Best places for $50 meal for two?
A friend is getting married and I'm looking to spend 200 in restaurant gift certificates for them. They both just finished grad school, are unemployed and aren't huge foodies. Instead of getting them something to blow on one nice dinner which is what I usually do, I think they might actually enjoy getting four $50 gift certificates so they could go out four times. I'm struggling for some good places in Boston area with meals in the $15 range...
Not sure where your friends live, but for that price point if you want to send them out for a "nice" dinner in Boston those gift certificates could actually go a long way in Dorchester where two very good restaurants (dbar and Ashmont Grill) and one that, if you order correctly, has pretty good potential with a solid atmosphere and patio dining (224 near Southie/Dot line; the AG has outdoor seating, too). My feeling on fine dining is that you should never be able to order "wrong" at a "great restaurant" and things have occassionally gone awry at 224. Sometimes, they "reach" on dishes but other times they really shine. The other night, my wife and I spent $61 on food (+$9 on a glass of wine for her) and got one cup of soup (celery and gorgonzola, which was great), shared an appetizer, each had a pasta entree (get the grilled shrimp and cherrystone clams over angel hair; my wife got a creamy ravioli dish with way too many competing flavors) and each had a dessert -- cobbler for her and a really good apple bread pudding for me. ... Meanwhile, Ashmont Grill and dbar are pretty solid start to finish, I think.
Here are a few suggestions --the key is not having your friends be really big drinkers..if they aren't and can get by with a drink or two than there are a lot of options:
-Toro (yes, you can spend LOTS more than 50 bucks here) but if you each have a drink and split a bunch of tapas you can certainly have a nice meal for $50.
-Ten Tables (in JP, they offer some great prix fixe options that will give your buds a full meal for just over $50 or they could order a la carte and not spend that much.)
-Franklin Cafe (excellent choice, two can easily eat for $50 here)
-I agree w/Petit Robert Bistro (either south end or kenmore)
-Stella (good italian in the south end, again as long as they don't go crazy w/drinks $50 is doable.)
I second the recommendation for 10 Tables. They have a Wed. night prix fixe deal--appetizer, main & dessert for $25, thus $50 + tip for 2 w/no drinks. They change their menu with some regularity too.
Trattoria Toscana in the Fenway also does excellent quality Italian at very reasonable prices.
I would recommend Little Q in Quincy for wonderful Mongolian hotpot and Neptune Oyster in the North End for exceptional seafood. Davio's To Go has great mid-week lunchtime picnic material (especially the pasta and soup of the day) near the Garden and the Common. What a nice gift!
I TOTALLY agree with Petit Robert's and The Franklin. You may also want to check out:
Ivy (downtown crossing, ALL bottles of wine are $26, the arancini and Caesar salad are SO good)
Peking Tom's (downtown crossing)
Brown Sugar (T-accessible, great pad thai)
The Border Cafe (fun and delicious Tex-Mex, not very upscale though, located in Harvard Square)
Bob’s Southern Bistro (South End, Columbus Ave, everything I’ve had there is good, plus they have live bands)
Teatro (Tremont Street, downtown area, pooh service, yummy food)
Sibling Rivalry (fun concept and place, ok food, south end)
Good luck- I think getting several gift certs is a very thoughtful and nice idea. Good luck!