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Toronto Maple Leafs fans coming to Boston

Despite getting destroyed in game 7, we are coming with our family to your great city next week. We're bringing the kids who have a wide food range. I know this is rather vague, but am looking for suggestions for your favourite restaurants in the downtown area, although we are able to go outside the area. We would rather not hit the chains or tourist destinations and prefer local, neighbourhood or top spots. Italian, burgers, seafood and any other styles would work, as long as its good!

I'm waiting!

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  1. Welcome, fran.We get quite a few CH visitors from your vibrant hometown. Hope this is helpful:
    Guide to Boston by Areas and Restaurants:

    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

    ( note: you can reach these spots w/ public transit from downtown but not really easily.
    Here is a report from a Toronto visitor from last year:

    1. Wow! I almost felt I was reading replies on the Toronto posts. It amazes me how much effort some people will make in putting together their thoughts. Thanks so much for passing on the links. I'll start narrowing int down. Should only take a week! Any thoughts on really really good burgers! There are great spots in Toronto, who fresh grind etc, and I'm curious you have a favourite?

      26 Replies
      1. re: franpelyk

        Are you looking for "high-brow" or "low-brow" burgers? We have great options here in the under $10-12 range, as well as the over.

        In my opinion, Craigie on Main has the best expensive burger in Boston. They have a limited amount nightly, off-menu, at the bar. It's on the menu for brunch. Everything is sourced thoughtfully, and the meat is ground in house.

        If you're looking for the cheaper variety, I really like Bartley's Burger Cottage and Charlie's Kitchen/Beer Garden, both in Harvard Square. Both are sit down restaurants, but not too expensive.

        1. re: addiez

          Any burger joint with the name "beer" in it, can't be bad! After all, I am a Canadian!

          1. re: franpelyk

            Highland Kitchen offers a very good burger, very good fries and has a good beer selection.

            1. re: franpelyk

              fran, i guess you can see from the posts that hamburgers get some vociferous CHs really active! In addition to CH posts, I enjoy this website that you might like, depending on how much boston burger research you want to do!!:

              the one drawback for visitors is that the blog doesn't include a map, or detail the locations by area. So here are the blog writer's top burgers to which i've added their area of the city (for as many as i had time for!) (You will also see the ones that CHs are discussing on this, your thread):
              The Burger Review Directory
              Overall Score: 90 and up
              As close to burger perfection as you’re going to get. The best of the best:
              JM Curley -downtown near Boston Common
              The Gallows - South End
              Market - by Boston Common
              Harvest - Harvard Sq, Cambridge
              Lineage - Brookline Coolidge Corner
              51 Lincoln - Newton, suburb
              Toro -South End
              Craigie On Main - Central Sq, Camb.
              Eastern Standard- Kenmore Sq.
              Overall Score: 80-89

              Really good. A few things wrong. Even then, you’re looking for flaws.

              Sullivan’s - Somerville

              Silvertone Saloon

              Hops N Scotch

              Posto - Somerville Davis Sq.

              Back Deck

              Olde Magoun’s Saloon

              Park -Harvard Sq.,Camb

              Strip-T’s - Watertown, 10 min cab or bus from Harv Sq. Serves burgers at wkday lunch til 4pm.

              Harry’s Bar & Grill

              Matt Murphy’s - Brookline Village

              Citizen Pub - Kenmore Sq.

              Casey’s Diner


              Blue on Highland


              The Avenue

              White Hut

              Scarlet Oak Tavern

              Local 149



              James’s Gate

              The Fireplace

              The Publick House- Kenmore Sq.

              The Beehive - South End

              Back Bay Social Club- Back Bay neat Coppley Sq.

              Washington Square Tavern


              The Bristol Lounge -Copley Sq.

              Lord Hobo -

              Sel de la Terre- Copley Sq.

              Common Ground
              I'm not experienced w/ the Boston burger scene. I only like fire grilled burgers and I really like the one at Strip T's with its very unusual treatment (3 cuts go into it;also the smoked miso mayo and pickled red onions and a very special bun.)I'd like to try the one at JM Curley's- sounds delic. and the place sounds like alot of fun. I love the humor on their website.

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                I found the JM Curley burger to be significantly overseasoned. That aside, it was a satisfying burger, but nothing worth going out of ones way for YMMV.

                1. re: Gabatta

                  With Curley it's worth noting which (or both) you're referring to as the two burgers are completely different.

            2. re: addiez

              Also in Harvard Square are Flat Patties and Tasty Burger, both of which I like better than Bartley's.

              1. re: Allstonian

                It blows my mind that people prefer Tasty Burger to Bartley's. I totally agree that Bartley's is over hyped, but Tasty Burger a better quality burger? The one time I had a Tasty Burger (Fenway location not on a game day) it was so average. I think uBurger is leaps and bounds better than Tasty Burger (especially if you consider the fries).

                1. re: Gordough

                  #1: Bartley's burger is of the near-spherical type, which I don't really care for.

                  #2: I've had burgers at both Uburger and Tasty Burger a number of times. Uburger may indeed be superior, but I also like Tasty quite a lot. Also, I was talking about burgers in Harvard Square, and there isn't a Uburger there.

                  1. re: Allstonian

                    Is your only issue with Bartley's the shape of the beef?

                    1. re: Gordough

                      Correct. I prefer a flatter patty. The lack of seasoning in the meat at Bartley's is also a factor.

                      1. re: Allstonian

                        While not unique to Bartleys, it does annoy me that they brag that they don't season the beef. I don't care how high quality their meat is (and I'm sure it's not as high quality as say, Craigie), you need to season it.

                      2. re: Gordough

                        Shape of the patty, complete lack of seasoning (I find the fact that they take pride in not salting their beef utterly nonsensical), the overkill toppings on most of their burgers (to mask the unseasoned meat, I assume), the fact that the resulting burger is so greasy that the bun usually dissolves before you're finished eating it...it's just a completely subpar burger by my burger aesthetic.

                        Great raspberry lime rickeys, though.

                        1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                          Who forces you to order "the overkill toppings" on your burger? I like more than the average amount of seasoning in my burgers and have never had an issue with their seasoning (or lack thereof). I don't think Bartleys is anything special but I am just flabbergasted when I hear people say places like Tasty Burger are better.

                          1. re: Gordough

                            I find the Tasty to be more to my liking, as I like my burgers smaller in size...not the pub style which I think Bartley's does as well as RF O'Sullivan's. That being said I have enjoyed Bartley's in the past, and don't recall having to season the beef after the fact (I guess the cheese and bacon provided enough salt to counter?), and the atmosphere of Bartley's, while not for everyone (I HATE communal seating, I get why it's done, but I don't have to like it) is something to experience, and if you go with your family, you don't have to sit at the long table. But seriously, as I said below, JM Curley's for the win.

                            1. re: Gordough

                              You seem to be upset by the fact that some of us don't care for Bartley's burgers. Please note that I didn't say "places like Tasty Burger are better." I said that I like their burgers better. You are entitled to your preferences, but I'm entitled to mine as well.

                              1. re: Gordough

                                Well, as myself and others have said repeatedly over the years whenever the topic comes up, there are two kinds of burgers in the world, the flat patty and the spherical patty. If you prefer the flat-patty style of burger -- as I do -- then you're gonna find places like Uburger, Flat Patties or Tasty Burger more to your liking than a place like Bartley's or RF O'Sullivan's.

                                I'm not seeing what's so flabbergasting about that.

                                1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                  It's a quality of beef issue to me. I didn't find the Tasty Burger beef to be of very good quality and have never had issues with the quality of beef at Bartleys. I am by no means upset. Just trying to figure out what I might be missing with Tasty Burger beyond "I like it better than Bartleys." Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion. And I am expressing mine that it surprises me that others enjoy the burger better at Tasty Burger. I also admitted in my first post that I have only been to Tasty Burger once so perhaps I need a bigger sample size. I was just so underwhelmed that I am reluctant to go back.

                        2. re: Gordough

                          I don't think they're comparable, really. While both are "burgers" they're on exact opposite sides of the spectrum. Tasty Burger is in the higher quality flat patty fast food burger mold while Bartleys serves a more classic pub style burger w/ oodles of toppings.

                          One can like or dislike either, but I don't get why someone would directly compare the two.

                          As an aside, out of the local higher quality fast food burger joints (uburger, tasty, griddlers, flat patties), tasty is my favorite by a good margine.

                        3. re: Allstonian

                          I am just missing the appeal of Flat Patties. I've eaten there twice and both times the burger was greasy (there's greasy in a good way, but this wasn't it), the bun was a mushy mess and I really don't like that house sauce at all.

                          Team Tasty! It reminds me of a simple backyard burger. Nothing mind-blowing but completely satisfying.

                          1. re: LeoLioness

                            Amusingly, the discussion of best harvard square burger was tackled on the phantom this morning. They declared it to be flat patties. The phantom has spoken, we might as well not discuss the matter further lest were doused in ooey gooey cheese

                        4. re: addiez

                          Don't forget the burger at JM Curley's in Downtown Crossing (the very center of downtown Boston), they have a great lunch burger (and dinner, but the dinner is bigger, and I like my burgers on the smaller size) that's under $10, and is arguably one of the best in Boston!

                          1. re: devilham

                            The JM Curley burger is a thing of beauty. Nearly as good as the Craigie burger for a fraction of the price. I also am in love with their fried pickles.

                            1. re: kimfair1

                              The lunch burger at JM Curley is my new favorite, washed down with a Jacks Abby or Trillium... Perfect.

                              1. re: kimfair1

                                JM is the perfect balance between high and low end burgers. Its just damn good and not too pricey.

                        5. Burgers: If you like large (huge), juicy, hand packed burgers, grilled to order, you cannot do better than RF O'Sullivan's, they are a 10 minute walk from Porter Station on the red line. I LOVE these burgers but if you have one for lunch and eat the whole thing, you will not be hungry for dinner! google it up!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: momoftwo

                            Do *NOT* go there for burgers unless it's on an off hour. I had to completely give up going there for years until someone finally pointed out it's much better in slow times.

                            My issue was that they're extremely inconsistent and I'd often get my medium rare burger cooked well done, which is freaking gross. I've not had that problem when it's really slow - like when I'm one of the only people in there.

                          2. When you say "family", do you mean kids? If so, how old/how many?

                            1. I just saw a family w/ 2 boys in Kenmore Sq., one of whom had a Maple Leafs cap on, and thought for sure I'd passed you.

                              A fun place by the Public Garden is Parish Cafe where chefs around town have designed interesting sandwiches. Walking around the waterfront area, you might want to get a lobster sandwich at JM Hook. Read about the north end, fun stuff there.

                              Depending on how old the kids are, I'd go for a more fun burger than one at Craigie (which is in limited supply). They'd probably get a kick out of Tasty and U Burger by Fenway Park. Audobon Circle in that area is good too. Interesting eats in the Fenway neighborhood that are not tourist destinations; Rod Dee Thai, Trattoria Toscano for Italian, a crepe place, Sweet Cheeks BBQ is great (but crowded). Read a bit more of the links and you'll see more ideas.

                              1. Hey fran, Boston's food scene is all over the map just like Toronto's so other than the three you mentioned (Italian, Seafood and Burgers) what else do you like eating or are you looking for specifically during your visit?

                                Also quite a few of us on the board are either former residents of Toronto (myself included) or frequent visitors. So if there are particular restaurants you love eating at locally it may give us an idea of which direction to steer you.

                                A few ideas in the categories you mentioned though:

                                Seafood focused: Neptune Oyster, Island Creek Oyster Bar, Belle Isle, Courthouse Seafood, Muqueca, Ricon Limeno.

                                Italian: Trattoria Toscana, Prezza, Coppa, Daily Catch, also do a search for the "North End" of Boston.

                                Burgers: JM Curley, U Burger, Tasty Burger,Flat Patties.

                                Enjoy your visit.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Matt H

                                  Now now kids......can't we all just get along? I never expected my simple post to create a domestic regarding their feelings on burgers! I'm very impressed! You would think I'm writing on the Toronto blog! For those of you from TO, our tastes rund,for burgers, to Burgers Priest style, for Italian, Terroni, for pizza, Queen Marguerittac style, veal sandwiches from California or Bitondo's, fish and seafood from places like the Danforth, or Chiado. In short, good homemade and with fresh ingredients and cost isn't really an issue. I just want to eat local favourites and stay away from the chains. I can get all the chain food crap right here! Thanks to all of you for your "spirited" input! We're there next week and also looking for ball tickets! Il buy dinner!

                                  1. re: franpelyk

                                    Yeah we like to argue as much as Torontonians down here, its great.

                                    All my rec's above stand but knowing your tastes Id like to add a few more:

                                    Pizza: Area Four, Reginas (The North End location), Picco.
                                    Italian: Erbaluce
                                    Others to definitely research: Oleana, Puritan and Company, Hungry Mother.

                                    Also you may want to check out our food trucks and report back to Toronto city council and tell them how f'n stupid their stance is on the topic : ) The schedule is below.


                                    1. re: Matt H

                                      I second Regina's for pizza!!!!! It's the best in Boston! But pro tip, limit yourself AT MOST to one topping, don't bog down the pie with too many (wet) ingredients, I recommend salami (well done), for an amazing pie.

                                      1. re: Matt H

                                        Oh, and this is how Bostonians get along, we argue. If we didn't like you, we'd ignore you!

                                        1. re: Matt H

                                          Ha!!! Have you seen our crack head Mayor lately? You would think, looking at him, that he grew up eating at food trucks! You're right.....they are getting much better and on some of them, the food is fantastic. I'm taking all of these recommendations to heart and have decided we will eat our way through Mass! We're going to hit Hyanis as well, as I haven't been there for years, and I'll eat my way though there as well!

                                        2. re: franpelyk

                                          Sorry to come late to this game. Like Matt H, fellow Toronto expat here. I called my nephew late in game 7 to congratulate him on the Leafs advancing (sorry). You've had some excellent suggestions. Based on your TO list, Regina's in the North end is a must. If you go to Chinatown, focus on Taiwanese (Taiwan Cafe, Gourmet Dumpling House, Dumpling Cafe). Coppa (South end) for Italian/ charcuterie. In the south end you also might like Estragon and Toro for Spanish tapas. If you stray from downtown, for Portuguese seafood Muqueca (in Cambridge) is homey and much cheaper and low frills than Chiado.

                                      2. Sticking to downtown or near it: take the kids to the waterfront - try the Daily Catch for Sicilian seafood, or James Hook or Yankee Lobster for no-frills seafood. Go over to the North End and check out the many north end posts here for inexpensive to expensive, making sure to try Regina's Pizzeria and maybe Marie's for pastry. Take them to the South End for hip dim sum at Myers & Chang and maybe to Coppas and the Salty Pig for charcuterie and great bites. Go to JM Curleys for burgers and if your walking Newbury Street area, go upstairs at the Rattlesnake to sit outside or the Parish Cafe and enjoy the passing world. Have fun, great weather, and explore the downtown. If you want one unusual and not inexpensive stop in the downtown area, my choice would be Erbaluce but it's certainly not everyones. I know Toronto has great Asian food but the kids might enjoy Chinatown, Windsor Cafe would be my choice with a stop at the Eldo Cake House for desert.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: teezeetoo

                                          tz, this is such great advice for families.you def know your customers here!

                                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                                            Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm going to narrow it down and will report back to all!

                                            One last question. We will be in Quincy for a day or two and meeting up with friends from DC. Any suggestions along the same styles as my original post?

                                            1. re: franpelyk

                                              There are much more knowledgeable posters in regards to Quincy on this board, but I really enjoy my meals at Fat Cat in Quincy Center.

                                              Also next door to Quincy is Milton which has a great restaurant that recently opened named Steel and Rye, not far at all and I think it would be a good choice.

                                              1. re: Matt H

                                                yes, steel and rye has been very well reviewed - by mcslim and the Boston Globe reviewer as well. that's an excellent suggestion.

                                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                  You kids are certainly helping me plan out our meals. So much for the bloody diet! Anyone have any thoughts on No Name, which is down by the water. Some CH type people here recommended it. The menu looks alright, but there is nothing like hearing from those who have been. Any other spots with a menu in that style would be much appreciated.

                                                  The Blue Jays lost to the Red Sox in extra innings last night, but we are still coming to Boston! Il get over it

                                                  1. re: franpelyk

                                                    No Name gets some major hate on this board from what I read. I have only been twice and its really nothing to write home about and you can do much better.

                                                    Around the corner from that is Yankee Lobster, which is a much better choice. Or if you don't mind getting away from the water Courthouse Seafood is an even better choice in East Cambridge.

                                                    1. re: Matt H

                                                      Thanks.......Yankee Lobster it is!