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Making my first trip to Boston.

Hello all,

Will be visiting Boston in June for a conference and, of course, to experience the dining scene. In general it looks as though I'll have time for 2 lunches and 4 dinners.

O'Ya and L'Espalier are both on the list and I have plenty of research to do beforehand, but I do have one somewhat specific question - someplace within a a short distance of Fenway serving excellent / unique food where I can get an early reservation (5:30 or earlier) on a Saturday and be in/out on time to see the Opening Pitch at 7:10.

Open to any/all suggestions.

Thanks.

http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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L'Espalier
774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

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  1. I recently had a fantastic dinner at Bergamot in Cambridge, which is basically Boston. Also, I've heard amazing things about Craigie on Main, which I plan on getting to this summer.

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    Craigie on Main
    853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

    1 Reply
    1. re: schoenfelderp

      Not sure that you can get " in and out" at Craigie, as they like to take their time with courses...

    2. Island Creek Oyster Bar?

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

      4 Replies
      1. re: Swankalicious

        Cragie seems a bit far off. Island Creek Oyster Bar has a lot of promise - thanks!

        http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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

        1. re: uhockey

          Island Creek or Eastern Standard would both be good for this, but make reservations at far in advance as possible.

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          Eastern Standard
          528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

          1. re: kimfair1

            And as early as possible - At ES, my DW waited over an hour for a table for four yesterday, on a non-game night.

          2. re: uhockey

            You can request seats at the bar when you make your reservation and they will seat you in a reserved bar area with a great view of the action and terrific bar service.

        2. Agree with ICOB, much preferable to Eastern Standard IMO.

          Other options include Basho (sushi/japanese) and Trattoria Toscana (arguably the best Italian in Boston; they don't take reservations, however I have always had luck being there just before 5:30p when they open for the 1st seating). Both places are as close as you can get to Fenway.

          Craigie is not convenient to Fenway on game days. Traffic backs up across the Mass Ave bridge and it would take a good 30 min to walk from there. Bergamot is not even remotely in the vicinity.

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          Trattoria Toscana
          130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

          6 Replies
          1. re: Gabatta

            Probably have sushi covered with O'Ya, though Toscana looks interesting.

            In general I'm probably thinking something a bit more Northeast-Authentic like ICOB or Eastern Standard for that evening - both have nice looking menus, though ICOB certaibly looks to be more locally sourced fish and shellfish.

            http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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            Eastern Standard
            528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

              1. re: uhockey

                You're going to love it. Get the fried oyster sliders FOR SURE and a dozen or so oysters to start -- they are very good at describing the different oyster styles and matching their offerings to your tastes. I've been a handful of times recently and I've not had a bad morsel of food.

                1. re: yumyum

                  Is Neptune worth a try on another day to compare/contrast?

                  http://uhockey.blogspot.com

            1. No reservations involved, but you could do Sichuan in Brookline: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/712113.

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              Sichuan Garden
              295 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445

              Sichuan Gourmet
              1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

              1. hi u, there is alot of info here in link below, put together for recent visitors. one of the posts includes a long overview of the city by neighborhood linked w/ dining suggestions.

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/779454

                Plse start by telling us:
                --where are you visitng from (so we can reference what your homecity's strengths are and not
                refer you to like places!
                )--in what area/where are you staying?
                --car or public transit?
                --what days of the week and when?
                --what atmosphere and price range (same as OYa and L'Espal?).
                --Particular loves/hates/ 'want to try' cuisines?
                --Lunch- prefer sandwiches or more?
                - As in your mention of Fenway, any other particular areas you will be exploring, where you would also like to dine?

                June is a particularly beautiful month here; welcome in advance!

                19 Replies
                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  I don't eat much in my home town - check the blog or my posts here on CH - I travel largely for food/art/hockey but if forced to travel for work I try to fit that stuff in as best as I can. I'm from Columbus, Ohio and we don't have "like places" save for Fast Food. ;-)

                  Staying rather close to Boston Medical Center and will be spending much of my days (Fri-Tue) in/at/around the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Would love places between the two to grab a quick breakfast and places near the Center to break away for lunch of any sort (the concept of conference food terrifies me.)

                  No Car - likely foot vs. public transit.

                  Particular loves include whatever is best, locally, though I do admit a leaning toward the higher/more refined end.

                  I mention Fenway only because I'm going to a game one night - if there is someplace within 2 miles o where I'm staying I can/will make the trek.

                  cheers and thanks..

                  http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                  1. re: uhockey

                    Near Boston Medical Center, Estragon, Toro and Coppa are tasty, refined though not particularly local. You are walking distance to Speeds Hot Dog Wagon (Newmarket Sq) which is local, excellent but definitely not refined.

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                    Toro
                    1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                    Coppa
                    253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                    1. re: uhockey

                      Regarding lunches - places near the conference center where I can get a great sandwich, chowder, lobster roll, or pizza would be ideal. Either that, or a place I can get in/out in 90 minutes.

                      http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                      1. re: uhockey

                        places near the conference center where I can get
                        a great sandwich>Flour, on Farnsworth, about a solid 10 min walk away
                        chowder, lobster roll > I think Yankee Lobster has passable versions of these.
                        pizza > Salvatore's is close, but with 90 minutes, you could cab to Pizzeria Regina in the North End and back easily.

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                        Yankee Lobster
                        300 Northern Ave, Boston, MA

                      2. re: uhockey

                        I've been reading your amazing Roberta's tome. whew! It seems it's a shame you couldn't have met a recent visitor with very much your leanings. He had his roberta's experience here at L'Espalier; maybe you saw his report? here it is:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/777997

                        so, for you fenway dinner, i would suggest Island Creek Oyster Bar and specifically their lobster roe pasta dish and their biscuit and their jonnycake (a la carte) and oysters. It's a 5 min walk from fenway.

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/752900

                        given your leanings for innovative and extraordinary, it's not hard to direct you, for 3 of your 4 dinners, to:

                        OYa dinner http://www.boston.com/dining/globe_re...

                        Clio dinner http://www.cliorestaurant.com/

                        http://www.bostonmagazine.com/restaur...

                        Menton dinner

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

                        (by the way, Menton and OYa are cab-close to your conv.center

                        )

                        with Island Creek Oyster Bar(being the forth because of fenway proximity)

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/752900

                        back ups:

                        Erbaluce:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/775842

                        L'Espalier not impressive brunch, so dinner suggested

                        Craigie on Main dinner or brunch possible

                        Bondir http://www.bondircambridge.com/

                        Also check

                        2 lunches near Conv Center(10-15 min.cab .):

                        Neptune Oyster-- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/775842

                        Myers +Chang-- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/770441

                        Craigie sunday brunch (not close to conv. center

                        )

                        Suggestion: Check those menus; make reservations NOW through OpenTable.com; recheck menus as accurate ones become available, and shuffle reservations accordingly. (Remember: some restnts not open Monday; some not Sun.)

                        The visiting Montreal couple (that i linked you to, before) "onethird", is going to the above spots and hopefully she will report back after their visit this wkend-and you can follow her thread.

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776070

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                        L'Espalier
                        774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

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

                        Craigie on Main
                        853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        Erbaluce
                        69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                        Menton
                        354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

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

                        Bondir
                        279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          I have lots of "tomes" like Roberta's. :-)

                          L'Espalier Chef's Table and O'Ya are already booked - and I did see that report.

                          I really like ICOB's menu, so I'll likely do that before the game which leaves me with one dinner, on a Monday.

                          Lunches - was looking at Neptune and will probably grab a pizza at Regina one day.

                          Is Gargoyles worth the trek, or is Menton vastly superior?

                          Finally - any eclectic foodstuffs worth exploring: Ice Cream, pastry, cupcakes, donuts, etc?

                          http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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                          L'Espalier
                          774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

                          Menton
                          354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                          1. re: uhockey

                            If you are interested in a fantastic food store, go to Formaggio Kitchen in the south end...not that far from Boston Medical Center. One of the best cheese shops in the US, chock full of specialty foods of all kinds as well as locally made treats..sweets, crackers, etc. Literally chock full. Right next door is an old Middle Eastern food shop also chock full of all kinds of delices .... and by the way, a few items are in both shops, with FK being much more expensive for the same item. There is a Spanish food shop, Las Ventas, next to the Spanish restaurant L'Estragon really close to BMC...good sandwiches made with ingredients imported from Spain. There is a larger FK in Cambridge but sounds like you aren't looking to cross the river.

                            Definitely try Neptune if you can.

                            Gargoyles and Menton are very, very different places. I've only been to Gargoyles and I'm not a fan, but many here are so I'll let them talk. One consideration is location...Gargoyles is in Somerville, reachable by the Davis Square red line subway. Very different locations and atmospheres.

                            Finally, if you like Middle Eastern/Turkish chow at all, look at the Oleana menu. Some here thinks it's meh, others think it's amazing...I'm in the latter group. She uses ingredients from her husband's farm and local products as much as possible (except for her custom spice blends)...of course, in June we won't be that far away from our last frost (one last night!). In Cambridge. also if you are in to art, don't miss the MFA.

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                            Formaggio Kitchen
                            244 Huron Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                            Oleana
                            134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                            Menton
                            354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                            1. re: uhockey

                              Re: ice cream, Boston has one of the highest consumption of ice cream in the country. Not a lot near where you are staying and working. But, on the lower end of Newbury/Mass Ave is JP Licks. They have unusual flavors at times.

                              Right over the Mass Ave bridge, is Toscanini's, which does have the best ice cream (the combo of burnt caramel and mexican chocolate is something I still dream about). For personal reasons, I don't eat there anymore.

                              Christina's is in Inman Sq. but they are harder to get to. But, I do love the burnt sugar ice cream and many of their seasonal herby flavors (lemon basil stands out in my mind).

                              Also, near Fenway is Berryline yogurt. They are kind of like Pinkberry (which just opened in the area) but I like them better. There website will list their daily flavors. Right now, the Fenway flavors are original, passion fruit and raspberry vanilla. Personally, I would go for a small passion fruit with a coconut topping. It could be a nice way to end your ICOB dinner on your roundabout walk to the park.

                              There are a bunch of cupcake places but I think my homemade ones are better.
                              http://www.berryline.com/

                                1. re: beetlebug

                                  Yes, Berryline is quite good. Another frozen-yogurt option--if you find yourself in Allston, where there are a number of interesting little hole-in-the-wall places--is Mixx, on the corner of Brighton Ave and Chester Street. I would say the yogurt is about as good as Berryline's, with the advantages of being completely self-serve (including the addition of toppings, which include some surprisingly good fresh fruit options along with the usual sugary treats) and the fact that they always have half a dozen flavor choices, including options like lychee, green tea, taro and other interesting flavors. I prefer the plain tart, myself.

                                  Hmm, we may walk over to Mixx after dinner tonight...

                                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                    ooh that sounds terrific. never heard of this place before.

                                  2. re: beetlebug

                                    Emack & Bolio's ice cream is good too. They've got a location in Porter Sq (Cambridge) and on one Newbury St., as well as some others in the Boston area (http://www.emackandbolios.com/locatio...). They tend to stick with more "plain" base ice creams (vanilla, chocolate, etc) with more "stuff" in them, as opposed to Christina's and Toscanini's, which both focus on flavoring the base ice cream with simple or no "stuff' in them. If I'm on Newbury St, I'd go for Emack's over JP Lick's every time (IMO, of course).

                                    For the record, Richardson's ice cream in Middleton MA is great if you're in the area (e.g., if you're driving up to Maine or NH on I-95). HUGE scoops, many flavors, and the wafting smell of cow pies for the adjacent farm. :-)

                                2. re: opinionatedchef

                                  Have you been to Island Creek Oyster Bar for Brunch? If so, how does the menu compare to dinner?

                                  http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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

                                  1. re: uhockey

                                    sorry, hockey, i have not. but i did perform an EXHAUSTIVE brunch search a few wks ago, pulling up endless menus.(I'm STILL exhausted .) That's how i ended up going to east coast grill and neptune oyster, and what led me to be the PROSLETIZING girl I am today in the church of ECG and N.O.!! Everyone wants diff things for brunch but 99.9% of the brunch menus out there do nothing for me.

                                    The ICOB brunch menu did'nt lure me (but maybe you could get oysters and that lobster pasta dish;if that's possible, i say go for it if you don't want to attend my 2 churches)

                                    ;- )

                                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                                      Neptune makes a better lunch than brunch when taking the conference schedule into account.

                                      At this point trying to decide if I could get In/Out of Clio or Coppa on time for the game on Saturday and do ICOB for brunch Sunday instead.

                                      http://uhockey.blogspot.com

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                                      Coppa
                                      253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                                      1. re: uhockey

                                        hockey, remind us if you are getting to the game via cab? a cab ride from the south end will take maybe 8-15 min. depending on traffic etc. Toro is the closer of the 2.
                                        Something about east coast grill doesn't grab you for brunch? they have exc oysters too; best price as well(6 for $13).

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                                        East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
                                        1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                                        Toro
                                        1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                          I can cab or walk. Either way.

                                          ECG feels very Mexican influenced - something we have all too much of here in Ohio.

                                          http://uhockey.blogspot.com

                                          1. re: uhockey

                                            i didn't realize that was true outside of chicago;plse tell me about that.

                                            Walking would take a long time and i thought you were pressed for time..........
                                            if not, beautiful route for most of the way, historic architectur- ally speaking .
                                            Google for walking time.

                                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                                              To be honest I don't need to see the whole game - I mainly just want to catch a couple innings and wander the grounds of the stadium. Depending on the weather I may just walk it. :-)

                                              Regarding Hispanic influences on food - Ohio is largely farm land (fly over country, if you will) - especially the areas between Northwest and Central. Our immigrant population is quite large and good "Mexican" food is quite easy to find. While I agree ECG seems much more Rick Bayless style (IE Chicago) there are similar places here in Ohio - most notably in my town a place called Banana Bean Cafe.

                                              http://uhockey.blogspot.com