Boston restaurant recommendations?

Jun 15th, 2011, 08:37 PM
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Boston restaurant recommendations?

We’ll be in Boston next week staying at the Boston Harbor Hotel and would like recommendations on good mid-priced restaurants for:
1. Lobster rolls at Quincy Market;
2. Seafood restaurant near the hotel;
3. Italian restaurant in the North End;
4. Anything except Asian around Symphony Hall;
5. Lunch or brunch on Sunday after attending Morning Prayer at Trinity Church;
6. New England traditional food;
7. Breakfast and delis near the hotel.

In general, what are your favorite places to eat at Quincy Market?
happytourist is offline  
Jun 15th, 2011, 09:18 PM
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I spent two days in Boston on a business trip where a vendor wined and dined us at what they considered great restaurants, and I agreed:

Chart House for Seafood (they insisted I order the lobster!)

Limoncello for North End Italian. (They ordered some high end wine - Amarone)

Mike's Pastry for dessert

An outsider's $.0.02.
Nelson is online now  
Jun 16th, 2011, 04:31 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
Lobster rolls: nothing special at Quincy Market, but your gorgeous hotel is only one block from James Hook which has good ones to take out and eat on a park bench looking at the water.

Seafood restaurant near the hotel: the new Legal Seafood complex across the channel in the Seaport district is getting good reviews from friends. There is a standard Legal next to the Aquarium, about two blocks in the other direction. The one in the Seaport is their "test kitchen" with more imaginative recipes. The quality at any Legal is as high as you can get.

Italian in the NE: high end, Mama Maria's, reservation necessary. Cheap, Artu's across the corner. Most unlike anything you have at home: Calamari Cafe also known as Daily Catch on Hanover Street, with dessert across the street at Mike's.

Symphony Hall is tough. Brasserie Jo on Huntington is good, and Petit Robert in Kenmore Square and in the South End are both good.

Brunch after Morning Prayer (Rite I I hope): lots of sidewalk cafes on Newbury Street to watch the crowd. Since you will be well-dressed, the Fairmont Copley is pretty spectacular inside.

NE Traditional: Durgin Park at Quincy Market. All the classics, all good. Great oysters. Avoid the lines by going into the bar and asking about being seated on the top floor. After that, Locke-Ober on an alley off Summer Street near Park Street Station. Rejuvenated by Lydia Shire, but many classics still available.

Breakfast: most Bostonians have coffee and some sort of pastry at Dunkin Donuts, which so far is still knocking the socks off Starbucks and Peets. The South Street Diner is on Kneeland Street across from South Station. Really, the best breakfasts in Boston are at hotels, including your own, though the Parker House stands out for me.

These are not necessarily the very best restaurants nor are they the trendiest in Boston by any means, but they fit your categories and you will eat well. Boston is really quite well-known for its hotel restaurants, and you should not discount the one at the Boston Harbor.

If I coud only eat one more meal in Greater Boston, I would probably go to Cambridge for dinner at East Coast Grill. You would have to take a taxi.

Ackislander is offline  
Jun 16th, 2011, 05:27 AM
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1. and 2. The best place for lobster rolls, and for sit-down seafood in general for me is Neptune Oyster, which is in the North End and very close by Quincy Market -- they have great versions of both a cold and hot lobster roll. James Hook's is indeed good for a no-frills sit-on-a-picnic-table experience or take-away -- they're a fairly reasonable walk from this area. Kingfish Hall is right in Quincy Market and a reasonably good secondary option for this. Legal Seafood's quality is generally high, but they can be inconsistent at times.

3. Will definitely second Mamma Maria for upscale Northern Italian and Daily Catch for Southern Italian seafood. For my taste, the best sit-down spot in the North End is Prezza, another Northern Italian place. I also especially like Pizzeria Regina (the one on Thacher Street, avoid food stall spin-offs) for pizza, Antico Forno for baked Southern Italian specialties, Maurizio's or Pagliuca's or Saraceno's for Southern Italian (at the last of these, stick to red sauce classics), and Galleria Umberto for an ultra-cheap Southern Italian comfort food lunch. The three Italian bakery front runners in this neighborhood are Modern Pastry, Maria's, and Mike's Pastries, and the place to go for a sit-down espresso and cannoli is Caffe Vittoria.

4. Agreed that it's hard to find good food near Symphony Hall that isn't Asian. Brasserie Jo and Petit Robert Bistro are excellent recommendations here, but give yourself a little time to walk from either to the concert hall.

5. The problem with most Newbury Street eateries having sidewalk seating is that the people watching may be good but the food served up is subpar and expensive. The best such options, assuming they're open on Sunday during that time, are probably Tapeo (Spanish tapas) and Piattini (essentially Italian tapas). Consider also Parish Cafe (gourmet sandwiches) near the Public Garden.

6. By "New England traditional food," am assuming you mean things like Indian pudding with ice cream, coffee jello, crock baked beans, pot roast, potted beef with onions, prime rib, baked scrod, and such. Ackislander's recommendation of Durgin Park is spot on, and the only place for my taste that does this food well anymore. A very upscale version of this food is dished out at Locke-Ober -- if you go here, dress nicely and bring a healthy credit card. I have consistently had poor experiences at New England Oyster House (except for raw oysters at the bar) and Parker House, which also serve this kind of cuisine.

7. Ackislander's suggestion of the South Street Diner is a good one given where you'll be staying. Another diner-style spot, Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe in the South End, is further away but worth seeing out (closed Sundays). I'm a fan of neither Dunkin' Donuts nor the Parker House, though. The closest good deli to where you'll be staying is Sam LaGrassa's (open for weekday lunches only) near Downtown Crossing. Otherwise, you'll have to take the Green Line "C" subway branch out to Coolidge Corner in Brookline and go to Michael's Deli or Zaftig's (I prefer the food at Michael's), or the Green Line "B" subway branch to Harvard Street to Rubin's Deli (this is the only strictly kosher such choice, if that's important to you).

Agreed with Ackislander's recommendation of East Coast Grill. You can take public transportation there if you choose to by taking the Red Line subway to Central Square, than the #83 bus to Inman Square.
bachslunch is offline  
Jun 16th, 2011, 06:06 AM
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We stayed at the Boston Harbor Hotel last weekend.

In Quincy Market we ate at both Durgin Park and the Salty Dog. At the latter I had their fried seafood platter which I thought was good. It didn't think either place was all that expensive for 2 adults and 2 kids.

We tried on Friday and Saturday to go to the Barking Crab which is a short-walk from the hotel. It seemed to be packed with locals, so that probably tells you something.

For lunch on Saturday we were in the Prudential Center and went to PF Changs. Chain, sure. But, the food is good.

We intentionally had no intention of eating at a Legal Seafood.

For breakfast one morning we went to the Scali Deli at 147 Pearl Street. We were passing by and the kids were hungry. I would recommend it as it's maybe a 7 minute walk from the hotel. (There is a Panera Bakery across the street.)

The hotel does have a nice indoor pool and hot tub, btw.

Also, if taking the water shuttle from Logan Airport, make sure to get on the Rowe's Wharf Ferry. When looking across at the harbor, it is on the extreme left of the dock. If no boat is there use the call box and they'll be over fairly quickly. Boat docks literally behind the hotel.

It is also a relatively easy walk from the hotel to the North End. Mike's Pastries was worth the walk.

Also, if considering the Duck Tour, we found the 1 hour tour from the Aquarium to be perfect given how close it is to the BHH.
Ryan is offline  
Jun 16th, 2011, 06:59 AM
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Thanks to all of you for such great answers. I think that, instead of eating dinner near the symphony, we'll eat near the hotel before we go to the concert. And, believe it or not, Dunkin' Donuts will be a treat for us. Rural Arkansas doesn't have such delights, not even a Krispy Kreme.

Rite I? I don't know. Our church rotates between I and II at all services. I was surprised that the 11:15 service was a eucharist only on the first Sunday of the month. I thought most churches, especially large ones, had gone to Eucharist each week.
happytourist is offline  
Jun 16th, 2011, 07:38 AM
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Ryan, consider yourself lucky you didn't get into the Barking Crab. The food is lousy and I've gotten sick twice eating there (there are similar reports found elsewhere) -- there's no way I'd recommend the place to anyone, and there are several much more reliable spots for seafood in Boston. I've found the Salty Dog to at least be okay, but there are better choices -- and if one wants seafood on a (relative) budget, both Dolphin Seafood near Harvard Square and Yankee Lobster in the Seaport area are more consistent options.

I'm also no fan of P.F. Chang's, and most especially not since Boston has a very good Chinatown with the real thing that's easy to get to.
bachslunch is offline  
Jun 16th, 2011, 07:44 AM
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That might be true bachslaucnh, but the OP specifically asked for a seafood place in Quincy Market and The Salty Dog is in Quincy Market. Neither Harvard Square or The Yankee Lobster location are in the vicinity of what the OP asked.
Ryan is offline  
Jun 16th, 2011, 07:52 AM
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Ryan, it's actually quite easy to get to Harvard Square from Quincy Market by subway. The Downtown Crossing and Park Street Red Line stations are a reasonable walk from Quincy Market and go right to Harvard. And Yankee Lobster is not that much further a walk from the Boston Harbor Hotel than Quincy Market is. I see no reason not to mention several possible options where they exist.
bachslunch is offline  
Jun 16th, 2011, 09:25 AM
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1. Lobster rolls at Quincy Market
Don't eat at Quincy Market. Get lobster rolls from James Hook on Atlantic Ave (a few minutes walk, south of Quincy Market)

2. Seafood restaurant near the hotel
Neptune Oyster

3. Italian restaurant in the North End
Can't help

4. Anything except Asian around Symphony Hall
Looks like you've changed your mind; but if you decide to eat near Symphony Hall, I heartily recommend Lucy's Ethiopian cafe on Mass Ave. It's located diagonally across the street from Symphony Hall. Ate there 3x in 3 months. Love it.

5. Lunch or brunch on Sunday after attending Morning Prayer at Trinity Church
A couple of weeks ago we had brunch w/friends at MET Back Bay (corner of Newbury & Dartmouth). It exceeded my expectations. The pork stuffed hash brown was really good.

6. New England traditional food
Can't help

7. Breakfast and delis near the hotel.
Go check out the Clover Food Lab truck on the Greenway (at Dewey Sq, across from South Station). It shouldn't be more than a 5-min walk from your hotel. I love Clover Lab and they have wonderful popovers at breakfast times.
yk is offline  
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