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Coming in from Toronto - Dinner Question

canadiandiner Nov 30, 2011 12:31 PM

My wife and I are coming in from Toronto for a conference and can have dinner on Friday and Saturday night. We booked O Ya for Friday and are super excited. For saturday we tried to go to ICOB but can't get in before 10pm. Right now I have made reservations at Rendezvous, Woodward and Post 390. I like the menu best at redezvous but woodward looks like it will be fun to hang out and have drinks after. Post was the recommendation of the hotel.
thoughts/suggestions? loooking for something with good ambience, not too quiet.

502 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139

O Ya
9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

Post 390
406 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116

1 Court Street, Boston, MA 02108

  1. Bob Dobalina Nov 30, 2011 12:43 PM

    If you want a bit of a scene, also consider Toro or Scampo/Clink for your Saturday night.
    It is often said here that you can get seats at the bar at ICOB, even when reservations are booked. That + proximity of Eastern Standard + the new exclusive bar in the same building - Hawthorne - may make it all the worthwhile for a visit.

    1. s
      Spike Nov 30, 2011 01:00 PM

      skip Post 390 IMHO...not up w/ the rest of your list. I'd suggest Toro as well for something different. I don't remember seeing any decent Tapas places last time I was up in Toronto...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Spike
        canadiandiner Nov 30, 2011 01:05 PM

        thanks, that was my feeling on post as well. toro looks good but no reservations - how busy does it get on a sat night? any thoughts on woodward?
        toronto has torito in kensington market that does authentic tapas, although i haven't been in a while.

        1. re: canadiandiner
          Spike Nov 30, 2011 07:41 PM

          Toro can be a zoo on Saturday night....get there early (6pm) or be prepared to wait an hour.
          It's not rustic authentic but it's really good...
          I'd also go w/ ICOB and eating at the bar if you want good seafood (something Toronto doesn't have enough of).

          Haven't tried Torito so I can't give you a comparison...we mostly stay in the Markham area when we visit and have only hit a few places in Toronto.

      2. C. Hamster Nov 30, 2011 04:13 PM

        Good Lord, what hotel has Post 390 paid off? That place is terrible.

        I agree that Scampo/Clink is pretty lively. So is the new seaport area.

        1. hotoynoodle Nov 30, 2011 04:18 PM

          jeebus, skip post entirely. woodward for drinks only, not food. that place though will be MOBBED on a saturday night.

          tor doesn't really do "authentic tapas" more off-the-cuff than that.

          scampo is fun and very lively.

          rendez-vous is great, with a quieter feel.

          1. p
            pollystyrene Nov 30, 2011 05:04 PM

            I'd recommend Hamersley's or Gaslight. Both have good food (especially Hamersley's, where you pay accordingly) and an attractive, bustling ambiance, but are not tawdry scenes like Scampo can be. I also think Scampo's food is mediocre. I like Rendezvous a lot, but it may be more laid back than what you're looking for.

            I also like the idea of going to Eastern Standard followed by The Hawthorne, where you can be an early adopter.

            10 Replies
            1. re: pollystyrene
              C. Hamster Nov 30, 2011 05:27 PM

              Scampo a tawdry scene?

              Scampo/clink are refined pickup places /bar scenes.

              Hamersley's is a terrific restaurant with a smallish bar and isn't quiet. Gaslight is not that terrific but a better bar, also not quiet. Very difft vibes.

              1. re: C. Hamster
                hotoynoodle Nov 30, 2011 08:09 PM

                i love hammersley's and don't think it gets enough love on here.

                gaslight can be insanely loud and the food is meh.

                1. re: hotoynoodle
                  C. Hamster Nov 30, 2011 08:29 PM

                  Hamersleys is deserving of a ton of love. They set a standard a long tine ago and meet it every day. Love the place. But it's not a vibe place.

                  Gaslights food is in the Ok territory for me. Some has been fantastic some has been awful.

                  I think the OP is looking for a place like the Seaport or ICOB

                  1. re: C. Hamster
                    hotoynoodle Dec 1, 2011 05:16 AM

                    while the seaport is busy, i'm not quite sure it's a fit for the op. remy's is drunk kids, waiting in line. del frisco's is drunk guidos. texmazcal is drunk cougars. and legal's harborside is still seeking its identity. full of olds who remember roger's dad at inman square and think the music is too loud and kids thinking the roof deck is a disco.

                    don't even get me going on atlantic beer garden or whiskey priest. just ugh. kids puking out roofies and getting arrested all weekend.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                      Spike Dec 1, 2011 09:50 AM

                      lol...that had to be the funniest post I've seen in a while :-)

                      Is the food any good at any of those spots? I noticed the yelp reviews are all over the place....but with a consistent "nice view", "food meh" tone....

                      1. re: hotoynoodle
                        GretchenS Dec 1, 2011 11:52 AM

                        It has been awhile since a post made me laugh that hard. :)

                        1. re: GretchenS
                          hotoynoodle Dec 2, 2011 12:45 PM

                          am servicey like that. :P

                      2. re: C. Hamster
                        hotoynoodle Dec 1, 2011 05:18 AM

                        hammersley's is a place for grown-ups to enjoy a fantastic dinner. a long-standing place, still helmed almost every night by its celebrity chef owner. gordon is working the line, unlike any other chef of his caliber, and generation, in town.

                  2. re: pollystyrene
                    barleywino Nov 30, 2011 10:49 PM

                    What did you order at Scampo that you found mediocre? Spaghetti, salad, pizza? Try their Friday night suckling pig, the beef carpaccio, some of their more interesting pastas (currently they have a raviolini w/ short rib, a brain ravioli, a delicate lasagna, a rock shrimp pasta etc), the desserts (panna cotta w/ dried cherries and zabaglione, lemon pavlova etc). Their menu is creative and changes often. Their bar program tends to the foofy side and is imo second tier compared to the best craft cocktail places in the city, but serviceable. I'm not as much of a fan of Clink, personally.

                    1. re: barleywino
                      pollystyrene Dec 1, 2011 09:28 PM

                      Barley, I promise that when I break my 20-years-and-counting vegetarian streak, the first morsel I put in my mouth will be brain ravioli. You're right on; the salad and pizza were mediocre, and the pasta was sub-mediocre. I agree with you on the desserts--yum, and the cocktails--a joke.

                  3. opinionatedchef Dec 1, 2011 04:53 PM

                    Welcome in advance. We get a fair number of toronto visitors here , coming from one handsome historic city to another!
                    I think ICOB bar option might be good to try; also just want to make sure that you CALLED ICOB? because Open Table always shows fewer tables than if you call the restnt.

                    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:

                    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:







                    To cut to the chase, My Strongest Suggestions:

                    Oleana -cambridge,need taxi but so worth it, such a unique take on 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

                    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


                    Brunch(some sat and sun; some just sun.):

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

                    Mistral- french high end

                    Aquitaine - french bistro

                    Neptune Oyster
                    EVOO incl lunch
                    Regina's North End location only- lunch

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                      Swankalicious Dec 1, 2011 06:09 PM

                      What about Bistro du Midi or Bondir?

                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                        canadiandiner Dec 3, 2011 03:31 PM

                        Thanks so much! We did o ya last night and lived up to it reputation as expensive and amazing? Got a table at icob for 8 so headed there tonight.

                        1. re: canadiandiner
                          opinionatedchef Dec 3, 2011 03:57 PM

                          yay! hope you get the table biscuit and the lobster roe noodles! make sure to check out the murals- so cool!

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