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Manhattanites take Boston...please help....

  • d

Hi all,

My boyfriend and I will be coming to Boston for just a few days during which I'll mostly be working...but we're going to do what we can to fit in some great meals. Would love to go out for a fancy dinner but that's not in the cards so we're going to try a fancy lunch instead....which is where I need your help. The only nice restaurant I know of in Boston is No 9 Park but, alas, they're not serving lunch at the moment. Can anyone suggest anything along the same lines?

Just as a point of reference, in Manhattan we enjoy:

-The Red Cat
-'Inoteca
-Cafe Gray
-Craft
-Grammercy Tavern
-Hearth
-The Orchard
etc. etc. etc.

Any suggestions are much appreciated!

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  1. Petite Robert Bistro (the Kenmore Square location).

    2 Replies
    1. re: Spiritchaser

      I like Petit Robert Bistro alot but I don't consider it a fancy place, it's more of a traditional style bistro. If you were after No 9 Park, then I'd guess you're looking for something more upscale. Perhaps you would like to try L'espalier which is in a beautiful old townhouse in the Back Bay but only until the new Mandarin Oriental opens up.

      1. re: Spiritchaser

        Sorry, must disagree. PRB Kenmore is sadly unreliable when it comes to food quality. I've been served burnt sweetbreads, "cassoulet" with undercooked beans - they can be good, and they are relatively cheap, but it's really hit or miss. You can do a lot better.

        Unfortunately few of the better places serve lunch. As others have suggested, L'Espalier and Locke Ober are probably your best choices.

      2. L'espalier serves lunch. I have not been for the lunch (but you can find several reviews on the board), but I really liked the dinner I had there a few months ago. At least at dinner the service was just as good as Gramercy Tavern. They were very attentive, but not too much so and I did not find them stuffy at all. The room definitely has more of a "prissy" feel to it, but in my opinion not in a bad way. The website is:
        http://www.lespalier.com/

        1. L'Espalier is great, but IMHO there's nothing particuarly Gramercy Tavernesque about it; L'Esaplier is more formal, more akin to lunching at the fancier French places in Manhattan (like Le Grenouille or the dearly departed Lutece).

          Until No. 9 reopens for lunch, I think Radius may be Boston's most Gramercy Tavernesque lunch at the moment.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Blumie

            radius isn't much like gramercy either. pretty fou-fou, and i am always underwhelmed by the food.

            question for the op: where are you staying? proximity might help.

            some places to consider are neptune oyster, eastern standard kitchen (at the bar), bin 26 enoteca, excelsior at the bar for lobster pizza and duck quesadillas and the bristol lounge at the four seasons.

            none are gramercy-esque, but all quite good and fun vibes with good service.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              I totally disagree with you, but instead of trying to come up with a place that's like a place in NYC, perhaps we all should be focusing on what we've got here in Boston.

              L'Espalier is great if you want upscale French. Radius, IMHO, occupies that next tier down similar to a Gramercy or a Gotham Bar & Grill.

              But my favorite places for lunch in Boston are yet more casual still: B&G Oysters in the South End; and Neptune Oyster in the South End. Both are in the Pearl Oyster Bar mold, with great raw bars and an excellent menu of fish and seafood dishes. B&G is slightly more upscale, and I prefer it to Neptune, although many on this board prefer Neptune. Both are great.

              1. re: Blumie

                I was answering the question of a fancy lunch place in Boston, I am not familiar enough with the NY restaurants to answer in that vain. If they had asked for my favorite lunch without the fancy part, I'd answer differently.

            2. re: Blumie

              All I actually meant by that comment was that I have had my two best service experiences in restaurants ever at Gramercy Tavern and L'espalier. The style of service was not exactly the same, but the quality was.

            3. Boston people will bash but nothing comes close to some of your NY places. Not sure about lunch availability, but my faves in Boston are Clio, Oleana (cambridge), Dantes (cambridge), no 9 (you've already worked that one out), and Radius. I have not been to Oya (or some derivation of that name like Oh Yea), supposed to be our version of of nobu.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chefboyardee

                clio, oleana and o ya do not do lunch.

              2. The sandwiches at Volle Nolle in the North End are as good or better than 'inoteca, but it is a COMPLETELY different type of place (order at the counter, no wine, tiny space).

                Parish Cafe also has good sandwiches, each one designed by a different chef in town. Probably not quite up to the pure tastiness of 'inoteca, but a good sandwich option (with wine, though not as good a list) if you were looking for that.