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Jun 15, 2007 01:01 PM

Sat. night - a place to linger and talk - good food too

The primary need is for a restaurant that doesn't need to "turn over tables," or isn't crowded-pressured tomorrow (Sat.) night. The ideal would be a place where four old friends can linger and talk for 3+ hours or so. We prefer a place that takes reservations. We'd like good, interesting, moderately-priced food. Visiting in Newton, but have a car to travel 20 or so minutes in any direction. What do you suggest?

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  1. One suggestion; The Biltmore, a neighborhood pub with great food in Newton Upper Falls. I have lingered for a couple of hours at a booth there, and you could always repair to seats at the bar if they really needed the booth, but even during weekend prime-time hours, I haven't seen it so packed that they were hurrying people, especially out of the second dining room. Great cocktails, too. One of my favorite moderately-priced places to open in the past year. More here:

    4 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      Many thanks for the link. I enjoyed the reviews and creative use the b-ball scout's terms! I went to Biltmore's website. They don't take reservations. And is it an energetic (noisy) atmosphere? We're looking for quiet. Do you have suggestions outside of Newton?

      1. re: Pam981

        Your requirements are a bit of a challenge. Most really quiet restaurants are pricey fine-dining places that will want to turn your table on a Saturday night. I think you're better off in a more casual place that might be more inclined to let you linger, even if it's not church-quiet. Perhaps you could go for a dinner somewhere, and be prepared to hit a cafe or bar before or after to extend the evening.

        Most of the places I can think of that are moderate are going to be on the noisy side on a Saturday night. It's a lot easier if you can concede something: noise or reservations or moderate price.

        Example: I quite like Fugakyu in Coolidge Corner, a very serene Japanese restaurant with a broad menu in addition to very good sushi. It's pricey, but meals tend to be slowly paced, and they take reservations. A screened-in booth is like your own private dining room.

        The Biltmore, though loud, never stopped my friends and I from conversing all night long; the booths are shallow, good for conversation, despite the lively atmosphere. But you might have to wait a half-hour to an hour for a table if you went at prime time. Not bad, considering they have good cocktails, a modest wine list, and a bunch of interesting beers on tap. The second dining room (without the bar) is a bit quieter, would be worth asking for.

        Troquet is a lovely French place near the Theater District that specializes in wine, and tends to be quiet once the pre-show crowd disappears. They take reservations, would probably let you linger (especially in the smaller downstairs dining room), but again are not especially cheap. Great food and wines, though, helpfully matched.

        Certain hotel restaurants with good lounges might do the trick; they're often set up for business dinners and meetings over drinks. Again, the places with worthy food aren't cheap: Rialto in the Charles Hotel, the Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons, Meritage or Intriuge Cafe and the Rowes Wharf Bar at the Boston Harbor Hotel, Azure and City-Bar at the Lenox.

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Thanks for your thoughtful response. You have offered many options. If we go to the Biltmore and feel pressed to "move on," then the idea about going two places, i.e., one for dinner followed by another for dessert/coffee is a good one. If we need to leave Biltmore to keep talking, where would you go from there?

          1. re: Pam981

            Hmm. The Biltmore is in a residential neighborhood, with not much around it. Maybe you could relocate to O'Hara's in Newton Highlands. Its food is kind of pub-generic, but it's a cozy, casual place for a drink. I can't recall ever having had dessert there, though.

            Another place a bit further afield is one I mentioned in my Dig review, Ariadne in Newtonville. It would be a fine dinner option (I love their semi-circular booth seating), though I wonder how long they'd let you linger on Saturday night.

            Perhaps you use Ariadne as your backup for after dinner: get seated in the bar for dessert and digestifs. The Met Club in Chestnut Hill is another possiblity for this. Both are on the fancy side, though I think Ariadne is a great value.

    2. I would suggest Amarin of Thailand in Newton Corner. I have lingered there for 2+ hours with friends, although it was a weeknight. So not sure how it is on weekends, but we never felt pressure to hurry out of there. Food is terrific! I have never had a bad meal there.