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Dec 6, 2008 06:22 AM

Romantic, delicious, not pretentious - downtown

My husband and I are coming to Boston from Northampton for just one Friday night, staying at the Onyx Hotel downtown. We are not very familiar with Boston. We plan to have lunch in Chinatown, and would like to have a moderately priced dinner (maybe $100 or less for two not counting drinks or tip) in a romantic (as in not tightly packed w/folks and very loud) and down to earth establishment. We're not wedded to a particular cuisine, though not s-e asian, since we're doing that for lunch. We love Mediterranean cuisine and french bistros, or other simple fare, particularly with an emphasis on healthy, seasonal cuisine. We hate places with tiny and/or tall portions. We'd love to walk there (happy to walk 20 minutes) but would also take the T for the right place. Mostly, we just want it to be really tasty. Northampton is full of overrated restaurants, and we're excited to get out of town for a meal.

We'd also love a good breakfast recommendation nearby.



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  1. Grotto on Bowdoin St near Cambridge St fills the bill.

    Your hotel is also near the North End where there are a wide variety of places. Two favorites here are Mamma Maria and Prezza; both might push the budget a bit.

    4 Replies
    1. re: BBHound

      Mama Maria is amazing - so is Carmen in the N End

      1. re: Shefood

        Another vote for Mama Maria's and Carmen. They have the romantic factor. Grotto is great food, but I don't think it is as romantic as these other two.

        You have a tapas bar in your lobby called the Flat Iron. Good cocktails and some interesting apps. Enjoy.

        1. re: kate used to be 50

          The Flat Iron is in the Bullfinch Hotel. I'm not sure where that is in relation to the Onyx.

          Mamma Maria is my favorite romantic Boston restaurant, but I think it might be more upscale than what you're looking for. I don't consider Prezza romantic or moderately-priced. The food is fantastic, though.

          1. re: pollystyrene

            O, I'm sorry you are so right. It isn't the Flat Iron, it is the Ruby Room. Good drinks/bad food!! Thanks for the correction.

    2. I agree with the Grotto suggestion. It's down to earth (in fact, it's in a basement!), romantic in a bohemian way, and serves rich Italian in large portions. Don't miss the garlic truffle soup if you go. I wouldn't call it healthy, though.

      Pigalle is currently running a special: 3 courses for $35, with the whole menu at your disposal, a steal for this place. It's romantic and French, but healthier than Grotto.

      1. Another vote for Grotto! We really enjoyed our dinner there when we were in Boston.

        1. I thought of Grotto in Beacon Hill as well! Very yummy.

          1. For breakfast, I'd hit the Paramount on Charles Street in Beacon Hill.

            2 Replies
            1. re: shopgirl_07

              Given a chice between Grotto and Pigalle, given one night in Boston, I'd go with Pigalle.
              Though it is not clear that they are running the $35 special on Friday evenings.