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Need reccomendation on the following restaurants!

Hi! I am from Austin area and need to buy some gift certificates to a GREAT restaurant to say thank you to some friends who live in the Boston area. They have cars, so locastion is not a big issue. I own a catering business and my husband is the chef. He trained in some of the top resaurants in Boston during the 80's so I have HIGH standards. I have researched a bit on this website and came up with the following list

No 9
Mistral
Eastern Standard
Neptune
Blue Room
Top of the Hub
Rendezvous

Please give me your feed back and any other suggestions for seriously WOW restaurants. Thanks for your input!

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  1. I can be the first to say nix Top of the Hub. Not great chow, although WOW for the view for sure. (I think there were some recent positive posts, but if it is purely about the food, I believe consensus is you can do better.)

    No. 9 (Number 9, number 9....WERS is playing a John Lennon retrospective...) is by all accounts impressive. I like Blue Room and the rest are all well regarded spots.

    But you might also consider Craigie Street Bistrot, which chefs/foodies may really appreciate, especially if your friends are into French and have not heard of it. Has a little hidden gem quality to it, that would impress them for your knowledge of it.

    1. Top of the Hub is probably only wow for the view and not for the food.

      Of the restaurants you mentioned, I think No 9 and Mistral are the more special occasion type spots and also the pricier on your list so I think they'd be good gifts.

      I love No 9 Park for the food and atmosphere and especially the cocktails. Eastern Standard is the other spot best known for its bartending. Mistral is a very pricey, somewhat sceney spot with pretty good food though I usually stick to the appetizers and pizzas there.

      Do they like sushi? I think O-Ya is a wow sushi spot with the price tag to match.

      1. Eastern Standard is great, but it's more or less casual--I wouldn't consider it in the same league as Mistral. I go to Rendezvous 5-6 times a month. they're fantastic. Oleana is also really good. And I'd second the Craigie Street rec. I'd add Haru to the sushi list. I've never had better sushi though I hear from this list that service is dicey at best (I got take-out just to avoid this problem).

        1 Reply
        1. re: JennyL

          Top of the Hub is really not worth it...go to the observastion deck and somewhere else for dinner..

          Out of the places on your list I would say No. 9 Park has the best food.
          especially if you are bringing a chef.

          also one of the best places in Boston right now is O-Ya. It's really on top of its game right now.

        2. Welcome! I visited your fine city earlier this year, and had a wonderful time, thanks in no small part to the excellent posts on the Austin board (loved Angie's for tacos!).

          I like the Blue Room a lot, but I wouldn't recommend it for someone from Austin. All the grilling and bold flavors actually remind me a bit more of upscale dining I've had out west. Similarly, given that Rendezvous partly shares its pedigree with the Blue Room, I'd skip it as well.

          From your list, I think No 9, Eastern Standard, and Neptune are all terrific bets. Each manages to embody upscale, modern Bostonia in its own way. Of these three, I'd say the biggest "WOW" would come from No 9, although it will have WOW exorbitant prices to match. That said, the food, drinks (excellent cocktails), service, and atmosphere are all wonderful.

          I will echo the recs for Craigie Street. Its superb, refined food and funky Cambridge vibe would be a particularly interesting juxtaposition to what you have in Austin.

          1. Rendevous is ok but not for a wow gift. I think Sorellina is more fabulous than Mistral (same owners) with outstanding and fabulous decor, great food and very very nice service. That would be my first choice.

            1. I second Sorellina for WOW factor. Not only for food and drink, but the space is really beautiful. Sorellina is also owed by the same people that own Mistral. No. 9 would be my second choice.

              The other choices on your list, while very good food (huge fan of ES and Rendezvous), they really aren't WOW. More good eating and bar tending.

              1. No 9 - all the way.
                Neptune is also very good

                1. I feel the need to defend Top of the Hub - I was there a few years ago and while the view is AMAZING - the food was as well. I had the chef's tasting menu with wine pairings (which is pricey) BUT well worth the expense. One of the top ten meals I have ever had (even beat out One if By Land in NYC)...No. 9 also makes that list though

                  1. In addition to Craigie Street, I'd also include Salts in this list. To my thinking anyway, it's one of the best restaurants in the area, and it seems to get overlooked a lot.

                    1. On your list the winner is No. 9 for reasons already mentioned.

                      Mistral is only the scene if your idea of "the scene" involves out-of-towners and 1989, the food is okay, but there are a dozen places you can do better, including No. 9, Craigie St., Troquet and Eastern Standard.