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Apr 10, 2013 05:20 PM

Sunday Dinner Date South End

Any recs for a Sunday night first date? Quiet but not too quiet, nice but not too stuffy. Unpretentious. Simple. No long waits. Average entree under $50. In the South End.

A place where jeans and sneakers are welcome.

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  1. The Buttery, Metropolis, Union, Franklin or Coppa. All solid spots with great service and fabulous low-key date atmosphere -- cozy and warm, not romantic and cloying (though Franklin is maybe a little bit weirdly dark).

    1. Sunday night is a very pleasant time to dine out in the South End. No place is too fancy for jeans and sneakers, really, though folks tend to get a bit more dressed up at Hamersley's and Oishii Boston. There are few waits to deal with as a rule, though you never know with smaller venues like Coppa and the Franklin, and Toro seems to get packed even in a blizzard.

      The average entree is under $50 even at Boston's priciest places (O Ya, L'Espalier, Menton), so by that standard, the South End is pretty painless. You can drop some coin at Oishii Boston and Yakitori Zai if you try, but I'd sidestep those on a first date.

      Instead, I'd suggest Picco (excellent wood-oven pizzas and ice cream), Myers & Chang (fun, hip pan-Asian), El Centro (quality mid-priced Mexican), Orinoco (Venezuelan fare, unusual but not challenging), or Estelle's (good beer bar with Southern cuisine). Casual, lively, intimate settings. Reasonable prices. Good food, but nothing too distracting. Beer and wine (and maybe sake).

      1. When recommending a first date spot, I think primarily about
        dependable quality of food, professional and friendly service (attentive but not too) , quiet enough for easy conversation, and not sitting at a table jammed close to other tables.
        Some thoughts:
        Coppa is VERY close seating. Toro is likely the loudest restnt in town.
        Franklin's food is not as good as other options(ditto Orinoco, El Centro, Union.)

        Myers and Chang I would highly recommend. It is buzzing with happy energy , from the room of diners to the bartender to the servers. Everyone is having fun, and it's very contagious. It's a big menu of choices, and sharing the ordering and eating of the small plates- makes for a nice ice breaker. The bar is particularly inventive, including non-alcoholic options.

        Aquitaine is a very urbane experience. Casual elegance; highly professional but welcoming service; excellent bar and wines; consistent excellence in traditional but modern French food; handsome comfortable room of banquettes. The tables can be a bit close, but if you reserve the rearmost end banquette table, you will have a more private spot than others, and a beautiful view out the large rear window.

        Hope you have a lovely and fun evening

        6 Replies
        1. re: opinionatedchef

          I think Cinquecento and Gaslight are both louder. I don't find myself screaming to be heard at Toro, but I'm usually sitting at the bar there.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I hardly ever disagree with you but I find Toro to be really fun but WAY too loud for a first date.

            I was going to recommend Cinquecento. On the 2 occassions that i have been there it has been quiet and quite lovely, offering a bit of privacy that Toro lacks. Food was real good too.

            Cinquecento and gaslight have free parking, too.

            Personally, I think Union jumped the shark awhile back. Id not recommend it.

            Ive not been to the Chop House yet.... would that fit the bill?

            1. re: C. Hamster

              Boston Chops is pretty good, certainly a handsome space, but it's very early days yet, and it's on the pricey side.

              Certain corners of Cinquecento are quieter than others, but if it draws a Sunday night crowd, it will be shouting-loud nearly everywhere. Again, I imagine the patio will be my favorite option there.

              As reflected by my recs below, I wouldn't suggest Toro for a first date in any case because of the unpredictable but usually very long waits.


              1. re: MC Slim JB

                I've not been to Teranga.

                It's on the list, but would that work?

            2. re: MC Slim JB

              well that bar must be a godsend then. we always sit at the tables and we gave up trying to talk at Toro(LONG ago).

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                The bar at Toro is THE best place to sit, for sure.

                The communal tables at Toro and Meyers and Chang might not be right for a first date... But I totally agree that MC is fun.

          2. Surprised no one has mentioned the Gallows.

            And " average entree under $50" needs to said for a first date? What exactly is your game, sir? (!)

            4 Replies
            1. re: Bob Dobalina

              No Boston restaurant has an average entree price over $50. How many even have a single entree that's $50 or more?

              Take away raw-bar towers, Flintstone-size aged prime steaks, big lobsters, high-end caviar, exotic-ingredient specialties at Japanese and Chinatown restaurants (big live-tank fish, shark fin, sea cucumber, otoro, real Wagyu beef, etc.) -- note that a lot of these are intended to serve more than one diner -- and how many over-$50 entrees are left?


              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Maybe the OP is really thinking per person of $50, for a date of under $100? Would make it slightly more of a challenge for you all.

                1. re: justbeingpolite

                  i was thinking this too.^^^

                  i vote meyers and chang.

              2. re: Bob Dobalina

                I second the Gallows - though perhaps the name isn't the greatest for a first date.