Special but moderate priced dinner in Belmont, Watertown, Newton, Waltham area
A client wants to take me out but I get to choose the restaurant! Nice, but a dilemma. I don't want to pick anything too high end, and no Asian or Indian food. These are the convenient locations, although Waltham is my last choice just due to parking. Is Ariadne any good? What about some of the other suburban places that try to be special (and have a liquor license)?
Il Casale in Belmont Center has been getting some very good reviews. It is not high end and I believe they serve wine and beer but not hard liquor. Someone here can do doubt correct me if I am wrong about that. You need to reserve ahead. One caveat is that some reports say that it is noisy at peak hours.
Kouzina on Beacon St in Newton. Very good food but not super expensive so you don't have to be embarrassed at the bill. Mediterranean in theme but not overly ethnic. Just elegant, un-pretentious, friendly high-quality food. Nice, reasonably priced wine list to accompany.
Ariadne can be hit-or miss with service and it's starting to look shabby after all these years. It's a touch higher in price as well.
Kouzina is very good and well priced. I'm not sure I'd classify it as "special", its more of a excellent neighborhood place. Probably very few expense account diners. Also I'm pretty sure it doesn't have a full liquor license.
If Ariadne is in your price range, I'd try 51 Lincoln in Newton Highlands instead. 51 Lincoln is about the same price but has better food and much better service. It has a full bar and an attractive decor. This is the right season for their signature appetizer--grilled watermelon. No dedicated parking, but on street parking (and a municipal lot half a block away) should be okay, especially on a weeknight.