It’s interesting how cities with limited private space–Tokyo, NYC–have such dazzling restaurants. Well, it makes sense, doesn’t it? The restaurants are adjunct to the apartments that are often too small to have people over. In cities where the private space has for a long time been greater, the retail food shops are often better than the restaurants. NYC and Tokyo, with their huge variations in incomes, have both great restaurants and great retail food shops.
In Boston the bakeries are first-rate, for example, with Clear Flour getting better by the month: Their ryes and pretzels are delicious. Many of the Asian markets, like Hong Kong, in Allston, have terrific selections of produce and pantry items (from Japan, Korea, and Taiwan; stay away from the mainland Chinese stuff). New Deal has some of the best fish on the East Coast. Tropical Foods, in Roxbury, is renovated and huge and has a wonderful array of Caribbean and African and Central American produce and packaged goods. Russo’s is a top drawer Italian-American market. Soon, in 2016, EATALY is coming to town.
It may be that as rents rise in Boston/Cambridge–1 BR in Cambridge is about $1900 a month, about the same in Boston–we’ll probably see better restaurants. But at the cost of people living with less home.