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4 day solo visit to Back Bay (Northeastern U)- Ideas for interesting food where it's not too awkward to eat alone

So I tend to feel a little self-conscious going to a "formal" restaurant seating and getting a table for 1. Hoping you folks have some ideas for me for places where you can perhaps sit at the bar but still get nice nibbles. I will be staying by Northeastern Univ. but will happily take transit to a place that's a "can't miss."

Price isn't a major issue- I'll happily pay for good food, but I also enjoy a good dive. I like most food: street tacos (San Diegan here) , thai, indian, spanish, etc. Love spicy, eat meat, always looking for a WOW! Pretty much just don't recommend I try out Denny's (wink).

Thanks for any tips you have, and happy to return the favor if you're ever in San Diego.

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  1. how about the bar at Oleana in Cambridge?

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    Oleana
    134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

    1. Douzo has excellent sushi, and a bar you can eat at. It's always crowded though, which can be a plus or minus for eating alone. Island Creek Oyster Bar is highly recommended too; they have a bar and it's pretty low key.

      For Indian I like Kashmir on Newbury Street. Also, If it's your first time in the area, I recommend a trip to the North End... most places are decent, with standouts like Neptune Oyster. Final note: please do not get sucked into eating dinner at the tourist trap that is the Top of the Hub.

      I'll be in San Diego in November so I'll take you up on your offer!

      www.thefourseasonings.com

      1. Thanks Madrid and cristinh for the suggestions. Thanks for the tourist trap warning- those places are awful!

        1. Brasserie Jo is a short ride down the Green Line from the Northeastern area. They have a bar area where you can eat.

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          Brasserie Jo
          120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

          10 Replies
          1. re: pemma

            Ditto Brasserie Jo and Douzo.
            If you want to splurge, hit Clio down Mass Ave a bit but expect to be hungry afterwards ;-)

            Island Creek Oyster bar is also great but may be a longer walk for you...subway is back into copley square and then switch to the D line from the E line you can catch near NU.
            FWIW, I didn't like my experience at NU...too factory...too many students in each class :-P

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            Douzo
            131 Dartmouth St, Boston, MA 02116

            Brasserie Jo
            120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

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

            1. re: Spike

              A couple of corrections about public transit from Northeastern to Island Creek Oyster Bar & Kenmore Square:

              First, if you want take the streetcar, you actually need to take the E line to *Arlington* (no free turnaround at Copley - separate station entrances for inbound & outbound) and switch over to B, C, *or* D line outbound - get off at Kenmore.

              However, if you're not afraid of taking a bus, there are two lines through the Northeastern campus that go directly to Kenmore Square - catch either the #8 or the #19 on Ruggles Street just off of Huntington Avenue.

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

              1. re: Allstonian

                Or, just walk for about 15 minutes.

                1. re: LeoLioness

                  For you and I walking from NU to Kenmore is a piece of cake, but for someone from out of town, it wouldn't be too easy to walk to Kenmore from NU without a map and compass. Plus, if you use main streets and avoid the Fens (which we would cut through), you add a lot of distance to the walk. One wrong turn, and you're way off course. Much easier to stick to public transportation.

                  1. re: kimfair1

                    Unless the out of towner has an android phone w/ a data plan ;-)

                    Getting unlost and finding food is much easier w/ google maps...

                    Thanks for the correction on the green line...forgot about the no free switchover at Copley...

                    1. re: Spike

                      I am google maps enabled and I will have to walk to compensate for my eating or i'll need a second seat on the plane!

                    2. re: kimfair1

                      When I travel out of town, I always have a map....don't most people?

                      1. re: LeoLioness

                        Different people have different levels of comfort using a map or walking in an unfamiliar place, not to mention different levels of mobility.

                        1. re: Allstonian

                          Well, of course. I just didn't notice anything in the OP's query that indicated he/she was unable to handle a reasonable walk and/or read a street map.

                          1. re: LeoLioness

                            I never think of the phone thing as I'm a Luddite who still has a flip phone that's almost always turned off (it's for me to call you, not for you to call me). I don't usually have a map in hand when in a strange place, but usually map things out in advance. Either way the bar at Island Creek Oyster Bar would be an excellent place to sample some of our fine local seafood (no matter how you get there)!

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

            2. Lucy's is a CH favorite Ethiopian restaurant on Mass Ave at Huntington and walking distance for you. It's something that you may not have in abundance in San Diego. I second Brasserie Joe (on Huntington) good french bistro food. Either place is fine for solo dining though better with a group. Second Island Creek Oyster Bar as excellent place for New England seafood.

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: gourmaniac

                +1 on Lucy's Ethiopian Cafe

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                Lucy Ethiopian Cafe
                334 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02116