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multiple food Q's

e
Eatingfood Jul 9, 2013 04:37 PM

Hi everyone,

I'm very excited to be coming back to Boston in a couple weeks! I have a few eating-related boxes I'd like to check while there and have been doing a lot of research. Would love some insight into the following:

1) nice seafood dinner - Thurs or Sat. I really like the looks of Atlantic Fish Co and would need to be seriously dissuaded from going. My main criteria is a good raw bar (I'd really like to try raw clams, one kind of seafood I haven't had before), good shellfish and diverse menu as I'll be with someone not as much a foodie as me. They also look like they have good craft beers. True? I understand that some other places have slightly better reps but I'd be happy to revisit those with a more foodie friend another time. Unless you feel this is a big mistake?

2) takeout seafood. last time I was in BOS I found James Hook Co and was impressed by the prices/options. I'm just looking for good value cooked whole lobsters and maybe some other treats (already cooked as no kitchen) which they seem to have. That said though I remember them being decent I've seen some questionable reviews, so I'm open to any other suggestions. Bonus points for places with good selection of stuff that can be eaten uncooked without too much hassle.

3) brunch/breakfast. really like the looks of North Street Grille, any feedback? Open to other ideas in downtown area.

4) pursuant to #1, anywhere to get very good seafood (preferably closer to Fenway) that is a notch or 2 more casual Atlantic Fish Co & the like?

5) authentic Italian (can just be a cafe or something more casual) in N Boston?

6) a good large farmers market or marketplace? Would like one with good prepared food as no kitchen. extra points for good prepared seafood.

Staying on the water in N Boston but can go to stuff downtown. Thanks so much for any suggestions!

  1. t
    total13 Jul 10, 2013 06:30 AM

    By N Boston, do you mean the north end? There's the huge Haymarket that happens every Fri. and Sat. but no prepared foods. Some foods at the market on Govt Center, not sure of the days or Copley Sq. on Tues/Fri. Not tons of prepared stuff though. You might want to go to the South End mkt on Sun. with lots of crafts and food trucks.

    For Italian in the North End (assuming that's what you mean), you could try Prezza, Taranta, Terramia, Monica's, Mama Maria. Most of these aren't cheap. You also won't find seafood more casual than Atlantic Fish around Fenway. The obvious choice there is Island Creek Oysters but again, not cheap.

    Pauli's in the North End does a basic breakfast and there's a casual spot on Salem and one on Hanover for old school breakfast. And the croissants and sandwiches are excellent at the new place Bread and Butter (I think that's the name). NE Grill is probably fine.

    27 Replies
    1. re: total13
      e
      Eatingfood Jul 10, 2013 08:14 AM

      Yep, I mean the North End. Thx, will look into the markets you mention.

      Thinking I may be able to get to Union Oyster House since we'll be downtown and menu looks wide enough for who I'll be with. Will it be packed on Fri-Sun afternoon or manageable? Good idea?

      1. re: Eatingfood
        p
        phatchris Jul 10, 2013 08:16 AM

        The Sail Loft has pretty good very casual seafood.

        1. re: Eatingfood
          Allstonian Jul 10, 2013 08:45 AM

          I admit I have never been myself, but from all reports this is a BAD idea. Most commenters on this board say that the only things worth eating there are freshly-shucked oysters eaten at the bar (NOT in the restaurant proper) and possibly the chowder.

          1. re: Eatingfood
            t
            tysonmcneely Jul 10, 2013 08:46 AM

            Personally, I'd go with Island Creek Oyster Bar over Atlantic Fish Co. It's the same price range and IMO better. Also, it seems like you've done some research, so I think you'd find many people on here would agree.

            James Hook is a good option for what your looking for, it also should be relatively close to where you're staying.

            Prepared food at the Farmer's Markets aren't really a huge draw, but here's the schedule of farmer's markets
            http://www.cityofboston.gov/food/farmers/locations.asp

            Food trucks may be a better options?
            http://www.cityofboston.gov/business/...

            Also, Union Oyster House is kind of a tourist trap, I don't think you'll find many recs for it on here.

            1. re: tysonmcneely
              FinnFPM Jul 10, 2013 09:31 AM

              Very much disagree that prepared foods aren't a draw at the markets here. You'll find many prepared food vendors at any of the major farmers markets. South Station (Dewey Square) is the best in the general vicinity of the waterfront, Copley is the best in the area. You won't find many prepared MEALS at either but prepared foods are plentiful.

              1. re: FinnFPM
                e
                Eatingfood Jul 10, 2013 10:48 AM

                Thx - Copley on Friday might work. thinking of checking out the State House that day so I'll be kinda in the area-ish. What kind of prepared food might I expect? any shellfish?

                1. re: Eatingfood
                  C. Hamster Jul 10, 2013 12:54 PM

                  Copley has:

                  Jarred pickles and jams
                  Pies and baked goods
                  Sandwiches
                  Middle eastern salads and hummus
                  Cheese
                  Jareed tomato sauces

                  Cant recall anything else

                  1. re: C. Hamster
                    Allstonian Jul 10, 2013 01:05 PM

                    I think there's also fresh (uncooked) pasta.

                    1. re: Allstonian
                      C. Hamster Jul 10, 2013 01:25 PM

                      Yes there is. I forgot about that.

                    2. re: C. Hamster
                      BostonZest Jul 11, 2013 03:20 AM

                      At Copley, you'll find a good selection of baked good from Cook's Farm, Hamilton Orchards, Danish Pastry House, Violette (gluten free) and Breadsong Bakery

                      Iggy's has their pizza style breads, sandwiches and those great cheese toasts.

                      Crystal Brook Farm always has their goat cheese picnics and a nice selection of goat cheese flavors and mixes.

                      Narragansett Creamery has their flavored feta cheese spreads.

                      Gilson's Herbs has summer rolls and sandwiches.

                      Fastachi has their freshly roasted nuts and nut butters.

                      And, There are prepared foods from Sofra at the Sienna Market stand.

                      Penny
                      http://www.bostonzest.com/

                      1. re: BostonZest
                        C. Hamster Jul 16, 2013 05:19 PM

                        You'll also maybe find Kristin Kish!!

                         
                2. re: tysonmcneely
                  e
                  Eatingfood Jul 10, 2013 10:51 AM

                  thx for the links. yeah, I know Island Creek has a slightly better rep on here, but as I mentioned I think Atlantic Fish Co's menu is more appropriate for who I am traveling with. Like I said, I need to be *dissuaded* from going, and it doesn't sound like anyone is telling me it'd be a bad idea.

                  1. re: Eatingfood
                    c
                    catsmeow Jul 10, 2013 03:48 PM

                    I really like Atlantic Fish Co. It's one of my favorite seafood restaurants in the area.

                    1. re: catsmeow
                      e
                      Eatingfood Jul 12, 2013 09:25 AM

                      How is the craft beer selection?

                3. re: Eatingfood
                  l
                  LeoLioness Jul 10, 2013 09:54 AM

                  I was recently roped into another dinner at the Union Oyster House by out-of-town clients who insisted they had been told they "had" to eat there. Ugh. Such a waste of money. The only thing that place has going for it is history and landlocked tourists. I had overcooked, underseasoned swordfish with a sad vegetable "medley", my co-worker had overcooked clams.

                  Our clients had lobsters and enjoyed them, but again, for those kind of prices? Absurd. There are so many better places to go to eat. And remember--you don't have to go to a "seafood" restaurant to eat good seafood.

                  1. re: Eatingfood
                    C. Hamster Jul 10, 2013 10:37 AM

                    The food at the Union Oyster House is pretty bad. Id recommend only eating some oysters and a beer and then moving on.

                    1. re: C. Hamster
                      e
                      Eatingfood Jul 10, 2013 10:49 AM

                      How about their chowder/apps? Am curious to check it out for the history.

                      1. re: Eatingfood
                        l
                        LeoLioness Jul 10, 2013 10:54 AM

                        I didn't order it but one of my dining companions did. To me it looked like the thick, gloppy kind with flour in it. He claimed to enjoyed it, but I have no idea if that's saying much.

                        1. re: LeoLioness
                          e
                          Eatingfood Jul 10, 2013 10:57 AM

                          ok... maybe I'll just get some stuff from Faneuil Hall instead of Union Oyster.

                          1. re: Eatingfood
                            l
                            lc02139 Jul 10, 2013 12:42 PM

                            I think with a few exceptions the food at Faneuil Hall is cheaper but just as bad. The north end is just a few blocks away I would venture there and pick up a slice or just some pastries or gelato for lunch. Or do some research on that area and try to find a gem out of the tourist traps, hooks is probably only a 1/2 mile walk down the green way.

                          2. re: LeoLioness
                            C. Hamster Jul 10, 2013 12:56 PM

                            Yes, the chowder there is the thick gloppy floury kind

                            1. re: C. Hamster
                              e
                              Eatingfood Jul 10, 2013 07:59 PM

                              What do you guys think is good quality/value at Faneuil? What kind of seafood equivalents nearby would you suggest?

                              1. re: Eatingfood
                                C. Hamster Jul 10, 2013 08:33 PM

                                Faneuil is a mall food court.

                                Is there a non food reason you are going there?

                                1. re: C. Hamster
                                  e
                                  Eatingfood Jul 11, 2013 09:14 AM

                                  Nope. I've had a few decent things there (overwhelming but still satisfying lobster pot pie last time) and thought some places weren't bad. I'm just looking for place with lots of prepared seafood close together.

                                  1. re: Eatingfood
                                    9
                                    9lives Jul 11, 2013 09:31 AM

                                    Salty Dog is a decent option for seafood in FH..I usually stick with fried items and raw bar.

                                2. re: Eatingfood
                                  c
                                  catsmeow Jul 11, 2013 06:03 AM

                                  I haven't been for a while and assume these are still there....I like the Monkey Bar for fruit smoothies, there's a macaroni and cheese place that has different varieties of really good mac and cheese and there's a place near the center rotunda area that makes pretty good fried clams. The freshly baked cookies at the Chipyard are also very good.

                            2. re: Eatingfood
                              hotoynoodle Jul 11, 2013 12:46 PM

                              the only history really there is daniel webster gorging on dozens of oysters.

                              totally not worth the hassle of trying to get a raw-bar seat and totally a waste of money and a meal if you eat anything other than oysters.

                      2. l
                        lc02139 Jul 10, 2013 08:32 AM

                        The shaw's food market will steam lobsters for you to take home, not sure if others do as well. Not a lot of love on this board for Union Oyster house except for their raw board, but it is the oldest so might be good for one and done. Court house seafood in Cambridge is a good no frills place to eat seafood search this board if interested as well as a lobster roll recommendation.

                        Try Maria's for pastries in the north end better than Mikes in my opinion.

                        FYI haymarket isn't a farmers market more of an end of week produce liquidation, but there is a farmers market near government center.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: lc02139
                          Allstonian Jul 10, 2013 08:46 AM

                          The City Hall Plaza farmer's market is Mondays & Wednesdays only, 1 PM to 6 PM.

                          1. re: lc02139
                            c
                            catsmeow Jul 10, 2013 09:27 AM

                            On more than one occasion, I found some of the items at Maria's to be getting stale....especially the cookies. I like Mikes a lot more and there's also more variety.

                          2. m
                            mkfisher Jul 10, 2013 09:51 AM

                            Does Atlantic Fish have a good beer list? I've only been once, but it does not strike as a place with a good list. Island Creek on the other hand has a fantastic pilsner that you'll only find there done in collaboration with the folks at High & Mighty. Definitely something a beer geek would appreciate.

                            14 Replies
                            1. re: mkfisher
                              e
                              Eatingfood Jul 10, 2013 10:01 AM

                              I'm not sure. I was just going by a pic on Yelp that showed a lot of taps. Anyone?

                              1. re: Eatingfood
                                m
                                mkfisher Jul 10, 2013 10:09 AM

                                If we're looking at the same pic I see: Harpoon UFO, Stella, not sure what the red handle is, Sam Adams Lager, Sam Seasonal (looks to be Summer), Harpoon IPA, Bass, Harpoon Seasonal (Summer in this case), not sure what the brown handle is...

                                Ten years ago that would have been fantastic. Today, not so much.

                                1. re: mkfisher
                                  e
                                  Eatingfood Jul 10, 2013 10:29 AM

                                  Good analysis... for some reason I remembered there being more taps than there are in the pic, but you're right. Anyway, the beer isn't a priority if I go to Atlantic Fish Co., just a nice bonus. Hopefully they'll have some different taps (on further reflection if we're talking about pic #6 on yelp it is from 2005 so that's pretty likely). On the whole, it's a good pic for a good seafood dinner?

                                  Also, can anyone tell me a bit about raw clams? I imagine I'll like them. Should I be able to cover my bases from the places discussed in this thread?

                                  1. re: Eatingfood
                                    kobuta Jul 10, 2013 04:36 PM

                                    Raw clams and oysters are easily had at Atlantic Fish Co and Island Creek, unless you are specifically looking for a more casual experience. They are delicious - I much prefer them over oysters, which I find too briny and slippery in texture. Clams have better chew and a much sweeter taste.

                                    If you want something a little different from the typical raw clam at a bar, you can go to Peach Farm in Chinatown and see if they have geoduck sashimi style. This is not cheap mind you, as it is priced per pound and geoducks are heavy, but it's terrific.

                                    1. re: kobuta
                                      e
                                      Eatingfood Jul 11, 2013 09:26 AM

                                      Thanks. Anywhere more casual and still downtown that I could also get some raw clams on the half shell? Just like a walk-in takeout type place.

                                      1. re: Eatingfood
                                        l
                                        lc02139 Jul 11, 2013 11:16 AM

                                        Don't know if they have clams or just oysters but the ICA is doing a Island Creek popup raw bar on Fridays, I think you might need to get an ICA tix to get in though, a little art never hurt anyone :)
                                        http://www.icaboston.org/visit/oyster...

                                        1. re: Eatingfood
                                          kobuta Jul 11, 2013 12:52 PM

                                          Raw clams really isn't a quick eat out type of food around here, especially in the heat of summer. I think some of the bars at Faneuil Hall used to offer clams on the half shell along, but usually way overpriced. Nothing else comes to my mind.

                                          This reminds me of the little stall ages ago by Haymarket where a guy would shuck clams fresh for you. His stall disappeared years ago - I can only imagine what food safety inspectors thought of that business.

                                          1. re: kobuta
                                            hotoynoodle Jul 11, 2013 01:15 PM

                                            there is sometimes a guy doing that, but not in summer. just like there are no outdoor fishstalls in summer.

                                            in my defense, i have never tried his stuff, lol.

                                            1. re: hotoynoodle
                                              9
                                              9lives Jul 11, 2013 02:00 PM

                                              I am a regular at the Haymarket stand in season.

                                              The clams are always very fresh and well shucked...brought in in legal tagged bags and kept iced.

                                              To keep up with the transformation of Haymarket,1 of his shuckers is Salvadorean and makes a nice pico de gallo as an accompaniment. 6 for $5.

                                              I'm not crazy about the oysters and have never bought fish.

                                              He works some of the NE festivals.

                                              The health inspectors regularly check him; and other shops down there.

                                              1. re: 9lives
                                                kobuta Jul 12, 2013 09:35 AM

                                                Good to know he's still there (or a vendor is still there). I might have just missed him in the chaos when I've ventured down there.

                                          2. re: Eatingfood
                                            l
                                            LeoLioness Jul 11, 2013 02:30 PM

                                            One random option are the North End feasts on weekend nights. There's usually a cart that has raw oysters and clams.

                                            Can't think of any place that does takeout raw bar stuff, actually.

                                            1. re: LeoLioness
                                              e
                                              Eatingfood Jul 12, 2013 09:51 AM

                                              where might I find one of the carts?

                                              1. re: Eatingfood
                                                l
                                                lc02139 Jul 12, 2013 10:07 AM

                                                Here is a list of feasts in the north end you may find more information of what is available for each feast locations change with each feast.

                                                http://www.northendboston.com/visitin...

                                                1. re: lc02139
                                                  e
                                                  Eatingfood Jul 12, 2013 10:24 AM

                                                  thanks! only one I'll be there for is this:

                                                  July 21, 2013 - St. Rocco
                                                  1:00 pm – Procession only – Starts at St. Leonard Church, Hanover & Prince Streets

                                                  Does 'procession only' mean no food or are they all feasts?

                                2. g
                                  grant.cook Jul 10, 2013 10:33 AM

                                  I'd be cautious about Haymarket.. I believe there are some nice places for various goods, but if a box of produce gets spurned at the Chelsea Produce Market due to something like some mold, it often ends up in Haymarket for sale cheap.. which is why you can't inspect a lot of stuff before buying.

                                  Depends on the type of produce and how quickly you intend to use it, of course..

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: grant.cook
                                    hotoynoodle Jul 11, 2013 12:45 PM

                                    this is decades-old urban legend about haymarket.

                                    it's not reject food, nor is it moldy. it's cheap because they buy it direct from the chelsea produce mart and aren't paying rent for a b&m space. if you can get one, those haymarket vendor licenses are cheap.

                                    have been shopping there since the 80s and i'd say that's about the last time i got a few bad tomatoes.

                                    however, if it's super-hot weather, realize some of the saturday produce may have sat out overnight and will look pretty tired.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                      g
                                      grant.cook Jul 12, 2013 05:29 AM

                                      It wasn't a legend when a friend who brings produce into Chelsea talked about it. When he was bringing in cases of blueberries, things that were iffy often went to Haymarket..

                                      I mean, your argument is that they don't have overhead (which they do - they have to cover the cost of their time, transportation, shrinkage, etc) means they'll overbid restaurant and grocery buyers for higher quality lots only to sell the stuff much cheaper than the Whole Foods 1/2 mile away doesn't really add up..

                                      Not to say you can't find good produce there.. buyers have to make quick decisions, and a spot of mold might cause a case that is altogether good to get passed over. But just realize someone has already passed it over..

                                      1. re: grant.cook
                                        hotoynoodle Jul 13, 2013 04:29 PM

                                        i never said "no overhead", but it is obvz way less than renting commercial space.

                                        as for your "friend", like i said, i have been shopping there since the 80s and it is a MUCH different experience both as far as the vendors and quality of food that it once was. do you actually shop there?

                                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                                          j
                                          Jenny Ondioline Jul 13, 2013 09:45 PM

                                          Even today, the rule of thumb at Haymarket is that if the stand won't let you choose your own produce, put it down and walk away. You're not gonna get value for money there.

                                  2. e
                                    Eatingfood Jul 12, 2013 11:25 AM

                                    2 more questions re: good seafood dinner

                                    - do I need a reservation for Atlantic Fish on Sat night? Suspect so, but should I make it a week in advance or wait until I get to BOS a couple days before?

                                    - is Legal Harbourside a decent choice for something a notch below Atlantic Fish one other night, but still nice?

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Eatingfood
                                      C. Hamster Jul 12, 2013 11:53 AM

                                      In terms of ambiance, Legal Harborside is many notches above Atlantic Fish.

                                      I'd say AF is better than the Legal's in Pru and Copley, but it's good but not great in my book. Not nearly in ICOB's league.

                                      I have only had drinks at Legal harborside so I don't know if the food is any better than their other locations.

                                      Reservations are always a good idea. Defnitiely need a reservation at Legal harborside.

                                      1. re: C. Hamster
                                        e
                                        Eatingfood Jul 12, 2013 12:07 PM

                                        Do you think it'd be a better idea to go to Legal Harbourside Sat night (no specific plans) and Atlantic Fish for an early-ish dinner Sunday (going to evenin baseball game after)?

                                      2. re: Eatingfood
                                        m
                                        mkfisher Jul 12, 2013 12:38 PM

                                        Which floor at Legal Harborside are you talking about? Makes a big difference

                                        1. re: mkfisher
                                          e
                                          Eatingfood Jul 12, 2013 02:30 PM

                                          Looking at the first floor - others look too foodie for person I'll be with, and I like the small plate concept they have so I can try different stuff.

                                      3. c
                                        cutipie721 Jul 12, 2013 01:55 PM

                                        Check out Summer Shack. They're casual. Food is straight forward and not fancy. Interesting decor as well.

                                        http://www.summershackrestaurant.com/...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: cutipie721
                                          e
                                          Eatingfood Jul 12, 2013 02:30 PM

                                          Thx! Also came across Yankee Lobster, recommend?

                                          1. re: Eatingfood
                                            m
                                            Madrid Jul 12, 2013 02:45 PM

                                            there are lots or reports here on both Yankee Lobster and Summer shack. Search by date for the most recent opinions.

                                        2. e
                                          Eatingfood Jul 14, 2013 08:38 AM

                                          Just want to update on my tentative plans for the weekend (next weekend) to get some feedback...

                                          - Arrive THUR and pick some stuff up at James Hook to keep in the fridge and munch on

                                          Here's where decisions need to start being made...

                                          We're free THUR and SAT night. FRI and SUN night we'll be in the proximity of Fenway.

                                          I think as of now the plan will be one dinner at Atlantic Fish & another at Legals Harbourside (1st floor all day menu small plates).

                                          I need to determine which night is best for each. I don't mind going to AF early (5ish) before one of the Red Sox game if that seems like a good option.

                                          SAT morning will be brunch at North St Grille.

                                          I am thinking that one afternoon I'll try Yankee Lobster, and possibly Summer Shack before one of the Red Sox games.

                                          If I try Summer Shack before the Friday evening game will it be absolutely packed for happy hour/NYY being in town?

                                          In between I'll try a farmers market.

                                          Also going to try Thinking Cup for some good coffee.

                                          What's everyone think so far? Any other ideas?

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: Eatingfood
                                            hotoynoodle Jul 14, 2013 10:27 AM

                                            any place within spitting distance of the park will be packed, but you can make reservations or try to get in on the early side. the restaurants you mention are open all day, without a break between lunch/dinner.

                                            that being said, i don't see the point of coming here to eat all your dinners in chains. they may start out with decent product, but execution is very problematic. i get that your traveling companions are not the most adventuresome eaters, but you have such a wide array of options that can suit you all and feel less homogenized. what about oysters at legal's and then take a walk to blue dragon? or sam's? or someplace in the north end?

                                            thinking cup is a cute little spot, but is that kind of hipster place that could be anywhere usa. no chance of going to one of the more traditional cafes, like cafe paradiso or cafe vittoria?

                                            1. re: hotoynoodle
                                              e
                                              Eatingfood Jul 14, 2013 12:07 PM

                                              I'll look up the cafes you mention, thx.

                                              What have I suggested that is a chain besides Legals? I get that it' a huge chain, but I think the location (Harbourside) + small plates style will serve us well. Oh, on further thought I guess Summer Shack has multiple locations too, so again, I solicit alternate suggestions. Summer Shack and Yankee Lobster are probably the places I'm least committed to, of the ones I put out there.

                                              I put my general itinerary out there to get this kind of feedback. I think AF seems very safe based on what everyone's said, and frankly I like the looks of it myself, beyond trying to appease a nonfoodie. The harbourside Legal's looks good (again, I dig the small plates concept) + has an A+ location.

                                              I do get what you mean by homogenity in this sense, but really, I'm mostly looking to eat good New England seafood. It doesn't occur to me that I can easily get raw clams on the halfshell at home (Toronto) so if I can enjoy both at Legals and AF, I don't really care that it's homogenous. We have lots of good cuisines here so I don't really feel the need to try stuff beyond seafood (perhaps I'd entertain if with different travelers, but anyway).

                                              1. re: Eatingfood
                                                hotoynoodle Jul 14, 2013 12:32 PM

                                                atlantic fish is owned by the west coast's tavistock group, which purchased 6 brands and 33 locations from the back bay restaurant group. these included atlantic fish, coach grill, abe & louie's, charley's, joe's american bar and grill and paparazzi.

                                                atlantic fish is a solid choice. lol, you could certainly do worse. every time i try legal's i kick myself because the meal sucks and is NOT cheap. and this is consistent in any locations. i FINALLY have learned only to get oysters there, and even those have sometimes been badly shucked.

                                                eta: just looked at the legal's harborside menu. after a few failed attempts when they opened, i haven't been back. while much of the seafood is local, stuff like buffalo shrimp and mussels with pineapple doesn't make me wanna run down there.

                                                have you considered the daily catch in the north end? mare? sam's at the waterfront?

                                                1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                  e
                                                  Eatingfood Jul 14, 2013 12:43 PM

                                                  I'd seen Daily Catch in my research before this thread, yeah. Unfortunately I just don't think those 3 will work for who I'm with. Also, just going on pics on Yelp Sam's doesn't look super seafood-y. Trust me when I say I'm making a secondary list for next time I am in the city with a foodie :)

                                                  I know what you mean about some of Legal's menu items, but clams on the halfshell for 1.50 each and smaller portions of fried clams, calamari, oysters etc sell me.

                                                  1. re: Eatingfood
                                                    hotoynoodle Jul 14, 2013 01:35 PM

                                                    dunno about yelp pix, lol.

                                                    http://samsatlouis.com/menu/dinner

                                                    you're right -- it's not a seafood place, but offers clams and oysters and plenty of other solid seafood options, with new england flavors and ingredients, in a beautiful spot.

                                                    sorry, i just really hate legal's since it has never failed to disappoint. hope you have better luck.

                                                    here's a screen shot of the daily catch/north end menu:

                                                    http://www.dailycatch.com/menus/north...

                                                    fits both seafood and casual italian, in a non-corporate setting.

                                              2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                e
                                                Eatingfood Jul 16, 2013 03:44 PM

                                                Are any of the north end cafe you mention good for breakfast?

                                              3. re: Eatingfood
                                                s
                                                Scruffy The Cat Jul 14, 2013 06:35 PM

                                                FWIW, I bring my picky kids to Island Creek and they are happy- one has a burger or steak and the other has plain fish and chips. There are plenty of options for a non-foodie friend and it really is a top notch restaurant.

                                                I have been disappointed in Summer Shack for years. Though they have a grilled clam appetizer which is delicious, everything else is really only meh. If you have to go there, keep your ordering very, very simple.

                                              4. C. Hamster Jul 14, 2013 02:48 PM

                                                FYI

                                                We don't have alcohol happy hours here. Been against the law for many years.

                                                Is there a reason you've ruled out arguably the best seafood restaurant in the city, which is right by Fenway ?? (ICOB). I think must have missed it in this long thread...

                                                If you like hot stuff, bring a sausage from Dr. Pepper's stand into the game with you. I forget what the stand's official name is but it's the second one in on landsdown st off Brookline. Ask for INNER BEAUTY sauce on your sausage. Yum.

                                                You can bring outside food into the game, which I recommend since the food in the park pretty much sucks and is $$$$$

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: C. Hamster
                                                  e
                                                  Eatingfood Jul 14, 2013 03:21 PM

                                                  Thx, good call re: bringing stuff to the game.

                                                  I was referring to Summer Shack's food happy hour menu I saw somewhere... 8-10 small plates for $5.

                                                  Ruled out ICOB because I think the person I'm traveling with will find Atlantic Fish much better for their non-foodie tastes. For some reason I can't find ICOB's dinner menu online right now but if someone links me I'll reconsider; however I did research this quite a bit and came to that conclusion pretty easily from what I remember.

                                                  1. re: Eatingfood
                                                    hotoynoodle Jul 14, 2013 03:38 PM

                                                    http://static.urbandaddy.com/uploads/...

                                                    you need to scroll down and realize it changes all the time.

                                                    plenty of straight-forward stuff on there, from fried clams to fish and chips. i really don't get what you are trying to avoid with your friends. why settle for a mediocre meal when you can have a really good one?

                                                    1. re: hotoynoodle
                                                      C. Hamster Jul 14, 2013 03:47 PM

                                                      That's my thinking, too.

                                                      But it may be too late to get a res at ICOB since I think the Yankees are in town.

                                                      1. re: C. Hamster
                                                        hotoynoodle Jul 14, 2013 03:51 PM

                                                        yeah, that's why the op is coming, but it doesn't hurt to try. and simply walking in at 4:00 and snagging a seat at the bar works too.

                                                      2. re: hotoynoodle
                                                        e
                                                        Eatingfood Jul 14, 2013 03:52 PM

                                                        I'm travelling with a parent who can be very picky (about wanting ordinary/plain stuff, not about wanting gourmet stuff). What I'm trying to "avoid" is a situation where they're snarling at their food and I'm not enjoying mine as a result.

                                                        Honestly, comparing the two menus, it still seems to me like Atlantic Fish offers a lot more. Is ICOB *really* that much better?

                                                        How about comparing the two places' chowders? Person I'll be with really likes clam chowder so an out-of-the-park chowder could win the day.

                                                        Do I really have any hope of getting into ICOB before a Red Sox game? Thinking Sunday since the game is at 8 so a 5pm dinner leaves lots of time -- 7pm game on Fri would be pushing it.

                                                        Do you guys really, really think the difference between a meal at ICOB and ATL Fish is so much that I'm making a mistake?

                                                        1. re: Eatingfood
                                                          hotoynoodle Jul 14, 2013 03:54 PM

                                                          Honestly, comparing the two menus, it still seems to me like Atlantic Fish offers a lot more. Is ICOB *really* that much better?

                                                          ~~~

                                                          yes.

                                                          1. re: Eatingfood
                                                            s
                                                            Scruffy The Cat Jul 14, 2013 06:38 PM

                                                            The other really key thing, if you are traveling with a parent, is that Island Creek does some sort of magic with their acoustics so even if it is busy and bustling, you can actually hear your dining companion. The other part is that their service is top-notch, so they will make you and your parent feel very tended.

                                                        2. re: Eatingfood
                                                          e
                                                          Eatingfood Jul 14, 2013 04:38 PM

                                                          You damn chowhounds and your powers of persuasion. All the pics of ICOB on yelp look foodie as hell (way out of my traveling partner's ballpark) but I suppose those photos are all taken by foodies. As long as ya'll promise there's other, normal-er stuff on the menu.

                                                          If we were to walk into Atlantic Fish around 7-8 PM THUR night (no ballgame going on or anything that I know of) would we be able to be seated ok?

                                                          I'll call ICOB tomorrow re: a reso... maybe can bookend the trip Thur/Sun nite with Atlantic Fish Co & ICOB respectively. then if the non-foodie is overwhelmed he can eat something normal the 2 night in between :)

                                                          1. re: Eatingfood
                                                            hotoynoodle Jul 14, 2013 05:14 PM

                                                            i'd make the res for the fish just in case. you can always cancel. if you're at fenway, just take a stroll by icob and look at the menu in person. ( i did post a link above.) see how your dining companion feels about it.

                                                      3. C. Hamster Jul 14, 2013 05:59 PM

                                                        ICOB is head and shoulders above Atlantic Fish in every way . Shellfish, fin fish, ambiance.

                                                        But that might be too foodie for your DC if they want haddock with crumbs or a steak.

                                                        Check opentable.com for reservations.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: C. Hamster
                                                          e
                                                          Eatingfood Jul 14, 2013 06:32 PM

                                                          It might indeed be too foodie - we'll see!

                                                          I caved and made the ICOB reso for 5 on Sunday - they only had the bar available but offered to move me to a table if one opens up before then.

                                                          I'll still do Atlantic Fish another night... probably Thurs or Sat.

                                                          1. re: C. Hamster
                                                            e
                                                            Eatingfood Jul 14, 2013 06:50 PM

                                                            how much of a issue is dress at ICOB? not sure DC will want to dress up for dinner, espec. with going to the game right after.

                                                            1. re: Eatingfood
                                                              s
                                                              Scruffy The Cat Jul 14, 2013 07:13 PM

                                                              Jeans are fine. Totally casual.

                                                              1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                C. Hamster Jul 14, 2013 07:53 PM

                                                                Boston is very casual.

                                                            2. e
                                                              Eatingfood Jul 16, 2013 03:47 PM

                                                              Couple more quick questions before my trip...

                                                              - any can't-miss breakfast spots in the north end?

                                                              - any good grocery stores nearby just for a few fruits/veg and craft beer?

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                m
                                                                mkfisher Jul 17, 2013 05:36 AM

                                                                Golden Goose in the North End is probably the easiest grocery store. They have an average beer/wine selection too. For craft beer, I'd head to Boston Wine Exchange on Devonshire in the financial district.

                                                                1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                  c
                                                                  chevrelove Jul 17, 2013 06:20 AM

                                                                  Admittedly I haven't tried it yet, but Bread & Butter is a relatively new cafe on Cross St. Peeked my head in once and the pastries, quiches, etc. looked quite tasty.

                                                                2. e
                                                                  Eatingfood Jul 17, 2013 06:55 PM

                                                                  Alright, off tomorrow. As of now the plan is Atlantic Fish one afternoon, ICOB Sunday night, Caffes Vitorino or Paradiso one morning/afternoon, Mike's Pastries, North End Grille for brunch, and decided to add Theo's Cozy breakfast place based on reviews.

                                                                  Will keep everyone posted! Thanks all!

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                    j
                                                                    Jenny Ondioline Jul 17, 2013 07:47 PM

                                                                    I apologize in advance for Mike's.

                                                                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                                                      e
                                                                      Eatingfood Jul 17, 2013 08:09 PM

                                                                      Alternatives?

                                                                      1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                        j
                                                                        Jenny Ondioline Jul 17, 2013 09:20 PM

                                                                        Modern Pastry, a block down Hanover on the opposite side.

                                                                        1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                          l
                                                                          lc02139 Jul 18, 2013 05:59 AM

                                                                          Maria's 46 Cross St Boston just past Salem street walking away from Hanover street.

                                                                          1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                            m
                                                                            mkfisher Jul 18, 2013 06:16 AM

                                                                            Mike's vs. Modern vs. Maria's has beend discussed endlessly on this board. We all have our favorites for sure, but they're all good.

                                                                            1. re: mkfisher
                                                                              l
                                                                              lc02139 Jul 18, 2013 06:24 AM

                                                                              And Bova's if you have a 24/7 craving :)

                                                                      2. e
                                                                        Eatingfood Jul 18, 2013 07:18 PM

                                                                        Day 1 report:

                                                                        Picked some stuff up at James Hook (mostly tail/claw/misc lobster meat). Have it in the fridge now and have been munching.

                                                                        One question -- dude at Hook said it won't keep til Saturday (bought it Thurs ~3pm)... I don't really believe him... you guys?

                                                                        Went to Legal Harbourside first floor in the evening. I had 7 cherrystones and 3 littlenecks, really liked them. Also had the calamri which was a bit heavy (the battery) and had random deep fried jalapenos and lemon slices mixed in with it, which was a bit weird.

                                                                        Checked out Mike's and Modern's in the evening but both were way too lined up for our first day. May go back later.

                                                                        Also, do any of the traditional Italian cafes serve actual breakfast or just coffee/espresso?

                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                          C. Hamster Jul 18, 2013 08:02 PM

                                                                          If dude at Hook tells you that, I'd believe him, since you don't know when it was cooked.

                                                                          2 or 3 days is the most I go for fish and shellfish but your mileage may vary.

                                                                          Hots mixed in with fried calamari is how we usually eat it here .

                                                                          What do you mean by "breakfast?"

                                                                          1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                            e
                                                                            Eatingfood Jul 18, 2013 08:25 PM

                                                                            eggs, breakfast meats

                                                                            1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                              s
                                                                              Scruffy The Cat Jul 20, 2013 12:51 PM

                                                                              Just wondering because you say "traditional Italian cafe" and no cafe actually in Italy would serve those things. They will serve coffee/espresso and maybe a roll or something.

                                                                          2. re: Eatingfood
                                                                            j
                                                                            Jenny Ondioline Jul 18, 2013 08:27 PM

                                                                            The mixed-in chiles are indeed the local service standard for fried calamari, and the lemon slices aren't unheard of. I dig it, myself.

                                                                            And no, I wouldn't keep cooked lobster that long myself. It would be okay in that it probably wouldn't kill you or anything, but it just wouldn't be best-quality anymore.

                                                                            1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                                                              l
                                                                              lc02139 Jul 19, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                                              I thought that was "rhode island" style, and battering the banana peppers as well is just a plus.

                                                                            2. re: Eatingfood
                                                                              Allstonian Jul 19, 2013 08:09 AM

                                                                              Yes, I believe him - already-cooked lobster should be eaten the day you buy it, maybe the following day. As Jenny Ondioline says, it probably won't kill you, but it does go off very quickly.

                                                                              Echoing Jenny Ondioline & C Hamster, hot peppers and lemon in your fried calamari are not considered weird around here, but normal.

                                                                              Traditional Italian cafes are unlikely to serve eggs and breakfast meats, because that is not a traditional Italian breakfast. Italian breakfast is normally caffe e latte or cappuccino, with bread, rolls, or something like a croissant, with butter and jam.

                                                                              1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                                p
                                                                                phatchris Jul 19, 2013 08:14 AM

                                                                                Cafe Pompei used to serve breakfast, not sure if they still do.

                                                                                1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                                  d
                                                                                  DrewStarr Jul 19, 2013 09:12 AM

                                                                                  don't wait in lines for food on vacation.
                                                                                  better pastry to be had than either of those places (and there is no good pastry to be had in Mike's that I'm aware of) at Bread + Butter just down the street.

                                                                                  1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                                    e
                                                                                    Eatingfood Jul 19, 2013 08:17 PM

                                                                                    Thanks hounds.

                                                                                    Person at front desk suggested Ferrara's over North End... any feedback? Does it matter?

                                                                                    1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                                      Beachowolfe Jul 20, 2013 04:05 PM

                                                                                      Ferrera's, North Street Grille, Cobblestone, Theo's, Anthony's, Pauli's, My Cousin's Place... All pretty good.

                                                                                      check hours for North Street.

                                                                                  2. c
                                                                                    chuck s Jul 19, 2013 04:50 AM

                                                                                    You can pick up prepared foods at the Copley Square farmers market and eat in the courtyard of the Boston Public Library.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: chuck s
                                                                                      C. Hamster Jul 19, 2013 06:55 AM

                                                                                      There are also usually 5 food trucks in the Copley area every day. Trinity place by the garage. Right in front of the library. Corner of Clarendon and Boylston

                                                                                    2. e
                                                                                      Eatingfood Aug 5, 2013 11:00 AM

                                                                                      Thanks for everyone's feedback. Just wanted to provide a brief trip report:

                                                                                      THUR night - Legal's Harbourside

                                                                                      Impressed we were able to get 2 bar seats given how packed it was. Great location, ambience and service given how busy it was. Calamari was so-so but I loved my introduction to raw clams. They had a few decent craft beers.

                                                                                      3.5/5 adjusted to 4/5

                                                                                      Atlantic Fish - Friday afternoon

                                                                                      Maybe I had expectations too high for this place, especially for eating at lunch, but I was a bit underwhelmed by the actual food. I had clams casino (long story short, the littlenecks at Legal's were tiny, so I figured I'd get clams casino at AF rather than on the half shell again, but these littlenecks were much bigger so I should have just had them on the half shell) and fried oysters... both decent but not mind-blowing. The chowder was mind-blowing though.

                                                                                      And to resolve the debate we had earlier, craft beer selection at AF sucked. I would still like to try this place for dinner, but...

                                                                                      3/5

                                                                                      Sat brunch - North Street Grille

                                                                                      This was another one I was really looking forward to and by and large it met expectations. I think the wait for 2 was about 20 min but the hotel called ahead so by the time we walked there the wait was only 5.

                                                                                      I had the lobster benny - only complaint is the lobster portion looked a bit smaller than most people's pics, but it was still good. Next time I'd try something else I think, but I still enjoyed. great brunch menu and setting.

                                                                                      4/5

                                                                                      Sat night - Sail Loft (was just looking for something small/easy)

                                                                                      Ehh.. not a great deal to say. I knew what I was getting into. I'd say the clam chowder was quite decent and the buffalo chicken was a bit strange (drowning in sauce, tasted more Cajun to me).

                                                                                      3/5

                                                                                      Sun night - ICOB

                                                                                      I became sick Saturday during the day and overnight (I've traced it back to something I probably ate in Toronto before coming to BOS) so I couldn't gorge on the lobster roe pasta as I wanted to. Nevertheless I really enjoyed everything -- salmon tartar, half a chilled lobster, and 6 littlenecks & 6 Island Creek oysters.

                                                                                      Non-foodie didn't really like the chowder or chilled lobster as much but didn't hate it either, so a draw on that front. Nonetheless I really liked the place & am super-glad everyone convinced me to go. Will become a staple on future Boston visits without question.

                                                                                      4.5/5 based on what I ate; would be a 5/5 if my stomach were functioning properly so I could have more craft beer + lobster roe noodles.

                                                                                      Thanks so much for all of your help and patience!!

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Eatingfood
                                                                                        hotoynoodle Aug 5, 2013 11:12 AM

                                                                                        thanks for the report back. glad you're feeling better!

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