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If you had to choose one for tonight...for chef

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My aunt is in town from Chicago, and she is a chef (here for seafood show at Hynes). I'm trying to decide where to take her to eat - I usually eat on the Cambridge side, and have limited funds, so don't have an overall sense of restaurants in the city. I've read the board, but still can't decide. No specific cuisine, price cap pp is probably $60, any Boston area location. The first places that I thought of are: Oleana, Rendezvous, and Franklin Cafe - mainly because I have not been to any of them (can you believe it??) and have wanted to. I also thought of Matt Murphy's, which I have been to and love. I've been to Helmand a lot lately, so not there...HELP!

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  1. If you don't mind forgoing alcohol with the meal, perhaps Baraka Cafe in Central Square for North African?

    1. I believe it's still restaurant week? I would go to Pigalle and sit at the bar-early! Great bar menu at resonable prices. I would call first 617 423 7205.

      1. restaurant week ended last night, friday. some places may extend it and pick it back up tomorrow.

        you can enjoy a very good meal over here at eastern standard at that price point. and central kitchen on your side.

        1. Pava in Newton Center, where Chef Susan Regis reigns, has wonderful food.

          1. Might be cool to try a place that makes a different kind of food from the restaurant where your friend works. Here's a variety of places that I like, some will be way below your $60 budget. Tamarind Bay, Salt and Grain, Cafe Baraka, Buk Kyung (I or II), Reef Cafe, Aneka Rasa, New Shanghai, Shanghai Gate, Khao Sarn, The Daily Catch (North End).

            1. Take her to Eastern Standard

              1. I ate last night at the counter at B&G, seated right next to a couple from southwestern France who also were in town for the Seafood show. The place was great as always. And the couple from France loved it too. That's a pretty good vote of confidence if you ask me!

                1 Reply
                1. re: Blumie

                  many heated threads on here about loving/hating b&g. if they each start with a glass of wine and share a dozen oysters, their bill will already be close to $30 p/p.

                2. I agree, B&G is wonderful and it's fun to sit at the bar and watch the oysters being opened and the food being prepared. The service is very nice and not pretentious even though it's a high style restaurant. I like that!

                  1. I am going to suggest Gargoyles and EVOO. Both show off cheffy sensibilities but are in your price-range. Oleana might appeal because of Ana Sortun's reputation, but I've not been in a while so I can't give it a first-hand impression. If she's a cool fun chef-aunt, take her to Toro and snack on tapas -- just watch when you go to mitigate the crowds.

                    1. I second EVOO, or Pigalle.

                      1. Pigalle RW is on for another week. Also I went twice during RW on the advice of chowhounders. First time was excellent, the 2nd time was not stupendous, just satisfactory. I'm not sure I'll be going again (priced out of my league normally.)

                        1. I've heard good things about Rendezvous but I personally haven't been. It doesn't take reservations, is very casual, and might involve a wait, but Ken Oringer's Toro at the South End is an excellent tapas restaurant with some really delicious food that would fit your price range.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Josh M

                            Rendezvous does take reservations, both by phone and on Open Table. Just fyi...

                            1. re: Josh M

                              Rendezvous takes reservations and is excellent. It would fit in your price range and always seems to get great reviews!

                              1. re: AnjLM

                                Sorry I meant Toro doesn't take reservations.

                            2. Franklin Cafe is one of the best in the city, and all entrees are less than $20. Shouldnt be too big of a crowd on a Monday night (there are only 10 tables and bar). Toro is an awesome experience, but I have spent a lot of dough there when i have gone. The tapas may start at $4, but all the good ones are $8-$15. Otherwise, Tremont 647 is good. My absolute fave is No 9 Park. Everyone thinks pricey automatically, but if you stick with their bar menu, it's all about $20 or less. If you sit at the bar, the bartenders will make the night with their drinks and knowledge. I also think ES is great place.