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Thoughts on dante?

I have been put in charge of finding a restaurant to celebrate my Mom's 60th birthday next weekend. We are a little late in the planning (6 people) and I no longer live in Boston, but I've been doing my research.

Has anyone tried dante in the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge? The Zagats review sounded good and the menu looks nice. How is the food and ambiance? My parents are both foodies but we don't want a place too over the top in terms of price and it would be good to be able to hear our dining companions speak. But of course the food much be delicious and the atmosphere celebratory.

Thanks for your advice.

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  1. I have only eaten there once about a year ago. The room is lovely and the service is very nice. The menu looked enticing and interesting. The food did not live up to the way it was described on the menu. I really thought the food was going to be much better than it was. For what we paid I thought the food lacked flavor. I had a lobster spaghetti dish that sounded fabulous but was quite plain and boring. If you plan on spending that kind of money I would rather go to Mistral which is where we celebrated my dad's big birthday dinner. The dover sole was really something special.

    1. I have been there twice: dinner during restaurant week last summer, and more recently, brunch on Father's Day. There were a few little things, but overall, we were quite pleased. Weather hasn't been on our side, as both times, our intent was to dine outdoors and enjoy the view, but thunderstorms and the recent June weather prevented that both times. We had no complaints about the food; we liked everything we had, except during RW, my husband had a baked ziti type main course that was not hot enough. He sent it back, and the waiter acted like that had never happened before. When it came back, it still wasn't hot enough, but he ate it anyway. On Father's Day, we went for brunch around 2. The prix fixe menu had a lot of items that appealed to us, including a somewhat finicky teen, who loved her food. The bread basket was nice as well. The service was very good. One of our pet peeves is that while the place was nearly empty, they seated us next to a party of 5 or 6 that was very loud. I don't have a problem with people enjoying themselves, but it was obviously for Dante's convenience, as we didn't have to be right on top of them. And they were louder than usual. But aside from those little things, I like the atmosphere, food, and service. The atmosphere is modern, a little bit of a casual feel, not overly so- I guess I just mean it's not stuffy. Parking isn't difficult- it's the Sonesta garage, for which you have to pay, unless you feel like hunting for a space on the street.

      1. I had a similar experience to Macadamianut; either the food didn't quite taste as good as it sounded like it would, or there was another element in the dish that put me off that wasn't in the description (that dish was a calamari & chickpea dish that had a bitter orange sauce added).

        I loved loved loved the desserts, though, and the dishes that worked did work well.

        The outdoor space is nice, and is along the Charles, and in good weather, I think could be quite celebratory. The atmosphere is not my style at all, very hotel restaurant--too big and seemingly aimed to be inoffensive rather than have any particular flavor.

        If you go, just park in the lot across the street at the Galleria mall. It's very very cheap, like under $5.

        1. I've eaten there half a dozen times and it has been more good than not, but there have been some misses - boring dishes, not awful. I second the bread basket and desserts. Beyond dessert, my most positive reactions have been to the salads (still salads, but fresh and interesting) and to fish dishes. Cocktails have been so-so - a few delicious, but most eh, so now I stick to the basics.

          I think the decor is fine and it hasn't been too loud when we've gone - but I've never been there when it was completely packed.

          1. I'll echo similar sentiments - I thought it was good (decent) but not great. I wouldn't make a point to prioritize this over other places, and I found it on the expensive side for what it did offer. The only thing that wow'ed me was their fried dough ball dessert (can't remember the more elegant name they give it).

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