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Nice dinner on college budget?

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Hi, all.

This is my first post to Chowhound, but I've been looking around for a few days and haven't found what I needed.

My boyfriend is taking me out for our 6-month anniversary this weekend, and I'm looking for somewhere to eat. He wanted me to choose the restaurant. We go out to Italian a lot, so I'm probably not considering the North End.

I'm looking for somewhere that has good food, a nice atmosphere. I'm not opposed to a fun, slightly loud grill type atmosphere - it definitely doesn't have to qualify as romantic. Fun, cozy, romantic... anything good for a good time. We're under 21 so don't consider wine or beer lists. We're college students, as well, so can't afford a crazy expensive restaurant, but could do middle price ranges.

Location is not an issue - Boston and its surroundings.

Any suggestions?
Thanks!

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  1. washington square tavern or eastern standard kitchen might suit. beehive also might be fun for you.

    1. My favorite "on a budget but doesn't seem like it" restaurant is the Grotto.
      $35 gets you three courses, lots of choices, interesting and well prepared food.
      Happy anniversary.

      http://grottorestaurant.com/menus/

      4 Replies
      1. re: bgavin

        If you like seafood, East Coast Grill or Island Creek Oyster Bar might be within budget and are fun delicious places.

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        East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
        1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

        Island Creek Oyster Bar
        500 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

        1. re: justbeingpolite

          if you want to go cheap, go asian or latin american ethnic. my favorite asian places are golden garden, thailand cafe (sichuan), sichuan gourmet,, rod de. Also peach farm and, east ocean seafood - you have to be careful there; it can be expensive. I am not as happy about latin american restaurants; that said, i think that East Coast Grill while expensive for a student is quite good.

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          East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
          1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

          1. re: cambridgedoctpr

            You might enjoy Baraka Cafe for this , just outside of Central Square, It's North African, humble mildly romantic atmosphere. No alcohol here--instead, order the lemonade with rose petals--it's delicious!

            www.barakacafe.com

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            Baraka Cafe
            80 Pearl St, Cambridge, MA 02139

            1. re: femmevox

              I absolutely second Baraka Cafe. This sounds like the perfect place for what you're looking for. The food is interesting but still accessible and totally delicious.

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              Baraka Cafe
              80 Pearl St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      2. Can you describe you budget a little more precisely? I would probably consider "middle price ranges" to be something like entrees in the mid-20s, but at times I might also consider it to be no more than about $20.

        Food-wise, ECG and ICOB would be near the top of my list if you guys like fish. You can get excellent Japanese food, both sushi and and cooked food, at good prices at Toraya in Arlington, but the atmosphere is not particularly boisterous or romantic ("humble Japanese" is more like it).

        You might want to take a look at some of the French-bistro-like places. I've always had a great time at Petit Bistro Robert, which is good, but I get the sense that you can spend a few bucks more at some others and get slightly better execution.

        A couple other ideas: Toro (tapas in the South end) or Ten Tables ($42 for 4 courses, $33/3 courses on specific nights).

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        Toraya Restaurant
        890 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

        Toro
        1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

        Ten Tables
        5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

        1. Have a late lunch, then get half-portion entrées at Bondir.

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          Bondir
          279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139