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Anniversary dinner in Boston

My husband and I will be visiting Boston for the first time in early October. We are looking for a great place for a romantic dinner for our anniversary while we're there. We love seafood, but we don't eat meat or poultry. We're from Los Angeles where we get to eat at great restaurants on a regular basis.

What we like: Locally sourced, refined food. A sophisticated setting. Great cocktails. Excellent service.
What we don't like: Touristy places. Anything too noisy. Stuffy restaurants.

Do any of these places below fill our requirements for a special-occasion dinner?
Bistro du Midi
La Voile

Any other suggestions are most appreciated. Thanks in advance for your ideas.

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  1. Hi Joleen,
    Are you looking for something romantic? Scampo is a little more of a 'scene' and i havent had great success with a very attentive waitstaff (which i like for special occasions). I have had so-so experiences as bistro du midi, but friends love it, and it did get best of boston for waitstaff. Never been to La Voile, but have heard good things, however the newbury st location seems a little less 'special occasion'. Never been to Meritage.
    For romantic anniversary dinners, I would go more No 9 Park (a boston classic), Menton, Rialto, L'Espalier, Craigie on Main, or Ten Tables.
    but if you stick with your original choices, I am sure you will have a nice meal too! Enjoy Boston!

    1 Reply
    1. re: meghardin

      on busy nights, scampo can be very noisy.

      la voile, while pretty inside, is very tiny and the tables feel on top of one another. i have had horrendous ticket times, with foods like pate and lamb shanks, that i know are already cooked. service is very professional and the food is quite good, but nothing above "quite good."

      meritage has always felt pretty stuffy to me, but the food is excellent and the chef often forages his own mushrooms.

      you may want to look into clio and ask them to do a seafood tasting menu for you. clio is adjacent to uni, the sushi bar, so that food is often incorporated into clio menus.

      also check hammersley's, which has some of the best service in town, excellent food and the owner chef is there most nights, unlike our other chef luminaries.

    2. Scampos tables are disturbingly close together. Not romantic.

      La Voille is also not romantic.

      I have not been to Meritage or off the bar at Bistro duMidi.

      I would highly suggest considering the alternatives mentioned above. Particularly LEspalier.

      Another offbeat suggestion might be Lineage in Coolidge Corner. Excellent fish menu and a nice dining room.

      1. In Cambridge, Bondir might fit the bill.

          1. joleen, welcome in advance, and happy anniversary! When I think of LA, I put it into the very hghest of U.S. culinary ventures, along w/ spots in NYC and Chicago, so i think it may be very difficult for you to be wowed here. So i am thinking hard about what we might offer you for your special dinner. I would def not send you to any of the spots you have listed. Meritage is never mentioned on this board. ever. and my one experience w/ its chef (who i have long admired) was a huge letdown. Bistro du midi seems well regarded but it is a French bistro, basically, not terrifically sophisticated like the hotel restaurant that it replaced. Scampo gets mostly positive comments and reviews but it is loud and not intimate. La Voile is like stepping back into the 1950's in the food (meh) and the dull room and meh service. (but some CHs really like it.)

            Personally, I would send you to

            Menton- modern French, top notch service ,


            OYa (Japanese influenced and very inventive);

            both elegant and very sophisticated.

            In addition, a number of food sophisticated CH visitors in the last 2 yrs have highly praised L'Espalier. PLEASE do not go to Clio; I can't tell you how disappointed we were there earlier this yr and the time before that(and the room is deafeningly noisy as well as boring.)

            I would also highly recommend Oleana in Cambridge. It has what i think of as possibly Boston's most unique menu with very unusual Turkish and Moroccan influences.But It is more a bistro in feeling, and service varies.Its interior design is forgettable , though It has a lovely romantic patio w/ attractive plantings.

            I would suggest you pull up those menus and see what wows you, and also do a CH 'search' for those restnts.

            Later today i will link you to reports from sophisticated visitors who have recently eaten well in Boston. Meanwhile, this might be useful for your stay:


            3 Replies
            1. re: opinionatedchef

              The link you provided is fabulous. Thanks so much for the recommendations and the link. From everyone's great suggestions and after checking websites, we've got our anniversary dinner narrowed down to L'Espalier, Mistral, Market, and Menton. Will decide and make a reservation soon.

              We plan to go to Oleana on a night other than our anniversary as I've heard multiple raves about it even here in L.A.

              I think we're going to love Boston! Many thanks to everyone who replied.

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                Bistro du midi seems well regarded but it is a French bistro, basically, not terrifically sophisticated like the hotel restaurant that it replaced.


                bdm replaced excelsior, which replaced biba. it's connected to residences at the heritage, never to a hotel.

                while i respect you had less than stellar experiences at clio, i think that is a minority vote on here. especially about the noise. just sayin'.

                to the op: while the service at mistral is some of the best in the city, the menu is staid and nearly unchanged from when the place opened almost 15 years ago.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  Nevertheless, the food at Mistral is outstanding.

              2. I would also add a big No to Scampo for an anniversary dinner, I have been underwhelmed there with both the food and the service more than once and have not been back. I would agree with opinionated chef on O Ya if sushi is interesting to you. For locally sourced higher end seafood, I would suggest Island Creek Oyster Bar. I love the space, but it can get noisy.

                1. We just had a great anniversary dinner at Market (Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Boston outpost). I also agree with Menton, Bondir,and Oleana, all with intimate atmospheres and great food. L'Espalier is lovely too, but Market and L'Espalier are both attached to hotels and with L'Espalier, I find it hard to forget that. (However, this may be because of my overly fond memories of its former location inside a restored townhouse.)

                  1. I love Pigalle for a quiet romantic dinner! Not stuffy, not too noisy, not too touristy, and excellent food. Have a wonderful visit and happy anniversary!

                    1. I personally would not recommend Menton if you have dietary restrictions like no meat or poultry. To get the full experience there, you really have to just go and sit down and be ready to enjoy whatever comes out of the kitchen.

                      If you DO decide that meat and poultry are okay -- and, certainly, the meat and poultry you get is local, refined, and sophisticated -- then I would HIGHLY recommend Menton.

                      1. More votes for Mistral and Meritage. If you choose Mistral,the cafe seating in front is less formal,you may consider that less stuffy. If you choose Meritage, order all small plates.

                        1. one other choice - if you prefer great wine to great food - Troquet. I think that the food is very good, but the wine list is great and the prices are more than fair.