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Best Restaurant in Boston

c
conradcrow Nov 24, 2011 07:30 AM

Hi,

I will be visiting Boston over Christmas and was wondering what the best upscale restaurant is currently.

1) I do not care how much it costs
2) The type of food it serves does not matter

Thanks in advance!

  1. MC Slim JB Nov 24, 2011 10:03 AM

    The usually-cited lineup of luxury French and/or Italian places with high-touch service and extensive wine lists includes Menton, L'Espalier, Clio, No. 9 Park, Radius, Troquet, Meritage, Rialto, and perhaps the Soiree Room at Upstairs on the Square. I'm frankly not in love with any of these places these days -- it's hard for me to feel the value at this price level in Boston at the moment -- though they all have their strong points.

    On the Eastern front, O Ya, Uni, and Oishii Boston are most mentioned among places primarily doing Japanese sashimi, sushi, and cooked dishes, and to a lesser extent broader pan-Asian fusion, all based on costly, exotic, often flown-in seafood and real Wagyu beef. Of this bunch, Uni is probably my current favorite, in part because they have added an extraordinary craft cocktail bar. But they are all punishingly expensive.

    I'd say the top tier of the smaller-scale places doing New American with an emphasis on local ingredients and a more casual, bistro feel includes Craigie on Main, Bondir, Hamersley's Bistro, T.W. Food, Ten Tables (three locations, I like the JP one the best), Bergamot, Rendezvous, Journeyman, and Salts (which leans a bit more French than most). In this category, Bondir is my current favorite, though it is small and requires reservations well in advance.

    At this same (lower) level of formality and very high ingredient quality are some others working different cuisines: Erbaluce (Northern Italian), Oleana (pan-Mediterranean centered on Turkish), Neptune Oyster (local seafood with a French accent), Island Creek Oyster Bar (local seafood), Bistro du Midi (Southern French), Trade (pan-Mediterranean), Toro (Spanish), Coppa (Italian small plates and wood-oven pizza), Prezza (Northern Italian including wood-grilled steaks/chops), Hungry Mother (French/Appalachian), and Trattoria Toscana (quite humble but excellent traditional Tuscan). I would recommend any of these places if you don't mind the lack of luxury-class amenities. Some don't take reservations, for instance, which can be a pain. But they feel more driven by unique chef sensibilities, about the food first and foremost, which I appreciate, and they're not outrageously pricey.

    This list is non-exhaustive, and I would probably cite a bunch of other, much more modest places among my favorites, but it sounds like you're going for a more upscale experience.

    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

    -----
    L'Espalier
    774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

    O Ya
    9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

    Hamersley's Bistro
    553 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116

    Troquet
    140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

    Oishii Boston
    1166 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

    T.W. Food
    377A Walden St, Cambridge, MA 02138

    Meritage Restaurant
    70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, MA 02110

    Craigie on Main
    853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

    No. 9 Park
    9 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108

    Erbaluce
    69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

    Menton
    354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

    Bondir
    279 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139

    8 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB
      c
      conradcrow Nov 24, 2011 10:08 AM

      Feel free to post cheaper places! from my experiences I have just found that for great food the prices usually are not cheap.

      1. re: MC Slim JB
        c
        cambridgedoctpr Nov 24, 2011 11:24 AM

        MC, In my opinion, Troquet gives excellent value for the wine if not for the food

        Trattoria Toscana and Neptune Oyster do not make reservations; something which might deter the less hearty (such as me) when the OP could go to Coppa or Rialto and Island Creek without missing a step.

        I am a fan of the Chinese and other East Asian food in Boston including East Ocean Seafood in Chinatown, Sichuan Gourmet (various), CK Shanghai (though i seem to be the only one who gets good food there) as well as Rod Dee.

        -----
        Trattoria Toscana
        130 Jersey St, Boston, MA 02215

        Neptune Oyster
        63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

        Troquet
        140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

        Coppa
        253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

        1. re: MC Slim JB
          lipoff Nov 24, 2011 12:38 PM

          MC, as always, a terrific and nearly comprehensive list.

          To recap with my own slant, I would say that Menton, L'Espalier, Clio and O Ya are the "ultra-luxe" in Boston. Oishii Boston, Uni, No. 9 Park, Troquet, Meritage, Craigie on Main, Oleana, Journeyman, and Salts are a non-comprehensive selection of some of my favorites that are just a slice lower in price and overall luxury. Coppa, Harvest, Ten Tables, La Campania, Bergamot, Evoo, Tamarind Bay, Shiki, Sorellina and The Helmand are some other definitely upscale places with excellent food.

          I might add that in addition to several high-end Steakhouse chains (Mortons, Capital Grille, etc.) Boston has a local high-end steakhouse that is fantastic: Grill 23.

          Locke-Ober is another place to whch I would call special attention --- I very much like the food, the somewhat unique menu, and it exudes a special kind of Old Boston Charm and Luxury.

          I would also draw attention to Harvest in Harvard Square, where I recently had unbelievably delicious Rooibos tea marinated duck breast with cherries, fennel, soy beans, black rice and lavendar, terrific lime-basil sorbet, and an atrocious ceviche appetizer. The duck made up for it though, and Harvest remains my favorite restaurant in Harvard Square.

          There are definitely examples where great food can be cheap --- I had a Chinese feast at Fuloon last night that came out to the amazing price of $20/pp including tip (no drinks other than tea). That was scallion pancakes, cold tofu and scallions, Sichuan wontons, jiangpao duck, hot and spicy chicken, a Mandarin style whole fish, corn and pine nuts, Mandarin cabbage with chili pepper, rice, and a fried banana dessert for five people. Wow.

          In addition to Fuloon, S&I Thai, Jo Jo Taipei, Taqueria Jalisco, Rincon Limeño, and Briyani Park all produce some great food at amazing prices. Speeds Hot Dogs, Mike & Patty's, Bartley's Burgers, Emma's Pizza, and Skampa (for roast beef sandwiches) all show that great, inexpensive food doesn't have to be "ethnic".

          Have a great visit!

          -----
          L'Espalier
          774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199

          O Ya
          9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

          Tamarind Bay
          75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

          Locke-Ober
          3 Winter Place, Boston, MA 02108

          Skampa
          424 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

          Troquet
          140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

          Oishii Boston
          1166 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

          Shiki
          9 Babcock St, Brookline, MA 02446

          Grill 23 & Bar
          161 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116

          Emma's Pizza
          40 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139

          Meritage Restaurant
          70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, MA 02110

          Oleana
          134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

          Craigie on Main
          853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

          JoJo Tai Pei Restaurant
          103 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

          La Campania
          504 Main St, Waltham, MA 02452

          Ten Tables
          5 Craigie Circle, Cambridge, MA 02138

          No. 9 Park
          9 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108

          Sorellina
          1 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116

          Coppa
          253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

          Menton
          354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

          1. re: lipoff
            c
            conradcrow Nov 24, 2011 09:02 PM

            Thanks to everyone that replied! The Boston "Chowhounders" are extremely helpful! I have decided to go to Troquet, Hammersley,, No. 9 park, Salts, and Menton! I will report back after my trip in the new year and let everyone know my thoughts!

            if anyone has any objections to what I have chosen feel free to suggest alternatives! :)

            -----
            Troquet
            140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

            Menton
            354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

            1. re: conradcrow
              k
              kimfair1 Nov 25, 2011 07:16 AM

              That's a pretty good list. I would sub out Craigie on Main for No 9 Park (only because Menton and No 9 Park are both Barbara Lynch places). I'm also not the hugest fan of Salts, I'd probably sub out Clio or Island Creek Oyster Bar for that one. I don't think you'll be too disappointed if you stick to your original ideas, however.

              -----
              No 9 Park
              9 Park Street, Boston, MA 02108

              Craigie on Main
              853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

              Menton
              354 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

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

              1. re: kimfair1
                opinionatedchef Nov 25, 2011 08:43 AM

                excellent ammendments, kim. If CH Boston board is any indication, Salts and No.9 have very few mentions, whereas Craigie and ICOB are prob the most raved. But then again, Clio doesn't get that much discussion and the innovative elegance there is very highly regarded by many.

                1. re: opinionatedchef
                  c
                  conradcrow Nov 25, 2011 08:48 AM

                  sub'd out salts for craigie. Its always so hard to choose restaurants especially when your time to sample them is limited. I am glad that there are sites like CH that eliminate the trial and error method of finding a good place to eat!

              2. re: conradcrow
                opinionatedchef Nov 25, 2011 08:55 AM

                some additional info that might be helpful:

                Guide to Boston by Areas and Restaurants:

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/781155

                ------------------------------------------------------------

                Brunch:

                East Coast Grill, Cambr.- fun, loud, crazy; Latin, seafood, BBQ, oysters, Bloody Mary bar.........

                Mistral- french high end, beautiful room
                Aquitaine - french bistro in the heart of the South End

                Neptune Oyster
                -------------------------------------------------------------------

                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:

                http://www.bostonmagazine.com/scripts...
                ---------------------------------------------------------
                Also, I urge you to take advantage of the convenience of 24/7 reservations with a system like opentable.com. Reservations are a must here, and even if your plans may change, it's good to get reservations ASAP and then change them if needed, as your plans solidify. opentable has an easy system for changing or cancelling your reservation. Also, if a restnt shows no availability for a time you wanted to dine, best to call that restnt because they always have more seats than show on opentable.
                ---------------------------------------------------------------------

                -----
                Neptune Oyster
                63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

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