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Anniversary dinner on a budget

My girlfriend and I have 4-year our anniversary a week from today. We're college students, so money is a factor, but we can probably drop around $120 for the two of us including tax+tip. We definitely want to have 3+ courses, so recommendations for places with well-priced, good prix fixe menus would be greatly appreciated.

We're looking for French, Italian, or American - my GF doesn't want to try too many new things this time around. We're not into trendy/pretentious places. Romantic atmosphere, relatively quite, and unintrusive service are all pluses.

Thanks ahead for your recs!

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  1. Just confirming... are you excluding drinks for that price point because 3 course meal for 2 people & wine may be a bit unrealistic... And it would be just pitiful not to make a toast for the occasion...

    1. We just ate at Marco in the North End. It is reasonably priced and you can order half entrees of pasta. The Cod Cheeks are amazing! We had a nice bottle of sangeovese with it. The room is nice and small on the second floor, perfect for a romantic night out. We spent around under 120 with tip.

      1. I will probably have 1 glass of wine, but my GF doesn't really drink that much. We'd rather buy a bottle of champagne at a liquor store and drink it at home they pay a lot for wine or champagne at the restaurant.

        So yeah, $120 not including drinks.

        And I don't think it's unrealistic. I work at a very good italian restaurant with a $35 4-course prezzo fisso. I just don't want to eat there - I don't want my coworkers hounding me during our anniversary.

        2 Replies
        1. re: wax311

          La Morra?
          I'd suggest Grotto, The Dish, Ten Tables, Cafe D, Birch St. Bistro; some have prix fixe, some don't.

          1. re: Joanie

            La Morra, and request a table upstairs.

          1. re: limster

            We've been, and while the food is very good and affordable, it can get pretty noisy and crowded. Will consider it though.

          2. I would go to EVOO, love that place.

            1. Central Square's Rendezvous 3 course prix-fixe on Sundays is approximately $32, a good value. Can't remember the price of Pigalle's Sunday dinner ?$35, but it also is a good deal.

              1. You could do very well at Carmen with that budget.
                Grotto ?
                La Morra for sure (half orders for pasta course which are plentiful)
                Central Kitchen
                Ten Tables for sure
                Chez Henri - do they still have a prix fixe?
                You could go crazy at O Cantinho on that budget.
                EVOO or Gargoyles? (I much prefer the first over the latter)

                1 Reply
                1. re: MB fka MB

                  If French is your thing...

                  Chez Henri does indeed still have a 3-course prix fixe, although it's a bit more expensive than it used to be. I want to say it's now around $40 pp, wine not included. Can anyone confirm this? Regardless, the food is outstanding.

                  Pierrot Bistrot near MGH prides itself on being reasonably priced and unpretentious. While it's not my absolute favorite French food in town, it's quite good for the price point, and the atmosphere is reasonably intimate and quiet.

                  Depending on when you go and where you sit, Les Zygomates sometimes has a prix fixe menu and always has a rather nice $20/bottle wine list. If you go late and sit near the stage, it will be deafening, but the other room is often more subdued, especially earlier. The quality of the food is widely debated on this board, but again, I find it to be fairly good for the price.


                2. In your price range, I would agree with Grotto and would also suggest Lumiere (West Newton). They both offer good 3 ocurse prix fixe for ~$30-35. That plus a bottle of wine for under $40 plus tip should get you out for your price ceiling.

                  1. Grotto is perfect for what you are looking for. The half orders of pastas plate like full ones. And good value for wine.

                    1. I second Lumiere. We had our first date there, so it holds a special place for us. We haven't had a bad meal there yet and it's pretty reasonable.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: tallullah

                        Thanks for all your recs, everyone.

                        Haha a bunch of you recommended La Morra and that's where I work (line cook)! It is the type of place I'm looking for, but I definately don't want to be bothered by coworkers on our anniversary. Glad to see we're going something right, though!

                        Will definitely check out Ten Tables, Pigalle, EVOO, Chez Henri, and Lumiere for prix fixes. Grotto is a possibility, too.

                        1. re: wax311

                          EVOO 7 course is $50 pp M-Th.

                          Or maybe one of the Craigie St. Bistro multi-course options?


                      2. BarLola on Comm Ave. Tell them it's an anniversary dinner, as they were accomodating and sweet when I had a birthday dinner there.