Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Aug 13, 2007 01:57 PM

top five musts near back bay

My daughter just moved to Boston and is living in Back Bay, I will be visiting often, and would like to wow her with some great dining experiences.

thanks, Dave H

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Not too many places in the Back Bay where you will be "wowed." L'Espalier is at the top. Sorellina is another great place. You won't be "wowed" at Domani, but it is good. Walk over to the South End and you have a better chance for the "wow" experience.

    5 Replies
    1. re: drewames03

      clio and uni are tops in the city and in the back bay. domani? yawn.

      drinks at the bristol, the oak room or the cafe at the ritz.

      troquet, pigalle and no. 9, all perennial faves on here, are "near" back bay too. so is via matta which fell off my radar, but i'm liking again.

      to the op: take the opportunities to explore places like the north end and beacon hill and chinatown. lots of good advice on these boards. does every meal have to be super high-end?

      1. re: hotoynoodle

        domani? haha..oh well, i have been twice (about a year ago)...maybe your right...for I haven't been back.

        1. re: drewames03

          i see domani mentioned on here often and just don't get it. so-so designer pizzas and precious pastas with indifferent bartending. lol, there are lots of places i can go for that!

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            It going to be a matter of personal taste and experience. I've never had the pizza at Domani and rarely get the pasti, but I've always enjoyed what I've had there. For example, the caesar salad wouldn't hurt if there were more anchovies in the dressing, but imho the flavours are very balanced, the richness of the egg adding to the tangy dressing that echoes the saltiness of the grated parmesan. I remember a very nice pheasant meatballs with leeks from a while ago, and a lovely pheasant consomme spiced like bah kut teh back (a stew with many earthy spices that's very popular in Singapore) when it first opened. In the dishes that have them, the Asian influences can be clever but understated.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              i couldnt agree more about domani... nothing on the menu excites me and the food i have had there was odd.

              back bay with the exception of clio and uni is pretty bland. i definitely second the #9 rec as well as troquet, pigalle, oleana.
              also check out the south end... b&g, butcher shop, toro are all great

      2. I generally agree with drewames03 and hotoynoodle, the Back Bay is a bit of a weird "neutral zone" for chow. That said, you've got great options in every abutting neighborhood. I'd recommend doing a board search for each of the following neighborhoods, plus I'll include a few places to get you started:

        South End (B&G Oysters, Franklin Cafe)
        Beacon Hill (Grotto, No. 9 Park)
        Chinatown (King Fung, Xinh Xinh, Mei Sum)
        Fenway/Kenmore (Eastern Standard, Trattoria Toscana)
        Theater District (Troquet, Pigalle)

        Since you mention Al Forno in your profile, I'd make a specific point of visiting Grotto and Trattoria Toscana, two of my favorite northern Italian restaurants in town. Both are a bit more laid-back than Al Forno, but they each serve outstanding food.

        In Back Bay, Parish Cafe can be fun for sandwiches by local celebrity chefs. Douzo isn't my favorite upscale sushi in town, but it's certainly perfectly serviceable. I agree that Clio is great for edgier Asian-influenced upscale cuisine.

        5 Replies
        1. re: finlero

          Totally agree with your rec's!

          GROTTO is one of my favourite restaurants in Boston (Beacon Hill). Try the : “Baked gorgonzola stuffed proscuitto wrapped figs, arugula, shaved parmesan, and toasted hazelnut vinaigrette”- they are the big O:

          37 Bowdoin St
          (between Cambridge St & Derne St)
          (617) 227-3434 Reserve Online

          The FRANKLIN CAFE (South End) is AMAZING- and it serves food until 1:30. Every fall and winter they have the most delicious Turkey Meatloaf with a fig gravy!!! Also, it is inexpensive, so bonus!

          278 Shawmut Ave
          (between Hanson St & Waltham St)
          (617) 350-0010

          PARISH CAFE is on Boylston and also serves food late and is not pricey. They serve the tastiest sandwiches that are recipes from the chefs of Boston, interesting concept, great food.

          CLIO is great, TROQUET has a really good cheese plate, L’ESPALIER is not very good but value for money (Clio is better), fois gras at AUJOURD’HUI (in the four seasons hotel) is AMAZING. Good luck! You sound like a really nice Dad : )

          1. re: foodie07

            Very fine recommendations, though I have to take very strong issue with the idea that L'Espalier is not very good. On the contrary, I think it's the best restaurant in the Greater Boston area.

            1. re: foodie07

              The Franklin Cafe is hardly amazing....
              it passes as a decent neighborhood place with inexpensive food served late.
              the service is pretty bad with the exception of dennis at the bar. i wouldn't take your daughters there to be wowed.

              1. re: foodie07

                grotto is another place that seems a favorite on here that seriously underwhelmed me. the service was so amateurish and awkward i almost offered to open my own wine. when i could finally find my server. the food was ok. i really don't get why everybody loves this place.

                franklin and parrish are both good, but hardly destination restaurants.

                l'espalier isn't very good? could you explain that a bit?

              2. re: finlero

                b&g has its fans. i am not one of them. i far prefer neptune oyster.

              3. Hi Dave H. I have 2 daughters living in Boston and love taking them out when I visit. We have explored all different types of restaurants and neighborhoods. When I started going to Boston on a regular basis to visit them, it was about 4 years ago when my youngest started at BU. I tended to be conservative and remained pretty close to the neighborhoods I was most familiar with but am now branching out which is really fun. Try the well known places like No. 9 Park, but, thanks to Chowhound, you can find recommendations about all kinds of new, unusual spots, a bit more off the beaten path. Boston is surprisingly eclectic in terms of choices. I am planning a trip at the end of August and another in October, and my daughters and I are already scheming about where we will go, bouncing back and forth between old favorites and ones on our wish list. The Boston Board is really active on this site and people write incredible reviews so you'll have many temptations. Have a drink at the Oak Room, then try L'Espalier, Troquet, Clio, Hamersley's Bistro, Rialto, or Oleana; even though they may not all be in the Back Bay....These are places my girls and I have always felt the Wow Factor. We also love Eastern Standard which is easy to get to - in Kenmore Square- but don't go on a night when the Red Sox are playing as it gets crazy. There is nothing more fun than treating your children to a spectacular meal in Boston. Enjoy!

                1 Reply
                1. re: mvi

                  One place that is in the Back Bay and I don't see mentioned here is Casa Romero. I bring it up not as a recommendation but as a question. I've been a couple of times over the years but I haven't been in at least two years (and maybe even longer). Has anyone been recently? Any thoughts?

                2. Thanks to everyone for the recs, I feel armed to the teeth, and very informed. Ill go get a second mortgage, try them all and get back to you.