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South End/Back Bay Top 10?

Just moved to the South End (from Los Angeles) and am working hard to find my footing in my new home town. (Incidentally, I've been here all of 8 weeks, and to date, Flour Bakery on Washington and Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe on Columbus are collectively responsible for about ten "extra" pounds that I'm going to have to starve off at some point soon.)

Anyway, wonder if folks have a view on a top ten list of places we should in the South End/Back Bay area. We have a little one at home, and if we're lucky, we get one "date night" per week. Fancy, or hole-in-the-wall, doesn't really matter, as long as the food's great. What places should we absolutely have sampled before the summer's over?

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Flour Bakery + Cafe
1595 Washington St, Boston, MA

Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe
429 Columbus Ave Ste 1, Boston, MA 02116

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  1. Welcome! This is certainly not a top ten, however a few places we liked when we lived in the neighborhood include:

    Anchovies - cozy bar atmosphere and simple but good food
    Meyers & Chang - chinese with good ingredients
    Via Matta - high end italian
    Hammersley's - fancy
    Mistral - fancy, excellent for brunch or dinner
    Coppa - italian small plates (prefer lunch when its not mobbed, but lunch is limited menu)
    Mike & Patty's - breakfast
    House of Siam - thai takeout
    Gaslight - reasonable priced french bistro

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gabatta

      Have you really enjoyed Via Matta? I have yet to enjoy a dish there

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      Via Matta
      79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

      1. re: meeps2002

        I find the apps and pastas are the best things to get at Via Matta (I'm usually underwhelmed by their entrees). Also, they used to have a killer panna cotta, but it wasn't as good as in the past the last time I ate there.

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        Via Matta
        79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

        1. re: meeps2002

          No I haven't really enjoyed VM, I was just trying to steer the OP wrong. Muahaha!

          Actually, yes I have been eating there since it has opened and I think the food is excellent and extremely consistent. That being said I get the bolognese every time. My DCs always enjoy the other dishes though.

      2. -The Butcher Shop
        -B&G Oysters
        -Myers+Chang
        -Toro
        -The Gallows
        -Gaslight
        -Aquitaine
        -Metropolis
        -Mela
        -Orinoco

        1 Reply
        1. re: hsquare2southend

          Missed this thread the first time around.

          Ha, hsquare2southend! We should probably go eat together: I probably wouldn't have included Mela, Gallows, or Orinoco in my top 10, but the other 7 match.

          Replacements:
          -Coppa
          -Erbaluce
          -Grill 23 or Hamersley's

        2. Union
          Estragon
          Brasserie Jo
          Deluxe

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          Brasserie Jo
          120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

          1. There isn't much in the Back Bay that can pry me out of the South End, except for the occasional need for a steak house dinner.

            1. Myers+Chang- I think its the coolest place in the SE, the foods great and the owner is genuinely a nice person. Win, Win, Win.
            2. Oishii- Superb Sushi and a swanky atmosphere but also a nice little bar
            3. Toro-Probably most peoples coolest spot, and it is really cool. Again, the bartenders and service staff are generally really nice people who tend to remember neighborhood folks.
            4. Giacamos- much maligned as overrated on this board but I really like it. My wife and I always sit at the food bar and have a great time.
            5. Anchovies & The Delux-Great little divey places with surprisingly good food. There aren't enough diver places anymore so these two are really appreciated. Also the food, especially at the Delux, can really surprise you with it's quality.
            6. Coppa-Toro sister restaurant doing really good snout to nose food in a great atmosphere.
            7. Teranga- Senegalese food? In the South End? Yup and it's good and you always feel at home.
            8. Orinocco- Awesome place that has great arepa and sandwiches for lunch and then turns out quality Peruvian food for dinner.
            9. Picco- arguably the best pizza in the city. And if you don't think so be prepared for an argument from me because I think it is. ***Kid Friendly***
            10. The Gallows- Cool room, great drinks, awesome food and maybe the best burger in the South End, in this case I'm ready to be proven wrong. I like the burger but it's different than many swanky burgers.

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            Delux Cafe
            100 Chandler St, Boston, MA 02116

            Teranga
            1746 Washington Street, Boston, MA

            13 Replies
            1. re: ChickenBrocandZiti

              I completely agree about the burger at The Gallows. Best burger in the South End, except maybe the burger at the Butcher Shop (lunch and brunch only), which is totally different but equally amazing. Love the "California-style" flat patty.

              1. re: hsquare2southend

                Have either of you guys tried the burger at JJ Foley's? Excellent. Totally a basic burger, nothing fancy or special or worth the $17? the Butcher Shop charges, but always juicy, flavorful and cooked just right with a heaping pile of hand cut fries. I haven't tried the Gallows burger but until I do (and decide it is indeed a better burger) Foley's gets my vote. (Sorry to take this thread OT, let me add JJ Foley's to the list though it is really more of a spot to bring the little one, IMO. My 3 yr old and I have a standing date there whenever she wants a "boiger")

                Additional favorite spots include:

                Coppa
                Toro
                Stella
                Giacomo's
                Metropolis
                B&G
                Gaslight
                Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe (clearly you don't need my rec on this tho')

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                Toro
                1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe
                429 Columbus Ave Ste 1, Boston, MA 02116

                Coppa
                253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

                1. re: twentyoystahs

                  I've been going to Foley's for far longer than I've lived in the South End and it holds a special place in my heart. That said it seems as though the quality of the food changes with the seasons. I was excited about the food when they first started serving a few years back bur I've since kinda given up. Had some buffalo fingers there during the bruins game seven and that's the first food I've had there in ages. Perhaps I'll go back for the burger.

                  1. re: twentyoystahs

                    Had the steak tips at J.J. Foley's today and they were really superb.

                    1. re: twentyoystahs

                      I love Foley's truffle mac and cheese, so that's my go-to and I've never tried the burger!

                  2. re: ChickenBrocandZiti

                    I agree - Picco is my favorite pizza...ever

                    1. re: meeps2002

                      Great pizza and by far the best beer list in the South End too.

                      1. re: Kinopio

                        Isn't it odd that with all the great restaurants in the South End that there aren't more places with good beer lists? Picco is an exception but I wouldn't say it's the best, that designation would go to The Parish Cafe IMO.

                      2. re: meeps2002

                        Definitely agree with that. Used to go to Picco almost weekly when I lived closer. Even treked there in a blizzard for pizza and ice cream!

                      3. re: ChickenBrocandZiti

                        Oiishi has a $20 lunch special that is the best deal in town.

                          1. re: David Kahn

                            Which pizza(s) did you try? I am craving it now and it's only 8:30 AM

                            1. re: meeps2002

                              I've now visited several times and have tried the sausage and mushroom (my favorite to date; really like how they sauté the mushrooms before putting them on the pie), the bacon, caramelized onions and Gruyère, the broccoli rabe, sausage and olive, and the goat cheese and arugula. All excellent. I also like how they crank out really excellent pizza, but it's low key and unassuming (in contrast to, say, Mozza in Los Angeles). In fact, I may get a couple of pies to take home for dinner tonight! (Their warm spinach salad is also pretty damn good.)

                        1. Have to add Estragon to the mix - excellent Spanish food, well-crafted wine list.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: BobB

                            And the Las Ventas sandwich (only on toasted slices!) at Estragon's sister shop "Las Ventas" next door is one of the best sammies in town!