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Aug 9, 2007 01:44 PM

Recs for someone from San Francisco, California?

My coworker and I will be in Waltham, but plan to visit Boston and do touristy stuff. Can you recommend a dinner place for us? We want to be in Boston itself, not outlying areas (so Ten Tables is out, delightful as it looks).

We can't expense this dinner, but we're willing to pay up to $75 per person (without alcohol) for a nice restaurant representative of Boston's finest. :)

For reference, my coworker has been to Michael Mina, Aqua, Gary Danko, La Folie and such. I went to the French Laundry for my 40th, and am going to Manresa and Cyrus over the next few months.

(We also do cheap places, like the $4.95 meal in Chinatown for lunch, but this is a splurge event!)

Thanks in advance, looking forward to exploring your part of New England!

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  1. New England Seafood - Neptune Oyster or B&G Oysters. If you choose B&G you can hit numerous S. End places later for drinks such as the Beehive. They are not upscale, but are great restaurants and cool spaces.

    7 Replies
    1. re: drewames03

      Thanks for the rec! Sounds like good places for lunch.

      I did a little bit of searching - how about L'Espalier or Taranta?

      1. re: Cindy

        Depends on what you want to eat.

        L'Espalier is terrific, very expensive and rather formal, a cross between New French and New American in cuisine, arguably the best restaurant in Boston. It will easily run past your price point for dinner unless you watch yourself (3 course prix fixe runs $75, 4 course seasonal degustation $94, tasting menu $175, all without alcohol), but lunch prices fall definitely within your range (lunch 3 course prix fixe $24, also offers a la carte items). If you decide to throw caution to the winds financially, it'll be worth it, though.

        Taranta is excellent, a unique fusion of Italian and Peruvian cuisine, open for dinner only, and likely more within your price point.

        1. re: bachslunch

          Check out No. 9 Park, Clio, and Radius, which are all splurgeworthy, as is L'Espalier.

          B&G is great for a lunch.

          1. re: wittlejosh

            Thanks for the recs. Will check out their websites and forward to my co-worker! Thanks again.

        2. re: Cindy

          I don't consider Taranta a real splurge kind of place. I think in the North End that Prezza and Mamma Maria offer better dining experiences all around.

          1. re: pollystyrene

            What is the North End? Is that a better neighborhood for restaurants?

            1. re: Cindy

              If it's Italian you want, then, yes, definitely! The North End is Boston's "Little Italy." Once a ghetto for Italian immigrants, it's become a mix of old souls and new wealth. There are about 100 Italian restaurants there (and one Chinese for good measure). It's a hot tourist spot because of its food, charm, and historical sites (Paul Revere's House, Old North Church). Many of the restaurants are tourist traps, but about a dozen are gems, offering excellent authentic Italian cuisine from various regions. It also has some great pastry shops.

      2. In addition to what others posted, you can have a great meal for $75 (food only) at Troquet (French, wine is the big deal there, very good wines by the glass), and Rialto (Italian, not red sauce). Given my appetite I might have trouble at Radius or Clio for only $75, could probably get out of No. 9 for that, the liquor bill there, however, would make it a helluva night.

        In Harvard Sq. (if you go, it's often on the tourist route) be sure to get some ice cream at Herrell's or Lizzy's.

        Perhaps you could tell us a little more about the atmosphere you're looking for?

        2 Replies
        1. re: sailormouth

          Hmmm...atmosphere. That's a good question. It's my coworker and I (both women) so romantic is not a requirement, LOL. She's young (under 30) and I just turned 40, so nothing too rocking but then again, nothing that requires you to whisper throughout the meal.

          Thanks for those other suggestions; I'll check them out!

          1. re: Cindy

            I think the bar at No. 9 would be a good fit. You may ave to wait for a seat but make sure you sit at the actual bar, as opposed to in the bar.

        2. Try Campania in Waltham. Great Italian wine list.

          1 Reply
          1. re: limster

            My two cents on Campania is that it's overrated.

          2. You might consider Craigie Street Bistrot in Cambridge - country French - high end but comfortable in a Cambridge way - it's really quite outstanding. They have a website.

            The high end Boston places recommended are all fine, but likely will not compare as favorably with S.F.'s finest.

            For Italian, you might enjoy Sorellina better than places in the North End.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              Union Bar and Grille - South End
              Mistral - South End

              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                Bob, I haven't made it to Sorellina yet. Do you find it to be better than Prezza and Mamma Maria?

                1. re: pollystyrene

                  Haven't been to Mamma Maria, but foodwise, I prefer Prezza over Sorellina -- I think the execution is tighter, the food more interesting.

                  1. re: pollystyrene

                    I think Sorellina is a better fit for the OP's reference points.

                2. Thanks, everyone! Everything looks yummy. I'll see what my coworker thinks of these.

                  For a Friday night, I'm assuming we should make reservations, right?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Cindy


                    As a former San Franciscan myself, I'd second the recs for L'Espalier (it's expensive, as noted above, but the food is the best I've had in Boston) and Troquet (very good food and wine pairings).

                    I tell you though, from a bang for the buck point of view, I'd still recommend Ten Tables, though I know it's a bit out of the way. It's very similar to the best, small chef-owned places in SF, like Cafe Kati or Isa.