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Foodies in Boston Easter Week-end

I am accompanying my husband on a business trip for the Easter long week-end. We will be in town for 4 days/3 nights and we will be staying in the Copley Square area. We will have a car so we don't mind driving a little but preferably not for every meal. So, we would like to get some opinions from our fellow CHers on a few different questions.
1 - What is an absolute must-do dinner? No budget ... we don't mind paying for great quality food and wine. Wine pairings are not required but are definitely "nice-to-have".
2 - Any suggestions for an Easter brunch? And breakfast for the other days?
3 - We would also like to have a few lunch recommendations. The must-try Boston food. Lobster rolls? Clam chowder? Sushi?
4 - And last but not least, on the Monday and Tuesday when my husband goes off to meetings, I would love to enjoy a nice afternoon/high tea. Preferably within walking distance of Copley Square to enjoy the sights (weather permitting).

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  1. Oh. And can I add one more thing? Husband really wants to eat at at least one afghani/indian restaurant. I read in other posts there was a good afghani in Cambridge but, are there any closer to Copley Square?

    8 Replies
    1. re: onethird

      Afghani: no, it is worth the trip to cambridge which can be accomplished by the T if you like adventure. For Indian, my favorite place is Tamarind Bay in Harvard Square which is on the red line.

      Sushi: O Ya (very expensive) or slightly cheaper Uni Bar
      Best dinner in Boston: Clio, O Ya, Craigie
      Seafood: Neptune Oyster in the north end for lobster rolls or seafood.
      Brunch: people like Craigie but i have never had brunch there.
      Wine: Troquet; many really like the food; i consider it just very good. The wine prices are great and the selection is the best in the city.

      -----
      O Ya
      9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

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

      Tamarind Bay
      75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

      Troquet
      140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

        Thanks so much. I really like the Neptune Oyster menu. And Clio.

        Do you happen to know the name of the Afghani bar in Cambridge? I checked the posts prior and I couldn't find the name of it.

        Thanks

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

        1. re: onethird

          Probably referring to Helmand, wish I could offer an opinion.

          1. re: Beachowolfe

            PS: Yes, that is Helmand in East Cambridge. You can walk there from the Lechmere T stop, it's about 4 blocks. It's one of my favorite restaurants. A friend of mine who worked as a Peace Corp volunteer in Afghanistan in the 60s loves it.

            High Tea: check out the menus at the Ritz, the Taj (used to be the Ritz), The Four Seasons Hotel, and L'Espalier.. I've only been to the one at the Ritz before they moved so can't comment on what they're like today, but those are the ones that get mentioned here most often.

          2. re: onethird

            not an afghani bar, an afghani restnt- Helmand. don't know if you are familiar w/ bosotn, but it can't hurt to repost this for you.

            I have lived here 40 years and really like to steer few-day visitors who are food-oriented>> towards great dining in attractive and historic walking areas- so they can have the best of both worlds. Below the dotted line is a detailed piece i put together for visitors. DO avoid eating at Faneuil Hall, unless it’s roast beef followed by Indian Pudding at Durgin Park .

            The most consistently raved-about lobster rolls for CHs seem to be from Neptune Oyster in the North End- a 7 minute walk from Faneuil Hall, and also B and G Oysters (tiny place) in the South End .

            http://neptuneoyster.com/

            http://www.bandgoysters.com/#bgo_home

            Craigie is consistently touted on CH here but just fyi, it is not in a very handsome area but it is 30 steps away from one of our very best ice cream shops, Toscanini, with many unusual flavors,always changing (salted caramel, saffron, lemon espresso....) I would strongly recommend that you have lunch at Pizzeria Regina in the North End; certainly one of our most iconic food spots with a totally unique atmosphere and authentic Italian pizza that is for many people, the best in New England.(see my comments further down

            )

            For very amazing creative and expensive food, CHs consistently recommend Oya (Japanese and Japanese fusion) and Clio (very International in influences with many unusual cutting-edge ingredients and preparations; lots of Japanese infuence.) Clio is right off Commonwealth Ave and 5 min taxi from your hotel.

            while i was hunting for some of the links above, i ran across this report from a recent NYC http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/741449

            -------------------------------------------------

            For the most attractive and historic parts of our city i would direct you to the area around the Public Garden, CommonwealthAve and Newbury Streets, the SouthEnd, Charles Street, all lovely historic areas that show off the best of our city. This is long!:

            North End/ Waterfront/ Aquarium/ Faneuil Hall-Quincy Market

            If at all possible. one must go to the original Pizzeria Regina in the North End.(note- closed Sun.) This is many aficionados' fav pizza place, period. It is the original(and ONLY worthwhile) location of what is now a chain, and most importantly, its pizzas taste like no others , partly because of the WWII oven they use, which is more than 'seasoned' by now. This pizza tastes like it does in Rome. It is also a tiny CROWDED, loud, FUNKY space; unique; not decor-changed since the 50's maybe. If you haven’t been there, don't go on a wkend ,and go for lunch or earlier dinner to avoid lines.

            Regina’s is located on the outer edge of the compact North End, so after pizza, walk over to the Hanover St. (main drag) area and feel the history of this unique neighborhood. Its oldest extant buildings are from the early 19th c.; through the centuries it has been peopled successively, by : rich Bostonians, blacks , Jews, Italians. It has been Italian since the early 20th c. While harbor-dwelling yuppies have been encroaching of late, it still has lots of sidewalk life, Italian being spoken, bocce being played. There are some wonderful gelato/cafes on Hanover St. I particularly like the gelato at. Café Sport, and Modern Pastry is across the street, with wonderful quaresimali( a version of almond biscotti

            )and sfogliadel, a very unusual 3 cornered hat of layered/crunchy pastry filled with a farmer's cheese/candied fruit mixture. (While many will steer you to Mike’s Pastry, I won't.)The North End is also home to the 18th c. Old North Church and 19th c. Seamen's Home etc etc. If you like to discover-by-walking, the end of Hanover St away from downtown Boston- leads onto the waterfront area. This is also architecturally and historically fascinating because it is very intact with its 19th c. warehouses/wharves (now water view condos). With all I've described, you might find it worth your while to go to Regina's and the North End for lunch and the afternoon. You could incorporate the nearby Aquarium, and Sel de la Terre for dinner (excellent ,modern French style.)You could also go the local seafood route and try Neptune Oyster in the North End.

            http://www.pizzeriaregina.com/

            Quincy market is the old historic marketplace from 18th and 19th c. Boston. It was the prototype for most of the other U.S. 'Commercial Historic Restoration/Tourist Attractions'. It has endless vendor carts and shops and restaurants. Good place to sample some finger food or ice cream but not a lot else. It IS the location of one of Boston's oldest and nationally famous restaurants- Durgin Park- a real bastion of old fashioned dishes (prime rib, roasts, Chowdah, Lobstah, Boston Baked Beans and Indian Pudding) with old fashioned loud friendly or rude waitresses to add to the color.

            The South End

            The South End is Boston’s amazing well-preserved and very large Victorian district, chock-a-block w/ handsome brick and brownstone rowhouses grouped around pocket parks in the middle of all the side street cul-de-sacs. There is a large gay population and young yuppie couples with strollers. Lots of super restaurants(mostly bistro style). Union Bar and Grill and Aquitaine and Erbaluce are my own favs. Union is handsome, dark, comfy with amer.regional food(delish. cornbread in a skillet brought to you when you sit down).Aquitaine is an authentic French bistro with great Steak Frites and simple traditional roasted or grilled food (also a delic. brunch- duck confit sandwich w/ melted gruyere anyone?!)in a very handsome atmosphere and beautiful historic neighborhood. 4 blocks away is Tremont 647 and their famous fun Pajama Brunch, where all their servers, chefs etc. wear their pjs . Tremont is also known for its national-competition winning BBQ and grilled meat and seafood along with Asian and Mexican influenced foods; laid back and fun atmosphere. On the far edge of the South End is Toro, a very loud crowded Spanish tapas place owned by one of our most famous innovative chefs, Ken Oringer, whose Clio is probably Boston’s most innovative(Asian influenced) restaurant (and very expensive). .

            http://www.aquitaineboston.com/

            Back Bay

            Make sure to experience one of Boston's most beautiful features: Comm(onwealth) Ave between Mass(achusetts) Ave and Arlington St.(next to the Public Garden, the oldest arboretum/public park in the U.S. ) This part of Comm. Ave was designed after the Champs Elysees in Paris and is a 9 block long strip of tree, bench and statue- lined park with handsome 19th c. mansions lining both sides. It is parallel to and one block away from Newbury Street, Boston’s center of couture and art galleries , with many restaurants. Right around the corner from the Public Garden end of Newbury Street is Parish Cafe on Boylston St. with great sandwiches designed by different Boston chefs

            Beacon Hill and Charles St.

            Across the Public Garden, away from Comm Ave, is Beacon Hill, Boston’s well preserved elite neighborhood of 18th and 19th c. brick town and rowhouses.Also the spot for our famous gold domed State House. Historic Charles Street, full of restaurants and shops, runs along the base of Beacon Hill. In that neighborhood, Figs has good simple Italian pizzas, pastas etc. For dinner, Grotto has excellent well priced less-tomato-saucey Northern Italian food and seafood. Lala Rokh has delicious Mediterranean-Persian food with grilled and stewed lamb and eggplant taking the spotlight. It is a very quiet comfortable resting spot after a long day of walking.

            Fenway Park

            Next to our beloved old baseball park is a terrific Mexican taco place, La Verdad. Their tacos of carne asada(grilled beef), pescado(fish),are the best i have ever had, and be sure to also get their refried beans .Open for lunch and dinner (but not on sundays in winter)and a 5 minute drive from our amazing Museum of Fine Arts, world famous for its substantial collections of French Impressionism, American paintings and decorative arts, and Japanese art. (our new Art of the Americas wing has just opened in 2011.

            hope you have a great time !

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

            Toro
            1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

            Tremont 647
            647 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118

            Durgin Park
            340 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston, MA 02109

            Modern Pastry
            257 Hanover St, Boston, MA

            La Verdad
            1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215

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

            Fenway Park
            82 Lansdowne Street, Boston, MA 02215

            Lala Rokh
            97 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02108

            Erbaluce
            69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

            Tremont Cafe
            418 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

            Island Creek Oyster Bar
            500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              Wow. This is great. Thanks so much for all the info. I think that Pizzeria Regina and Durgin Park just made the list ;) But, I want to stay away from French bistros ... we are from Montreal and have our fill of them!

              -----
              Durgin Park
              1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

            2. re: onethird

              the afgan restaurant is Helmand. I would expect that you could get good french food in montreal. i believe that neptune oyster does not take reservations and is very popular and thus Not the place to go on a Friday or Saturday night.

          3. re: onethird

            HI,

            Welcome to Boston! For Afghan, try Helmand in East Cambridge. It is about a 10 minute walk from the Kendall Square subway stop. There is also a shuttle bus from the subway stop to a mall 2 blocks from Helmand. DEFINITELY worth a visit.

          4. further links to the entire CH thread advising that Feb. midwest visitor on great boston food spots, and her detailed report back to us! (hope we'll hear from you too!)

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/765459

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/770333

            1. See if the menu at Oleana in Cambridge appeals to you. The mezze are outstanding. Accessible by the T but there is also parking in the lot across the street. Reservations essential.

              I think there have been posts recently on High tea...do a search.

              check out the lunch menu at Toro in the south end. No lunch on Sat.

              -----
              Toro
              1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

              Oleana
              134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

              1 Reply
              1. re: Madrid

                In late summer, I think Oleana might be the best restaurant in Boston -- the menu's strengths are the focus on vegetables and produce. The first time I went to Oleana was in winter, and I wondered what all the fuss was about -- the good was good, but in no way spectacular.

                tb

                -----
                Oleana
                134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

              2. don't forget to report back and tell us what you liked. hope you have some great food.

                27 Replies
                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  Don't worry! I sure will. So far, I think for dinner we will be trying Clio, O Ya and the third is still up in the air (trying to choose between L'Espalier, Bergamot and TW Food). I think for lunch we will do Neptune Oyster and Durgin Park.
                  Also, a friend of mine went to Boston a while ago and said he ate a great restaurant that had the word "butcher" in it. Any ideas what he could have been talking about? And, if so, is it worth trying?
                  Thanks

                  -----
                  L'Espalier
                  774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

                  O Ya
                  9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

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

                  Durgin Park
                  1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

                  1. re: onethird

                    http://thebutchershopboston.com/

                    1. re: onethird

                      i've never eaten there but it is in our handsome South End which is written up in that long piece i posted. the owner, barbara lynch, owns a few of the most acclaimed places in boston. #9 Park, B and G Oysters (next to the butchershop) and Menton. The 3 that you are deciding between do not have the 'always' CH support that we see in others (like the first group you've chosen). Craigie did not appeal? You might want to look at the menus of Menton and #9 Park. The latter is located in one of our prettiest areas- Beacon Hill by the gold domed State House on The Common.

                      The menu is always the clincher!

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        No, I was a little worried about Craigie.....hubby eats meat but I don't (only fish and seafood) and the menu seemed very meat heavy. But the menus at both Menton and #9 Park seem quite nice. Recommend one over the other?
                        Thanks once again ... so far your recommendations seem bang on!

                        -----
                        Menton
                        354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                        #9 Park
                        Boston, Boston, MA

                        1. re: onethird

                          'bang on' - that's fun. must be british influence; we don't say that down here. we say
                          "awesome" or "wicked awesome" , which crept in from the younger set maybe 15? yrs ago, and is quite identified with Massachusetts now (and surrounding area .)

                          I have not been to menton but we have an excellent newspaper food critic here in Boston (the Boston Globe's Devra First) and she really raved over it. Check this out!

                          Devra just does not rave like she has raved here! This would def be my choice over #9 Park:

                          http://articles.boston.com/2010-07-14...

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            hmmmm.....nice review. Mouth watering already. I think I am sold on Menton for the third choice. Bang on! :)
                            Seriously, I will try to train "wicked awesome" into my vocabulary before I get there!

                            -----
                            Menton
                            354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                            1. re: onethird

                              great! but i'd reserve that expression for durgin park and not menton!

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                So, final reservations have been made:
                                1. O Ya
                                2. Menton
                                3. Clio.

                                Do I need to make lunch reservations for Durgin Park and Neptune Oyster? Or should be ok for a walk-in?
                                I will give you some updates after the week-end! Thanks again for all your help. Cheers.

                                -----
                                O Ya
                                9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

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

                                Durgin Park
                                1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

                                Menton
                                354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                                1. re: onethird

                                  Neptune doesn't take reservations.

                                  1. re: onethird

                                    To answer a question from earlier, Craigie is surprisingly seafood-veggie friendly and have a fabulous version of their tasting menu for non-carnivores (like myself). They just don't advertise it well on their menu online. However, I wouldn't displace any of your final 3 for it, especially since it's a little bit of a hike for you from where you're staying.

                                    Also to note, by going to Menton, you get to experience the newest addition and flagship restaurant of one of Boston's premier chefs, Barbara Lynch. She also oversees the Butcher Shop (which had been recommended to you) and No 9 Park (and a few others).

                                    -----
                                    No. 9 Park
                                    9 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108

                                    Menton
                                    354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                                    1. re: beforesunrise

                                      Thanks for the tip about Craigie. You're right, they REALLY don't advertise veggie options on their website! And, as I have been to restaurants before that have a veggie tasting menu as an afterthought, I always get nervous when they don't advertise it anywhere. But, as a fellow CHer has vouched for the veggie menu, I think I will put Craigie back on the list. I did in fact want to try it and my husband really liked the meat menu. O Ya have not called me back to confirm my reservation, so, if I can't get a reservation there, I will put Craigie in!

                                      Thanks for the tip about the veggie menu!

                                      -----
                                      O Ya
                                      9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

                                      1. re: onethird

                                        suggestion- Call Oya at 5pm and get an answer. THAT is the epiphany place in town. in the meantime make a reserva at craigie, because otherwise, you may end up punting for your special dinner. always good to have an extra reservation or two in your hip pocket, as long as you respect the restnt and cancel the reservation as soon as your plans allow you to.

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                          Ah! Wise! I will definitely make a back-up reservation!

                                          (Don't worry, i NEVER leave a restaurant high and dry without calling to cancel the reservation. One must always respect social etiquette!)

                                    2. re: onethird

                                      Yay! Smart of you to put the non-asiany of the 3- in the middle. Boy, i have not been to DP for 35 yrs; i hope it's good.I keep trying to nudge you to Pizzeria Regina , an 8 minute walk away in the North End,but what,Montrealers don't like the best pizza on the east coast? :-)

                                      Remember the warnings about Neptune O always being full; work that into your plans so you can walk around the north end until they call your cell. if that is indeed what happens, be sure to walk the main drag, Hanover St., and stop into Modern Pastry for an almond biscotti or a sfogliadelle(sp.) for later. This place is as old and trad boston as Durgin Park and Regina's, and 'the real thing.'

                                      -----
                                      Modern Pastry
                                      257 Hanover St, Boston, MA

                                      Durgin Park
                                      1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                        I have not heard back from O Ya (left a vm for reservations) so I don't know if that reservation will stick but, if not, I might put Craigie back on the list after another CHer posted that they do offer some great vegetarian options.
                                        As for Pizzeria Regina, it was definitely on the list but, as we could only do 2 lunches together (Monday and Tuesday I will be on my own for lunch), my husband REALLY wanted to have some authentic baked beans (hence the Durgin Park choice), and I have never had a lobster roll (hence Neptune Oyster).
                                        Thanks for the tip on walking around until they call my cell ... will definitely do that!

                                        -----
                                        O Ya
                                        9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

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

                                        Durgin Park
                                        1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

                              2. re: onethird

                                cragie does great seafood by the way.

                          2. re: opinionatedchef

                            So my whirlwind Easter week-end in Boston is soon coming to an end. Check-out is in a few hours and then it is back to the routine. Here is my promised report back on the week-end in chronological order:

                            1 - We unfortunately couldn't get a res at O Ya (well, we could but at 5:30 and I hate eating that early), so we ate at Aragosta, which is the restaurant in our hotel (we stayed at the Battery Wharf). From what I understand, the restaurant has only been open for a few weeks so it was completely normal that there were a few kinks with the service. What was unforgiveable, however, was the barman. He was rude and aggressive and barely uttered one word to us before slamming our drinks down in front of us. Given that we were guests of the hotel, I will definitely be mentioning this bartender in my survey that Fairmont always asks me to fill in after a stay. Other than the barman, and the kinks in the service, the food was okay. Hubby had the Baccala Fritters as an app and they were quite good. I had the Scallop Crudo and it was just alright. It would have required a little something to balance the acid in the dish. For entrées, hubby had the Fisherman's stew and I had the Seared Tuna. My tuna was under-seasoned and lacked flavor. Hubby's stew had a beautifully flavored broth - divine actually- but the lobster was tough and the potatoes were under-seasoned. All in all, just an "ok" restaurant.

                            2 - Durgin Park: Wonderful. I loved the ambiance and the service. The cornbread was probably the best I have ever had (although, I have not eaten too many cornbreads). Since I am from Montreal and we eat baked beans cooked in maple syrup, I didn't think that I would like the tomato based Boston-style baked beans.....but I LOVED them. They were delicious. (Just don't tell the Montreal folks ... they might kick me off the island!) Hubby and I had fried oysters and fried clams and shared both dishes. I prefered the fried clams, but the oysters were pretty good too. All in all, GREAT place.

                            3 - Menton: Many may disagree with this next statement but, IMO, ambience and service count just as much in my books as food when it comes to grading restaurants. I like engaging all of my senses: hearing, smell, touch, sight, and of course, taste all come together to create the ultimate dining experience. Even at restaurants such as Durgin Park, the sights and sounds and smell of the place all come together and created a wonderful dining experience. But Menton was like a dream. Although all the tables were occupied, I felt like my husband and I were the only ones there. And they somehow manage to fulfill every single desire before we even realize that the desire was there. Yet we never felt watched. Sometimes I would look around the room and it would seem as though the waitstaff were dancing, they moved so fluidly. It was impressive to watch. And the food was spectacular. The wine-pairings were "bang on" (although, don't worry, I didn't use that expression!) All in all, Menton goes down in my history of dining experiences in the #2 spot!

                            4 - Neptune Oyster: Wow. Wow. Wow. I am going back there for lunch again today. I love the bluesy, homey feel. The lobster roll was a little bit of heaven with every bite (although, too bad "heavenly" bites go hand-in-hand with so many calories!!) But, it was well worth every calorie-filled bite!

                            5 - Clio's. Oh boy. What a disappointment after such a wonderful couple of days. I wish I had ended with Menton and therefore on a bright note. The food at Clio's was out-of-this-world. The flavors and seasonings were perfect with each course. I would even say that toe-to-toe with Menton on food, Clio's would win hands-down. I kinda feel bad for the chef to have such wonderful food wasted on poor service. Although the ambience was nice, it was VERY loud. Although, that might have simply been the fault of one loud group of 8 .. it was hard to tell. We ordered cocktails to start. And, while we were sipping our cocktails, we gave our server our orders. We ordered à la carte. I asked if it was possible, even though I ordered à la carte, if we could have paired wines with each course. She said of course. She brought out the amuse bouche. It was wonderful. Then, before I was even finished my cocktail, she brought out our first course and poured me "a white" (that was all the description I got of my wine). But I wasn't finished my cocktail. So I "downed" the cocktail and started on the first course. It was divine. Before I took my last few bites, they came and asked if we were done. I said not quite yet. So, I finished my last few bites and they cleared (I think I still had the spoon in my mouth). I barely swallowed and our next course was already out. I wasn't even finished the first course wine. And I was full. I wanted to breathe. So, with my white wine unfinished, she poured me "a red" (again, that's all the description I got). We finished our mains and ordered the chocolate coulant for dessert. We were told it would take 15 minutes and asked if that was alright. We were almost giddy that we would get a 15 minute break!!! So, 15 minutes later our desserts were brought out. They were decadent and rich and everything that I would want a "chocolate coulant" to be. Then hubby got up to go use the restroom and they cleared and asked if I wanted a coffee or tea. I said that I didn't but, as hubby was in the restroom, I would ask him when he got back. He hadn't even replaced his napkin in his lap when they dumped the bill on our table and said that if he wanted something else, they would add it on another bill. WHAT? Who does that? Needless to say he didn't order the espresso that he usually orders and just got one back at the hotel. I have never been so rushed through a meal. I felt sick afterwards. And it is not as though they were in a hurry to turn our table because there were plenty of empty tables all around us. I am not quite sure what the problem was. All in all, I hope the chef finds a way to get the service that his food deserves.

                            Whew. And there is my long-winded report back ... :-)

                            -----
                            O Ya
                            9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

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

                            Durgin Park
                            1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

                            Menton
                            354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                            1. re: onethird

                              one and only, you are one HOT TICKET!! what a great and helpful report! aside from the clio service complete and total nightmare(i am sooo sorry) i am so happy you had so many good experiences.; countering the rain and greyness. Beautiful and tasty city here, eh?!

                              p.s. so great to hear that someone w/ refined taste, who appreciated 'boston's best' of the high-end--really enjoyed Durgin Park. It is almost NEVER mentioned on CH so now we know!

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                aw. blush, blush!
                                I have to say, Boston is truly a beautiful city. It is clean and well-tended and I was able to walk everywhere and anywhere. I really and truly enjoyed this trip and I am sad that it is over.
                                Bt yeah, I really didn't quite understand what was happening at Clio's. I think I even went to sleep with a permanent wrinkled brow, as I had a puzzled look on my face the entire evening. I kept asking my husband if we were somehow the problem ... was I not dressed properly? A quick look around the room reassured me that I was dressed perfectly (some people were in jeans ... whereas I was in dress pants). We are generally quiet, we are always polite, I don't know what it was but I have never eaten so quickly in my life! It was really strange!
                                And, in regards to Menton, I have a question. I am curious as to why no one seems to have ever heard of Menton. Other than only one of the concierges at the hotel, none of the others had ever heard of Menton. They had all heard of Barbara Lynch and her other restaurants, but not Menton. And, my husband's Boston colleagues, who were all well acquainted with Clio's, O Ya, etc... had never heard of Menton. Is Menton a hidden gem in the area?

                                -----
                                O Ya
                                9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

                                Menton
                                354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                                1. re: onethird

                                  Menton isn't a hidden gem, exactly. It's only been open for about a year, and its opening was marked by some backlash--mostly of the "Why is Barbara Lynch opening *another* restaurant?" and "Why is she opening a high-end restaurant in the middle of a recession?" variety--so to the extent that it's on most people's radar at all, it's there as a very expensive restaurant by a celebrity chef.

                                  -----
                                  Menton
                                  354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                    Ah. That explains alot. But, as a someone who is rarely if ever swayed by the "celebrity chef" style restaurant, I can definitely attest to the fact that Menton deserves some recognition. Hats off to the chef.

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                                    Menton
                                    354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                              2. re: onethird

                                What an absolutely terrific report -- thanks so much! And I too am delighted you ate so well and very sorry about your experience at Clio, just unforgivable at those prices. Sad to say, I was unhappy with the service too on my one and only visit there -- you are right, the FOH is letting the chef down.

                                1. re: onethird

                                  "Since I am from Montreal and we eat baked beans cooked in maple syrup, I didn't think that I would like the tomato based Boston-style baked beans.....but I LOVED them. "

                                  For the record, Boston-style baked beans are NOT tomato based, but molasses based. You may be thinking of the British style of baked beans, which are indeed cooked in a tomato based sauce.

                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baked_beans

                                  Glad you enjoyed Durgin-Park - it doesn't get a lot of love on this board because it is a bit of a tourist cliche, but there are some fine old-fashioned gems on the menu that are otherwise hard to find nowadays, and I think it's more worthwhile than, say, Union Oyster House.

                                  1. re: Allstonian

                                    Allstonian, you beat me to it! Boston-style baked beans use molasses; traditional New England recipes that are far away from Boston or other major seaports use maple syrup. During colonial times the molasses was part of the triangle trade, carried by ships arriving from the Caribbean.

                                    1. re: Allstonian

                                      Ah! Thanks for the info ... that explains why I loved them so much! I was in a tourist shop in Faneuil Market right before going into Durgin Park and the shop had a package of "Baked Beans" for sale. It was a package that contained the beans, and some sort of seasoning package. I read the instructions and the recipe called for equal parts of ketchup and sugar ... so I assumed that was how Boston Baked Beans were made. Good to know that I am not a complete traitor to the Montreal style :-)

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                                      Durgin Park
                                      340 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston, MA 02109

                                      1. re: onethird

                                        No, but whoever manufactured that "Baked Beans" kit is certainly a traitor to Boston! How horrible!

                                        1. re: onethird

                                          one and only, i don't know what montreal's baked beans are like, but in the South,in Virginia at least, they are made w/ a tomato product (tomato sauce or ketchup) and brown sugar, mustard, onion, Worcestershire sauce etc. In my family at least- only ever eaten as picnic food- with hotdogs, grilled BBQ chicken etc.

                                          Did you try the famous Indian Pudding at Durgin Park? (maybe not, since it was lunchtime; VERY heavy ballast!)

                                          you know, i should have asked this before>> your 'peasant food'- Poutine- has become somewhat of a cause celebre down here , in the last few years, at gastro pubs. Boston CHs argue continually over the various versions, the curds/ non curds used, whether foie gras is a tasty topping etc etc. Ha! i bet you're surprised! At any rate, i'm wondering if any of our 'peasant food'/'hangover food' has become a cause celebre up there in Montreal in recent years?

                                  2. You have three excellent restaurants on your list. My fave restaurant in town is Craigie, but I have been to all three you've booked, and they are among the top restaurants Boston has to offer, BUT, and this shouldn't be a huge surprise if you've researched online menus, you are going to what might be the three most expensive restaurants in Boston as well. You said that budget didn't matter, but I didn't want you to have sticker shock when you get your bills! These are the places in Boston with the closest to New York City high end prices. I just wanted you to be forewarned.
                                    Have a great trip and let us know what you had and what you liked/didn't.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: kimfair1

                                      Thanks for the head's up! Yeah, I said that budget wasn't an issue but I didn't want to have to remortgage the house either :-) That being said, I did look up the menus online and O Ya's prices seemed reasonable to me (unless I am missing some extra charges somewhere), Clio had no prices online other than a $49 Three Course Prix Fixe available Monday thru Thursday. And, although we are going on a Monday, it will be Easter Monday so I don't know if that price will be in effect. And, as for Menton, the prices are online and I realize that it is quite expensive but I figured that it would be well worth it (fingers crossed).
                                      So really, my only question mark is Clio's ....
                                      And I will definitely post back with my likes/dislikes!

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                                      O Ya
                                      9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

                                      Menton
                                      354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                                      1. re: onethird

                                        The prices at O Ya don't seem bad, but each dish is only 2-3 bites tops, so it adds up quite quickly. The veggie tasting menu at Craigie is outstanding. My wife gets it sometimes when we go, and everything I've tasted was quite good. I enoyed Menton very much, and the service there is the only place in Boston that I've received service comparable to the best places I've been in NYC or San Francisco.

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                                        O Ya
                                        9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

                                        Menton
                                        354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                                    2. I lived in the North End for 20 years before moving to Cambridge 5 years ago. Haven't been back on Easter weekend since, but my advice is to stay away on the Saturday, or at least be aware that it's not the normal North End experience. It gets very crowded with folks who don't live there but are shopping at all the special stores. (Folks who grew up there and moved out to the suburbs still want to get a great leg of lamb from the butchers who work until midnight for a couple days before.) So would recco not trying for lunch at Neptune Oyster that day.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: pasuga

                                        Thanks. Would you think that the Easter Sunday would be a better bet for Neptune Oyster? And then I could do Durgin Park on the Saturday?

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

                                        Durgin Park
                                        1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

                                        1. re: onethird

                                          I would check to be sure Neptune will be open on Easter Sunday. It might be a day they will take off to be with family.

                                          Penny
                                          http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                          1. re: BostonZest

                                            pen, you is a SMAHT girl. )

                                          2. re: onethird

                                            i just called. N.Oyster is closed that sunday. as for sat., she repeated to me 5 times the words: 11:30. good luck! it'll be fun and crazy!

                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                              Thank you so much for calling for me! Wow, Bostonians are really helpful! Let me know if you ever need some help with some Montreal restaurants!

                                              I guess it is entirely possible that Durgin Park will also be closed for Easter. I will give them a call as well, just to make sure.

                                              Thanks

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                                              Durgin Park
                                              1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

                                              1. re: onethird

                                                I know Durgin Park is popular and it is part of the Boston experience, but unless the experience is really important to you, skip it. The food is just not good (except for the Indian pudding). I used to bring visiting family and friends there at their request, but I don't bother anymore.