An October 2005 trip
to Boston by notso62
Quote: Boston's answer to New York's Madison Avenue and LA's Rodeo Drive is filled with upscale shops and dining destinations.
Chanel, Asquantum, Zenga, and Marc Jacobs are among the fashion houses that have a shop on Newbury Street. Several stores, like Intermix, have a variety of designer merchandise featuring brands such as Escada and Gucci. Do not go to these stores unless you are prepared to spend over ,000 on an outfit. They don't cater well to casual shoppers or bargain hunters.
Newbury has some great options for trendsetters that are more on a budget. These stores are situated closer to the Mass Avenue end of Newbury and include Jasmine Sola and Urban Outfitters. Clothes at these stores are not exactly cheap but are a little easier on the wallet than the stores on the Public Garden end of Newbury. For great deals on the most current runway rip-offs, browse the extensive clearance sections of these stores.
Newbury Street is a great place to shop, but even the most motivated fashionistas need to eat sometimes! Luckily this street is also home to several high-quality restaurants such as Sonsie and Tapeo. On nice days, you can dine alfresco at most eateries on this street, which is always an enjoyable experience.
Newbury Street itself used to be a residential area, so the shops and restaurants have a charming, homey feel. The brownstones have been well preserved over the years and the stores do not have a "too commercial" feel that would interrupt this historic neighborhood. It's really quite nice.
Shopping on Newbury Street is best enjoyed on a pleasant day. You do not want to be wrestling with multiple purchases when it's freezing or raining out. This is an extremely popular place to visit in the spring or summer.
Dining on Newbury could be a bit pricey, but for cheaper fare one might hop one block over to the restaurants on Boylston Street. These places tend to be more student-oriented, so they are friendlier to travelers on a budget.
If you have subway access, the Arlington, Copley, and Hynes T Stops are convenient to Newbury Street and are the best bet for avoiding the parking hassle.
Some truly famous people have reportedly visited Sonsie during the prime time business hours, though I have yet to see any celebrities there for myself. Of the Boston elite, Matt Damon and Steven Tyler have been rumored to stop by during home stays.
As you might expect with the hotter-than-thou attitude, Sonsie is a truly swanky bar and restaurant. The richly decorated interior is the perfect place for after-work drinks or to meet some pals for brunch on Sunday mornings. Even if you don't get a coveted window seat, the other seats in the restaurant are well appointed and catered to.
Though sometimes the hostess can be a bit snooty, the friendly bartenders here more than make up for any attitude you encounter at the door. They are very knowledgeable about their craft, too; there isn't a drink that you can order that doesn't come perfectly prepared.
The menu at Sonsie has an unexpected broad range of American fare. Dishes range from the fairly inexpensive (pizza for about $10) to the pricey (steak for about $50), but there is truly something for everyone on the menu. All dishes, regardless of price, are well prepared and artfully presented by the servers. Brunch here is extremely popular due to the versatile menu and alfresco atmosphere. Come early or expect to wait!
Sonsie is a bit overrated due to the scenesters that frequent this joint, but it is worth the trip for a good meal and excellent service. To get the experience but avoid the crowds, go on weeknights in the beginning of the week.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 26, 2005
327 Newbury St
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
+1 617 351 2500
Restaurant | "Stephanie's on Newbury"
During the summer months, when nobody feels much like heavy meals, Stephanie's serves the very best salads in Boston. The size of these is enough for an entire meal and then some. Though $15 to $20 sounds like a lot for lettuce, Stephanie's more than justifies this price with unusual gourmet ingredients and the huge portions. All are freshly prepared and delicious.
Stephanie's specializes in comfort food, which is perfect for dining in the colder months in Boston. The chicken pot pie will surely warm you up from any adventures in the chilly weather. Appetizers here are expensive as well but are enough to serve three people. If you go, make sure you bring a group so you don't have too much extra artichoke dip (which is very highly recommended).
If you happen to visit Newbury Street on a Sunday morning, make sure to stop by Stephanie's. Otherwise, you might miss your opportunity to enjoy one of the best brunch services in Boston. The pancakes and omelettes here are delicious, and their bar makes a fabulous mimosa. Again, it's a bit pricey but worth the few extra dollars.
Stephanie's of Newbury
190 Newbury St.
Boston, Massachusetts 02116
People go to the Armani cafe mainly for the scene. What better place than Boston's Newbury Street, which is often equated with a fashion runway, to play host to this fashion-oriented cafe. The people-watching in this area is very entertaining. Expect to see the hipper-than-thou art students strutting down the street mixed with the richer-than-thou debutantes. The snooty attitude of the area is a little over-the-top, but the cafe's patio sits squarely on the street level so you can take it all in at your leisure.
Though the Armani Cafe's main focus is scene-watching and sidewalk-critiquing of passersby, the cafe actually serves pretty decent food as well. Last time I went, I had a saffron risotto that was very flavorful. They also make very good desserts and drinks. Order a martini or champagne if you want to fit into this pseudo-model world.
Inside is more laid-back but still has a European-chic lounge feel. The bar and seating area are well appointed and comfortable. This might be the place to grab a bite if you don't feel like waiting for a table in the popular outdoor section. A word of warning--if the place is busy, the service tends to be lagging. Your best bet is to kill some time in the busy hours with the shopping in the area, then grab a table in the off-peak times when they are more on top of their game.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 28, 2005
214 Newbury St.
Ciao Bella is open for lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on weekends. Brunch lends itself towards egg dishes and fare that is easily complimented by tomatos or garlic. There are no pancakes on the menu, but few would miss them if they cared more for savory breakfast food as opposed to sweeter fare. Lunch and dinner menus have a plethora of pasta dishes as well as other traditional Italian fare. The Spaghetti al Pomodoro has a light tomato-basil sauce that is perfect if you want to continue on a shopping adventure on Newbury Street after you eat. The minestrone soup that is typically on the menu has great flavor and is a great way to warm up on a chilly Boston day.
The decor and interior of Ciao Bella leave something to be desired. The plain grey walls and unimaginative art and photos on the walls almost make patrons feel cold. The tables make you feel like you're in a greasy-spoon diner and not a nice Italian restaurant, which the owners are attempting to convey with thier menu and pricing. On nice days, Ciao Bella has an outdoor patio area that is a nice option for dining, but don't expect much of a sensual experience if weather forces you to dine indoors.
The service at Ciao Bella is friendly and professional. Dishes are brought out in a timely manner and are well presented. Overall this restaurant experience is okay, but if you want better Italian food in classier decor, you best head to one of the many other Italian options in Boston.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 29, 2005
240 Newbury St
Daisy Buchanan's has remained popular for years, often having a line that stretches around the building to get in. I, however, do not see what the attraction is to this place. The dankly lit interior is crowded with pickup artists, and I'm sure once the lights are turned on that it looks disgustingly dirty inside. It just has that cheesy pickup joint feel to it.
The crowd at Daisy's on weeknights usually shows up early and is in their late 20s to early 30s. These people pretty much are there to grab a drink after work with pals or coworkers and little else. On Friday and Saturday nights, however, a younger crowd populates Daisy's. Actually, I should say younger women and skeevy older men. This is a place famous for being the place you'll meet your next ex! Don't go looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right.
On the positive side, the service at Daisy's is very efficient and friendly. The bar staff is very quick to fulfill waiting patrons' needs. If you could stomach the overall scene, the service is what makes this place tolerable.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on October 29, 2005
240 Newbury St
Boston, Massachusetts 01226
+1 617 247 8516
At Marc Jacobs store on Newbury Street, you may forget that you are in the historically stodgy Puritanical city of Boston! His designs are for the young and adventurous. You will not find much in the way of uptight turtlenecks, wool skirts, and boring outerwear here as is most often associated with how stereotypical Bostonians dress. Instead you may see things like a gorgeously woven wool coat in bright jade green with white accent piping. Or, if you do see a plaid wool skirt, expect it to be no longer than 9" from top to bottom. It's that kind of fun clothing that is found here.
The must-have accessory collection available at this location includes shoes, handbags, and sunglasses. Last season's gorgeous patent-leather purple maryjane's were on the must-have list of everybody that was in the fashion-know. This summer, Marc has designed a fantastic pair of aviator sunglasses that look great on everyone from starlets to actual aviators. The handbags are beautifully put together and feature durable leather construction in all hue's.
Though Marc Jacobs prices are typically high, (i.e. the aforementioned handbags are about $1,000, the sunglasses $400), there are deals to be had. There is a small sale section on the first level of this store's location. Also there is often one or two items that are kept here (think keychains, hair things, etc.) that are under $20. Perfect for those of us that love Marc Jacobs, but can't quite afford to don his expensive clothes from head-to-toe.
The second story of the Marc Jacobs location on Newbury Street is strictly for fashionistas with huge spending allowances. Here you can find straight-off-the-runway looks from Marc's latest Couture line. A dress from this level can cost upwards of $10,000, but they are truly beautiful and ethereal creations. If you want to dress just like your favorite Hollywood 20-something star, this is a great place to start.
The staff at Marc Jacobs is very hip, but not too aloof to help customers with clothing fittings and what-not. They also often have a non-clothing related agenda (such as distributing voter registration forms), which is nice and helps with their non-confrontational sales pitch.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 25, 2006
81 Newbury Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02116