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pre-concert dining near Symphony Hall?

  • c

Does anyone have a recommendation for a place to have dinner before an 8pm concert at Symphony hall mid-week? We've tried most of the ethnic places (Thai, Indian and Korean) along Mass Ave and had a ghastly experience at Betty's Wok and Diner. Most of the restaurants along Newbury are barely open and slow to serve at 6 - 6:30pm.

Ideally we'd like to be close enough to Symphony to walk there after dinner. Any ideas?

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  1. I don't know if you have already tried Tiger Lily, which is a Malayasian place on Westland Ave, right behind Symphony hall. The food is very tasty and reasonable. The Mango Chicken is my favorite dish.

    Otherwise, I also enjoy Brasserie Jo, at the Colonnade hotel. Their food is good, and they know how to get people in and out for show time.

    1. I just had a decent and inexpensive thai meal at Pho & I on Huntington Avenue, immediately adjacent to Symphony Hall. It used to be the Indian place. It was super fresh, hot, and tasty, although it was a bit underseasoned for a thai place. Service was prompt and polite, if a bit inexperienced.

      If you've got time, I like Brasserie Jo. The Uno's should be avoided at all costs.

      The shwarma place further down Huntington toward Northeastern is not bad, either. The shwarma salad is an inexpensive and monstrous amount of food, again, fresh and tasty, if not the best you've ever had.

      1 Reply
      1. re: emdb

        It's actually in the Taste of Asia space (the erstwhile Indian place is now a haor salon, I think). I was there a few weeks ago. The food was good, but it seems to have an identity crisis. A lot of the dishes are Thai, not Vietnamese, as the name suggests, and I believe our waitress was Thai, too, because she didn't know how to pronounce a Vietnamese dish (at least that's what she said). Still, it's a nice addition to the area.

      2. what about excellent Persian at Moby Dick House of Kebab? They are a very plain hole in the wall place on Huntingdon, easy walk from Symphony. Skip all "middle Eastern" foods (falafel, baba ganoush) and go for the kebabs, the rice, the kashk-e-bademjan (eggplant dip, but better than baba). Ask for "tadik", crispy rice with stew on it....

        4 Replies
        1. re: drjooly

          I just had the fesenjoon (a traditional stew made out of pomegranate paste, walnuts, onions, with shredded chicken) at Moby Dick. It was freshly made and very tasty, although I would prefer the stew to be slightly wetter (i.e., moister). A side of cucumber yogurt, the doogh (yogurt mint drink), and the grilled pita bread were all tasty and fresh as well. Although the integrity of ingredients is beyond question, I think the prices are little too high for a mom-and-pop type-of an establishment.

          1. re: Paul

            Is the fesenjoon still a wed only special?

            1. re: Limster

              I posed the same question to the person manning the counter and got an ambigous reply. It seems that they have several specials every day. For instance, when I went there, the zereshk polo was also a special, in addition to fesenjoon. Also, the menu does not indicate specials for every day of the week but just lists dozen or so special dishes. I would suggest calling in advance.

        2. Thanks for all your excellent suggestions. I've made a list and we'll work our way through them over the next few concerts.

          1. As a long-time Symphony subscriber, I share your pain. There are very few decent places near Symphony Hall. And I second your view of Betty's.

            A few additional ideas:

            Columbus Cafe on Columbus Ave. I will be trying it for the first time next week but it has received decent reviews.

            Clio on Mass. Ave. OK, it's expensive but so are Symphony tickets.

            Domani in the Copley Square Hotel (Huntington and Exeter). Slightly longer walking distance, however.

            As to the places on Newbury/Boylston Streets, I have found that while they may be slow at 6:00, they will respond if you tell them you need to be at Symphony by 8:00. They all want the business.