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Visiting from San Francisco -- need one "Must Do" when it comes to dinner

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deylamian May 7, 2011 10:47 PM

Hi All-

Visiting for a weekend with a buddy on the weekend of June 10th -- staying in Back Bay.

Was looking for a few options on a great restaurant worth checking out one night while I'm there.

Thinking somewhere not on the white tablecloth, stuffy, end of things....maybe something a little more modern, and let's price isn't too much of an issue in this case.

I'm thinking about checking out one of Barbara Lynch's spots...is No. 9 Park worth going to?

Also, I'm a big "Cocktail" guy -- so if you have any recommendations on unique cocktail spots, that would be great as well.

Any ideas?

Thanks!

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  1. j
    Jenny Ondioline RE: deylamian May 7, 2011 11:06 PM

    Sounds like you want Erbaluce.

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    Erbaluce
    69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

    1. p
      pollystyrene RE: deylamian May 7, 2011 11:57 PM

      I think the bar at No. 9 is worth going to for great cocktails and a cheese plate, but dining there can be hit or miss. As a cocktail gal myself, I'd recommend starting there, then going to O Ya. Or, I'd start at Drink (also a Barbara Lynch creation), then go upstairs to Menton (also a Barbara Lynch creation, although it is a white-table-cloth-special-occasion kind of place) or her more casual, modern Italian diner, Sportello. Unless you know whose station to sit at at Drink, their cocktails can be less than stellar, although most of the bartenders there aim high.

      I haven't been to Craigie on Main in Cambridge yet, but it gets high marks here for both food and cocktails.

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      O Ya
      9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

      Craigie on Main
      853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

      Sportello
      348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

      Menton
      354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

      1 Reply
      1. re: pollystyrene
        g
        Gabatta RE: pollystyrene May 9, 2011 09:15 PM

        Nothing like O Ya in SF. I would second that suggestion.

      2. m
        Madrid RE: deylamian May 8, 2011 04:59 AM

        Neptune Oyster.......lots of praise on thi sboard.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Madrid
          c
          cambridgedoctpr RE: Madrid May 8, 2011 07:56 AM

          i lived in P.A. and think that italian food is better there though i do not remember anything quite like Coppa. I would recommend Neptune, O Ya, - very pricey - Clio/Uni for seafood. I also would skip most Asian food which is better on the West Coast though you might consider Rod Dee.

          I do not drink cocktails but people like Drink and the bar at Clio/Uni.

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          O Ya
          9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

          Coppa
          253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

          1. re: cambridgedoctpr
            m
            Madrid RE: cambridgedoctpr May 8, 2011 10:34 AM

            I lived as well in P.A. for years...still trying to get used to New England growing season and produce after two decades....don't even think about trying Mexican here!

            1. re: Madrid
              t
              taos RE: Madrid May 11, 2011 02:59 PM

              What is P.A.?

              1. re: taos
                m
                Madrid RE: taos May 11, 2011 03:08 PM

                Sorry, by P.A. I meant Palo Alto, south of SF on "the peninsula" and north of San Jose and Sunnyvale. Home of Stanford. I assume cambridgedoctor also meant Palo Alto, though I might be wrong!

                1. re: Madrid
                  m
                  Madrid RE: Madrid May 11, 2011 03:11 PM

                  Sorry, instead of Sunnyvale, I meant Cupertino...home of Apple, for those trying to locate the area. I'm not up on all the tech stuff, but I don't think Sunnyvale would ring a bell for anyone who has never lived in the area.

                  1. re: Madrid
                    t
                    taos RE: Madrid May 11, 2011 07:51 PM

                    Thanks. I know what Palo Alto is, but not enough to know the abbreviation.

          2. w
            winedude RE: deylamian May 8, 2011 11:24 AM

            I'm a former SF'er, if that matters. If you've been to the better SF places, I don't think any of the Barbara Lynch spots will move you (though I haven't been to Menton yet). I think Neptune Oyster is a great suggestion, and for dinner, I'd suggest Ten Tables in JP, which I think is doing some interesting things with local foods. Not much of cocktail guy, so I'll let others weigh in on that.

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

            Ten Tables
            5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

            Menton
            354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

            1. k
              kimfair1 RE: deylamian May 8, 2011 01:55 PM

              I think Craigie on Main fits the bill perfectly. Great food (some of the best in the city), as well as some of the best cocktails in the city. Try their signature cocktail, The Northern Lights.

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              Craigie on Main
              853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

              3 Replies
              1. re: kimfair1
                RosewaterLass RE: kimfair1 May 9, 2011 07:45 AM

                Second that! We visited Boston this past week, and four of us went to Craigie on Main for the first time. We were blown away by the food and the attentive service. We had no reservations (taking to heart their website's "We Welcome walk-ins." They do welcome you, but you may have QUITE a wait!), and we got horribly tangled in Cambridge trying to find the place, but the untangling and the wait were well worth it! Between us we spanned the menu's possibilites somewhat, and no one was disappointed in the least. Plus the tastiest Negrone I've had in YEARS! And that's sayin' something!

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                Craigie on Main
                853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                1. re: RosewaterLass
                  c
                  cambridgedoctpr RE: RosewaterLass May 12, 2011 01:39 PM

                  craigie is 5 to 10 minutes from the central square red line stop; if you can ditch your car; taking the train is the simplest way to go. For Newbies, driving around Boston and Cambridge without a GPS is no fun.

                  1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                    m
                    Madrid RE: cambridgedoctpr May 12, 2011 05:00 PM

                    parking is even less fun.

              2. GretchenS RE: deylamian May 9, 2011 07:56 AM

                I would second Craigie on Main or Ten Tables, although Erbaluce is also excellent and I had maybe the best service ever anywhere when I was there with a friend last week. Can't weigh in on the cocktails.

                -----
                Craigie on Main
                853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                Ten Tables
                5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

                Erbaluce
                69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                1 Reply
                1. re: GretchenS
                  chickendhansak RE: GretchenS May 9, 2011 12:03 PM

                  Are there cocktails at Erbaluce? A year ago, they didn't have anything other than wine and beer.

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                  Erbaluce
                  69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                2. d
                  deylamian RE: deylamian May 9, 2011 08:41 AM

                  Awesome suggestions -- Thanks all. I'm thinking Neptune Oyster is a must. Debating between Ten Tables and Craigie on Main...thinking Craigie.

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

                  Ten Tables
                  5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: deylamian
                    greenzebra RE: deylamian May 9, 2011 09:54 AM

                    If cocktails are a consideration, Craigie has one of the best bars in the Boston area. Definitely pricier than Ten Tables, but better, more consistent and more creative food, and well worth the expense IMO.

                    1. re: deylamian
                      Bob Dobalina RE: deylamian May 9, 2011 10:23 AM

                      Craigie is on another level from TT.
                      Non-stuffy modern = harder to find in Boston than you might think. Stuffy and modern tend to go together here.

                      Reminds me of the time years ago I went to a restaurant called Stars I think it was - in SF - and everyone there was wearing (nice) jeans - kind of threw me.

                      Neptune is a good suggestion - Toro also comes to mind - in the back bay, you might also consider Tico (though I have not had the food, the room is modern...)

                      1. re: Bob Dobalina
                        r
                        robwat36 RE: Bob Dobalina May 9, 2011 10:48 AM

                        What restaurants would you describe as stuffy? Strange that you would say this when most other posters seem to complain that everything is too casual.

                        1. re: robwat36
                          Bob Dobalina RE: robwat36 May 9, 2011 11:08 AM

                          Rob, your comment rightly points out a discrepancy between what the OP meant by stuffy and what I had in mind - Setting vs. attitude.

                    2. a
                      autopi RE: deylamian May 9, 2011 11:33 AM

                      i'd go for island creek oyster bar. great shellfish and a stellar cocktail program -- i believe they have the former drinks guy at craigie. sort of regional too, as in you can get oysters from around the region, lobster rolls and so forth. modern space, expensive but not insanely so. also pretty accessible from the back bay.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: autopi
                        r
                        robwat36 RE: autopi May 9, 2011 12:00 PM

                        Second this, and if you have time, visit nearby Clio and Eastern Standard for additional cocktails. Both are located in hotels, so you'll have no trouble stumbling right into a cab afterward.

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                        Eastern Standard
                        528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                      2. CocoDan RE: deylamian May 9, 2011 11:40 AM

                        I also weigh in with Craigie on Main. Great food/great cocktails/very good wine list. If you're moved to have Asian food, don't shy away. It's every bit as good as in S.F. I have cousins and friends that come here twice a year and more than often have Asian.
                        Enjoy Your Stay (and our food),
                        CocoDan

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                        Craigie on Main
                        853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: CocoDan
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                          winedude RE: CocoDan May 9, 2011 01:30 PM

                          I'm on board with the Craigie on Main suggestion, it seems like it has a better cocktails program than Ten Tables. It also has the advantage of being a few doors down from Toscanini's, the best ice cream in America (many say, including me), which the OP might well enjoy as a comparison to Bi-Rite (the best ice cream I've had on the West Coast). When I lived in SF, Toscanini's was a must-visit when I came out this way. I'd recommend leaving some room for dessert, and heading over after Craigie.

                          BTW, the Asian out here is NOT as good as SF, don't kid yourself. There may be a few out here that are better than many in SF, but at the higher end, there's little comparison, especially in dim sum and the regional cuisines. I'll take Slanted Door, any day.

                          -----
                          Craigie on Main
                          853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                          Ten Tables
                          5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

                          1. re: winedude
                            w
                            winedude RE: winedude May 9, 2011 05:38 PM

                            And lest I sound cranky, here's something Boston is way better at--authentic pizza. I'll also take the original Regina's, plain cheese, well done, any day.

                            1. re: winedude
                              g
                              Gabatta RE: winedude May 9, 2011 09:12 PM

                              Is it just me, or is the ice cream at Toscanini's too soft. I have to take it home and stick it in the freezer for a bit, which isn't optimal. It's even worse in the hot weather when it is melting by the time they hand you the cone.

                              Also, they never have my favorite flavor (butterchip).

                              Best in America? I don't even think it's the best in Cambridge (Christina's).

                          2. p
                            phatchris RE: deylamian May 11, 2011 03:09 PM

                            Bergamot in somerville would suit your needs, modern food and very solid bartending.

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