I moved to teh Back Bay from brookline this year with my girlfriend. She had lived in Somerville and the Fenway previously. We were both excited about the new neighborhood, the architecture, the walkability, and also the restaurants. We, at the time, considered the Back Bay and downtown to be a dining mecca based merely on the NUMBER of options, the nice outdoor patios, the hip scenes, etc.
After living there for a year now, we've come to realize how the whole back bay dining scene is completely surface deep. Walking down Newbury St., it LOOKS like a carnival of great options, but once you start eating (and paying!) you realize just how limited and mediocre it is.
We actually find ourselves constant pining for old Brookline/ Somerville/Fenway favorites: Chef Chang's (better than Wisteria House), India Quality (better than Kashmir), Khao Sarn (better than Chili Duck, Jae's, Thai Basil, Bangkok Blue, etc.), Out of the Blue and East Coast Grill (better than Legal), Boca Grande (better than Boloco), Dali (better than Tapeo)etc.