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Jul 20, 2011 07:25 PM

South End - recommendations for gift certificates

Hi all-
As a wedding gift for a couple friends who have recently moved to the South End, I want to get 4 $50 gift certificates to some cool places with good food in the area for them so that they can explore their neighborhood. The couple are both students who probably wouldn't be comfortable going to one place and blowing it out, which is why I wanted to do the 4 cards with smaller amounts rather than one $200 card.

Reading through these boards, here are some possibilities I came up with:

Myers and Chang
Franklin Cafe
South End Buttery
Metropolis Cafe
Addis Red Sea

The first 2 (Picco and Myers and Chang) are definites and hopefully that gives you an idea of the kind of place I'm looking for.
Any suggestions from this list, or ones that aren't on here? The couple also enjoys drinking, so good cocktail spots are also a possibility.


South End Buttery
314 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA 02118

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  1. The Beehive is a great hip restaurant in the South End. Sibling Rivalry is also very good, but can be a bit pricey, but with the gift card, they should be able to afford it. Picco is an upscale pizza place, nothing special in my humble opinion. Stephi's on Tremont or Tremont 647 are other good South End options.

    Tremont 647
    647 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118

    Sibling Rivalry
    525 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116

    1. $50 for two people doesn't get you very far at most South End places. I think the food at The Beehive and Sibling Rivalry is not worth the money.

      With $50 to spend, I think you can get most of a dinner check not including alcohol at the following worthwihile places: The Franklin, Teranga, Myers + Chang, Orinoco, Coda, Addis, Picco, El Centro, and Don Ricardo.

      I would rather break that gift into a couple of $100 certs, so I could cover the drinks bill at these places, or add other ones like Coppa, Estragon, Toro, Metropolis, The Gallows, Aquitaine, and maybe Stella.

      1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

      Sibling Rivalry
      525 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02116

      Don Ricardo's Restaurant
      57 W Dedham St, Boston, MA 02118

      1746 Washington Street, Boston, MA

      253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

      El Centro
      472 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

      1. What a great gift idea for them. They are going to love it! Because $50 does not go very far in the So. End, i might encourage you to think of it this way. >> 2 $50 certificates and 1 $100 one for a splurge- which they will especially remember you for.

        For the $50 ones, you might want to thiink of places that they would not go on their own.They would probably make the decision to afford pizza on their own, so i would not include Picco. Same with the baked goods the So End Buttery.
        I would suggest Myers + Chang for the $50, which might get them 3-4 dishes; lots of choices; exc food, fun welcoming service. For the second,you might go with Aquitaine for brunch, or any of McSlim's suggestions (though Franklin has been the subject of much CH debate.) Slim lives there , is a professional reviewer,and eats out there a great deal. For the splurge, i would suggest Toro or Aquitaine, both opposites in atmosphere. Toro is a very LOUD, no reservations, HAPPening place w/ lots of small plates and everyone having LOUD fun. The latter is an elegant handsome space and has gracious service, traditional french bistro food; a place for unwinding and being taken care of.

        If you chose myers and chang, and aquitaine, you'd be covering the chinese and french bases. You might consider including a little (Restaurant logo) bag w/a menu in it for each of the certificates- for visual impact!

        1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

        569 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118

        Myers + Chang
        1145 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

        1. Have to agree that $50 doesn't get you far in the South End (sadly). My wife and I certainly don't go wild, and it's rare to get out of a place for less then $50 pp. That said, there are a ton of great places in the South end, and I think splitting it up is an awesome idea. Maybe go with 3 $75s (if you don't mind increasing your outlay by $25)
          I would recommend Metropolis or Gaslight as a nice, bistro type place (both, to me, much better then Aquitaine, but personal preference), Franklin Cafe or Pops for good, fun american, if they like Southwestern at all Masa.

          If you wanted to make one more of a splurge, I definitely think Hamersly's is everything it is cracked up to be, but easily will run near $200.

          Picco- personally, I love Picco, and it is a great little neighborhood place, but nothing super special
          Myers and Chang- I happen to think this place is way overrated and overpriced, but it is probably the best asian fusion-y place in south end.

          Hope that helps!

          439 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116

          5 Replies
          1. re: phillytransplant

            philly, what do you like at gaslight? is it usually wicked loud? we went once recently, late on a sunday night and it was dead. food was good,but not as good as aquitaine dinner;and a bit portion chintzy.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              I had pork chop, my wife had either steak frites or bar steak, i can't remember. I should say, I have only been to aquitaine for brunch (which I really like), so it may have been too strong to say they are 'much' better then aquitaine. I like ambience at gaslight more, and it is a bit less expensive. I am also basing this one my friends, all of whom have had similar experiences. Nothing against Aquitaine; I happen to think the food at Gaslight is very good, and is a little cheaper then Aquitaine in an atmosphere I like more. But Aquitaine is one of favs for brunch- for 9.99 the sticky bun, coffee, juice, and omelet is a great deal.

              and personally, i just love everything about metropolis- food, cost, atmosphere

              1. re: phillytransplant

                i'll have to try metropolis; we only ate there once, a loooong time ago. thanks.

                1. re: opinionatedchef

                  i really love the potato gnochi w/duck confit- not too heavy, but a good size appetizer portion to share. if they have the buccatini amatriciani (sorry, my italian spelling is terrible) it is excellent. i also usually like the fish.

                  fyi have just been randomly surfing threads (slow at work tonight)- I totally share your distaste for Estragon; the worst dining experience I have had in Boston, hands down

                  1. re: phillytransplant

                    oh boy oh boy, i'll do those ! thanks again(and 'whew' re: estragon).

          2. This is all phenomenally helpful. Thank you!
            And yes, I considered that $50 might not get them very far. I'll reconsider the amount for each card.
            Thanks again!