The Out-of-Towners

It’s not often that I have trouble deciding where to eat. Between new restaurant openings and our mag’s own guide to must-try restaurants, I’ve built myself a loooong list of places to dine next.

But all that goes out the window when my parents come to town. What’s the best way to deliver the “Boston” experience my guests are looking for without defaulting to the tourist traps? I mean, I love to grab a midafternoon pint and a cup of chowder at Union Oyster House or crack crab legs at Summer Shack, but the lobster-bib bit just feels too hokey for my more well-traveled visitors.

I do have a few crowd-pleasing standbys. I’ve had great success taking out-of-towners to Eastern Standard for oysters and obscure cocktails, Hamersley’s for the infamous roast chicken, Grill 23 for the classic-steakhouse thing, Nebo for great homemade pastas and Neapolitan-style pizzas. Nothing too edgy, but probably not places they’d take themselves.

This weekend I took my Pop to Mare, where we scarfed down Francesco Martini’s tender grilled octopus, soft, creamy polenta with wild mushrooms, and grigliata di pesce (a lovely presentation of grilled fish and scallops). Last night we hit Barbara Lynch‘s B & G Oysters for the raw bar, lobster cassoulet, and crispy native cod with cipollini onions and broccoli rabe (a brilliant new addition to the menu). Both were huge hits.

What about you? When you have friends and family in town, do they expect Legal Sea Foods, or do they prefer to check out hidden, neighborhoody haunts? Where do you take visitors for a taste of our fair city?