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Feb 18, 2008 04:55 PM

Clio vs. L'espalier: Boston's Best?

I'm traveling from Austin, Texas to Boston this April to run my first Boston marathon and to celebrate me and my wife want a fabulous blowout meal. After looking at all the guides (Gayot, AAA, Mobile, etc) I'm torn between Clio and L'espalier, which one has more incredible food/wine/overall experience? Of course these are matters of opinion somewhat, but we want a tasting menu experience that will really blow our socks off! Any help from the local chowhounds would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. i'd add a third option.... no 9 park

    1 Reply
    1. Can you tell us more about your expectations?
      It's a rough classification, but one could say that Clio represents a more modern, globally-influenced culinary experience (lots of Asian flavors, architectural plating, a flirtation with molecular gastronomy), while L'Espalier kicks it more tradionally old school French. If it were me, I'd follow chrisinroch's lead and go to No. 9, but that's mostly a matter of personal preference—you can't go wrong at any of the three.

      4 Replies
      1. re: garlic breath

        But if you want the best meal, best setting (well at least before they change venue this summer) and best service, go to L'Espalier.

        1. re: garlic breath

          I think that's a good comparison...

          they're all among the best in Boston. L'Espalier..classic French...most formal service in a beautiful Back Bay townhouse... #9 French/Italian..litttle less formal but more contemporary room..and Clio..French/Asian..more creative style.

          All 3 are good choices..just a question of what style you want. to experience.

          1. re: garlic breath

            No. 9 Park is definitely another one I would consider, and if I lived in the area I would try all three, but since I don't I sadly must choose one...Type of cuisine isn't as important as a place that serves interesting, flavorful, wonderful tasting food, paired well with wines, and good service. But most importantly, we want an experience that the food just tastes out of this world......Where you put something in your mouth and all you can think is this is the best thing I've ever tasted :)

            1. re: mapep

              I went to L'Espalier this year for their Thanksgiving feast... It was incredible, from the atmosphere (romantic, cozy), to the service (attentive, yet not annoying), to the food (yes, every bite seemed like the best food I ever tasted).. In my experience, you can't go wrong there. THE place to celebrate, I'm going back when I graduate in May.

          2. It's barely a matter of opinion. L'Espalier is in another class than Clio.

            If you don't trust me read what Andy Hayler (and independant food critic that once dinned at all 3 star rated Michelin restaurants in the same year) had to say of both:



            And to answer chrisinroch , I wouldn't consider Number 9 in the same category either. And here's what Andy had to say as well:


            5 Replies
            1. I would probably reccomend L'Espalier for a one shot meal However the OP certainly would not be disapointed in the least with N9 or Clio.

              One of the things that makes this site great is varied opinions (IMO). It is at least reasonable to assume that these three restaurants are in the same league. Having dined at all three, there is no clear cut favorite for one meal that everyone will agree upon. To ignore otherwise is a bit close minded.

              Methinks that Chowhound needs to put an ignore button in their next release...

              1. re: Gabatta

                I concur with all that you say in this post, especially the ignore part.

              2. First list doesn't have much credibility.

                What's Zagat long as we're going to rely on outside sources?

                1. re: 9lives

                  Zagat rates L'Espalier higher than Clio & No. 9 Park if you need to know.

                  They also describe L'Espalier as New French.

                2. re: joebelt

                  We are addressing this to all posters on this thread (and have removed some of the more heated posts.)

                  Please keep in mind- one poster (or blogger's, or food critic's) opinion does not outweigh anybody else's opinion here. Please keep the discussion focused on sharing your own personal opinions with respect for the fact others may have other perspectives and there are no absolute answers.

                3. I also would add No. 9 Park to the list. Clio-multiple small plates, somewhat "avant garde" cuisine, asian accents. Lespalier-Modern french, traditional formal atmosphere and service. No. 9 Park-French with a touch of Italian, comfortable service, more relaxed feel. My opinion is that your more likely to find someone in "nice jeans" at No. 9 and someone fully done up at Lesplaier and Clio, so it depends on what you are looking for. No. 9 is my favorite out of the three, but to each their own.

                    1. re: admiralackbar

                      I think Radius has slipped some..great when they opened but I don't think they're putting out the same quality as the others mentioned.

                        1. re: admiralackbar

                          I didnt like anything I ordered at Radius. Even the dessert, which is what they're suppoed to be good at?

                          1. re: admiralackbar

                            Agreed. I've had an inedible entree at Radius (beef so suffused with rosemary as to be nauseating), but never anything less than perfection at L'Espalier.