What's walking distance to you? The immediate area is a weird dead zone dominated by Mass. General Hospital and TD Garden (although Scampo, inside the hotel, is really good). You'll do much better if you hop on the T for a stop or two. The Kendall Square recommendations are great - I also like Area Four and Lord Hobo in that area.
500 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139
this might be helpful:
Guide to Boston by Areas and Restaurants:
your request confuses me- 'good quality local food' and 'wow me' are 2 very diff things in my book. maybe by high end- you think of fancy clothes and attitude. the spots i would rec for 'wow' are not most of those listed so far, except for Craigie. For 'wow' food and not the most expensive(but not cheap at all) I would suggest, near you: Oleana, Neptune Oyster and Pizzeria Regina( North End only.) and Blue Inc.Recent threads on all of them; the last one is new but the other three are consistently in the top CH favs in boston. i miss seattle.
63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113
134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139
Pizzeria Regina seems to have a local following, but i wonder how many out-of-towners will really go nuts about this place. When you look at best pizzas in the US; it seems to make it to about 25th, very good, but ....
You might also consider Clio/Uni, O Ya (mega bucks), Rialto. I am also pretty wowed by some of the chinese food in Boston including East Ocean and Peach Farm in Chinatown and Golden Garden in Belmont or even the Thai street food at Rod Dee.
4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111
9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111
63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478
For a seattleite, Pizzeria Regina is actually not a bad recommendation, given the dearth of good pizza out there (other than the place Serious Pie). Clio and O ya are also places that seattle doesn't have an equivalent for, altho probably outside the OP's price specs. Seattle does have decent chinese food altho their taiwanese is not as strong as here in greater boston. Their pasta and thai are also not very strong compared to here altho on the flip side, their Indian, korean, spanish and vietnamese are much stronger than here. they also have better ramen (and congee) than here, but they don't have a good place that does japanese comfort food in the style of Cafe Mami in Porter square, nor as good chinese bbq as here, etc.
doc, shame on you! certainly you know that 'best___in the u.s.' lists are highly suspect, and specifically, if you have eaten great pizza in Rome, you will know that Regina's No.End sits squarely in the top of any real pizza afficianado's list for the u.s. Plus what barley said.
I was just discussing Regina Pizzeria (correct name) with my pizza aficionado friends and we agree Regina is just like the best pies we've eaten in Rome......except for the crust, the wood burning oven part, the San Marzano tomatoes, the cheese and quality extra virgin oil or the fact that it's the flagship of a 20+ store chain. Other than that yeah Regina is great pizza, for Boston that is.
I find this statement a bit confusing, on the one hand saying that Reginas is at the top of any real pizza aficionados list for the US, and in the same sentence saying that such lists for the US are highly suspect, but... I think doc was kidding about the existence of such a list (like one could really compare such radically different animals as chicago stuffed or deep dish pizza vs NY pizza anyway, they are apples and oranges, like crackers and cake)...also it sounds just a tiny bit presumptuous to speak for all pizza aficionados, all boston chowhounds, or whatever
What does "it" mean, as in "it" places? As mentioned, Scampo in your hotel is quite nice and pretty happening. But for quality local food within walking distance, you can walk to Beacon Hill and 75 Chestnut and Beacon Hill Bistro. Or to the north end and eat at the bar of Prezza for northern Italian or Mother Anna's, Il Panino or La Summa for old school. A short walk downtown brings you to Silvertone for comfort food, Petit Robert Bistro for French and Teatro for great Italian. Teatro and Prezza are the most expensive.
Beacon Hill Bistro
25 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114
24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113
177 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02111
Petit Robert Bistro
468 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215
75 Chestnut Street, Boston, MA 02114
69 Bromfield St, Boston, MA 02108
215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114
211 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113
266 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113
BB, since you are a fan of Quinns/Spur in Seattle, I would cross the bridge and continue on to the bar at Craigie on Main (order a 1919 while you're there, a good cocktail of local origin). Afterwards be sure to stop a few doors down at Toscanini's for some B3 ice cream. Also if you like Serious Pie in Seattle, try the pizzas/pastas right in your hotel at Scampo. If you're willing to hop onto the elevated subway across from your hotel (red line towards Alewife) you can go 3 stops to Harvard and go to Russell House Tavern (sit at the downstairs bar) and come back via red line inbound towards either Ashmont or Braintree, getting off at Charles/MGH opposite your hotel. Both craigie and russell house have good burgers btw as well as more elaborate gastropubby fare (Craigie is pricier, best to go early for a bar seat).
215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114
Craigie on Main
853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139