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Toronto hound visiting Boston this weekend

My family of 3 w/ 12 yr old son will be coming to Boston on Friday to see the Jays game. We're staying in Kendall Square so first need dinner before the game then lunch and dinner while sightseeing on Saturday. I have made note of the beer-focussed places around Kendall Square - we love craft beers.

Meadhall
Area 4
Cambridge Brewing Co
Catalyst

Any rec's for particular places that have good food, great beer, good value and comfortable vibe - not too hip. I know craft beer is hip but just not so overwhelmingly hip that we 50 yr olds will feel out of place. As background, we live in the middle of the hottest restaurant district in Toronto and I am really sick of"hipster" restaurants and would love to find more genuine, quirky, eccentric places with history. As an example, we went to the Union Oyster House last year. Now I know you are all groaning but for out of towners the UOH has lots of history, that fabulous worn zinc bar and is totally different than anything you would find in Toronto. That old school American thing is novel for us :) We have no clear plan for Saturday but generally we just like to walk/public transit around the city exploring so it would be nice to have a few options to wander between. Any ideas?

We're going to Battleship Cove on Sunday in Fall River if you have any rec's in that direction.

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  1. Genuine and quirky - I'd look into Puritan & Co and Westbridge in that area, in addition to Catalyst and Area 4. If you're ranging further, the South End also has some interesting spots. Kitchen makes very, very old-fashioned dishes. Could be an adventure!

    1 Reply
    1. re: addiez

      Checked out these recs and they look great but not really what I'm looking for this trip. And too pricey to waste on a 12 year old.

      So how about sandwich or take out spots, Mexican or other ethnic foods? We'll be wandering the city.

    2. can't help ya with that, but I am also taking a Torontonian to Fenway on Friday to see the Jays -- first time at Fenway for him.

      Have fun!

      10 Replies
      1. re: L2k

        We're in the right field bleachers. Are we taking our lives into our own hands? Last time I was at Fenway was many years ago and we had no problem at all but people keep warning me about Boston sports fans!
        Any places around Fenway for before or after the game? Food trucks, takeout or a bar?

        1. re: crawfish

          I like Tasty Burger near Fenway for fast-food style burger/fries and a solid canned beer selection.

          La Verdad on Landsdowne does a solid job on tacos and you can eat in the restaurant or grab to go from the takeout counter.

          1. re: crawfish

            Your life into your own hands? No, absolutely not.

            1. re: crawfish

              Are you planning on rooting for you team with fun and good spirit? Or are you planning on being obnoxious, drunk fools spewing epithets at local fans? If the former, no worries. If the latter, you might expect some pushback.

              1. re: Science Chick

                Of course not! I am actually descended from very avid Red Sox fans from Maine and New Hampshire. I cheer for the Red Sox once the Jays are out of the running.

                1. re: crawfish

                  10 games back, it's almost safe to break out your Sox hat.

              2. re: crawfish

                Audubon Circle up Beacon Street going away from the city and, a little further up, Beacon Street Grill, are reasonable, good food and bar and not quite as crazy as right in the Fenway. Also the Druid and East Coast Grill in Inman Square might be fun.

                1. re: crawfish

                  The best beer selection in the Fenway area would be at the Yardhouse on Brookline Ave about one block from Fenway.

                  It is part of a chain so the food is not that spectacular, but certainly not awful either. The crowd tends to be a bit younger and it is always packed before/after a Sox game. But, if you like beer they have around 100 taps.

                  1. re: BostonKid

                    Lower Depths is a beer bar right in Kenmore that also has great beer selection, although it's not as extensive as Yardhouse.

                  2. re: crawfish

                    as long as you leave your "Toronto Stronger" sign home, you'll be fine.

                    J/k, but the only stadium I've been in where I left because I feared for my safety was Rogers Centre, 3 years ago. And I've rooted for the Red Sox at 3 different NYC stadia.

                    building is unlikely to be sold out, so take a walk towards homeplate and look for better seats.

                2. If you have your 12 year old with you, I'd suggest Area 4. Menu is good, and if rain holds off and you can sit outside, the Area 4 outdoor seating works well. Highland Kitchen also is a nice comfy place in Somerville that is not too hipster.
                  In Harvard Sq, Bartley's is touristy but fun. On Saturday you could walk around the seaport/Ft Point channel and see the Tea Party boat, and just eat at a food truck...

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Bluebell

                    These all look like great suggestions. Any recommendations for authentic Mexican?

                    1. re: crawfish

                      Mexican is very poorly represented in Boston. Do a search and you'll see. There is almost nothing remotely authentic. On the other hand, we do have lots of guatemalan/central american holes in the walls that sell pupusas, but nothing I'd go out of the way for.

                      1. re: Madrid

                        It's all relative. Compared to Toronto (of which I'm a native son), Boston is OK for mexican but I would suggest going to East Boston on the Blue line MBTA. Taqueria Jalisco and Angelas. i would avoid any of the upscale 20-something artisanal tequila made margarita chains that have sprung up. Poor value and gringoed down flavors IMO. Also, while I wouldn't recommend BBQ for someone from the South but for Hogtowners, Soulfire (Allston) and Sweet Cheeks (get the biscuits) near Fenway would both hit the spot. Near Kenmore, Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster bar would be excellent though maybe a little hipster. They will be crowded on game nights. Craft beers seem to be everywhere these days but no place stands out to me.

                      2. re: crawfish

                        Not authentic, but Sol Azteca is a Boston-institution (been here 40 years at least) and is only a 5-10 minute walk from Fenway. Great sangria and better than the Mexican I've had in Toronto. There's also Taqueria La Verdad and El Pelon Taqueria both very close/in the shadow of Fenway which are tasty taquerias.

                        1. re: crawfish

                          i like Tenoch that is located in Medford center, but it is simple straight forward home cooking. I eat there frequently, like the owners, but hardly think of it as destination dining.

                      3. How do you define a "hipster" restaurant and how are you defining "genuine" and quirky"? Union Oyster House has history, I will grant you that, but quirk? Good food? Well....

                        Pizzeria Regina will give you an old-school feel (and good pizza), if that's what you're looking for.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: LeoLioness

                          No, the Union Oyster House may not be quirky but I don't know a lot of examples in Boston to choose from. And we just had oysters so it's hard to mess that up.

                          Here in Toronto, hipster bars/restaurants usually have bearded staff, serve snout-to-tail or tacos, complicated cocktails, they're really loud and literally all of the patrons and staff are 25-35 years old. There are "hipster" places that I still like but I'm just a little burned out by my neighbourhood right now so looking for a vacation.

                        2. Lord Hobo is up the road from where you're staying and has a fabulous beer list. Some may say it's hipster.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: gini

                            Isn't Lord Hobo the definition of hipster? That said, I love the place. Fantastic beer list. Food is WAY better than it needs to be (had an awesome special of griddled corn bread with crab, watercress and potato chips the other night).