Anything good near the convention center/waterfront?

Steve Green from CH, delurking here. I’ll be attending a convention at MCCA in a couple of weeks (staying close by), and I’m wondering if there’s anything good in the area that isn’t a complete tourist trap. I already know to skip the Barfing Crab. :o) Preference is for fresh fish, simply prepared, but I’m open to other cuisines (no Thai, though, because we have Lotus of Siam here in Vegas, and it’s ruined me for Thai food anywhere else). Nothing too high-end. Comfort food? Indian? Szechuan? French bistro, maybe?

Also, I’ll have a whole day free in the middle of the conference, so I’m open to suggestions involving public transportation, within reason.

A board favorite seafood spot is Row 34 - walking distance from the BCEC. That neighborhood has a lot going on, actually. I’m a big fan of Pastoral though I haven’t been in about a year - that’s Indian, also pretty nearby. There’s also a place called Larry J’s (BBQ) that has been on my list for ages that’s supposed to be a hidden gem. Finally, Yankee Lobster - order at the counter seafood spot that’s pretty good. If you’re willing to travel, then the world becomes your oyster and it’d be helpful to get more specific guidance on what you’d like to try.

Thanks! Those places look great, and very nearby. But did you mean Tikkaway for Indian? Pastoral looks like Italian to me.

As for going further afield, my interests are still as stated above, plus you can add BBQ, so I probably will try Larry J’s. How long a haul is Winthrop via public transportation? (I’ve been wanting to try Blackstrap.) If it helps to calibrate my tastes, when I’ve been at conferences at Hynes in the past, I’ve been pretty happy with Summer Shack and Brasserie Jo. How’s Mamaleh’s in Cambridge for deli? Any suggestions for Szechuan or comfort food?

getting to Blackstrap from Seaport would be kind of a pain, I think. Would mean a couple buses or Blue Line train and a bus. Would probably take you 45 minutes to an hour.

If addiez does mean Tikkaway, I think their op here is sort of on the fast casual side. I haven’t been to the one here, but I did like their sit down restaurant in New Haven when I went. The Yankee Lobster tip is a good one, if it’s nice you can take your food and walk out Fan Pier–nice views of the city and if you’re lucky you can snag a table to sit at.

From Seaport it’s not a bad walk to Chinatown, lots of options there. Five Spices House maybe your best pick for Sichuan.

How about. Blue dragon. That’s in that area. It’s a Ming tsai place. (Not a Sichuan rec, just a general rec). If the weather is nice the Legal Seafood there has a deck with a great view.

I second the suggestions of Legal Harborside, and Row 34. For a splurge the Legal Harborside 2nd floor is a pricey (but excellent) white table cloth seafood destination, dinner only. 3rd floor is sushi, and they roll the roof open in nice weather. Also consider walking over to Harpoon to sample some craft beers. And Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca (Mario Batali) is walkable. Check out the little park adjacent the Federal courthouse on the harbor when you go to Babbo.

Oh…and for an expense account experience, dinner at Menton, across from Row 34. They have a chef’s table in the kitchen that can accommodate around 8.

Oops! Read Indian as Italian but then wrote Indian. Haven’t been to Tikkaway, sorry!

you can use the MBTA rider tools to investigate options and times. You put in beginning address and ending address, week of the day and either time leaving or time you want to arrival.

There are also several MBTA phone apps that can alert to real time updates, but I haven’t used them recently so I can’t recommend one. You could make a customized route yourself by deciding to hail Uber when you get to a certain point.

Thanks to all for the responses – I’ll be sure to report back (I’m going next week). Any decent breakfast places nearby? Or comfort food anywhere?

Check out Flour bakery.
Might be in your area.

OP here, following up. Went to both Legal Harborside and Legal Test Kitchen. Had a decent piece of salmon at LH, but the crust was oversalted. The baked cod at LTK was pretty good, but I should’ve insisted on a spot in the dining room instead of next to the bar, where the noise was deafening. My bad.

I didn’t make it to Row 34, although, re-reading the menu, I really should have. Yankee Lobster was good, and fairly convenient to where I was (Aloft Seaport). I had, well, lobster.

I really wanted some comfort food, and got no recommendations from the board, so I went to Mike’s City Diner on Washington. Had the corned beef hash, which was just OK, and not worth the public transportation PITA.

I went to Mamaleh’s, because I was in the neighborhood (MIT Museum), and really wanted to try the gribenes, as it was something you never see on a menu. They were great – pretty much as I remembered them from childhood. Later I headed to Back Bay and went to an old favorite, Summer Shack. I hadn’t been there for 6 years, and was surprised that there was only one fresh fish on the specials menu – there used to be several each day, but things seem to have changed (apparently Jasper White sold this location in January, and kept the one in Cambridge). The crabcakes, made from Jonah crab, were fine.

BTW, I did try the burnt ends at Larry J’s, and they were terrible – dried out and old-tasting. I suspect I might have ordered the wrong thing.

I went to the Copley Square farmers market, but wasn’t impressed with the quality, or especially, the selection of produce. I guess I’m spoiled, since I frequently visit the farmers markets in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with their much wider selections.

For most days, I didn’t make it very far afield, and got stuck eating at a couple of restaurants in the Westin Waterfront. Predictably mediocre.

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. Sorry if I sound like a malcontent – things just didn’t quite go as I had hoped/expected.

Apologies for going OT, but on a non-food note, I found Uber very useful and not too expensive for getting around in situations where the T or MBTA in general was sometimes a pain ( too lengthy or too many bus-train changes – for example, just to get to Back Bay from the CC required a bus and two trains). I got seriously long-hauled by a taxi on the way to the Aloft from Logan – he took me on a very circuitous route (via Back Bay!) and charged me over $40. Filed an online complaint with the taxi commission, and followed up with a VM. Zero response. On departure, Uber back to the airport was < $16.


I’m sorry you did not enjoy your visit to Boston. The Copley Square farmers market is good for our area. We had a long, wet, cold spring, and most of the local produce is not available yet. I lived in SF Bay area for over ten years, so I know, yes, you are spoiled, and there is no way the Boston, New England climate will come any where close to the wide selections and quality available in California. We don’t get corn or tomatoes of high quality even under the best weather conditions until late July/early August. On the other hand, when the weather is good we can get good local tomatoes into October. We do have some great New England cheeses and we are thrilled for the few weeks we get local asparagus and strawberries…when the weather is good.

This board is not very active but we are trying to build up traffic. I’m glad you had a good experience with Uber and at Mamaleh’s. I am not surprised you did not have a good experience at Summer Shack Back Bay. It wasn’t good even when Jasper still owned it.

I hope your future travels are more rewarding and thanks for reporting back.

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Thanks for your response. I should clarify: Despite my generally disappointing restaurant experiences on this trip, I did enjoy my visit to Boston. The tall ships were there at the time, and I liked seeing them, and really enjoyed my visit to the MIT museum. It was interesting roaming around a different part of Boston, although I did prefer being in the more centrally located Back Bay on previous visits, where public transit is considerably easier.

I actually enjoyed my visit to Summer Shack (as I had in past visits) – the crabcakes were quite good for not being blue crab. :o) I was just surprised that there weren’t more fresh fish preps. I recognize that SS is not a favorite on the boards. It was always a go-to for me when at Hynes, because I stayed at the Sheraton right across the street, and (back then) it was a good place to get fresh fish with varied preps. They also used to do a killer meatloaf, notwithstanding it being a fish place.

Yankee lobster was fine as well. The only reason I didn’t go to Row 34, was that I sloppily misread their dinner menu, and was under the mistaken impression that the only fish they served was whole fish (I’m not a fan of bivalves, which seems to be their main item). I also wish I had made it to Chinatown.

I understand what you’re saying about seasonality at the farmers markets, and also recognize that it’s not the same as California in any case.

I re-read my original post a bit after posting it, and was going to remove a couple of the negatives, but the edit window was already closed. In any case, I’ve always enjoyed my visits to your vibrant city, and apologize for coming off as such a malcontent!

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I moved to Boston from Bay Area Calif. in 1989 and I was miserable for a long time. Malcontent would be putting it mildly as a description of me. So much has improved since then in restaurants and farmers and we are lucky, I think, to have farms so close to the city. So I do understand…it’s very different terroir as it were. Boston cabbies are notorious for that kind of driving around, but that happens everywhere. I have spent very little time at the seaport given that we adopted a special needs son from foster care some years ago and his limitations become our limitations. I do love the harbor walk and it’s great to see Boston finally using the wonderful sea location, though many of us are not happy with all the chains at the seaport itself. Boston still has a ways to go, but so very much better in the last decade.

Happy travels!

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2