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Dinner near Symphony Hall?

We're going to be in Boston for the Marathon April 18-21 and want to take in the Boston Symphony on Saturday night, April 18.

We're a mixed group of 7 Canadians of various ages, ranging from 75+ to mid-30s.

Any suggestions with price ranges of good places to eat that aren't far from the Boston Symphony?


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  1. Good places near Symphony Hall are scarce. You will need to walk a bit. Help us out by telling us where you are staying, what kind of food you like and what you wish to spend.

    1. We always like Brasserie Jo before seeing a show there. It's French-comfort food, walkable, and usually has a nice buzz before shows. Just give yourself enough time so you're not rushing.

      3 Replies
      1. re: PorkTerrine

        Given the makeup of your group, I agree that Brasserie Jo is a good choice. If you book now, you should have no trouble getting a reservation.

        1. re: PorkTerrine

          Third on Brasserie Jo. Added benefit: it's in a hotel (the Colonnade), so there's a taxi stand directly outside for the 75+ member(s) of your party: it would be a less than five minute ride from there to Symphony Hall. It's no more than a 10-minute walk, and that's at a slow "I just ate rather a lot of mussels" pace.

          Symphony Hall is a treat: you're really going to enjoy yourselves.

          1. re: PorkTerrine

            I also think that you should go to Brasserie Jo.

          2. Petit Robert Bistro at 480 Columbus: http://www.petitrobertbistro.com/ is nearby.

            1. If one wants to take a 10-minute cab ride from Symphony Hall, that opens up a lot of great South End options. No reason to settle for the Wine Cellar.

              1. Fourth for Brasserie Jo. It's a nice place and prices are reasonable for that area. You can be dressed up or dressed down and be comforatable there. Food is good. Entries in the high teens to the low 20's generally. It's in the Colonnade Hotel on Huntington Ave. Not a bad walk from Symphony Hall -2 or 3 blocks, unless the elderly with you have trouble

                1. Agree on Brasserie Jo and would add Summer Shack on Dalton Street as an option if you want a more New England/seafood type option

                  It's big and bustling and touristy, but two recent visits have yielded great meals (the raw bar items are especially good and the lobsters excellent but really pricey) -and it's a 5-10 minute walk to Symphony Hall that includes a spin through the Christian Science world headquarters which is really nice.

                  There are also cabs readily available at the Hilton next door and the Sheraton across the street. If you are driving, parking in the evening is only $7 with validation at the garage next door to Summer Shack.

                  Note that a reservation will most likely be needed anywhere on Sat. night before marathon Monday if you don't want to wait.

                  1. I'd need some more direction about the flavors or meal you want to eat before I recommend some places. If you're from French Canada, I'd avoid Brasserie Jo or Petite Robert - wannabe bistros. Symphony Hall is blocks away from some excellent places so you can easily walk - cabs are also easy to find.

                    How much do you want to spend? What kind of foods or ambiance do you want? What foods are you open to/want to avoid (eg any kind of ethnic)? Casual, formal, modern, classic, trendy, Boston (new or old) atmosphere? I ask because my 80 year old mother would choose upscale, borderline formal with new and innovative food while one of my younger brother is just happy with food.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: alwayscooking

                      A minor clarification - Brasserie Jo really is a brasserie-style place (surprisingly better than some brasseries I tried in France, in fact), and not a bistro (or wanna be) at all - it has the printed menus, table service, extended serving hours, decent wine list, etc. you would expect from a brasserie.

                      Over the years, it's generally been quite solid and consistent for basic French fare, but seldom impressive or worthy of being a dining destination in and of itself.

                      1. re: rlh

                        I stand corrected - thanks. And agree that while fine, It's not a place I'd recommend for visitors when there are so many other interesting places.

                        1. re: alwayscooking

                          They specifically asked for good -- not "interesting," not "unique," not "Boston-specific," but "good" -- restaurants near Symphony Hall. The problem is that the area near Symphony Hall is largely a wasteland when it comes to good restaurants. (God forbid they end up at the utterly awful Betty's Wok n Noodle, for example.) Brasserie Jo is a good restaurant. I would argue that some of their dishes are very good, in fact. And they are, crucially, near Symphony Hall. Therefore, it fits the requested criteria.

                          Brasserie Jo would not be my first recommendation if someone said "I wanna eat anywhere inside 128." But it IS where we went for dinner the last time we went to Symphony Hall.

                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                            Well said, BFP. I have been a Symphony subscriber for over 30 years and I have been consistently amazed at how poor the dining choices are in the area. With Symphony Hall, the BU/Huntington Theater and Jordan Hall all in a concentrated area, one would think that you could support some good restaurants. And one would be wrong.

                            The good news, perhaps, is that the situation is improving from what it used to be. While Betty's is indeed awful, some OK places are appearing. For example, I am not a sushi fan but Symphony Sushi on Gainsborough appears to be decent. And places on Columbus Ave. are close enough to be viable choices. And yes, Brasserie Jo is the closest "good" restaurant.

                            There must be a way to stimulate some good places opeing in that area.

                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                              Living within 6 blocks of the BSO in the South End, I'm aware of the restaurants within walking distance. I'd agree that BJ is vastly superior to Betty's and also do wish there was a better selection in the immediate area - it seems unlikely given the college demographic that abuts the Hall.

                              For a block more walking, I'd suggest Sorellina or Sasso - more competent food. For a tad longer walk or a very brief cab (depends on the group), there's the back bay and the south end. The OP may not know how small the city is - nor do I know where they are staying.

                              Again, I'm not sure what the party wants that's why I asked, but they did post here - I'm assuming they want more than good. BJ's is good but then I live here and so can balance it with the very good.

                      2. There is a fabulous Thai/Vietnamese place right on Huntington, around the corner from Symphony Hall. I can't remember the name but it was sooo yummy and reasonable.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Stellar D

                          You're thinking of Pho Basil on Mass Ave. I give a slight edge to the Vietnamese dishes, particularly the pho, but everything is done quite well with fresh ingredients and efficient service.

                          I'd also suggest Sel de la Terre, L'Espalier, and Asana at the Mandarin Oriental. They're not that much farther from Symphony Hall than Brasserie Jo and Sasso, and cabs are always waiting in front of the hotel. Fantastic food and Boston institutions, in the case of the former two.

                        2. It's not fancy by any means, but Woody's on Hemenway is solidly good for pizza and other pub-type food. It's my pre-Symphony hall place of choice... I like the contrast.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: skordalia

                            I second Woody's for pre-symphony dinners. It's not nearly as dive-y as people imply on the boards. The pizza is good ( like the greek pie but you must be an arugula fan), but they also have more ambitious entrees. Decent beer menu as well. If you're looking for a high-end night, it's definitely not the right choice. But it's so convenient relative.