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An updated take on the best of Boston

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I'm taking my boyfriend to Boston for our 5th anniversary for 3 days. Now, I know that there are countless threads concerning the best of the best of Boston. However, all the ones I found are from 2 years ago. So I thought it couldn't hurt to ask if anyone had any new opinions of what would be considered the best restaurants in Boston.

From my own research I've come up with L'Espalier, Radius, and Clio for dinner and Oishii for lunch, but as you know the top rated places aren't always the best. From past posts no one seemed thrilled with Radius, but now that it won the James Beard award maybe it's better than it was 2 years ago.

I'm up for any kind of food, but definitely looking for more high end. Also looking for lunch places, which would preferably be amazing pizza or a local favorite. Thanks.

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  1. My top 3 for dinner upscale are O YA ( reserve now), Pigalle and Salts . All rather small boxes with great Chefs ( all were recognized by Food and Wine), personal service and creative yet solid food. All relatively pricey but imho worth every penny. Re your choices: We have always enjoyed L'espalier but it is indeed a formal atmosphere, Clio is just not a personal favorite of mine and Radius has been lingering a bit too long. When it's on , it's on but it isn't always on.

    1. You might consider L'Espalier for lunch, actually. It's where I took Allstonian for her birthday this year, and the food is equally excellent but the atmosphere is just that bit less formal. Following it up with a walk up the Comm Ave greenspace, a stroll through the Public Garden and a swan boat ride would be a suitably romantic follow-through, and from there, you're close enough to the North End to make a cafe stop.

      In fact, you could flip the whole thing round, do L'Espalier for lunch, have the strolly meander, go to the North End and wander about a bit there and then end the evening at Pizzeria Regina on Thacher Street, which many folks here (me included) consider the canonical Boston pizza experience. My birthday's in less than a week -- if we didn't already have plans, I'd want to do that for mine!

      1. I'd add Craigie Street Bistrot. How curious that Boston Tops hasn't been done recently!

        Re: Radius - I agree; it's not in my top 5 food Boston. That said, it's the only place in town that the decor makes me feel like a scenester (in a good way).

        1 Reply
        1. re: enhF94

          Sorellina ( which is a good option as well for the OP) makes me feel like a scenester and I am old

        2. I think you have to put Oleana in Cambridge in that list. The chef masterfully combines Eastern Mediterranean spices with French cooking techniques. I think they won the James Beard award several years ago and it's still spectacular

          1. I have to second the recommendation for O Ya, easily my favorite restaurant in Boston right now, though quite pricey. No. 9 Park is also wonderful. I had a bad service experience at Clio a couple of years ago (took about an hour to get entrees), and never went back. I have been going to Oleana for years now and used to love it. But the last couple of times I went, the dishes were not executed nearly as well as they used to be, so I would give it a miss.

            1. My top five right now!
              #1 L'Espalier (caveat, there is nothing casual about this restaurant)
              #2 Troquet(The perfect balance of food and wine)
              #3 Clio (the menu has been leaning mostly Asian lately)
              #4 No. 9 Park ( two mediocre meals in the last few months)
              #5 Craigie Street Bistro (just not the total experience)

              Disclaimer: I still have not tried O Ya or Salts but have been hearing great things about both!

              1 Reply
              1. re: csammy

                Good list. Very helpful for someone coming in from out of town.

              2. My recent faves:
                Clio - my absolute favorite for Special Occasion dining
                Oishii (the one in the South End)
                Toro

                *Maybe Gelateria in the North End for dessert or an afternoon snack.

                I* think that the Summer Shack can be a fun and fresh food experience.

                *Pizza - Pino's (near Cleveland Circle)