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Oct 30, 2011 08:12 PM

Old Boston Hand in Need of Help

In another century....truly...I was a college student in Boston. I knew my way around the back alleys and the little known places and always had a great meal. But that was many moons ago.

Now my husband and I are coming up to Boston from NYC for the post Thanksgiving Day weekend. We're staying at the Boston Hyatt Regency near Chinatown from Friday night and leaving Monday. It's my husband's birthday that weekend so it's a bit of a celebration. We're only now in the process of making our plans and I realize I don't have a clue as to where to have dinners or pitstops while we're in town.

I'd love to check out someplace in Chinatown. I printed the "crawl" that appeared here so I guess I'll get some inspiration there. But we'd like to go out for a "nice" dinner on Saturday night. I think seafood or Italian food would be preferred by him though I can always get into a good lobster.

Also would love to know if some of the old standbys: Durgin Park, Regina, Legal Seafood are worth checking into again or if there are other standbys that will stand us better??

Any places that are particularly good for late night hanging out will be greatly appreciated as well.

We're traveling up by train so any restaurant suggestions should be accessible by T, cab or walking. We're willing to head to Cambridge - always fun to walk around there - but not too far to the burbs on this trip at least. If I'm being too limiting or there's someplace great we shouldn't miss please tell me.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Durgin Park
1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

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  1. Well, welcome back! You are going to be so interested in how much has changed, in particular the harbor area and the north end/haymarket region.

    from this recent thread, and a good review from our Globe food critic, sounds like you would enjoy the new Legal Harborside:

    hope this is helpful as well, a compendium of threads, ending with some from recent visitors:

    Guide to Boston by Areas and Restaurants:

    Also, some extra Boston food profile info for you:

    shopping for Boston food souvenirs:


    recent foodie visitor threads: (if you scroll through this a bit, you will see this october visitor's dining plan, which i think was an excellent one:



    to cut to the chase, my strongest suggestions:

    Oleana (cambr.,need taxi but so worth it, such a unique menu- Turkish/Mediterranean


    O Ya - Japanese and fusion; VERY expensive

    Clio - Japanese and fusion, elegant, expensive.

    Craigie on Main- Cambr., famous for creative snout to tail, but seafood too. V expensive.

    Erbaluce - Piedmontese; relatively near your hotel

    Neptune Oyster incl lunch- No.End, trad and v creative food; almost always a line, and no reservations

    Island Creek Oyster Bar- open late; vibrant scene, a real CH fave if you do a search


    Regina's North End location only- lunch too- still THE BEST pizza for many of us



    East Coast Grill, Cambr.- fun, loud, crazy; Latin, seafood, BBQ, oysters, Bloody Mary bar.........

    Mistral- french high end

    Aquitaine - french bistro

    Neptune Oyster


    A few different visitors in the past few months really got a kick out of the baked beans and lobster and indian pudding at Durgin Park, but i think you would have a better meal in the other places above.

    O Ya
    9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

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

    134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

    EVOO Restaurant
    350 Third Street, Cambridge, MA 02143

    69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

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

    6 Replies
      1. re: opinionatedchef

        Wow! I have some homework to do here. Thanks so much for taking the time to give me such a total answer. I really appreciate it. Also, don't want people to think I only want high end restaurants to visit. A quiet little place with great atmosphere more than works well also. Thank you again for putting in this effort in answer to my question.

        1. re: KingsKetz

          You might consider Blue Inc. which is within walking distance of your hotel - new Jason Santos venture.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              The October visitor's itinerary was indeed very good. I could also use some suggestions for breakfast...and maybe even dim sum...near my hotel. Hotel restaurants are not my favorite places in general. Overpriced and substandard in my experience. Thanks!

              1. re: KingsKetz

                2 places for bkfst get a lot of CH raves- South End Buttery and Mike and Patty's.
                Do a CH search for dimsum and many threads will come up. In Ch town,Winsor seems the reigning fave, though it is not a cart place but a menu-order place. Packed as you might expect; not a huge dining room.

                South End Buttery
                314 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA 02118

        2. I think you're going to be pretty impressed with how the food choices and quality around Boston has grown since the days you've described!

          For late night bites and drinks, my go to place is Eastern Standard. Added bonus is you'll get a chance to gasp at how Kenmore Sq has changed!

          Eastern Standard
          528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

          2 Replies
          1. re: beforesunrise

            I'm getting very excited to see Boston. Hope for not too chill weather!

            1. re: KingsKetz

              this might be of help i hope:

              11/2011Boston mag. 50 Best Boston Restnts:

          2. Regina's (in my opinion of course) is still the king of pizza in Boston, and totally still worth a visit....I just love their pizza, and am thrilled to pass that love on down to my little guy.....tradition!!!!

            1. Many many many thanks to my fellow chowhounds for helping to make this such a successful food vacation...among other aspects of the vacation. In between the MFA to see the Degas exhibit, the Aquarium, Trinity Church, Brattle Book Store, The Holocaust Memorial, Haymarket, Paul Revere's House and the North End and much more we managed to have breakfast at Caffe Novo (wonderful latter wow! and excellent breakfast overall. I could go back there again and again; dinner at Erbaluce on Saturday night -- the ongoing problem of too much food but all very interesting -- caulfilower roasted with capers and raisins and other items, a vegetable risotto very toothsome and boar chops; dinner at Aquitaine - great liver mousse and onion soup and steak frites tho my one complaint was that in my salade lyonnaise the lardons weren't , they were chopped up little bits of bacon. maybe a problem of a Sunday night of a holiday weekend but they didn't get that right but great profiteroles and the mousse looked scrumptious. Wines were good all around. We went on our own for dim sum at China Pearl and enjoyed the carts and the carnival atmosphere. Some differences from NY dim sum. Probably not stellar but for the price and no wait it was damned good. We particularly liked the taro with shrimp; the sesame balls with black sesame paste inside (not sure of the filling really but love that); the chicken feet (yeah, I'm a sucker for chicken feet), and unusual shumai. Didn't much like the rice noodles with shrimp too thick a noodle and we were comped breakfast at our hotel because they failed to make up our room yesterday so we were deprived of another breakfast out. Oh yes...and we did go to Durgin Park for the roast beef and sides....all rather the same as I remember it which was after all the point.

              So thanks to all for your help. Hope I can return the favor when you're in Manhattan or Brooklyn. You guys make travel sing.

              China Pearl Restaurant
              9 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

              Durgin Park
              1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

              69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

              4 Replies
              1. re: KingsKetz

                that's terrif, ketz. so glad you had good times! one question>> should we recommend Durgin Park to first time visitors?

                (p.s. it's Caffe Nuovo on Salem St., No.End; I finally found it after 'caffe novo' (surprisingly)didn't bring up anything on my CH search.)

                Caffe Nuovo
                76 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  I think so re Durgin Park simply because it's so much a part of old Boston and near so many tourist-y places. The food is fine and some of it is even good --fabulous mashed potatoes for one thing and the roast beef is good as is the fish chowder...their own IPA on tap is really good and it's just a fun kind of place to be.

                  Sorry about the misspell on Caffe Nuovo.

                2. re: KingsKetz

                  Great report and thanks for taking the time to write it up. It always helps me to appreciate our wonderful cities more when someone adds some fresh perspective. Sounds like you really got a flavor for the city along with some nostalgia.

                  Glad you enjoyed Caffe Nuovo. We head there fairly frequently on Saturday mornings, and then stop by Haymarket to pick up a couple of things and get parking validated at the Parcel 7 garage. Breakfast is reasonable and the Italian-American slant of the menu is appealing. Not many places serve carbonara at eight in the morning, and the steak and eggs plate (either prime rib-eye or tenderloin) is excellent. Haven't tried the latte, though.