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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...

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  1. They'd have to add a little bit here and there but I'm thinking Franklin, Columbus Cafe, Petit Robert Bistro and Audobon. Or maybe they could get a ~$25 3 course lunch at L'Espalier, Radius or No. 9 Park.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Joanie

      Franklin and PRB were the two that came immediately to mind for me too! Audubon is another great suggestion. If they want to go to Somerville, I'd add Vinny's at Night for portions that could feed them for days.

    2. 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.

      1. 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)
        -Ashmont Grille
        -Stella (good italian in the south end, again as long as they don't go crazy w/drinks $50 is doable.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: twentyoystahs

          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.

        2. 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!

          1. 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!

            2 Replies
            1. re: 007foodieusa

              2 people cannot eat dinner for $50 at sibling rivalry, unless they just have a few apps at the bar. entrees start at $24.

              franklin is a great bet, and i'll add silvertone and the good life.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                That's actually the way I like to eat there, a few cocktails, a couple of apps at the bar...but even eating that way is pushing the $50 for two price point, with some apps in the mid-teens...

            2. Delphino's in Roslindale would be a good selection

              3 Replies
              1. re: xperteater

                I like Delfino's a lot, been a few times in recent months, but it's probably the priciest restaurant in Rozzie: apps in the low teens, pastas in the high teens, entrees in the low 20s. I think you'd have a hard time getting out of there for $50/couple, even without wine.

                In Rozzie, Birch Street Bistro and Nuvo come closer pricewise, though their food isn't as nice as Delfino's (I prefer BSB of the two).

                Geoffrey's, which I have not tried (but that got a nice rave in the Globe today) seems promising, and would also hit the price mark in that neighborhood.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  i guess i agree, $50 you would probably have to cut corners

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    i have found that the sandwiches at Birch St. are better than the meals

                  1. re: Niblet

                    Grotto is one of my favourite places in the city, however two people cannot eat for $50, more like $40 each.

                  2. Why not something a little different like Kaze Shabu? $50 can easily buy an assortment of fresh seafood, vegetables and meats, not to mention a nice bottle of Sake with it. If they aren't huge foodies I imagine suggestions for 3-course lunch meals at L'Espalier (for example) wouldn't be up their alley.. Kaze has delicious food, is a fun dining experience, and might be a place to think about.

                    1. How about getting one of the certificates for Figs. I went recently with my boyfriend and we split a pizza and a salad (no alcohol since we were there for lunch but we got iced tea...which we are convinced was Lipton) and had a great meal for way under $50...I think it was closer to $30.

                      Also, not sure if they do gift certficates but that same weekend we had a wonderful meal at Trattoria il Palino in the North End. Really wonderful Italian food in a romantic setting (especially the outdoor seating) and our meal (1 glass of wine, 2 pasta dishes and 1 appetizer) came to around $50 or so.

                      One way to go is certificates in different parts of town so they can get out and explore...or you can get them all in their neighborhood.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Elyssa

                        Some more ideas:

                        Cafe D in Jamaica Plain

                        Laurel in the South End

                        Orinoco, also in the South End (I have actually never been here, but people seem to like it)

                      2. Helmand! You can eat really well for $50, with wine and apps too.

                        1. What about a place like the All Star Sandwich Bar or even the East Coast Grille (ECG may push the $50 envelope)? They are both great places and they can grab an ice cream at Christina's afterwards!

                          All Star Sandwich Bar
                          1245 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                          East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
                          1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

                          Christina's Homemade Ice Cream
                          1255 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139