Browsing Tag

The Institute of Contemporary Art


Best of Boston

We are about to embark on the final leg of our journey that started back in 2005 when we left California and moved to England. My chronicle started here on this blog in 2007 when we bought a Cotswold cottage, became more sporadic during the eight months we spent in Berlin in 2011, then waned dramatically since arriving in Boston back in November. But now, in the final weeks before our return to Santa Monica (and before I get to add the final clause to the subtitle of this blog “…back to burritos and margaritas.”), I thought I should take a few moments to commend the most recent city that has hosted us. It’s no California, but it’s pretty fine as far as the east coast goes. As they say on American Idol, Boston, here are your best bits:

Favorite places to have a glass of wine

Bin 26 Enoteca
26 Charles St.
Boston, MA
(617) 723-5939

With lots of wines sold by the carafe, the only drawback here is you have to order some food with your drink due to their licensing restrictions. Not that I am complaining about being forced to eat saffron risotto balls.

Beacon Hill Bistro
25 Charles St, Boston, MA
(617) 723-7575

Corner seats by the window are ideal for people watching on Charles Street and around the rest of the bar. Try the homemade fig-infused vodka. It reminded me of the flavoured gins so beloved in England.

La Voile
261 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
(617) 587-4200

Best place to stop if shopping on Newbury Street has worn you out. I am sucker for all things French, and the proprietor here does the double-cheek kiss thing.

Public Garden photo by Boston Photo Sphere from Flickr Creative Commons

Taj Hotel
15 Arlington St, Boston, MA
(617) 536-5700
Old fashioned, excellent service and bar snacks, and a great view of the Public Garden.

Best Dose of Culture

The Institute of Contemporary Art
100 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 478-3100

Don’t miss the viewing room that overhangs the harbor. Try Sam’s restaurant (next door) if you are visiting the museum. Awesome food and views.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum photo by me before docent reminded me No Pictures Allowed.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
280 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 566 1401

What can I say? I like quirky women’s art collections, my other favorite being Peggy Guggenheim’s Venetian Palazzo. Here we have a real-life Boston-Venetian Palazzo. You won’t find any of Peggy’s surrealist buddies on display, but there is plenty else on offer and an excellent restaurant as well.

Photo of Boston Public Library in her Christmas finery by me

Boston Public Library
700 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116

For a bit of Hogwarts here in the good old USA, hang out in the reading room of the McKim building (free wifi). Better yet, take a free art and architecture tour.

Favorite Restaurants


Barking Crab photo by Lars Ploughmann from Flickr Creative Commons

Barking Crab
88 Sleeper St, Boston, MA 02210
(617) 426-2722

Classic New England seafood shack. Wood burning stove inside in winter, picnic tables underneath a crab-trap decorated tent outside for summer. Close to the ICA too.
75 Chestnut
75 Chestnut Street
Beacon Hill
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 227-2175

Just off Charles Street, our trusty standby for post-work drinks and dinner. While you can spend $30 on a lobster, you can also have a bowl of chili or a turkey sandwich for considerably less. The same cannot be said of many of the places nearby on Charles Street, which are either very good but expensive (Bin 26 Enoteca, Toscano), overrated (The Paramount), or shockingly bad (Figs actually messes up pizza, Panificio loses orders, and Cafe Bella Vita is a waste of prime real estate).

Cantina Italiana
346 Hanover Street
Boston, MA
(617) 723-4577

Probably not the best in Little Italy, but solid enough and lovable for its old school kitsch and charm that starts with the neon sign outside of a basket of Chianti being poured into a wine glass. Skip dessert and stop by Mike’s Pastry just down the street for a cannoli (I favor the limoncello flavor) afterwards.