Help with the Patriots game this Sunday
I am a Patriots fan from NY going to Gillette for the first time with my 7 year old son (a rite of passage for both of us). We are staying at Boston hotel Saturday night and then driving down to Gillette for the 4pm game. I have heard that driving down there and parking can be a nightmare, so we were thinking aobut leaving early from Boston (before noon) and trying to eat somewhere down there so we could hang out at the stadium, Patriots Place, etc. The best thing I could think of was to go to Davios at Patriot Place at noon (my son loves pasta), but I read somewhat negative reviews here of the place (I think someone referred to their bolognese as "slop"). Not sure if there are any other viable options but wanted to check with you all. We are also driving south after the game at night, so we might need a good dinner place either near the stadium or short drive to the south (maybe towards Providence?). THanks for your help
Patriot Place is a big mall, but you could do a lot worse than the Italian fare at Davio's, which also does good steaks and chops. The other place I've found decent there is Tastings, a wine-bar kind of concept with New American food. But both are pretty expensive.
If you didn't have to drive back that night, and depending on where you're staying (ideally, near South Station or Back Bay Station), you might find taking the train a bit more civilized than sitting in traffic: http://www.mbta.com/riding_the_t/patr... On game days, I prefer a big lunch somewhere good in town, or a picnic lunch packed from Salumeria Italiana or South End Formaggio for eating on the train or in the parking lot.
You'll want to solicit suggestions from the Southern New England board for Providence: it's a good little restaurant city these days.
re: MC Slim JB
Beware of the train, it leaves 2 hours before the game but has been known to barely get people into their seats by kickoff. I was going to try it last weekend but read it's far from ideal, especially if you want to enjoy the atmosphere before the game. I was looking at what people thought on patsfans.com if you want to do some additional research.
Getting to Foxboro early is a good idea. Davio's will be fine, better than what you'll get inside the stadium. Dinner in Providence is also a good idea, but be prepared for the traffic jam when you leave. It can take an hour or more just to get out of the parking lot (which you'll pay through the nose for). So for a 4:30 game, figure you'll be leaving around 8. Maybe you'll get to RI at 9, if you're lucky. By that time, you won't need a reservation wherever you decide to eat. The bigger issue will be finding a place that serves late if you don't get there until 10, which might happen.
If you leave before noon, you will have absolutely no trouble getting there well before the game. I recently tailgated at a 4pm game - left Boston around 12:30 and was parked a little after 2, so figure double time from a google maps estimate.
To me, parking is no more a nightmare than any other large venue - with my relatively late arrival earlier this year, I was way in the back of one of the main lots across the street, and I got out after the game within 30 minutes. It was surprisingly quick. Another 30 minutes slogging up Rt. 1 and once you get back on 95, you're moving fine.
In other words, don't worry about it. You'll be with your son, so it's all quality time.
I would skip the mall and bring food for a tailgate if at all possible. That's all part of the experience.
Consider stopping at DJ's Deli in South Boston, right off 93 South - http://www.yelp.com/biz/d-and-j-marke... - wicked cheap kielbasa sandwiches.
Restaurants there can get full, but there are lots of options.. my sister in law loves Tastings, but maybe a bit formal for a 7 year old. Tavolino is Italian - they do pizza and pasta as well.
As for after, there's a Mexican place on Rt 1 on the right side heading south in Plainville, I think - a mile or two past the 495 loop. That might be a safe bet for a later meal. Or the Chieftain in that same area - more a pub, but a decent food menu..