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I need the restaurant of a lifetime...both food and athmosphere

OK...so here is my problem. I have been seeing this guy for about a month now here in boston and I have completely fallen for him...in that one true love/the one you always wished would come along kind of way. The only problem is that he lives in Texas and is only in Boston till the end of July on his Masters Program internship. He is 32, I am 29 (and if you must know, we are gay)....anyways I have a very special night planned for July 18th...pulling out all the stops...only thing I am missing is dinner. I am stuck. I am looking to go somewhere amazing. I had an initial idea of going to Uni for cocktails and apps and then to Clio for dinner. Then I was thinking L'espalier for the 4-course menu. Then I thought maybe Mistral because it is a tad more hip. (Not that I need hip, dont let our age made u think we need see and be seen hotspot) Needless to say I am stuck. I have eaten at pretty much every restaurant in boston (for real) but knowing that I can tend to be snobbish I was wondering what others thought would be the most idyllic/romantic/uniquely sublime restaurant to take the guy of my dreams out to for our last dinner together here in town.

Sidenote: We have not discussed where this very new relationship is going to go once he moves back to Texas, and I know what restaurant I take him to is not going to matter in deciding that outcome but if it goes how I would like...I want to be able to look back and tell my grandchildren how I won over their grandfather in a storybook kind of way on this night back on July 18, 2008

Sidenote 2: We both like all kinds of food. I have brought him to B&G, Stella, Union, Myers+Chang, Davios, Bricco, Mare and Casa Romero and he has liked them all.

So how can u help me ????????

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  1. I'd probably say Clio for the most inventive food. And Uni is great too. And you can't go wrong with L'Espalier, especially while it's still in the townhouse.

    That said, you might want to consider Troquet. Fab food, and IMO, the best wine list in town (much of it available by the glass)

    When you make your reservation, by sure to explain your situation and you'll probably be able to get an upstairs window seat overlooking the Common.

    1. Mistral is not a hip spot! It's more of an expense account spot like Sorellina, Excelsior.
      O Ya probably would be better suited for you.

      2 Replies
      1. re: nasilemak

        I mean Hip in that Mistral actually has a fairly large young (27-33) gay male crowd that goes there...but yes, I know what you mean...I love O Ya but just not romantic enough....

        1. re: HelpIamInLove

          My Wife (we were dating at the time) took me to mistral on our third date and the male waiter hit on me the whole time - I'm definitely not bragging since I'm straight. But we laugh about it all the time - If the wait staff does the same to you, you may not laugh... since you obviously wouldn't want an interloper to spoil your night.

          As for my recommendation if you can only choose one place - it would have to be L'espalier. To date my best dining experience ever.

      2. I'd have to go w/ L'Espalier, especially if things do pan out for you, you can look back to that lovely dinner at L'Espalier years ago when it was still in the brownstone.

        1. Take a drive to Kennebunkport for the night and eat at White Barn Inn, spend the night in gay friendly Ogunquit
          Take a drive to Newport and eat at The Spiced Pear or Castle Inn
          Take a train to Portland Maine and eat at 555 or Hugo's
          You never mentioned what plans you have.
          Oak Room
          when does Lespalier close for their move from the brownstone?

          Good luck with you love!

          4 Replies
          1. re: gyppielou

            Oh how i would love to head to another state, but kinda stuck in boston because of other plans (hotel reservations at four seasons and a return to one of our early date spots, the weeks bridge over the charles river near harvard)

            1. re: HelpIamInLove

              Reservations can be changed! And if you can afford the 4S then you can try to get a room at the White Barn Inn and make even more new romantic memories.

              Go relive weeks bridge tonight~

              What fun to try to aid in the web of love!

              1. re: HelpIamInLove

                And I think stowing away for an evening by the sea is very romantic.

                Hard call on #9. I hear you. That's why I thought a first great adventure, hoping for many more would be fun.

              2. re: gyppielou

                And when in Ogunquit, how about the fabulous Arrows, run by Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, a gay couple themselves? http://www.arrowsrestaurant.com/index...

              3. I think No. 9 park would be a lovely option. The location is right on the common in case you want to take a nice walk before or after dinner. I think the service level there is catered to generating a "special occasion" feel and the food there is IMO a good balance of yummy while interesting.

                I love the food at O Ya, but I don't know if the ambiance would be as romantic as you'd like. The two times I have been the glare from the fluorescent light in the kitchen is rather jarring compared to the relatively dark dining room, and the waiters dress more casually.

                Another option, which I'm not sure would work well with the rest of your evening plans, is Arrows Restaurant about an 1-1.5 hour drive north of Boston in Ogunquit. They have gardens on their grounds which they will let you walk around on with champagne before your meal (as long as your reservation is early enough that it's still light out :) ). They grow all their own produce on their grounds as well. The dining room is quite precious, and the service level high. Another fact, which may or may not resonate with you, is the chef/owners are a gay couple (Ogunquit in general is very gay-friendly).

                Good luck with your planning!

                3 Replies
                1. re: pkit

                  ok...Arrows would bring a tear to my eye (not that that is a bad thing). but unfortunately I already have the hotel booked (Four Seasons) and I want to take him back to the bridge that we stood on during one of our first dates (The John Weeks footbridge over the Charles River down near harvard) so I am kind of stuck in Boston. But now that you mention Arrows...has anyone been to Winter Summer? i know I looked at their menu once and it looked amazing. Not sure how much time Mark and Clark spend there...also not sure how the atmoshepe is seeing how it is in the Burlington Marriot...but must be decent...right?

                  1. re: HelpIamInLove

                    If you have ever been to Mark & Clark's other restaurant in Ogunquit, MC Perkins, the menu is essentially identical. I think in terms of atmosphere, some place like No. 9 Park or L'Espalier would be a much better bet. You have to walk through the hotel to get to Summer Winter, and I think they purposely are going for a more casual feel there, to match the more casual menu.

                  2. re: pkit

                    Arrows! The meal that made my wife forgive the world's most disgusting B&B (West Highland Inn,.,.yick)

                  3. If you stay in town I think it's L'Espalier. If you travel, the White Barn Inn was a great suggestion. Get a room there, too and stay over. Bring a lot of money.

                    1. I wish you the best! Knock his socks off.

                      1. I love all the suggestions, particularly Troquet, but I'm going to guy with a dark horse and recommend Toro. It will tone-down your inner snob (it's tapas!), a tad more hip than most, it can be a bit loud but the food is more or less unique, the drinks are great and you'll be squeezed in together. Oh wait, you're going on a Friday. . .

                        In that case, Troquet would be my choice, followed by No. 9. That is, I would both choose Troquet first followed by No. 9, and also go to No. 9 for dessert and/or nightcaps after dinner at Troquet (and a little walk through the Common).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: sailormouth

                          I love your dark horse...BUT we are going to Toro tomorrow night for dinner!! Too funny you mentioned that! I LOVE it there. So happy everyone is taking a liking to help me out...was nervous at first. I have never been to troquet

                        2. I think the No 9 Park rec is a good one...you can have dinner there, stroll across the common, walking to the weeks bridge (though I guess that might be a hike)...but you'll be near the 4 seasons too. I haven't been to Clio in forever, but still hear it's great....I also think Mistral is very good, and yes, has a real "special occasion" feel. Of course, if you choose just about anywhere in the south end, you'll be in a gay-friendly 'hood. I haven't been to Sorrelina (also by the Mistral folks) but have heard excellent things. I don't think you can go wrong with any of these spots.

                          Good luck, have a delicious dinner and a great night.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: twentyoystahs

                            I am sooo torn on No.9 because i work on Beacon hill and have to walk past No.9 to and from work everyday and even though I know it is something incredibly special, I quess because I see it SOOOO much i just dont look at it as special..if that makes any sense....

                            1. re: HelpIamInLove

                              I view it as "special without trying too hard special." The service is fantastic, the drinks great, and the food (lately, anyway) has been superb.

                              Troquet is "friendly French". It has something of a blue collar feel to the service, which is really appreciated when you're dealing with wines one may not be familiar with and among the fanciest French food in Boston. It's surprisingly comfortable.

                              1. re: HelpIamInLove

                                I would DEFINITELY list No. 9 as special- though I understand your hesitation. However it truly is a wonderful experience, fantastic service, wonderful food, and I adore that Barbara Lynch is committed to local produce etc. I walk past it all the time as well- but still think of it as one of my all time favorites.

                                GOOD LUCK-I think that youre planning a wonderful evening, sure to make him swoon even more than Im sure he already is. Youll have to update us after.... :-)

                            2. For some reason, Icarus has been a powerful elixir for my love life on several occasions. It rarely gets cited in the top tier, but the food, atmosphere and service are all top notch, and have been consistently for decades.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: FoonFan

                                Funny - as I was reading this thread, my mind was crying out Icarus.
                                It has had a place in many of my most romantic stories - with more than one companion.
                                I was at Mistral on Tuesday and had a great meal. Icarus is like Mistral in that it is fabulous, interesting cooking with young, friendly helpful staff. But Mistral is more opne and is brighter. I like the darker, warmer feeling that Icarus has.

                                Good luck!

                                1. re: bgavin

                                  You know, I was going to suggest Icarus right off, for the the warm atmospere, and the gay-friendly vibe, too...Plus, I just like Chris Douglas' attitude about so many things...It's not on the HIGH, HIGH, HIG level that some of the posters have mentioned, but it has something that pulls at the heart...

                              2. OK -- I'm going to add my $.02. I think you should go to No.9 Park. Much as I love Troquet, I think it's a little subdued and formal -- unless he's a total wine-hound, in which case Troquet is your winner. You'll be able to have delicious perfectly crafted cocktails at No.9's bar before you move into the dining room.

                                Sweet post. Do report back!

                                1. Another vote here for No. 9 Park. Fabulous food and drink and the service is outstanding.

                                  1. Is his definition of "romantic" the same as yours? For example, if the giver thinks a dozen long-stemmed red roses is romantic but the receiver thinks they show a lack of imagination, it's not romantic.

                                    You'd want be sure to arrange something that really knocks HIS socks off.

                                    Keep us posted, OK? And GOOD LUCK!!

                                    1. If you are looking to pull out all the stops, it is hard for me to imagine a more perfect meal, dining experience, and romantic evening than the Chef's Tasting Journey at L'Espalier (~12 courses, chef's whim), with wine pairings. You will both be treated like kings, even by L'Espalier standards. It is a meal neither of you will ever forget.

                                      Put aside three hours minimum.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: StevieC

                                        But don't plan on romance afterwards! I roll out of there stuffed and tipsy after a regular tasting menu at L'Espalier. While I'm sure they portion appropriately, I'd bet that you're not going to want to do much more after that than lie down and digest.

                                        1. re: StevieC

                                          Chef's Tasting Journey KILLED me and my wife. We were both completely smashed and gorged. It was amazing, but all we did after was put on a movie in bed and fall asleep. That's fine for plenty of nights, but...

                                        2. I guess my first question would be: what kind of food does your boy love? I can think of meals I've planned like this that didn't pan out because they were *my* idea of a fabu meal, not my date's, and a romantic dinner is not the moment to try to educate your beloved on your idea of the finer things.

                                          If it's my choice and cost is no object, maybe I'll choose L'Espalier or O Ya. But I can tell you that there are times when buying dinner at Trattoria Toscana or Angela's Cafe comes across as more romantic, because sometimes that's what my honey craves, and the fact that I am catering to that whim is worth more in romantic terms than all that other exotically sourced, inventively prepared, beautifully plated, and solicitously served food.

                                          Any idiot with $400 can buy a great dinner in conventional terms. When a romantic dinner is at stake, it's the thought, or should I say, the empathy, that really counts.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                            Great post...and isn't that what this board is/was all about? Finding those hidden gems. I once told folks that I relied on Chowhound to help me find restaurants that had "more stars than dollar signs."

                                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                                              MC Slim's romantic side! Now I've seen it all!

                                            2. If you are interested in a stroll over the The John Weeks Footbridge near Harvard maybe you should consider dinner at Upstairs at the Square or Rialto. I hope it is a fabulous night whatever you do.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                                                Rialto food is great and the service is solid, but I can't get over the fact that it's in a hotel and decor/vibe does not feel romantic at all to me - on the other hand...

                                                The Soiree Room at Upstairs on the Square is really romantic/elegant, the service has always been really,really gracious (especially if you call and let them know what's up before you arrive) and based on my lunch today, the kitchen seems to be doing better (and it wasn't bad before) - the fresh, seasonal food is amazing - downside is it is a pretty conventional menu.

                                                We celebrated our engagement there and they made the occasion special and memorable even though the food is clearly a notch below L'Espalier or Clio (my second and third choices).

                                                If you love straightforward Northern Italian, a cozy corner table at Mamma Maria in the North End may also fit the occasion.

                                              2. What a great story...I'll throw in a vote for Mistral, which was my then-boyfriend's and my favorite special occasion restaurant (so much so that we decided to get married there) and it continues to be years later. But the question about the kind of food you both like is a good one...that is one of my primary considerations in preferring Mistral. Hope there's a happy ending in store for you!

                                                1. Good Luck! I don't have much to contribute on the restaurant front, but if you're into that sort of thing Teuscher Chocolates on Newbury has a DIVINE champagne truffle. I know guys don't like chocolate that much, but if you do, it could be a nice touch during the day.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: okello

                                                    OMG..i love that suggestion...definately on the list of things for the room!

                                                  2. how about, right on the other side of the river, Salts? I think it is very special and very romantic. but not stuffy at all.

                                                    1. hi
                                                      good luck!
                                                      japanese is always lovely but slightly predictable
                                                      salts- i went there ions ago and it is romantic
                                                      but what about a real surprise?
                                                      the hungry mother- kendall square-
                                                      good, tasteful, homey food-
                                                      charming owners, charming customers lovely ambience-
                                                      small, sweet, quaint and intimate but friendly
                                                      sort of southern meets french-
                                                      it is unique and i think it has a special quality that will accent your spectacular evening but still keep the focus on YOU TWO!
                                                      Unique and inventive [are those synonyms?] drinks.

                                                      1. When you are in love, you're beyond help. Your posting was the most interesting I've ever read on this site. I've been to all the places you've taken your friend to in your sidebar 2. I'm going to add Pigalle to your list, which I find romantic and really comforting even when I go there alone. It's totallly unpretensious and at the same time totally sublime. Good luck!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: ghostcat

                                                          I totally agree with the Pigalle recommendation...I think it is more intimate even than Salts and when u reserve ask for a booth ...we had a great dinner at Hungry Mom last night but it was far from romantic Excellent but noisy and tight

                                                          1. re: ghostcat

                                                            Also agree with Pigalle! Had our anniversary dinner there last week - the romance quotient was over the top. I highly recommend the tasting menu - we went with the five course, and I was stuffed. The courses are ample - hardly a taste - more like a full course. Our server (Alex, I think) was gracious, informed, professional and unobtrusive. The music was delightful - French and some Latin. We had a lovely banquette and overall, I was in a dream because everything was so perfect. It is pure romance. The food was delicious.

                                                          2. I love this whole idea. My now husband and I walked by L'Espalier one night when we both were very broke (I was working 3 jobs and he was unemployed). I mentioned that before I died I would love to eat at L'Espalier. Guess where he took me (still unemployed) for my birthday that year! I have to tell you it was one of the most romantic dinners I've ever had, and I wound up marrying the guy!

                                                            I would go to No. 9 for cocktails, then stroll thru the Common/Garden and down the Commonwealth Mall to L'Espalier. After you have your romantic interlude on the bridge (bring champagne) and have checked into the 4 Seasons, have a nightcap at the Bristol Lounge.

                                                            In the morning head to the South End for brunch!

                                                            If that boy doesn't move from Texas back to MA, give him my number. We'll talk!

                                                            Of course, these sceanrios would work with Pigalle, Sorrelina, Icarus and Troquet.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: kate used to be 50

                                                              I KNOW RIGHT!!!!!! I am just trying to be casual about it...god if he knew i was putting that much thought into it...LOL....which is one of the reasons i wanted to bring this to the board, to make sure I was not overthing restaurants or being too pretentious...jeez...we shall see.

                                                              1. re: HelpIamInLove

                                                                Don't worry! You are going to be well prepared so that you can appear calm, cool and casual. And he will be so impressed! Sounds like you'll have many options in mind and maybe you can even narrow it down to a few top choices and ask what he'd prefer (unless you want it to be a complete surprise), making it a collaborative decision? In any case, I bet everything will fall into place and make it a very romantic evening.

                                                            2. My vote goes for Clio or Mistral. My best friend is gay, very trendy, and has great taste in food. These are two of his favorite restaurants. The tasting menu at Clio is by far one of the best meals i've had in Boston. Although the food is more upscale, the restaurant itself is not at all stuffy (hence the leopard print rug in the dining room, etc). I love Mistral for its ambiance and the food is amazing. Never have had a bad meal there and they give you a lot of food. You can't go wrong either way. In fact, you can't go wrong with any of the suggestions given here.
                                                              Good luck! I'm sure it will be fabulous!

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: NiKoLe1625

                                                                Nothing beats the romace of L'Espalier - I want to live in that restaurant (I have a secret fantasy every time I go there, which isn't often, that someday it will be my townhouse). Some might say it is pretentious but I just love the ambience and old world feel. Pigalle and Troquet are also fairly dimly lit and thus, could count as romantic....I love the food at Sorrelina but it is more of a business, expense account type of place. Good luck and here's hoping he gets butterflies in the stomach!

                                                                1. re: bostongal

                                                                  Isn't L'Espalier also relocating from the townhouse to the new Mandarin Hotel? - it may be best to experience the original while you still can.

                                                              2. I agree with the recs for Pigalle and L'Espalier, but would also recommend Grotto. It's dark and romantic in a slightly less polished way.

                                                                1. I like the driving to Maine idea but it should be ARROWS right in Ogunquit. Ogunquit is one of the coolest gay friendly shore towns: like Provincetown but closer, and Arrows is absolutely the best restaurant I've ever been to in New England. White Barn Inn is a bit too stuffy and formal: the dramatic reveals of the food are good for a laugh, though.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: tamerlanenj

                                                                    For me, Arrows does the best job I've ever encountered of providing a high level of service without seeming pretentious or snobby.

                                                                    Your post reminded me of a time I ate at White Barn Inn with a friend who had grown up in the area. It turned out that one of our waiters had gone to high school with my friend (in the area), but was using a fake British accent I guess to contribute to the overall sense they try to convey that they've imported all their waitstaff from Europe/overseas.

                                                                    1. re: pkit

                                                                      I love Arrows and think it would be the perfect destination...My avatar is the trio of veal at Arrows actually! if you go I would recommend the Scotch Hill Inn to stay: http://www.scotchhillinn.com My husband and I spent our 1st wedding anniversary there and sent two other couples there last year who really enjoyed it even during the off season.

                                                                      The owners are great and they cook an excellent gourmet breakfast each morning ( I remember having blueberry sausages and homemade quiche with goat cheese that was to die for one morning). They also offered wine and cheese during the afternoons and fluffy towels for the beach which is an easy walk from the inn...wherever you decide, good luck!

                                                                      1. re: saridt

                                                                        Sorry, but the OP already said he cannot travel that evening. He has made other evening plans. I love Arrows too but that involves, erm, traveling.

                                                                  2. I know you have gotten a TON of great suggestions already and Icarus has gotten several votes before mine, so just consider this supporting documentation. I went with my now fiance for our 3rd anniversary to Icarus a year and a half ago. What stood out to me about the experience was the impeccable service attention to detail. I made the reservation on opentable.com and mentioned it would be our anniversary. The hostess printed up special menus with "Happy 3rd Anniversary" written on the top of them and had them waiting for us at our table! The staff knew just when to come over and just when to be invisible. The food was presented just when you wanted it, but never rushed. Everything was delicious and inventive, but not so out there that you feel like you are eating a science experiment. When you want to have a romantic evening, you don't want a restaurant that's so overdone and and into itself that it trumps your experience with each other and distracts from your intimate conversation. Icarus is pure classic refined dining with just enough hip & romance to accent what I am sure will be an evening to remember!

                                                                    If you really want the amazing atmosphere though, go to Tangierino in Charlestown (near Olives). It is truly the sexiest restaurant I have ever dined in. Great nouveau middle eastern food, walls covered in rich colors, sheers of fabric, saris, etc., canopied tables with moroccan poofs and sette chairs. Make a reservation and ask for one of the canopied tables with little lights and lanters inside. You may not get everlasting love, but you'll at least get laid! LOL http://www.tangierino.com/

                                                                    1. Ooooh... I hope that everything goes perfectly romantically! Just wanted to get that out there. Best of luck. I want to throw dining in the garden at Oleana in Cambridge into the mix...it's beautiful, sweet, not super-fancy in atmosphere, but I love it so. (The food is great; check out the menu. Good for appetizer nibbling, or a fuller, more conventional meal.)I've been there for romantic dinners...and had my final nice dinner there with my soon-to-be-ex: it's an all-purpose good-feeling space. (No hex; promise!) I don't know if you could get a table outside at this late date, but maybe your story would help... Keep us posted!

                                                                      1. I love your story and how you caught all our attention!

                                                                        I got engaged after the most special dinner at No. 9...I really think it is romantic and special without trying too hard...and I love walking, so I love the idea that you can walk back to the 4S afterwards...drinks at the bar before-hand is also special. Make sure to request a table in the front room over-looking the park (even though we sat in the back room and I still said yes!)...

                                                                        Have so much fun and please keep us posted.

                                                                        1. I hope you are stll reading the responses to your original post. I check out the new postings every night. Since money doesn't seem to be a consideration, why not have the Four Seasons pack a portable dinner to be served, with full service, on the Weeks Bridge. I know it is illegal to drink in public, but they could manage a permit. I really wish you well in this endeavor, Your boyfriend is either going to think you are the greatest party planner that ever existed, or he might also think that you are a control freak. You know him better than the rest of us, so good luck in whatever you chose to do.

                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                          1. re: ghostcat

                                                                            Of course I am still checking...have not gotten this night out of my mind...
                                                                            Just as an update I have 2 reservations made. One I have at No.9 Park and the other I have at Upstairs on the Square. I am leaning No.9...but Upstairs is comming in a strong second for a couple factors...1) While I know it is not the ultimate WOW factor, the restaurant is fun, bright, lively, romantic but not too romantic (for a gay male 29/32 year old couple) 2) I think it could be romantic first to maybe grab a drink at one fo the other upscale restaurants over in Harvard Square (I need some suggestions on that...Noir, Rialto....) and then take a walk before dinner through the Harvard Yard and then off to dinner and 3) I was thinking we could grab take out dessert at the HS Finale and then walk right over to the Weeks Bridge and either eat our dessert on the bridge or on one of the benches at the foot of the bridge. So that would be the game plan for that senerio. I have also made a reservation at The Charles Hotel...thinking that if we are going to be over there I do not want to ruin the moment by having to car/cab it back to the 4seaons...Plus I was thinking that we could wake up in the morning a bit late and go to brunch at Henriettas Table...which is always amazing. If I stick with No.9...I was thinking we could go grab a drink first at the bristol and then go to No. 9 Park but then kinda stuck on what to do after...at that point it will be dark and the commons are not so pretty with all the homeless at the hour....

                                                                            So what is everyone's vote?

                                                                            1. re: HelpIamInLove

                                                                              I love both of your ideas. While I agree that the common's do get a tad um...less pretty after a certain hour- the Gardens remain gorgeous. I have to say that my most romantic night in recent history was a night last summer when my bf at the time and I walked through the gardens and crossed over the swan boat bridge. The Swan boats in the moonlight are stunning- and I felt as though I was in a movie... my two cents.

                                                                              1. re: HelpIamInLove

                                                                                I have to say that if you're grabbing dessert-to-go in Harvard Square, I would not see any reason to go to Finale over Burdick's! Finale has always left me disappointed.

                                                                                1. re: HelpIamInLove

                                                                                  Om has a very inviting lounge/patio across the street from Upstairs - a bit of a walk, but the mojitos (and other cocktails - very solid bartender) at Chez Henri are incredible and the small bar can be quite romantic depending on the crowd at the time - it is a 10-15 minute stroll there and back, however. In spite of being in the hotel, Rialto has creative, tasty cocktails in a nice lounge as well - not as impressed by Noir, however - prefer the Legal's patio to it, actually. Sandrines has a very quaint wine bar as well, and Casablanca has good drinks and a unique setting, but is not my choice in the summertime.

                                                                                  1. re: HelpIamInLove

                                                                                    Burdick's over Finale any time. Finale is NEVER delicious. You could also get whatever restaurant to give you desserts to go and have them on the Charles.

                                                                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                                                                      Just a reminder that Burdick's closes early - at 9pm, I think. That could impact your dinner plans if you're a later-in-the-evening diner.

                                                                                      I think No 9 has more of an occasion feel to it, while Upstairs is a bit more everyday, but both of your ideas sound very romantic.

                                                                                      Remember, the evening is about the two of you more than anything. Best of luck!

                                                                                      1. re: gini

                                                                                        You really think the Soiree Room (vs. the Monday club bar and Zebra Room downstairs) is more everyday than No. 9?

                                                                                        I find it much more elegant, quite, and special occasion-worthy - the food truly shines at No. 9, but the service always seems a bit aloof and the room seems more sterile to me.

                                                                                        1. re: rlh

                                                                                          My original response was removed by the mods, but it was in favor of Upstairs. I think it's the perfect combination of campy and elegant. It's my favorite room in town, and the food can be quite good. Ask for a tasting menu.

                                                                                          1. re: rlh

                                                                                            It's possible that the Soiree Room is just not my style - it's just too fussy for me. I've only been to the bar side of No 9, so I shouldn't judge the rooms. That said, I think the food a bit more special at No 9 for an occasion like this. Seems like he's leaning towards Harvard regardless.

                                                                                          2. re: gini

                                                                                            I agree with Gini --while of course you want the night to be perfect, don't let yourself get too bogged down in all the details. In the end, it is just about the two of you, and the time you have together. That being said, I think your final decision maker is whether or not you want to be able to walk over to the Weeks Bridge after you eat. If you do, than yes, you make Harvard Sq be your focal point. Upstairs on The Sq is a good choice, drinks at Om before-hand could be nice, and dessert from Burdicks (another vote against Finale -blech, i don't get how they stay in business), then walk over to the bridge, and retire for the night at the Charles Hotel, enjoying brunch the next morning at Henrietta's.
                                                                                            On a side note, I also love Chez Henri and think it can be very romantic, but honestly the walk from Harvard Sq to there isn't that scenic and I might vote for staying closer to the main center of the square.

                                                                                            Enjoy, relax, good luck, and let us know how it goes :)

                                                                                    2. Have you considered T.W. Food in west Cambridge? It would be a romantic 20 minute walk from there to the Weeks Bridge and looks like it might offer slightly more romantic, intimate and special-occasion dining than the rest of the food options around Harvard.


                                                                                      I've not been myself but a few friends I've spoken to have raved about the tasting menu and the intimacy. Just a thought considering you've been recommended every other restaurant in town so far.

                                                                                      1. Excellent suggestions for a wonderful evening. Just to make sure you have covered all the bases, though it isn't suppose to rain, you may want a back-up plan too or a big umbrella!

                                                                                        I am a huge fan of Upstairs, but I think for the intimacy factor Rialto is the better choice. And another vote for no Finale. Don't get that place at all. I've been to TW Foods and the food is excellent. It may be a good choice also.

                                                                                        Though I truly admire your planning skills, don't over plan. Leave room for spontaneous moments!

                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: kate used to be 50

                                                                                          You are all going to kill me BUT I was telling my friend about my plans and he thought it was the cutiest thing and he just offered me his house for the weekend in Ogunquit....so looks like I am doing a 180 and heading north. I feel like a traitor to my boston posters...but what am I to do, he has the most amazing and romatic house in Ogunquit! So no it looks like I may do Arrows afterall...also looking at Blue Sky (because Lydia Shire has always had my heart, even though it is not all that romantic...but have never been) and maybe save the romance part for the house and set up a table outside with candles and champaign and do dessert in the garden of the house...(that was my friends suggestion..I am not that crafty)

                                                                                          1. re: HelpIamInLove

                                                                                            I think that sounds great! We will understand.

                                                                                            Pleases stay involved on the Boston board - you are fun!

                                                                                              1. re: HelpIamInLove

                                                                                                Can you still let us know how it turns out? Im all excited for you!

                                                                                                1. re: fmcoxe6188

                                                                                                  AWESOME - this was so meant to be!

                                                                                                  And go to Arrows.

                                                                                                  1. re: fmcoxe6188

                                                                                                    Yes I will...I am leaning towards arrows, but the fact that I am up there at the same time as lydia...is tempting, although the post dont seem all that great on here regarding blue sky....so maybe that means I am off to arrows

                                                                                                    1. re: HelpIamInLove

                                                                                                      Ok, here's my thought on choice. Lydia is in Boston with some great locations. Arrows has one additional location in a Marriott hotel which means you can't view or visit the beautiful gardens that add to the experience of Arrows.

                                                                                                      Can't wait until Monday for the report back - or Tuesday if you are too tired ;)

                                                                                              2. re: HelpIamInLove

                                                                                                All the plans for Boston/Harvard Sq. can be used for later....either before he leaves or when he comes back! :-) A weekend away sounds perfect....good luck!

                                                                                                1. re: poptart

                                                                                                  You might find a way of mentioning a couple of the interesting restaurants recommended here as places that would be fun to explore together some time...

                                                                                                  It sounds like you too are going to have a great time!

                                                                                                2. re: HelpIamInLove

                                                                                                  You lucked out. Arrows is the best...and it was my original suggestion; Don't go anywhere but Arrows, and get the tasting menu!

                                                                                                  1. re: HelpIamInLove

                                                                                                    Well, let us know how it goes, whether you are in Boston or Ogunquit.

                                                                                                3. Helpiminlove you seem to have your own best ideas. You should just play ennie meenie minni mo with all of your own suggestions. Love is grand!

                                                                                                        1. re: globalgourmand

                                                                                                          Alas, it appears that this thread was the only posting the OP ever made on Chowhound, so we'll probably never know. I hope it worked out for him.

                                                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                                                            But reviving this will give folks some romantical ideas for Valentine's day next week :)

                                                                                                            Of course, activities along the Charles might be a bit chilly!