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Apr 19, 2009 02:52 PM

Elegant But Not Pretentious

CHOW's, We are looking for suggestions to celebrate our daughter's 20th birthday. She likes place you can dress up, so we would welcome your suggestions for a restaurant that is elegant but not pretentious.
Scott H.

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  1. Scott would you please provide us more information....location preferences, cuisine style, price point, how many people, etc You will get more relevant responses

    8 Replies
    1. re: capeanne

      Thank you for your reply. I am new to this. The preference would be French or Mediterranean either in Boston or burbs north or west. There will just be three of us - budget of $ 150 ish.

      1. re: scott h.

        My first recommendation ( all are French centric and in Boston proper) is Pigalle that has a 40 dollar prix fixe and I think is a very elegant atmosphere. It has received mixed reviews on this board but we have always had great meals and fine service .If you can celebrate on a Sunday or Monday night Mistral has a 39 dollar prix fixe..also Sel de le Terre on the waterfront and Le Voile on Newbury come to mind ..I am assuming the 50 pp is without tax tip and drinks??? I think Pigalle has the most elegant atmosphere, Sel de le Terre comes in 2nd and the last 2 are a bit more lively / noisy. Happy Birthday to the young lady

        1. re: capeanne

          All good suggestions. I'd add Hamersley's.

          1. re: pollystyrene

            I'll second Hamersley's, it's my favorite "occasion" restaurant for that very combination of great food in an elegant yet unpretentiousness setting.

            1. re: BobB

              Third to Hammersley's. Does it fit the price point though? Great food! Also consider Salts and Craigie on Main. Lots of good reviews here on Chow.

            2. re: pollystyrene

              I've never had a more than adequate meal at Hamersley's. Good food (although often over salted) made and served competently.

              1. re: alwayscooking

                I was there last for Easter brunch and had a wonderful rendition of poached eggs -- "Poached Eggs with Morbier Cheese, Smoky Bacon and Spicy Breakfast Sausage on a Toasted English Muffin with Herb Sauce." Simply delicious. Our only (slight) problem was with the wait staff. Otherwise, great location, especially for dinner on a warmer night when the stretch is busy with dinner-going, nicely dressed couples.

            3. re: capeanne

              I second Sel de la Terre. I love this place and the people there. It's a great atmosphere with great food and zero pretension

        2. How about places with an approachable menu, like Flora in Arlington or Bistro 5 in West Medford? Closer to the city is the Blue Room in Cambridge. Central Kitchen or Oleana might be fun for you and your daughter.

          134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

          Blue Room
          1 Kendall Sq, Cambridge, MA

          Bistro 5
          5 Playstead Road, Medford, MA 02155

          190 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, MA 02474

          2 Replies
          1. re: digga

            WOW - these are my four favorite restaurants - so I would give a hearty 2nd to these recommendations.

            1. re: digga

              I love the Blue Room too, but elegant? Hardly.

            2. I also like Salts, The Bristol, Da Vinci, Harvest, Aquitaine, Beacon Hill Bistro (ably reviewed in the Globe this week), Brasserie Jo, La Voile, Union Bar & Grill, Lumiere (West Newton), Pops, Sage, Via Matta, Summer Winter (Burlington), and either of the Ten Tables (be sure to make reservations). Don't be disappointed if other diners don't bother to dress up, even for nice places.


              1 Reply
              1. re: MC Slim JB

                i did try the lasagna at Beacon Hill Bistro based on the Globe review, although it was tasty, the term lasagna should be interpreted loosely as the dish was primarily peas, carrots and lentils with only a couple thin token sheets of pasta, almost a deconstructed dish, reminiscent of chicken pot-pie filling (sans chicken). Very subtle flavors but not for those who are looking for a hearty rich pasta dish.

              2. I would suggest Craigie on Main - If you can do a weeknight or a Sunday, Tony Maws does a Chef's Whim tasting menu, 4 courses for $39.99 or a 6 course for $54.99, a real bargain there. If you can't, I would suggest going anyway, though it may break the $150 budget.



                1. I love Salts but I suspect that will put you over budget. I'd add EVOO on the somerville/cambridge line - lovely room.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LauraBear

                    EVOO is fabulous and parking is rarely a problem.