Boston Restaurant/Dining Suggestions 2014 (**Update in OP**)

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  • VegaObscuraVegaObscura Registered User regular
    I wonder, is the fact that the dining options in the immediate area surrounding the BCEC, done purposely to force people to eat at the convention center? I mean, I'm sure these restaurants you guys are listing are all great, but let's be real, most people at PAX who are caught up in the excitement aren't interested in taking a 20 minute walk, in weather that is likely to still be quite cold, to have a meal.

    Two PAX Easts later, and I have no idea what BCEC food is like.

  • chupamiubrechupamiubre Registered User regular
    I wonder, is the fact that the dining options in the immediate area surrounding the BCEC, done purposely to force people to eat at the convention center? I mean, I'm sure these restaurants you guys are listing are all great, but let's be real, most people at PAX who are caught up in the excitement aren't interested in taking a 20 minute walk, in weather that is likely to still be quite cold, to have a meal.


    Yes the all mighty powers that be have stopped the building of new places to eat around the con! This is exactly why the powers that be have proposed an expansion of the convention center and the surrounding area. Fun fact if you walk like all of 5mins away from prime You can find some food place with little wait yet people stand in line for subway for an hour because it's right in the con.

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  • VGVideoGalaxyVGVideoGalaxy Northern VirginiaRegistered User regular
    One thing I have to ask is: What kind of food is popular in Boston? Anything I just can't leave without trying?

  • endoworksendoworks Registered User regular
    One thing I have to ask is: What kind of food is popular in Boston? Anything I just can't leave without trying?
    Sea food, crab/lobster and clams.

  • AtomicGaryBuseyAtomicGaryBusey Registered User regular
    zerzhul wrote: »
    I wonder, is the fact that the dining options in the immediate area surrounding the BCEC, done purposely to force people to eat at the convention center? I mean, I'm sure these restaurants you guys are listing are all great, but let's be real, most people at PAX who are caught up in the excitement aren't interested in taking a 20 minute walk, in weather that is likely to still be quite cold, to have a meal.
    No, there just wasn't anything on that side of town before. The entire area was barren and is being built up over time. Hence the lack of hotels also. Nice conspiracy theory though.

    The area is very barren as it's a relatively new part of the city. I did walk off-site for food many times, but what little there was was so jam-packed with hungry people that it was unrealistic to wait at the end of the line a block and a half away. I settled on the various hotel restaurants instead of the food court inside the center itself, or that grease shack in the back of the expo hall.

    I can totally understand the sentiment, this year being my first East after tons of PAXes in Seattle. That said, it really is a matter of economics. As PAX and other conventions that occupy the BCEC continue to grow and bring more money into the city, the more the city is continuing to support the development in this relatively new area. This is shown by the construction of new hotels, and the expansion of the BCEC itself.

    It'll take time, but we are literally, yet slowly, changing Boston. Restaurants will come. Hotels will come. Entertainment options will come. It might take a while though. Think of this as a colossal Kickstarter.

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  • d.TFFoSd.TFFoS Registered User regular
    The area is very barren as it's a relatively new part of the city. I did walk off-site for food many times, but what little there was was so jam-packed with hungry people that it was unrealistic to wait at the end of the line a block and a half away.

    I may have missed something, but every time I've gotten food at a Restaurant near PAXEast (barring one trip to Dunkin Donuts on Easter Sunday when everything else was closed), I've had very short waits. Maybe I'm just lucky, or maybe I know how to pick a good restaurant, but waiting 10 minutes or less for seating is a lot better than the hour wait for tables I've ran into at other cons.

  • kensborokensboro Registered User regular
    UBurger is pretty good (two blocks from the Omni Parker); their fries are definitely better than "Five Guys".
    The make a pretty good Frappe (known as a milkshake in the other 49 states that aren't Massachusetts).
    Oh yeah... it's pronounced "Frap" and not "Frap-pay" as a local was quick to (nicely, but firmly) clarify for me :(. LOL

  • OrganichuOrganichu jacobkosh Registered User regular
    Speaking for myself, I don't think an extra few hours at the convention are worth overpaying for crummy food in the convention center. Maybe I'd consider that if I were attending solo? But with friends, it is IMO very worth it to trek across the water to try good food. It makes for a much better, more pleasant vacation I think to intersperse your convention time with good meals and sights rather than 36 back to back hours of convention stuff.

    I really liked:

    -peach farm (Chinatown)- communally served, authentic, they bring out the adorable eel you're going to eat for you to say hi. Favorite dish is the rice sticks with shredded duck.

    -marliave- good bar upstairs and down, great Wellington

    -Abigail's (Cambridge)- also a very nice bar, good seafood, good ribs, nice service

  • DireKittyDireKitty Registered User regular
    Does anyone know of any places with some good gluten-free options?

  • GrundlestiltskinGrundlestiltskin Behind you!Registered User regular
    edited October 2013
    kensboro wrote: »
    UBurger is pretty good (two blocks from the Omni Parker); their fries are definitely better than "Five Guys".

    You take that back :evil:

    If people get up to Back Bay, check out Cactus Club if you like tex mex. Their quesedillas are fantastic, and they make a great tomatillo avacado salsa that my wife badgered them into giving her the recipe for.

    Not sure how many people are brunch people, but Tremont 647 in the South End has great food and does a pajama brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Trident Booksellers on Newbury Street also has great brunch food, as does the Back Bay Social Club on Boylston St.

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  • SinoSambaSinoSamba CaliforniaRegistered User regular
    Reading this thread makes me hungry. And all I have is a banana and an apple on my desk now :P

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  • PurpleSkyPurpleSky Registered User regular
    Note the link for the restaurant list has been updated in OP with new suggestions and Googe map links added. Working on pricing info next.

  • Structural MechanicStructural Mechanic Tennessee, USARegistered User new member
    My group spends part of our PAX cash each year on "Fancy Dinner" going to Grille 23 in Boston, and that place is obscenely expensive (for me anyways), but offered the highest quality steaks I've ever seen. If you've been looking for somewhere to spend too much money on a steak, that'd be the place. They also have Chowder which isn't the seller, but it's alright.

  • macrogeekmacrogeek Registered User regular
    edited October 2013
    Fleming's Steakhouse is a good place for an expensive steak. They used to have a Sunday night prime rib special...we did that as our victory lap at the first PAX east.
    Beantown Pub is a decent pub downtown, good place to grab a $7-10 sandwich away from crowds.
    If you are staying at the Seaport you can cut through the lower lobby and exit at street level on the water side to cut over to Dunkin Donuts in the morning. A breakfast sandwich will go a long way...we would eat that for breakfast in line and then do lunch late after the crowds died down at BCEC food court.

    macrogeek on
  • sfford2008sfford2008 Registered User regular
    Since you are all talking about steaks, you should definitely check out Moo! . It is a great steakhouse, but it is pricey. It is located near the theater district.

    For a less expensive meal and great beer, Rock Bottom brewery on stuart street is great too. They have tables that actually have taps right at the table itself!

  • rascrushrascrush Registered User regular
    oh god that could be a lot of trouble if you have a tap right at your table lol

  • aBByNormaLaBByNormaL Registered User regular
    sfford2008 wrote: »
    Since you are all talking about steaks, you should definitely check out Moo! . It is a great steakhouse, but it is pricey. It is located near the theater district.

    For a less expensive meal and great beer, Rock Bottom brewery on stuart street is great too. They have tables that actually have taps right at the table itself!

    Methinks it is an opportunity for the beer equivalent of the upside-down margarita !!!!

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  • sfford2008sfford2008 Registered User regular
    Careful it could get pricey if you decide to do that!!!!

  • cabsycabsy the fattest rainbow unicorn Registered User regular
    If you're up for a little walk, KO Pies (meat pies! not sweets) is definitely walkable from the convention center - you can go out the BACK of the building and walk a little ways and they are really quite good
    http://kocateringandpies.com/menus/
    their website says they deliver now, but is terribly broken when you try to check out their delivery areas, sorry! they also have some vegetarian offerings. not a lot of seating space when I was in there last but whatever, worth it, plus you can eat your pie while you're walking back. This is pretty cheap eats - <$7 for a very filling meat pie. .9 miles walking distance from BCEC according to google maps

    I don't know that I'd recommend mooo.... for dinner, but their lunch was decently priced I thought and quite ok! our service was kind of slow that I remember, but we went in a total dead zone time-wise. $25 for a three course lunch deal; personally I got two apps (steak tartare and lobster bisque) and spent $16 + drink and tip. 1.3 miles walking or take the T and walk .4 miles according to google
    http://mooorestaurant.com/menu/#lunch

    I was unimpressed with Legal Seafood - it was a little too tourist trap chain restaurant for me - but if you wanted to try it I'd recommend Legal Test Kitchen instead, which is right by the Seaport and open extremely late for a restaurant - as in their website says legal seafood test kitchen seaport is open later than pax this year! so that makes it a more viable option, I suppose. I can't link their menu because it's a downloadable pdf (sigh) but I'd say I spent $40+ for an entree and an app, though they do have cheaper options. .4 miles walking from BCEC

    I liked sportello ok! I didn't LOVE it but I'm pretty hard to impress. I feel like the price-to-enjoyment could be a little better but again - fussy. It is relatively within walking distance of the con as it is .4 miles walking distance but it's a little funkier than walking to LTK. I don't even remember what I got here but I'm going to estimate I spent $40 +drink and tip.
    http://sportelloboston.com/menus/prix-fixe/

    Also I'm sure @arsonisfun will check in at some point with some kind of obscene master list of food, but I will say wherever he got the insanely cheap banh mis he handed out the first day of PAX a few years ago is still one of the best banh mis I've ever had and I dunno where they came from
    Unfortunately restaurant week will already be over by PAX, boo

  • randy_wreckedrandy_wrecked Gunslinger Harrisburg, PARegistered User regular
    If anyone happens to be looking for a delicious vegan option in the BCEC area, check out My Thai Vegan Cafe. It's on Beach Street, less than a mile from the convention center.

    If you trek out there on Friday or Monday, they've got some killer lunch specials for under $8 that come with an entree, spring roll or dumplings, and a cup of jasmine tea.

    On a related note, I'd love to get some veg-friendly folks together one evening for dinner. Get in touch (via PM or @randy_wrecked on Twitter) if you're interested.

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  • KnolandKnoland Hungry Hungry Hippo VermontRegistered User regular
    edited October 2013
    If you want to try scottish food, take a train or a cab out to lovely JP and check out The Haven.

    It will also get you far away from the convention center, in case you need a change of scenery or want to check out some of the less touristy areas of Boston.

    Seriously, check out JP, it never gets enough love (though avoid the Jackson Sq. T Stop, take the Heath St. stop on the green line, or the Stony Brook T stop on the orange line).

    Knoland on
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  • RhileyRhiley Registered User regular
    Knoland wrote: »
    If you want to try scottish food, take a train or a cab out to lovely JP and check out The Haven.

    It will also get you far away from the convention center, in case you need a change of scenery or want to check out some of the less touristy areas of Boston.

    Seriously, check out JP, it never gets enough love (though avoid the Jackson Sq. T Stop, take the Heath St. stop on the green line, or the Stony Brook T stop on the orange line).

    I was actually just coming here to ask if anyone had thoughts on The Haven. I was looking at Yelp and it looks like a lot of the comments are about breakfast, is there a particular meal you would recommend?

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  • rascrushrascrush Registered User regular
    lol just make sure you were a bullit proof vest if you go to jp

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    rascrush wrote: »
    lol just make sure you were a bullit proof vest if you go to jp

    No longer true for a lot of it. It's still somewhat patchy, but the main drag where you find Haven is perfectly fine. Haven is good for any meal, really.

  • KnolandKnoland Hungry Hungry Hippo VermontRegistered User regular
    rascrush wrote: »
    lol just make sure you were a bullit proof vest if you go to jp

    Just stop.

    PAX EAST 2014: Ticket/Enforcing[x] Hotel [x] Travel [x]
  • sfford2008sfford2008 Registered User regular
    rascrush wrote: »
    lol just make sure you were a bullit proof vest if you go to jp

    Sam Adams brewery is in JP...been there plenty of times...and if you take the T it is off the stony brook stop...there are definitely worse places to be than JP.

    To keep this on topic...Doyles is one the oldest pub in the Boston area, and has some good irish food...the Rueben is one of my favorites

  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    I definitely felt safe walking between the stony brook stop and Sam Adams... but I've wandered off into other areas nearby where I was constantly accosted by people on the streets and wanted to GTFO. If you're from the area and know where you're going, I'm sure it's fine, but as a tourist it's super easy to lose your way and feel threatened.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Yeah, you don't even need to go to Stony Brook for Haven, as I think it's equidistant from Jackson Square, or you can walk down from Heath st. on green (or bus to right next to it). Haven is near the northern tip of JP next to Brookline, so not really sketchy. Just don't go too far east from it.

  • lauren0rzlauren0rz Registered User regular
    DireKitty wrote: »
    Does anyone know of any places with some good gluten-free options?

    http://gfboston.blogspot.com/ Gluten-Free Boston (all of Boston, but there's not that many posts total)
    http://www.findmeglutenfree.com/map#lat=42.3584&amp;lng=-71.0596&amp;a=Boston, MA - zoom in on South Boston... looks like Legal Sea Foods, Fresh City, Rosa Mexicano are all near the con (near Seaport/Ren)
    http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Gluten+Free+Restaurant&amp;find_loc=Boston,+MA
    http://www.glutenfreebostongirl.com/category/south-boston/

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  • RichSoCashRichSoCash Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited October 2013
    Fun fact if you walk like all of 5mins away from prime You can find some food place with little wait yet people stand in line for subway for an hour because it's right in the con.
    Imagine waiting in line to eat at a Subway when you are in downtown Seattle

    RichSoCash on
  • arsonisfunarsonisfun Registered User regular
    edited October 2013
    Dolarrah wrote: »
    The First Timer's Must Dine at Guide

    If you don't eat at "NO NAME" at least once, you might as well have not gone to Boston. No Fancy Menus, No Fancy Foods, McDonalds has better table service, but best and freshest seafood in Boston. The prices don't get any better, and it within a few blocks of the Seaport and BECC. If your going to LEGAL, go to the Legal Test Kitchen, better food then Legal but the wait service is not as good, but that is like saying first class on a 777 is not as good as first class on a 747.... its still first class service.

    DURGIN PARK.... Its real Boston Cooking. Most people wont like it, but if you want a real Boston Meal, Go here.

    PARKER HOUSE .... Want to impress someone, this is where to go. Locke-Ober is gone, but the chefs here are almost as good, and how can you not go to the original home of Boston Cream Pie and Parker House Rolls?

    Finally, REBECCA'S CAFE ... Sandwich Shop which is a Boston Institution. Its Sandwiches and the only opportunity you will get to eat there is Friday Lunch (no weekends) but its worth the Detour.


    Sam LaGrassas/Parish Cafe is where you want to go for a sandwich. Rebecca's is ok, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

    No Name is a good seafood spot for sure. If you're looking for other options on the seafood front I'd add these -

    Neptune Oyster - Great food, but a small place and relatively expensive. Tied for my favorite lobster roll in Boston.
    Island Creek Oyster Bar - Bit of a hike from BCEC but it's a great spot. They have awesome cocktails, the food is good, and it's close to Fenway if you want to check out that area.
    B &G Oyster - Small, amazing food, run by one of Boston's more well-known chefs. Tied for my favorite lobster roll in boston.
    Oceanaire - Good seafood, cool interior, fairly close to BCEC (It's over near Government Center, so you can also check out that area)

    Some of my favorite places ...

    O Ya - It's in the arguement for best fine dining in Boston. Japanese small plates. It's pricey - I was there earlier this month and ran a $800 tab for two, but that was for the full tasting menu + drinks.
    Hungry Mother - southern food with a fine dining twist
    Menton - Close to BCEC, prix fixe menu only, same owner as B&G ... amazing place.
    Marliave - French, fairly casual with a nice bar area. $1 oysters from 4-6 and 9-10 every day.
    Coppa - Italian-style tapas basically. Great food, they just opened a restaurant in NYC
    Myers & Chang - Pan-Asian with some refinement.

    Chinatown - Pick a place. Seriously. Gourmet Dumpling House would be ideal, but it's hard to go wrong. There are some places that do chinese takeout sort of food if that's more your jam, but I'd highly suggest getting real chinese food :)
    rascrush wrote: »
    mortons is amazing but very expensive. We are talking a dinner will prob run you 40.00 per person at the min

    I'd lump that in as moderately expensive for Boston sit-down restaurants.

    As for JP ... parts of it are rough, but parts of it are beautiful. Most of the area west of the Orange line is quite nice. The houses by the pond are downright ridiculous and if I had $2-3 million to blow I'd be pretty happy buying one.




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  • FrugusFrugus Photographer MontrealRegistered User regular
    edited October 2013
    Thanks @arsonisfun for the suggestion, my group is really curious about those places.

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  • imnotalawyerimnotalawyer Registered User regular
    For those of you with a car and a love of beer, you need to check out The Publick House in Brookline, MA. It is about a 16 minute drive from BCEC and it honestly has a world-class selection of beers and the food is delicious. Their tagline is "eat good food, drink better beer".

    Give the yelp reviews a whirl...
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-publick-house-brookline

    faPgNTD
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Yeah, Rebecca's isn't anything special. Viga is better, but only open weekdays.
    B&G's - great for oyster lovers. Can't beat New England Oysters.
    Sushi - Oishii or Douszo (though the atmospher at Douszo can be described as douche-o), bonus points for hitting original oishii in Chestnut Hill
    Fine Dining - Haven't hit that many places, but the best meal of my life so far was Craigie on Main in Cambridge.

  • ChoujicosplayerChoujicosplayer Cape Cod, MARegistered User regular
    Always D&B in Braintree if someone wants to eat, drink and get their game on.

    Get some cookies, so you can eat 'em and grow up big and strong and kick Piston in the butt-butt.
  • DireKittyDireKitty Registered User regular
    lauren0rz wrote: »

    http://gfboston.blogspot.com/ Gluten-Free Boston (all of Boston, but there's not that many posts total)
    http://www.findmeglutenfree.com/map#lat=42.3584&amp;lng=-71.0596&amp;a=Boston, MA - zoom in on South Boston... looks like Legal Sea Foods, Fresh City, Rosa Mexicano are all near the con (near Seaport/Ren)
    http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Gluten+Free+Restaurant&amp;find_loc=Boston,+MA
    http://www.glutenfreebostongirl.com/category/south-boston/

    Thanks so much for this! Really want to be able to try places i know are safe so I don't spend PAX in my hotel room. :)

  • CyzaineCyzaine Registered User new member
    Found this place by chance the second year of East, and have gone every year since. Pricey, and a smaller venue, so call ahead (my group usually gets a nice 12 top here). Definitley more of a fine dining dinner experience here!

    http://samsatlouis.com/

    Northern Ave, Boston, MA 02110
    About 1.1 miles from PAX, and a rather pleasant walk by my standards.

    The food is great, atmosphere is... werid but something people here can appreciate. They had a chalk board walls with muppets drawn on it one year, paper cranes hanging from the ceiling another year, and the cast of Archer on the wall another time. Drinks are strong and creative. Never had a meal here I didn't enjoy. It's been a real highlight for my group every time we're in the area.

    (Has no relation that I know of to the Sam Adams brewery)

  • DolarrahDolarrah New JerseyRegistered User regular
    Bullet Proof Vests are no longer a requirement in JP.... They use armor piecing hollow points now, so what's the point. Sam Adams Neighborhood is ok by Day.



  • imnotalawyerimnotalawyer Registered User regular
    edited November 2013
    Was in Boston this weekend for a business conference. I have one food related tip and one general safety tip.

    1. Empire Garden has delicious dim sum

    2. Be safe when walking around China town.

    I walked from the Westin Copley Square to Empire Garden (http://empiregardenboston.com/) with my girlfriend and I have to say that you need to be careful walking in this area. I should predicate this on the fact that I live in New Haven (one of the most dangerous cities in the country outside of Detroit) and that I walked here on Sunday morning, in broad daylight. Anyway there were a group of guys breaking into a Mercedes parked on the street. Just walked a block away and then reported it to the police, but not a great sign to see this going on during the day. Was around Boylston St/Washington.

    Anyway, Empire Garden itself was an experience! I am not a very adventurous eater and I think my girlfriend took me here to torture me. Essentially what happens is you sit down, waiters cart around these mystery items, intermittently barking out "PORK! CHICKEN! SHRIMP!", if you like what you see they fork it over and mark your check. They aren't really able to tell you much about what you're eating (the first item I was offered was fried chickens' feet) and you kind of have to jump in head first but man was it delicious and inexpensive. We had a massive spread and dessert which came out to $24 for two. Absolutely looking forward to coming back here.

    imnotalawyer on
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  • rascrushrascrush Registered User regular
    sounds like a brazillion barbacue I used to go to just a bunch of meat and pretty cheap as well.

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