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Your Favorite South End Restaurant...please :)

Hello all,
I am very interested in learning and exploring the South End for restaurants. We are planning on taking Tango lesson on Val. Day and need a south end reccomendation for dinner. I know its kinda late to get one for vday but would LOVE your opinions. I did make one for Beehive, Toro and Estragon but they are all at bad times...like 9pm. Where would you go for a cozy romantic dinner? I am hopeing to try these suggestions this winter...its like discovering new joys!!!!

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  1. Tango lessons sounds like great fun! I have been to Toro but not Beehive or Estragon. I know Toro has limited bar seating and if you arrived early you could amuse yourself until your reservation. You should defiantly cancel two of those reservations sooner rather then later so that some of the procrastinators can grab those seats!

    2 Replies
    1. re: csammy

      Have not been to Toro in a while, but I did not think that they took reservations.

      1. re: stradacouple

        just for Valentine's Day (and maybe New Year's)

    2. I really like the Franklin Cafe. It's very cozy, the prices are reasonable, and the food is great. I love their steak frites. Their cocktails are good too. It's small though, and tends to get crowded. We always go early, like 6 pm or so, when we're in the area.

      1. You can never go wrong at Toro... great food and an interesting wine list. I've heard only good things about Estragon, but never been myself. Beehive is a great place to drink, but I think the foo is all hype and over priced. I always enjoy Stella- they have the best home made pastas.

        1 Reply
        1. re: deeg22

          thanks for your advice. I will check out franklin cafe and stella. Maybe we will go for drinks at beehive before a late dinner. Looks like Toro got rave reviews! I will def cancel my other resevations.

        2. Any decent restaurant in a dining mecca like the South End that takes resos will normally be booked solid for all but the extreme ends of dining hours on Valentine's Day, triply so when it falls on a Saturday night. (And, even on a regular Saturday, you should expect the hours from 630-8:30 to be booked by Thursday if not earlier, at least in many places). Cancellations/standby are about the only plausible exceptions. Hope for a snowstorm.

          1. As for the three you have rezzies at already, I would recommend Toro for food, although crowded and noisy- not stereotypical "romantic." Estragon is really nice, good food, more romantic, and quiet. Beehive I'll never be back to, especially on a weekend night- crowded, overly trendy, disappointing food and service.

            By the way, 9pm is the perfect time for a romantic dinner reservation- it's dark out, the restaurant gets quieter starting around 9, and there's no one waiting to take your table after you, so you don't get rushed! I aim for 9 when we go out for a nice dinner, wherever it is...

            1. Toro is great, but it doesn't take reservations. Its big problem is that it's too popular. Long waits (hour+ is not uncommon), uncomfortable crowding at the bar. It's a good problem (for them), but it makes it a pain as a rule. Valentines Day ought to be particularly bad. Probably the restaurant least affected by the recession in the South End. It never seems empty. I'm glad they hired Courtney Bissonnette from No. 9 to manage the bar; the cocktails are fabulous now. Offal is a new focus on the menu now that her husband Jamie is in the kitchen: nice.

              The Beehive is great for drinks and music, but the food remains substandard. No one much seems to care. Lines are still common on weekend nights. Watch your check total; some waiters appear to be unscrupulous, slipping extra charges onto the bill.

              Estragon is pretty and I think very good, more of a Barcelona style of tapas. Got some good weirdness on their menu, like the pig head, but mostly it's less scary and quite tasty. Not a fan of the sangria, but wine list is nice. Beer and wine only.

              The Franklin remains a very solid value, but also doesn't take reservations and has longish waits on weekends. Much easier on weeknights these days.

              My favorites in addition to the above: Pops, Union, bar at Sage, Myers+Chang, Don Ricardo's, Orinoco, J.J. Foley's Cafe, Addis Red Sea, Metropolis, South End Buttery (now that their downstairs room is open), Coda, Petit Robert Bistro, Hamersley's, Picco. The Butcher Shop, Icarus, Oishii Boston, Flour, and B&G Oysters are good, but rather pricey.

              Pretty good food: Masa, Stella, House of Siam, Delux, Anchovies, Gaslight, Rocca, Tremont 647, Columbus Cafe, Mela, Aquitaine, Seiyo, 28 Degrees.

              I am not a fan of Joe V's, Sibling Rivalry, Giacomo's, Jae's, Equator, Pho Republique, Clerys, or the Red Fez.

              Good and cheap: Morse Fish, Mangia Pizza, Mike's City Diner (no dinner), Charley's Sandwich Shoppe (no dinner), Appleton Bakery.

              1. Aquataine all the way...

                1. Oh, please don't go to Beehive for food. The space is great, the cocktails are nice, and the music is too if you're in the mood for music, but the food is expensive and uniformly terrible. And at 9p on a Sat night it's scene-y and noisy. Go anywhere else. Really. Anywhere.

                  My faves for neighborhood-style dining and good value are Metropolis, Pops, and Gaslight on the lower end, and Aquitaine on the higher end. For a no-reservation, good value, nice food kind of place, I'd say Deluxe (but it's not really a V-Day sort of joint). We've had nice special occasion dining at B&G Oysters.

                  Good luck!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: litchick

                    Agree, the food at the Beehive horrible.

                  2. Valentine's Day is tricky no matter where you go. My favorite So. End place is the Union and Rocca's is another favorite. This is one of the busiest nigths for any restaurant, so hopefully you can get a reservation at any of the places mentioned.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ghostcat

                      Yes, it has been crazy to get a resevation on V Day. So, we are sticking with Estragon at 8 and going to Toro another night next week. Thanks for your help:)

                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        Just want to update my post and let you all know where we went. We went to Estragon and it was HORRIBLE! We sat at 8:15 and was served dinner at 10:45! When we got our price fix meal of $55 pp it was cold and uneventful. I would say that I can suck it up to V day dining experience but we will never go back. They also do not have full bar and the champagne selection was not great.

                        On the plus side....we tried Toro the next weekend and it was FABULOUS!!! I love this place and will def go back. The food and service was outstanding!! Next on our list is Pho Republic and Banq, Any other suggestions? Thanks guys!