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Family Dining Near Intercontinental Boston in July

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  • liger May 20, 2014 11:59 AM

We'll be in town mid July and are looking for dining suggestions, mainly near our hotel, but we're willing to make a detour if it's worth it. Here are our details:

- family of 4 from Toronto, including 2 young children, 5 and 8 who aren't too picky
- Love Italian food, especially Southern Italian, but we are eager to try food indigenous to Boston
- We get enough good Asian food (Chinese, Indian) where we are so, we will skip these
- budget for lunch is $40 and $100 for dinner, we don't drink, so that should stretch our dollar some...

Thanks in advance!

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  1. You don't want to miss historical Durgin Park.
    http://www.arkrestaurants.com/durgin_...

    Try the roast pork and Indian pudding

    1. Pasta Beach is good Italian right near your hotel. Good for kids too

      1 Reply
      1. re: mkfisher

        Picco looks interesting - but if there are any North End reccos, I'd rather do that.

      2. I don't know if they still have their takeout counter, but if it's still there J.G. Hook is around the corner; you could get lobster rolls and other seafood and have a picnic lunch on the Greenway for a true Boston food experience.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GaryK

          They do have the takeout counter, and actually have seating both inside and out if your so inclined, and I agree, can't get more Boston than a lobster roll eaten seaside

        2. How about stuff in the North End? Anything on Quincy market?

          I also just realized we'll need breakfast options as we don't really want to eat at the hotel.

          2 Replies
          1. re: liger

            you're a quick walk to Flour from your hotel for Breakfast

            1. re: liger

              Durgin Park is actually in one of the Quincy Market buildings so you could walk around either before or after. For a coffee+ type breakfast Flour is a bakery/cafe and is a few blocks from where you'll be staying. In the morning, in addition to pastries, they do have a breakfast sandwich which is very good. The James Beard Foundation recently announced that Joanne Chang, the owner, is one of 4 nominees in the best Chef in the Northeast category. The cinnamon pecan sticky bun is really good as are the homemade oreo cookies. Actually, I can't remember getting anything there that I didn't like. They have really good sandwiches too...especially their BLT. Here is the website. The location closest to you would be Fort Point. http://www.flourbakery.com

            2. Lunch budget for four is $40? There aren't many places in that area beyond counter service that you could find lunch in that price range. I'd recommend T.R. Street Food (offshoot of Tavern Road), Flour, and Bee's Knees for lunch.

              I'm not much of a North End person, but you can search the board for all kinds of North End recommendations. It's Boston's version of Little Italy, and a very short walk from your hotel.

              1 Reply
              1. re: addiez

                The kids won't eat that much and will probably share, so it's almost like $40 for 3 people.

              2. Quincy Market might be fun for lunch. There's all different types of food stands and you can get anything from fried clams, mac and cheese with a variety of add ins to pizza, salads, pretty much everything available. There a large long building filled with a variety of food vendors.

                1. Dewey Square, right next to south station, has a lot of food trucks, and a nice Farmers Market on Tues & Friday. Sorelle also has breakfast things, and pretty good sandwiches and salads.

                  1. Hook lobster is right next to your hotel. It will have a few picnic tables or you can go over to the greenway or the park that leads to the children museum. It does not have inside eating but the chowder and lobster bisque is great,

                    The North End is the place to go. Walk around and check out all the menus.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: libertywharf

                      Is Yankee Lobster worth going to if Hook is right next to us?

                      1. re: liger

                        Yes, Yankee Lobster is worth the short walk. On your way walk around the Commonwealth Pier for a great view of the Harbor.
                        Yankee Lobster has the best chowder in town. It is a small place with outside seating. It is more geared to lunch but doable for dinner. Their fish stew is also very good. Walk in back of Legal's as well for a nice view of the harbor and logan.

                        1. re: libertywharf

                          I love Yankee Lobster but it's not a short walk, in my opinion. It's probably 20-25 minutes from the IC Hotel but it is really scenic.

                          1. re: QuakerInBoston

                            I disagree. I've never been impressed with Yankee Lobster. The last time I got chowder there, there was gritty sand at the bottom of it. They also use Cains mayo for their tarter sauce which I dislike. It's too sweet. I would stick to Hooks.

                            1. re: QuakerInBoston

                              Mapquest has the walk to Yankee at one mile and 19 minutes. Out the back of the hotel and over the Moakley Bridge, it is probably 15 minutes top at an average pace. I don't think it is as long as a mile. Anyway, it is a nice scenic walk with lots to take in.

                              1. re: libertywharf

                                15 minutes/mile, or 4 MPH average speed, is a slow jog to a lot of people, let alone with kids in tow - so I'm not sure I'd say it's 15 minutes tops...

                                That said, it's still a nice walk - just a bit far for some, especially with kids. Just wanted that out there.

                        2. re: libertywharf

                          They do have indoor seating, FYI, but it's not table service or anything

                          1. re: devilham

                            Yes, at night Yankee Lobster has a waitress/waiter. At least when I am there. During the day you place your order and sit.

                            1. re: libertywharf

                              Actually I meant J Hook Libertywharf, but good to know

                        3. The ferries are very near where you'll be staying. In fact the ferries are pretty much between the Intercontinental and the North End. You should definitely plan to check out one of the Harbor Islands, for instance take a picnic to Spectacle or George's Island ($43 round-trip ferry for family of 4). Spectacle Island also has clambakes on scheduled evenings during the summer. http://www.bostonharborcruises.com/ha...

                          1. Legal Harborside.

                            1. $40 even for 3 people is pretty short money for sitting down and getting table service, sorry.

                              you are an easy walk to the north end so could try pizzeria regina's or antico forno.

                              1. How does this sound so far:

                                Arrival July 15th - later afternoon dinner at quincy market
                                16th - flour for breakfast, children's museum, legal harbourside or yankee lobster for dinner
                                17th - flour for breakfast, aquarium, pizzeria regina and then either modern or mike's for dessert
                                18th - flour for breakfast, fenway tour, j hook for lunch/early dinner, red sox game
                                19th - any last second places worth a visit?

                                23 Replies
                                1. re: liger

                                  not quite sure why you want to tour fenway then hoof all the way back to the seaport, only to return to fenway? seems like lots of running around.

                                  why not sausages and dogs outside the ballpark?

                                  there is a tasty burger right there as well as rod dee 2 for very good thai.

                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                    I agree with hotoynoodle. There's no sense in going from one end of Boston to the other and then back again just for dinner. Those are some good suggestions. For a moderately priced sit down place, Sweet Cheeks is a really good BBQ place 2-3 blocks from Fenway. Their biscuits are the best around.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      Agreed again. You're well enough in advance that I'd suggest trying to book at ICOB: it's on the higher end of your budget for sure, but you're not really splashing out anywhere else, and if you want good local seafood you're going to struggle to find better. It's also right by Fenway and would therefore cut WAY down on your travel time. While Boston is geographically small, it can be a bit slow to get around; I suspect that you may be underestimating the amount of time (and of pain-in-the-butt-ness) that going back and forth like that would take.

                                      Regina is awesome, but make sure to get the pizza well-done for best crust and don't overdo it on toppings: one or two toppings seems to be the max; more than that starts to work against the quality of the crust.

                                      Modern or Maria's for pastry. Do not go to Mike's. Bleah, pre-filled cannoli.

                                      Beware that food at Quincy Market is far from awesome and is usually heaps more expensive than it should be. You might want to consider walking over to the North End (10-15-minute walk) and doing Regina and Modern that night; then on your Aquarium day, walking over to the Greenway (5-15-minute walk, depending on which part of the Greenway you're looking for) for a food truck buffet.

                                      1. re: TimTamGirl

                                        I think they were going to Durgin Park in Quincy Market. I get to Quincy Market about once a year to walk around. I like a lot of the food and the variety is limitless. There are a lot of stands that are good. Also, I prefer Mikes's cannoli. I always ask them to fill it fresh for me and they are happy to accommodate. The counter help is a lot nicer than Modern's. I always get an attitude at Modern's. Regina's is very good pizza, but the line to get in can easily be a few hours during peak times. Sometimes the line is shorter, but I don't think I've ever driven by the North End location and not seen a line.

                                        1. re: catsmeow

                                          I'm sure there are some good stands in Quincy Market, but the hit rate isn't in their favour, and as visitors to the city I reckon they could do a lot better. But if you have favourite stands, I bet suggestions would be appreciated. I'm not totally clear on whether they've decided on Durgin Park or are just going to eat somewhere in the area.

                                          I go to Modern every couple of months or so and have done for many years, and I would have to disagree about the attitude. My experience is that it tends to have a more neighbourhood feel, which may translate into a more casual experience... but that works for me. YMMV, certainly. They also have excellent non-cannoli options, including excellent sfogliatelle and the best lobster tail I've ever eaten. (Note to OP: not the crustacean; a pastry lobster tail = similar to a bear claw and has nothing to do with seafood.)

                                          As to the crowds at Regina's, it often does have a line; but those tend to be, as you noted, at peak hours - i.e., standard dinner time and on weekends. They're planning to go for lunch on a weekday (in summer, so there might still be a line, but they might well be ok), or I suggested they go there for their late-afternoon dinner; I suspect that both times would be manageable.

                                          1. re: TimTamGirl

                                            I might be way off here but Durgin Park doesn't sound all that interesting to me, so I'd love to hear about your favourite stands, or anything in that area.

                                            We will probably do dinner before 6pm - still hours wait then? On the day of our game, what time should we be eating to avoid the massive rush? and what's ICOB?

                                            1. re: liger

                                              Regina: Before 6:00 p.m. on a weekday I would say you'd be OK. No guarantees, of course, but I think it's safe.

                                              ICOB: Island Creek Oyster Bar. It's a lovely restaurant right in Kenmore Square (where Fenway is), and it serves some of the best seafood in the city. As I said, it's at the top of your price range and you would *absolutely* need to make reservations - I would do so ASAP, especially since it's a game day - but I think it might be a nice experience, and the seafood would be several cuts above anywhere else that has been mentioned.

                                              You didn't say how old your kids are, but I reckon that as long as they're 'restaurant-safe', they'd be perfectly fine at ICOB. It's not stuffy. I would just check the menu (http://islandcreekoysterbar.com/) to make sure there's stuff they'd eat.

                                              Another option right next door is Eastern Standard (http://easternstandardboston.com/). It's owned by the same people as ICOB but it's got a much broader menu, and it's bigger and noisier so it might feel more comfortable with kids. (FYI, I'm not a parent so this is all guesswork, but I'm trying.) They also have covered outdoor seating on the street, which might be fun before the game. Again, I would make reservations as absolutely soon as possible, and if you think you'd like to sit outside I'd mention that in the res. You might also want to mention that there will be kids - I suspect that might help you get outside seating if it's available.

                                              If you want to be settled into your seats at Fenway in time for the first pitch, I would aim to get there by 6:40 at the latest - this should give you time to get through ticket lines and bag checks and so forth. I would therefore say that if you eat in Kenmore Square (both ICOB and ES are a five-minute walk from Fenway, though it might be closer to 10 minutes in the crowds), a 5:00 reservation should give you plenty of time. Again, though, I would note in the res that you have game tickets and you want to be done by 6:25-6:30. Any restaurant in Kenmore will be used to dealing with game-day crowds, but I always reckon it's better to give them as much of a heads-up as possible anyway.

                                              1. re: TimTamGirl

                                                I just looked up ICOB on open table and they're fully booked for July 18th at 5pm? Is that because they don't take reservations this far in advance?

                                                1. re: liger

                                                  No, it could actually be that they're booked - again, game day. But you could call them to double-check. Ditto Eastern Standard.

                                                  1. re: TimTamGirl

                                                    Thanks. I booked Eastern Standard!

                                                    1. re: liger

                                                      I have enjoyed many happy meals at Eastern Standard with kids of all ages. It's a lot of fun and the food is really good. Right around the corner from Fenway Park. It's a real scene on game days.

                                                      1. re: liger

                                                        I love the mussels at ES

                                                2. re: liger

                                                  I agree with the general consensus that the food at Quincy Market is mostly pretty meh. (I had to eat there for a work-related activity a couple of months back and had a pretty dry panini.) That said, it can be fun for kids to pick their own meals and the mac and cheese, chowder and hot dog stands are passable. Also, fish and chips at the Salty Dog are decent.

                                                  1. re: liger

                                                    IMO, Durgin Park is a meh tourist place. I'd rather eat in the food court or from the nearby food trucks.

                                                    1. re: C. Hamster

                                                      when's the last time you ate at Durgin Park?

                                                      1. re: Bellachefa

                                                        Last summer with my brother and his family who are from Denver. They insisted. They have to eat there every time they visit.

                                                        I cant stand the place except for the Indian Pudding.

                                                        But maybe they've upped their game since then.

                                                        1. re: C. Hamster

                                                          well I guess I feel the same way about Union Oyster, and I haven't been in years

                                                          1. re: Bellachefa

                                                            I agree. Except for oysters and a beer by the window.

                                          2. re: liger

                                            Very much agree with Regina's....that place rules

                                            1. re: liger

                                              Since you didn't get into ICOB, you could try Row34 which is also associated with ICOB. It's down Congress st. from Flour. Get some stuff from the raw bar - it's all great. There are other places on Congress St. - which is the street that the Children's museum is off of - Sportello (great casual pasta), Pastoral (Pasta and unusual pizza), Tavern Road - for lunch you can get great take out sandwiches, Blue Dragon (which is just one block off Congress) and has newish fusion Asian.

                                              1. re: jfung77

                                                Row 34 is one of my favorites but don't even consider it (or Sportello, Tavern or Dragon) for your pre-game meal. They are WAY across town from Fenway.

                                              2. re: liger

                                                Flour is great, but every day? You could try Pauli's on Salem St. in the North End for great breakfast sandwiches. And Bread & Butter at Salem and Cross St. is an excellent pastry and sandwich shop. There's also a little hole in the wall called Anthony's on Commercial St. for a cheap basic bkfst.

                                                1. re: total13

                                                  I agree. I love Flour, but it might be nice to branch out a bit. For a quick breakfast bite, there is also the Thinking Cup on Hanover St. in the North End for decent breakfast sandwiches and good pastries, not to mention excellent coffee.

                                              3. The Monkey Bar, one of the original stands, has really good fruit smoothies, the mac and cheese place is good. There's many different ad ins to the mac and cheese which is also good by itself. There's a stand right next to the center rotunda that has good fried clams, and there's a place in the end of the building closest to the waterfront end that has good rotisserie type chicken and wings as well as several other items like a skewer of scallops wrapped in bacon. I always get the chicken but did try a friend's scallops. They were very good. The Chipyard has excellent fresh baked warm cookies. I haven't been since last summer, so don't know what new places might have opened. All of these places are in the center building.

                                                1. I'm late to this thread and it looks like you already have a schedule sussed out, but one proposal I'd like to add is a local office drone lunch favorite: Casa Razdora, a southern Italian hole-in-the-wall lunch counter open for lunch on weekdays. There can be a long line if you show up between noon and about 2, but they have very good, fresh, homemade Italian sandwiches, pastas and salads for very little money. Grab a couple of pastas or eggplant parms (they're enormous), walk over to the Aquarium and eat on the pier overlooking the water.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: cjd260

                                                    And 20 minutes after I posted:

                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/849236

                                                    Hey, if you get to Boston before it airs, maybe you'll still be able to get in.