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Feb 24, 2009 09:11 AM

Is Anthony's Pier 4 really that awful?

We're looking for a space for our rehearsal dinner that has some traditional Boston flair to it. Unfortunately, most private rooms in the downtown area have been booked.

Pier 4's price point and harborside views are big pluses. While most of our guests are not foodies, I'd be embarrassed to serve them really bad food. So my question is whether the food is at least edible. I'd be happy with mediocre food, just not awful food.

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  1. You'll do fine there.. stick with simple dishes - don't order bouillabaisse or seared tuna. Order a steak, ask for it rare, and be happy if you get it medium. It gets as much bad press for being dated as anything. That and rube tourists going there expecting same magical foodie experience and then slamming it for not being avant garde. That being said, how big is your shindig? Get rent out Lucky' a nice noir feeling to it..

    1. I was at Pier 4 for a reunion about a year ago, I would say that the food is awful, some might say mediocre but I wouldn't. Check into the menu at Joe's American Bar and Grill on the waterfront, prices are reasonable and food mediocre but better than Pier 4, I am going there for a college graduation for about 100 people. If everyone else is booked and Pier 4 is not, there's probably a very good reason why.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bakerboyz

        Anthony's is wretched. Seriously. They overcook, underseason, use less than fresh vegetables and well, I'll leave it at that. Come for the views and the wine. There's no other reason.

        For traditional Boston flair, you might try 75 Chestnut. They have a nice private room upstairs and its Common-side location is pure Olde Towne.

      2. Ugh - don't do it.

        Have you considered the Exchange Conference Center on the Fish Pier? It's near Anthony's but the food is provided by Legal Seafoods. It has a great space directly on the harbor. I've rented it for corporate events and it seemed fairly resonable.


        1. I went there recently for lunch - it was perfectly fine - oysters were fresh, cold seafood plate was fine, nothing spectacular but not wretched or awful.

          Best thing to do is do a test run yourself. Rehearsal dinners are funny things - some people may LOVE the view and the food will be more than fine. They will rave about the seafood and the fresh oysters and the popovers. But only you will really know you and your guests' barometers.

          1. Been there twice before. My parents actually like it! It offers fine decent food. Very average. Not awful but not great either. I admit its nothing special and aside from the location probably isn't worth the price but its perfectly edible and I wouldn't say bad at all. Its not very inventive food either but since you don't have foodies with you, you'll do fine. Think more very middle road american fare. For the love of god, don't order the baked alaska!

            8 Replies
            1. re: foxspirit

              Thanks for the honest opinions! The Exchange Center has too much of a corporate feel for my tastes, and I don't think 75 Chestnut has a private room.

              Would Durgin Park be equally as awful?

              1. re: newtofood

                I think Durgin Park food is also very average and the place itself lacks the kind of elegant yet casual atmosphere I'd want for a rehearsal dinner. Given a choice between it and Anthony's I'd book Anthony's.

                1. re: foxspirit

                  I know the first floor is somwhat casual, but they have a private room that appears to be a bit more formal - at least that's what their website shows.

                2. re: newtofood

                  My bad on 75 Chestnut.. I meant the Hampshire House above the "Cheers" Bull & Finch bar.

                  1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                    Very nice atmosphere -definitely old elegance. I've only had cocktail party there (they were as expected) so can't speak for the dinner. The place though is lovely.

                    1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                      Beautiful place - I attended one of my stepbrothers' weddings there some years back, It has a beautiful old-style elegance feel to it. Good food, excellent service.


                      Much better option than Anthony's Pier 4. Much, MUCH better.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        I've enjoyed their lovely jazz brunch a couple of times with friends and agree - classically elegant atmosphere, good food and excellent service.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          I was married at the Hampshire House and would not hesitate to go back there again. Food was good and the rate for the room was very reasonable.