Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Apr 18, 2014 09:16 AM

Best Chinese w/ good decor

I'm looking also for a good Chinese restaurant that is somewhat on the fancier side. Nice decor is a must. Price is less of a concern. The closer to the Pru, the better.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. How authentic do you want your Chinese to be? There's a PF Chang's in the Pru. Most good Chinese restaurants aren't super close to the Pru. How far are you willing to travel? Something like Shojo in Chinatown could work well for your needs.

    5 Replies
      1. re: addiez

        Not too far and authenticity does matter. If anyone knows of a restaurant that has "made to order" not necessarily on the menu items, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

        1. re: jkpavel

          Unfortunately, you're asking for three things that don't go together easily. The more 'authentic' Chinese places in and around Boston don't tend to be fancy, and 'authentic' Chinese food does not exist in the immediate vicinity of the Pru (for reference: my 'immediate vicinity' = 15 minutes' walk).

          Chinatown would absolutely be your best bet overall for non-Americanized Chinese food, and it's two stops away on the Orange Line (train) or about 10-15 minutes by cab, traffic permitting. (I'd recommend not driving yourself: parking is expensive and can be hard to find even in lots, especially on weekend nights.)

          Again, though, you're going to run into the authentic vs posh issue. I haven't been to Shojo, but the menu veers well into pan-Asian territory and it's not where I'd go if I were looking for Chinese food specifically. Q Hot Pot is supposed to be great too and the decor's good (more trendy than classically fancy, but still feels like A Night Out), but if you don't like hot pot I'm not sure you'd have much else to choose from.

          Outside of Chinatown, Sichuan Gourmet in Brookline does excellent Sichuan food, but the tip is usually to avoid the non-Sichuan dishes, which could present a problem if anyone in your party has a spice aversion. The decor is... fine. It's clean and comfortable, clearly a restaurant and not a cafe or diner, but you're not going to see it in 'Architectural Digest' anytime soon. On the other hand, if you're looking at anything other than the massive heap of dan dan noodles in front of you, then you're doing it wrong.

          For mine, I'd chuck all considerations of decor and focus on finding the best Boston's Chinese specialties (seafood, Sichuan, and more recently dumplings). I'd rather eat good food on an ugly chair than average food on a gold throne. But your priorities are your own, and if on the night it's more important to look impressive than to taste impressive, that's totally your call. Unfortunately, I think you're going to need to decide on what's most important to you for that meal, because I don't think Boston's going to be able to grant your three wishes all in one restaurant.

          Final thought: would you be amenable to a less-fancy dining experience if you followed it with a dessert or drink somewhere posh afterwards? That, I reckon, we could do.

          1. re: TimTamGirl

            " I'd rather eat good food on an ugly chair than average food on a gold throne."

            Well-said, ma'am!

            1. re: eatinjeff

              Quite agree. I'd rather bring clients to ICOB or Row 34 than Legal, or to just about any local independent than a high-end chain steakhouse, but sometimes you don't have the luxury of choice.


      2. Are you there to eat or look at the walls?

        1. Golden Temple in Brookline does high-quality American Chinese food, with occasional toe-dips into less Americanized stuff as well. It's not especially close to the Pru but I reckon it'd only be about 15 minutes in a car/cab if the traffic's not bad, and they have valet parking.

          There's also Myers + Chang in the South End, which is geographically closer but would still probably require a car unless you're up for a good walk - it wouldn't be easy to get there on public transportation. I'd say it's less Americanized overall, but it's also less specifically Chinese and more pan-Asian.

          Both places have strong bar selections and are lovely inside, and both have good labeling and options for vegetarians and people with allergies.

          1. My two suggestions would be in Chinatown too. Either the Peach Farm or East Ocean City. Neither are fancy places although East Ocean has slightly nicer decor than the Peach Farm but both have very authentic food and feature a lot live seafood taken from tanks in the restaurants. My hands down favorite dish (although very expensive) is the Alaskan King Crab with Salt and Chilli Pepper. The crabs are quickly flashed fried (no batter) and then tossed with salt and red chilli pepper. The combination of the sweet crab and that salt and pepper is amazing. A large crab can easily be shared with 6 or more people as a part of a multi course dinner. They also do great steamed fish, clams with black bean sauce and a very good geoduck clam sashimi.

            3 Replies
            1. re: RoyRon

              While I haven't been for a while I recall at one point that New Shanghai was a bit fancier than most Chinatown restaurants (e.g., tablecloths, decor). Maybe someone who has been there most recently could confirm/dispute.

              1. re: FoodTruth

                Yes, New Shanghai has decor that's a step up from Peach Farm with still excellent food. If decor is the primary concern, I wouldn't recommend Peach Farm.

                1. re: VintageMolly

                  If decor trumps the food, or is at least as important, they should avoid Peach Farm.

                  The Dumpling Cafe on Washington St. has delicious food, and the "decor" is maybe a half step above Peach Farm. Certainly the bathrooms are somewhat nicer.

            2. Not so close to the Pru, but East by Northeast in Cambridge is good and nice, although more modern. Same for Mei Mei on Boston/Brookline border.