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Jan 10, 2010 06:40 PM

Classy Dinner for Three

I'm visiting some friends who live in Boston, and I'm treating them to dinner on a Saturday night. I'm looking for an Italian, seafood, French restaurant, but I'm open to other suggestions if the restaurant is good. I'm from LA, so maybe something "special" to the Boston area. Since it's going to be cold (I know because I went to college in NE), I want a place that has a few good braised/stewed/roasted dishes. Somewhere a bit classy where the patrons usually dress nice, and preferably somewhere accessible via public transportation. If a place needs to have reservations (since it's a Saturday night) please note that. My budget is around $100 for three people, including drinks and a tip. Thanks

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  1. Did this post come from 1970? Your budget makes it next to impossible for a "classy" dinner for 3. *Maybe* Petit Robert Bistro where most entrees are <$20. Each person gets one entree and one drink and you might be able to do it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Joanie

      lol. oh dear. to the op, the days of dressing for dinner are mostly over, but the places where people still do are north of $60 pp, excluding tax and tip.

      you might be able to squeak by on tapas at estragon in the south end, or a variety of apps at the franklin cafe, also south end. neither place is "fancy".

      1. re: Joanie

        Wouldn't a place like Joe Tecce's work?

      2. sorry if my budget seems a little ridiculous. I graduated recently and I'm only working a part-time my concept of how much a meal is cost is a little skewed. What it the upper limit was around $150? Would that be an okay price range?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Maitre_Tea

          It would be really helpful to explain what you mean by "classy" and "dress nice" - For example, in Boston, dress nice might include a saffron-colored ascot - in LA, it's..._________.?

          1. re: Maitre_Tea

            Perhaps you should rethink your parameters. You can dress as nice as you want, and go to a place within your budget. You're a recent grad working part-time. No need to spend like you've a lot of disposable income. Better to find a place with good food, and ambience, where you can all chat . Like Eastern Standard, Petit Robert Bistro come to mind. I like the tapas idea, too.

            1. re: Maitre_Tea

              I think P. Robert Bistro definitely feels kind of nice and like I said, you could squeak in with a lower amount of $$. If your friends like to split things, that always helps keep the cost down at other places. Get a few apps and split an entree or something. But it's tough to do $100 or so for 3 with tax/tip/booze. Other cute places with entrees mostly <$20 are Coda, Franklin, Columbus Cafe, Gaslight.

            2. thanks for the ideas everyone. I think my idea of dressing nicely is dress shirts/slacks, not a place where most of the patrons are wearing T-shirts and a baseball cap. I like the tapas idea too. We're not really big drinkers, so the drinks probably won't be that expensive, since they'll probably be non-alcoholic

              1 Reply
              1. re: Maitre_Tea

                I think there were recent comments about people wearing t's and caps at L'Espalier, so ultimately, you may be out of luck. I might suggest you search the board for some of the prix fixe menus - it may be just a bit more than you were looking for, but Ten Tables in JP and Cambridge have a couple of deals for $33/pp for three courses - and you'll trend away from ball caps here. So $100 for 3, before tax and tip without drinks - and excellent chow.

              2. Two places with nice atmosphere that might come close to your original budget: Laurel (on the border between the Back Bay and the South End) and Lala Rokh (on Beacon Hill). Laurel is a very nice room with good service; the food in my recollection is good though not great (though a colleague went recently and raved about it), but the prices are very reasonable - entrees under 20, many in the mid-teens. Nothing especially bostonian about it, but the price/classy ratio is good. Lala Rokh is excellent Persian food in a really lovely Beacon Hill townhouse - also excellent service as well. I haven't been for a while but I think most comments here have stayed positive, so I think it's worth considering. Unless you have no wine you'll probably break $100 with either place, but you could probably stay close. I think both take reservations; not sure if they're required.

                1. We ate at Helmand, a Afghani restaurant near the Galleria/Kendall Sq., the other night, and although our server did not do a stellar job, the food was excellent. It was a cold night; the warmth and coziness of the open oven in the middle of the space, and the hearty food really made for a fine b-day dinner for my daughter.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: EllenMM

                    Anthoner place may be Brasserie Jo at the Colonnade Hotel - went there a few weeks ago and the bill was $87 for two of us...we had two entrees, two soups, and one dessert.