Birthday dinner in Boston
Hi, I'm looking for suggestions on a nice place for a birthday dinner in Boston. We'll be going to a concert at the Orpheum theatre afterwards so it would be great if it was within walking distance, short cab or train ride.
Also, I'd prefer something a little understated and not too pricey. I'd rather the focus be on great food, ambience and service than be pretentious and ridiculously expensive. And yes, it is MY birthday.
Thanks for any suggestions.
So here's my short list so far:
Still looking for suggestions... my bf says not to worry about price for this special night out, but we still aren't looking for anything stuffy and requiring us to dress up too much. We're looking for casually elegant, intimate, romantic.. great food and service and not too far from Orpheum theatre by cab.
For understated and not too pricey, two non-North End Italian places come to mind:
Grotto (Beacon Hill) - small, subterranean, upscale, but understated. Everything here is very good, but my personal favorites are the risotti. I also like that their pasta dishes are available in full or half portions. Walking distance from the Orpheum.
Trattoria Toscana (Fenway) - perhaps the best Tuscan cuisine you'll find in town, and relatively inexpensive to boot. Everything is thoughtfully prepared, but totally unpretentious. 10ish minute cab ride from the Orpheum.
Definitely call in advance to either of these; depending on when your concert ends, they may be winding down for the evening.
"Very casual", no. The atmosphere suggests a casual Tuscan restaurant, and the clientele tend to wear mid-grade casual attire, however you also wouldn't be "evil eyed" out of the restaurant for wearing a Varitek jersey (then again, I suppose that goes for most places these days).
Grotto is definitely a notch more dressy, and probably feels a bit more classically celebratory for a birthday dinner. Between the two, I'd argue that in terms of cuisine alone, Trattoria Toscana has the edge, service is about even, and Grotto wins on atmosphere.
No idea about busy w.r.t. game days. I always go to El Pelon around the corner, and never have trouble getting my fish tacos in time for the first pitch. This is lucky, as the Sox would of course lose were I to fail.