I live in the Boston area but wanted to get someone else’s perspective. So I asked Amanda and Mal Watlington, of Charlestown who appreciate good food and gave me great advice on my Carolina barbecue post. This is divided into two parts. It includes Boston and Boston area restaurants but not Cambridge. I have recently moved to Cambridge and will provide a set of recommendations on places here in a few weeks. I could not resist adding a few to this list.
Part One includes places in Boston proper and Part Two, out tomorrow, covers the greater Boston area.
Grill 23 – for a big night out. Their site relates, “For over twenty years Grill 23 & Bar has been a landmark for generations of Bostonians. One of the premier fresh food grills in New England, Grill 23 & Bar is renowned for its prime dry-aged beef and creative seafood presentations under the skillful helm of Executive Chef Jay Murray.” It has received numerous awards, especially as the top steakhouse in the area. It is located at 161 Berkeley Street, Boston, Corner of Berkeley and Stuart Streets in Boston's Back Bay 617-542-2255
Hamersleys' Bistro - another great place for a big night out. Their site (which has good pictures and recipes) writes, “We see Hamersley's as an elegant Boston translation of the homey, family-run country bistros of France. You'll see how the beautiful architecture of the restaurant reflects the meeting of France and New England, with the rough wooden ceiling beams salvaged from a Connecticut barn in harmony with French tapestry florals. The open kitchen- one of Boston's first- creates a lively, fun touch, and gives Gordon Hamersley a chance to show us all how much he just plain loves to cook.” I have been here also and agree that it is a great place for a special occasion. There are often notable Boston celebs dining with you. It is located at 553 Tremont Street Boston, on the corner of Tremont and Clarendon and next door to the Boston Center for the Arts. 617-423-2700
Rabia (North End) -- Italian, better than Mama Maria's according to Amanda and Mal (Mama Maria has been my top North End recommendation). City Search says, “One of the North End's hidden gems delivers scrumptious Italian fare in a charming setting… While the kitchen prepares all the expected favorites with great aplomb, it stands out for its inventive preparations of fresh fish.” It is located at 73 Salem St, in Boston’s North End. (617) 227-6637
I want to add Artu to my North End favorites. My friend Roberto Cremonini introdcued it to as a great lunch place. City Search agrees and writes "One of the North End's top spots for an affordable, well-prepared meal resides just off of busy Hanover Street...Artu's location--along a narrow side street in the heart of the North End--belies its big-time flavors. The kitchen's smoky grill churs out delicious roasted vegetables that make up a fine antipasto place and terrific meat (try the rotisserie chicken). Also available are excellent pastas and, at lunch, delectable panini sandwiches." I have had the porchetta twice. It is an intense garlic marinated eggplant and roast pork panini. They make the contents themselves. I like to eat the filling first and then have pieces of the bread which have absorbed the flavors of the filling second. The bread becomes like stuffing. Artu is located at 6 Prince St, Boston, MA 02113 Phone: (617) 742-4336
Lala Rokh is a Persian restaurant that I could not resist adding. The owners, Azita-Bina Seibel and Babak Bina, write on their site, “we use ingredients, staples of our parent's from native Azerbaijan in northwest Iran, to recreate the home style Persian cuisine we grew up with.” Here is a link to the legend around the title. Persian cuisine focused on smells as much as tastes. For example, Mirza Ghasemi, is an appetizer from the Caspian Sea region with a smoky blend of roasted eggplant, garlic, tomato, and saffron. Morgh Pollo is Saffron seared chicken in a light tomato broth and Basmati rice perfumed with cumin, cinnamon, and rose petals topped with barberries. It is located at 97 Mt. Vernon St. on Beacon Hill, Boston, 617-720-5511.
Downmarket we love:
Dino's in the North End for subs and all the ambiance. It is located at 141 Salem Street
Boston, MA 02109(617) 227-1991
Crossroads Irish Pub -- Beacon at Mass Ave. wonderful onion rings, very Boston. It is located at 495 Beacon St Boston, MA 02215 (617) 262-7371