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Sep 28, 2011 05:35 PM

tourist here!! where, oh where....

staying at the seaport hotel.
coming in tomorrow (thursday) and leaving saturday ( this is a surprise trip )
where is a MUST to go when eating? both cheap (hole in the wall) and nice ( but not swanky dress nice )
Not at all picky with cuisine.

what to see? interesting sites? must visit?

where to drink?

we wont have a car so all places must be close to the "T"


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  1. Welcome to Boston. Drink is very close to your hotel and has fantastic cocktails. Directly above it is Sportello. It's a nice spot for a tasty lunch (not that cheap but worth it).

    I recommend Neptune Oyster for fantastic seafood (amazing lobster roll) and suggest you go for lunch. They get incredibly busy for dinner and weekend lunch, so expect a wait (also worth it). Another option for seafood would be Island Creek Oyster Bar. I love that place.

    Italian food: The North End is fun and touristy but I would rather go to Erbaluce or Via Matta (both are near the Park Plaza). You could probably walk in and get a table in the lounge at both places (you can still get the full menu). Coppa is also a fantastic option for Italian.

    Spanish: Toro is my favorite restaurant in Boston for creative, delicious food in a fun and lively atmosphere. Don't expect a quiet meal here.

    This is only a scratch on the surface. Lot's of great choices. If you give us some preferences, we'll be able to guide you in the right direction.

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

    1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

    Via Matta
    79 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

    348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02110

    69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

    253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

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

    6 Replies
    1. re: ecwashere7

      I've been reading the various threads on here and there are a lot of restaurants. Wow. Ok so when we come in tomorrow and after a nap I would like to see the mapparium and the Boston public library. So any suggestions within that area? Then I was thinking of heading to fenway park. Correct me if I'm wrong but ii hear the surrounding area has a lot interesting bars. Friday I would like to do the Boston common and public garden. And go to faneuill hall and go to Saus for waffles. What part of town is island creek oyster bar? And on a Friday night will it be insane?

      1. re: bmore1foodie

        Island creek oyster bar is right by Fenway.

        Highly recommended

        1. re: bmore1foodie

          Lucy Ethiopian is practically right across the street from the Mapparium.

          Lucy Ethiopian Cafe
          334 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02116

          1. re: bmore1foodie

            If you want a quick bite near the mapparium, you can get some good thai food at Pad Thai Cafe. You can also get some good beer at Bukowski's and the Other Side Cafe.

            Other Side Cafe
            407 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02115

            1281 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

            Pad Thai Cafe
            1116 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02215

            1. re: emannths

              Pad Thai Cafe is wonderful and they have an authentic Thai menu in addition to the Americanized one. You can also just ask for somehthing like Pad Thai to be served Thai Style. Another Thai Vietnamese favorite near there is Pho Basil right across from the Mapparium.


              Pho Basil Restaurant
              177A Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115

            2. re: bmore1foodie

              bmore, if you read what i linked you, you will see recs for the city - by area, as you are asking here. i do absolutely stress reservations at Isl Crk and other restnts of that caliber; you can alw call and change them if your schedule has changed. you will be treated better if you alrdy have a reservation; is helpful for 24/7 reservation making.

          2. ec has excellent suggestions. hope this might be helpful:

            Guide to Boston by Areas and Restaurants:

            1. not sure of where you are from but be advised, recently had friends from the midwest eat at neptune oyster ( against my recommendation, but thats another story) and the bill at the end of the meal truly shocked them. its dear.

              8 Replies
                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  "Don't the menus have prices?"

                  Excellent question! I never understand when people are "shocked" at the bill.

                2. re: hyde

                  i understand the tendency to lump the midwest together, but i think maybe it's more relevant to talk about city dwellers vs small town/country dwellers. Any foodie from Chicago would not be shocked by the prices at Neptune Oyster. just sayin. but i do certainly agree with you that it is expensive.

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

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    mea culpa.
                    have family in missouri and should not have cast that shadow on the region as a whole. my freinds are from outside des moines and as such were surprised at boston prices overall. they found manhattan easier to eat well for less money (something i have found myself in the last few years)
                    i did not question them as to why they were shocked, but people i have spoken to recently who have been surprised at a bill have a few things in common. a few drinks before food can add 20-30 dollars to your bill that you might forget about. coffee, bottled water, and ordering the specials quoted by the waiter without prices can put a bill up if one is not aware.
                    should they left without ordering when they saw the prices on the menu?, possibly. but they are midwestern polite and would find this a difficult thing to do. i am not a fan of this place for different reasons (though its price point certainly adds into those reasons) and suggested others, but caveat emptor was my final position.

                    1. re: hyde

                      Manhattan: better - at the high end indubitably - cheaper; i certainly would like to learn your secrets. One thing: you can almost always convince restaurants to allow you to bring a bottle of wine - though many have a stiff corkage fee; that seems to be difficult in Boston. (And of course, no one should post any exceptions on this board.)

                      1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                        Well, BYOB is legal in NY so long as the restaurant has a liquor license. In MA, it is illegal to BYOB if the place has a liquor license.

                        NY BYOB law:

                  2. re: hyde

                    I personally haven't been able to sit down at Neptune, so if you're able to go around lunchtime, consider doing take away.

                    then afterwards, you can wander over to Polcari's and buy some coffee beans, lobster roll in hand ... (I unfortunately have never been during my 8 years here in Boston, but I'm dying to go.)

                    Polcari's Restaurant
                    309 Montvale Ave, Woburn, MA 01801

                    1. re: hyde

                      Um, hello?

                      Midwesterners may just have fallen off the turnip truck* but I'm pretty sure the can add numbers ... in their head, even.

                      They actually taught that skill in the Midwest, where I grew up.

                      * facetious

                    2. china town is great and within walking distances; i like New Shanghai, Peach Farm, East Ocean, the last two being fish in the tank places.

                      Peach Farm
                      4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

                      New Shanghai Restaurant
                      21 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

                      East Ocean Restaurant
                      3704 Washington St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

                      1. Back in Baltimore. An overview of my first surprise trip to Boston for my 30th b-day.
                        We stayed at the seaport hotel. A beautiful hotel. Room was small but the bathroom was enormous. Close to airport and right off the silver line. Also the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle ride close to faneuil hall. So after a nap we took the shuttle and not asking where to go to get to faneuil market we managed to walk in circles trying to find it. Finally a nice local asked if we needed assistance. He gave us direction walked with us a little along the way while telling us a little history of Boston and what areas to visit. We reach faneuil market ( btw..... how is it pronounced??!!! Is the "u" silent? ) go into Quincy market and got a new england clam chowda from one of those shops that boasted it had the famous one ( of course ). It was ok. Not great. Too many potatoes would have preferred more clams and the bread bowl not so fresh. But I recommend ordering something from the Quincy market just to experience eating in the market itself. Close together sharing a booth with a complete stranger. People watching. Good times. After walking around the market we made our way to Saus where we ordered a small order of fries with vampire slayer and samurai sauce. Fries crispy. Sauces ok. But combined together delicious. We also ordered a waffle with nutella and salty caramel sauce. Fantastic!! We managed to get lost again and another super nice local saw that we were in need and pointed us to the nearest T stop. We walked Newbury St. then took the T again to the Mapparium. Beautiful. A must see!! Took the T again to Cheers, the original one. There I had my first beer rimmed with cinnamon and sugar!! Great way to serve a pumpkin beer!! There we met a tour guide who was originally from Maryland. Small world. After Cheers headed back on to the T to look for Regina Pizza ( the Original one ). Perfect timing. The rain deterred the crowd and we immediately found seats at the bar. Ordered a whole puttanesca pizza and a slice of cheese. Cheese was ok but probably would have been better if it came right out of the oven like the puttanesca. OMG. That pizza was fantastic. The crust, the sauce, and fresh basil. They know what they're doing. Plus the beer was icy cold. Nothing better.
                        Next day we headed to Public Garden and Boston Common where we enjoyed local coffee and croissants fresh out of the oven. Unfortunately I cant seem to remember where we purchased them. It was a local coffee shop by the theater. Def not dunkin donuts ( you guys really like dunkin donuts I saw more of those than starbucks. Garden and park was beautiful. Though a little disappointed the frog pond did actually contain frogs :-) ..... We then headed down to Chinatown. Dim sum at Hei La Moon. Really good short ribs and chicken feet. Dumplings were similar I think all included shrimp. Toured Boston Public Library where we were still unfortunately too full to try Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese food truck :-( Courtyard in the library would've been the perfect place to eat grilled cheese with duck confit. Went back to the hotel and got dressed for an early dinner at Island Creek Oyster. We made reservations the night before and all that was available 5pm. We got there a few minutes early and had some drinks. The bartenders there really know how to make an old fashion. Their signature cocktails were also inventive. We sat down to our table where I was surprised with a personalized menu wishing me a happy birthday!! Ordered a dozen oysters most local one from the pacific. All fresh, clean, and different from one another. I was torn from ordering a lobster roll vs an entree. Never having a lobster roll nor lobster dish itself i went with the lobster roe noodles thinking I can get a lobster roll some where else. The waitress surprised me by giving us a lobster roll slider to try!!! And it was so good. Buttery bun, soft lobster, and enough creme fraiche to bind it all together. Even the coleslaw was decent and I hate coleslaw. Dinner came out and of course it was nothing short of phenomenal. Dessert was their doughnut with an apple sauce. The sauce made the heavy doughnut light. But my boyfriend who ordered the panna cotta with rasberries.... I wanted to trade immediately. My experience with Island Creek was the best restaurant experience I've ever had!!!! Coming in you know its a nice restaurant but the waitstaff was efficient but unpretentious. Usually the restaurants here in baltimore that have excellent food and service the waitstaff is a bit stand offish. But here, they were personable and when asked for recommendations did not automatically suggest the most expensive item on the menu. And our tab was not a surprise. Which by the way I dont get either when people are surprised by a bill. Sure sitting down and seeing prices on a menu you may not want to be rude and leave but every restaurant offers reasonable price items ie. sandwiches, salad, soup.....
                        Southwest offers cheap flights to Boston .... I would not hesitate to catch a flight just to grab dinner at Island Creek. Amazing!!!
                        Last day went to the North end where we grabbed lunch at Panza. Had the goat cheese with wild mushroom and honey spring rolls and the butternut squash tortellini. Boyfriend ordered the carbonarra. The spring roll was delicious. Tortellini sauce was a little too sweet but the pasta was good. The carbonara was again had me wanting to trade. After panza we headed to modern pastry where we ordered cannolis I've had better but the pignoli cookies were tasty.
                        Overall my experience with Boston was perfect. Coming from Baltimore I thought you guys might have been a little hostile after the Sox lost to the O's but I was wrong. Everyone we encountered was unbelievably nice. Thank you Boston for making my 30th birthday a memorable one.

                        Hei La Moon
                        88 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

                        Regina Pizza
                        44 Station Landing, Medford, MA 02155

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

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: bmore1foodie

                          bmore, thanks so much for the details; it helps so much in advising other visitors, and we can link them to your post! so glad you felt welcome and enjoyed yourselves. and happy b'day!

                          1. re: bmore1foodie

                            Thanks so much for the writeup. It's great to hear how our city sounds through a visitor's eyes. And very glad you had a nice time!

                            1. re: bmore1foodie

                              This was a great eater's tour of our fair city. You're welcome back anytime!
                              BTW one of the best and easiest places to see the Sox play is at Camden Yards, great ballpark and a lot easier to get a cheap seat than Fenway. One of these days I'll ask ya about good chow near the Yards!

                              1. re: bmore1foodie

                                This post was so much fun to read. Thanks for taking the time to write it up. You helped to make us appreciate our city more, and if I head down to Baltimore soon I'll make sure to check out your posts about your fair city. By the way, Happy 30th!

                                1. re: bmore1foodie

                                  Thanks for reporting back, ICOB is definitely a local Gem, great food and service. I love B-More as well, consider it a very underrated food town, had one of the best meals of 2011 at Bluegrass in Federal Hill.

                                  1. re: bmore1foodie

                                    Thanks for the report on your trip!

                                    The cafe you went to near the common might have been Thinking Cup, which I liked the one time I tried it.

                                    Glad you had a good visit

                                    Dave MP