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Only one dinner: O-ya or Craigie on Main

  • c

Hi Boston hounds! I am taking the hubby to your lovely city for a food-filled weekend. We will only have one dinner and I can't decide between the two. I've been to O-ya and enjoyed it tremendously but have heard nothing but good things about Craigie too. We are adventurous eaters and love all types of food. If you could only choose one, where would you go?

P.S. I have reservations for Island Creek Oyster Bar for lunch and the Butchers kitchen for another lunch (or maybe B&G Osyters because I think the hubby will like the lobster BLT and the fried oysters there).

Thanks in advance!

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  1. maybe you're wanting to visit Butcher/B&G because you're staying nearby, but reviews have wavered quite a bit for both places; given your other choices, i think there's a good chance you'd be disappointed. I would point you to Neptune Oyster in the North End. Like ICrkOB, it is CH raved by ,including me; we are big fans. We order oysters and luscious non-trad dishes there, but their lobster roll is very loved; many many CH posts about it.

    If you do lunch at ICOB (a dramatic striking room and excellent service): their lobster roll is not a sure winner like Neptune's; their fried clams are pretty good; their biscuit is a MUST (huge, moist , with a caramelized glaze.

    1 Reply
    1. re: opinionatedchef

      I went to ICOB and Neptune the last time I was in Boston and enjoyed both very, very much. Loved the vibe in ICOB so I'm excited to bring the hubby there. We both enjoy oysters so ICOB is a must for this trip for sure!

      Not staying near Butcher/B&G but will be walking around there. If you have any other recs, it'd be very much appreciated. Will also get a chocolate eclair from Chocolee for dessert after lunch :)

    2. I think you ought to give Craigie a try, especially since you have tried O Ya. People have noted that O Ya's menu has changed little over time, so it would be rather repetitive for you.

      1. my vote is for Craigie

        1. If both were untried, I'd say O Ya hands down. I'd probably even do O Ya again and get items I missed and a few that I loved (because they are likely better than anything at Craigie). Craigie is great, though, so you can't really go wrong.

          I echo another poster re: ICOB's lobster roll. I think it's a total pass. I think it's straight-up bad with the way-too-heavy bun and too much filler in with the lobster. I don't know how it has survived in that form. The raw options are superb, though.

          1. I really like both these places so this is a question with no wrong answer. Like others, I think that since you have already been to O Ya it's time to visit Craigie. While the food at O Ya is amazing, Craigie has a coupe of advantages over it. The first for me is a better bar or should I say a bar. The bartenders at Craigie are very good compared to the wine/beer/sake offerings at O Ya. I also think there is something to be said for the atmosphere at Craigie. Maybe it's me but, I just like it there better. I also like the sometimes interesting menu ingredients at Craigie. They also have some interesting ingredients at O Ya but you have probably had them before. For one single special meal I would recommend O Ya but given you already ate that special meal go to Craigie.


            1 Reply
            1. re: hungrytommy

              just a side note, I hope you are planning on Island Creek Oyster Bar for lunch Sunday, they don't serve lunch on Saturday.

            2. Thanks for all the replies! I've been to O-Ya but the hubby hasn't...hence my dilemma! I want him to try O-Ya but it'd be nice to try someplace we both havent tried before.

              And yes, the ICOB reservation is for Sunday lunch :)

              1. Having worked and lived in the South End for 6 years and having seen many of these places open, I can say I've enjoyed both the Butcher Shop and B&G in the past, and the atmosphere at both is wonderful. But our favorite for lunch (and dinner) is Coppa, on Shawmut across from Formaggio. I don't know if they take lunch reservations but if you arrive and can't be seated (it filled up incredibly fast two weeks ago) you can leave a number and they'll call. The best shops in the South End are within a few blocks, on Waltham and Union Park.
                And between O Ya and Craigie I choose Craigie.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ebaba

                  new wave sashimi and new american food are so different that i do not know how one would compare them. it depends on what you like and what you are up for.

                  By the way, i always like the fish at Cragie.

                  If Chef Maws wants to open another place, it should be a burger joint or a fish place. We could use something like Le Bernadin or Shake Shack here in Boston.

                  1. re: ebaba

                    No Saturday lunch at Coppa though.

                  2. FWIW, last time we took visitors to B&G for the lobster BLT, it was disappointing...it's not as big as it used to be while still being expensive.
                    Maybe try Neptune's warm version instead? It's a little different than the other lobster rolls around here at least.

                    1. O-ya for dinner
                      Craigie for brunch

                      1. Thanks for all the replies! Hubby and I had a great weekend in Boston. We had lunch in B&G and had excellent oysters..the West Falmouth ones really shone. Also had lobster BLT and fried clams. Both excellent.

                        We ended up doing the 8-course tasting in Craigie on Main and had a very good experience. I found the seafood dishes more inspired than the meat-based ones (a bit surprising). Stand-outs were the seared scallop with boudin noir/hoisin with chorizo and the farro pasta with tripe and wild mushrooms. We will be back for the burgers next time...perhaps for lunch/brunch.

                        Next day, we went to ICOB for lunch. Sadly, even though I loved ICOB the previous 2 times I was there, I was left wanting this time. We should've gone for dinner and we will make a return visit on our next Boston trip. I know ICOB is almost universally loved on this board but I found the fried clams and fries in B&G much, much better. Perhaps their dinner menu is stronger than their brunch menu. I have very, very fond memories of the lobster and braised beef pasta dish from my last visit. I made the hubby try the oyster slider and he enjoyed that very much. All in all still a good meal.

                        Also had the chocolate eclair from Chocolee...so good!

                        Thanks for a great trip Boston! Til the next time :)