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Discriminating friend coming to town for the week from San Francisco - critique my itinerary?

This friend used to work in the restaurant industry for years and continues to dine out regularly -- has excellent taste and price is (almost) no object. I'm in charge of giving him 7 or so must-try dinner places. He'll have a car, so doesn't have to be in Boston proper, although he will be staying at the Liberty and wants to stay in the general Boston-Cambridge vicinity but experience a variety of things. Here are my "top 7":

1. Bondir
2. Bergamot
3. Coppa
4. Craigie on Main
5. Prezza (or Pomodoro; I cannot decide)
6. Island Creek Oysters
7. Tico
8. Lala Rokh

He'll eat almost anything, very adventurous, high standards. I was also thinking about the reopened Locke Ober, though I have yet to go back. Or Menton, though I think the price point is a tad too high as we'll be dining out most nights. Thoughts?

-----
Prezza
24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

Pomodoro
319 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113

Craigie on Main
853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

Lala Rokh
97 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02108

Coppa
253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

Menton
354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

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

Bondir
279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

Tico
222 Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02116

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  1. If you really want to distinguish Boston from San Francisco I'd go to ICOH 8 times.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Carty

      Ummm... They do great oysters in Sf .

      1. re: C. Hamster

        True, but Atlantic and Pacific oysters are quite different. And regardless, ICOB is much more than oysters.

    2. Neptune oyster
      Oleana
      o ya

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

      3 Replies
      1. re: Madrid

        I agree O Ya. SF can counter almost everything else on the OPs list in some way.

        1. re: Madrid

          I like the list - not a bad pick in the bunch -
          However, I might also suggest Oleana, along with Hungry Mother, over Bondir and Bergamot - maybe a good Portuguese or Brazilian place - chowhound Itaunas can perhaps weigh in on this....
          Also maybe a casual place or two, just to break it up a bit - a Santarpio's, a Rincon Limeno, or a Vinny's at Night...

          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            The Oleana thought came to mind, but since the OP had Lala Rokh they seemed to have already considered Boston and SF differences to pick that. I also would question having both Bondir and Bergamot, but my guess is they want something new and chef driven. And add me to the choir suggesting a pass on Pomodoro (Taranta for something more unusual if North End is required?). There is plenty of Portuguese food in the Bay Area, although emmigration to there was primarily Azorean and most of the restaurants in Cambridge are Continental Portuguese. With ethnic selections the issue is most of the original offerings are higher-end or bistro type offerings. The closest Portugese to that mold is Atasca and they have the most unique plates, but the service isn't quite as high. For Brazilian in the Bay Area there are a lot of folks from Goias which overlaps food-wise with the Boston area (Minas Gerais), Muqueca (from Espirito Santo) is certainly unique and its chef driven, but the service level is lower (and food can be inconsistent). There are European themed restaurants in Boston which offer interesting plates and better service - Erbaluce comes to mind, even Taberno de Haro and Erbaluce (here wait staff are a bit green but earnest).

            If they wanted to do a casual place, some Portuguese options are the bar at Portugalia (occasionally some unusual seafood on the specials board) or JJ's (ask for the gizards 'couvert'). I saw the OP posted looking for "off the beaten track" so they may already be researching this. A friend of mine from the Bay Area loved our selection of Taiwanese food. Daily Catch on Hanover for informal is a touch touristy, but more interesting than Pomodoro too. We are closer to the caribbean than SF so that might be one possible tack. Himalayan restaurants are a more recent specialty, Cambodian and Vietnamese if the wanted something from Southeast Asia where we a relatively strong -- a visit to Lowell for Southeast Asian food could be combined with hitting the Portuguese bakery there, or even Lawrence for Dominican. I also really enjoyed Devra First's take on Tres Gatos (haven't been) and I have always gone record shopping in SF and Santa Cruz, so depending on the friend might head there. If they are into coffee, it would be interesting to compare some of our more recent cafe additions.

            Update: To add one comment. SF/East Bay/Napa are so strong with farm to table and have so much available in the way of produce, that is not something to emphasize here. That would form part of my question of Bondir and Bergamot, although the former could be interesting for _what_ such a restaurant has to work with around here. Restaurants which focus on ingredients, but not uniquely local are strong -- Barbara Lynch, Cragie (nose to tail, ethical, but reasonably global), O Ya come to mind. Local Seafood is different, so ICOB is definitely interesting in that fashion, Rendezvous has the roof garden (not this season), local seafood, good ingredients. And Coppa has both house cured and "imported" charcuterie, although just about everything they do can be found on the West Coast, just perhaps not in one (mid-range) restaurant.

            -----
            Muqueca
            1010 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

            Daily Catch
            323 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

            Pomodoro
            319 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113

            Oleana
            134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

            Lala Rokh
            97 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02108

            Erbaluce
            69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

            Bondir
            279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

        2. Others to consider
          * Ten Tables Cambridge
          * Clam Box
          * Oleana

          -----
          Clam Box
          789 Quincy Shore Dr, Quincy, MA 02170

          Oleana
          134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

          Ten Tables
          5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

          1. Prezza & Pomodoro are very different restos. What criteria are you using?

            -----
            Prezza
            24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

            Pomodoro
            24 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02445

            1 Reply
            1. re: Taralli

              That was my thought. I also would take Prezza over Pomodoro any day. I've found such disinterest on the part of the owner at Pomodoro. The food was good but I felt more like I was imposing rather than dining out.

              -----
              Prezza
              24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

            2. I think a professional would like hings off the beaten path i.e. competent fare won;t impress. While SF food scene is excellent, Boston could pleasantly surprise I like your list based on reputation but haven;t been to most and agree on O Ya for a splurge Also l"Espalier for a splurge as a professional would appreciate its close to perfect experience. In the lower cost arena, I would add Rincon Limeno (Peruvian in East Boston) and one of our Taiwanese or Sichuan places (SF is good for Asian but these are regions that aren't as strong there.

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

              Rincon Limeno
              409 Chelsea St, Boston, MA 02128

              1. I love your choices, but I've never been overly impressed by Prezza or Pomodoro. Depending on what type of Italian you're looking for, I'd go with Erbaluce or Via Matta.

                I'd also consider adding O Ya and Toro to the list.

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

                Prezza
                24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

                Toro
                1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                Pomodoro
                24 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02445

                Via Matta
                79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

                Erbaluce
                69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

                1. if you think that menton is too expensive, then o Ya may also be.

                  I think that Asian and Mexican are superior in SF.

                  How about Toro and Coppa? Neptune and Island Creek?

                  East Ocean Seafood sometimes has good fresh cod which is not generally available in SF, if I remember correctly.

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

                  East Ocean Restaurant
                  3704 Washington St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

                  Coppa
                  253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                  1. I have been lucky enough to have eaten out in SF extensively every year for the past 12. If your friend eats out alot there, then I would highly suggest removing bondir, bergamot, tico, coppa,prezza or pomodoro, and add, in descending order of 'not found much or at all in SF':
                    Oleana
                    Clam Box
                    Pizzeria Regina
                    Meena's Kitchen (South Indian home cooking, in Nashua N.H.)
                    East Coast Grill (for their bbq and Southern elements)
                    Menton
                    Aquitaine
                    Toro
                    OYa
                    Neptune Oyster

                    These suggestions are reflective of my experience with SF having plenty of excellent restaurants that are: Chinese, Mexican,elegant Italian, snout-to-tail, small chef-run locavore, and fusion-Japanese.

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

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

                    Toro
                    1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                    Clam Box
                    789 Quincy Shore Dr, Quincy, MA 02170

                    Oleana
                    134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                    Menton
                    354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

                    1. tico and pomodoro are not in league with any of the other places on this list.

                      with a car, why not venture up to the north shore to the clam box, or even woodman's, and then another night/day to lowell for super good southeast asian. easily accessed by the t is east boston for central american and santarpio's.

                      as a lifer in the restaurant biz, even on vacation i don't want formal dining very night.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        If you're opening this discussion up to Lowell, I would recommend Udupi Bhavan for South Indian. Also, Sichuan Gourmet holds its own against anything I ate in SF.

                        -----
                        Udupi
                        378 Maple Ave, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

                        Sichuan Gourmet
                        1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

                        1. re: whs

                          i am a fan of udipi bhavan's chef but it cannot compare to the much more unique home cooking style of Meena's Kitchen. have you tried it yet?

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            Meena's is like eating the home cooking of a Hyderabadi family. Udupi Bhavan is like eating at a good veg restaurant in Chennai i.e. Madras Woodlands.

                            -----
                            Udupi
                            378 Maple Ave, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

                            1. re: whs

                              Wow, delicious replies! We ended up settling on Island Creek Oyster Bar, Coppa (chosen over Toro, as I have had bad service at Toro), Bondir, Craigie on Main, Prezza, No. 9 Park, and one night exploring Chinatown!

                              -----
                              Prezza
                              24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

                              Toro
                              1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                              Craigie on Main
                              853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

                              Coppa
                              253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

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

                              Bondir
                              279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

                              1. re: Swankalicious

                                would love to hear your goods and bads about these spots. And very curious if your friend compared any of them, favorably or not, to particular SF places. Thanks much!