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LA hound with two surprise nights in Boston- ideas?

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Hi everyone,
Our Maine vacation got rained (and chilled- it was 55 degrees!) out so we hightailed it down to Boston! Just arrived, and since this was unexpected I haven't had time to do any research- sorry.
Would you guys mind providing a few recs? We are staying in Cambridge but have a car if it is worth it.
- good sushi
- authentic Chinese (is Chinatown the way to go? In LA it is a tourist trap)
- top Italian, regional Italian even better
- good lunch spots? Is there a local specialty I can't miss?
- is Oleana worth it?

Thank you so much for your help!

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  1. Starting at the bottom, yes Oleana is worth it.

    I'm heading to Cutty's in Brookline Village tomorrow for lunch. It's an awesome spot for sandwiches. Would also suggest Parish Cafe for sandwiches if you're in Boston.

    Short of going out to some of the suburbs where you'll find some good Sichuan food, Chinatown is the best.

    Some of my Cambridge favorites are Lord Hobo (beer), L'Impasto (casual, small Italian joint), West Bridge (dinner only on weekends), Area Four (pizza, awesome breakfast sandwich), Brick and Mortar (cocktails).

    1. As someone who just spent some time in your city, some thoughts on how to maximize your time in Boston as opposed to what you can get at home.

      First, sushi. There's some good sushi here, perhaps even great (O ya). But LA is probably the best sushi town in the country. Why bother here?

      The thing I found missing in LA that we have in abundance here is mid-priced restaurants doing interesting things. In LA, everything seemed to be super high end ($300 for dinner for two) or low end ($18 for dinner for two) (seriously, that happened to use, $300 one night, $18 the next, completely different and equally delicious). Just in Cambridge on this front, there is: Oleana, Puritan & Co, West Bridge, Bondir, Bergamot (ok, technically Somerville, but right on the line), Guilia, Russell House Tavern, East by Northeast, and Hungry Mother, and I'm probably leaving out a few. You don't even have to leave Cambridge.

      Since you have a car, though, I'd recommend taking the trip out to Watertown and visit Strip T's. Tiny little hole in the wall where a Momofuku vet is putting out some of the best food in Boston. Could also be a lunch option.

      For Chinese, Chinatown is good, and not a tourist trap. You can search the boards for the best places. I'm a big fan of Peach Farm for tank seafood type meals. In Cambridge, there's Mulan (Taiwanese), and a few other options. If you're in the mood for Northern Chinese, Golden Garden in Belmont is a short car trip and holds up against the Northern Chinese food we had in the SGV.

      For Italian, the North End is a tourist trap, and I recommend choosing carefully and with lots of research if you want to risk it. Guilia in Cambridge has been getting excellent reviews of late, and Coppa in Boston is excellent.

      For lunch, local can't miss specialty would be Lobster Rolls - not going to wade into this debate, much discussed on the boards.

      Happy eating!

      2 Replies
      1. re: VintageMolly

        We just came from Peach Farm- great rec, thank you!

        No open tables at Strip T or Oleana, so tomorrow will be either Guilia, Bondir, Puritan & Co, or Mamma Maria I think. I know it's a broad selection...

        Cheers!

        1. re: jdwdeville

          Glad you liked it! With Oleana, even if you don't have a reservation, the outdoor patio is first come, first serve, so if you really want to eat there, you can show up on the early side and eat outside without much hassle.

      2. Thank you both for taking the time to help!
        I had absolutely forgotten how much I love Boston- a fact that came back to me mid-set at Wally's Cafe tonight...

        1. I may have missed the window, but Gran Gusto, also in Cambridge, has delicious Italian food too.