Visiting for the Weekend [Boston, MA]

Neither I nor my friend have any dietary restrictions, both of us have been to Boston and Cambridge before, and I’ve spent a little time living here. Currently in NYC and she’s from LA, so I was wondering if there are any places that are definitely unique to Boston or Cambridge that we can’t get the same of in either of these cities.

Other than Neptune and an ice cream run, any suggestions for Boston essentials? Dinner suggestions (that can still be RSVPed) would be especially welcome.


With somebody coming from LA it might be hard to come up with something really unique but focusing on seafood-centric restaurants might be the best bet. For ice cream/gelato only Morano might be standing out (but not really in Boston/Cambridge)

Since I don’t eat out at places other than pubs/family-friendly places these days, here’s a short list of places that intrigue me (we could bring our 4-year old but we’ve become complacent). Can’t say anything about the “uniqueness.” For Boston, I think they are unique but more importantly to me, putting out good, interesting food. I’m curious to hear where you’ve eaten before and if you and your friend enjoyed them.

-Tanam (just got reviewed in the Globe. I went to the Philippines a few years ago and fell hard for the food)
-SRV (other trusted folks on the Boston board can attest to this place)
-Whaling in Oklahoma (there’s been some lively discussion about this place lately; from a well-regarded local chef who has a pretty interesting backstory)
-Country Mile (out in the near 'burb of Belmont so might be off your radar)

@pinegala Welcome to the board. Hope you stick around after your trip (and report back if you can).

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Puritan & Co – this place does a more modern take on New England cuisine, but if you have limited “nice” dinner nights, I don’t think this is my top choice out of all the restaurant options in the area.

I would find a place to do fried clams somewhere, if she’s not averse to clams and fried foods. The Clam Box in Ipswich is the regional favorite, but if that’s too out of the way, then there are a few options closer to the city. Courthouse Seafood for right in Cambridge, or take the T down to Tony’s Clam Box in Quincy are very accessible. The season is just getting started. That is the one thing west-coast seafood lacks – good ol’ clam shack food. Their version of fried clams is just a different animal, IMO. Heck, if she insists on lobsters like so many visitors to Boston, you can do the whole steamed lobster thing too.


Oleana in Cambridge is a perennial favorite of many.

SRV is currently my favorite restaurant in the Boston area. Chickadee is also great and so is Oak + Rowan. (Links are to my reviews as @digga already linked you to their websites.) How they stack up against similar restaurants in NYC and LA I do not know, not having eaten in either of those fine cities in a long time.

For seafood, Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 are generally well-regarded, as is Neptune Oyster with the caveat that they do not take reservations and the lines can be very long (although friends waltzed right in at 2 pm on a recent visit). I cannot personally vouch for any of these three seafood spots.

Oleana in Cambridge is a perennial Board favorite and well-deserved. Harvard Square has lots of food but not a lot of great food other than the omakase at Café Sushi for which reservations are required but not always easy to score.

If you want to eat in the North End, Mamma Maria at the high end and L’Osteria at the homey end, plus Modern Pastry or Mike’s Pastry for cannoli.

ETA: I see you know all about Neptune and tomatotomato beat me to Oleana.


But @GretchenS, your information is much more useful. So much!


Fried clams are special here, I agree. Well worth calling out.

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Also another Ana Sortun restaurant, Sarma in Somerville.

Reservations essential at both Sarma and Oleana.


I second Row 34 and Island Creek Oyster Bar. Also consider Legal Seafood Harborside. A Boston institution at this point, though it started in Inman Square, Cambridge.


I’m in nyc too, but I love going back to Christina’s (ice cream - burnt sugar if we’re getting specific) and Dali. Not new and exciting, but always delicious, and comfortingly unchanging.

Had a nice meal at Waypoint (Alden+Harlow group) and Pagu last visit. On my list: Sarma, Little Donkey (Toro team - if you’ve been to the one in nyc), Craigie on Main.