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Feb 7, 2002 06:14 PM

Superb french food in central Boston or Cambridge

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I am looking for a VERY good french restaurant but that doesn't require formal wear (jackets). I am prepared to pay up to 50$ a head tops but not more than that. I am also looking for excellent but friendly service. I would like to find somewhere quite romantic as it is for my husband's birthday which is on 14th Feb but celebrated the weekend after so won't be problem with booking. Hope this isn't too much to ask!

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  1. I would suggest the theater district..might push your wallet a bit but well worth it. Acquitaine in the South End has great food..but too noisy and tables are too close together to be called romantic.

    2 Replies
    1. re: 9lives

      Consider Hammersley's in the South End as well. I was treated to a birthday dinner there that was truely memerable and romantic. I sang with belly pleasure at the top of my lungs all the way home.

      1. re: Louise

        Hammersleys is great ...but WAY off the price range..apps run $12-20...entrees in the $30 range...plan on spending $200 or so on dinner..but it's very good.

    2. I'd suggest Brasserie Jo in the colonnade hotel. It's an outpost of the Chicago original, but very good, reasonable prices. this time of year, go for the choucroute or cassoulet. And although the wine list is good and reasonable, this is, after all, a brasserie, so order beer.

      1. 1) Sel de La Terre

        L'Espalier is arguably the best French restaurant in the city. However, it won't fit in your price range, and may even require a jacket. Sel de la Terre is L'Espalier's less expensive, more casual, little sibling. I had very good food during my two visits. Excellent pate. One of the best plates of steak frites in memory. Stellar breads.

        2) Sandrine's

        Cambridge institution. Classic Alsatian menu. Lots of varieties of Flammekeuche, choucroute, fois gras, bacon and onion tartlette, etc.

        3) Aquitaine

        French bistro. Lots of good french wines. Intimate, but sometimes a bit loud.

        1 Reply
        1. re: C. Simon

          Those are three good recommendations altho as someone else said, Aquitaine is too loud. I'd also recommend Chez Henri between Harvard and Porter Square. And the cafe at Maison Robert is definitely in your price range and less formal than MR.

        2. Though not considered classic French... I persoanlly like Chez Henri in Cambridge quite a bit. Been there several times and all had very satisfying meals. The price is within your range too. Pretty laid back, relaxing place.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Ben
            Heathen & Spells

            I second Chez Henri, Very nice atmosphere, very good food. It has been our "default" destination for special occasion meals for many years and allways satisfying. In fact we used to also go to Chez Jean that was in space before it (from 1958 untill it was replaced by Chez Henri when original owners retired and their son gave it up), Jean was a CLASSIC unreconstructed french (bearnaise sauce, butter, butter, butter !!) place with charmingly old fashioned decor right out of a the fifties. Much missed, but Chez henri is worthy sucsessor with a cuban twist.

            1. re: Heathen & Spells

              i had a bad experience there with the prix fixe menu. the muscle shells were flaking off like brittle stars & the broth was a little thick and funky for my taste. the gnochi was obviously left under a heat lamp too long because a thick film developed over the top and they squirted out upon being touched. the wine was far too expensive for what it was. so it was definitely not worth the $60/head total.

              i would like to try it again and be pleasantly surprised, but it is a big investment for experimenting.