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Quiet restaurant in Boston or Cambridge?

t
taos Aug 5, 2010 10:55 AM

Chowhound has been spot-on with recommendations in the past. Here's a trickier challenge.

I'm looking for a place for dinner for five adults on a Sunday night in August in Boston or Cambridge. Should be fairly nice.

An essential requirement is that it be quiet and not have acoustics that echo a lot. One member of our party is about 80% deaf and his hearing is much worse in places that: a) have a lot of ambient nose and b) have acoustics that echo and reverberate a lot.

I'm assuming there are no restaurants located in recording studios. Other than that, what do people recommend?

Thanks in advance.

  1. c
    cambridgedoctpr Aug 5, 2010 11:11 AM

    Most high end rsstaurants are reasonably quiet though not dead quiet. How about Selle De Terre, Radius, Rendezvous? Or how about Sichuan Gourmet in Brookline?

    My suggestion is to go late or early.

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    Sichuan Gourmet
    1004 Beacon St, Brookline, MA 02446

    2 Replies
    1. re: cambridgedoctpr
      t
      taos Aug 5, 2010 02:13 PM

      Thanks for the suggestions, cambridgedoctor. I'm sorry if I was not clear. Even a high end restaurant can be a problem if it has high ceilings and lots of hard materials like stone and glass that do not absorb noise. I warned you that this would be challenging. Outdoor seating can be problematic because of street noise.

      1. re: taos
        s
        shirshir Aug 12, 2010 06:17 AM

        not sure about the food here, but what about ginger park in the south end? the wooden interiors are not only spectacular [office da design] but also absorb a ton of noise and i was amazed at how quiet the interiors are when i was here for brunch by the restaurant prior in the same space.

    2. t
      trueblu Aug 5, 2010 12:27 PM

      The late, great Aujourd'hui (RIP) at the Four Seasons had a very quiet dining room (but entirely appropriately so), and as as cambridgedoc says, many other high end places are also fairly quiet. However, e.g. Grill 23 is deafeningly loud, so avoid at all costs. Generally speaking, 'power dinner'/ business venues are much louder than say, romantic venues. L'Espalier's new venue is pretty quiet, but I've only been there for lunch.

      Many of the oft-recommended haunts, e.g. Craigie, etc are also fairly loud. A non-hip hotel venue (e.g. the Oak Room -- disliked by many here, but I'm a fan) might be your best bet since real estate is less of an issue in those venues, allowing greater spacing between tables.

      tb

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      L'Espalier
      774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

      Oak Room
      138 St. James Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

      1 Reply
      1. re: trueblu
        ChinaCat Aug 5, 2010 01:14 PM

        If the weather is nice, what about the patios at Oleana or Harvest? I think the outdoor areas of both are fairly quiet since they don't echo as much, and they don't pipe in music.

        I ate an early Sunday dinner at Sandrine's in Harvard Square and it was quiet as well.

        Lock Ober is quiet. Also, you might even be able to get the private Kennedy dining room at LockOber. My understanding is you simply have to guarantee you'll spend a certain amount of money, and the amount is not large if for 5 people. I could be wrong about this I go the info secondhand. but if true that would be fun AND quiet.

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        Oleana
        134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

        Sandrine's
        8 Holyoke St., Cambridge, MA 02138

      2. GretchenS Aug 5, 2010 01:23 PM

        Rialto in Harvard Square is reliably quiet -- it's one of relatively few places where my father can really participate in the conversation, because he can hear it. Delicious too!

        1. p
          Parsnipity Aug 6, 2010 08:40 AM

          The back (non-bar) room at Gargoyle's is usually so quiet you can hear a pin drop.

          1. p
            Pemmican Aug 6, 2010 09:26 AM

            Stanhope Grille at the Back Bay Hotel (inside obviously) might be a nice fit. The ceilings are lower than at many upper-end places, there is carpeting-wallcovering-and some seating is somewhat sheltered. I was there ~2 weeks ago and it was far from hopping and conversation (my party actually included an older gentleman who won't admit to his hearing/memory loss) was easy. They were nicely solicitous and the food was good....

            7 Replies
            1. re: Pemmican
              t
              taos Aug 7, 2010 08:26 AM

              Great suggestion. Thanks.

              By the way, my dad is quite aware of his hearing loss and his memory is fine. Why do people group those two things together? Just because he lost his hearing doesn't mean he also lost his memory or that he is unaware that he can't hear. He has a cochlear implant in one ear which helps but it's not perfect.

              Oh, and by the way, the only reason I'm posting here not him is not because he's illiterate, can't type or doesn't use the internet. So don't assume that either. it's simply because it was my idea to go out to dinner this time and since I'm the youngest everyone delegated the task of finding a place to me.

              1. re: taos
                t
                trueblu Aug 7, 2010 01:24 PM

                To be fair to Pemmican, I think they were saying that the gentleman in their party had both hearing and memory loss ...there was no implication that your father was the same.

                tb

                1. re: trueblu
                  t
                  taos Aug 8, 2010 05:49 AM

                  Actually, there was that implication.

                  Why bring it up otherwise?

                  1. re: taos
                    jacquelines Aug 8, 2010 03:44 PM

                    Why bring it up? It's natural for people to use personal experiences that are relative. You're asking for restaurant suggestions based on the experiences of the Chowhound community; Pemmican seemed to answer the question posted, quite well, and draw a parallel.

                    That being said, I found Pigalle to be rather quiet and comfortable.

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                    Pigalle
                    75 Charles Street South, Boston, MA 02116

                    1. re: jacquelines
                      t
                      taos Aug 10, 2010 12:22 PM

                      Well, that was kind of the point. Having memory problems and a lack of awareness of one's disabilities is not a parallel. At least I don't see it that way.

                      Anyway, back to the restaurants. I tried to book Rialto, where I've been before and liked, but it turns out it's Restaurant Week next week, so they were totally booked. I took the suggestion of Guido, below, and booked at Sandrines, even though he said he was seconding the suggestion for Sorellina. Will report back how it was.

                      Pigalle looked good but also was not available, presumably due to Restaurant Week demands.

                      -----
                      Pigalle
                      75 Charles Street South, Boston, MA 02116

                      Sandrine's
                      8 Holyoke St., Cambridge, MA 02138

                      Sorellina
                      1 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116

                      1. re: taos
                        t
                        trueblu Aug 10, 2010 08:33 PM

                        I think the point was that your father is hard of hearing, and you asked for recommendations. Pemmican is the only person posting who has personal experience of dining in Boston with someone hard of hearing -- in their particular case -- NOT yours -- that person also happened to have memory problems. My own father is really rather deaf, and has absolutely no memory problems -- he can still recite long tracts of poetry off by heart. However, he's never visited me in Boston, so I can't give you any personal experience recommendations of dining here with someone who is hard of hearing.

                        Going back on-topic, I hope you enjoy the evening, and look forward to the report back.

                        tb

                        1. re: trueblu
                          t
                          taos Aug 13, 2010 12:11 PM

                          Thanks. Actually, Pigalle opened up, so I changed the reservation. Will definitely report back on how it goes.

                          -----
                          Pigalle
                          75 Charles Street South, Boston, MA 02116

            2. r
              RoyRon Aug 6, 2010 11:12 AM

              My suggestion would be Asana in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Boylston St. Asana has very good food , the service has always been excellent and I have never found the place to be noisy. In fact my wife has sometimes complained that it is too quiet.

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              Asana
              776 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02199

              1. lipoff Aug 6, 2010 11:26 AM

                I've found Sorellina to be good for this purpose too.

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                Sorellina
                1 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116

                1 Reply
                1. re: lipoff
                  g
                  Guido Aug 8, 2010 01:37 PM

                  Second the Sandrines recommendation - it's always been very quite when I have eaten there.

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                  Sandrine's
                  8 Holyoke St., Cambridge, MA 02138

                2. SmokeDawg Aug 8, 2010 03:08 PM

                  Bambara in east Cambridge is quiet, moderately priced and has great food.

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                  Bambara Restaurant
                  25 Edwin H Land Blvd., Cambridge, MA 02141

                  1. a
                    audreyann Aug 8, 2010 06:45 PM

                    TW Food in Cambridge.

                    1. Snoop37 Aug 10, 2010 04:16 PM

                      Ten Tables in JP is always a safe bet for me.

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                      Ten Tables
                      5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Snoop37
                        t
                        trueblu Aug 10, 2010 08:29 PM

                        ten tables in cambridge is NOT quiet -- the tables are so closely packed together that one noisy person at the next table can be rather intrusive.

                        tb

                        1. re: trueblu
                          t
                          trueblu Aug 11, 2010 05:54 PM

                          sorry, meant JP -- not been to the one in cambridge

                      2. s
                        Spelunker Aug 11, 2010 09:55 AM

                        I'm not sure if it meets your 'nice' requirement (although I always love it there) but upstairs at Marliave is generally pretty quiet. They have a lot of space, and not quite enough business to cover it.

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                        Marliave
                        10 Bosworth Street, Boston, MA 02108

                        1. p
                          pemma Aug 11, 2010 11:07 AM

                          What about a private room at Mamma Maria? Their Piccolo Room seats up to 5.

                          -----
                          Mamma Maria Restaurant
                          3 North Sq, Boston, MA 02113

                          1. t
                            taos Aug 19, 2010 02:57 PM

                            Thanks again to everyone for excellent advice.

                            We ended up going to Pigalle. It turned out to be still a bit too loud for my dad to hear everything. The acoustics were probably OK, but it was crowded (Sunday night of Restaurant Week) and we had a very raucous crowd at the table next to us.

                            But, it turned out OK. We used my iPad to pass notes and the company and food made up for it. Three out of five in our party had the duck which was excellent -- crispy skin and nice and moist meat. I had a duck liver mousse (I think -- not listed as fois, so maybe it was something else) as an appetizer which was also superb. And some other things that I can't remember in enough detail to report here.

                            One member of our party complained that the services were too small and he was still hungry at the end. Everyone else disagreed with that. He's one of those people who eats at a mile a minute and is used to super-sized portions.

                            The service at Pigalle was good. Not great but not so bad as to be offensive. Not as attentive as it probably could be, but they didn't do anything bad. I'm chalking up the waiter's too-frequent absence, again, to Restaurant Week craziness.

                            Definitely a good choice.

                            -----
                            Pigalle
                            75 Charles Street South, Boston, MA 02116

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: taos
                              s
                              Scruffy The Cat Aug 19, 2010 04:50 PM

                              If you end up going out on another occasion, Lumière in Newton has been really good for my hard-of-hearing son and father.

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