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Mama Maria booked - Taranta, Mistral or where else?

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We are celebrating an anniversary and our favorite, Mama Maria's is having a private party. Recommendations for a second choice will be appreciated. Quality of the food and atmosphere are most important, price is not. We are only interested in downtown restaurants, so that we can walk home. Thanks.

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  1. Bummer. Mamma Maria is my favorite, too. I don't think Taranta compares, so I wouldn't consider it if I were you. I haven't been to Mistral, but my sense is that if you're looking for something with old Bostonian charm, that's not the place for it.

    I think service, atmosphere, and cocktail-wise, you'd be delighted with No. 9 Park. I've had some great dishes there, and some just okay, which would be fine if it weren't for the steep prices. Prezza doesn't have the charm that MM does either, but it's a sophisticated, high-end Italian place, also in the North End, and the food is extraordinary. My other pick would be Icarus in the South End. I haven't been to Pigalle yet, but if you like French, it seems well worth exploring.

    1. I like Mamma Maria's very much, but I think Taranta (food wise) compares more than favorably.

      You might want to consider Troquet as well. We tend to forget about it for some reason, but the food and wine are exceptional. And if you ask when making your reservation, and tell them it's your anniversary, odds are pretty high you can get an upstairs window seat overlooking the Common.

      1. Suggestion if you want to optimize for food quality: Prezza.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Carty

          We love Prezza and we go there often but since our standby favorite is unavailable, we are interested in trying something new. I am rethinking the whole walking home thing as I think it limits our choices. Other curiosities that I have not tried are:
          Clio?
          Number 9 Park?
          Oceana?

          1. re: greenstate

            Clio and No. 9 Park are excellent but expensive special-occasion places -- I've liked both. Would not place Oceana anywhere in the same universe with these in terms of quality.

            There's also L'Espalier, though I've seen mixed reactions about the new space they're in.

        2. Have you been to Sorellina- lovely restaurant, delicious food, good service. Also, second Troquet- excellent place, wonderful wine list, good food and that butter from Normandy . . .yum. There was a review in last week's Boston globe that you can find online.

          2 Replies
          1. re: emilief

            I am reporting back after our wonderful anniversary dinner. We made reservations at Troquet because the kudos on this board were so good. We walked in and were seated. On either side of us the tables were less than a foot apart and we could hear every single word of both conversations. The only free standing tables were for larger parties and unavailable to us. We sat there with menus for a few minutes and finally decided to leave. The food might be over the top but having a conversation with my husband during an anniversary dinner is pretty high on my list of necessities. We ended up at Prezza where we had a spectacular meal served by Paul, one of the best in the business. After a bottle of wine, he brought us a sample of another wine he thought we would like and he gave us a tasting of a smooth Grappa before we left. The bone in fillet was great as was the mushroom app. I would have liked to try Troquet but in balance, atmosphere is very important to me.

            1. re: greenstate

              I'm so glad you had a good experience at Prezza, because that's one of my favorites. I'd also agree with Ralphie (below) that Taranta is another good choice.

          2. Taranta. I've been there for an anniversary and it was fantastic, in terms of food, service and atmosphere.