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Anniversary Dinner in Metrowest

Just moved to the Framingham area from Boston (damn having a child and needing space) and trying to fine a nice, romantic spot for our Anny. We would go into Boston or Cambridge but this is our first non-relative babysitter and we want to stay close to the area in case of emergency. Looking on all the regular websites and asking coworkers who live in this area, there doesn't seem to be a place that jumps out to us. Wildwood and Alta Strada seem alright and get decent enough reviews, just don't have the "WOW" factor. Farmstead Table piques me, but not the wife. Belmont and Waltham have some nice choices, but might be out of the radius of where we want to dine. Any good options?

(Oh, I originally was going to have us dine at Coach Grill because I have driven by that place nearly every day for the last 9 years going to work but I looked at the menu and immediately scoffed at the prices. Not because I wouldn't spend that much on dinner because I have, but because it seems like you aren't getting anything special for that price. If we went to Russel House Tavern or Craigie on Main, we'd spend probably less than Coach Grill and I'd know I'd have an incredible meal.)

Anyway, any places in Metrowest that delivers like a Russel House Tavern? Or are we setting our sights too high and our best options are decent to pretty good steakhouse or Italian restaurant?

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  1. I went once to Wildwood many years ago and will not return. Don't know if it has gotten any better. At the time it was a mediocre steakhouse. Alta Strada is pretty good but I would not go there for my own anniversary. You mention Farmstead Table but how about Sycamore? I've been to both and much prefer Sycamore. Waban Kitchen might also be an option but the seating there is not too conducive to romance (if that's a goal). Would also pass on Coach Grill. You might also want to consider Aka Bistro in Lincoln.

    1. I would strongly suggest you look into Sycamore in Newton Centre. I think it is exactly what you are looking for. The only caveat is that it is often crowded and is not on the quiet side if that is a problem for an anniversary dinner. I have had nothing but excellent meals there. And their drink program (I have had beer and cocktails) is very strong. Depending how close to Route 9 you live, it shouldn't be much more than 15-20 min from Framingham and perhaps less.

      2 Replies
      1. how about AKA bistro in Lincoln or 80 Thoreau in Concord. Really nice ride along backroads

        1 Reply
        1. re: momoftwo

          Ditto these - when is it? Bondir should be opening in Concord in not too long, too.

        2. Sticking to just Framingham and bordering towns:

          Maxwell's 148 on Route 135 in Natick
          Tommasso Trattoria on Route 9 in Southborough
          Bullfinchs on Route 20 in Sudbury

          5 Replies
            1. re: NE_Wombat

              Ditto. Beautiful Foie gras torchon.

              AKA exc too.

              Sycamore #1 pick of all but maybe too far for you.(Their Daily Board is fascinating in concept and usually terrific in reality.)

              I'm pretty sure that this is one case where you do not want to "Go west, young man." West is scary.

            2. re: honestcuisine

              Another vote for Maxwell's, but you may also want to try Oregon Supper Club (on Oregon Street in Framingham, a place even your GPS will have trouble finding). It's fun and can be very good.

              We also love Oga (intersection of 27 and 9).

              1. re: Isolda

                Oga is excellent sushi in a lovely atmosphere

                1. re: Isolda

                  You definitely won't find it using GPS if you plug in Oregon Street in Framingham, since it's on Oregon Road in Ashland :)

                  Salem End Road turns into Oregon road at the border. Interesting historical trivia: Salem End is where Judge Danforth set up many of those involved in the Salem witch trials with homes. Contrary to what you may read in the play, he actually was very critical of the trials.

              2. If you are willing to come to Newton, I would recommend Lumiere.

                1. Tomasso Trattoria on Rte 9 in Southborough would be a good nearby choice. It's Italian, but not pedestrian Italian-American.

                  Of course, there's always Legals.

                  Welcome to the 'burbs. Not a lot of culinary "wows" in that Metrowest area.

                  1. I'm going to give recommendations in Ashland. Stones Public House has excellent food from gastropub style to some very good steaks and seafood options. The Oregon Club is an old speakeasy with multiple small rooms and a nice menu and wine list for the area. For many years, multiple owners they've been offering steaks cooked in 'the pan'.These are two of the better places in the area.

                    1. + 1 on Lumiere - it's close enough to the Pike to be able to come home quickly.

                      Also, have not been in a while but you may want to check recent postings for Blue Ginger in Wellesley. I personally like calm, quiet places for anniversaries but in the past the food has been good and it's closer to Framingham.

                      Cheer up - you have Sichuan Gourmet close by and that will accommodate a screaming baby (and all babies cry at some point)

                      1. Il Capriccio in Waltham is one of our favorites. Sel de la Terre in the Natick Mall is actually quite good.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: teezeetoo

                          I have had 3 really meh meals at Sel de la Terre in the past 4-6 months or so, last one being last weekend. It has the air of a dying restaurant.

                          Il Capriccio is wonderful.

                          1. re: Scruffy The Cat

                            sad to hear - we were glad it was there when we were stuck at the mall but we haven't been in several months so I appreciate the recent feedback. Il Capriccio is a place we return to regularly and for good reason,

                        2. I'm going to add a ditto on Lumiere. It's convenient and the food is terrific.

                          I was underwhelmed by Farmstead table. We had a nice meal, but the service was slow, and the food just didn't wow us.

                          Folks who are recommending Tomasso...I'm really curious, have you been there recently? I live very close to there, and have gone regularly ever since it opened. It has become extremely hit or miss...some things are good, some are bland and awful. The service can be okay, but it can be incredibly unprofessional (poor handling of some very nice wine). Its really quite pricy, and I think they ought to do better at that price point. So I'm genuinely interested to hear other experiences.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ChinaCat

                            I agree with you, ChinaCat about Farmstead Table. We had a very unmemorable meal there for my DH's bday a couple of months back. Also, not very romantic....more bustling/loud with tables uncomfortably close together

                            1. re: ChinaCat

                              were last at Tomosso in February and it was as good as always.

                            2. So a big thank you to all who posted. We ended up deciding between AKA Bistro and Sycamore and chose AKA Bistro mainly because it was cheese plate night.

                              Overall, a very good dining experience. A little bummed that there was no bone marrow last night, but otherwise everything else was spot on and delicious. The space itself is nice and bright and clean. Plenty of parking (which I guess is a perk of living in the burbs). Service was friendly and on point. The cheese selection was incredible, all from Concord Cheese Shop which we will have to visit. I wish there was one runny cheese option, but really can't complain because all four were fantastic. My wife's duck confit was very crispy and tasty. (Another reason we chose AKA Bistro was they had duck leg on the menu instead of duck breast...we love the dark meat.) My steak frites was cooked perfectly and very well seasoned, but I do have one complaint and its my own fault. I love steak to just be steak. Maybe some melted butter on top, but that's about it. So while the caramelized onions and the not so melted butter were very, very good on their own, I just didn't like it on the steak. I saw it on the menu and could have asked for them to take it off, but I didn't so no fault to the restaurant on that. I used the onions and butter on the very crispy fries and that was a nice combination. Because I read a couple of blogs that reviewed AKA Bistro before coming, we ordered the mac and cheese as a side. Sadly, this was the lowlight of the dinner. While it was good mac and cheese, it didn't blow us away like the blogs were raving about. It's ok, because our toddler son will have it for lunch today and he will most likely love it. Flan for dessert topped off a very good dinner. One other quirk was we weren't used to be the last ones at a restaurant. Closing was at 10 and we were the last ones there while the staff was cleaning up around us. Didn't feel rushed at all though as we talked to a few servers about the cheese and even about our families.

                              Definitely going to try Sycamore soon though and also Stone Public House. Both of those look like really good restaurants for the area. We got a $30 gift card to Tomosso and will give that a try as well, though I'm not sure I'd go there without that gift card.

                              Thanks again for the information and for letting me know that Metrowest isn't all chains.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jpeezey12

                                thnx for that report j. glad you enjoyed it!