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Birthday Dinner in Boston - October

I will be turning 29 in October, gasp, and want to celebrate the last year of my twenties in style. I am looking for a place that has fantastic food, gourmet even, but not a stuffy or uncomfortable atmosphere (my husband doesn't fare well in froo froo situations). Price isn't really the issue, but comfort is. The best way I can say what I am looking for would be something like Babbo in NYC. We had such a wonderful meal, it was a fantastic experience, and my husband LOVED the music! I'm not looking for Italian only, just want some really delicious food!! And another thing, usally I LOVE wine, but am with child and my husband is a prettty easy target with regular booze. Here is a list of places that we have been too and liked to give you an example of our taste:

Grotto (one of our favorite places)
Union
Spire
Oak Room
Cuchi Cuchi
EVOO
Catch
Mare
Prezza
Rialto
Upstairs on the Square

And here is a list of places that we weren't too fond of or are not interested in at this time:

Eastern Standard
Clio (way too stuffy for the hubby, but I loved)
Aujourd'hui (stuff factor)
L'Espalier (stuff factor)

If you could help me out, that would be wonderful, I would like to have a memorable birthday dinner, our last as a twosome!

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  1. Based on your loves and losts, here are a few recs:

    Ten Tables (casual)
    Dali (lively cousin to Cuchi Cuchi)
    Taranta (peruvian-influenced Italian)
    Central Kitchen (casual bistro)
    Neptune Oyster (creatative, clean seafood)

    Don't be shy about revisiting some of your favorites though. That list is great for birthday celebrations.

    1. I haven't been yet, but my buddy and his wife ate at TW Food in Cambridge and really, really liked it. Smallish place, but evidently excellent grub.

      There's actually a review in the Herald today. Not that I take any review seriously other than MC's of course. :)

      Another thought is Rendezvous, which I have been to and like a lot.

      Hamersley's seems like an obvious choice, but the food is consistently good and it's not stuffy at all considering its rep.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bostonbob3

        Go to Toro. Great food, and definitely not stuffy.

        Second the Ten Tables rec.

        Would add:
        Mistral
        KO Prime (the restaurant that replaced Spire, on your list; check this site for what to get, b/c, especially early on, the food was uneven)

      2. Here are some suggestions...

        *Petit Robert Bistro (I've gone to both South End and Kenmore locations for birthdays and they do a great job--very nice and not stuffy at all)

        *Sorriso Trattoria (nice atmosphere, plus Les Zyg is next door so you can listen to some jazz and have a beverage--non-alcoholic for you of course ;-) or dessert next door if you wanted)

        *Mother Anna's (not stuffy at all--good, simple red sauce Italian in N. End--then after you could walk over and grab a canoli or treat at Bova's)

        *Casa Romero (very romantic atmosphere--great sangria if the hubby wants to have a glass)

        1. Congratulations on the big 29!

          A few recommendations:

          Hamersley's Bistro (consistent food, decent wine list, nice atmosphere [not stuffy], wait staff is excellent...

          Mistral -- let them know in advance you don't want to be rushed and its a special occassion

          Sorrelina -- Been there five times, 4 our of 5 great meals. One ok meal.

          There is a great steak house in Peabody now, Pellana. Wonderful steak and seafood. Nice wine list (Nick the bartender/sommelier is very knowledgable). Not stuffy, but very nice for Peabody area.

          Prezza is a good choice. Not stuffy. Good food.

          Try Taranta in the North End.

          Bite the bullet and head to NYC. So many great restaurants there that you would enjoy. Special is Daniel!

          1. Trattoria Toscano might be a good choice since you like Grotto so much.

            I'd recommend Mamma Maria or Icarus, two high-end places without attitude.

            I just ate at Hamersley's for the first time, and although the food was very good and the service unsurpassed, I wouldn't say it's the most comfortable restaurant. The chairs are hard, the lighting brighter than I think it should be, and it was too warm the night we were there.