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suggestions for good, quiet restaurants in the Boston area and also for the best Chinese restaurant

We will be in the Boston area for two days, a Saturday and a Sunday. On the Saturday night we would like to eat at a high quality restaurant with excellent, interesting cooking but we also need the restaurant to be quiet enough to allow serious conversations. We do not care about the price or the type of food, but we do need a restaurant that does not play rock music or other loud background music. Do you have any suggestions? Also do you have any suggestions for a good Chinese restaurant for the Sunday evening?

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  1. Chinese:
    For Pekin Duck - you need to order an at least 1 days in advance - China King - three courses and a lot of food for 3. The price is very reasonable; ask for noodles witht the second course.
    For seafood in the tank: East Ocean Seafood and Peach Farm in Chinatown.
    Sichuan: Sichuan Gourmet and The New Shanghai - old chef was Shanghaiese
    Taiwainese: Mulan (Cambridge near MIT) and Jo-Jo Tapei (Alston)

    If you want a high end French/New American experience, I think that most of these places are quiet.

    1. My favorite restaurant in Chinatown is a little place called Best Little Restaurant. You could do a search on this board regarding people's recommendations but I wouldn't miss the Garlic fried spare ribs if you go.

      1. Sunday dinner as I just did today, surrounded by groupings of family who ranged from clearly respected 80 - 90 years young to screaming babies of a couple of months for Sichuan: Sichuan Gourmet , Billerica, MA. for the real experience.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Walthamfoodman

          there is sichuan gourmet in brookline on the green line. though there isnothing wrong with going to Billerica.

        2. The best Chinese restaurant in Boston is Shanghai Gate, near the corner of Harvard and Comm Ave in Allston.

          1. Sichuan Gourmet in Brookline is excellent, and has several items not on the menu in Framingham, including a foil-wrapped "street barbecue" dish you have to know about or ask for.

            I find the menu at Red Pepper in Framingham much more interesting, but I've been eating Sichuan food since 2005 or so, and I'm jaded. But the cooking at SG is hands down better and consistent over three restaurants (the exception being Billerica) and 7 years, so if you're unfamiliar with the food, go to SG, and make sure you talk to a manager before ordering--RP doesn't pull any punches for its non-Chinese clientele, but SG does, and you can't tell from the SG menu what's Americanized and what isn't.

            2 Replies
            1. re: KWagle

              i would love to try the new ramen place, but i know in my heart it will not be a more satisfying bowl of soup then Red Pepper's J14 Noodles with stewed beef in house spicy soup.

              no 2 hour wait, parking and 7.50. totally hooked.

              1. re: KWagle

                Any dishes you particularly recommend? We visit Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham pretty regularly, but it sounds like we'll have to pull ourselves away to try Red Pepper.

              2. My recommendation would be ASANA in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It features a very nice room, well spaced tables, excellent service and a very nice menu. They also have some the best desserts in Boston. We go there frequently for exactly the reason you mention. Nice atmosphere, good food and a quiet place.

                1. For Chinese I would suggest the Peach Farm and East Ocean City. Both are in Chinatown

                  1. so many options for the non-chinese choice? where are you staying? would you like to be able to walk to a restaurant from your hotel on Saturday?

                    1. As for restaurants for Saturday, we are pretty flexible. We will be staying in Cambridge, but don't mind taking the train or trams and are happy to walk.

                      Thanks for the info on Chinese restaurants.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Jessie B

                        I think to get a good answer on the Chinese you need to clarify what kind of chinese.. The Sichuan recommendations are spot on but many dont like sichuan food or spicy food (not all the sichuan dishes are spicy but many/most are)... If you go to Sichuan Gourmet and are going to order chicken fingers, lo mein and general gaus than it isnt going to be that great a restaurant as this isnt their specialty, there are other places that do those things better.

                        1. re: Jessie B

                          you have a ton of options in Cambridge: TW Food, Rendezvous, Catalyst, Russell House Tavern, Hungry Mother, EVOO, Salt, East by Northeast, and far too many more to list. Check menus on line and see what appeals. Craige on Main and Rialto are the high end. My favorites are Rendezvous and EVOO which are mid-range and wonderfully reliable for very good food.

                        2. I'll weigh in. If you are looking for high end food in Boston I would recommend L'Espailer, Menton, Hamersley's, O-Ya & Craigie On Main (Cambridge), some are more stuffy than others and some are more inventive, but I don't think you can go wrong with any and there are tons of reviews on here. As for Chinese, it sounds like you are looking for Boston, so I'm not sure why you are getting recommendations for places far away. In Chinatown, I would go with Gourmet Dumpling House, Taiwan Cafe or Dumpling Cafe -- three favorites on this board and Yelp (although people argue vigorously as to which is best at what).

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                            Because the best Chinese food in "the Boston area" is mostly not in Chinatown (with the notable exception of Winsor DimSum Cafe.)

                            1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                              Other than one outlier in Billerica, the Chinese recs I'm seeing are mostly in Allston and Brookline. What's wrong with that?

                              1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                I'm not saying there isn't great Chinese food outside of downtown, there is. I just think that when most visitors from out of town are looking for restaurants in Boston, they don't think they are asking for recs in Framingham, Billerica, Brookline or Alston (with Alston admittedly being part of Boston). The OP did say Boston area, so I may be wrong in my assumption, but I tend to think of places that are within walking distance of downtown hotels assuming OK weather.

                                1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                  you are absolutely right. Framingham is a considerable haul for someone visiting Boston proper. i just like the food so much at SG and Red Pepper i forget that sometimes.

                                  Considering that, i have to go with Taiwan Cafe, Best Little Restaurant or China King (for chow foon or peking duck: 24 hours notice))

                                  1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                                    But the OP is staying in Cambridge, so downtown hotels don't even enter into it. Depending on where in Cambridge, Allston and Brookline might be even more convenient than Chinatown.

                                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                      if Cambridge is the locale, Mulan is an excellent choice for Chinese. If the OP is mobile, Shanghai Gate, JoJo Taipei, S & I Thai and YoMa are four of the best restaurants in Boston (and I say that without reference to "ethnic": vs. "other" because any of them beats quality to value ratio compared to "fine dining" options though sometimes you want one and sometimes the other). Of course, Chinatown is fun and has lots of good options: Best Little Restaurant and Windsor are among my favorites, but I do think the Allston group generally trumps them.

                                      1. re: teezeetoo

                                        I also like the Northern cooking at Golden Garden in Belmont if that is convenient

                                        If you go to Mulan; I recommend the eel or any of the other special choices on the menu.

                                        1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                                          Should anything be read into the absence of fuloon from this thread? It has been a while...

                                          1. re: drbangha

                                            I unfortunately haven't been in ages, but I've heard worrying reports over the last year or so.