I was highly disappointed by the South End Buttery, located on Clarendon Street. It seems to market itself as a coffee shop, yet it has all the friendly atmosphere of a grocery store (which, if you catch my drift, is very little).
As it turns out, the South End Buttery is in fact a one-stop take out restaurant, stocked with incredibly high-end, expensive products, most of which are not well designed for the take-out category in which they’ve been placed. At 2 in the afternoon, their slightly bare pastry cases offer roasted Brussel sprouts, grilled vegetables, baked salmon, and other pricy items that are usually served hot and immediately after being cooked, instead of cold and slightly soggy. I decided to check out their pre-packaged food items in the refrigerators and found an assortment of salads and yogurts. I chose a Szechuan noodle salad, and also picked up a package of Chewy Ginger Molasses cookies at the counter.
And it cost me $15.
Fifteen. Dollars. For lunch.
I was honestly shocked, but it was too late now. Hopefully it would be worth it!
Unfortunately, it was not.
The noodles were very soggy and oddly paired with mixed greens that were incredibly dry. It was also a huge portion once I took it out of the plastic container…way too much for me to eat.
I must say, the cookies were absolutely DELICIOUS. I are four faster than I even realized what I was doing.
Conclusion: South End Buttery is a great place for a quick pastry or treat, and perhaps some coffee, but skip over-paying for a mediocre lunch item.
Trident Booksellers and Cafe, 338 Newbury Street, Boston, MA
Trident Booksellers and Cafe, located conveniently on Newbury Street (what I like to call the college-kid-budget-friendly version of Fifth Avenue), combines two of my favorite things: bookstores and coffeeshops. Which, needless to say, makes it one of my favorite places in Boston.
The true treasure of this store is located on the second floor, where they have recently expanded the cafe, but also have a large collection of subject specific books including photography, art, business, etc. The cafe on the second floor is not too loud and offers a lovely atmosphere with lots of available seating (try for the circular table in the corner!) and a great view of Newbury Street.
The book store is absolutely fabulous. Many a Saturday (or other weekday afternoon) I have spent browsing the great selection of books and other trinkets to be found in the nooks and crannies of this book store.
The food seems a little overpriced but when you see the size of the portions, you’ll understand why. It definitely isn’t a place to eat if you are in a hurry (the service can be a little slow) but is a fantastic place to sit and enjoy a nice breakfast (I recommend the pancakes with fresh…no, but really….fresh fruit!) The free WiFi and incredibly friendly staff make the overall experience at Trident overwhelmingly pleasant and makes it a staple to Boston’s iconic Newbury Street.
Flour Bakery and Cafe, 1595 Washington Street, Boston, MA
Perhaps I’m speaking too soon, but Flour Bakery is probably my favorite coffee shop in Boston. It is located on the corner of Rutland Street and Washington Street in the South End, with four other locations around Boston. This particular location was incredibly inviting as it occupied a corner and had large open windows on all sides so a small, cozy coffee shop felt a whole lot bigger. There was ample seating whether for two people or a group of six. The staff was incredibly friendly and had fantastic recommendations.
The food is more satisfying because you could tell it was made with love…but also because it was INCREDIBLY cheap. And that makes food just taste so much better. I had a ginger molasses cookie, which would have been delightful on its own, but paired with a chai ginger tea (per the recommendation of the friendly staff), it was absolutely heavenly.
The one downfall to this little shop: no wifi. The tragedy. Must I say: first world problems. However, it is most definitely worth escaping the bonds of technology, even for just an hour, to enjoy a fantastic cup of tea (or coffee), a delightful pastry, and a warm, friendly atmosphere.