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Jan 25, 2014 07:55 AM

Recs near the Park Plaza

Coming to a convention in February and our gang is staying at the Park Plaza. Haven't been that way in about a year.

Can you recommend places in walking distance fun, casual dinners and libations/beer, good pub grub, Chinese....? Also spots for people to sample good chowder/seafood without breaking the bank?

Each year, my husband and I also like to go out out for one nice dinner. In the past we've gone to Erbaluce, Scampo, Mistral, Deuxave, The Beehive, Eastern Standard, Strip T's, Antico Forno, Mamma Maria, Brasserie Jo, and Davio's. Yep, that's a lot of conventions!

We don't eat seafood, and can drive around a bit. Any rec's for our next nice dinner?

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  1. For the nice dinner I would try Troquet or Bistro du Midi if you want to stay close to the hotel. If you are willing to travel just a little you might want to consider Oleana.

    3 Replies
      1. re: TeacherFoodie

        Oleana is this's not walking distance, but it's also not a long cab drive across the river to Cambridge. The Oleana people have a newish restaurant in Somerville called Sarma, but it's more of a trip to get there. You will need a reservation at both. If it comes up nothing on OpenTable anywhere, call them.

        Check out the menus...Oleana is fine with a couple splitting several apps and nothing more. Sarma is all about app splitting.

        1. re: Madrid

          ooops, just saw down line that you had ruled out Oleana.

      1. re: Taralli

        Would Prezza be good about letting a couple split an app, pasta, entree and dessert?

        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          Hmmm. I was w/a group that booked the big table up front & we shared w/one another. Might be easier for you to eat at the bar & share. 9lives, what do you think?

          1. re: Taralli

            There will be four of us in our group. Looking at the portions online, I am thinking a full meal will be too much for me. We'll be ordering wine.

            1. re: TrishUntrapped

              prezza is very accommodating. the entrees are too big for me, so most often we'll get a few apps and then split a main. they also have a great wine list.

              sorellina is also quite near your hotel and has some of the best service in the city. excellent food, gorgeous room. $$$$$.

      2. I was just reading the menu for Meritage, and that caught my eye because they serve small plates which is good for me. What do you think about that one?

        3 Replies
        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          I really like Meritage. I often bring out of town guests there. The dining room looks out over the harbor and the hotel is very pretty as well. Excellent wine selection and the small plates aren't that small, really depends what you get. But it does allow you to try a couple things. It is a little bright in there and often has a large group or two so not quite as cozy Deuxave or Erbaluce but ask for a table near the window when you make a reservation and it can be a nice romantic dinner.

          1. re: TrishUntrapped

            Meritage is almost never mentioned on CH. just sayin'.
            i only ate their once, for Thnksgiving, but i have not returned.
            You have certainly eaten at a lot of top spots but you didn't tell us which were the best food memories for you?
            If you decide to go for food>view, I would highly recommend Ribelle, Sycamore and Oleana. If you do a search at the top right of the page, you will pull up a number of threads for all of these. All would need a car/cab.
            BTW, welcome back!

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              OC, you're pretty sharp. Of those restaurants, I've been to Strip T's now numerous times. So big thumbs up there. That would be my fave on this list. I'm gonna wait on Ribelle till I come up this spring for a Sox weekend. (Ribelle is located in the old Brookline Bakery spot where I worked when I was in college. Memories)

              The rest in order of favorites: Erbaluce (so creative), Mamma Maria (delicious), Scampo (creative fun), Mistral (classy delicious), Brasserie Jo (sucker for all things French), Davio's (doesn't get much love on CH but never had a bad meal there), Deuxave (good but a bit pretentious and the nine-hour Onion Soup was not all that), Antico Forno (love their pizza, menu is a bit limited), Eastern Standard (menu waaay too limited for my taste), The Beehive (mediocre food, cramped table, never again)

              Oleana's menu does not appeal to me. Sycamore - not schlepping to Newton this trip, will keep in mind for the spring.

          2. Gaslight, or to a lesser degree, Cinqacento, both on Harrison.

            4 Replies
            1. re: carneyvore

              Love the Gaslight menu! Does Cinqacento make their own pasta?

              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                Honestly, Gaslight looks good on paper but IMO, it's totally jumped the shark.

                My last meal there was borderline inedible and I won't be going back (except possibly for cocktails, as the bar is nice)

                I've only been to Cinqacento once and I sat at the bar and liked it (don't recall any pasta). Others report that the dining room is deafeningly loud.

                Salty Pig is fun and a quick walk to Copley.

                A quick T ride will get you to Deuxave and ICOB. A slightly longer T ride to Lineage. A few more stops down to Ribelle and Fairsted Kitchen.

                Brasserie Jo could also be an option.

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Not Ribelle this trip, in the spring. Want to try something new, so Deuxave and Brasserie Jo are out.Thanks for the other tips.

                2. re: TrishUntrapped

                  skip both. same owners and their m.o. is "theme" first with actual food being a very distant second. it's like they are trying to be a mini-epcot.

              2. Also, still looking for rec's for my fellow conventioneers for spots in the Park Plaza vicinity that would be good for seafood/chowder, beer, pub grub, etc.... On the cheaper/casual end if possible.

                I gotta get them away from McCormick & Schmick's!

                12 Replies
                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                  I work in the Park Plaza office building and it's not a foodie wonderland.

                  I'd suggest strolling to Coda, Salty Pig, Parish Cafe, Chinatown.

                  Haven't been to Rattlesnake for a long time but it might work. I think Masa has cheap bar apps at night and it's close.

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    Thanks CHamster. In Chinatown, other than Peach Farm which I am familiar with, any particularly good rec's for visitors who may want to imbibe a cocktail or 10 with their dinner?

                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                      Check out Shojo for something a bit different in Chinatown but really good. Great drinks.

                      1. re: Gordough

                        Shojo is an EXCellent suggestion;fairly new. i don't remember any 'meh' reviews of it; many people rave it.
                        For more mainstream Chinese, in, have heard v good things about Peach Farm, but even more raves for East Ocean City.

                        And I don't know WHERE my brain was floating at the time of my other post, but Asta is apparently quite the bees knees. Based on previous raves (both CH and the Globe iirc, among many)and a recent one in particular, we made a res for this coming week. I myself am a sucker for unusual ingredients, techniques, concepts, so i am trying not to get too excited about it, so we can hopefully be delighted and surprised! It's on Huntington Ave. , pretty near you i think.Here's the referenced thread:


                        p.s. i know you do a good amount of research, but just in case you thought Ribelle might be similar to Strip T's>>>
                        imo it is not. The 2 chefs(Tim went to open Ribelle and left his sous as head chef for ST's) are separate and quite different in their creations. For one thing, Ribelle's space and staffing allow Tim to do many more labor intensive dishes. (I tell you, some of the explanations , as for "what makes this dried bean ragout my fav bean ragout of all time?" are so complex, i just keep nodding while the thought bubble is saying "man am I glad HE is making this and not me"!!)

                        FYI , they have JUST started serving Sat/Sun brunch but haven't advertised it at all. The one thing they do have in common with ST's is that their menu descriptions are Minimalist with a capital M. You just have to trust that, in any given dish, a whole lot is going on that never appears in print!

                        And you haven't been to ICOB? Isl Creek Oyster Bar? Such a handsome space and top service and one of my fav dishes in the city- the Lobster Roe Noodles w/ Lobster, Oxtail, Chanterelles (I only order it and confess to never seeing other dishes there that tempt me.....


                        Consensus of various friends i polled- say that the chowder at Legal Seafood is v. good.(And a recent CH visitor thought Union Oyster Bar had good chowder.)
                        Unfortunately, I am a NON fan of the chowder at Neptune Oyster and ICOB.) Legal has a new flashy place on the harbor with every floor a diff menu...
                        Food reviews have been mixed, but worth looking into.

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            True, I don't but I am going to pass it on to the other 50 coventioners in my group! They are looking for places to go. So I do appreciate the variety of options.

                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                              If it's chowder only ... there is a Legal across the street in the MotorMart garage. Their chowder used to be darn good. Now it's OK.

                              1. re: C. Hamster

                                Thanks, the location and fact they serve chowder at all will probably make some people in the group very happy.

                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                  It's better than mc and schmick but that's not saying much.

                                  The immediate area is forgettable chain restaurant central.

                    2. re: C. Hamster

                      A big skip on Rattlesnake. It was pretty good for a while with Brian Poe in the kitchen, but I don't think he's got any involvement anymore. Last time I was there (a few months ago) after timing Parrish wrong and not wanting to wait, the sandwich I ordered bore absolutely no resemblance to what I'd ordered. Literally, I ordered something described as a torta with avocado and a bunch of other typical torta things on it and got a turkey on french bread with lettuce and tomato. I would have complained, except there was no server to complain to and I didn't feel like waiting.

                      1. re: VintageMolly

                        I'm sorry that happened .... but that's sort of hysterical....

                        Scratch them off the list!!!!

                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          It was more funny than anything else. The only way I could tell they'd made an attempt at my correct sandwich was it did have the promised cilantro mayo. But everything else was different. I was with a new co-worker and it was a good bonding moment.