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Recommendations near Boston Marriott Copley Place/ Hynes Convention Center in July

Hello, Bostonians! I'm coming to a conference in July at the Hynes Convention Center and staying three nights at the Marriott Copley Place. I'm from Orlando (and a regular poster on Chowhound's Florida forum), and I'm looking for a few good recommendations. I won't have a car and I'll probably be dining alone for the majority of my meals. I love to walk and I wouldn't mind staying in that general Back Bay area, but I'd be willing to take a cab for a "can't miss" Chowhound experience, of course.

I'm on a budget so I'd prefer to visit much-loved institutions -- small, cheap, even divey -- that represent some of the best local food, especially stuff I can't get back home (where we have world-class barbecue and Vietnamese food). I'm just not into anything fancy or expensive, at least not on this trip. And I don't really drink, but have no problem eating at good pubs (especially gastropubs).

I am perfectly happy eating great sandwiches and I love delis (both NY/Jewish and Italian-style), diners, and burger joints. Cured meats and fish are some of my favorite things to eat; I don't suppose there's an awesome local salumeria or appetizing store? I like Greek, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern food, the more casual the better. And anywhere around there I can get local seafood, especially without breaking the bank, would be fantastic. I don't suppose there are any expansive market/food courts, like Philly's Reading Terminal Market or San Francisco's Ferry Building? Any great food trucks in the area?

Thanks for any tips! I realize there have been a few other threads soliciting recommendations in the same general area, but I thought I'd put my own spin on it, with my own likes and dislikes.

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  1. There are lots of other threads that folks will post links to but I'll answer three of your specific questions:

    The Salty Pig is an excellent place to eat cured meats and cheeses and other delicious things. Its right next door to Copley Place. The Butcher Shop is similar and just a quick walk into the South End. Both have nice wine lists and you will be right at home eating at the bar. I like Salty better.

    Food trucks: there are usually three food trucks at lunchtime across the street from Copley Place at the corner of Stuart and Trinity Place. There is also one in front of the library on Boylston and one by the Christian Science Center.

    Within a few blocks there is Steve's for Greek and Cafe Jaffa for middle eastern. I prefer the latter.

    1. Awesome local salumeria = Salumeria Italiana in the North End. That's our Italian neighborhood. Definitely a good walk from the Back Bay, but something I've done dozens of times. While over there, you could stop at Monica's Market, which is another excellent store. Maybe even add a cannoli at Modern/Mike's/Maria's

      1 Reply
      1. re: mkfisher

        chinese: sichuan gourmet in brookline that is easily accessible via the T as well as the new shanghai - which is sichuanese, also. I also like the fish in the tank restaurants such as East Ocean Seafood or Peach Farm in C-town.

        i love sakayana for sashimi take out; but this is take-out. and sashimi is hard to keep under 25 dollars. There are plenty of good and inexpensive spots in the neighborhood especially around the 88 a few blocks a way on commonwealth ave.

        Coppa amd Toro are fine though more expensive than you indicated.

        i would not bother with mexican food.

      2. Coppa in the South End does small Italian plates in a very casual setting. They have a small but terrific assortment of salumi and cheeses.

        I'd call Formaggio Kitchen a much-loved institution for meats, cheeses and just about everything else delicious. It's a store, not a restaurant, but I'm fond of putting together an assortment of snacks and eating in a park on a nice day. There is a smaller outpost of the store in the South End, but I'd recommend going to the larger flagship store in Cambridge. About a mile walk from the Harvard Square T stop (and through one of the area's loveliest neighborhoods to boot).

        What is your price point exactly?

        1 Reply
        1. re: LeoLioness

          More than willing to pay $10-$20 for a good meal (including lunch), but anything above $25 becomes a rare splurge for me.

          At least I don't eat breakfast, so that gives me more wiggle room for lunches and dinners.

          So far the suggestions are great, folks! Thanks a lot, and keep 'em coming.

        2. hi lou, welcome in advance! Since this covers the city, I hope it might be helpful:

          Guide to Boston by Areas and Restaurants:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781155

          Unfortunately, most of our less expensive options are not located in your Copley Square area or in the nearby South End. A 15-20 minute walk would get you downtown, where alot of CHs rave 2 sandwich places: Sam LaGrassa's for big luscious deli sdwches. and Chacarero's for Peruvian Grilled Meat and Green Bean sandwiches.

          In the other direction from Downtown, a cab or T would take you to S and I Thai, a tiny place with very CH raved spicy Thai food. It's in the Allston/Brighton area of Boston, where you will find many/most of our best ethnic restaurants.
          Also in that area is Garlic 'n Lemons, which i think has some of the better Middle Eastern food here (interesting variety of side dishes in addition to the shwarmas.) If you do a search for Allston, aLOT of threads will come up for you because it's a fav local CH area.

          1. Welcome to Boston BBVL. I enjoy reading your posts on the FL board when I am researching my trips to Central Florida to visit family. I also lived in C. FLA for a while myself, so know what is lacking in Orlando. I would explore the following neighborhoods:

            - Chinatown: A search of the board will yield some great options. My personal favorites are Dumpling Cafe, Peach Farm, Vinh Sun BBQ, Best Little Restaurant and New Shanghai. I would definitely agree to stay away from the Vietnamese options, because Orlando's Viet is so much better.

            - East Cambridge: There is a ton of Brazilian available in C. FLA, but no Portuguese as far as I remember. Casa Portugal, Portugalia and the Snack Bar are all worth a visit. Also in East Cambridge is Courthouse Seafood, where you can get great Fried whole belly clams, smelts and basically anything available in the adjoining Fish Market. One more option in the area is The Helmand for excellent Afghani.

            - Allston: Arguably the best cheap eats neighborhood in Boston. Once again a board search will yield numerous options. To look out for though: Yoma (Burmese), Bon Chon (Korean Fried Chicken), S&I Thai, Super 88 Food court (Chinese Food Court), Azama Grill (Egyptian), Ariana (Afghani) and Darbar (Pakistani)

            I am sure others will add further options, but that should get you started. Also keep in mind that Chinatown is reasonable walking distance, but the other two are easily accessible by T (Metro)

            1. Hey, it looks like my trip is definitely happening. I appreciate all the suggestions so far, but does anyone have any more ideas?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                I second the Sam LaGrassa's, Coppa and Formaggio Kitchen recommendations. The South End branch of FK is actually right across the street from Coppa, and MUCH more convenient to you than the Cambridge location. I haven't been to the Salty Pig but it sounds like it's right up your alley and it's very close to your convention/hotel.

                We do not have a Reading Terminal/Ferry Building-type place yet, but we are working on it: http://www.bostonpublicmarket.org/

                In the meantime, check out the Copley Square Farmer's Market if you will be here on a Tuesday or Friday. It is great and it's not just fruits and veggies!
                http://www.massfarmersmarkets.org/FMF...

                For seafood I usually suggest Island Creek Oyster Bar, which I think is wonderful but is not cheap.

                If you take the Green Line (D train) to Brookline Village, you can go to Cutty's, which has wonderful sandwiches, or get Turkish food at Brookline Family Restaurant. Both are great. There's also a Turkish place (Sultan's Kitchen) downtown near Fanueil Hall, but I think BFR is better.

                1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                  Coda is right around the corner on Columbus for a casual bar and dinner experience. I always recommend the burger at Se De La Terre in the upstairs bar overlooking Boylston.

                2. Can anyone recommend the restaurants on Mass Ave and Huntington Ave for Lou? From what I've read about them, I think they fit into his price range, but I don't know anything about the food. That area is within walking distance to where he's staying.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: CookieLee

                    on a budget, I'd go to Deluxe Cafe on Appleton and Chandler, short walk away, Rattlesnake Cafe (upstairs for the outside patio) on Boylston around Berkeley, maybe Da Vinci for good and not excessively priced Italian, Salty Pig for fun, charcuterie and small plates, Steve's on Newbury and Hereford for ordinary but affordable breakfast. Chinatown has great and inexpensive food and you can troll the board for recommendations there and it's not much of a walk.

                    1. re: CookieLee

                      You may be thinking Lucy's Ethiopian, which is on the corner of Mass and Huntington. Moby Dick is also near that intersection. A bit closer to Boylston on Mass is Pho Basil for respectable Viet/Thai.

                    2. The Salty Pig is a great suggestion!!

                      Also, just behind you is Giacomo's, Anchovie's, and Petite Robert. All spots that you can get a good meal on a budget. I haven't been to Coda but from what I hear it is very good as well.

                      Everything mentioned here is within a few blocks of the Marriott.

                      1. Sadly, most restaurants in the Hynes/Copley area are pretty touristy. You certainly won't find any local seafood for cheap.

                        In addition to what has already been said, there are quite a few food trucks that frequent the area. I believe Bon Me, Staff Meal, Mei Mei, Momogoose, Roxy, etc. all set up shop somewhere in the neighborhood, depending on the day. I would check the websites for trucks individually to determine where and when they are open.

                        If you're not averse to long walks or the T, then I would also suggest a few places for lunch in the Longwood/Mission Hill neighborhood. Sami's on the corner of Louis Pasteur and Longwood has Lebanese, as does Sepal in the Galleria food court. Pat's in the Brigham is more or less a greasy spoon sandwich shop, the exact opposite of what you'd expect in a hospital. A few blocks from that is WAN deli on Tremont St. where Al makes excellent sandwiches.

                        I would reiterate that Allston is the best for cheap ethnic fare. Also, I would add Zo for Greek in the same general vicinity to Sam LaGrassa's and Chacarero.

                        1. For a quick lunch near Copley, Davio's To Go is one of my favs in Back Bay. It's a bit of a hike, all the way down Boylston, but I like the St. James Atrium.