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Dec 30, 2008 04:24 PM

Dinner Near Lenox in Boston

Any suggestions for casual but good ( and reasonably priced) restaurant for dinner within walking distance of Lenox Hotel? We like all different ethnic foods, and seafood and vegetarian specialties, only type of restaurant we're not interested in would be steakhouse type place. Would like to keep entrees under $20. Thanks.

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  1. Petit Robert in Kenmore Sq. is walkable or take the T 2 stops to Kenmore(any train outbound, except the E train.)

    Petit Robert Bistro
    468 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215

    1. I highly second the recommmendation of Petit Robert. You would not be dissapointed Entrees probably average $16-17 range. Scout out their website to take a look at the menu. As you might tell, I am a fan.

      1. Oof, that's a bit of a Chow desert right there, lots of bad restaurants and stupid chains, not much that's cheap and interesting, though there are a couple of worthy expensive places nearby. Some places I like in walking distance:

        Chilli Duck, my favorite Thai restaurant in the Back Bay. It has a specialties menu with some more authentic, less seen Thai dishes worth checking out.

        Vlora. An easy-to-miss basement space with a cool, almost nightclubby vibe and very good Albanian and Greek fare. Skip the Italian dishes.

        Newbury Street has several casual pizzerias that I think are worthwhile: Bostone, Upper Crust, and Scoozi (in that order). Their pizzas are predictably pricey given the neighborhood.

        Anchovies -- in the nearby South End, this neighborhood bar has solid Italian-American fare (think good meatballs and eggplant parm) in big portions at nice prices. Its next-door sibling Giacomo's is pricier and fancier, but I prefer the dive.

        Coda -- a sleek little South End neighborhood bar with good cocktails and excellent upscale comfort food. This might suit you perfectly, and it's also an easy walk (if the sidewalks are clear).

        The bar at Brasserie Jo in the Colonnade Hotel. French/Alsatian brasserie with good (giant) cocktails and an affordable bar menu.

        Bukowski -- a cramped, loud little bar with an awesome beer selection, its main attraction, and decent cheap American food (burgers and dogs and mac & cheese).

        Kashmir -- a respectable Indian place that has the Newbury Street Restaurant Disease: atmosphere and a good patio are more important than food, so it's overpriced compared to better Indian places in less touristy areas. If you walk a couple blocks further, Bhindi Bazaar offers superior food, better regional breadth, and lower prices at a less tony address.

        Laurel -- an odd duck: has a great lively bar, a nice-looking dining room with white tablecloths, and a solid but not transporting menu of American food. One of the better values in a neighborhood full of overpriced mediocrities.

        Petit Robert -- I'll steer you to the South End outlet instead of the Kenmore Square one cited above: it's walkable and everything a neighborhood French bistro should be.

        Addis Red Sea -- another bargain by South End standards, a fine-dining Ethiopian restaurant. Great fun if you've never tried it, and a pretty, romantic space to boot.

        Tapeo. Derided for being less authentic than some other Spanish restaurants in town, it's still one of the more worthwhile restaurants on the glitzy but mostly-Chowhound-despised Newbury Street. Sit at the downstair bar and nibble on tapas with a glass of wine or sherry. Nice patio when it's warmer.

        Typhoon. Recommended more for its convenience in a blizzard than outstanding food (it's right across the street from the hotel), this pan-Asian place is barely average. I find the Vietnamese-leaning dishes the most interesting.

        If you can stretch your budget a bit, consider these:

        La Voile, an excellent Provencal French place on Newbury Street.

        Sorellina, a very swank and quite expensive modern Italian place that attracts a too-too crowd.

        Douzo (big and modern Japanese with a broad menu) and Haru (a glitzy chain sushi outlet).

        Sel de la Terre. An excellent country French place in the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

        Good luck!

        6 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          I'll second Addis Red Sea. If you haven't had Ethiopian before do try it. I'm a meat eater, so I like their lamb, but they've got plenty of fish and veg on the menu as well.
          It's a nice relaxing atmosphere and fun to try something new.

          BTW - I'm not a fan of Petit Robert. I dined at their Needham location recently and was totally disappointed (I've already commented in previous post so I won't elaborate). Reading these posts, I'm tempted to try the in town locations... but I can't get over how bad an experience it was.

          1. re: zizzpudding

            Thank you all for your suggestions.! We're off to Boston, and will definitely try one.

            1. re: zizzpudding

              That's interesting because I go to the Petit in Kenmore all the time. The staff is very friendly, and you can even dine by yourself at the bar downstairs and watch them make the desserts. My favorite thing to do is to sit at the bar and order a glass of wine and the pan seared fois gras (they'll recommend an excellent pairing for the liver) I know that the Petit in Kenmore was the first, and then the one in the South End was built second. Maybe you would have a better experience at one of those?

            2. re: MC Slim JB

              I generally agree with everything in this excellent post - especially the sad case that this is a chow desert (I live here).

              Minor quibbles...

              I've never got why people like Anchovies. I'd say its awful. Laurel has never done it for me either - but more forgettable. La Voile was wonderful, but they have a new chef recently, and sadly it showed in the food - was pretty bad a month ago when I went. I wanted to cry, what a loss. Sel de la terre - good, I prefer the bar menu. Excellent service. Less draft in the upstairs bar. Just had a remarkably good hamburger there.

              The bar menu at Azure in the Lenox is ok, but overpriced.

              Bhindi Bazaar on Newbury and Mass can actually be good Indian, but its slipped

              1. re: BostonCharles

                Very sorry to hear of a chef change and a downhill report on La Voile; I haven't been back in a few months. I sure hope your experience was a hiccup and not a resetting of the bar there. It's been one of my favorites in the Back Bay since it opened.

                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  Yeah, I'm saddened, it was REALLY good before. First restaurant in Boston I've eaten at that felt truly french. Barring Cafe Baraka I guess, which would be more North Africa French.

                  I hope to hear it was a hiccup, but won't be going back until I do.

                  I really enjoy your reviews on here, as an aside, MC Slim JB, occasional minor quibbles notwithstanding