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Out of the loop --where do I go for one night out in Boston these days??

saridt Jan 22, 2013 07:14 PM

Since moving to the 'burbs a few years back I have not been on here much. Most of the time the city is just too darn far to go for dinner on the rare occasion that we get a sitter and head out. So, meeting some friends out in the city proper soon and want to go somewhere I haven't been and where I won't be disappointed "wasting" a night out.

Would love a place that is unpretentious, has great craft cocktails and inventive food.

Places that I love on the North Shore to get a sense of my taste are 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar, The Blue Ox, 5 Corner Kitchen, 9 Elm, ipazzi, Sawasdee, Cielito Lindo, Kame...my old favorite haunts in Boston used to be Sorellina, Taranta, ESK, dante...and I am too tired to even think of any others right now!

Can you help an old, exhausted Chowhound out? What should be on my restaurant bucket list these days?

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  1. opinionatedchef RE: saridt Jan 22, 2013 09:13 PM

    It's so especially important for someone who rarely gets a night in town- to have a wonderful experience. I think you might love Island Creek Oyster Bar in Kenmore Sq. I have written a number of CH raves for it (i think it easily gets more CH comments than any other Boston restnt.) so do a search and those CH threads will come up for you w/ lots of details.

    8 Replies
    1. re: opinionatedchef
      saridt RE: opinionatedchef Jan 23, 2013 06:41 AM

      Thanks! I will look it up.

      1. re: opinionatedchef
        saridt RE: opinionatedchef Jan 23, 2013 07:44 AM

        So I have done some research and Island Creek looks perfect. But looks like via Open Table they only have resis available at 5:30 or 10 (a month from now!) I'm going to call later, but any runners up?

        1. re: saridt
          Bob Dobalina RE: saridt Jan 23, 2013 08:10 AM

          Given that 3 of 4 old haunts were Italian, how about:

          Coppa - http://coppaboston.com

          or

          Cinquecento - http://www.cinquecentoboston.com/ - new Italian place in the S.E.

          Both would seem to fit your criteria.

          1. re: Bob Dobalina
            saridt RE: Bob Dobalina Jan 28, 2013 06:27 PM

            Great --thank you! I'm going to check these out next.

          2. re: saridt
            rlh RE: saridt Jan 23, 2013 11:16 AM

            Do try calling Island Creek directly - I am pretty sure they don't book all their tables via Open Table that far in advance, and they are always very friendly and nice on the phone.

            They are also quite large and take walk-ins (I believe ALL of the tables in the bar area are seated this way - and there are many), though usually with some to a lot of waiting depending on when you arrive, but they have a terrific large bar (Vik is outstanding if there) and The Hawthorne is right next door - they will call you or come get you - and it is a highly worthy destination for a special cocktail on a rare night out in the city - this is probably my favorite drinking and dining combo available in Boston now.

            1. re: saridt
              opinionatedchef RE: saridt Jan 23, 2013 03:20 PM

              important thing to remember about Open Table: the restnts always keep some tables for themselves to be able to book. So call them; i'm sure something can work out.

              1. re: opinionatedchef
                saridt RE: opinionatedchef Jan 28, 2013 06:25 PM

                So, I did call and they are booked up except for 5:15 or 10pm. Bummer. They put me on the cancellation list so se'll see; maybe something will open up.

                1. re: saridt
                  rlh RE: saridt Jan 29, 2013 11:23 AM

                  I have gotten in at prime time to ICOB by being on the cancellation list - they DO follow up on it.

                  That said, Toro is totally amazing and worth waiting for if you have the time, and their bar is really noisy and crowded, but the drinks are always great (and I am happy to now know Coppa takes reservations, as I just assumed they did not)

          3. ebone RE: saridt Jan 23, 2013 11:14 AM

            JM Curley fits the bill for unpretentious, great craft cocktails and inventive food. Not as fancy as the old haunts you mention, but I don't think you would be disappointed,

            1. KeyConcierge RE: saridt Jan 23, 2013 12:41 PM

              Dinner spots, Prezza just reopened in the North End. Have had recent solid dining experiences at Cinquecento, Toro, Salts and Deuxave. The latter two on the more "special occasion" side.

              Drinks after, The Hawthorne, Liberty Bar, or The Beehive have been good to us too.

              1 Reply
              1. re: KeyConcierge
                saridt RE: KeyConcierge Jan 28, 2013 06:26 PM

                Have always wanted to try Toro - that might be the call!

              2. c
                cookfood RE: saridt Jan 27, 2013 04:19 PM

                just had an awesome "night out" in the big city! drinks at hawthorne-top notch service, dinner at eastern standard :) Eastern standard was a tad loud and crowded but we had a great meal (Oysters, steak frites, mac and cheese-it was a splurge kinda night) We really wanted to hit up icob for some oysters and a cocktail but it was to crowded and we were a little toooo tipsy after dinner hehehe.
                have fun!!!

                1. saridt RE: saridt Jan 28, 2013 06:37 PM

                  For those who have been to both: Coppa or Toro? The menus look great, (and I actually just happened to hear Bobby Flay on the radio this morning raving about how great Toro was the other night), but I am feeling partial to Coppa's cocktail menu at the moment.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: saridt
                    ebone RE: saridt Jan 29, 2013 06:32 AM

                    If forced to pick one I would go with Toro, but they don't take reservations so you will most certainly have to wait a bit. Its worth it though...

                    1. re: saridt
                      m
                      mkfisher RE: saridt Jan 29, 2013 06:35 AM

                      For me, it's all dependent on the timing. Coppa takes reservations, and Toro does not. Combine that with some outrageous waits at Toro (I've been quoted 2 1/2-3 hours on more than one visit). I do generally prefer the food at Toro, especially the paella, but I don't prefer it enough to wait when I could have a reservation at Coppa.

                      1. re: saridt
                        l
                        LeoLioness RE: saridt Jan 29, 2013 07:09 AM

                        I like them both very much. It depends what kind of night I'd want. For me, Toro is a bit more scene-y, since there's always a wait I know I'll be hanging out at the bar and my bill there always seems to be more than Coppa.

                        I find Coppa more laid-back, casual, and I either make a reservation or go really early (or for lunch) and never have a wait.

                        I find the food and service uniformly excellent at both, though.

                        1. re: LeoLioness
                          C. Hamster RE: LeoLioness Jan 29, 2013 04:24 PM

                          +1

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