Below is a transcript of a live online discussion with college students about Boston-area restaurants, which took place on Wednesday, October 12, 2011. The hour-long chat included discussions about restaurants near several colleges and universities, with dining spots in Allston, the South End, Cambridge, and other areas being mentioned. [Note: The original discussion can be replayed at the following link: http://www.hiddenboston.com/online-discussion-1011.html and please go to the restaurant discussions link to check out our other chats.]
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Hello, all! Who's out there today?
Marc H. (hiddenboston): For the next hour or so, we'll be having an informal chat on Boston-area restaurants, with an emphasis on where college students like to go for food. Also, any questions you have about the Boston restaurant scene, fire away and I'll do my best to answer them!
Marc H. (hiddenboston): And I should probably introduce myself--I'm Marc, the founder and owner of Boston's Hidden Restaurants as well as the news-based blog Boston Restaurant Talk http://www.bostonrestaurants.blogspot.com
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Hi, all! So where do you all go to school and what are some of your favorite eating places nearby?
Tejash: India Quality @ BU
Marc H. (hiddenboston): India Quality is a great place. Not too expensive, super-casual, and some of the best Indian food in Boston, I'd say. I learned awhile back that their vindaloo is spicy enough and that you don't need to order it extra spicy like I did. I can still feel the pain from that evening.
Elina: I go to BU, and there are a few places near here that I like (Eastern Standard, India Quality/Punjab Palace), but I really love the choice of restaurants in the South End (Stella, Flour, Coppa)
Marc H. (hiddenboston): The South End isn't as convenient as Allston, Cambridge, Davis Square, etc. for most students in the area, but definitely worth heading to. Flour is terrific.
Tejash: What's Stella all about
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Stella is a slightly upscale Italian restaurant on Washington Street in the SoWa section of the South End. A bit off the beaten path, but a lot of people seem to love the place.
Elina: South End definitely isn't as convenient as Allston, but I'd say it's still just as much of a trek as Cambridge/Davis Square on the T, and there unfortunately aren't too many great restaurants in Allston.
Elina: India Quality always makes me cry, even though I order everything mild. But it's just so good!
Elina: The seafood risotto at Stella is great!
Marc H. (hiddenboston): If you're looking for upscale restaurants, Allston isn't a very good place to go. But for cheap food and ethnic eats, there are a lot of decent choices. I'm a big fan of Shanghai Gate in that neighborhood--one of the best Chinese restaurants in all of Boston.
Tejash: Ya I totally agree
JustinCanCook: I'm not a college student, but I work at Northeastern. There's a great sandwich shack on campus called Chicken Lou's. It's a block off of Huntington on Forsyth.
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Hi, Justin! For those who follow the food discussions here, Justin is occasionally on our panel and has lots of good info on Boston-area restaurants.
Tejash: Between Super 88, the old Pho Pasteur, Shanghai Gate, and The Korean BBQ joints, there is a solid asian selection
Marc H. (hiddenboston): By the way, I assume that Super 88 is now Hong Kong Supermarket even though they still have "Coming Soon" signs up?
Elina: Is Pho Pasteur now Lei's? I do really like that place
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Yes, the one in Allston has been Le's for a little while now. It's a very good place for Vietnamese food, though I tend to prefer going to Fields Corner in Dorchester for that kind of food. It's right on the Red Line, so not too difficult to get to.
JustinCanCook: Other spots around NEU that I like are Symphony Sushi, Moby Dick, and Ali's Roti
Marc H. (hiddenboston): A few places I like around NEU are Woody's (which this site reviewed this week), Mission Bar and Grill, and The Squealing Pig. All are decent places to go for pub grub and beer (can't argue with that combination).
Marc H. (hiddenboston): What are some favorite restaurants around Harvard or Tufts? For the former, there are plenty of places around Porter, Harvard, and Central, and for the latter a number of places in Davis Square, Teele Square, and North Cambridge.
Tejash: Tufts has Guru the Caterer
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Ahhh, now there's a hidden gem!
Tejash: simple cheap authentic indian food
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Guru also has a place in Boston's Financial District called D'Guru Restaurant.
Marc H. (hiddenboston): I'm not in College, but one place I go to a lot that seems to get a decent college crowd is Cambridge Common between Porter and Harvard Squares. It's within walking distance of Harvard and pretty close to Tufts, so it gets a good mix of people. Great beer selection, too.
Tejash: Actually, I know a lot of people like Anna's....I think the one in the MIT student center makes by far the best quality food
Marc H. (hiddenboston): I like Anna's, though I tend to prefer Boca Grande just outside of Porter Square, which has some really tasty dishes (and you can get a meal with little more than pocket change, much like Anna's).
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Let's talk about BU for a minute. What are some favorites between Kenmore Square and Allston (not including Allston Village)? There seem to be several restaurants along Comm. Ave. just west of Kenmore that rarely get talked about by the media or on restaurant sites.
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Noodle Street is one that comes to mind....
Tejash: T Anthony's is a staple for pizza
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Yes, this site has featured T Anthony's: http://www.hiddenboston.com/TAnthonys.html
Marc H. (hiddenboston): The place has classic thin-crust pizza, which at times can be some of the best in the city. Speaking of pizza, how about some other favorite pizza spots? Do any of you go to Bostone Pizza on Newbury Street? Or Regina's in Allston?
JustinCanCook: I've started going to New York Pizza on Columbus and Mass Ave for late night slices. It's actually not that bad.
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Did they recently renovate New York Pizza? It looks a bit different to me.
JustinCanCook: yes, they changed the outside, put up a new sign.
JustinCanCook: Penguin Pizza (which is near Harvard Med School and School of Public Health) is a good pizza place with and excellent beer selection.
Alison: Sunset Cantina is big for nachos, and it's right across the street from BU on Com Ave
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Penguin Pizza is a place I've been meaning to get to for awhile now. I've heard lots of good things about it.
Marc H. (hiddenboston): And yes, Sunset Cantina is a very popular place. Pretty easy to get to from NEU and BC as well.
renh77: Just jumping on! Wanted to go back to the BU question and throw in Taco Tuesdays at La Verdad! $1 tacos!!
Marc H. (hiddenboston): And now that the Red Sox are out of it, La Verdad is probably a lot easier to get into these days!
renh77: Also, Nud Pob thai across from the GSU is some of the best thai food I have had! I can't get enough!
Tejash: La Verdad is awesome!
JustinCanCook: Have you been to the Taco Tuesday event? Are there any crazy rules/ limits?
Tejash: Petite Robert Bistro is a really nice environment and a great place to have a cheap lunch / brunch I think...and the food is great
JustinCanCook: And Il Mondo is right around the corner from Squealing Pig and is good for a big greasy slice.
renh77: No crazy rules Justin. They generally just have 3 tacos to choose from. Usually 2 pork and one beef
Tejash: The PRB in Allston
Tejash: What restaurant has the best salad?
Marc H. (hiddenboston): A bit tough to get to from the colleges and universities, but Centre Street Cafe in Jamaica Plain has some excellent salads.
renh77: My co-worker got a salad from Dorado Tacos today that she gushed about. It looked really, really good.
JustinCanCook: That is a good question Tejash. I really like the kebab salads from Cafe Jaffa (boylston and gloucester). But underneath the kebab (of shwarma), its a pretty standard greek salad.
renh77: I have been looking for a good salad around BU, so if anyone has suggestions, I would love to hear them!
Tejash: On the same token, health conscious menu?
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Tejash, there are a number of such places, including Life Alive in Cambridge, Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge, May's Cafe in Allston, etc.
Alison: Speaking of tacos, does anyone know when the taco place next to Deep Ellum is planning on opening? Deep Ellum is a little out of the way for BU, but really worth it.
Marc H. (hiddenboston): The Lone Star Taco Bar? I haven't heard much about it of late. Hopefully it opens soon!
JustinCanCook: i think b good can be pretty healthy, depending on what you order. Their Southwest Chicken Salad is pretty tasty too.
renh77: Oh, I just remembered Garlic & Lemons! I got a phenomenal salad from there!
renh77: And for healthy...I usually hit up UBurger for a grilled Hot Chick sandwich...hold the dressing! It is great over a salad too.
Marc H. (hiddenboston): I like to go to UBurger as well, though the meals I have there are anything but healthy. :-)
renh77: Definitely NOT healthy....Raising Cain's. But man are their chicken fingers amazing....
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Chicken tenders are the ultimate college food to many, it seems.
JustinCanCook: Where can I get a great Philly Steak and Cheese?
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Chicken tenders are the ultimate college food to many, it seems.
Marc H. (hiddenboston): There's a place south of Boston called....Philadelphia. :-D
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Actually, Carl's in Waltham and Al's State Street in downtown Boston are great places to go for them.
JustinCanCook: Ha, seems to be the best answer.
renh77: The other problem with UBurger is that the only "sides" they offer are fries and onion rings.
renh77: What about Roast Beast? Anyone heard anything about them?
Marc H. (hiddenboston): I hear that Roast Beast is pretty good. For those of you who are familiar with the food writer MC Slim JB, here's his take on it. http://thephoenix.com/boston/food/117944-review-roast-beast/
Alison: not sure, but you can get a Philly- esque roasted pork with garlicky rabe sandwich at Cutty's in Brookline Village
renh77: Oh...Carl's! I have been meaning to get there since I saw them on the Food Network! And I live right there!
Alison: Roast Beast is amazing! I've been there a few times and they're super friendly- plus the sandwiches are delish. Get the onion roll! (ps- it's a lot less sketch inside)
renh77: Thanks Alison!
renh77: If the parents are in town, and you want a little bit of a nicer dinner, Saray in Packard's Corner is to die for. Turkish restaurant, BYOB. The 'rents will love it!
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Speaking of Turkish food, did you all know that a Turkish food truck is coming to NEU pretty soon?
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Here's an article on the place: http://bostonrestaurants.blogspot.com/2011/10/turkish-delight-by-meatballs-and-etc.html
JustinCanCook: WHAT?! Awesome. When/where?
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Oops! I think we posted at the same time, Justin! See above.
JustinCanCook: Marc, you made my day.
Marc H. (hiddenboston): My work here is done. :-)
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Just a heads-up, by the way--we have about 10 minutes left on the chat, as it will be ending right around 4:00.
Tejash: Where are the best food truck locations?
Marc H. (hiddenboston): SoWa on Harrison Avenue was a great take over the summer for food trucks. All kinds of trucks there. As the weather goes downhill, you probably won't see as many of them out there, unfortunately.
Tejash: I've only tried the Grill Cheese truck and it was good, but definitely a bit greasy.
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Speed's over in Newmarket Square (near South Bay by the Expressway) has some of the best hot dogs in the city, but granted that's a fairly tough food truck to get to unless you have a car.
Tejash: Oh really? Not even in busy areas (Comm ave, etc)?
Marc H. (hiddenboston): There will likely be some food trucks around over the coming months--I'm still trying to get details on this.
@alison_krause: you can get the originals (momogoose, clover) at a parking let behind Kendal Station at MIT
Tejash: what's momogoose?
JustinCanCook: You can find trucks over by the Boston Public Library (usually grilled cheese or Bon Me), behind the Marino Health Center at Northeastern (Roxys, Frozen Hoagies), on Boylston and Clarendon (Staff Meal)
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Here is some info on food truck sites from over the summer. This is no longer up to date, but gives you an idea of where the trucks have been. http://bostonrestaurants.blogspot.com/search/label/food%20truck%20sites
JustinCanCook: The Red Bones truck is usually near Copley Square
Tejash: I know time is running short, so I just want to say thanks for all the great suggestions everybody! Now I am totally hungry :)
Marc H. (hiddenboston): Thank you, Tejash and Justin, and thanks to all of you for participating! It was a lot of fun today.
Marc H. (hiddenboston): One quick note: It looks like there will be a new food discussion on dive bars a week from tomorrow, and we will go back to having a panel for that one, though any readers can participate as well. I'll have more info on that soon.
Marc H. (hiddenboston): See you all later!