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Industry Experts on the Top Restaurant Standbys of 2011

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As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. This year, we asked the group eight questions, from Meal of the Year to Top Newcomers. All will be answered by the time we turn off the lights at the end of the week. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut and pasted herein, and look for additional contributors throughout the week.
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[Photo: Bistro du Midi/Haverson Architecture]

Q: What were your top restaurant standbys in 2011?

Tom O'Keefe, BostonTweet: My top standbys for 2011 are no surprise to my followers; the Publick House for craft beers and mac 'n cheese, Eastern Standard for an Old Cuban and baked rigatoni, and Anna's Taqueria for burritos.

MC Slim JB, restaurant reviewer, Stuff Magazine, Boston Phoenix: My regular rotation is mostly modest: Peach Farm, S&I Thai, the Allston Super 88 Food Court, Trattoria Toscana, The Citizen Public House before or after Sox games. I live in the South End, so ended up at Coppa, The Gallows, Myers + Chang, Toro, Estragon, and J.J. Foley’s Café quite a bit.

Marc H., HiddenBoston:
McKenna's in Dorchester, O'Sullivan's in Somerville, Village Sushi in Roslindale, McKay's in Quincy.

Penny and Ed Cherubino, BostonZest: Island Creek Oyster Bar has been such a perfect addition to the city. Rendezvous Central Square is everything you could want in a great, comfortable, regular spot. Neptune Oyster: Penny needs her hot, buttered lobster roll fix on a regular basis. Hamersley's Bistro never disappoints. It was our first regular place in Boston when we moved here 20 years ago and it's still on the list. Coppa is our Friday afternoon reward when we've had a successful work week. We love weekend afternoons at the bar at Bistro du Midi. Trident Booksellers + Cafe delivers a great breakfast any time of the day. Pho Basil, India Samraat, and Cafe Jaffa are our go-to places for quick meals and wonderful take out.

Devra First, restaurant critic, food reporter, The Boston Globe: I spend most of my time eating at restaurants for review, so I don’t get to return to ones I really love particularly often. I’m sure this is scarring me emotionally, or giving me commitment issues, or something. But I do end up at the Gallows in the South End with some frequency. The location is convenient for me, and it’s just relaxed and fun. And it’s dark. Sometimes you just want to be somewhere dark. Others that come to mind: Coppa, S&I Thai, and Xinh Xinh.

Rachel Leah Blumenthal, Boston Food Bloggers, restaurant reviewer, CBS Boston: My standbys are all pretty close to home: Highland Kitchen, Trina's Starlite Lounge, and Zoe's Chinese are the main ones.

Damien S., community manager, Yelp Boston: The thing about standbys is that they stay standbys. Dave's Fresh Pasta, Olde Magoun's Saloon (the menu is all over the place and their 10c wings are ridiculous) and the fried catfish from Redbones near the homestead; El Oriental de Cuba and Canto 6 are must-visits when in JP and, of course, The Lower Depths for dollar Fenways franks, chargrilled and topped with, well, anything.

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