clueless in Boston/Cambridge...
My husband and I have planned a last minute (leaving tomorrow) romantic get-away to Boston. We love to eat out. I would love some tips on some local favorites. Any word on Chez Henri, Casablanca, or Harvest. Also looking for eats in Back Bay. Not looking for anything to pricey. Hints on fresh seafood would be great. We will be staying in a B&B so breakfast is no problem. More interested in dinner ideas. Thanks in advance.
Ana Sortun, who was the head chef at Casablanca for 6 years, left last fall to open a new restaurant in Cambridge called Oleana, which opened early this year (full disclosure: my wife works there). While my opinion is far from unbiased, the food is awesome--Turkish/Mediterranean with French & Spanish influences. The space is cozy and intimate without being cramped. Save room for dessert--the pastry chef is great. Oleana is on Hampshire Street, between Kendall and Inman Squares.
My personal favorite restaurant in Cambridge is Cafe Baraka, on Pearl Street in Cambridge a few blocks south of Mass Ave. The food is North African; if you want to order the bisteeya (sp?), you need to call 36 hours in advance. The place is small (8 tables), cash-only, and there's no beer/wine allowed (not even BYOB).
Both places are mid-range in price; Oleana is a bit more expensive.
re: Seth Ditchik
Hey Seth, thanks for the tip re: Oleana. Spouse & self ended up there for my birthday dinner, and EVERYTHING, especially the food, was awesome. The room, the service, the quiet jazz in the background, and the glass of excellent Portuguese red only enhanced the delicious and beautifully presented chow. For those of you who want to salivate over the details, we ate: deviled eggs w/tuna & dill; bean & walnut pate on lovely crusty bread; a lamb dish with a side of eggplant moussaka for him; grilled scallops over sauteed chard over basmati rice with vermicelli and pistachios, all garnished with braised leeks, for me; and for dessert, port profiteroles with "sour cherries", which were really just dried cherries which had been softened somewhat in a warm red sauce. My spouse says it may have been the best meal he's ever had in a restaurant. I think I need to go back and make further investigations into that menu, to say nothing of the prominent display of ports over the bar. ;>
My husband and I love Chez Henri. The menu changes w/ the seasons so I don't have any particular recommendations but the seafood choice has always been great for me and my husband has liked every meat selection so far.
Harvest is very good too but more expensive then Chez Henri.
I am not a fan of Casablanca. I might have just struck out every time I've been there but always dissappointed.
I don't know Harvest well, but it is on the pricey side for Cambridge. Chez Henri is good but not great. Casablanca is reccommended, as is Central Kitchen in Central Sq. Truc in the S. End, right next to the Back bay is reasonable, but I don't know how the new chef is. Bomboa is fun, french-brazilian food at ~$22 an entree, right in the Back Bay. Clio is excellent, but expensive. Biba, overlooking the Boston common is expensive at night, but lunch is relaxed and entrees are ~$18.
Let us know what you try.