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NYE dinner - seafood, chicken but not too much red meat on menu - backbay/south end

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Will be visiting Boston from Singapore and need some recs for NYE family dinner. Have tickets to the Pops and planning on getting there around 9:45pm, but willing to consider places in Cambridge if able to get to the concert with minimum hassle (taxis?). Difficult part is that no one in the family eats red meat or lamb and most NYE menus seem to be concentrated on both. No exotic game either so rabbit, pigeons, etc. are out as well.

No Asian restaurants since we live in Asia and it probably makes more sense to have it here. Preferably upscale but not stuffy or formal, nothing too loud as parents will definitely start complaining about noise. Oh, and no French. Seems like a tall order as I'm typing this out...

Anyway, I've looked through the boards and came up with the following list, please feel free to add on or suggest other alternatives:

1. Rialto
2. The Blue Room
3. Prezza
4. Troquet
5. No. 9 Park
6. Rendezvous
7. Toro
8. Tapeo
9. Evoo
10. Dante

I've left out places like Mistral (French), Hammersley's (NYE menu didn't work), Radius (will seem similar to what we will be having in NYC the week before visiting Boston), ECG (seems too casual), etc.

What with making reservations in NYC, Philly and Boston for the same trip, any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. As you know, lots of these places will be having special menus for New Year's Eve. Haven't seen much advertised yet and their set menus could be a deciding factor for you. One note about Mistral, I don't think of it as overly French so if that seemed like a good place to you, I wouldn't write it off. All the places you list are fine. You could walk to the Pops from Tapeo which would cut out the cab hassle. Esp. since Copley Sq. will be very busy. Rialto probably has an early seating that would work for your schedule. I think coming from the South End or Cambridge would be easier than downtown or North End as far as getting to your final destination. Usually Toro doesn't take reservations but maybe they're doing something different NYE. It really depends what the restaurants have planned cuz there's nothing wrong with anything on your list.

    1. Just FYI in case you're looking for a prix-fixe NYE menu - Prezza doesn't do one. It's actually why it's now become our yearly tradition. They don't have a special menu, just the usual wonderful food, and because they're always busy, service doesn't suffer on NYE. Also, they only have one large table for more than 6 people that is usually booked far in advance (if you have a large family). Otherwise, it fits all your criteria.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Rubee

        Thanks for the comments. Which restaurant from the list will be your pick?

        1. re: xandriacyn

          Well, the problem is (ha), you have great taste and have chosen, as Joanie said "nothing wrong" - really a great selection. How many in your party and time-wise, I think you're saying before the Pops? If so, that opens up all those considerably...or is it after?

      2. We're doing dinner before the Pops because the NYE concert starts at 10:15pm and I'm assuming it will last past midnight for the celebrations.

        Trying to pick a place for a family of five where everyone is considerably picky about food is the hardest thing. Not to mention, a special occasion like NYE and us visiting all the way from Singapore.

        I like the idea of an ala carte menu so Prezza, Tapeo, the Blue Room and Rendezvous are the forerunners at the moment. I've ruled out Dante and Rialto as the prix-fixe menus won't work for the parents. Evoo seems too far away. Troquet, unfortunately is French and No. 9 Park still hasn't released its NYE menu.

        I checked Mistral's menu too, and nope, didn't work either.

        One other question, what is the atmosphere at these restaurants? Not too noisy? 5 people shouting to be heard throughout dinner will not make a nice NYE.

        4 Replies
        1. re: xandriacyn

          Tapeo is very noisy (but good!). Rendezvous was full when we were there, and not too loud. I haven't been to Prezza or the Blue Room.

          Just a consideration, I have found cabs tough to come by on NYE. I always find one eventually, but it's not fun. If your budget allows, you might consider a car service.

          1. re: xandriacyn

            I think of the four you mentioned, they'll all be very "lively" but not crazy loud. Somehow I picture Tapeo being the quietest but I haven't been there in a long time, so can't say for sure.

            1. re: Joanie

              Yes, Prezza will be lively but not crazy. This would definitely be my pick (but have not been to Rendezvous, or the Blue Room in some time).

              I would agree also on the scarcity of cabs on NYE. It can be stressful if you have to be somewhere at a certain time and can't find one, so I think CMD had a good suggestion.

              1. re: Joanie

                I would strongly disagree about the noise at Tapeo. The last time I was there, we were literally screaming at each other to try to have a conversation. I still missed most of the conversation. That night at Tapeo was the loudest of any restaurant that I have ever experienced.

            2. You should take into account that the First Night celebration is NYE and there will be throngs of people in the city, particularly in the back bay area. Getting around by car will take longer than usual. You may want to consider a restaurant within walking distance of the POPS.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Fort Point

                Good point. There is a recent thread on restaurants near Symphony Hall.

                Also, taxis are difficult to find after Symphony concerts. If you have flexibility, make sure your hotel is within walking distance of Symphony Hall (there are lots of hotels that fit this requirement).

              2. how about great bay in kenmore square? seafood, not french, upscale but with a funky-ish atmoshphere. in the past they have offered both a tasting menu as well as an a la carte menu and it's a short cab-ride from symphony hall.

                http://www.gbayrestaurant.com/

                1. Thanks everyone for the comments. We're booked for Tapeo on NYE now. Hope it'll be a fantastic evening!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: xandriacyn

                    Enjoy! I highly recommend the pork tenderloin with blue goat cheese (if you like that sort of thing, of course). We always get that, the baked goat cheese and tomato, garlic shrimp, olives, and one or two things that are new to us (none of which has made the standard rotation).

                    1. re: xandriacyn

                      Haven't been in a few - but when I lived in the Back Bay, we always had a fun time at Tapeo. Happy New Year, and be sure to report back!