Destination Celebratory Dining, Striking Distance from Boston AND Worth the Drive
Looking for special place to celebrate a birthday and thought to avoid the usual challenges in town and add something unique by driving. Looking for someplace relatively easy from Boston (~30sh minutes?), with possible pre-dinner strolling or perhaps nearby, actually worth the drive, and still able to make it back that night. Places considered: Herb Lyceum (only open Fri and Sat), Providence (Al Forno), Portsmouth (Strawberry Banke?). Have been to Golden Lamb in CT recently. Any suggestions?!
I lived in Providence before moving to the Boston area, and the 2 restaurants I still go back for are La Laiterie and Gracie's. La Laiterie is my favorite, but Gracie's is a bit more festive. The one time we went to Al Forno, I was not impressed, though I did like Bacaro, the place that some of the Al Forno alums opened. Waterfire is nice, but if you are driving somewhere to avoid going into Boston, you might find driving into providence on Waterfire night annoying.
i have 3 suggestions:
--Black Trumpet in Portsmouth (1 hr drive) has a very talented chef/owner , Evan, easily equal to Boston quality. Very farm to table w/ many International influences and dependable presence of unusual ingredients. Handsome dark romantic space, 18th c. brick warehouse bldg that was home to one of new england's first "Gourmet" restnts back in the '70's - The Blue Strawbery (correct spelling).
Portsmouth is beautiful any time of day (take a drive out to and around New Castle) but also lovely at night for strolling in its historic 18th and 19th c. setting; also lots of attractive window shopping options.
For all these reasons, we will often go up , tour around, and have dinner at Bl Trumpet and walk or go to a concert or film at the wonderfully restored Music Hall.
- Five Corners in Marblehead is soon to re-open (fire last yr. and expansion has slowed down its reopening). Loud bistro atmosphere, chef/owner did his time in Boston; def more Mediterranean/French oriented in its bent. Marblehead is another stunningly well preserved 18th c. town, perfect for strolling and window shopping or strolling/sitting/gazing at Marblehead Harbor , the ocean and islands from the park at historic Fort Sewall, our fav such spot in MA.
- Providence offers the fantastic romantic mood of 18th and 19th c. Benefit St and the adjoining hill around Brown- for strolling. If you go there when Waterfire is happening, it is an experience of a lifetime. We have been many times- romantic, soothing, stimulating, entertaining, so many aspects to it as you walk along the river and absorb it all.
Sat.7/24 is the next Waterfire:
Do let us know where you end up and how it is, so we can spread the word.
In Providence I urge you to check out Mills Tavern--it's wonderful. Also, Blue Ginger in Wellesley is great but not much for walking around afterwards. Tosca in Hingham?
Portsmouth is considerably more than a 30 min drive but I do love walking around there at night. Unfortunately, I have not dined there in years and can't recommend a restaurant.
Re: the Blue Ginger recommendation, Wellesley campus is gorgeous for a walk - the little museum at wellesley is an overlooked jewel and the campus and lake perfect for a twilight walk. It is a few minute drive from Blue Ginger. I like Blue Ginger very much, but opinions on it differ on the board.