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"Best in Class" restaurants

Swankalicious Jan 24, 2012 04:14 PM

I'd like to start a thread similar to the Oscars! Best in Class restaurants -- restaurants that, in your opinion, are tops in their categories. Let's confine our picks to Boston and the immediate suburbs. Please feel free to add a category, and please by all means explain why you picked what. May the best restaurant win! Your humble host, Billy "Swankalicious" Crystal.

Northern Italian: Erbaluce, Bay Vill

Southern Italian: L'Osteria, N. End

Steakhouse: Tango, Arlington

Tacos: Dorado, Brookline

Diner: Deluxe, Newton

High-End Mexican: Ole (? not convinced here, will accept other arguments!)

Low-End Mexican: La Cantina Mexicana, Union Sq

Tapas: Estragon, S End

Indian: Maharaja, Harv Sq

French: Lumiere, W Newton

Sushi: Cafe Sushi, Cambridge

New American: Craigie on Main

Seafood: Island Creek Oyster Bar

Mediterranean: Trade

Chinese: Qingdao Garden, N Cambridge

Ice Cream: Christina's, Inman

Sandwiches: All-Star Sandwich Bar, Inman

Pizza: Santarpios

OK, now you!!!!

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  1. s
    Swankalicious Jan 24, 2012 04:15 PM

    Oh, and how could I forget: Food Truck: Staff Meal!!!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Swankalicious
      Madrid Jan 25, 2012 03:22 PM

      "tapas" and med: Oleana (mezze)
      seafood: Neptune
      brunch: Highland Kitchen, East Coast Grill

    2. g
      Gabatta Jan 24, 2012 04:30 PM

      The places I feel are truly outstanding in their categories are *'d

      Northern Italian: *Trattoria Toscana; Via Matta

      Southern Italian: Mamma Maria

      Steakhouse: Del Friscos (just because they have incredible king crab legs), there isn't a standout steakhouse unfortunately; G23 is only local option

      Steak Tips: Sadie's (Waltham)

      Tacos: Felipe's Taqueria, Harvard Square

      Diner: Charlie's Sandwich, South End

      High-End Mexican: None (unfortunately)

      Low-End Mexican: Angela's

      Tapas: Toro

      Indian: Kebab Factory (lots of good options, nothing outstanding)

      French: *Hammersley's

      Sushi: *Sushi Island (Boston desperately needs a high end traditional Japanese sushi restaurant)

      New American: *Bondir

      Seafood: *Neptune (with the service caveats); Oceanaire

      Mediterranean: Sorellina (sort of a stretch, but the category is broad)

      Chinese: lots of decent options, no standout for me

      Ice Cream: Toscanini (they need to keep ice cream colder though); Christine's

      Sandwiches: *Monica's Salumeria (Italian); LaGrassa's (speaking of ASSBar, please tell me what to order there. I was there today and had the gobbler with off putting, tart cranberry sauce. I left thinking that every time I give it a shot I am disappointed other than the fries & rings)

      Pizza: *Regina (NE)

      BBQ: *Blackstrap (BTs to far to qualify)

      Breakfast: *Mike & Patty's

      Wings: *Buffs

      Lobster Roll: *Belle Isle

      Food Truck: Have they jumped the shark yet? There is a great steak & cheese truck in NYC. Wish it would drive here.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Gabatta
        teezeetoo Jan 24, 2012 05:34 PM

        I'll play! Northern Italian Nouveau: Erbaluce
        Northern Italian traditional: Trattoria Toscana
        Italian (general category): Il Casale
        Italian (upscale): Prezza
        Italian Pizza: Basta Pasta, Gran Gusto
        Diner: Victor's
        Breakfast Joint: The Spot, Watertown
        Brunch: East Coast Grill, Abigails, Fireplace Grill
        Tapas: Toro
        French: L'Espalier
        Japanese (affordable and not sushi) Shiki
        Chinese: Shanghai Gate, JoJo Taipei, Mulan, Fuloon, Windsor for dim sum, Little Q for hotpot
        Vietnamese - Pho 2000, Sunrise Cafe
        Thai: S & I, Thai North
        Indian: India Quality, Kebab Factory for lunch buffet, Shanti
        Seafood: Alive 'n Kicking for down home, Island Creek for upscale, New Deal for buying it
        Sandwiches: Cutty's, Michael's Deli
        Ice Cream: Toscanini

      2. Alcachofa Jan 25, 2012 09:12 AM

        I'd actually put Angela's as high-end Mexican. Have you seen their prices recently? Hardly "low-end".

        7 Replies
        1. re: Alcachofa
          DoubleMan Jan 25, 2012 09:35 AM

          Agreed. Good, but not cheap, especially for the location. I just wish they'd stop overcooking the meat.

          1. re: DoubleMan
            Gabatta Jan 25, 2012 09:38 AM

            I suppose low(er) end food and high(er) end prices is an issue. Poor value around here, as with lots of categories.

            1. re: DoubleMan
              cambridgedoctpr Jan 25, 2012 02:22 PM

              does angela's use poor cuts and poor chicken or is the problem that they over cook the food?

              1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                Aromatherapy Jan 25, 2012 03:50 PM

                They use boneless breast and pork loin, which are easy to overcook. They would do better with cheaper cuts IMHO, but I suppose they know their audience.

                1. re: Aromatherapy
                  DoubleMan Jan 25, 2012 04:01 PM

                  Yeah, I would love some slow-cooked pork shoulder with that mole. Tenderloin cooked to 160+ ain't working.

                  1. re: Aromatherapy
                    hotoynoodle Jan 28, 2012 08:49 AM

                    you can request dark meat chicken.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                      Aromatherapy Jan 28, 2012 01:04 PM

                      Thanks! (You can also buy the mole, separately, at least you could a few years ago.)

            2. e
              emannths Jan 25, 2012 09:26 AM

              My base of operations is the Porter Sq area, so my experiences across the river are a little more limited.

              Japanese: Toraya
              Sichuan: Fuloon?
              Dim Sum (cart): Hei La Moon
              Coffee: Simon's

              1. r
                RoyRon Jan 25, 2012 02:19 PM

                Japanese: Sushi Island & Toraya

                Japanese Izakaya style: Shiki (Not quite like Japan but very good for Boston)

                Chinese Seafood: East Ocean City

                Szechuan Chinese: Szechuan Gourmet (Billerica)

                Indian: The Pongal, Billerica

                Cambodian: Tepthida Khmer, Lowell MA

                French: Bistro Du Midi (Love their version of Bouillabaisse)

                High End Italian: Prezza

                Low End Seafood: Belle Isle lobster roll

                High End Seafood: Island Creek Oyster Bar

                Best Dessert Menu: Asana ( Quintuple Chocolate Cheescake and Strawberry Shortcake)

                1 Reply
                1. re: RoyRon
                  opinionatedchef Jan 27, 2012 04:57 PM

                  roy, this is a great list, but if you think pongal is the best indian in Boston, we need to be learnin' you some new spots!

                2. h
                  hyde Jan 25, 2012 07:01 PM

                  attitude: neptune oyster/ michaels deli face off........and the winner is......

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: hyde
                    Gabatta Jan 26, 2012 04:29 AM


                    1. re: Gabatta
                      teezeetoo Jan 26, 2012 05:50 AM

                      michael's doesn't have "attitude" : he has aspergers (no, its not a kind of sandwich).

                      1. re: teezeetoo
                        Gabatta Jan 26, 2012 06:00 AM

                        I have never encountered attitude at Michael's, just overpriced and marginal quality deli food.

                      2. re: Gabatta
                        cambridgedoctpr Jan 29, 2012 09:39 AM

                        i find the service at cragie to be very good, and i sense no attitude from the waitrons. At my last visit, my wiater suggested coming in for the burger, which i have not tried. But then again, i am walk on the mild side.

                    2. c
                      cambridgedoctpr Jan 29, 2012 09:42 AM

                      cafe sushi? meh at best! i get sashimi to go from sakayana and like to hit Uni bar though I admit that Uni Bar is a expensive. Is Maharaja something special? The menu seems unappealing and has scared me away.

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