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Diner rec for Quebec visitor

lehouxp Jan 19, 2012 05:43 PM

First here's some information about us. We're visiting from Quebec on a rare kids free long week end in march. We are checking in Friday for lunch (we're staying at the Lennox) and since it's our first time in Boston without the kids we plan on enjoying a lot of nice meal and return to some of our family classic. I put a big emphasis on quality wine list and good value on wine (i don't mind paying a little extra on food for nice and affordable quality wine)

After reading a bunch of post here and going trough yelp reviews and photos here's the line up for our long week end

On arrival for a late friday lunch Eastern Standard (love the wine list with the 40 $ Morgon from Marcel Lapierre and a beef tartare, cheese and charcuterie plate is always a good way to enjoy the afternoon)

Friday diner: Xinh Xinh (we always stop with the kids i love the duck and mushroom soup)

Saturday brunch : Need help here ????

Saturday Diner : Oleana (the vegerian mezze tasting menu sounds great and domaine Huet vouvray at 56 $ is for us a steal) unless it's not worth going to cambridge for this place.

Sunday lunch: Again need help maybe Island creek oyster bar for a shellfih platter or anywhere that offers a great shellfish platter for that matter

Sunday diner: Grotto (my sister want on his last visit and love the fondue and the gnocchi and both dishes seem to get good reviews everywhere)

Monday lunch : before leaving we might go for the Mooo.. lunch deal that seem to be a great deal

If you have any advice feel free to tell i'll be reviewing as we visit those place. My sister went to clio and loved it but we have nice high end french restaurant so i wasn't aiming for those kind of restaurants but if there's a can't miss place, i'll consider visiting for sure.

Thanks for your advice

  1. j
    jajjguy Jan 25, 2012 02:53 PM

    Erbaluce would be a great replacement for Grotto. Their wine list is outstanding, and good value. Exclusively Italian, and filled with wines I haven't seen elsewhere. Their staff are very knowledgable about the wine. Great food too, much is written on this board about it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jajjguy
      ScotchandSirloin Jan 25, 2012 03:28 PM

      I'd be careful with Erbaluce, it's also one of the biggest "Bum Steers" on this board. The chef does a lot of very interesting combinations, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

      1. re: ScotchandSirloin
        jajjguy Jan 25, 2012 04:05 PM

        It is adventurous, and likely to be surprising, and not in techno-modernist ways. I have enjoyed everything I've ever had there, though I know it doesn't work for everyone. If dining there is a risk, it is the right kind of risk.

        1. re: jajjguy
          lehouxp Jan 25, 2012 04:54 PM

          First of all i want to say that i'm overwhelmed with all the rec's i'm getting on this board people are really generous and passionate about the food and the cuisine in their city. I'm still looking for one more dinner and erbaluce sounds great and really innovative (not in molecular way but still) and the wine list at Troquet sure seems intriguing (great value on properly aged wine is hard to find)

          i'll keep reading and checking on all your advice and i'm really looking forward to report on our trip

          1. re: lehouxp
            Bellachefa Jan 25, 2012 05:20 PM

            The few times I've dined at the bar at Erbaluce, the staff has been very passionate about their wines. And the chef usually makes an appearance to check in with diners. It's been awhile though.

            BTW, I hear some restaurant somewhere in Boston is giving Timmy Thomas as a door prize.

    2. Dave MP Jan 22, 2012 06:40 PM

      I also think Oleana is a great choice, but I wouldn't necessarily suggest limiting yourself to the vegetarian mezze - the meat and seafood choices are great as well. I loved the trout spanikopita, and the sultan's delight.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Dave MP
        opinionatedchef Jan 22, 2012 11:59 PM

        hmmmm.that sultan's delight has many fans!

        1. re: opinionatedchef
          Dave MP Jan 23, 2012 06:15 AM

          I will admit that I liked the eggplant part of the sultan's delight a lot more than the meat part. But both were good.

      2. k
        kimfair1 Jan 20, 2012 01:09 PM

        Since wine is so important to the OP, why not Troquet. Very good to excellent food, great ambiance, and some great deals on excellent wines.

        4 Replies
        1. re: kimfair1
          Bellachefa Jan 20, 2012 01:30 PM

          I have not been, so didn't bring Troquet to the table of suggestions, but from what I have read, I think it is an excellent candidate.

          1. re: Bellachefa
            lehouxp Jan 20, 2012 01:56 PM

            I read good reviews about troquet but they Don't show the entire wine list on the web site so you don't see all the wine they offer but mostly wine pairing option. I have booked reservation at oleana for saturday and i'm keeping my option open for friday since i want to stop by friday night brix wine tasting. I'm still mot decided for sunday since i drop grotto but i'll consider troquet for sure

            1. re: lehouxp
              KevinJF Jan 25, 2012 04:48 PM

              Based upon your quote below, you really must go to Troquet. The prices on properly aged high-end wines are below retail. It is closed on Sunday. I suggest moving Oleana to Sunday and booking Troquet on Saturday. I have the complete bottle list from November. Email me directly at flemingkevin@hotmail.com if you want it.
              Even though the cuisine is French, the wine list makes it a "can't miss place" for an oenophile.
              If you are going to Brix on Friday, I suggest dining at Hamersley's Bistro, which is excellent and in the South End.

              "I put a big emphasis on quality wine list and good value on wine (i don't mind paying a little extra on food for nice and affordable quality wine)."

          2. re: kimfair1
            opinionatedchef Jan 20, 2012 01:47 PM

            definitely. they are so famous for their wine list. but i think the op was not wanting high end french spots because he said they had plenty of those in his Quebec City/home town:

            <but we have nice high end french restaurant so i wasn't aiming for those kind of restaurants but if there's a can't miss place, i'll consider visiting for sure.>

          3. b
            Bellachefa Jan 20, 2012 08:04 AM

            You might enjoy checking out brix wine store in the southend.


            I can't resist the Moules Provencal at Eastern Standard

            1. s
              ScotchandSirloin Jan 20, 2012 06:53 AM

              Oleana is worth it but Grotto is not. Grotto is a place that some people on this board like a lot, but I don't even think they would say it is a must try when in Boston for one weekend. Since you are into wine, when you go to Moo, definitely go downstairs and look at their wine cellar. I was there last night and they have some great things to look at, 29's, 45's, 61's, 82's (and an amazing vertical of Yquem), but given their prices, really a look but don't touch experience.

              1. n
                nightsky Jan 19, 2012 09:44 PM

                City Table -- the Lenox hotel restaurant -- is very underrated IMO. I've been there a few times and the food and service was quite good. Definitely a few notches above most hotel restaurants.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nightsky
                  lehouxp Jan 20, 2012 05:28 AM

                  Thanks guys for all the tips (it's true our bagel are quite good....)

                  ICOB looks like a great place and we might stop there Friday if we come here too late for lunch or we might go there instead of Grotto. I'll book oelana right away trough open table to make sure we have a table

                  We had breakfast last year at the City Table on december 25th (since everything was pretty much close, The Lennox offered complimentary breakfast for everyone, nice gesture!!!) and it seems like a nice restaurant so if we feel like staying at the hotel we might give it a try. Finally i'm always up for a good pizza so i remember the Pizzeria Regina rec for our lunch before heading back to Quebec

                  So thanks again and i'll report back for sure on our Boston week-end

                2. h
                  hckybg Jan 19, 2012 08:07 PM

                  Welcome, and please bring bagels with you! Mike and Patty's would be an excellent place for your Saturday brunch--an understated corner joint not far from Boston Common with fantastic breakfast sandwiches. Oleana is definitely worth the trip, and it would be a shame if you came to Boston and never crossed the river.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: hckybg
                    total13 Jan 20, 2012 06:47 AM

                    Mike and Patty's is tiny and kind of a pain when it's cold and you have to eat inside. I'd go to Aquitaine for their Sat. brunch deal, make a reservation. It's a nice, fairly short walk from your hotel. Or save that for Sun. (the deal is not offered that day) and crowd into Charlie's on Columbus Ave. on Sat. for a completely different vibe, old style diner type place. Abe & Louie's 5 min from your hotel does a nice brunch.

                    Your dinner choices are perfect.

                    1. re: total13
                      hckybg Jan 20, 2012 08:30 AM

                      But Bay Village is such a nice neighborhood to visit, and so unknown to all but us locals!

                  2. p
                    pariss Jan 19, 2012 05:55 PM

                    Oleana is worth going to Cambridge for. It's not far - don't forget, Boston is a small city.
                    What about Neptune Oyster in the North End (no reservations the only drawback) or Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kenmore Sq. Both are quality seafood.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: pariss
                      lehouxp Jan 19, 2012 06:04 PM

                      I tought about visiting Neptune Oyster, the raw bar looks good, the lobster roll seem to be a must try and i saw some picture of an whole fish on yelp that look really amazing but the fact that they don't take reservation kind of turn me off, how long can the wait be...

                      1. re: lehouxp
                        Madrid Jan 20, 2012 06:45 AM

                        I love Neptune...the lobster roll is easily enough for two people, but that's me talking, my eyes are always bigger than my stomach. It's a very unique place ... yes noisy....but full of non Americans as well. It is expensive but worth it if you can afford it (I can't very often!). The best time to go in my opinion is right when they open at 11:30 or just after that....so might work for one of your lunches on Sat or Sun. Others can tell you about mid-late afternoon but that may not work with your schedule. If you are really craving shellfish and seafood, doing both Neptune and ICOB might be heaven and not overkill for you!

                        1. re: Madrid
                          opinionatedchef Jan 20, 2012 12:19 PM

                          madrid, we really should go out to eat sometime; i'd eat 1 1/2 a regular person and you'd eat 1/2. Good teamwork!

                      2. re: pariss
                        opinionatedchef Jan 20, 2012 01:21 AM

                        lehoux, bienvenue in advance! I agree w/ pariss.

                        Oleana is terrific and very unique; hope you get their tuna kibbeh; amazing. Neptune can easily be an hour wait, though they call your cell when your table is ready, and the North End is one of our most appealing walk-around historic neighborhoods.Neptune is also VERY loud and crowded; good place to talk with your neighbors. We love their oysters, scallops dishes and their innovative vitello tonnato sandwich.At Island Creek, we love that very famous dish of lobster roe noodles w/ lobster and braised short rib and chanterelles; and their changing scallops dish is usually excellent. Very big room, handsome design, good friendly service.


                        Have you ever been to the famous Regina's Pizzeria in the North End? Such a unique authentic old Boston feel, and what many think is our very best pizza. Maybe for your Mon lunch?


                        I think I would recommend you go to Neptune for shellfish etc for Mon at. lunch.
                        (ICOB does not open til 4pm on weekdays.


                        and then do Sunday(only) brunch at the very unique and full-of-locals East Coast Bar and Grill in Cambridge,( near Oleana.)- fun, loud, crazy; Latin, Mexican, seafood, BBQ, oysters, Bloody Mary bar ...



                        In case this might be of help:

                        Guide to Boston by Areas and Restaurants:



                        Boston Magazine 11/11 issue: 50 Best Boston Restnts. This list is a very comprehensive and convenient reference list for brief restnt. descriptions, essential info, website links of the 50:



                        Also, I urge you to take advantage of the convenience of 24/7 reservations with a system like opentable.com. Reservations are usually a weekend must here, and even if your plans may change, it's good to get reservations ASAP and then change them if needed, as your plans solidify. opentable has an easy system for changing or cancelling your reservation. Also, if a restnt shows no availability for a time you wanted to dine, best to call that restnt because they always have more seats than show on opentable.


                        1. re: pariss
                          Madrid Jan 20, 2012 06:40 AM

                          oh yes, Oleana is very very worth going to. The veg mezze is amazing. I am not a big eater though I love to try many things. I went with a friend once and we ordered one veg mezze tasting and several non veg mezze to supplement....all of the mezze are wonderful. The Sultan's delight is something I can't miss and I usually do not order beef. And the chef has a very special touch with seafood.

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