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Oct 9, 2012 04:06 PM


Hello fellow Chowters!! I am looking for a nice Birthday lunch in and around Back Bay and South End. I was looking at Asana, 29 Newbury. Is there any other place one could recommend?


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  1. Some more info on what you're looking for would be helpful in making a recommendation. Between Back Bay and the E, there are dozens of places that could make for a nice birthdy lunch.

    I'll give you my take on the 2 places you mentioned.

    29 Newbury..Except for the outdoor patio, I don't think I know anyone who's eaten there in years. I can't say anything bad...just never sems to come up in discussions of where to eat.

    Asana...As you'd expect, being the the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, the service was excellent. I took myself for lunch last Spring to just pamper myself.. and the service was top notch. Ditto the quality of the food and preparation. Your all CAPS post and being a birthday lunch, I'd clearly recommend it over 29. The only drawback is that being in a luxury hotel, they have to put out a lot of meals for what may not be the most adventurous diners; but still need to be satisfied.

    Hope that gives you a feel for these 2.

    If I wanted to celebrate with more exciting food in a luxury atmosphere, I'd probably say L'Espalier or for a more casual meal, Coppa would be hard to beat.

    2 Replies
    1. re: 9lives

      Yeah it is my Uncle's 65th Birthday - and he lives in Bay Village. There will be 5 of us and we wanted more than a restaurant that sells just sandwiches. A place that has great atmosphere - more towards upscale but not to upscale. Italian, French (New) American...

      1. re: Juswright

        Aquitaine? Comfort French, nice room and reasonable prices.

    2. I agree. No one goes to 29 Newbury. In fact I work very close by and thought it closed.

      How old are you? What's the atmosphere ? Price point?

      Back Bay and South end give you lots of choices better than Asana or 29 Newbury.

      1. Asana is very expensive -- that Mandarin location -- but at least it has Rachel Klein running the show; I've admired her since she opened Om.

        Others I'd look at for lunch in the general neighborhood include L'Espalier (not much pricier than Asana), Sel de la Terre (though I thought the original Waterfront space was much more charming), La Voille, the Cafe at the Taj, Davio's, Petit Robert Bistro South End, maybe the Oak Long Bar.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Birthday brunch - Exec. chef Rachel Klein's menu sounds fascinating, but unfortunately she was not there today. Sitting in chef David went so heavy on the cumin we had to send back the egg white frittata. The shakshouk was way overspiced, so was disappointing as well. Just our luck to be there on the wrong day. Ambiance and service were excellent. I'd go again to try the interesting recipes, but would call first to verify who's cooking.

        2. I recommend Asana too. My wife and I have dined there many, many times and have always had great service and wonderful food. I think they have two of the best desserts in all of Boston. If you decide to go there and enjoy desserts be sure to try either the Quintuple Chocolate Cheesecake or their version of Strawberry Shortcake. Yes it is on the expensive side but the room is very nice and the tables are well spaced so you can converse easily.

          1. I used to be a regular at 29 Newbury but it has been years. Plenty of people still go, whenever I pass by I still see a very busy restaurant.

            1 Reply
            1. re: libertywharf


              It s usually busy when I walk by. But your statement supports mine. You used to bea regular, but it's been years. I was never a regular but I've knocked back a few there. I just don't know anyone who still goes there. They do deserve some type of honorable mention for staying in biz at a pretty pricey location and I rate their patio as 1 of the top people watching spots in BB. Also among the first unisex restrooms I know of in Boston...:)

              To get back to the OP, I agree that all the other recs are suitable and at a lower price point than Asana.