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Foodies coming to Boston - What not to miss?

Love to eat where the locals go- can be upscale or not, we enjoy a variety of cuisines. Would like recommendations for lunch and dinner. We will be visiting in Oct. Recommendations for different parts of the city would be great!

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  1. where will you be staying? where are you coming from and what cuisine do you find yourself locally lacking or that you too often?

    price point?

    boston only? will you have a car?

    14 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      We are coming from Raleigh, and frequent places locally, as well as Durham/Chapel Hill. Most cuisines are available to us. Lobster rolls are not:)! Would love a good one. Would also love to experience excellent Italian! Not sure exactly where we will be staying, but the person we are visiting lives in Somerville. Not sure if we are flying or driving yet. We will probably stay somewhere downtown so that we can use public transportation to see the sights and such. Not opposed to driving if we have a car. Also would like to go to Cape Cod Price point can range from average on up. We have been to Boston once-we ate at Eastern Standard, Neptunes, and a french restaurant I think called Habershy's? We also ate Italian in North End at a place where people all sat together in a rather cramped space, and the line was around the corner to get in- economical- food ok, not great. Atmosphere was fun. To us food is an experience-love places with good energy. Not looking to go to a place just to say I went there if the food is not good. We enjoy all levels of dining from hole in the wall-to elegant.

      1. re: kbteach77

        Your questions are very general and can be answered by reading some threads including this recent one

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/908614

        I'm assuming you mean Hamersley's Bistro for your French restaurant (although I think of it as more new American). The Italian place was probably Giacamo's. Atasca or one of the Portugese restaurant in E. Cambridge might be interesting, lots of things in Kendall Sq., Lineage in Brookline is nice for seafood and cocktails and La Morra in Brooline Village for Italian for areas that are close but not downtown or north end.

        1. re: kbteach77

          Oleana in Cambridge. check out the menu. It will either appeal to you or not!

          1. re: kbteach77

            Guide to Boston by Areas and Restaurants:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781155

            ---------------------------------------------------------------

            Dinner Spots that I would highly recommend :

            Oleana- really unusual Turkish/Mediterranean menu; (owner's farm)-to-table;charming patio. Aside from the food being delicious, this is a real 'foodie's delight' because the menu will be full of things you will not see elsewhere in the U.S. Cambridge

            Erbaluce- unusual inventive No.Italian Piedmontese. South End

            Craigie on Main- famous for offal but also seafood. Cambridge

            OYa- v.v.expensive Japanese American inventive. South Station

            Neptune Oyster- crowded tiny, always a line, top quality raw bar; inventive seafood along w/ trad.Leave your name and stroll the fascinating North End. (no resvtns-NR

            )

            Island Creek Oyster Bar- the BEST service, large room yet intimate, more trad but some inventive.

            Toro- possibly the loudest room in Boston, full-out Tapas (the inventive often more successful than the trad) yet their Paella is unbeatably unctuous .South End .NR

            Aquitaine- THE spot when you're exhausted and you want to be taken care of. Classic French Bistro food beautifully done in a beautiful room, w/ gracious top notch service. South End.
            ---------------------------
            Strip T's (in a 'suburb', 10 min cab from Harvard Square) Casual small treasure for serious foodies; Momofuku chef; great inventive Asian- inspired, but also exc.fried chicken and unusual terrific burger. Watertown.

            Sycamore- 30 min car or train ride West to affluent Newton Centre and this welcoming veteran run spot with many unique twists (see the Daily Duck, Lamb or Pork board- with four mini entree ,starch and veg.medleys.)

            -----------------------------------------------

            For brunch, you cannot have more fun than at East Coast Grill in Cambridge. 25 yrs as a real locals' fav for all ages; latin, mexican,bbq and and seafood; Bloody Mary bar; great vibe.

            Another neighborhood hotspot is Highland Kitchen in Somerville,packed w/ 20's and young families.'Comfort food' plus; great bar and music. NR

            For more refined brunch, Aquitaine and Mistral ($French elegant) are popular. South End.
            -----------------------------------------------------------

            The Boston CH board is very active and helpful. They will give you their favs and latest finds as well.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              This is an excellent list and a great starting point (and a nice reminder to me to try some new spots and revisit some old favorites!) -

              I would add Bergamot to this list - a bit out of the way but not too far and extremely friendly, local, and delicious with a warmth and energy in the room most nights, and always at the bar when Paul is working (and they only serve the awesome lobster melt at the bar).

              I also feel similarly but not quite as strongly about Rendezvous if you want to stay close to public transit.

              1. re: rlh

                If they're visiting a friend in Somerville, Bergamot is not out of the way at all!

            2. re: kbteach77

              For a great Lobster Roll got to Belle Isle just over the E. Boston line in Winthrop. Vinny's in Somerville may work for Italian.

              1. re: treb

                wow, with all of boston's Italian restnts it would never occur to me to rec vinny's. just sayin'.

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  I thought I posted a reply this morning about this.

                  I thought treb hit the nail right on the head suggesting Vinny's at Night in Somerville, seeing their friends are in Somerville, they want Italian, they like hole in the wall place where the locals go, and a fun atmosphere.

                  It's not gourmet italian here however; you're going to get quality, quantity (you'll be lucky to see any of your plate), and very nicely cooked authentic Boston Italian food.

                  Not to many places like Vinny's around here anymore.

                  http://www.vinnysatnight.com/

                  1. re: Infomaniac

                    There are not too many places like Vinny's around *anywhere* anymore. I think it's a great suggestion, for down-home Italian food. It's superior to most of the places in the North End. Probably 75% of the country does not have easy access to a place as good as VInny's.

                  2. re: opinionatedchef

                    Interesting edit OPC. Just sayin'. BTW - ever eat at Vinny's?

                    1. re: treb

                      yes,once. it was o.k./fine but no wish to return.had the pork w/ peppers and eggplnt parm. Now, the eggplant parm at Gran Gusto, THAT is a dish worth travelling for.

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        i've never seen eggplant parm on GG's menu (we go often but usually for the pasta( particlarly their cacio e pepe), the pizza or the branzino). If they offer it as a special I'll have to try it.

                2. re: kbteach77

                  Local and maybe not on every "list" for tourists: Istanbulu for Turkish - Deep Ellum or the Druid for good bars - Casa Portugal for local Portuguese - Rendezvous for great affordable and welcoming upscale food - Xian Xian for good Vietnamese in Chinatown or out to Dorchester for even better Vietnamese - lots of good things on the tourist lists too (I love lunch at L'Espalier when I'm in the mood for real indulgence!) For good Italian that's local to Somerville/Cambridge Gran Gusto would be my choice.

              2. yes, all of hotoy's questions will help us help you better!

                1 Reply
                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  if the op does a search under opinionatedchef's name you will find a list of many helpful links answering this very same question in a very thorough way. :)