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VISITING BOSTON? One Hound’s Guide to Historic Areas and Restaurants


Restaurants & Bars 85

VISITING BOSTON? One Hound’s Guide to Historic Areas and Restaurants

opinionatedchef | Apr 26, 2011 03:41 PM

I have gone to school and lived here 40 years and I really like to steer few-day visitors who are food-oriented>> towards great dining in attractive and historic walking areas- so they can have the best of both worlds. Below is a very long detailed piece I put together for visitors. *This is not a consensus guide, just my suggestions . I’m sure other Boston CHs will jump in with their own thoughts. We all want you to have some great food while you’re here!*:

For the most attractive and historic parts of our city, I would direct you to the area around the Public Garden, Commonwealth Ave., Copley Sq. and Newbury Streets; the South End; Quincy Market /North End/Waterfront; and Charles Street/Beacon Hill, all lovely historic areas that show off the best of our city


*North End/ Waterfront/ Aquarium/ Faneuil Hall-Quincy Market*
If at all possible. one must go to the original Pizzeria Regina in the North End. This is many aficionados' fav pizza place, period. It is the original(and ONLY worthwhile) location of what is now a chain, and most importantly, its pizzas taste like no others , partly because of the WWII oven they use, which is more than 'seasoned' by now. This pizza tastes like it does in Rome. It is also a tiny, jam-packed, loud, FUNKY space; unique, not decor-changed since the 50's maybe. Unless you have no other option, don't go on a Saturday, and go for early lunch or early dinner to avoid lines.

Regina’s is located on the outer edge of the compact North End, so after pizza, walk over to the Hanover St. (main drag) area and feel the history of this unique neighborhood. Its oldest extant buildings are from the early 19th c.; through the centuries it has been peopled successively, by : rich Bostonians, blacks , Jews, Italians. It has been Italian since the early 20th c. While harbor-dwelling yuppies have been encroaching of late, it still has lots of sidewalk life, Italian being spoken, bocce being played. For a filling snack, Galeria Umberto Rosticeria is unique for its large arancini, calzone and Sicilian pizza by the slice. There are some wonderful gelato/cafes on Hanover St. I particularly like the gelato at Café Sport. Modern Pastry is across the street, with wonderful almond biscotti ,torrone, and sfogliadel ( a very unusual 3 cornered hat of layered/crunchy pastry filled with a farmer's cheese/candied fruit mixture.) Avoid Mike’s Pastry. For very upscale Italian dining, Prezza is highly touted. And the tiny jam packed no-reservations Neptune Oyster is the temple of the freshest seafood, impeccably prepared for traditionalists and foodies alike and always in the Top 5 lists. For Italian food goods, Salumeria Italiana gets raves. The North End is also home to the 18th c. Old North Church and 19th c. Seamen's Home etc. If you like to discover-by-walking, the end of Hanover St away from downtown Boston- leads onto the waterfront area. This is also architecturally and historically fascinating because it is very intact with its 19th c. warehouses/wharves (now waterview condos). With all I've described, you might find it worth your while to go to Regina's and the North End for lunch and the afternoon and maybe dinner. You could incorporate the nearby Aquarium,IMAX and dinner at Neptune Oyster or Sel de la Terre (excellent ,modern French style.) Street parking is near impossible in the North End. Throughout the summer, religious festival weekends turn the North End into quite the zoo.

Quincy Market is the old historic marketplace from 18th and 19th c. Boston. It was the prototype for most of the other U.S. 'Commercial Historic Restoration/Tourist Attractions'. It’s large handsome warehouse and market buildings are now full of endless shops, restaurants and vendor carts. It’s o.k. for sampling some finger food or ice cream but not more. However, Durgin Park is a Boston institution where, if you order correctly, you can have a memorable time (lobster, clams, baked beans, Indian Pudding). Nearby are CH lunch favs- Zo, Sultan's Kitchen , and Sam la Grassa's for huge sandwiches.

Somewhat near Quincy Market, in the area of South Station, are two of Boston’s top rated and most expensive restaurants. OYa is perhaps the most creative Asian food in Boston, consistently listed in the top 3 local restaurants. Menton is a silk purse prix fixe paean to European luxe and service perfected.

*South End*
The South End is Boston’s amazing well-preserved and very large Victorian district, chock-a-block w/ handsome brick and brownstone rowhouses grouped around pocket parks in the middle of all the side street cul-de-sacs. There is a large gay population, young stylish couples with strollers, beloved dogs everywhere, lots of super restaurants(mostly bistro style) and an active sidewalk cafe and strolling culture. Union Bar and Grill and Aquitaine and Erbaluce are my own favorites. Union is handsome, dark, comfy with American regional food(lovely cornbread in a skillet brought to you when you sit down).Aquitaine is an authentic French bistro with great Steak Frites and simple traditional roasted or grilled food (also an excellent duck confit sandwich w/ melted gruyere for Brunch.)in a very handsome atmosphere and beautiful historic neighborhood. 4 blocks away is Tremont 647 and their fun Pajama Brunch, where all their servers, chefs etc. wear their pjs . Mike and Patty’s is a beloved neighborhood gem for breakfast and lunch.The Gallows and Coppa are two recent bistros with many fans.

On a far edge of the South End is Toro, a very loud crowded Spanish tapas place owned by one of our most famous innovative chefs, Ken Oringer, whose Clio is one of Boston’s 2 most innovative and expensive Asian influenced restaurants . On a different edge of the South End is Myers+Chang, a casual hip 'new Chinese' menu , with great drinks and weekend dim sum. Nearby is Oishii for very expensive innovative sushi. On another edge of the South End is Mistral, a dramatic bustling elegant space with Northern Italian foods, popular with the expense account set, and Masa, a comfy Southwestern bistro.

*Back Bay *
Make sure to experience one of Boston's most beautiful features: Comm(onwealth) Ave between Mass(achusetts) Ave and Arlington St.(next to the Public Garden, the oldest arboretum/public park in the U.S. ) This part of Comm. Ave was designed after the Champs Elysees in Paris and is a 9 block long strip of tree, bench and statue- lined park with handsome 19th c. mansions lining both sides. It is parallel to and one block away from Newbury Street, Boston’s center of couture and art galleries , with many restaurants. Right around the corner from the Public Garden end of Newbury Street is Parish Cafe on Boylston St. with great sandwiches designed by and named for different Boston chefs . At the other end of Newbury St. is Sonsie, a handsome swank spot with a broad menu and loud bar, which is popular with the Euro crowd. Also near that end of Newbury St. are Clio, Deuxave and Island Creek Oyster Bar, the first two known for innovative high end dining and the latter for abundant fresh seafood.


*Beacon Hill and Charles St.*
Across the Public Garden, away from Comm. Ave, is Beacon Hill, Boston’s well preserved elite neighborhood of 18th and 19th c. brick town and rowhouses.Also the spot for our famous gold domed State House. Historic Charles Street, full of restaurants and shops, runs along the base of Beacon Hill. In that neighborhood, Figs has good simple Italian pizzas, pastas etc. Lala Rokh has delicious Mediterranean-Persian food with grilled and stewed lamb and eggplant taking the spotlight. It is a very quiet comfortable resting spot after a long day of walking. It's sister restaurant on Charles St. is Bin 26, for Northern Italian.Away from the Charles St. edge of Beacon Hill, and near the State House, the intimate bohemian Grotto has excellent well priced and creative Northern Italian influenced food. Nearby is #9 Park, an elegant Northern Italian spot , owned by local-girl-made-good and dining-empire builder, Barbara Lynch.

Dimsum carts or dim sum menu ordering: Winsor Cafe for the latter. Hei la Moon and Chau Chau City and Great Taste for the former. Peach Farm for meals.

Bakeries with many savories as well as sweets: Mei Sum, Eldo Cake House, 101 Bakery, Ho Yuen

Banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches): 163 , Mei Sum


*Fenway Park*
Next to our beloved old baseball park is a terrific Mexican taco place, La Verdad. Their tacos of carne asada(grilled beef), pescado(fish),are the real deal and the best i have had here, and be sure to also get their refried beans . For more upscale and seafood before a game- Also nearby is Island Creek Oyster Bar(upscale and seafood) and tiny Trattoria Toscana . A five minute drive away is our amazing Museum of Fine Arts, world famous for its substantial collections of French Impressionism, American paintings and decorative arts, and Japanese art. (The new Art of the Americas wing has just opened in 2011.) The Gardner Museum, Venetian Palazzo famous for its art collection and flower filled Courtyard, is next to the MFA.

Boston has many ethnic cuisines represented here. Our most established immigrant groups are Irish, Italian, Chinese, Portuguese, and Armenian. In recent years communities from Russia, Cambodia, Brazil and Central America have grown substantially. Unfortunately, most great ethnic eats are located in the less attractive parts of Boston and its close towns. Some are easier to access than others via the T , but street parking is usually available.

Here are some Adjacent and Nearby Towns and Areas w/ CH fav ethnic (and other) spots:


Turkish, Lebanese, Egyptian, Israeli, Indian, Pakistani, Thai, Chinese, Szechuan, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Burmese, Russian, Japanese, Brazilian..........If Boston has an ethnic group, this is where you will find its restaurant contingent.

Armenian, Lebanese, Turkish food shops and bakeries: Eastern Lamejun, Arax, Sevan
Diner Breakfast: Deluxe Town Diner

*Cambridge Harvard Square*-
Chocolates(New England's most famous artisanal)- Burdick's
Harvard Square Institution(Mediterranean leanings)- Casablanca
Indian- Tamarind Bay, Tanjore
International Artisanal- Ten Tables, Bergamot
Lunch: Sabra, Casablanca

*East Cambridge, Inman Square*

Portuguese- Casa Portugal
Afghani- Helmand
Seafood, Mexican/Latin,American Southern - East Coast Grill
Artisanal Farm to Table- Bondir
Innovative Asian Small Plates- East by Northeast
Creative Turkish and Mediterranean- Oleana
Ice Cream- Christina's

*Cambridge, Kendall Sq.*

Elegant International- EVOO
Taiwanese- Mulan
Afghani- Helmand
American Southern- Hungry Mother

*Cambridge Central Sq.*

Craigie on Main- always listed in Boston's top tier; broad unusual menu specializing in meat and offal, but including seafood and vegetarian.
International Flamboyant/Fun Girls Night Out- Cuchi Cuchi
Ice Cream- most innovative in the Boston area- Toscanini
Dim Sum- Mary Chung


Innovative International- Gargoyles and Bergamot
Upscale Taverns- Foundry on Elm and The Independent
Breakfast,Brunch- Sound Bites
Cheap Indian Buffet lunch- The Kebob Factory

*East Boston and Chelsea
Mexican, Central and South American - Angela's, Jalisco, El Charro


Trattoria Toscana
130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

Peach Farm
4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

O Ya
9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

Neptune Oyster
63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

Mei Sum Bakery Coffee Shop
40 Beach St, Boston, MA 02111

East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Christina's Homemade Ice Cream
1255 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Sultan's Kitchen
116 State St, Boston, MA 02109

24 Fleet St., Boston, MA 02113

Gargoyles On the Square
219 Elm Street, Somerville, MA 02144

Mary Chung Restaurant
460 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139

Sam Lagrassa's
44 Province St, Boston, MA 02108

1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

Tremont 647
647 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118

Tamarind Bay
75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

EVOO Restaurant
350 Third Street, Cambridge, MA 02143

Sound Bites
704 Broadway, Somerville, MA 02144

Deluxe Town Diner
627 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

Union Bar and Grille
1357 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

Salumeria Italiana
151 Richmond St, Boston, MA 02109

Toscanini's Ice Cream
899 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139

569 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118

Cuchi Cuchi
795 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Casablanca Restaurant
40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138

Durgin Park
340 Faneuil Hall Market Pl, Boston, MA 02109

Modern Pastry
257 Hanover St, Boston, MA

Hungry Mother
Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

La Verdad
1 Lansdowne St, Boston, MA 02215

439 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116

Casa Portugal
1200 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

Hungry Mother
233 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02141

Craigie on Main
853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

Cuchi Cuchi
Boston, MA, Boston, MA

Sel de la Terre
1245 Worcester Street, Natick, MA 01760

348A Cambridge Rd, Woburn, MA 01801

Winsor Dim Sum Cafe
10 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

Ten Tables
5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

Eldo Cake House
36 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA

3 Center Plaza, Boston, MA

Lala Rokh
97 Mount Vernon Street, Boston, MA 02108

Sonsie - Boston
327 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115

Deluxe Town Diner
627 Mount Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

The Independent
75 Union Sq, Somerville, MA 02143

18 Eliot St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Durgin Park
1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

Regina Pizzeria
Thatcher St, Boston, MA 02113

69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

East by Northeast
1128 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

118 Beacon St, Somerville, MA 02143

Foundry on Elm
255 Elm St, Somerville, MA 02144

Island Creek Oyster Bar
500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

#9 Park
Boston, Boston, MA

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