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Inexpensive birthday dinner for a foodie?

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Hey, y'all! I'm looking for a place to have dinner with my guy on his actual birthday (it's on a Friday in a few weeks) that has awesome food but isn't expensive (would love to keep the bill under $100 all told) since we already have a family dinner planned for the weekend that is going to be rather expensive. We both are pretty open to different cuisines - love Japanese, tapas, seafood, you name it! Also, we live on the south shore but work in Boston so anything in those areas will work. Suggestions please!

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  1. Where is the family dinner going to be? If it were me, I'd want to do something pretty different from that for the birthday dinner.

    I love the Helmand in Cambridge for birthday dinners, and it's pretty easy to dine very well there for under $100 for two.

    1. 10 Tables or Bon Savor in JP, Toro in the south end, Grotto on Beacon Hill, Petit Robert Bistro in Kenmore or SE, Tosca in Hingham if you split stuff.

      1. da vinci in the south end? nice prix fixe - you could even splurge on the extra cost items and still be under $100 for two.

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        Da Vinci Ristorante
        162 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02116

        1. how about a private tatami room at Fugakyu (you can sit, don't have to kneel)? you could also try for Coppa (try the pig ear terrine)

          1. A lot of fine suggestions here already. I'll add the Franklin Southie, Jasmine Bistro, Estragon, Taberna de Haro, the bar at Chez Henri, Garden at The Cellar.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

            2 Replies
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              try the new basta pasta in quincy for italian, or tupelo in cambridge for good southern

              1. re: teezeetoo

                I'm sorry to say that Basta Pasta in Quincy definitely does not belong on this list, especially when you're trying to impress a foodie! It's average at best.

            2. Two words...Franklin Cafe. I would opt for their original location on Shawmut Ave. in the South End, though they don't take reservations, so if you show up peak hours you can expect to wait an hour+. That said, it's small, great energy, fantastic food, and all entrees are under $20. Franklin Southie is mentioned below and that is their sister restaurant in South Boston, which is also very good...different menu items but still same concept price wise and their atmosphere is also very cool.

              Coppa is another good choice and menu aims to stay at $15 and less, but smaller portions. Since this just opened up within the month and is one of Ken Oringer's places, you can expect to wait awhile on a weekend. Good news is that Franklin Cafe is across the street to have drinks while you wait.