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Oct 1, 2013 02:00 PM

Best restaurant on Newbury?

My mother-in-law is coming to visit Boston and she'd like to go out to a restaurant on Newbury on the Saturday evening, and we're looking for recommendations. She's fond of French style cuisine, but we are open to other non-Asian style restaurants as well. Our criteria:

1. Must serve conventional cuts/preparations of chicken/beef/pork (she's not adventurous with meats, and does not eat seafood)

2. Must have a great selection of wine (she's a certified wine specialist)

3. Must have a quaint ambiance, not too loud or crowded, and preferably with outdoor seating.

4. Must not be terribly expensive. (up to $25 for mains, as it will be our treat)

We've been to a few restaurants on Newbury St. and so far have not been impressed by any of them. I've heard so much about Stephanie's, but remain skeptical; it seems like a trap for tourists and people with too much money, and not enough taste. Suggestions?

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  1. La Voile might fit the bill, but I know little about their wine list.

    Is there a reason she only wants to eat on that street in particular?

    8 Replies
    1. re: LeoLioness

      She's been here once before and likes the ambiance of Newbury; a pre-dinner stroll through the shops, dinner, then an easy T ride back home after an espresso. We're open to other areas that can provide the same breadth of "entertainment".

      1. re: skaltervox

        What about Beacon Hill? Maybe Grotto?

        I think the "quaint" part is what is tripping me up. Most busy restaurants won't be quiet on a Saturday night, and any good restaurant is busy on a Saturday night.

        1. re: LeoLioness

          Beacon Hill is a good idea. Beacon Hill Bistro could actually fit the guidelines. Entrees are around $25 but go up a couple bucks, the wine list and food were both good last time I went, and it wasn't too loud. No outdoor seating though.

          La Voile probably fits the bill the best if it must be on Newbury Street and have outdoor seating. I do remember they were really accommodating a couple years back and let us bring in our own cake for a birthday and then cut/decorated the plates and gave us all a celebratory glass of sparkling wine on the house. All very generous.

      2. re: LeoLioness

        La Voile is really the only decent option on Newbury. While walking up Newbury St yesterday, I was marveling how it has actually gotten worse in terms of restaurant options. The sushiish place which replaced Pazzo? between Fairfield and Gloucester had fake giant scorpion bowls on top of their hostess stand. It reminded me of something you'd expect in Faneuil Hall.

        1. re: LeoLioness

          A 4th for La Voile.

          Gabatta - that place with the scorpion bowls is Snappy Sushi. I know because my wife forced me to go there on Saturday for lunch. The food wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be.

          1. re: mkfisher

            I work about 50 feet from Snappy Sushi. Who knew they had scorpion bowls?

            I hate their sushi, though. The brown rice? yuck for me.

            1. re: C. Hamster

              I think you're getting two restaurants confused. Itadaki is the new-ish restaurant with the scorpion bowls out front between Fairfield and Gloucester. I haven't tried it myself, but the place always looks empty when I pass by. Snappy is further down, more near Clarendon or Dartmouth.

              1. re: calvnhobs6

                Snappy is on the corner of Newbury and Clarendon. Used to be Tealuxe.

        2. "she's a certified wine specialist"

          ~~~ as somebody who is pursuing her master sommelier certification through the court of master sommeliers, i just have to ask, what the heck is a "certified wine specialist"?

          stephanie's is horrible and yes, a tourist trap. don't waste your money.

          la voile would fit your parameters, although the red meat entrees are more than $25. the wine list is french and serviceable. their patio is very cute, but the dining room can feel pretty tight, especially on a saturday when they will turn the tables 3 times.

          must it be newbury? plenty of other options in pretty locations here.

          1 Reply
          1. re: hotoynoodle

            In Canada, where she is from, the official certification before Sommelier is "Certified Specialist of WIne". Truth.

            She's been here once before and likes the ambiance of Newbury; a pre-dinner stroll through the shops, dinner, then an easy T ride back home after an espresso. We're open to other areas that can provide the same breadth of "entertainment".

          2. Newbury St is not a dining destination.

            La Voile is one of the best options, but it is pretty small.

            Stephanie's is terrible, I agree.

            If she'll walk a few blocks off Newbury there are many more options, like Deux Aves and Brasserie Jo. BJ has heated outdoor seating. Davio's is Italian sort of but pretty straightforward.

            The Taj hotel at the top of Newbury has a small restaurant but I've only eaten breakfast and lunch there.

            12 Replies
            1. re: C. Hamster

              there is also bistro du midi right on the public garden which has a GIANT wine list.

              stroll down newbury, have a drink at the taj and dinner at bdm.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Bistro du Midi has an excellent wine list and the staff is knowledgable about the wines. You can hold down the price by dining in the café downstairs instead of the upstairs dining room.


                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  2nd for Bistro du Midi.. its really close to the Public-Garden end of Newbury St.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    Yah only no way they are getting out of there with anything close to $25 entrees per the OPs request:


                    More like $30+ entrees...

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      unless they eat downstairs and do the cafe menu, i know, but that's the deal everywhere in that hood. 1/2 the la voile menu is $25+ also.

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        True, but downstairs on a Saturday evening at Bistro du Midi will generally be loud and crowded.

                        1. re: Gabatta

                          name a place worth eating that won't be crowded on saturday night?

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            Specific to the OP's request ("Must have a quaint ambiance, not too loud or crowded, and preferably with outdoor seating."), the downstairs lounge at BM is sometimes very loud on weekend evenings. It is really more a bar than a dining setting. There are plenty of places that will be much more comfortable and quiet, including upstairs at BM (however it is out of their requested price range as Striper pointed out). Not ripping on BM, just trying to keep to what the OP is looking for. I will stick by my original recommendation of La Voile as it will be more to the atmosphere the OP is looking for at that time.

                            1. re: Gabatta

                              am a fan of la voile too, however i eat at the bar because the dining room is so cramped it feels like table-neighbors are in my lap.

                              scoring a patio table there would be a lovely evening.

                              1. re: hotoynoodle

                                Thats exactly what we do at LV.

                                The dining room is small but it is sort of quaintly decorated

                          2. re: Gabatta

                            The acoustics downstairs at BdM make it sort of loud even at lunch on a weekday.

                    2. re: C. Hamster

                      there are veru nice places on Mass Ave such as Uni and Asta though the prices are higher than the OP wanted.

                    3. Welcome to Chowhound Boston, where everyone knows that limiting yourself to Newbury Street is a horrible idea, but we'll try to help anyway.

                      Haven't been back in at least a year, but I'd still recommend La Voile over pretty much anything else on Newbury Street.

                      I also like Cafe at The Taj, but it carries a stiff luxury-hotel premium and doesn't have La Voile's lovely patio.