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Canadian foodies looking for central Boston reccs

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Hello,
Looking for a few recommendations that would fit these criteria:
-central Boston (doesn't matter where...can take the subway)
-relaxed, fun/neighborhood atmosphere (ie. don't need white tablecloths)
-chef-driven cuisine
-no foam! (ha ha)
-don't mind pubs if the food is top rate
Thank Chowhounders, you never let me down!

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  1. check out Craigie on Main, Puritan & Co, & Toro ... all of those are near Cambridge

    1 Reply
    1. re: foodiebuddha

      Craigie & Puritan ok suggestions for Cambridge, but only Toro is in Boston (Southend).

    2. chicas, welcome in advance! we've helped a lot of canadian visitors on this board, but we need more info to help you better:
      --when?
      --how many lunches and dinners; any sundays?
      --do you have other activities planned so we can rec something nearby?
      --what area are you staying in?
      --'central boston' means no cambridge or brookline, even though there are subways that go there?
      -- ethnic restnts too or are you coming from vancouver or toronto or ......, where you have tons of asian and other ethnic spots?

      3 Replies
      1. re: opinionatedchef

        OP said Subways were fine

        1. re: foodiebuddha

          The OP also specified Boston. Brookline and Cambridge are separate cities.

          In Boston
          Coppa in the South End for small plate Italian, charcuterie and pizza. Serves a popular Sunday Brunch.

          Island Creek Oyster bar in Kenmore Square for seafood. Also in Kenmore is Eastern Standard. Keep in mind if the Red Sox are in town restaurants in the Kenmore area tend to get busy.

          If the OP is planning a visit to the MFA the restaurant in the courtyard is ok. The restaurant at the Gardner is also okay.

          If the OP wants to cross the river into Cambridge (outside of their stated preferred area) there are many other options.

          1. re: viperlush

            If this is the OPs first experience in Boston, might be helpful to emphasize that Boston is quite a small city, that Cambridge and Brookline are immediately contiguous, and that depending on where the lodging is, could be easier/faster to get to Cambridge than going further afield in Boston proper (whatever that means). All depends on what the OP means by "central Boston".

      2. Coda in the South End. Polished neighborhood joint with good prices.

        1. I'd recommend newcomer Alden & Harlow in Harvard Sq., which has an extensive discussion on the board. Cambridge is a short Subway ride from downtown Boston and has lots of good restaurants that fit your second and third criteria well.

          The South End neighborhood in Boston tends to draw foodies (see recs below for Coppa and Toro).

          Island Creek's new sister restaurant in the Fort Point neighborhood, Row 34, is very good, and there's a nice cocktail bar across the street, Drink.