

    2. i like LoConte's in the North End. no frills, family style.
      and the Daily Catch for seafood italian. small, open kitchen. good calamari and fra diavlo. pricier than LoConte's
      then dessert and cappuccino at Caffe Vittoria
      drink (and cigar if thats your thing) downstairs from Vittoria at Stanza di Sigari. timeless, and a total trip.

      Daily Catch
      323 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

      Caffe Vittoria
      296 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

      1. Orinoco is delightful South American in the South End. Estragon is very good tapas. Trattoria Toscana is my preferred Italian, or Erbaluce if I'm going to spend money, but I do like Prezza in the North End. The CH's like Meyers and Chang in the South End: I don't, but I think that shouldn't stop you from exploring it.

        Trattoria Toscana
        130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

        24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

        69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

        3 Replies
        1. re: teezeetoo

          Agree re: Orinoco -- a fun favorite.

          1. re: astrid

            I would also highly recommend Trattoria Toscana...I lived in Florence for half a year and can honestly say, as soon as I walked in the place, i was having dejavu to the authentic culinary cooking and atmosphere...very small rustic like I just crossed back over the Ponte Vecchio and walked into this place I used to eat at back in my time abroad...

            If your dead set on going to the "north end" for the experience...I would check out Mama Anna's on the very end of Hanover St. stay away from anything that is directly on or in the middle of Hanover St...although its the heart of the north end...the restaurants are overate and cost too much they told me in Florence...avoid main streets for eating, they are tourist traps and will rip u off...check out the off the beaten path spots...they cook with love!!
            Avoid Mike's Pastry too...if you want real Italian...Go to Modern Pastry!

            Modern Pastry
            257 Hanover St, Boston, MA

        2. Tico, Toro, Galleria Umberto. Union isn't half bad.

          1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

          222 Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02116

          1 Reply
          1. re: scotty27

            Coppa - the italian cousin of Toro - another Ken Oringer restaurant

            1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

            253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118