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Cdn visitor looking for quality seafood, chowder, seasonal foods(ramps/asparagus/rhubarb. etc) & interesting/innovative salads

prima May 25, 2011 07:48 PM

So far, the following places are on my shortlist. Mostly interested in Traditional American, New American, and Contemporary/Continental cuisine, but I would be open to other suggestions. I'll probably end up ordering mostly seafood and veg dishes, so no need for steakhouse recs! I'll likely have 4 lunches and 4 dinners in Boston. Right now, I'm hoping to do one early dinner at Neptune Oyster, a dinner at Island Creek Oyster Bar, and possibly one dinner at Locke-Ober.

Completely open to suggestions for other lunches & dinners.

Neptune Oyster for the lobster roll & chowder

Legal's Test Kitchen's chowder While I realize many Hounds don't think much of Legal, but my cousin has been raving about the chowder for years,and I didn't try it on my last visit.

Locke-Ober for the Lobster Savannah, maybe the Sole Meuniere, maybe the Indian pudding. Will Locke-Ober let customers share the Lobster Savannah and/or other dishes on the menu? I realize it's might be seen as gauche, but I thought I'd ask.

Island Creek Oyster Bar- menu looks innovative & interesting. Which dishes do you like the most?

B & G Oysters- for the chowder, and fried oysters and/or fried Ipswich clams.

Flour Bakery- what do you think they do the best?

Are there any dishes that you'd recommend at the places I've mentioned? Any dishes I should avoid?

Are there any restaurants you'd recommend for innovative salads?

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

3 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108

B & G Oysters
550 Tremont street, Boston, MA 02118

Flour Bakery + Cafe
1595 Washington St, Boston, MA

Flour Bakery + Cafe
12 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA

Legal's Test Kitchen
225 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

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

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  1. opinionatedchef RE: prima May 25, 2011 08:57 PM

    hi prima,
    maybe you've seen these but if not:
    Visiting Boston? guides:


    cheap eats near tourist attractions:

    food souvenirs:

    At Neptune. I've been a fan of their smoked trout on johnnycake and their varied raw tuna w/ avocado creations, and the scallops w/ pork, corn, mushrooms.

    At ICOB, the lobster roe pasta dish and the amazing biscuit.

    Flour- I'm not a fan. Don't know which Canadian city you're from, but if it's montreal, quebec, or Vancouver, I think you have much better bakeries than we do.

    Will you be here for a Sun. brunch? Welcome in advance!

    6 Replies
    1. re: opinionatedchef
      Matt H RE: opinionatedchef May 26, 2011 08:31 AM

      I second the Oleana and Legal Harborside location recs, would fit into what you are looking for. I also would suggest Bondir in Cambridge, for New American.

      Neptune and ICOB are musts IMO, but if you are doing both B&G, while good may become a little redundant. Places like Bondir and Oleana would be a nice change of pace after those two.

      1. re: opinionatedchef
        prima RE: opinionatedchef May 26, 2011 09:52 AM

        Wow! Thanks for the helpful links and comments, opinionatedchef & Matt H.

        I've added Oleana and Bondir to the list, in case I get a chance to visit Cambridge. Menu at Oleana looks amazing, and serves dishes I wouldn't be able to find at home. http://oleanarestaurant.com/eat-and-d... Might have to pick up a copy of the cookbook, if I don't get a chance to dine at Oleana! http://oleanarestaurant.com/cookbook.asp

        Thanks for your comments re: Flour, opinionatedchef. I'm based in Toronto. While we have some good bakeries, I'd guess that TO's better bakeries are probably fairly similar quality-wise to Boston's better bakeries.

        It's possible that I'll be in town for a Sunday brunch, unless we take a day trip that day. But it would be great to have a couple interesting Sunday brunch options on the list, in case we stay in Boston that Sunday.
        Thanks for all your help!

        134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

        279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

        1. re: prima
          opinionatedchef RE: prima May 26, 2011 11:54 AM

          prima, great of you to thank everyone and keep i touch. I am in the midst of writing a Visiting Boston? Guide to Day Trips w/ Restaurants so let us all know if you decide to do a day trip, as w eBoston CHs can advise on those as well! Concord, North Shore (Salem, Marblehead);Plymouth,Lower Cape Cod- are some particularly great day trips.

          Brunch; i am a big fan of East Coast Grill's brunch; you will not have had anything like it in Toronto!:


          p.s. when are you coming?

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

          1. re: opinionatedchef
            prima RE: opinionatedchef Jun 4, 2011 09:10 AM

            Hi opinionatedchef, we're in Boston now. We're leaning towards a daytrip to Newport. Thanks for all your recs.
            We enjoyed coffee and breakfast at Sip Cafe this morning. Had dinner at Oceanaire last night- we ended up at a chain mostly because I didn't get my reservations made before we got here! Very generous servings, have to say. We pay twice as much for less seafood in the Toronto area. Still hoping to try the places listed so far, but after a whole lot of seafood yesterday,some of out group wants pasta tonight. I realize there are a fair number of tourist traps in the north end. Which restos are the best of the bunch? A friend recommended Prezza, which is quite booked tonight. Are there any you'd recommend more than others, opinionatedchef? Thanks for all your help so far!

            24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

            40 Court Street, Boston, MA 02108

          2. re: prima
            smellymay RE: prima Oct 8, 2011 06:44 PM

            Oleana looks like it serves food quite similar to Mezzetta in Toronto, though the latter has much more reasonable prices: http://www.mezzettarestaurant.com/ - Just thought I'd pass it on, since you're a resident of the T.dot!

            134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

            1. re: smellymay
              prima RE: smellymay Oct 9, 2011 03:17 PM

              Thanks ;-)

        2. m
          Madrid RE: prima May 26, 2011 04:48 AM

          Oleana: mezze

          134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

          1 Reply
          1. re: Madrid
            prima RE: Madrid May 26, 2011 09:53 AM

            Thanks Madrid!

          2. l
            lexpatti RE: prima May 26, 2011 05:30 AM

            Life Alive in Cambridge! We love the original in lowell and their salad selection is both extensive and uniquely/creatively fabulous. We haven't done the new location but I can only think good things. I just love all the fresh ingrediants and unique combo of flavors. Www.lifealive.com (maybe?)

            Life Alive
            765 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

            1 Reply
            1. re: lexpatti
              prima RE: lexpatti May 26, 2011 09:53 AM

              Sounds great, lexpatti. Thank you!

            2. f
              Fort Point RE: prima May 26, 2011 05:59 AM

              For the Legal chowder think I would recommend to a tourist the new Legal across the street from LTK which is right on the water and has great views of the harbor.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Fort Point
                prima RE: Fort Point May 26, 2011 09:54 AM

                thanks for your input, Fort Point! Will be near the Convention Center at some point. The new Legal might be a good place for us to have a quick lunch!

                1. re: Fort Point
                  prima RE: Fort Point Jun 7, 2011 07:57 PM

                  Thanks for mentioning the new Legal, Fort Point. We enjoyed dinner on Floor 2- the upscale Legal on the 2nd floor. Interesting menu, featuring some fish and shellfish that are fairly rare on the East Coast. Nice version of sauteed abalone with lemon risotto and white asparagus (friend's main), and a tasty onaga with a tomato ginger chutney and eggplant puree (my main). Also enjoyed the grilled octopus. I understand the 2nd floor has only been open a week.

                  Enjoyed lunch at Cafe Fleuri (nice, rich version of NE clam chowder), and a dinner at Prezza (softshell crab, followed by corn raviolini with toasted corn, pancetta and rock shrimp). The food at Prezza was better than I expected, and reasonably priced considering its quality as well as its location in a touristic part of the city. Tried Taranta for dinner since I like Peruvian food and thought Italian with a Peruvian twist sounded interesting, but ended up wishing we'd gone for pizza or a red sauce resto. Taranta's portions were decent and the service was friendly and well-intentioned, but the food was meh. Sounded better on the menu than it ended up tasting.

                  Had a nice brunch at Aragosta, which was open and taking reservations at 10:30 am on a Saturday. Generous amount of lobster in Aragosta's $16 lobster roll, which came with tasty fries and mixed greens. Friendly waitress, and a table on the terrace with a view.

                  Nice morning glory muffin at Sip Cafe.

                  Wish I could have tried more places recommended by all of you in the thread on this visit. Luckily, your suggestions are a great resource for a future trip.

                  Thanks again!

                  24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

                  Cafe Fleuri
                  250 Franklin St., Boston, MA 02110

                  1. re: prima
                    opinionatedchef RE: prima Jun 7, 2011 10:38 PM

                    prima, Abalone w/ lemon risotto has my name all over it! we try to have abalone every year when we go to Carmel, and I've not seen it on a local menu.Thanks so much for reporting back; I learned about a lot of new places from you.

                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                      prima RE: opinionatedchef Jun 8, 2011 07:13 AM

                      My pleasure! First time I've seen abalone on the East Coast, outside of a Chinese restaurant. The servers know the provenance of all their seafood, too, in case you're curious re: where any of the seafood is sourced.

                2. m
                  MariaVII RE: prima May 26, 2011 08:34 AM

                  Flour has the most wonderful breakfast sandwich.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MariaVII
                    prima RE: MariaVII May 26, 2011 09:54 AM

                    Good to know, thanks!

                    Found a picture on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kathyylc...

                    It does look like a tasty breakfast sandwich! I'm also tempted to try Flour's Sticky Bun!

                  2. r
                    Ricardo Malocchio RE: prima May 26, 2011 09:24 AM

                    Just a heads-up on Island Creek dishes - last week they had a special Striper dish with tempura'd ramps and fiddleheads. If ramp, fiddlehead season stretches into your trip, I suspect they'll still be featuring them. This was, bar none, the finest striper I've ever tasted, perfectly cooked and ideally matched. As was the softshell crab, btw, also currently in season. A relatively small, but expertly selected and priced wine list here, too.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ricardo Malocchio
                      prima RE: Ricardo Malocchio May 26, 2011 09:55 AM

                      Wow- that sounds super delicous. I'm hoping with the late spring, that some ramps & fiddleheads will still be on the menu when I visit.

                    2. barleywino RE: prima Jun 8, 2011 02:50 PM

                      The beef carpaccio/mozzarella/arugula salad at Scampo

                      215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

                      1. prima RE: prima Mar 5, 2013 07:53 AM

                        If you were choosing between Island Creek Oyster Bar and Summer Shack, which would you choose for fried clams?


                        4 Replies
                        1. re: prima
                          Taralli RE: prima Mar 5, 2013 08:20 AM


                          1. re: Taralli
                            prima RE: Taralli Mar 6, 2013 06:55 PM


                          2. re: prima
                            purple bot RE: prima Mar 6, 2013 08:46 PM

                            Are you returning?

                            Why not Neptune? Their fried clams are head and shoulders above the best (IMHO). Consistently perfect.

                            1. re: purple bot
                              prima RE: purple bot Mar 7, 2013 12:08 AM

                              Yep, I'm returning. :-) Thanks for your rec. I hope to try Neptune at lunch, but I also need some places that take reservations for our dinners.

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