Help with Boston

Jul 7th, 2007, 10:59 PM
  #1  
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Help with Boston

We have flights booked from London to Boston at the end of August and will be staying at Nine Zero on Tremont St. I should be grateful for some advice/recommendations for the following;

1.The best places for seafood and steak
2.A good Japanese restaurant
3.The best places for breakfast
4.The best options for a day trip out of Boston
5.I have done research on the usual sites to visit, but what should we definitely not miss?
6.Are there any blues or jazz venues in Boston?

Any help would be much appreciated
crellston is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 01:05 AM
  #2  
kealalani
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Ok then, here goes....

1. seafood/neptune oyster in Northend and B&G Oyster in southend have the best fried clams, lobster rolls and made to order chowder, not to mention oysters and other fantastic fish. My fave is Neptune.

Steak - well you are staying at the home of a brand new steakhouse KO which is headed up by a very respected Chef Ken Oringer of Clio fame. I'd go there otherwise for traditional, gorgous room old time steakhouse - Oakroom, or contemporary steak house - Abe and Louis.

2. Best basic sushi - Ginza in chinatown. Perhpaps better in a modern flair with fresh ground wasabi to order Duoza on Dartmouth, Backbay. There is a new high end oi something in southend that is raved about as much for the sushi, as the outragous prices - haven't made it yet, and the Ken Oringer again at his signature sister bar to Clio at the Elliot Hotel on Commonwealth.

3. Weekend bfast, stroll the southend for great brunch options. Otherwise, Paramount on Charles, or Charlies on Clarendon

4. Best would be to rent a car and explore Concord and Lexington to witness the beginning of us kicking your butts! hahaha, and a trip to Thoreaus Walden Pond. Or a trip to Plymouth Plantation to see just how rough the conditions were for people running away from Europe. LOL

But if you've had enuff of the whole Revolution War in Bawston and don't feel like driving - take a ferry to Provincetown for the day and explore this artist colony, gay friendly eclectic area for a few hours before your return trip. Or take a train to Rockport and explore the rocky coast and seaside charm.

5. A re-enactment of throwing tea into the harbour - although I have no idea when and if they still do it!!!!! A slow walk thru the Public Gardens to enjoy the magnificant trees. I fear many of them are approaching the end of their journey, and feel blessed to witness them in their granduer every season of the year.

6. Thinking Regattabar in Harvard Square. Blues? hmmmmm, you'll find it when you get here. Also, google Bank of America Pavilion Boston to find out what shows this seasonal tent is putting on while you're in town.

What fun! Happy planning and safe journey
'lani
 
Jul 8th, 2007, 02:10 AM
  #3  
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lani, That's amazing. Thank you so much for your response. One supplementary question. I am thinking of taking advantage of the weak dollar to buy a laptop whilst I am there (everything seems so much cheaper in the US compared with UK). can you recommend a computer store in Boston?
crellston is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 06:29 AM
  #4  
 
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My favorite steak house in Boston is Grill 23.

that new high end sushi place Kealalani mentioned is called Oishi. I've heard its great but haven't tried it yet.

Regattabar is a good choice for jazz club. Scullers, also in Cambridge, has good jazz but is a tiny bit less convenient to get to.

You could combine the seafood/jazz thing by making your way to Central square in Cambridge. the East Coast Grill has terrific seafood and is just a couple of blocks from Ryles jazz club.
china_cat is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 06:39 AM
  #5  
 
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You are getting incredibly good advice here, incredibly good.

Blues might be found in Davis Square, Somerville, which is easy to get to on the Red Line and has a very eclectic music scene.
Ackislander is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 06:42 AM
  #6  
 
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To answer your computer question, you will be near two locations for a store called "Staples" (one is at 25 Winter Street and the other at 25 Court Street). Staples is an office supply store that also carries computers. That's your best place to shop near the 90 Hotel in Boston. As far as a steak restaurant, you will be around the corner from Ruth's Chris Steak House on School Street in the old Boston City Hall (a historic location). We prefer Ruth's to the KO Prime - it's more of a classic "American" steak house. The Oakroom at the Copley Plaza is also a nice dining experience. I would also second the recommendation for B&G Oysters in the South End. You may also want to consider Legal Seafood. Others on this board will tell you to stay clear of it because it is a chain, but we take our visitors there to experience Boston seafood. We like the location across from the Aquarium on the waterfront, which also has outside dining. If you like seafood with pasta, go to Giacomo's in the North End of Boston. We had dinner there last night and it was excellent. Enjoy your visit - Boston is a wonderful city!
MarieF is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 08:29 AM
  #7  
 
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Nine Zero is in a great location and has wonderful atmosphere.

Just don't eat at their new steak place Prime KO - which I believe must stand for "Kissed Off." We had a simply dreadful experience there; in a party of four, two were overdone. Waited for one to be re-done, and it came out medium well AGAIN! They definitely have a problem with searing - just not cooking at a high enough temp to get the outside crispy while leaving the inside medium rare. Service was incredibly disorganized. Also the sides were skimpy, and not very exciting. For steak, you have so many choices...the Oak Room, Grill 23, Flemings, Smith and Wollensky, etc.

(Really, the "new" steak house thing so out of control - must be a great profit margin. Think about it - $40 for a hunk of meat, very expensive wines, and extra for each little french fry or string bean! )

For jazz, I've always wanted to try Scullers. They get great reviews, but I haven't been able to get in yet.

For breakfast or brunch, I like two French places in different parts of town: Sel de la Terre by the Aquarium and Brasserie Jo near the Pru. There is also a Sunday Jazz Brunch at the Four Seasons.

For a tourist activity, definitely do the Duck Tour. I think a visit to Old Ironsides is also worth the trip. Definitely go to the Isabella Stuart Gardiner Museum; it's a unique little art museum near the Fenway. You can also tour the Red Sox Fenway Park when there is not a game, if you have any interest in American baseball.

A day trip out of Boston... Hmmm... depends what you like, and how far you want to go. If you are interested at all in the gilded age of American mansions, a visit to Newport, RI would be wonderful. If you want to go to the beach for the day, head down to Cape Cod, perhaps to Chatham. For coastal scenic, head north to either Rockport, MA or Portsmouth, NH. You'll find wonderful local shellfish and haddock at these two destinations!

Have a wonderful trip, and please post your highlights when you return. Happy Trails!
Dreamer2 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 08:39 AM
  #8  
 
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You're getting great advice here. I will second and add to some previous recommendations.

For steak, Abe & Louies is my favorite. Grill 23 is great as well, but I find it too loud.

For a very casual breakfast, I second Paramount and Charlies (actually on Columbus). For a bit nicer, Union Bar & Grill and Aquitaine, both in the South End, are great. Check the menus online.

For a day trip, you could also consider Newburyport and Portsmouth NH. You could see both in one day if you get an early start. Newburyport is about 1 hour north of Boston. Portsmouth is about 20 minutes further north.
HenryR is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 08:55 AM
  #9  
 
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Compared to Staples, I think you'll find a more complete selection of laptop computers at Micro Center in Cambridge (http://www.microcenter.com/), which is a huge store that sells only computers, accessories, and software. You'd need a car to get there. The staff are all computer specialists, and they'll probably be a lot more knowledgeable than those at Staples. However, their attitude is absolutely dismal. Often they won't even bother to pick up the phone. I hate having to shop there, but I do.
hawksbill is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 09:10 AM
  #10  
TKT
 
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For Jazz both Scullers and the Regatta Bar are places you should get tickets on-line ahead of time for. They feature national acts as well as local.
For Scullers you will need a cab.

On Tuesday - Thursday evenings the Boston Harbor Hotel features live music outdoors, some jazz and some blues. You can also make a dinner reservation and eat while you listen.

Near the Boston Harbor Hotel is a club/pub on Broad Street called The Times, they have blues, folk, rock and often have early sets.

Bobs Southern Cuisine is a southern influenced restaurant that has jazz, blues and r % B, they usually start there sets early, around 7:15.

Two blocks from Bob's is Wallys, they have jazz 7 nights a week from 10p-2am.
Very small club, with drinks, no food.
Usually jammed with people.

The new "it" spot is the Beehive, about a mile from Wallys. Jazz around 10, very loud and crowded and hard to find a seat anywhere. More funky, urbane, upscale type of place.

Ryles in Cambridge has music 6 days a week and usually about 2 or 3 are jazz.
Comfortable place to eat and drink while you listen. They start sets around 9, Check out their on line page-this is a good place to sit and relax for a while, Scullers and Regatta want you to leave as soon as the set ends.

Ginza, which was previously mentioned is also open very late if you want to stay out late.

TKT is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 09:12 AM
  #11  
ComfyShoes
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another bookmark!
 
Jul 8th, 2007, 11:01 AM
  #12  
 
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I don't know what kind of computer you are interested in buying, but if you want a Mac, there's an Apple Store in the Cambridgeside Galleria shopping mall in Cambridge, near the Museum of Science. They have a parking garage, and they also run free shuttle buses from the Kendall Square subway stop.
Sara is offline  
Jul 8th, 2007, 12:14 PM
  #13  
kealalani
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My pleasure crellston. Your specifice questions made it so easy to consider. Well I guess the verdict is out on KO - shocking considering the players.

Anyone know when the 3 story flagship Apple store opens on Boylston? I'm a converted believer, and keep meaning to take advantage of their in store seminars.

TKT did a great job on the music question!

It really is nice to be in the company of so many that enjoy sharing the splendor of Boston and its surrounds.

oh and you can get the schedule of pavilion shows here http://www.livenation.com/venue/getVenue/venueId/496
 
Jul 8th, 2007, 09:00 PM
  #14  
bonzhoor
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I just want to give my suggestion for Japanese as my husband and I take our sushi/Japanese food seriously - we used to be regulars at Ginza when we first moved to Boston until we tried Fugakyu - accessible by T green line in Brookline's Coolidge Corner. For me, they have the best sushi/Japanese food in town - the choices are incredible. We've also tried the new Oishii in the South End and find it incredibly overpriced - if maybe at least the food was super good to justify the price, then maybe yes but as it was, we didn't feel that the creativeness/quality of the food was commensurate to the price - spent $250 for 2 people and we were very very conservative in the amount of food we ordered.

You got great suggestions for the blues/jazz venues - those are pretty much the most popular ones - Sculler's, Regatta Bar and Ryle's - all in Cambridge.

For laptops/computers, hands-down, Micro Center in Cambridge for very serious computer afficionados(proper way to say "geeks/nerds" : ) I say this in the most affectionate/complimentary way and I can say that as my husband is one : )
It's like a superstore of computers/software/accessories/digital camers/ etc and if you're coming close to Labor Day weekend will surely have a lot of sales.

For steaks, I didn't see it mentioned here, Bonfire is also quite good - it's not your typical steak house in the way they prepare it but since it's chef/owner, Todd English is known to be very over-the-top with some of his cuisine - in a good way.

Sorry to hear about KO, I guess will give them some time to iron out their "technical difficulties".

Hope that helps!
 
Jul 9th, 2007, 06:18 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Seafood and Steak: I can't eat seafood, but my husband loves it; his favortie things are the mussels at Mistral (and I love their steak and other food), Barking Crab, Neptune and B & G. However, if you take a day trip up north or to the shore, you might prefer just grabbing your seafood from any of the great spots along the ocean in Ogunquit or Portsmouth, Salem, GLoucester, etc.

My husbands favorite, although 'fancy' is the lobster at the Federalist, but I know they are closing soon for renovations to become a steak house (which makes me shudder, since I loved their beef wellington for one) but times are a changing'.....

Steak: For an old world Boston experience, and I think the best steak in Boston - the Oak Room. if you don't eat there, at least stop some late afternoon for a drink the attached bar and read the drink menu b/c it's fabulous.

All the other steak places mentioned are great, I agree Grill 23 just too loud for me.

Day Trips: Newport, Rhode Island if you are interested in seeing some mansions from the Gilded Age, the harbor, wharf area and shops, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, or the ten mile Ocean Drive, beautiful coast, harbor, history, sunset and dinner at Castle Hill -- Or Plimoth Plantation or Sturbridge village or Lexington/Concord if that historical bent interests you - you can google any of these locations or plug them into the "search this forum" bar at the top of this page and get lots of info and see trip reports to help you decide -

Ifyou want to go to Salem, take the ferry and you don't have to deal with driving at all salemferry.com I believe is the link -
Also, lots of good 'day' trips right on the harbor - boats to George's Island, Spectacle Island, etc

Any of the towns along the way North - Portsmouth, Portland, all the coastal towns in Maine - ddepends on what you are looking to see - rugged coast, long stretches of beaches, fishing boats in harbors, or a place like Newport

Fav places to visit:
isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and lunch in the cafe
The MFA and dinner in Bravo, on the outdoor patio on a night they have a courtyard concert
(check their site for film and concert info)
A walk thru Boston Common from Nine Zero, down Charles Street, stop at Cafe Vanille, continue to end and walk on overpass to Charles River, stroll and watch the activity, walk back and down Commonwealth Ave, through the Boston public Garden and on down Tremont back to your hotel

Looking at the view from the Skywalk OBservatory at top of the Pru, either first thing in the day or on a clear night - two different, but beautiful views

A lazy night in the NOrth End - dinner, walking, then dessert, and walking back through Faneuil Hall and up to the Common.

You also got great info on music, I'd just add to check the line up at the MFA and the ICA adn the Esplanade concert series, as well as the Boston Center for the Arts, and Berklee College of Music for additional music info

Harvard Square: late afternoon, enjoy the square, harvard, a museum if you like, then dinner at Rialto, music after at Regatta Bar

Breakfast spots listed are great, my only suggestion is not to go to the South End restaurants ( the Aquitaine, Union Sq, Charlie's Diner) just for breakfast - do it on a day when you start there, then have a bit of time to walk that part of Tremont St/ Clarendon/ Boston Center for the Arts - (if it's a Sunday check if the south end open market times)
southendopenmarket.com - stroll from Tremont (say where Aquitaine is) - down Union, to Harrison - snake your way back up same way and up Dartmouth to Copley Place area - and then you are in the area for Duck Tours, Boston Public LIbrary ( beautiful building inside, see the Sargent Murals, etc) , or the Pru Skywalk - or shop that day, whatever -

I jsut think going from Nine Zero to South end for Breakfast on a day you are then heading to a different area of town is out of your way -

Charlie's is great, old school, coffee mug, everyone cooking behind the counter diner - great food.
Aquitaine and Union high end -
a casual good option is also Garden of Eden on Tremont, sit outside if a nice day


escargot is offline  
Jul 9th, 2007, 01:26 PM
  #16  
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Many thanks for the truly amazing wealth of information you guys are providing. Many of you seem to come from Boston and its great to see such enthusiasm for your city. This is the last holiday my wife and I are taking before taking a year out to go and do some voluntary work in Sierra Leone and I am so glad we chose Boston. My only concern is that with so much to see, do eat and shop for, 5 days is just not going to be long enough!!

One further question, As we will be in Boston for the first week in September I believe this covers Labor Day holiday. Bonzoor mention the sales - is this a ggod time for shopping? Will there be other events on over that weekend?
crellston is offline  
Jul 9th, 2007, 07:36 PM
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Labor Day is Sept 3, Labor Day Wknd is Sept 1/2/3 and many people start early on Friday teh 31st -
also many college kids moving in that weekend to school dorms and apartments - which makes for some crazy traffic and double parking in certain areas near the schools - not really an issue for you if you take public transportation EXCEPT it makes for a busy city

so if there are restaurants, tours (duck tours), museum events, theater, etc that you really want to go to , I would book ahead -
you can fax/call or use things like www.opentable.com for dinner reservations, order other tix online, etc - if there is something you don't want to chance on missing.

Also, your day trip - is it public transportation or driving? b/c i fyou are thinking of driving there are certain days/hours/diretions that will be very hectic on that weekend so that might be worth discussing.
For example, I wouldn't do a day trip to Newport over Labor Day wknd, but you could do a ferry to Salem or somewhere via water or T -

Also for breakfast: we have enjoyed Sonsie's on Newbury St, Clio's at the Eliot Hotel -but these are relaxing breakfasts, not diner or grab something and go type eating, but thought I'd mention them.

Lots of sales usually on Labor Dy Wknd, any excuse to get us to shop !

Special events, don't know of any - but you can google and check esplanade concerts, 'labor day events, boston, ma' things like that and look on boston.com for arts and event listings too.
escargot is offline  
Jul 10th, 2007, 02:06 AM
  #18  
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Thanks esgargot, Being stuck in traffic is not my idea of a good time so Salem looks a good bet for a day trip. I will take your advice an try and book any events prior to leaving (thinking about the Blue Man group which we saw in London a while ago and really enjoyed. Thanks for the opentable link - what a great site! on of thefew to provide direct links to the restarants own sites
crellston is offline  
Jul 10th, 2007, 05:27 AM
  #19  
 
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you can also go to Provincetown by ferry for a day - you have some nice options for day trips without having to be stuck in weekend traffic - there are some great threads on this board also if you type in 'day trips from boston' into the search this forum bar.

Also, when you arrive, you can walk from Nine Zero to the corner of Boston Common in about a minute, and ther eis a huge tourist center kiosk there - go inside andyou will find more pamphlets and brochures and info with times, maps, infos, etc for all the ferries, museums, day trips, info on the Old Town Trolley/Beantown Trolley, pubilcv transportation and music and restaurant info and between the reps in there and the concierge in Nine Zero you will be all set.

escargot is offline  
Jul 10th, 2007, 07:54 AM
  #20  
 
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The new restaurant in the South End at th Cyclorama, is called the Beehive and features jazz.
]Day trips, Salem, -The Peabody/Essex museum is there.
Rockport. There's a magnificent state reservation there where you end up overlooking the ocean on huge rocks where everyone picnics.
cigalechanta is offline  

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