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If you were to propose

ne_cyclone Jan 12, 2010 11:58 AM

what restaurants would make the short list to go down on one knee? I am researching options and this one is on my list for potentials.

Thank you.

  1. c
    cherrytomato Dec 8, 2011 04:57 AM

    I would go to some of the best oyster bars/restaurants and place the diamond on ice surrounded by glistening and briny oysters and mignoette with lemons. ICOB would be my choice

    1 Reply
    1. re: cherrytomato
      cherrytomato Dec 8, 2011 05:03 AM

      If you go to ICOB they will make a dinner menu for you that is just written for your table. It could say Proposal Dinner December 2011. When she opens the menu it will say that. Then have the oysters come out with the ring!

    2. opinionatedchef Dec 7, 2011 11:41 PM

      ne, when you narrow down your list, you might want to look at the dining room photos on each place's website, this link will efficiently get you to all their websites:

      Boston Magazine 11/11 issue: 50 Best Boston Restnts. This list is a very comprehensive and convenient reference list for brief restnt. descriptions, essential info, website links of the 50:


      1 Reply
      1. re: opinionatedchef
        opinionatedchef Dec 8, 2011 10:48 AM

        now i feel stupid. i realize now that this was an old thread, revived with other goals .

        ah well, for ne's new questions of 12/6/11:

        somerville thtre romantic options:

        none in davis sq itself, but short cab ride:

        -- Bergamot in old EVOO (moved) space, corner Kirkland and No Beacon in Som.


        --TWFood in Cambridge Huron Village area

        both well reviewed on CH

        Symph Hall romantic options:

        -- Sonsie; Newb St near Mass Ave.

        --Bistro du Midi ; Huntington Ave.

        --Deuxave; Mass Ave by Comm Ave

      2. a
        AaronInBoston Dec 7, 2011 11:43 AM

        I had a post proposal lunch at L'espalier. It was very special as I had noted in my reservation that I was going to propose before we arrived for lunch. We were congratulated upon entry of the restaurant and by our server shortly there after. I'm having trouble remembering but I believe they gave us a complimentary glass of champagne to celebrate the occassion. Food was for the most part excellent and service out of this world. I would highly recommend them for a special occasion meal or your proposal. I decided to avoid the restaurant proposal because that is what my fiance expected.

        1. ne_cyclone Dec 6, 2011 08:30 AM

          Dear Hounds of Boston,

          It has been almost 2 years since I last posted to this thread - every now and then I come back to read all the helpful suggestions and stories that you so kindly shared.
          My wife and I are now celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary during the weekend of 12/17-12/19. Its about 2 weeks after our actual anniversary but I married a doctor so there goes planning ahead...

          I have booked us into the Renaissance again where we stayed when I proposed in Feb 2010. This time around, I am hoping for some more amazing memories and a grand old time. So far I have picked the Langham for Sunday brunch - http://boston.langhamhotels.com/resta....

          Plans for activities include the Slutcracker, BSO Pops and some walks around the Common with maybe a stop at the Four Seasons Bristol Lounge.

          Since we are in the Seaport district, I was hoping for some suggestions in the general vicinity again for eating and/or other activities. Also, Mamma Maria private room - what is the realistic chance to get that?
          Somerville Theater and Symphony Hall vicinity romatic options? We are also good food fans so everything is not to be uber-expensive and stuff. A hot dog on one afternoon would be manna!!
          Also last but not the least, we will stay over on Monday - are food trucks worth looking into? We are fans of the NYC truck scene - has Boston become a good alternate for the choices they provide?

          Thanks a lot and hope to hear from you all.

          7 Replies
          1. re: ne_cyclone
            gourmaniac Dec 6, 2011 09:25 AM

            I think the food truck phenomenon is a little silly and definitely a disappointment here. However, there is one exception that also feeds your hot dog need. Speeds Hot dog wagon in Newmarket Square. Search this site for plenty of posts on this and how to get there.

            1. re: gourmaniac
              hckybg Dec 7, 2011 10:05 AM

              I agree it's largely a flash in the pan, as are most trends. The Staff Meal food truck has gotten praise for doing some very original stuff though.

              1. re: hckybg
                BostonZest Dec 8, 2011 07:23 AM

                I'm going to respectfully disagree about the Boston Food scene. My husband and I have been covering them for our site and my newspaper column. We're about to do a piece on their winter plans.

                Staff Meal is great. Nose to tail from two fine dining chefs. One was a butcher.

                Dining Car is fabulous. One partner came out of the L'Espalier/Sel de La Terre catering team and the other worked in top NYC places. They have been putting smiles on my face all year.

                Speed's is worth a visit for that hot dog. In addition to his Newmarket Square location he'll be at SOWA market every Sunday this winter.

                Roxy had some of the best grill cheese combos I've tasted. Go for the Mighty Rib.

                Bon Me give you a healthy, tasty lunch in a flash with options for anyone's diet.

                Silk Road Barbeque is great, fresh food made with incredible attention and care and packed with flavor.

                If you lived in the Back Bay you would be as happy as I am when you see the Red Bones truck in front of the Library.

                There are a couple of duds out there but for the most part these are great options for a quick meal that is far better than any fast food place and their food can stand up to that served by many local restaurants.


            2. re: ne_cyclone
              antimony Dec 6, 2011 09:40 AM

              Near Somerville theater -- if you want something small and funky (but not expensive), walking up the street to Istanbu'lu could be fun. No booze, if that matters, but there are lots of places around it with good drinks. It's a tiny little casual Turkish place with fantastic food, mostly small plates (sharing is always romantic, right?). They're also great for brunch depending on whether you have evening or matinee tickets.

              1. re: ne_cyclone
                Beach Chick Dec 6, 2011 10:00 AM

                Love love love the Langham..
                Brunch is fab too.
                Have dinner and drinks at Locke-Ober..at least drinks at one of the oldest places in BOS.
                Congrat's and happy anniversary!

                1. re: ne_cyclone
                  Fenway_Frank Dec 8, 2011 06:59 AM

                  There's a food truck called Pennypacker's that's totally worth it and it's right by your hotel - maybe a ten minute walk. It's only open Monday through Friday but if you're staying over you'd be able to pay them a visit.
                  Here's the website: http://www.pennypackersfoodtruck.com/ but they post the menu daily on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pennypa...
                  Porchetta is their specialty but I really don't think you can go wrong.

                  1. re: Fenway_Frank
                    BostonZest Dec 8, 2011 07:40 AM

                    Thanks for the report on Pennypacker's. I wondered if it was worth a trip out there. I never have any reason to cross the Fort Point channel so I haven't run into them.

                2. r
                  robertlf Mar 5, 2010 06:28 PM

                  FWIW - I once saw a man propose to a woman at Bamboo on Valentines Day and got turned down. Needless to say, it was a poor choice of venue.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: robertlf
                    nsenada Mar 8, 2010 10:11 AM

                    That is really sad. Being an all you can eat place, I'd just take the opportunity to eat and drink myself into oblivion.

                  2. ne_cyclone Mar 5, 2010 11:34 AM

                    She said YES!!!
                    Its been a week and I am still excited :)) Ended up in Cambridge on the Charles River Bike path (our favorite spots) looking out over the river at the city she loves and the longfellow bridge with its trains. For the first time in her memory, two trains crossed right in the middle!! Good omen right?
                    I also couldnt believe that I chickened out 5 times - then a moment in the conversation provided the break that I was looking for and well some moments of gasps and a bit of fiddling in the coat for the box to come out - I finally asked her to marry me and she said Yes!
                    We ended up talking and dining at our favorite hole in the wall Helmand (I cancelled the L'espalier reservation) till closing. We went back to our hotel and there was the champagne and chocolate strawberries waiting for us :)
                    Saturday brunch at Flour Bakery and at night was another surprise with dinner at Bistro du Midi - ending with the chocolate souffle for her and Grand Marnier souffle for me - very very nice. Sunday rounded off with brunch at Michael Timothy's in Nashua - a long time coming.
                    I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to post and help me out. There are a lot of suggestions that I plan to use over the course of this year....

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: ne_cyclone
                      sakeandgin Mar 5, 2010 11:44 AM

                      Congrats......I never even proposed to my wife and we have been happily married 26 years....the fun part is eating and drinking your way through the world after marriage

                      1. re: ne_cyclone
                        bear Mar 5, 2010 03:27 PM

                        Much happiness to you both! Thanks so much for sharing a bit of your night. What a lovely story. I'm so glad your evening was everything it needed to be. May you share many bottles of bubbly and bushels of chocolate strawberries for years to come!

                        1. re: ne_cyclone
                          gyppielou Mar 5, 2010 04:41 PM

                          congrats, sounds perfect! thank you for sharing

                          1. re: ne_cyclone
                            pasuga Mar 5, 2010 10:40 PM

                            I've been following this thread - didn't have any helpful hints, so didn't post - congratulations!

                            1. re: ne_cyclone
                              gansu girl Mar 6, 2010 02:54 AM

                              Oh, so glad it all worked out! Sounds like a wonderful weekend of great eating and celebrating. Best wishes for many, many happy years (and meals) together!


                              1. re: ne_cyclone
                                sallyt Mar 6, 2010 06:18 AM

                                Congratulations! It sounds like a wonderful romantic weekend, and I'm so glad that you posted to let us all know how it went. You'll have to do something similar on your anniversary every year!

                                1. re: ne_cyclone
                                  Pia Mar 8, 2010 10:53 AM

                                  Congratulations!! Thanks for returning and telling your story -- I'm sure I'm not the only one who wanted to know how it went! Sounds like you planned a great weekend.

                                2. tazia Feb 24, 2010 07:30 PM

                                  My now-husband proposed on the T, and I believe we had delivery with friends from Qingdao Garden with friends for dinner later that night. We aren't ones for ceremony, so it was totally our style.

                                  Proposing is about doing something that is in line with what defines you as a couple, which some people lose sight of. Given how much thought and energy you've put into making this proposal about her, she's going to love whatever you decide on.

                                  I know it's not any useful advice, but just some words of encouragement from someone who went through this whole shebang not too long ago :) I'm glad to see you're so excited!

                                  1. ne_cyclone Feb 24, 2010 04:48 PM

                                    Alright - back for some suggestions since the day is within the next 48-72 hours. OUr one weekend away for the next 3 months and every cloud in the world wants to see the proposal :)) maybe thats a good thing.
                                    Ok - my question - I am staying at the Renaissance waterfront for the weekend and I remembered that my SO loves souffle (chocolate preferred). So i am lloking for a rec or two for excellent souffle - maybe we will just do dessert or the whole dinner thing.
                                    Oh and btw, I am proposing outside of dinner :)

                                    As always appreciate and look forward to your replies - thanks! NOW I am too excited.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: ne_cyclone
                                      food_lubber Feb 24, 2010 06:00 PM

                                      When I think chocolate, I think Chocolate brunch! For a chocolate souffle or anything chocolate for that matter, take your SO to the the Langham Hotel's Cafe Flueri for their incredible "Chocolate Brunch". anything chocolate you can imagine, and a great and memorable treat to go along with your engagement you will both remember for a long time to come...


                                      1. re: food_lubber
                                        Allstonian Feb 24, 2010 06:34 PM

                                        The Chocolate Bar at the Cafe Fleuri is a lot of fun, but it's a buffet. It does NOT have souffles, chocolate or otherwise.

                                        One poster strongly recommends the warm chocolate souffle at Bistro du Midi, across from the Public Garden: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6749...

                                    2. Snoop37 Jan 14, 2010 07:20 PM

                                      Good luck! Although I doubt you'll need it ;)

                                      1. ne_cyclone Jan 14, 2010 04:55 PM

                                        Thank you with all my heart!! Your help and time taken is greatly appreciated :))

                                        The best part about the whole polling for ideas is that not that I dont have some of my own but sometimes it gets to be too many and helps to get some perspective.

                                        So once again - appreciate all your help - this event is gonna happen with the next month so in all probability I will return to post the day/night's events. Wish me luck :)


                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: ne_cyclone
                                          enhF94 Jan 14, 2010 05:28 PM

                                          If it's a place you haven't been, maybe check it out by yourself first. Some places, while wonderful, just don't hit it for you personally.

                                          Les Zygomates, late, with the jazz.

                                          1. re: enhF94
                                            MC Slim JB Jan 14, 2010 05:39 PM

                                            This is excellent advice. I'd pick a table and see if the place will reserve it for you.


                                          2. re: ne_cyclone
                                            Splendid Spatula Jan 15, 2010 08:28 AM

                                            We do - and if all goes well, we hope you will let us know!

                                          3. Snoop37 Jan 14, 2010 12:58 PM

                                            Taking a completely different approach from all the above suggestions.... it seems like you guys have eaten in a lot of the great restaurants of Boston so if you wanted to do something a little more different/special for your proposal, why not drive out to a little bed and breakfast in Maine and take her to Arrows for dinner? It's about an hour outside of Boston so maybe you can even just drive up and back if you wanted (though it is a lot of driving, I know). I've never been myself, but its supposed to be one of the best restaurants in the country.


                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: Snoop37
                                              phatchris Jan 14, 2010 01:45 PM

                                              If a really great romantic Inn is waht your looking for, Rabitt Hill Inn in Vermont can't be beat. ( disclaimer: Its where I proposed to my wife :)

                                              1. re: Snoop37
                                                Snoop37 Jan 14, 2010 02:43 PM

                                                nevermind the arrows suggestion... they don't open till april

                                                1. re: Snoop37
                                                  MC Slim JB Jan 14, 2010 02:47 PM

                                                  But it's still a great idea, Snoop37.

                                                  Substitute the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport for Arrows (I think it has surpassed Arrows on all fronts in recent years, anyway) and away you go. One of my favorite occasion places within a short drive of Boston. The rooms at the Inn are also lovely (though I usually stay someplace nearby that's a little cheaper, like the Cape Arundel Inn).


                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                    Beach Chick Jan 14, 2010 02:56 PM

                                                    love love love the White Barn Inn...excellent call MC Slim!

                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                      southie_chick Jan 14, 2010 05:15 PM

                                                      As much as I enjoyed The White Ban Inn, I actually think On The Marsh would be a more "fun" place, as well as romantic. It's not as formal as The White Barn but both the food & staff are wonderful. Spent our 1st anniversary 4 years ago at the White Barn & the chef was kind enough to personalize The White Barn cookbook (had to get it since the "traditional" 1st anniversary gift is paper). Been to On The Marsh the past 2 years since my hubby liked it so much - especially the mussels(FYI, our anniversary is in August so it was about 6 months ago our last visit). We stay at The Anchorage By The Sea, which does have fireplaced rooms if you are headed up there during the winter.
                                                      But, you may want to do what my hubby did & take her where you had your 1st date, walk around & talk about all the good times that you've had since that 1st date ..... & then propose. It was a nice touch to go over all the memories & I didn't see the proposal coming. Any way you do it, I'm sure she'll be thrilled. And do dinner after the proposal - my hubby was a bundle of nerves & didn't enjoy the pre-proposal meal due to that.

                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                        kate used to be 50 Jan 14, 2010 05:26 PM

                                                        or primos in rockland maine

                                                    2. re: Snoop37
                                                      nsenada Jan 14, 2010 04:20 PM

                                                      Primo in Rockland would be nice along those lines. Grace in Portland is a very striking and unusual restaurant, set in a de-commissioned old church, with very good food and great cocktails. I liked the house drink, I believe called the "Heated Affair," though perhaps not the best choice for your proposal, semantically speaking.

                                                    3. SeaSide Tomato Jan 14, 2010 12:15 PM

                                                      I was proposed to at Meritage (was it called Meritage in 2001?)--in the corner table right by the windows overlooking the harbor. It was especially lovely on a late June night as the sun ws just setting and the colors were amazing. It was also a complete surprise as to the "how" : after we ordered, the waiters brought two domed plates--they lifted his and there was a lovely lobster claw. [ In that split second, I *did* think it rather odd that they lifted his dome first--but it was a fleeting, sexist thought ;) ] They lifted mine and there was the ring sitting in it's little box. I, of course, was really shook up and, in trying to inject a little humor, said "where's my lobster?"

                                                      He goes down on one knee, makes many romantic and wonderful statements. etc. etc. The whole restaurant did know about it and that was OK. People were lovely to us all night--it felt like a Disney movie where everyone had been sprinkled with fairy dust.

                                                      I will tell you, I have no knowledge now (or even then immediately after dinner) of what I ate. So if a great meal is important to you as part of this, you might want to have different timing.

                                                      Sigh-it was a wonderful experience. And how nice to have embarked on an engagement in such a beautiful way.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: SeaSide Tomato
                                                        Bob Dobalina Jan 14, 2010 01:21 PM

                                                        OMG Love your comment about the lobster. A true chowhound.

                                                        1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                                          SeaSide Tomato Jan 15, 2010 07:06 AM

                                                          Aw, shucks--Thank you!

                                                        2. re: SeaSide Tomato
                                                          kate used to be 50 Jan 14, 2010 05:25 PM

                                                          seaside my husband proposed to me at the rowes wharf restaurant which moved across the hall and became Meritage. it is a great venue and now one of my favorite places to go (actually was there tonight). but you are right, i don't remember the food. i do remember the night. then we eloped to bermuda without telling anyone -

                                                        3. g
                                                          gyppielou Jan 13, 2010 12:43 PM

                                                          Ooooh oooooh oooooh ooooooh!!! I have an idea!!!!! If you're ready you could book Grotto's Big Night and do it at that communal festive dinner - let them know your plans ahead of time. What a fantastic moment it could be! Next scheduled 1/28


                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: gyppielou
                                                            Alcachofa Jan 14, 2010 11:57 AM

                                                            Ugh, please don't.

                                                            1. re: Alcachofa
                                                              MC Slim JB Jan 14, 2010 12:09 PM

                                                              The problem with that is that there's no marriage proposal in the movie Big Night, so it would be most jarring to the experience. (SPOILER ALERT!) Now if you pretended to be Louis Prima, and then didn't show up, that would work.


                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                Alcachofa Jan 14, 2010 12:52 PM

                                                                Just make sure to show up at the wedding. ;-)

                                                                1. re: Alcachofa
                                                                  gyppielou Jan 14, 2010 01:21 PM


                                                              2. re: Alcachofa
                                                                ParisLady Dec 8, 2011 11:25 AM

                                                                I agree!!!

                                                            2. Beach Chick Jan 13, 2010 10:17 AM


                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Beach Chick
                                                                Bob Dobalina Jan 13, 2010 10:55 AM

                                                                Seriously? That would not have worked for me - my fiancee would have been like, "Are we breaking up?" ;-)

                                                                1. re: Beach Chick
                                                                  gansu girl Jan 13, 2010 12:32 PM

                                                                  Yeah, you know I was re-thinking my endorsement of Locke-Ober after I posted, and again, I think it depends on the person. I would never want to be there for a romantic event - for me it's associated with business lunches w/"the guys." But then again, that was before the takeover . . . . it *is* a Boston institution and it sounds like the OP's intended loves all things Boston-y . . .


                                                                2. ne_cyclone Jan 13, 2010 08:21 AM

                                                                  Thank you folks - I created the post and realized that I had not mentioned anything about us - we LOVE food, have been dating for about 1.5 years now. Our most memorable times were RW'09 in Boston and NYC - we hit up L'Espalier/Radius/Marliave/OCeannaire and the Bristol Lounge during the two week period.
                                                                  Been to Carmen and Troquet and Angela's Cafe :)))
                                                                  She LOVES Boston - I kid you not - but every drive into Boston (pike, 93, 2 any drive) is accented by "My Citeeeeeeeeee" when there is a view of the city
                                                                  She loves music - so the evening is going to involve a visit to Symphony Hall (a venue she has performed in some time back) fora BSO (Levine conducted) performance. Loves the BU bridge and the Mass Ave bridges for views of the Citeeeeeeeee (ok couldnt help it). Other favorite is the Longfellow bridge in Cambridge (I think - apologies I am still nouveau to Boston) with the dual trains.

                                                                  Sooooooooo with that in mind, all your recs are very helpful - i havent decided if the restaurant proposal is the one I want to short list.

                                                                  Any thoughts on the carriage rides? and restaurants in that area - Carmen qualifies as being in the North End but is really tight for space.

                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                  1. re: ne_cyclone
                                                                    Misterie Jan 13, 2010 09:03 AM

                                                                    Why not propose on one of those bridges (she won't be expecting it there, esp if the temp is like 10 degrees) and then have dinner at any of the fabulous restaurants previously mentioned. If you propose beforehand, the 2 person room at Mamma Maria sounds like a great way to enjoy the engaged buzz/bliss without being the focus of everyone's attention for the rest of the night...unless of course that's part of the thrill for you? You two can really focus on each other during the dinner.

                                                                    1. re: ne_cyclone
                                                                      InmanSQ Girl Jan 13, 2010 09:13 AM

                                                                      If she is real Massachusetts girl, you should be able to take into Friendly's, order a Clown Sundae and perch her ring on the top of the clown's hat / cone! Seriously though, these are all great choices offered above, but I would suggest something like proposing on the Mass Ave bridge overlooking the city (presumably in 2 months when it is not FREEZING) and then walking to your fancy dinner where you can wallow in your contentment for several hours and make all the dating people around you feel bad about their relationship :)

                                                                      If you are looking for a restaurant with really great ambiance, Tangerino is one of the sexiest restaurants in town (call ahead to get one of the canopy covered tables), but the food is only pretty good.

                                                                      By the way, from the girl's point of view, anyplace you pick will instantly become hallowed ground that needs to be revisited on the occasional anniversary, so don't pick a restaurant you don't like or a spot that is really hard to get to / may get torn down soon / etc. Also come up with an excuse why your girlfriend should dress up a bit for wherever you take her...girls like to feel pretty during the magic moment (I have heard several proposal stories from my female friends, including my own, in which we all complained "...and there I was in my sweats/ bathing-suit and shorts / biking pants and helmet". Of course we were all still deliriously happy and said yes, but it was definitely something they all brought up as a detractor to their over-all really happy memory.

                                                                      Last hint, plan ahead someplace for you both to be together and enjoy the moment for at least a few hours / the evening of and agree not to call anyone and tell them your engaged until after that, because as soon as one family member finds out you have to call them all and your phone will light up like a Christmas tree for the next several days straight with everyone demanding to see you / her and get all the details. My hubby picked a weekend away in Maine with bad cell phone reception, which I will always give him extra points for!

                                                                      1. re: InmanSQ Girl
                                                                        powerfulpierre Jan 13, 2010 09:25 AM

                                                                        Wow, I_S_G,
                                                                        I just have to compliment you on some great and insightful comments. If I were to do it again I would ask you for suggestions.

                                                                        1. re: InmanSQ Girl
                                                                          Snoop37 Jan 14, 2010 12:52 PM

                                                                          I'd stay away from Tangierino... I've been three times and have never enjoyed the food, although the room really is sexy and I suppose the belly dancers are as well.

                                                                        2. re: ne_cyclone
                                                                          Bob Dobalina Jan 13, 2010 09:32 AM

                                                                          I think you should consider Dante restaurant in Cambridge - they have a great view of Beacon Hill from across the water.

                                                                          In warmer weather, I might also recommend the park in Belmont below the stone water tower that offers a great view of the city. You could picnic with goodies from Formaggio Kitchen. You also have a nice view of the city from Prospect Hill in Somerville.

                                                                          1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                                                            gansu girl Jan 13, 2010 09:48 AM

                                                                            Bob, are you talking about Skyline Park in Arlington? I think also called Robbin's Field or something? That would be a great idea in the warmer months! If it's not there - where in Belmont is this park??


                                                                            1. re: gansu girl
                                                                              Bob Dobalina Jan 13, 2010 10:07 AM

                                                                              I think that's the place, GG. I never know the name - just remember how to get there to the right of Rt. 2. There is that giant stone/brick cistern-looking thing and it's below that.

                                                                              1. re: Bob Dobalina
                                                                                gansu girl Jan 13, 2010 12:33 PM

                                                                                Yes, that sounds like the same place . . . would be to the right of 2 if you're coming from Cambridge and going towards Lexington. You had me scared that there was some great park in Belmont that I'd missed in all these years of parenting a young kid!


                                                                            2. re: Bob Dobalina
                                                                              hckybg Jan 13, 2010 10:58 AM

                                                                              If you went somewhere in Cambridge you could walk over to the Weeks footbridge, the pedestrian only bridge near Harvard, which is very romantic and has many nice views. My personal experience (not in Boston) was to propose after a nice dinner out because I didn't want the whole restaurant turning their attention on us. We still have a favorite restaurant associated with the night but were able to enjoy the actual proposal on our own.

                                                                            3. re: ne_cyclone
                                                                              Pegmeister Jan 13, 2010 11:28 AM

                                                                              If she loves the city then I would think she would want a place with a view. For me that would be at the ICA where they have the most incredible view of the harbor with comfortable benches and a place to reflect. From there (weather permitting) a walk along the harbor followed by dinner in the North End. My choice would be Prezza.

                                                                            4. b
                                                                              BlueTrain84 Jan 13, 2010 06:26 AM

                                                                              Completely agree that L'espalier, No. 9 Park and Mamma Maria are all lovely options. One thing I am certain of (from hearing proposal stories from friends): try to propose earlier in the meal rather than later, from what I've heard it is difficult to enjoy the meal before that moment due to your nerves, and I've had several friends say that they barely remember what they ate/drank before they got the ring out.

                                                                              All the best!

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: BlueTrain84
                                                                                cannedmilkandfruitypebbles Jan 13, 2010 10:03 AM

                                                                                My rec would be L'Espalier. Your comment is interesting BlueTrain. I proposed before dinner and we both were so overwhelmed that we couldn't enjoy our meal. But then again, we were in Niagra Falls eating terrible food in a revolving restaurant 100 feet in the air. BLAH. We left mid-meal.

                                                                              2. Bob Dobalina Jan 13, 2010 05:15 AM

                                                                                ne_cyclone - we can spout off the fancy restaurants in Boston - but you don't really need us for that. Give us more details! After I proposed, we went to Santarpio's. So there's that.

                                                                                1. p
                                                                                  phatchris Jan 12, 2010 03:36 PM

                                                                                  I'd throw Carmen in the mix.

                                                                                  1. MC Slim JB Jan 12, 2010 01:29 PM

                                                                                    Since you seem to be seeking real recommendations, let me suggest a few where proposals are not uncommon, and the staff is probably accustomed to helping out would-be grooms-to-be:

                                                                                    L'Espalier -- probably does a dozen proposals a week. Will work with you on a suitable presentation and timing. Will wordlessly whisk away your flowers and replace your Champagne with a bottle of whiskey if she says no and flees. Incredible food (super-fancy New American/French) and service, though not quite as charming ambience-wise in its new location as it once once. Prepare to drop about $400 on dinner with modest wine, but hey, you only propose once (with any luck).

                                                                                    Locke-Ober -- excellent if she's part of the upper crust, the Old Line set, a Brahmin princess. The good news is that your neighbors are unlikely to break out into song after you do the deed, as their jaws are too tightly clenched. Also very fine food, a New England / mid-century Continental menu as updated by Lydia Shire. Cool, fusty 19th-century atmosphere. Great service; with luck, you'll get one of the two waiters who have been there 40 years apiece: they won't muff your chance.

                                                                                    No. 9 Park -- not quite so elegant as some (you'll have to wait for Menton for that), but one of the better waitstaffs in town, and some of the best cocktails to steel your nerve. Excellent, pricey New Italian / New French menu.

                                                                                    O Ya -- the least formal-looking place, but with stunningly beautiful, delicious Japanese food, mostly riffs on sashimi, with many interesting cooked dishes, too. I can imagine you finding a unique setting to present the ring here, maybe nestled atop one perfect scarlet sea scallop. Beer/wine/sake only.

                                                                                    Clio -- very refined, pretty New French / Japanese food with occasional science-lab touches. A cool room with well-spaced tables. Damned pricey, too.

                                                                                    Other places with romantic atmosphere, slightly lower prices, and excellent but not ravishing food: Rialto, Salts, Estragon, UpStairs on the Square, Mamma Maria (that little dining room for two people only).

                                                                                    Avoid: Top of the Hub (a dreadful cliche with middling food, nasty people); luxury steakhouses (too loud and boys'-clubby, though Mooo.... would be your best bet if you insisted on this format; it's the daintiest of the $50-tenderloin joints); Medieval Manor (the occasion really calls for utensils).

                                                                                    Hope that helps. Break a leg!

                                                                                    (For the record, I proposed to the future Mrs. MC in a bar, though it was one of dem classy ones, and then we went to eat at Biba, one of my all-time faves in Boston.)


                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                      gansu girl Jan 12, 2010 02:26 PM

                                                                                      A super list. If you're looking for a woman's perspective, of these I'd choose L'Espalier or Locke-Ober, but maybe that's b/c I'm a "Brahmin princess." : ) Seriously though, the service will be great at either of these spots and the food is terrific too. I would also add Scampo to the list (can you tell I'm a Lydia Shire fan?) - atmosphere is less stuffy and upscale than L'Espalier/Locke-Ober and the service & food are also great. If you decide on Scampo, call and see if you can get Mario as your server - he is old-school and attentive and I think he adds to the fun of the evening.

                                                                                      But it depends on your personality and hers - what kinds of food you like and what sort of atmosphere you want. My inclination is more toward the unexpected destination (LOVE the Speed's idea), or a venue that's meaningful for the two of you already - but maybe she's not seeing this coming? And whatever you do, I agree! Stay the heck away from Tob of the Hub!

                                                                                      All the best to you!


                                                                                      1. re: gansu girl
                                                                                        Pia Jan 12, 2010 05:36 PM

                                                                                        Cheesecake Factory! If you called ahead, I bet they'd train the staff with an appropriate song. Maybe even a tambourine. (I actually saw a proposal there once!)

                                                                                        Slide it on to the bottom of a cone from Toscanini's.

                                                                                        I will be contrarian and say Top of the Hub because I love the setting, but just go there for drinks and jazz and do something else for dinner. You never know what you'll both be in the mood for immediately after you pop the question, so if you avoid doing it over dinner, you leave yourselves free to spend the evening running through the streets or calling all your friends or heading home to celebrate by yourselves (or going out for a fancy dinner elsewhere).

                                                                                        But I do agree with the posters who suggested someplace meaningful for the two of you.

                                                                                        What about a brunch proposal? She'll never expect that. Head to your favorite diner and propose over flapjacks.

                                                                                        1. re: Pia
                                                                                          ineemeeny Jan 12, 2010 06:56 PM

                                                                                          A brunch proposal! That reminds me about the time my husband and I were eating at S&S last year, and a guy stood up and said to his girlfriend, "I love bacon, I love eggs, and I love you. Will you marry me?" It was great!

                                                                                          1. re: ineemeeny
                                                                                            Splendid Spatula Jan 13, 2010 08:21 AM

                                                                                            That is terrific, I love the visual that I am getting on it.

                                                                                            This is such a fun thread to read, good luck to you, potential-proposer!

                                                                                      2. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                        BostonZest Jan 12, 2010 03:26 PM

                                                                                        I'll second L'Espalier. I interviewed Maitre‘d, Louis Risoli, for an article on romantic dining in Boston and he estimates that he has seen far more than a thousand proposals in his 25 + years at the restaurant. He loves them and will do what needs to be done to make yours a great success.

                                                                                        Penny http://www.bostonzest.com/

                                                                                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                                                                                          cambridgeMike Jan 13, 2010 05:31 AM

                                                                                          My brother proposed in the little private room for 2 at Mamma Maria. They were very very helpful. Even made a fake dessert menu that turned out to be their "story" and ended with the proposal.

                                                                                          1. re: cambridgeMike
                                                                                            mcel215 Jan 15, 2010 01:55 AM

                                                                                            Love Mamma Maria's Old World Charm and excellent food.

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