Boston >Food & Dining > Parish Cafe
361 Boylston St, Boston, MA | Directions 0211642.351873 -71.070696
Neighborhoods: Back Bay, Back Bay East
rude waitperson – We had seen this restaurant noted as serving good vegetarian food. Visiting the city during a heatwave, ready to cool off and have a drink or two and an early dinner, we entered the cafe. We waited for the hostess, asked to sit near the window, said that we would head to the restroom first. When we emerged, we were chastised for not waiting for the hostess and told that next time we came we should do so. Hot and thirsty, we ignored the rudeness and dirty screen at the window, and sat. The waitperson threw menus at us, and stalked away without taking drink orders. We left.
She may have had a long hot day, but so had we and her crankiness was not something we chose to deal with. We found a great place down the street and left a hefty tip for their great service.
Avoid Parish Cafe -we will.
Two Words: Beer, Zuni – I am going to start this off by saying this is one of my favorite places to go, if not my favorite place to go in Boston. I was born and raised in this city and in my opinion, I have had one of the greatest sandwhiches here.
The whole concept behind this place is just cool. They have executive chefs from different restaurants around the area create a sandwhich for their menu. 9 out of 10 times its gonna be great. Which brings me to my favorite sandwhich.
It is called the zuni roll and it is amazing. It consists of Smoked turkey breast, bacon, scallions, dill havarti cheese, and cranberry-chipotle sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla and served warm. This sandwhich or wrap (whatever) kicks serious arse. This comes with potato salad or cole slaw (pick the potato salad). The funny thing is that it doesnt look all that big but it fills you up and I am a big guy (like 215 lb. big).
The other thing that really keeps bringing me back is the Beer Mug Club which I am a proud member of (working on my second...I know I drink too much but who cares?!!!!) For those of you who do not know what this is, it is an exclusive club of about 600+ people who have consumed 75 (78 when I started) beers from all accross the world and country and received a mug laser engraved for your accomplishment. Hmmm, I probably should of broken that really long sentence up. Don't forget you have one year to complete it. Anyways, the one downside is that a lot of these beers are very expensive but to do it once is truly a joy and a great experience. You get to try all different beers from around the world and really expand your pallet to the wonder that is beer. The mug is personalized with 20 characters or less and you keep it at the bar to drink from later. The mug is also 25oz but you still pay for a pint (that's 9 oz free!! well not really but I'll keep dreaming). Like I said before the beer is expensive and to get this mug you are probably gonna drop like $500+ over a year so be prepared to cry yourself to sleep a couple of times.
I'll end with this. If you haven't gone, go! Beer Beer Beer!
gourment sandwiches, huge portions – I was introduced to the Parish Café by a few friends and former coworkers and the illustrious Phantom Gourmet. I don’t always believe the Phantom so the coworker recommendation held far more weight with me. I don’t normally get all jazzed up about sandwiches; I mean, how hard is it to make a good sandwich? Bread, a few toppings, go. Parish Café made me a believer that sandwiches can stand as dinner and hold their own against any gourmet meal out there.
This little gem, located on Boylston Street near the Common, prides itself on sandwiches cultivated from some of the country’s finest chefs. I noshed on ‘Rowdy’s Famous Chicken Sandwich’ and, while not exactly health conscious, it was amazing. Chicken cutlet, swiss and cheddar cheese, bacon (mmmm, bacon). I snagged a bite of a friend’s Zuni Roll (turkey, bacon, scallions, havarti cheese, some sort of cranberry goodness) and it was divine as well. I hear that’s one of the most popular in the restaurant. Make sure you get down there as soon as you can. It will rock your socks.
Boston's Best between 2 slices of Bread – Somewhat hidden amongst the handful of furniture & interior design stores in Boylston Street's 300's, it's not the most conspicuous of eateries. In the warmer months, there's ample patio seating out front, perfect for a leisurely pint and people watching.
Boston has its fancy places, but food that is simple, familiar and comforting is more this city's style. Like the sandwich. And that is what Parish is known for. Of course, these aren't your mama's PB&J or ham & cheese. Each sandwich is created by the best chefs in Boston. That said, no changes can be made to their creations. But trust me, you don't want to.
I love Parish because you can sample the cuisine of the best restaurants all over the city in a chill atmosphere for little money. The menu also changes seasonally so there's always something different (don't worry, old favorites are put into the specials rotation).
There's the SDLT from Geoff Gardner of Sel De La Terre, an amazing smoked duck BLT with applewood bacon and caper mayo on rye. Or you have Rowdy's Famous Chicken Sandwich courtesy of Rowdy Bessey from Flash's, the crispiest, least greasy but moist breaded baked chicken with melted swiss and cheddar, chipotle mayo, bacon lettuce and tomato on a roll. And 10 others.
There's also a sandwich created by chef of Parish Cafe, Sean Simmons. The Chipotle Meatloaf Club embodies all the familiarity of mom's version but with a punch of smoky heat. Served on white with melted Jack cheese and chipotle mayo, it's the perfect blend of Southwest flavor with pure Americana. And of course there's the mandatory side of mashed potatoes, which are nothing special, with a beef gravy that's reminiscent of that powdered stuff from a packet. Trade them in for the potato salad (it's some of the best I've ever tasted), and you've got a winner.
With limited seating and a shortage of waitstaff, service can be slow and confusing. You don't have a specific waiter; basically flag down anyone in a black apron and hope for the best. But once my sandwich arrives, I don't really care that my water glass isn't refilled more than once. These portable culinary creations are something I can't live without.
Worst Treatment Ever Experienced at a Restaurant – This is the first time I have ever posted a review. I am also about to call the manager. Last night, my boyfriend and I were trekking through HUGE snowstorm in Boston to try and find something to eat. We had been to Parish before and its wasn't bad so we thought it would be a good option for us. We were tired, hungry, freezing and somewhat disheveled from the storm when we arrived. You know what we were told? The overly inflated, horrendous bouncer told us we were too drunk to come in. Really? We hadn't had anything to drink. Rather than argue (mostly because we were so humiliated), we left. But I will NEVER set foot the Parish again and I will tell everyone I know in the area about what happened.
One of the Back Bay's most popular patios and an affordable menu of designer sandwiches make for a crowd-pleasing spot. – In Short
Parish Cafe's primary draw is its patio, which provides prime people-watching along upper Boylston Street. A relaxed crowd camps at the bar to enjoy an impressive list of beers and martinis. Straightforward starters are overshadowed by an assortment of signature sandwiches, all of which were designed by local chefs. Examples include Ana Sortun's "Oleana" (beer-battered mussels, hot peppers and Turkish tartar sauce) and Jasper White's "Summer Shack" (pan-fried haddock, homemade seafood salt and tomato remoulade).
Atrocious Service; Great Sandwiches – Incredibly good sandwiches, but the surliest waitresses in Boston. I had the same experience as a previous reviewer -- I requested potato salad; I got coleslaw. When I politely asked for what I ordered, I got attitude. That said, the sandwiches are great, especially the Zuni Roll.
The WORST service in Boston – Went on a weekday at about 2 pm. It seemed as if the hostess wait staff went out of their way to be extremely surly and rude, it was if they were doing me a favor by letting me eat there. I made a point to say twice no tomatoes on my sandwich as politely as possible, but of course my sandwich had tomatoes. When I asked to have it remade without tomatoes the waiter and kitchen looked at me as if was my fault. The food was decent, I had the meatloaf sandwich, the bread was over toasted but it was pretty good. The one decent waiter in the restaurant did make an effort to reconcile the fault by comping the sandwich.
Are you kidding? Why do people go there? – Just an all around bad experience, I really don't understand why people bother.. Service was REALLY bad, waited 5 minutes to get seated in a half empty room. And the food is a JOKE, I've had better prepared sandwiches at Subway. They seem funky and different on the menu but they come bland and boring, one could eaasily make better at home. And I'm sorry but if I spend $12 for a sandwich I'd like more than a handful of potatoe chips. Overpriced and Over-rated - STAY AWAY
Great food, great beer selection, nice servers – I love this place. The food is always great, and is very reasonably priced for what it is. Appetizers are awesome - get the white bean hummus for an app or the vegetarian potstickers - both are yum. And the sandwiches are eclectic and interesting. The beer selection is second to none in Boston, and the service is unpretentious, laid-back, and quick. I love to bring out of towners here for a late afternoon lunch. Also good for after work drinks and apps. Don't bother to wait for an outside table during the summer, but watch your bags if you do get one - it's a busy street corner, and I've heard of several people whose things were lifted while they sat on the patio.
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