Citizen’s Oyster House. 1310 Boylston Street. Boston.

A great place to spend an hour or so before a baseball game at Fenway Park. We had delicious cod cakes, good clam chowdah (corn included, which apparently renders it inauthentic), and fresh clams in a fortified white wine sauce. Cocktails were interesting: JM had the mint julep, I had Olmec’s Revenge (infused Macchu Pisco, vanilla-chili syrup, Boddington’s with a chili rim). The inclusion of a British bitter fascinated me, but the whole thing ended up tasting like beer, with a chilli-salt distraction. There were also eight beers on tap. Service is a tad awkward, but attentive. The atmosphere, though, walks the line between cosy and brasserie-bustle. Come here early as it does get quite packed, especially before a Red Sox game.

$$-$$$
Fenway Park area

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Orinoco. 477 Shawmut Ave. Boston

Like a few other places in this neighborhood, Orinoco closes up its kitchen quite early, especially if there isn’t much activity; Shawmut can get quiet on this end of the long street. In the spirit of a real taguarita, a family-run eatery, they don’t take reservations and it’s as casual as you like.
We shared a pitcher of white wine sangria, poured into glasses furnished with a couple of dozen fresh blueberries. A good idea. Our starters (antojitos: ‘little cravings’) were Tequeños: guayanes cheese wrapped in flaky dough with chipotle ketchup and Datiles, bacon wrapped, almond-filled dates. Both were small but very tasty snacks. The best main was the smoked rack of ribs, from which succulent meat just fell off the bone without any fat whatsoever. They were possibly the best ribs I’ve ever tasted in a restaurant. If I was any more of an animal I would have taken the bones home to suck on for breakfast. Triumphant.

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$$-$$$
Massachusetts Avenue T-stop or
Back Bay Station on the Orange Line

Ali’s Roti Restaurant. 1035 Tremont Street, Roxbury. Boston

The choice to eat here came from our need to find a good free parking spot in Boston, as close to Fenway park as possible. This shabby neighborhood eatery advertised wraps as well as curries and that’s exactly what I was in the mood to eat. Prices were astoundingly low, for good quantities of meat: the beef curry over a pilau rice with a side order of peppery channa masala chickpeas came to $8.84. The goat curry didn’t look meaty enough, and the chicken could’ve been served in a thicker sauce, but I’d probably try that next time. All the food is laid out in front of you – behind a glass screen – to direct the chef what portions you’d like. You’ll dine out of a polystyrene box with a plastic fork, sitting in wooden booths, but the cuisine is the closest to West Indian soul food I’ve tasted in the US. I hope it doesn’t close down, as the changing fortunes of the area may force it to; as it is, there are times you’d think it already has.

We ate very well here for very little, and it certainly hit the spot.

$
Area: Roxbury/ NorthEastern College

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