We have already mentioned that Chinatown is a block away, and Shabu Zen for one is not to be missed. For lighter fare, try the snack menu at Jacob Wirth and the Jaegerschnitzel really hits the spot. Another insider tip is Dim Sum at Chow Chau City, I think it slightly tops China Pearl. My Thai serves vegan Thai choices. And almost every eatery in Chinatown has a lunch special. I will update this shortly with more great places to eat that are easy to walk to, but here are some thoughts from Mike Poor from Inguardians and the Chief Gastronomical Officer of SANS.edu about places to eat. Note, some of these may involve a cab ride. Or consider the bus, Boston has one of the most advanced transportation systems going, you can even check the status of their buses on Twitter here is bus 111, the MBTA, manages the "T", their subway system. The T stop is about 100' from the Hyatt Boston, the conference hotel. A ride is only $2.00 each direction, a daily pass is $9.00 and a seven day pass is $15.00 and you can purchase your ticket about a block from the hotel.
- Tapas at Dali Restaurant (http://www.dalirestaurant.com/). Great atmosphere, always relatively full so recommended to get a reservation. Huge delicious jugs of sangria and a wide array of tapas, from squid ink croquettes and rabbit to garlic shrimp and angry potatoes. It is rumored you can find your life's true love there.
- For a truly Bostonian experience, I highly recommend the Union Oyster House (www.unionoysterhouse.com). It's Americas oldest restaurant, and pretty darn cool. If they can't get New England seafood right, no one can. I'm a big fan of their mussels or sharing the Hot Oyster House Sampler appetizer. Follow with a lobster pot :-) Citysearch voted Union Oyster House best clam chowder in the city, watch out if you have any really big clams though, they recently brought up over 100 hand grenades with the clams. Imaging being on a small boat with 100 grenades!
- A place I've been to a number of times is: http://www.fire-ice.com/ This is a Mongolian style grill that just has a happening atmosphere and good fresh ingredients. It's inexpensive, and is usually full, trendy, and upbeat. Good casual inexpensive night out.
- An unusual favorite for me... a dessert restaurant called Finale http://www.finaledesserts.com/ Pretty much every amazing dessert in the world in one place. Sure, that's probably a stretch, but just look at their website pictures and menus: http://www.finaledesserts.com/menus-viewmenus.php
- I know I didn't include any of the infamous Back Bay restaurants, a bunch of them are chains, Mortons, Ruth's Chris, Smith & Wollensky. David Fitzgerald recommends Capitol Grille 359 Newbury Street as the best for the buck in the area.
Mike is right, there are tons of Italian restaurants and not just Back Bay and they are my thing and they are Tim Mugherini's as well. Tim recommends, Italian anywhere in the North End http://northendboston.com/eat and while you're there check out the Improv Asylum http://www.improvasylum.com/. Tim says the best Sushi and Korean Barbeque is at The Apollo a few blocks from the conference location in Chinatown. He also recommends the Stanza for Scotch and Cigars and if you are looking fora great bar to hang at, The Rattlesnake, http://www.rattlesnakebar.com/. If you do not want to walk that far, the closest great Italian place to the Hyatt is Via Matta, a Piedmont inspired restaurant just on the other end of Boston Common. SANS 2011 will be in August, perfect evening walking weather for Boston and it is worth considering a ten minute walk to the North End. There are a ton of great choices. You cannot go wrong on Hanover and Salem street. La Dolce Vita, Antico Forno for casual dining and pizza, get some of your classmates and do family style at Giacomo's Restaurant, spend a bit more and go upscale at Terramia and I could go on fifteen more minutes. Most of these restaurants are small. Some are literally Mom & Pop places. He'll cook, and she'll oversee the dining room. Little to no advertising, word of mouth only. A cheap alternative to Finale, for those near the North End is Mike's Pastry near the Paul Revere House.
Fannuiel Hall is within walking distance and that area of Boston is wall to wall restaurants.
If you walk across Boston Common you will find Figs, which is a fun Pizza Place. I am always finding a new favorite pizza place, but this has to be in the top ten. Close by is The Paramount, I guess you would call that American Cuisine, reasonably priced, good food, generous portions and that will make you appreciate the walk back across the Common.There is also Silvertone Bar and Grill for a pub experience downtown.
Andrew Williams suggests the South End which is walking distance from the Hyatt and filled with great bars and restaurants. A few favorites:
- The Beehive. Great nightlife/bar, live music and good modestly priced food.
- Anchovies. Fun/lively bar scene and great Italian food. One of those dark kind of small places that is a little loud and lots of fun.
- Delux Cafe. You'll either love it or hate it. Small bar/restaurant with Velvet Elvis on the wall, cartoon network on the TV, and Christmas lights behind the bar year round. Great cheap food. The menu is small and a bit eclectic. So might not be a fit for large parties trying to satisfy a variety of tastes. Bring cash. No CCs accepted.
- Not in the South End, but my favorite restaurant in Boston is Todd English's Olives. I know this has become a bit of a franchise, but this one is the original. Great combination of a high end food, cool atmosphere, and fun bar. You can wear jeans or a suit and fit right in. They don't serve this anymore, but back in the day they used to serve 20 oz Rolling Rock bottles on ice. Never saw this before and haven't since. Don't get scared off by the Address of "Charlestown". Charlestown is a neighborhood of Boston, and a great destination as well (short cab ride from Hyatt). Lots of other bars and restaurants in this hood. Also the perfect place for anyone interested in seeing/walking some of the history of Boston. Paul Revere's house, Bunker Hill, USS Constitution are all in Charlestown.
- You and I know Legal Sea Foods is a chain, but they don't know that in Boston, great Clam Chowder, almost as good as a Seattle chowder, easy walk from hotel.
- Jim Murphy Laurie Zirkle, and Dennis Kirby suggest: No Name Restaurant – Seafood restaurant which is the oldest restaurant in Boston (according to them!) and very casual and inexpensive in the South Boston waterfront area and it is a cab ride from the conference hotel. I have never been there, but it is on the list for the next time I am in Boston, it got more recommendations from my friends than any other eatery.