I am interested in starting a conversation about the food culture in Boston. I have only been here 2.5 years after living in the South, Vermont, NYC and Southern France.
I can't afford expensive meals (>$50/pp) and rarely eat meals costing more than $20/pp. I have eaten at quite a few places around town and while there have been some good meals, most are very disappointing. I think am am just so frustrated and have given up hope.
I think what it boils down to is a population that does not demand good food. I cannot understand this though as Boston is a wealthy city with an educated, diverse population.
And even though Boston has a diverse population there is better Vietnamese in Denver, better French in Austin, better bagels in Oregon, better Mexican food everywhere else, better Turkish in NYC and the list goes on. Chinese, even with the large population is hit or miss. Dallas has better Dim Sum. My point is that Boston can't even manage good ethnic foods with a supporting population. How about a freaking Italian joint!? Not American/Italian but a nice eatery with decent value.
How does Boston not have a bakery with a wood fired oven? Rural Vermont has better pizza and bread. I have had better burgers in Berlin ($8) than I could possibly hope to find here. How hard is it to make a good burger? Meat, potato roll, salt, proper heat, done.
Markets are a whole other story. The best Japanese market doesn't sell local fish? How about a butcher shop (Savenor's is just for looks, they defrost and cut primals up, just like the supermarkets)? Cheese there are great choices, without a doubt. Latin American groceries are sad as well. I have no idea why people recommend the Hi-Lo. Market Basket in Chelsea seems like the best option but still is rather lacking. Or an Italian Market? J. Pace is the best out there and but none of their locations even stock artisinal/quality products. How about a good ice cream joint? One that doesn't use stabilizers nor pre-made mix. Or coffee roasters in the city?
Well that's the end of my rant. I'll end with places I like.
Baraka Cafe - excellent
Pho 2000 - best pho in the city but that's it
Habesha - Very good
Singhs - Very good Roti
Oleana - Best upscale place I have eaten at
And no, cities as far away as Burlington, Waltham and Providence do not count as Boston. Sorry.
please commiserate with me. or flame away.
80 Pearl St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Pho 2000 Restaurant
198 Adams St, Dorchester, MA 02122
134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139
535 Main St, Malden, MA