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Restaurant for 4, tomorrow in Boston

My parents are coming into town tomorrow night and I'm in charge of picking the restaurant. They aren't new to Boston or anything, and usually this is more fun, but my stepmother is having some hearing issues and we're more concerned than usual about ambiance.

Here are the rules:

They're staying at the Ritz, but please don't judge about this. They're treating themselves to a nice weekend and time with the kids. I'd prefer to find a restaurant within reasonable distance from the hotel. No Cambridge, nothing beyond Kenmore.

So, dinner for four. Restaurant must be quiet, so that we can all hear each other without too much background noise. Also, the menu must have something that can be prepared with little or no salt. Sushi is kinda out on this one, though we've made it work in the past. I'd avoid sushi for this occasion, though. Also, they don't like Italian food. It's a long story. But no Italian.

As for expense, something comparable to 647.

-menu likely to have something that can be made salt-free or low-salt
-near their hotel
-not Italian
-must accept reservations

Thank you in advance for your suggestions!

My list currently includes:
bin 26

I refuse to eat at any of the Back Bay Restaurant Group restaurants, so don't bother suggesting any.


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  1. Lala Rokh sounds like it might fit most of the criteria; I'd suggest calling ahead to ask about the salting when you're making the reservation.

    Is it just no sushi or no Japanese entirely? Douzo does have many non-sushi dishes if that's within your criteria.

    I'd also recommend eating a bit earlier or later, as places can be less crowded, especially on a Friday.

    1. I'll definitely look into Lala Rokh. I've been meaning to try it!

      As for Douzo, I had lunch there today actually! It's fantastic. But we did Osushi thet last time they were here, and I think stepmom felt left out. I'll definitely suggest it, though.


      1. I don't really have a good idea as to what is or isn't good made without salt, but Pigalle is a nice quiet restaurant with lovely food. They take reservations as well.

        1. troquet, pigalle as well as lala rokh. perhaps davio's? more of a steakhouse than really italian. clio is quiet but pricey. no. 9 also pricey. wherever you decide, it will help everybody (your party and the restaurant) if you call ahead with your food restrictions.

          early at les zygomates, because they have live music later.

          1. Laurel is a good idea. Besides the other suggestions, Petit Robert Bistro in Kenmore would work. Beacon Hill Bistro would be nice. I won't say Rist. Toscona (sp) but I'm very curious how BOTH parents don't like Italian. Such a non-threatening style of food. Even northern Italian?

            1. I'm loving these suggestions, thank you!

              As for the Italian... I come from a small town in PA, coal region, where nearly every dining out option is Italian. My mother didn't cook so we either had Palermo's or Ricky's Chinese take-out nearly every night for dinner for my entire childhood. I can't deal with Italian food, either. Even though it wasn't particularly good, the flavors are still the same and I know they'd prefer to have food that they don't normally have access to. Even the nice restauarants...everything is over-dressed, over-seasoned, over-salted, over-buttered, fried... you get the point. It's a cultural divide that isn't easily reconciled.

              I'm going to suggest Petit Robert, Laurel, and Lala Rokh to them, see what they think. Also considering Atlantic Fish Co as an alternative to Legal, even though I'm solidly anti-BBRG, I still enjoyed the food there.

              1 Reply
              1. re: racheous

                When I went to Petit Robert in Kenmore on a Friday night a few weeks ago it was moderately loud - fine for me, but it might be more noisy than you would like. The food, however, was delicious so if you have never been you should definitely try it some other time.

              2. If you want to go delicious old school, The Oak Room actually has really good food, and sounds like it meets all your requirements.

                So, tell us the anti-Italian food story, okay?

                1. What about Sel de la Terre or Grotto? Grotto is considered "Italian" by some but I usually get seafood there (the pan seared trout, the scallops and the swordfish are all fantastic) and dining companions have raved about the steak (the fondue app is so yummy). They also have an amazing price fix and it is really just across the Common from the Ritz.
                  I also like Scollay Square on a night like tonight. They have great steak tips, burgers and mac and cheese. For that matter, 75 Chestnut is cozy and I like their relatively new menu and space. The scallops and fish are also quite food there.

                  1. My father has terrible problems with his hearing aids and loud restaurants. When we think to mention it when making reservations, almost all restaurants are very accomodating about finding the quietest corner for us. And yes, going early really helps too. If you go to Lala Rokh you might let yourself be guided by the waitstaff when ordering -- we have had much more interesting meals when we've done that.

                    1. I would take my parents to:

                      They would not like Lala Rokh, just because they aren't adventurous.

                      1. If you are looking for low salt, I would avoid Pigalle. I went there with four people and every single one of us had trouble even eating our meals because they were so salty. It was actually disgusting (and none of us are particularly sensitive to salt at all). I know I am in a major minority here, but I will never go back.

                        I haven't been to bin 26 but I'm pretty sure it is Italian.

                        1. Bin 26 has an overly ambitious menu with poor results- went there recently and was dissapointed by the food- but the service was great and the bartender was very nice

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: foodforthought.m

                            Nice place for glass of wine and small plates. Not sure about full meals. But... not all that quiet - kinda odd shaped room too,

                          2. Follow-up:

                            Friday night was at McCormick & Schmick's. They wanted seafood, and it seemed the best choice, even though we've been there a number of times before (and they were recently at one in Chicago), but they were very pleased. My stepsis doesn't like seafood at all and it has great alternatives. If anyone has other ideas for next time, I'm all ears. I'm kinda over Legal and anti-BBRG, so no Atlantic Fish Co....

                            Saturday night a family friend came down from Cape Ann and they wanted to take her to 647. Which is always fine with me. I was hoping for something different to take them to, but I'm really happy they decided they like 647, because I think it's great.

                            I will keep all of these suggestions in mind for the next time they visit, which appears to be at the end of the month! (It's a good thing we all like each other!)