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Looking for stylish dining options for a DC Foodie

HI there - I am a foodie from Washington DC visiting Boston for 5 days (Fri-Wednesday).
I am an adventurous eater and happy to try anything new. I'm staying at Fifteen Beacon Hotel and while I'm happy to travel I don't want to go much further than Cambridge. It's my first time in Boston so I'm looking to try what you locals think is the best, most interesting food in the city.

I would love a couple weekend dinner suggestions (Fri-Sat), brunch suggestions for Sunday and a couple lunch suggestions during the week. Any atmosphere, price range is ok though I would like a couple of suggestions that have a cool/stylish atmosphere.

Thanks so much for the help!

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  1. Not sure where you'll be for lunch, if it matters. Galleria Umberto and a Clover food truck (or the storefront in Harvard Sq) might be good options for an inexpensive, quick, unique lunch. There's good Vietnamese at Xinh Xinh and good Sichuan Chinese at New Shanghai, both in Chinatown, and both could be good for lunch as well. Or you could get a banh mi from one of the places in Chinatown. Or a lobster roll from James Hook.

    I'd track down a $1 oyster special (not to many on weekends, but Mon-Wed should be easy) and scarf some down with a beer from one of our great regional brewers like Pretty Things, Smuttynose, Berkshire, etc. There's a thread cataloging $1 oyster specials on this board.

    Island Creek Oyster Bar would probably be considered reasonably stylish. And it happens to have some of the best seafood in the city.

    I'd encourage you to search through some of the other threads here. There are some good threads dedicated to good lunch spots, best chinese/thai/vietnamese/seafood/chowder/lobster roll/north end/etc.

    -----
    New Shanghai Restaurant
    21 Hudson St, Boston, MA 02111

    Xinh Xinh
    7 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

    James Hook & Co.
    15 Northern Ave, Boston, MA

    Umberto Galleria
    289 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

    Clover Food Truck
    Amherst St Carleton St, Mid-Cambridge, MA 02142

    Clover Food Truck
    Dewey Square (at the South Station T-stop exit), Boston, MA

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

    Clover Food Lab
    7 Holyoke St, Cambridge, MA 02138

    2 Replies
    1. re: emannths

      I like your food truck options for lunch. Island Creek Oyster Bar was on my list. I am also thinking Craigie on Main for brunch. Erbaluce or Myers + Chang for dinner?

      -----
      Craigie on Main
      853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

      Erbaluce
      69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

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

      1. re: thepresidentwearsprada

        Craigie on Main does a great brunch, my favorite in the city. The hash is incredible! Definitely try Island Creek Oyster Bar, I also second Galleria Umberto as a great, cheap North End lunch. I've not dined at Myers & Chang, but , we enjoyed Erbaluce very much. Also, Rendezvous in Cambridge, and Lineage in Brookline (very close to Boston, in Coolidge Corner on the C green line).

        -----
        Craigie on Main
        853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

        Erbaluce
        69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

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

    2. Dinners: Island Creek Oyster Bar (Kenmore), Toro (South End), Coppa (South End), Scampo (Beacon Hill), Bistro Du Midi (Back Bay)

      Brunch: Second Craigie.

      Also if you are into craft cocktails try out Drink or Eastern Standard. The bartending at both are on par with The Passenger and Columbia Room in DC. Which is high praise.

      If you mention a few places you enjoy going to often in DC, it may give us a better understanding of your likes/dislikes as well. I travel to DC often and really enjoy the selection there.

      -----
      Eastern Standard
      528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

      Toro
      1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

      Scampo
      215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

      Coppa
      253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

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

      4 Replies
      1. re: Matt H

        These suggestions (Island Creek, Coppa, Scampo, Bistro Du Midi, Eastern Std and Craigie) are great and fit the desire for both good food and fashionable spots. I will add Woodward at the Ames Hotel. If you truly want fashionable - hit up Scampo on Thursday and then head upstairs to the Liberty Hotel's "fashionably late" fashion show.
        Craigie would be great for brunch or go to Russell House in Harvard Square followed by a stop at L.A. Burdick's for Hot Chocolate. The Beacon Hill Bistro does a nice brunch if you feel like staying closer to the hotel or couldn't resist going to Craigie for dinner already.
        By the way Eastern Standard and Island Creek are basically next door to each other so it makes it a nice back-to-back for food and drinks.

        -----
        Beacon Hill Bistro
        25 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114

        Eastern Standard
        528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

        Burdick's
        Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

        Scampo
        215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

        Coppa
        253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

        1. re: Matt H

          Having been a couple of times now, I can confidently say there is nothing in Boston like the Columbia Room.

          This includes not just the actual drinks but the entire experience. Drink and/or Eastern Standard do not come close.

          Having lived in DC between years in Boston, unless the OP wants a drink I would not suggest going out of way just for cocktails. When it's an added bonus, great. But DC is Boston's equal in terms of craft cocktails.

          -----
          Eastern Standard
          528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

          1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

            I agree that the experience at the Columbia Room is different from anything we have here, but I would disagree that the bartending itself is on another level.

            I have done the "tasting menu" quite a few times now (as recently as 4 weeks ago) and while the whole feel of it is different from Drink, if it was Josie, Misty or whoever pouring on the other side of the bar at CR I really do not think you would be taking a step down.

            As far as DC being Boston's equal? I wholeheartedly agree, but whenever I am out of town I always go out of my way to find the best cocktail bar as a final stop for the night. If that interests the OP then I am sure Drink or ES would be an enjoyable stop. If not, then no harm in suggesting them.

            1. re: Matt H

              I similarly agree that nowhere in Boston has the same atmosphere as Columbia Room, but the level of drinks at a number of bars in Boston is absolutely on par with CR. Drink and ES have certainly become more high volume in recent times, and the quality at those bars has arguably slipped as a result. For more inventive cocktails and more personal service across the bar, one has to go to the less populated bars. For example, I often end up at ICOB more often than ES because it is usually less busy. Clio, No. 9 Park, Craigie, and even Umami in Washington Sq have some fantastic cocktail programs.

              However, one thing I've noticed in DC, not just CR, but also PX, is the reservation system for bar seats. While I love being able to guarantee myself a seat at the bar without jostling and not having people looming/grabbing over me while I'm seated, I do miss the ability to spontaneously walk into a bar. Making a reservation a week in advance certainly feels tedious after awhile.

              -----
              No. 9 Park
              9 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108

        2. Welcome to Boston.Hope these are helpful:

          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
          ------------------------------
          recent foodie visitor threads:

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/810596 (if you scroll through this a bit, you will see this october visitor's dining plan, which i think was an excellent one.

          )

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/792188

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776070

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/776007

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/775842
          ----------------------------------------------------
          to cut to the chase, my strongest suggestions (I am a big Mini Bar, Kincaid's, and Zaitinya fan) are for:
          Oleana
          O Ya
          Clio
          Erbaluce
          Neptune Oyster incl lunch
          Island Creek Oyster Bar
          -------------------
          Rendezvous
          EVOO incl lunch
          Regina's North End location only- lunch
          East by Northeast (you might be interested to know that this very talented chef/owner-Philip Tang- grew up in D.C. in a large Chinese restnt owning family.) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/679338

          -----
          O Ya
          9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

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

          EVOO Restaurant
          350 Third Street, Cambridge, MA 02143

          Oleana
          134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

          Erbaluce
          69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

          East by Northeast
          1128 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Ditto O Ya since you said any price :-)
            Toro is almost up there.
            ICOB definitely (doesn't hurt the wallet as much)
            Clio (hurts wallet...small portions like O Ya)
            Mamma Maria (italian in north end) for dinner
            Bergamot and Bondir if you want to venture into Cambridge

            -----
            O Ya
            9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

            Toro
            1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

            Mamma Maria Restaurant
            3 North Sq, Boston, MA 02113

            Bondir
            279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

          2. i like rialto which has a 1.00 island creek oyster special on mondays; it is a good italian resto, too, and is located in the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square. But get there early; the oysters sell out.

            1. We split a question about stylish dining choices in DC back to the DC board: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/814439 We hope the original poster and anyone who has suggestions for that will jump over and add them on the DC board. Thanks!

              1. hoping you'll let us know how it went so we can better advise other visitors like yourself!