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First trip to Boston!!!

g
gators2k Apr 26, 2011 11:41 AM

My girlfriend and I will be making our first visit to the Boston area. We are coming in on tuesday, June 21 and will be leaving on Saturday, June 25.

Here are some places/restaurants/pubs that we thought about checking out:

Union Oyster House
Pizzeria Regina (North End)
The Barking Crab (after reading reviews, we may just stop for a beer)
East Coast Grille
Thirsty Scholar Pub
Bukowski Tavern
Boston Beer Works
Cheers (Beacon Hill)
Durgin Park
Terramia
Cambridge 1
Bleacher Bar
Neptune

Fenway Park
North End
Quincy Market
Harvard University/Harvard Square

I realize that the majority of these (or all) are "tourist" places, but then again - we are tourists! I am looking for suggestions on good restaurants, good pubs/bars, other must sees!

We will be getting into boston around noon on Tuesday and we will be renting a car for the week. I haven't booked hotel rooms yet, but I am guessing we will stay in either the downtown, north end or beacon hill areas.

Tuesday:
- I thought about checking out some of downtown, stopping at The Barking Crab, and we are looking for a good place to eat in those areas. We would like to check out a couple of cool "boston" pubs.

Wednesday:
- we are going to the Red Sox game at 1:30 this day. I am planning on heading down to the fenway area that morning (probably 9ish), maybe for a quick breakfast and check out some of the local bars (bleacher bar). We will probably eat at the park, but may be looking for something lighter that night or some pub food. We will probably try to hit some local pubs/bars either in fenway area or back toward hotel area.

thursday:
- nothing planned. We would like to hit Harvard Square and Harvard University sometime. We could either do this Thursday or Friday. So restaurant suggestions in this area/Cambridge for brunch, lunch or dinner are appreciated. I would like to stop in at the Thirsty Scholar Pub.

Friday:
- nothing planned. We would like to hit Quincy Market and/or Chinatown on one of the days. So restaurant suggestions are appreciated.

Here is what we are looking for in food:

- seafood!!
- Italian/pizza
- good food/good views
- brunch spots
- "boston" feel restaurants
- must see pubs/hole-in-the wall spots

Obviously being our first time, it is hard to envision what we can hit in the same day? What restaurants/pubs make sense to pair up on a day?

thanks!!!

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The Barking Crab
88 Sleeper Street, Boston, MA 02210

Thirsty Scholar
70 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

Union Oyster House
41 Union Street, Boston, MA 02108

Boston Beer Works
61 Brookline Ave Ste 2, Boston, MA 02215

Fenway Park
82 Lansdowne Street, Boston, MA 02215

Bukowski's
50 Dalton St Ste 4, Boston, MA 02115

Terramia
98 Salem St., North End, Boston, MA 02113

East Coast Restaurant
1456 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester, MA 02122

Durgin Park
1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

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  1. C. Hamster RE: gators2k Apr 26, 2011 12:20 PM

    Ill just comment on your list:

    Union Oyster House -- NO The food is really terrible. The oysters are ok, but you can do better.

    Pizzeria Regina (North End) YES Good.

    The Barking Crab (after reading reviews, we may just stop for a beer) NO!!!!

    East Coast Grille YES!!!!

    Thirsty Scholar Pub NEVER BEEN

    Bukowski Tavern YES. And check out the Pour House across the street too.

    Boston Beer Works NO. Overpriced, meh food and insane on game days

    Cheers (Beacon Hill) HUH? Its name isn't cheers, it's the bull and finch. It doesn't remotely resemble cheers. Its just a neighborhood bar. Fine for that.

    Durgin Park I cant tell you how much I hate this place. Everyone is from Iowa

    Terramia NEver been

    Cambridge 1 Never been

    Bleacher Bar Fun

    Neptune NOW you're talking! Absolutely.

    Ill have more time to think and post later ...

    -----
    The Barking Crab
    88 Sleeper Street, Boston, MA 02210

    Thirsty Scholar
    70 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

    Bukowski's
    1281 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

    Union Oyster House
    41 Union Street, Boston, MA 02108

    Boston Beer Works
    61 Brookline Ave Ste 2, Boston, MA 02215

    Terramia
    98 Salem St., North End, Boston, MA 02113

    Pour House
    907 Boylston St Ste 21, Boston, MA 02115

    East Coast Restaurant
    1456 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester, MA 02122

    Durgin Park
    1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

    1 Reply
    1. re: C. Hamster
      Alcachofa RE: C. Hamster Apr 27, 2011 11:17 AM

      Actually, the Bull & Finch officially "gave up" and changed its name to Cheers several years ago. And as a "neighborhood bar" I would recommend 75 Chestnut or The Sevens well before Cheers.

      -----
      75 Chestnut
      75 Chestnut St, Boston, MA 02108

    2. GretchenS RE: gators2k Apr 26, 2011 12:31 PM

      Cambridge One would cover off pizza and Harvard Square and it's good. Pizzeria Regina (in North End only) also good. Sadly, good food and good views are largely mutually exclusive around here. Based on your plans, I doubt you need a car and suspect you will find it more of a liability than anything else. Everything is public transport ("T") accessible, whiile parking is a problem in most if not all of the touristy spots. Agree with C. Hamster that Boston Beer Works is a must-miss and that the Cheers bar (Bull & Finch) turns out to be a major disappointment for out-of-towners I have not been able to discourage from waiting in line for. Neptune and East Coast Grill will get you seafood and consider adding Peach Farm in Chinatown for their take on seafood. Brunch is going to be tough because you're not around on the weekend. Can't speak to the pubs but you seem to have an assortment. Enjoy your stay!

      -----
      Peach Farm
      4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

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

      Boston Beer Works
      61 Brookline Ave Ste 2, Boston, MA 02215

      2 Replies
      1. re: GretchenS
        h
        hckybg RE: GretchenS Apr 26, 2011 12:43 PM

        Skip Boston Beer Works and Bull & Finch. Instead, when you go to East Coast Grill, follow it with a stop at Bukowski next door--a good beer bar. Then go on to the Druid, my favorite neighborhood pub, and continue up Beacon Street for a nice cocktail at Trina's. By the time you are done at Trina's and ready to go to Thirsty Scholar just a few doors down, you will be too smashed to mind that you are only there because it was in The Social Network. That said, the Thirsty Scholar is a plenty fine place, especially if there is a game on that you want to watch.

        1. re: hckybg
          m
          Madrid RE: hckybg Apr 26, 2011 02:03 PM

          Personally I like the Thirsty Scholar but the food is very, very mediocre. Druid is much better by far and a real local hole in the wall. In Harvard Square, consider stopping by Grendel's...it's an old pub and big grad student hangout. OK food at half price during happy hour. Another bar you might want to try is Casablanca...full of lots of Harvard prof types, a real local hangout, and bar food above average.Scenes from the movie on the wall. You will not want to drive to Cambridge, the parking situation is horrific. Others have posted about newer taverns/pubs in Cambridge.

          I love Oleana in Cambridge and don't miss Neptune! Go right when they open at lunch or midafternoon. Also, earlier today someone who just visited and who has very high end food tastes posted a good review of Durgin Park. Looking inside the Union Oyster House/getting a drink/oysters is fine...but as others have said, dont get anything else there!

          Did you know that there is an inexpensive Amtrak train to Portland? You may still want the car for that trip. Where are you from? Depending, you may be shocked at the price for off street parking, including at the hotel.

          For a short, cheap boat ride with fabulous views of the city, check out the the MBTA boat from the Aquarium (long wharf) to Charlestown....where Bunker Hill and the Old Ironsides/Constitution ship are. There is a pub right there at the boat dock called Tavern on the Water...it has fabulous views and a deck, horrible food but stopping for a drink before you head back on the boat is fine. Even more water view are the boats to the Harbor Islands...take a picnic with you.

          -----
          Thirsty Scholar
          70 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

          Oleana
          134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

          Durgin Park
          1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

      2. g
        gators2k RE: gators2k Apr 26, 2011 12:37 PM

        thanks for the advice C. Hamster and Gretchen!

        One of the reasons for the car is that we are driving up to Portland on Saturday and will be up there for a couple of days.

        5 Replies
        1. re: gators2k
          t
          treb RE: gators2k Apr 26, 2011 12:41 PM

          In Portland, hit up 3 Dollar Dewey's and Gritty McDuff's.

          1. re: gators2k
            Allstonian RE: gators2k Apr 26, 2011 12:48 PM

            In that case consider getting the car only for that side trip to Portland - I agree with Gretchen S that you don't need the car in Boston & Cambridge, and it may indeed be more of a liability than an asset, especially trying to park in the busiest parts of town.

            1. re: Allstonian
              j
              Jenny Ondioline RE: Allstonian Apr 26, 2011 12:54 PM

              Seconded: Boston has many in-town car rental places where you can book a car without having to head back to the airport to do so. Book a car sole for the Portland run and use the T the rest of the time. You'll save both money and aggravation.

            2. re: gators2k
              p
              Pete Lyons RE: gators2k Apr 26, 2011 02:11 PM

              If you like good beer stop by Novare Res while in Portland. It's right down in old-port hidden in an alley behind the parking garage that's across the street from Gritty's. They are always pouring some great Belgian inspired brews and have nice cheese and hams to nibble on as well. They have a funky basement space and a large sunny outside area.

              1. re: gators2k
                a
                astrid RE: gators2k Apr 26, 2011 05:18 PM

                The food in Portland is much better than in Boston! Check out Duckfat, Atlantic Baking Co., or Nosh. By the water go either Gilbert's Chowder House or the Port Hole.

              2. k
                Kinopio RE: gators2k Apr 26, 2011 01:11 PM

                Don't rent a car for the days you are in Boston. Its the worst way to get around the city by far. Every place you mentioned is within walking distance accept for the places you mentioned in Cambridge, which is easily accessible by subway.

                If you are going to a Sox game then I wouldn't recommend Bleacher Bar because the appeal of Bleacher Bar is that you can kinda see into the field from it, but if you are going to the game anyway then whats the point? In the Fenway area check out:

                Eastern Standard: amazing cocktails

                Citizen Pub: good cocktails, decent beer

                Lower Depths: Solid but expensive beer selection

                Boston Beer Works: decent brewpub, right at the ballpark

                Since you plan to go to Harvard Square and are interested in bars, check out the beer garden at Charlies Kitchen. Russell House Tavern is a good place in the square too. You mentioned both Thirsty Scholar and East Coast Grill. Keep in mind these two places are near Harvard Square. Other places you should check out in this area are Oleana for great Mediterranean food with a lovely patio and Cambridge Brewing Company and Lord Hobo for the 2 best beer destinations in city.

                If you are going to be looking for bars in the downtown area, check out Drink for the best cocktails in the city. Kinsale, Stoddards and Jacob Wirths are probably along the lines of pubs you are looking for in that part of town.

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

                Eastern Standard
                528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                Cambridge Brewing Company
                1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

                Jacob Wirth Restaurant
                31 Stuart St, Boston, MA 02116

                Thirsty Scholar
                70 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

                Oleana
                134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                Boston Beer Works
                61 Brookline Ave Ste 2, Boston, MA 02215

                Lower Depths
                476 Commonwealth Ave Ste 1, Boston, MA 02215

                Lord Hobo
                92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                Russell House Tavern
                14 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

                2 Replies
                1. re: Kinopio
                  Science Chick RE: Kinopio Apr 27, 2011 11:44 AM

                  While in Portland, I highly recommend a stop in at Scratch Bakery (S. Portland, only 10 minutes from downtown)
                  http://scratchbakingco.com/

                  PLEEZ don't go to the Barking Crab, unless you are hellbent on a beer in a plastic cup in a filthy environment. Many other great suggestions here for something on the waterfront. It's one thing to do something touristy that is good.....it's another to go to a touristy spot that simply stinks!

                  Here's a few others:
                  While in Harvard Square, Henrietta's Table is a great spot for brunch or other meals.

                  Chinatown is a good call, whether for a Banh Mi, dimsum (Chau Chow Seafood or Hei La Moon; although I would stick with a cart place), great seafood at Peach Farm, great overall meal at Taiwan Cafe.

                  -----
                  Hei La Moon
                  88 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

                  Peach Farm
                  4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

                  The Barking Crab
                  88 Sleeper Street, Boston, MA 02210

                  Henrietta's Table
                  One Bennett St., Cambridge, MA 02138

                  1. re: Science Chick
                    Science Chick RE: Science Chick Apr 28, 2011 06:51 AM

                    BTW, on your way to Portland I highly recommend stopping for lunch at Fisherman's Catch in Wells. Slightly off the main tourist route (Rt. 1), with lovely marsh views, top notch seafood. Really one of the best seafood places in southern Maine.

                    http://www.fishermanscatchwells.com/

                2. n
                  nickls RE: gators2k Apr 26, 2011 01:38 PM

                  I have a few ideas for you. If it's really nice out, a drink at the Barking Crab might not be out of order, but in that area better choices when you don't have to be outside are Lucky's and Drink. Lucky's is a fun Boston bar, a bit of Southie, they have live music some nights and decent bar food. If you like classic cocktails you should definitely stop in at Drink if it's not too crowded.

                  For a day in Cambridge: start off with brunch at the Friendly Toast served all day every day. It's a fun place, with good toast and weird kitschy decor. You could visit MIT, or walk along the Charles River.

                  Bartley's Burgers is a classic tourist destination in Harvard Square you could go to for lunch. Or if you value taste over touristy, go to Flat Patties instead. Tory Row has also been reported to have good burgers if you want a beer with your burger.

                  Later in the day I would suggest the Russell House Tavern for some good drinks and food. Or you could head down to Inman Square to finish off the day and go to the places hckybg suggested.

                  Other bars:
                  Irish Pub: touristy-Black Rose by Quincy Market authentic-the Burren in Davis Square
                  Brew Pub: average-Boston Beer Works great beer-Cambridge Brewing Company
                  Beer Bars: Bukowski's, Publick House, Lord Hobo, Sunset, Deep Ellum, Meadhall (opening tomorrow)

                  1. g
                    gators2k RE: gators2k Apr 27, 2011 07:00 AM

                    thanks for all the replies! I definitely think we will be passing on the car rental until later in the week when we head to Maine.

                    I am working on putting together a little itinerary of the trip. I will post that soon.

                    In the meanwhile, the more recommendations the better!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: gators2k
                      l
                      LeoLioness RE: gators2k Apr 27, 2011 07:10 AM

                      You might specify what sort of restaurants you are looking for, other than "good".

                      1. re: LeoLioness
                        h
                        hckybg RE: LeoLioness Apr 27, 2011 07:29 AM

                        He listed lots of restaurants in his original post, so maybe some alternatives to those if you have any in mind.

                        Island Creek Oyster Bar would be one suggestion to consider as an alternative to Union Square Oyster Bar, though East Coast Grill also has a nice oyster menu.

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

                      2. re: gators2k
                        opinionatedchef RE: gators2k Apr 27, 2011 11:55 AM

                        gator, i am impressed with the excellence of your original post. I wish every visitor seeking CH advice- would give the info you have; so perfect for helping us give out the best advice!

                        that said, i am so glad you are going to Pofrtland. It is such a handsome historic, well-preserved port city. Very friendly vibe and lots of excellent food. Below is my advice to another CH doing the Boston-Portland visit.
                        Also, I can't recommend more highly your stopping off at The Clam Box in Ipswich MA. (45-60 min north of Boston, a slight detour for your otherwise 2 hour straight shot to Portland). I have sampled fried clams at almost all of Boston's best seafood spots, but The Clam Box has a 'Best fried clams' reputation for a valid reason.That way, if you go to Neptune Oyster ( a real seafood must-go in Boston) you can skip the fried clams for their other great things!
                        -------------------------------------
                        My 9/09 north of portland report: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/650244?tag=boards;topic-650244

                        Portland No Brainers:
                        Best inventive, hearty brunch in Portland is at Local 188 (great funky room; more hippy crowd) and then the nearby 555 Congress(sleek, handsome space; pricey; more yuppie crowd).

                        Hugo's has exc. inventive artisanal food but he believes in mote sized micro portions and I do not. Along with his excellent but outrageously priced fries at Duck Fat, I can only figure that Hugo wants to be one of the select few chef/owners who makes money and buys a house in St Kitts. He must figure that if he's going to work as hard as he does, he's gonna make some money doing it.

                        Fore St. has never impressed me. Stopped going long ago.

                        We've had excellent artisanal dinners at tiny Bresca ; intimate,wonderful lovingly prepared Northern Italian/ Mediterrean leanings..
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/650217?tag=boards;topic-650217

                        Make sure to drive down Portland's Commercial St. and see the best preserved 19th c. waterfront on the East Coast(which is part of the largest best preserved 19th c. commercial district on the East Coast.) Continue on to Danforth St and see the many- block historic district with its handsome, often architecturally unique, well preserved 19th c. mansions.
                        -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        The Clam Box ;see my review: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7135...
                        It is not a near-highway easy place to access. By far the most beautiful route, coming from Portland, is to take the Downtown Newburyport exit onto High Street, lined with well preserved 18th and 19th c. shipping captains' mansions, and continue on through beautiful marshlands/ countryside to Ipswich. You will want to hit the Clam Box NOT between 11:30 and 2pm.on a weekend.

                        **an alternative to this is driving the 2 hrs from Portland to Boston; parking near Regina's (the 'easier' parking area near the North End, as opposed to the Waterfront) walking the North End and having lunch at Regina's.
                        --------------------------------------

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

                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                          k
                          kimfair1 RE: opinionatedchef Apr 28, 2011 05:23 AM

                          OC and I differ in our Portland recs, as Hugo's is my favorite restaurant, period. Yes the portions are small, but as a large man, I can say that I have never gone home hungry from there when getting the six or eight course tasting menu, and Chef Rob Evans is cooking some of the most inventive food in New England. I also disagree with OC on 555 which I was extremely underwhelmed by. The North New England board people seem to really love it, though, so maybe it was me, but I'm not rushing back.

                          As for Boston one thing we can all agree on is to stay away from The Barking Crab. I like Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kenmore for seafood (larger than neptune, and they take reservations), for pizza, either the North End Pizzaria Regina or Gallaria Umberto on Hanover Street North End. Bars prior to the game I usually end up at The Lower Depths (good selection cash only). Other bars closer to Fenway will be jammed hours before the game. Have a great time, and report back!

                          -----
                          The Barking Crab
                          88 Sleeper Street, Boston, MA 02210

                          Lower Depths
                          476 Commonwealth Ave Ste 1, Boston, MA 02215

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

                      3. e
                        emannths RE: gators2k Apr 27, 2011 12:36 PM

                        I'll chime in here on the pub side of things. I usually look at things from a quality-of-the-beer standpoint, so don't take these to be any validation or impeachment of the food or ambiance unless otherwise mentioned.

                        For a visitor, I'd put Cambridge Brewing Company at the top of my list. Their beers are truly outstanding and only available at the brewpub, and if it's a nice day, you can sit outside. They're open for lunch and all afternoon too, if you're looking for a lazy afternoon. Just down the street is Lord Hobo, which has probably the best taplist in the Boston area for a beer geek (and helpful bartenders to help you navigate the menu and provide samples). Meadhall is right there too, which has a taplist with a heavy emphasis on regional breweries (it looks like they're pouring just about every one of Smuttynose's beers, for example).

                        The Kinsale is my favorite place in the downtown area--their selection is good and the prices are excellent. Stoddard's has a good list and a neat atmosphere, but be prepared for eyepopping prices ($10 for a pint of cask ale, I believe). Scholar's (http://www.scholarsbostonbistro.com/) just opened this month, and may be another option--early reports are that prices are very reasonable (~$5/pint).

                        Near Harvard, John Harvard's brewpub isn't bad. Russell House Tavern and Cambridge Common are good options for beer too. If you like cocktails, Green Street Grill in Central Square is great (good beer list too).

                        Near Fenway, I'd consider either getting a beer at the Lower Depths (a little pricey, cash only) or walking over to the Otherside Cafe. If you've got time, you could take the T a couple stops to/from Washington Square, home to the Publick House and American Craft, or Harvard Ave, home to Sunset Grill (100+ taps of great beer, but mind the college-y feel) and Deep Ellum.

                        I personally don't like Bukowski's. I find that their prices are high and their pours are frustratingly short. I'd rather put up with the limited selection at the Druid or the 10 minute walk to Lord Hobo if I'm in Inman Square, or head to the Otherside if I'm in Boston. But many people do like the place, and the locations certainly are convenient.

                        -----
                        Cambridge Common
                        1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                        Cambridge Brewing Company
                        1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        Green Street
                        280 Green St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        Publick House
                        1648 Beacon St, Brookline, MA

                        Bukowski's
                        1281 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        Deep Ellum Bar
                        477 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134

                        Lower Depths
                        476 Commonwealth Ave Ste 1, Boston, MA 02215

                        Sunset Grill
                        916 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                        Lord Hobo
                        92 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                        American Craft
                        1700 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02445

                        Russell House Tavern
                        14 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

                        1. opinionatedchef RE: gators2k Apr 28, 2011 12:17 PM

                          I mentioned it elsewhere i know, but pizza regina north end is the most authentic pizza you will find in boston. Cambidge One is not at all trad but is really super pizza, cracker bread like crust and grilled. so simple, so clean. My fav is ham, chevre and scallion. Both pizzas memorable.

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