The best of Boston?
I'm planning a three day food driven visit to Boston. We are staying in the financial district but willing to travel within Boston proper.
What are the chowhound best recommendations? Price is irrelevant; I just want deliciousness. No cuisine preferences.
Oleana for dinner. It's not technically Boston proper - in Cambridge - but worth the trip.
Cutty's for lunch.
Just my two cents.
there are several good choices in order of interest (to me).
Oleana for middle eastern cuisine
Craigie on Main for New American
Yuma Wo Katare for Ramen - be prepared to wait.
Rialto for Italian food
East Coast Grille - for food with some zing
Tamarind Bay for Indian food.
Rod Dee for Thai street food
Except for Oleana and East Coast Grille all of them are near a red line T stop.
There are also interesting restaurants in Area 4 near MIT though I have not tried them. I eat high end French/Italian in Manhattan.
I am professional food writer for a major magazine in Boston. This is my list.
1) Myers and Chang
Hit this South End gem early. A $5.00 cab ride or 15 min walk from the Back Bay. I can not say enough about the quality of food here.
Clio and L'Espalier are always in this constant battle but at Clio you get the most inventive food AND a pastry chef who just got voted one of the country's best for $150 a person and at L'Espalier you get really amazing basic French/Am fusion and dessert that is either cheese or a total afterthought for $150 a person. Clio wins.
3) Tremont 647
This place is amazing for brunch (HOMEMADE POP TARTS!) and dinner. They have a new pastry chef and he is like a god.
4) Uni (Midnight Ramen)
Served every Thurs, Fri, and Sat night after 11 p.m. Go with the pork buns and the basic savory ramen.
Yeah, the normal restaurant is also probably the best sushi in town other than O Ya (which is no longer as good as it used to be.)
Look, people get all kinds of weird stuff like ears and brain here but all the foodies in town know that you can get the best pasta dishes in Boston right here. Jamie Bissonette is a master and his pork ragu is WILDLY good.
Speaking of lauded restaurants, just go here. It is arguably the best food in the city and if you do not want to spend a ton of dough just get the house special corn and some great drinks. Also, get the Catalan Seafood Stew, holy moly.
8) La Verdad
When it comes to Mexican food you can not beat this Fenway institution which is not pricy and was hailed as some of the world's best Mexican by the NYTimes.
9) Tasty Burger
This is the best burger AND the best milkshake in the city. Do not be deterred by the line, it moves fast and it is worth it. Great cheap eats.
10) Sweet Cheeks Q
This place does serve absurdly amazing BBQ but is indeed overpriced as Yelp will tell you. However, if you like BBQ and are not on a budget you MUST get the buttermilk biscuits and pulled pork. Forbes said the biscuits are the best in the world. They probably are.
11) Neptune's Oyster
Look, you are going to wait and it is a bit overrated. But the lobster roll served hot with butter can only be challenged by like 1 or 2 places in the country. So wait.
Honestly, most people would say Toro. And y'know what, if you want to have a great, wild time with fabulous looking people at sleek communal tables eating world-class, amazingly good tapas this really is the #1 Oringer spot.
But for me, and for those who have straight up come to eat Oringer at his very best, Clio. Hands down. I go alone sometimes and order the cassolette, the buttermilk braised chicken, and Monica Glass's absurd chocolate cremeaux Les Bois. I dream of this meal. (If they have a soup, though, order that) By the way, I have been to both restaurants dozens of times and I have seen Oringer himself on premises only once at Toro but he has been there nearly each time I've gone to Clio.
A final note: Uni is the star right now in Oringer's empire. It is pretty commonly thrown around as the best restaurant in Boston, period. So, if you or your date are especially into the sweet lures of sushi then this is obviously the place you should go. Uni is literally tucked inside Clio, so Oringer himself will likely be overseeing the food. Do not plan to leave Uni with a full stomach.
(one last thing: Oringer has a new restaurant in Kennebunkport Maine called EARTH that is making major, major waves all of a sudden. If you want to hit the beach and eat some apparently amazing lobster I suppose this is for you. I have never eaten there myself.)
I forgot to mention food trucks! Although I think Austin and NYC spank Boston, a number of publications believe that Boston is the best food truck city in America. When it comes to food trucks you can eat cheap and, honestly, get some of the best food anywhere. Here are my top 5:
1) Bon Me
Vietnamese food that is better than any Vietnamese restaurant I have ever eaten in my life.
2) Cookie Monstah
I know, desert and all that but really this place sells some of the best cookies on planet earth. Expanding quickly.
3) Lobstah Love
Pro Tip: This is where to buy the best Lobster Bisque in the city. Also, their "Asian" lobster rolls are AMAZING. be brave, well worth it.
4) Mei Mei Street Kitchen
If you don't mind eating fried food than this is where it is at big time. Go with the "Double Awesome," it is pretty awesome indeed.
5) MoMoGoose / Pasta Pot
You will not find either of these elusive trucks but both sell pretty amazing food.
As a Bostonian, I just never see those beautiful babies around. Whereas you will see tons of Bon Me's and Roxy's Grilled Cheese everywhere. That reminds me, Roxy's Grilled Cheese is vile. If you want grilled cheese please get Cheese Boy at South Station or The Pru mall. If you just close your eyes and taste test, Cheese Boy tends to beat even really fancy grilled cheeses.
Isn't what you see a function of where you live/work/spend the most time? If you went by one of their locations more frequently, I'm sure you'd see them. Calling them "illusive" does not seem correct, especially for a professional like yourself. I personally don't see Roxy's that often. That's not because they're "illusive", just because I spend time in places they're not (that being said, I greatly prefer Roxy's to Cheese Boy).
I'm not sure how my mom is really relevant to helping the OP find good food in Boston, but ok... Maybe I was a little snarky. Fair enough. I'd love to hear why you think Bon Me is so great as opposed to a place like Xinh Xinh (which might a great option for the OP). Also, what is vile about Roxy's? I personally enjoy the sandwich they do with short rib and find it much more interesting than the stuff at Cheese Boy.
You are right. Let's have love and peace. Xinh Xinh is amazing but it is much more expensive than Bon Me and I like Bon Me's peanut sauce so much. But you are right for another reason, Bon Me's best meats are the Peppercorn Chicken and Chinese Pork. If they are out of either of these two meats almost anywhere else becomes better. Xinh's noodle dishes are so good but for my money I am heading to Gourmet Dumpling House when I am in Chinatown.
I'm really surprised you liked Bon Me so much! I thought it was okay, but worse than pretty much all Vietnamese restaurants I've eaten at (with the possible exception of a place in Denver).
Which Vietnamese restaurants have you eaten at? Just curious what you're comparing to.
What did you order at Bon Me? Maybe I've just gotten the wrong things there... I didn't think the food was bad, it just was a little dull or something. And a lot of their fillings aren't really Vietnamese. Which is fine, just not what I was looking for, I guess.
I completely agree with you about Mei Mei, though. :) That double awesome is really fantastic and the people working the truck and incredibly nice as well.
There is so much room for agreement and disagreement when it comes to recommending restaurants. I would send certain family members to totally different restaurants than I would go to with friends who share my taste.
With something like chowhound you have to find the people who agree with your taste. That means you have to tell us a bit more about what you adore in a restaurant.
Don't be distracted by comprehensive lists or claims of expertise. Read a bunch of posts and see who cares about the same things that you care about.
For example, I love food trucks. Right now I have a big crush on the Cod Squad Truck from Captain Marden's Seafood.
Long ago Chowhounds I trust lead me to Speeds for hot dogs. Today Speeds has transformed into America's Hot dog also called America's Super Dog. I would say this is a do not miss menu item in Boston.
I love everything about Mei Mei Street Kitchen from the people to the food. But, there are trucks on the list above that I would not bother returning to and others that I'll stop and enjoy if I happen to be in their range but would not go out of my way to visit.
Your task is to figure out who to follow and then get on with the enjoyment. While a few of the chowhounds I follow have weighed in here, you are missing suggestions from many of the hounds I count on as food scouts.
I'm not an expert, just a perpetual student of food, wine and the fun things in life in a city I adore.
Boston is more of a region than it is a city. As others have noted, Cambridge is a separate city just on the other side of the river. There are plenty of other towns and cities that make up the area that people refer to as "Boston". Exploration beyond the legal limits of Boston proper will be rewarded! For example, if you can work out the logistics (probably a car rental), you could head up to the North Shore and grab some fried clams. Not fine dining, but definitely Boston on a plate.