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The Two-Hour Challenge: Solo Dinner tonight in Back Bay

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Hounds! Through a lack of planning and a bit of new information, I have learned that I will be in Back Bay tonight on business. It looks like it could be shaping up to be a beautiful night, so rather than eat in my hotel (the Sheraton on Dalton) I'd like to walk somewhere interesting. My criteria: walking distance (but I am willing to walk a half hour for the right kind of place), someplace where solo diners won't feel crazy-out-of-place (even though I a very content solo diner), someplace ideally with good people watching, and someplace that serves genuine food- delicious, local, and unpretentious. Price range doesn't matter, quality does.

So, what do you think, Hounds? Can anyone spare me from ordering room service or ending up at a random tourist trap?

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  1. How about Hammersly's Bistro on Tremont in the South End (about a 15 minute walk)? Absolutely delicious, simple, unpretentious food, extremely well-executed. Here is a recent thread to whet your appetite: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/619895

    I think you'd be fine as a solo diner, but maybe others with more experience dining solo can comment. If the patio is still open, it is quite beautiful.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greenzebra

      I'd agree. I also love the small patio at Petit Robert, which is of similar walking distance. Pops is also in the South End and of good walking distance and I enjoy their food a lot (although it gets mixed reviews from the board).

      Personally for me, when I travel on business and must dine alone, I'm a huge fan of steakhouses. Something about them gives you that business-y vibe plus work covers the meal ;-) If you are of link mind, I'd recommend Abe & Louie's.

      Across the street is also Sel de la Terre, a local chain, in the Mandarin Oriental. Their food is good but in my opinion, not great but consistent.

    2. I think you should peruse the boards, and feel most comfortable dining solo anywhere you choose. Enjoy!

      1. Highly recommend a walk over to Toro where you should be able to get a spot at the bar relatively easy - the food and drinks are outstanding.

        My next pick would be Eastern Standard in a heartbeat if the Red Sox weren't playing at home tonight, but it might be OK if you go well after the game starts and finish well before it ends - some of the best bartending around and great food.

        Summer Shack is much closer with great bar service but just solid New England casual seafood at kind of high prices.

        Brasserie Jo is nearby and consistently good to great basic French fare and professional service at the bar.

        -----
        Summer Shack Boston
        50 Dalton St., Boston, MA 02115

        Eastern Standard
        528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

        Toro
        1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

        Brasserie JO
        120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

        1. I travel solo on biz all ther time and if someone rcommended Hamersley's patio to me I would be very happy. Great food, professional and warm service and excellent people and dog watching....My "i am on the road again" definition of perfection.

          1. Wow, gang, thanks for the tremendous advice! Just booked a table at Hammersley's at 8- you've got me very excited! I'll report back...

            1 Reply
            1. re: rotary11

              Well, I must tell you that Hamersley's was a TREMENDOUS experience. The weather was perfect (got back to my hotel literally moments before the downpour started) and the food was even better! I had a really lovely fresh beet salad with olives, feta, and romaine, followed by that amazing roast chicken. I'll admit that I was prepared to be a lot more adventurous, but this was a PERFECT early fall meal, and getting a little bit of thigh meat with the roasted garlic and some parsley-herbed skin... tremendous. Thanks to all of you for helping me end up with something truly special!