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Jul 10, 2011 06:06 PM

One Day/Night in Boston - where do 2 Canadian foodies eat??

My wife and I are heading to Boston in two weeks and need some reco's for breakfast/ lunch and dinner.

- For breakfast/lunch - something fun, either classic dinner or modern funky place (pancakes etc)
- For dinner - three questions:

1. what is your favourite steak house?
2. what is the your favourite all around classic resto?
3. what is the coolest spot with best food these days?? Toro????

I don't want to spend a fortune, but would consider 200ish total for both of us if amazing.

Thank you very much!!! We can't wait.

1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

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  1. Fun breakfast: Sportello for "funky" or Omni Parker House for "classic" - and you can get the Boston Creme Pie.

    I find it hard to believe anyone in the city makes better food than O Ya, but it is probably out of your price range. L'Espalier could be had for lunch for <$200/person and would be entirely worth it - but honestly, as much as the whole Diner/Dives/Drive-Ins show irks me........Rino's is really quite excellent and if you get there for lunch there is no line.

    774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

    O Ya
    9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

    348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

    1. I get you want a steakhouse, but don't know what "favourite all around classic resto" or "coolest" spot means to you. Canada's a huge country...where are you coming from? Do you want seafood,something you can't get t home,etc.? Do you mean the $200 ish to include tip and alcohol, or not?

      This is a *very* active board and if you search for "visit" you 'll see all kinds of recs given out recently, as well as reports back from the visitors...we all want you to enjoy your stay but if you don't want oysters, hot dogs, pig's head, mediocre food with a great water view, no reservations, or not willing to take public transportation,, don't have certain neighborhoods or adjacent cities such as Cambridge to explore in mind, etc., let us know so we can help you!

      This is a very opinonated place you've come to, and also one that welcomes visitors.

      1. Assuming that you're from Toronto (given you're a regular on the Ontario board, apologies if you're actually from Windsor or London or somewhere): my traditional advice to TO hounds: just skip Boston's Chinatown. It's great, there's plenty of good places there, but honestly, there's nothing in our Chinatown that you won't find at Dundas and Spadina.

        It depends on what you're looking for in terms of cool, a word that I think applies only to temperature when it comes to food, but in terms of a restaurant that consistently delivers a top-quality, interesting meal, I'm a strong proponent of Erbaluce.

        Sadly, the "classic" restaurants of Boston past (Durgin Park, Union Oyster, Locke-Ober, Parker House) are pretty much useless these days, and the steakhouses are the same overpriced crap chains as any other American city.

        3 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108

        69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

        8 Replies
        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

          Durgin Park was actually a lot of fun and the food surprisingly good. Sure you could have made it all at home, but the quality didn't suffer even if the prices were a bit high.

          Additionally - if you get Breakfast at Parker House you can try the two most famous items for about $10, see the room, and be on your way quite happily. :-)

          Durgin Park
          1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

          1. re: uhockey

            Guys - this is excellent info. I am from Toronto and we have some of the best Asian going in the world, so I would definitely skip the Indo-Chinese options. Furthermore, I am going to Cape Cod for two days and I'm sure I'll get my Lobster/Seafood fill there.

            So, I am really looking for something unique (likely not a Steakhouse, but wanted to know if there was one really spectacular place as an option). I like the sounds of Toro the more I look into it and O Ya sounds incredible - but maybe a little out of my price range - unless it's going to be one of those memorable meals.

            I don't want touristy places!!! I'll definitely have a look throughout the previous posts.

            Anything else you can suggest would be much appreciated...


            O Ya
            9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

            1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

            1. re: kosherdill

              My experience with Cape Cod is that you'll be able to get lobster, oysters, and deep-fried shellfish and cod/haddock/etc. Otherwise, due to its seasonal nature and family-vacation orientation, there's not much to get excited about from a culinary standpoint. Go ahead and cross Summer Shack off your list--it's essentially trying to bring the Cape experience to Boston. But I wouldn't let a trip to the Cape stop you from visiting seafood-focused places like Island Creek Oyster Bar and East Coast Grill. Beyond the oysters, you won't find much overlap between those places and the ones on the Cape.

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

              Summer Shack
              310 Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02210

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

              1. re: emannths

                Can't agree more about checking out Island Creek Oyster Bar. Great food, drink and service. I always enjoy my meals there. I also strongly urge you to go with your gut and head to Toro. It's easily my favorite restaurant in Boston for its creativity and its lively atmosphere. The corn and the suquet are always a part of my order.

                1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

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

                1. re: ecwashere7

                  Can't really argue with ICOB - the place is stellar. I found everything about it superior to Neptune, though I admittedly didn't try the raw bar at either.


              2. re: kosherdill

                Look for my recent thoughts on O-Ya. For my dollar it is one of the best meals in the US.


                1. re: uhockey

                  It looks amazing. Although, is very molecular focused? I don't love that usually. I'm guessing this is like a super-high-end Japanese sushi place - where they use top quality fish and imaginative pieces etc.

                  1. re: kosherdill

                    Not "molecular" at all save for a few foams and a sous-vide machine. Just top end fish with great sauces and killer service.


          2. Where will you be staying, and will you have a car?

            There are breakfast places abound. My favorite is Neighborhood Restaurant in Union Square, Somerville. Unless you get there before 10am on weekends though, expect a serious wait, especially if the weather is nice. Not very T accessible though. The Friendly Toast in Kendall Square might fit the 'funky' bill. Some love it, some hate it (some for the food, some for the service, iirc)--check into the archives here and figure out which camp you'll find yourself in. I've got some friends that love the breakfast at Trident Booksellers on Newbury, but I've never been myself. Some searches for past threads may reveal more geographically-relevant suggestions.

            I don't know what your take on pizza is, but if it were me I'd eat a lunch at either Pizzeria Regina in the North End or Santarpio's in East Boston. IMO both are very good, and exude classic Boston "ambiance" (lol) in *addition* to good food.

            The Friendly Toast
            1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

            Trident Booksellers & Cafe
            338 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02115

            1. dill, don't know if this is your first visit here, but these might be helpful:
              Guide to Boston by Areas and Restaurants:

              Also, some extra Boston food profile info for you:


              shopping for Boston food souvenirs:

              Will you be here over a wkend(brunch>bkfst?) Are youall not much for seafood?

              3 Replies
              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Thanks - we like everything really - as long as it's good! We're here during the week. I'll check out those links.

                1. re: kosherdill

                  Depending on what time you are arriving. A combination of Toro for lunch and Island Creek Oyster Bar for dinner would be a worthwhile day in Boston. Alternatively you could also do Neptune Oyster for lunch and Toro for dinner.

                  If you are arriving early and want something to hold you over in the morning, Flour Bakery, Area Four and Voltage offer a good combination of Pastries and Coffee. Area Four the best combination of both.

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

                  1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                  Flour Bakery + Cafe
                  12 Farnsworth St, Boston, MA

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

                  Area Four
                  500 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

                  1. re: Matt H

                    Consider South End Buttery.


                    South End Buttery
                    314 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA 02118