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Recs for Natick and Boston, please?

f
flightsurg Sep 5, 2011 08:58 PM

Hey CH'ers,

I'll be heading to the Boston area in late September and early October, would like to pick brains to get some recommendations. Will be there Sep 29 (Thursday) through Oct 4 (Wednesday). I'll be alone with no other real tour itinerary except food and studying for an exam.

I'm coming from Las Vegas and will be in Natick for a conference for 3 days, then staying near the Public Gardens on Arlington for 2 nights. I won't have a car, but am willing to take a cab or public transportation for a reasonable distance.

I'm a fan of green/sustainable, local food restaurants. I'd like to do a food "experience" or 2, but would also like great, local fare regardless of atmosphere or setting. Just good food. I've seen quite a few posts and comments involving Craigie on Main, ICOB, O Ya, and Gallows and would like to try each of them, pending additional input. While money isn't limitiless, I'm willing to do a $300 tasting menu if worth it.

I'm most interested in French and American regional cuisines, would like to avoid steak houses (we have tons in Vegas), Mexican, Thai, Chinese and Italian, either because it's readily available in Vegas or I'm just not a fan.... I'm a particular fan of molecular gastronomy (please don't let this become a thread debating the merits of MG)... We have seafood flown in to Las Vegas, amazingly fresh for how far it needs to be transported, but would like to take advantage of Boston's proximity to the water. I guess this could be a request for a quintessential Boston clam bake. We used to live in Virginia Beach, and I really miss the seafood and the farmer's markets.

Thanks for your help!

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O Ya
9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

Craigie on Main
853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

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  1. opinionatedchef RE: flightsurg Sep 5, 2011 09:41 PM

    Hope these are helpful for you:

    Guide to Boston by Areas and Restaurants:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781155

    Also, some extra Boston food profile info for you:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781156

    shopping for Boston food souvenirs:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781171

    2 specific suggestions:
    - i doubt you have a creative/unusual/uniqueTurkish/mediterranean/ moroccan restnt like Oleana (likely the most unusual non-Asian menu in town) and I highly recommend it, as do many CHs.

    -and, while you are in natick, deftly try Maxwell 148. here's link to recent review. Welcome to boston; you picked a really nice time of year to visit!

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/570828.

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    Oleana
    134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

    10 Replies
    1. re: opinionatedchef
      opinionatedchef RE: opinionatedchef Sep 5, 2011 09:46 PM

      p.s. this is a quote from another current thread from someone who eats in the natick region:
      For restaurants, we don't currently have much near us (our favorites are Cafe Mangal and Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Oga in Natick, Uncle Cheung's and Sichuan Gourmet in F'ham, Zebra's in Medfield, etc.) What's good in Lexington and Concord (already know and love 80 Thoreau)?

      Permalink | Report | Reply
      By Isolda on Sep 05, 2011 05:24PM

      (one caveat- i would not recommend Blue Ginger in Wellesley; you prob already have a ming tsai place in vegas anyway.)

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      Blue Ginger
      583 Washington St., Wellesley, MA 02482

      Cafe Mangal
      555 Washington St, Wellesley, MA 02482

      Uncle Cheung's Restaurant
      266 Worcester Rd, Framingham, MA 01702

      Sichuan Gourmet
      1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

      1. re: opinionatedchef
        f
        flightsurg RE: opinionatedchef Sep 5, 2011 11:05 PM

        Great, Oleana looks awesome, was actually wondering about The Helmand and Dali as 2 others... Tapas is a fave of mine as well. The links to other threads are much appreciated as well. I think Gastropub would be a desired destination as well, will search that term as well, if anyone has specific gastropub recs near where I'll be, I'd love to hear...

        Appreciate the Natick info, that was one of the few posts to come up when I searched "Natick"....

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        Oleana
        134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

        1. re: flightsurg
          s
          shaebones RE: flightsurg Sep 6, 2011 01:22 AM

          Maxwell's 148 Natick. Loved it.

          1. re: flightsurg
            opinionatedchef RE: flightsurg Sep 6, 2011 04:49 PM

            Dali is absolutely DREADful.Please don't go there! The CH fav tapas place is Toro in the South End, owner and chef are 2 of our most famous guys. Helmand is boring imo, compared to all the other options in town. For similar but much more interesting food, i'd suggest Lala Rokh (Persian) on Beacon Hill.

            As to gastro pubs, if you scroll down in the ' boston by areas and restaurants' thread, beyond my very long post, 2 or 3 people address the best gastro pubs.

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            Toro
            1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

            Lala Rokh
            97 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02108

            1. re: opinionatedchef
              f
              flightsurg RE: opinionatedchef Sep 7, 2011 10:22 AM

              Got it, thanks. Much appreciation, you are a one person travel/dining agency!

              1. re: flightsurg
                opinionatedchef RE: flightsurg Sep 7, 2011 01:24 PM

                surg, so happy you find it useful! plse do report back and tell us how things went, and where, so we can better counsel others!

              2. re: opinionatedchef
                c
                cambridgedoctpr RE: opinionatedchef Sep 7, 2011 02:35 PM

                i agree with Toro though I like Helmand which is Afgan while Lala Rok is Persian.

                The western suburbs are a well known dead spot for good food.

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                Toro
                1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                1. re: opinionatedchef
                  Dave MP RE: opinionatedchef Sep 11, 2011 08:41 PM

                  Why is Dali dreadful? I haven't eaten there in about 6 years, but I liked it back then....

                  1. re: Dave MP
                    opinionatedchef RE: Dave MP Sep 11, 2011 09:24 PM

                    the food was so horrifically overseasoned or very bland, and not well executed, that we gave it 2 shots long ago and would never ever return- that's how bad it was.< You can't make me!!> says little child with lower lip jutting out and fists on hips!

                    1. re: Dave MP
                      c
                      cambridgedoctpr RE: Dave MP Sep 12, 2011 07:23 AM

                      now that we have Toro as an option, i do not think that Dali's matches up.

                      When i moved here, i thought that Spanish food and Tapas in particular was sub par; now things are looking up.

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                      Toro
                      1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

              3. ChinaCat RE: flightsurg Sep 7, 2011 02:00 PM

                I hope you will have a car for the Natick part of your trip. Otherwise, cabs are expensive and probably slow to get...you know how suburban cabs are! Plus, I'm assuming your conference is somewhere in the vicinity of Route 9, which is not conducive to walking around.

                I was just going to list my favorite restaurants in the Natick area, when I re-read your requests, and realized I was going to suggest Chinese, Thai and a steak house....okay thinking again :)

                Oga for sushi is a great idea. Its really very good. More interesting than any of the other standard sushi bars available in the area (and there are a lot of them).
                There is a Legal Seafoods on route 9 in Natick, and you can get a good lobster, or some oysters there and it will be perfectly fine. (Island Creek Oyster Bar will have better food, but I still think Legal does a fine job with the simpler things)

                There is an outpost of Sel De La Terre in the Natick mall. It was better when it first opened, so I hesitate to recommend it...but its not bad, and it is French.

                One more suburban restaurant you might try, if you have a car in Natick (or a companion at the conference does) is Lumiere in West Newton. Its just a straight shot down the Mass Pike, maybe a 15 minute drive. They do a lot of local foods, and while the menu is small, it always pleases..

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                Lumiere Restaurant
                1293 Washington St., West Newton, MA 02465

                Sel De La Terre
                1245 Worcester Street, Natick, MA 01760

                1 Reply
                1. re: ChinaCat
                  f
                  flightsurg RE: ChinaCat Sep 19, 2011 12:22 AM

                  Much appreciation to all for the input. Alas, no car planned for the trip, may have to make the best...

                  Will definitely give my 2 cents after the trip, looking forward to it.

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