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The best of the best?

  • m

Hi all - I've been in Boston for a couple of months and my parents are coming in to visit next weekend. I've heard a lot about the great food in this city but haven't been able to try much since I'm on a really tight budget. But not next weekend! I'm looking for some recommendations for some fantastic food and wine now that money isn't (too) much of an issue.
My dad is a wonderful cook and a huge wine snob so we're looking for places that fit the bill - amazing food, extensive wine list, but not too pretentious or stuffy. We're not into anything that is very touristy, more along the lines of smaller places that feel welcoming and like they could be real neighbourhood favourites. We love European food - French and Italian - and anything with a bit of an experiemental edge. I've heard the buzz about places like L'Espalier, Clio, No.9 Park, but I'm worried they sound a bit too...much?
I haven't spent much time in the North End so I'd be happy to check that out, and I love the feel of the South End - but we're happy to go pretty much anywhere.
I know this is very open-ended but I'd love your help! I don't want to waste this great opportunity for some wonderful meals after a few too many bowls of Annie's Mac-n-Cheese. Thank you!

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  1. I think that Grotto on Bowdoin Street (Beacon Hill) would be a good option. Italian and Mediterranean food that is outstanding, plus they have some unusual dishes (gnocchi with short ribs, for instance), and excellent wines. It's also not all that well known, and it is fairly casual and reasonably priced.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hiddenboston

      Grotto is immediately what came to my mind.

      You might also take your dad to Les Zygomates, a wine bar in the Leather district with a ton of wines by the glass. I bet he'd love that.

    2. Eastern Standard! (Just kidding)

      A sure-fire winner is Salts in Cambridge (Central Square) - not exactly neighborhoody but should hit on all the other criteria esp. wine list and $$$$.

      You should also check out the Rendezvous in Central Square as a place that has been getting some excellent reviews of late.

      On the more neighborhood-y side of things, there is Ten Tables in JP and Gargoyle's in Davis.

      1. Any idea on total budget per person?

        1. Of the three restaurants above, both L'Espalier and Clio are on the formal side. I just don't think of #9 as all that fancy. Other good choices which have great food and wine are:
          Pigalle (great food and a well chosen wine list)
          Troquet (great food and one of the best wine lists in the city)
          Meritage (Good food, good wine list, Great View)
          Prezza (Good food, Good wine list, In the North End)
          DON"T FORGET TO REPORT BACK!

          1. You asked for amazing food, extensive wine list, but not too pretentious or stuffy. My recommendations would be;

            #1- Clio
            #2- #9 Park

            If you go to #9, take Dad around the corner (very short walk) to the Fed @ 15 Beacon for some wine before dinner. The Wine list wins the top award in Wine Spectator every year.

            Avoid L'espalier, too formal.