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Jul 10, 2012 08:51 PM

Theater District/CTown hidden gems?

Hey, guys, this is my first time posting on Chowhound but I've been referring to this site for years and it's never let me down. I know the Theater District has been covered on other threads, but so far none of the suggestions we've tried have panned out too well and I'm getting desperate...which honestly isn't too unusual when I'm hungry!

We are staying on Stuart St for the next ten days while my husband attends an orientation for his new job. I have our 4 year old and 1 year old by myself until 5pm each day, and we don't have access to a car, microwave or fridge. I can spend approximately $10 per meal. At home in Seattle I have all my favorite hole in the wall family spots, an Ethiopean deli, the taqueria, a couple of pho shops, a Veitnamese deli... all cheap and delicious, but it took me four years to track these places down. I know there must be similar spots around here...please, please help me out! I will hate myself if I end up buying the mediocre and yet somehow $22/person continental breakfasts at the hotel! There must be simple, flavorful food lurking around here somewhere...come out, come out, wherever you are!

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  1. We have a 4 year old and live a few blocks away. Like you, our regular haunts include a cheap pho shop and taqueria.

    Our favorite pho shop is Xinh Xinh on Beach St. in Chinatown. Probably many reviews of it here. It's a family run place, very welcoming of our son, and I can never get enough of their fresh spring rolls with grilled beef (when hot whether sometimes keeps me away from the pho). We get lo mein for our son, who's not very adventurous. I'm can't remember about their highchairs, so ask them if you need one. This should be a very short walk for you.

    If you are equipped for a longer walk, I recommend a jaunt across the Boston Common and through Beacon Hill to Anna's Taqueria on Beacon St. Pretty good cheap eats (I especially like the tacos carnitas, and there is serve-yourself water if you want to keep the bill even lower -- just ask for cups). At Anna's, when we had a stroller we simply parked it inside in front of an unused elevator (you walk up a half flight of stairs to order, there are four or five tables upstairs and more seating in the [relatively dark] basement, and there are two or three highchairs stacked in a corner upstairs). To make it an outing, you could try the playground within the Boston Common (sometimes very busy), the Frog Pond if it's hot and you're prepared to get wet, or a smaller neighborhood playground on Myrtle Street in Beacon Hill. The Myrtle Street playground (typical playground stuff plus every big plastic toy / car / trike you could imagine) is basically at the top of Beacon Hill and Anna's is a relatively short walk down the other side. We tend to do fine walking our son the 20 min or so to the playground and Anna's, and then the tired walk back is a little more challenging. You know the routine, I'd guess.

    Our last suggestion is more pedestrian (and less about the food), but we also like getting pizza slices (big slices) from the Upper Crust on Charles St. (Beacon Hill) and taking them across the street to the Public Garden for a picnic. On weekdays you can usually get a seat on a bench near the pond or sit in the grass nearby, and if you walk in from the corner on Charles St. you'll pass by the 'Make Way for Ducklings' ducks, which might interest your kids for a minute or two. This would be a little shorter walk than Anna's and still lots of room for your children to run around and probably bump into other families / kids.

    Hope you enjoy your stay.

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      1. I spent about $30 at Best Little Restaurant, a Cantonese place in Chinatown on Hudson Street the other day, and got served enough food for probably five people. If you like Cantonese BBQ, you can eat really well at several specialty shops for cheap: I favor Vinh-Sun and Hong Kong Eatery (which also has spectacular wonton soup) for that.

        Order a day ahead, and you can get a stunning three-course Peking duck feast for $38 at China King that will overstuff three and sate four diners. My favorite Taiwanese place at the moment is Dumpling Cafe: among its many good deals is a "pick three" combo special for $21 that you can eat in before 4pm or take out all day:

        My favorite banh mi joints (all sandwiches under $3.50) are Mei Sum Bakery and 163 Vietnamese Sandwich, though you could do worse than New Saigon Sandwich or Lu's.

        A bit longer walk but a superb gyros sandwich (pork or chicken) can be found at two Zo locations, though they close at 3pm.

        Casa Razdora is a short hike, too, and closes at 4pm or 5pm each weekday, but serves very nice salads, sandwiches, and housemade pasta dishes for under $10: nice Italian family running it, too.

        Very good falafel sandwich from Falafel King in a food court off Winter Street, open till 8pm. I also like the Persian kabob sandwiches (especially the kubideh) at Pita Kabob, listed as on Ave de Lafayette but actually with its entrance on Chauncy Street; it's another weekday-only, 4pm closing kind of place.

        Good early-week lunch specials at Barracuda Tavern, hidden on the second floor of Bosworth Street, an alley near Park Street Station: $5 sandwiches on Monday, $2 tacos on Tuesday, 25-cent wings on Wednesday.

        Hope that helps!

        1. and take a 5min walk down to the South End to try Addis Red Sea for Ethiopian.
          Hit some of the chinese bakeries in chinatown for breakfast snack items.
          Stop by Windsor Cafe for some great dim sum for breakfast.
          Head over to the Parish Cafe on Boylston for lunch.

          You'll find chinese food here better than most places in Seattle...I was disappointed when I hit Seattle a while back...seems the best chinese was a 3hr trip north to Vancouver...

          You're really in a nice central place...get out and wander around...

          4 Replies
          1. re: Spike

            Seattle does have great congee (Mikes Noodle shop), decent dimsum (O'Asian), great Taiwanese lunch specials (Fulin) and Szechuan (Seven Stars Pepper) but otherwise I agree, chinese food is not their strongest suit. One more budget spot in Boston Chinatown (including breakfast, which I have not tried there) would be Cafe Lulu (on Beach st E of Harrison, in the basement). YOu might also try the beef or chicken teriyaki ramen plates at Irashai (on Kneeland E of Washington.)

            1. re: barleywino

              Yep, seven stars was good, but we have more options here, though no great pure congee shop like some places.

              p.s.., for seafood, also try Little Peach Farm. Should be safe w/ two's not a great place for groups because it's a small place and they're fairly aggressive about forcing table turnover when it's busy...

              1. re: Spike

                I like Peach Farm, but most of its seafood dishes won't fit the OP's budget -- certainly nothing from the live tanks. Myself, I've never been rushed out of there, even with a small party when it's busy.


                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  I read the $22 breakfast as the real budget :-)

                  That time I was w/ a group at PF and it was busy, the waiter actually came over, picked up the bill and slammed it back on the table. It was embarrassing since we had invited friends to it that night...we just eat and leave now :-P

          2. Anyone been to Avery Provision Co.? I havent been there and think it just opened recently, but could have some pre-made stuff to fit the bill.