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Graduation Dinner

Probably jumping the gun, but like a true CH, the meals are the most important part of the trip!

We'll be in Boston/Cambridge for my sister's graduation in June...as will thousands of other families I'm sure. Looking to you for some recommendations on restaurants.

Most of us will not have spent much time in Boston, so everything will be new to us. And those who live in Beantown are college students, so outside of pizza, things will also be new to them. Would like to dine at THE Boston establishments...the places you'd recommend to people visiting for the first time. We'll have 8 in our party and we do love to laugh, so nothing too romantic or quiet in atmosphere. Price is not a concern, however, we don't need to go to the most expensive restaurant if they don't have the most wonderful food to go with it. Upscale is great, but the meal should not = tuition for the year.

Cuisine, we're well travelled and from the west coast, so from what I read, places like Ming's Blue Ginger won't appeal. If it's ethnic cuisine it should be very authentic or a well executed variation on a theme. Otherwise, we eat everything. Dad likes Italian and French. Brother in law loves Asian (any Asian, really). Mom loves seafood. We can all generally eat happily with any type of cuisine. Except maybe Scottish--haven't quite learned to stomach haggis yet.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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  1. mare and mama maria in the north end. l'espalier for very fancy. troquet and pigalle in the theater district. mistral and sorrelina for modern mediterranean. locke-ober is downtown for classic old-school boston. in harvard square, rialto is renovating and will be sparkly new. clio is very good, but a disaster on those weekends.

    you don't mention if there are small kids in the party...

    btw, you are not jumping the gun. literally tens of thousands of people come to this area on those graduation weekends. make reservations NOW.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      hotoynoodle, thanks for the recs. No small kids in the party. My sister (the graduate) will be the youngest.

    2. I'm a North Ender, so here are my Italian recs:

      Terramia (small, charming, fun, delicious)
      Mamma Maria's (ignore the cheesy name; excellent food)
      Carmen (another small, charming, fun place, the very essense of the North End)
      Rabia's (Italian/Med. cuisine)
      La Galleria 33 and/ or La Brace (excellent grilled meats in the Italian style)
      Taranta (an Italian/Peruvian fusion. Sounds weird, tastes great)
      Sage (waaa! It's moved. Sorry.)

      Outside of the North End, Sorellina is excellent, on the upscale side.

      For French, I enjoy the bistro food at Hamersley's, and the affordable French cuisine at Sel de la Terre (near the aquarium).

      Clio is absolutely wonderful (be sure to do the tasting menu), but quite expensive. Worth it though. Even though you're from the west coast, you might also want to give Uni (next to Clio) a try. Same chef (Ken Oringer), superb, innovative sushi.

      No. 9 Park is good, but IMHO, quite spotty. Locke Ober is quintessential, old school Boston, but with Lydia Shire at the helm the food can be very good.

      1. Ethereal, All great suggestions from Hotoy and BB3 but if i had to pick one, i would pick Clio (and get the tasting). Might be best to book an early dinner if you anticipate crowds. They also have a private room if you want to go that route.

        1. i will just offer this about clio: the kitchen crashes VERY HARD on these high pressure/high volume weekends. it's not pretty and at those prices not acceptable.

          2 Replies
          1. re: hotoynoodle

            i've been there on high volume weekends (i must confess i've probably eaten at Clio over 100 times) and not been overly disappointed (I've only sent back a dish once, it was a kurabota pork). I think it's worth the risk given that there is nothing of that caliber in Seattle (hometown of the original poster). An early dinner (like, 5:30pm) should help ease the slam factor, hopefully. i HAVE experienced a big slowdown in their service between the main courses and the desserts when doing the tasting menu, though, and often skip dessert.

            1. re: barleywino

              Damn, I haven't been any place in this city 100 times, much less a $40 entree place. Can I have your job?

          2. The original comment has been removed