HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Two College Students in Boston for 4 days

Hi all- I had great luck on this message board for finding a good place to eat in Minneapolis last winter so I decided to give it a shot for the Boston area.

I am going to Boston with my boyfriend and we are staying at the Omni Parker Hotel for four days in August. I have been to Boston once before for one day and he has never been.

We are looking for good places to eat!! I do not think that our hotel has a complementary breakfast so I am interested in all types of food recommendations. We are college students so we would like to keep it relatively cheap- although I know we will want to have one or two NICE dinners out to celebrate our vacation and our anniversary. We love all sorts of food- including seafood, chinese, mexican, sushi, pizza/italian etc. We are probably two of the least picky people when it comes to food!!

We are also looking for good bars/areas with live music where we can sit and enjoy a drink without breaking the bank. Does anyone have any good suggestions??


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If you're in town for a weekend, stop down to the North End for one of the Italian festivals...they usually have tons of street vendors and live entertainment. Food will be cheaper than going to a restaurant.

    1. Toad is a great little bar in Porter Square. No cover and live music nightly.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tartandfit

        If you go to Toad, you can eat first at Rod Dee (thai). That would be a fun night.

        Similarly, check out the music schedule at Johnny D's in Davis Square. Lots of places to eat first in the hood.

      2. Gallaria Umberto will be open again in August. It is street Sicilian food. Great arancinis, pizza, potato croquettes,and calzones. Even though their prices generally go up in August, you could still have almost any two items on the menu, plus a coke for well under $10 ($4-9 depending on what you order). They open for lunch around 10:45 (people start lining up by 10:30. and they close when the sell out, usually by 2pm. Get there early for the best selection.

        Toad is a great little bar, with live music. When you get to town, pick up a free Phoenix Newspaper, our weekly arts paper, with listings for all the clubs and music choices. There are many places to see live music of varied types on any given night, and most of the music venues have decent prices for beer and such.

        1. Wow perfect thanks everyone! I'll definitely check out those places!

          1. You should try to get to Pizzeria Regina in the North End. It is an ancient place with really great pizza.

            1. A good budget friendly pre dinner option is KO Prime, which is only a few blocks from your hotel. I believe they have a happy hour like special at the bar most nights from 5-7 with discounted bar snacks and very affordable wine & beer.

              KO Prime
              90 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108

              1. Where are you coming from? That might help narrow it down a little. Any bucket-list type desires? Will you be doing the typical sightseeing?

                A short list of ideas, focusing on excellent bang-for-the-buck places:
                Sichuan Chinese at New Shanghai in Chinatown, Thailand Cafe in Cambridge, or Sichuan Gourmet in Brookline.
                Vietnamese at Xinh Xinh in Chinatown.
                Lunch/early dinner at Courthouse Seafood in Cambridge.
                Pizza at Pizzeria Regina (North End/Thacher St location only pls!)
                Thai at S&I, Pad Thai Cafe, Rod Dee, or one of the other good locations that I'm forgetting (check the relevant thread(s) here first for some ideas on what to order)
                Lobster sandwich from Alive & Kickin' in Cambridge
                Miscellaneous delicious Italian food from Galleria Umberto

                Island Creek Oyster Bar or Neptune would make a nice splurge meal, if you want to get seafood while you're here.

                The Lizard Lounge (same owners as TOAD) would be another music + drinks option. Usually a cover though, unlike TOAD. If you've got a lazy afternoon to kill, sitting on the patio at Cambridge Brewing Company with a couple of awesome beers is always nice. A couple blocks away from CBC is Mulan, where you can get some good Taiwanese-style Chinese.

                228 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

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

                Regina Pizza
                11 1/2 Thacher St, Boston, MA 02113

                New Shanghai Restaurant
                21 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

                Courthouse Fish Market
                484 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

                Xinh Xinh
                7 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

                Cambridge Brewing Company
                1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02139

                Thailand Cafe
                302 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

                Umberto Galleria
                289 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

                Alive And Kicking Lobsters
                269 Putnam Avenue, Cambridge, MA

                S&I To Go
                168A Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134

                Lizard Lounge
                1667 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

                Pad Thai Cafe
                1116 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215

                Sichuan Gourmet
                1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

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

                2 Replies
                1. re: emannths

                  We are coming from Minneapolis. Neither of us have been to Boston really before (besides me spending one afternoon there a few weeks ago) so we are planning on doing all the touristy things including the Freedom Trial, Cheers, Aquarium, Public Garden, Beacon Hill etc!

                  Thanks SO MUCH for all the suggestions!!! We will definitely check those places out. I LOVE this board!!

                  1. re: kareebear

                    don't do cheers, it is the big tourist lie! the only thing authentic is the outside shot they used. save your money for things mo bettah

                2. For lunch try Sam Lagrassa's. It's right around the corner from your hotel...great overstuffed sandwiches. For your "nice" dinner, consider Troquet (great wine list) or Bistro du Midi (pricey but classy). You can take a nice walk from thye Parker House through the Common and get to Troquet and go a little further and go through the Public Gardens on your way to Bistro du Midi.

                  Sam Lagrassa's
                  44 Province St, Boston, MA 02108

                  140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

                  Bistro du Midi
                  272 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

                  1. If you are here on a Sunday I would venture to the SOWA outdoor market in South End and pick something up from one of the vendors or food trucks.


                    Also, if you got a really great bargain rate at Parker House it is likely they will put you in a traditional room which is rather tiny. Sweetly ask the front desk, or call ahead and inquire if they are not at capacity, if any complimentary room upgrades are available as you are on a celebratory vacation. Never hurts to ask.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Bellachefa

                      Good tip- I'll try to do that. I actually booked through expedia and did like a "hot deal" or whatever it was called- I paid for the room before I knew what hotel I was at. I called them to get more details and tried to get an upgrade at the time I booked it- last week- but they said that since I went though expedia I would have to call them to get an upgrade. Does anyone have any experience with that?

                      On another note- we will be there on a Sunday and we LOVE outdoor markets so we will definitely check that out. Thanks so much!

                      1. re: kareebear

                        if you call, don't go through reservations, go through the desk clerk. they often have discretion because they know what's available and the reservation people have been taught to fob you off on expedia or priceline, etc. also don't be afraid to ask when you check in, even if you've been turned down on the phone. I find if I'm always polite and say thank you I often get what I'm asking for. and if you do, remember to write a nice note saying thank you to the clerk who helped you.

                        1. re: teezeetoo

                          of the 551 rooms, 56 are suites and 140 are standard {and I am not sure how they vary in size) leaving the rest as deluxe, so it comes down to capacity. I would just graciously and confidently ask upon check in, or call the front desk manager a few days prior to arrival.

                          You should def hit Reginas in NEnd. And if there is a line, check out the bar to see if seats are available.

                          Now a bit off the rails might be a trip to Castle Island in Southie via bus. You can eat at Sully's, I ONLY recommend hot dog, cheeseburger and fries and gingerale. And then take a stroll while watching plaines land and takeoff across the water. Heck there are good odds you will see the fort on your approach to Logan depending on the flight route and weather.