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May 4, 2009 11:36 AM

Birthday Dinner - Visiting Boston

My husband and I will be celebrating my 28th birthday together in his hometown of Boston. Currently, we live in NYC and have not been to Boston in five years. As my first birthday as a married woman in a town that I am not too familiar with, we are uncertain of the restaurant situation in Boston. As such, I was hoping to call upon my fellow Chowhounds for some advice.

We are looking for a fun, unpretenious dining experience. We both enjoy sitting at a dinner table for about two hours or more and hate rushed and unfriendly service. We enjoy seafood (love lobster and cod); American/Italian/French-bistro cuisine; ample portions; great service; and reasonable wine prices ($12 per glass). As a side note, we enjoy having a drink at the bar either before or after dinner.

We will be staying on the Boston waterfront, but are willing to travel within Boston itself, provided it is worthwhile.

Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

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  1. One suggestion, and I'm sure there will be may more:

    Sel de la Terre. There is one by the waterfront (near Aquarium) and another in Back Bay. They do not have the same menu.

    1. On the waterfront, you could drink in the nice bar of the Rowes Wharf (or the outdoor Intrigue) and have dinner at Meritage or Sel de la Terre. Or start there and walk over to the North End and go to a couple places like Prezza, Lucca, Taranta. Down Charles St. is the newish Liberty Hotel with the excellent Scampo and a couple cool bars. In the Back Bay, there's also a Sel de la Terre in the Mandarin Oriental with a new bar for a drink. Eastern Standard in Kenmore Sq. if no ballgame is fun. I like the bar at Great Bay which you could combine with ES altho ES's own bar is great.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Joanie

        I heartily second Prezza. A nice bar, northern Italian food that's unsurpassed in Boston, and ample portions. Plus it's in the charming North End, which shouldn't be missed anyway, and you can get great cannoli nearby at Mike's Pastry.

      2. One suggestion that I've read here and seems like a fun idea is going to the bar at B&G Oyster (arguably one of the best seafood restaurants in the city) and getting some appetizers from the raw bar and drinks. Then you cross the street to the Butcher Shop for your entrees and desserts. Both restaurants are owned by Barbara Lynch– she also has a great bar called Drink with some of the top mixologists in Boston and if you have time you should definitely stop over there.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Snoop37

          I second the recommendation for Drink for either a pre- or post-dinner drink. Great place. For inspiration, see this thread:

          1. re: Snoop37

            My favorite approach is to hit both restaurants (and a few more in that area of the South End for drinks and dessert). B&G serves more than just oysters.

          2. Gaslight bistro on Harrison Ave. in S. End is reasonably priced and good food.

            1. These suggestions are very good - please keep them coming.

              Sel de la Terre seems to have an innovative menu; Prezza has a nice northern Italian menu - I especially love the polenta.

              I must admit, we have looked extensively at Lynch's restaurants and were quite intrigued by B&G Oyster and The Buther Shop. In fact, one of my clients recommended The Butcher Shop. My concern is that they will both be overcrowded and we will not be able to get a seat at the bar and/or our dinner might be rushed. Any thoughts on this?

              2 Replies
              1. re: koc2281

                They accept reservations and I've not felt rushed. While they can be busy, I've walked in and put my names on the list. They'll call when there is an available table. In the meantime, there are a number of restaurants with nice bars to visit in the immediate area.

                Both restaurants are very small and can be little loud - but fun.

                1. re: koc2281

                  It seems to me that Sel de la Terre has been resting on its laurels for quite a while, started out good, now not so much. Had a very nice dinner recently at Sensing at the Battery Wharf Fairmont Hotel (on Boston waterfront, North End) but that might be more formal than you are after, but the food is outstanding. I second either B&G or Butchershop but reservations are essential unless you are very patient.