Fine dining in Boston

Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 12:53 PM
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Fine dining in Boston

Hi All,

I live in Boston but, unfortunately, don't get to the fine dining establishments all too often. I need to buy a gift certificate for my boss for Christmas. We have a budget of $175 (dinner for 2) and are looking for something that has excellent food and atmosphere. He likes just about everything. Aquitaine was mentioned as an option and I know he's been to L'Espalier and likes it. Besides these two choices, does anyone have any other recommendations? I was also thinking about Lucca in the North End or the Federalist. Maybe Grill 23? I'm all over the place!

Any guidance you could provide would be much appreciated!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 12:58 PM
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Don't know about those two but I had an excellent meal at Excelsior.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 01:06 PM
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Oleander in Cambridge.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 01:09 PM
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sorry, flowers on my mind!
it's Oleana,


http://bostonchefs.com/clients/Oleana/rest_page/
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 02:21 PM
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Oleana is wonderful- and so is Excelsior. Can't go wrong with either!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 02:28 PM
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Aquitaine is our favorite restaurant in Boston.


But, you might want to check out the gift cards available which are not restaurant specific. See www.dineonme.com, www.dinegift.com, www.phantomgourmet.com

With one of the above, your boss can go wherever he chooses (that's on their list, of course).

He may want to try a new restaurant, even outside of Boston...
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 02:33 PM
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Forgot about Excelsior, it's definitely an option. After I posted I thought about Mistral but, my god, the wine is pricey! Anyone have an idea how far $175 will go at the Federalist? I like the idea but their online menu didn't list prices.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 02:35 PM
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djkbooks, thanks. Aquitaine might be the choice. The prices fit into the budget and I already have a couple of coworkers who mentioned it.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 03:13 PM
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We too like Aquataine, but we had a fabulous meal at Spire in the Nine Zero hotel.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 03:18 PM
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Hamersley's is another very good choice.
Avoid Aquitaine for lnch, load music and noisy dining.
Troquet on Boylston is also an excellent place. We're going again on Friday but a birthday celebration.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 03:53 PM
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excuse me, LUNCH! Brunch!
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 04:23 PM
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If I were on the receiving end, I'd be thrilled with $175 towards Mistral or Hammersley's! Trattoria Scallentella in the NorthEnd has an amazing chef's tasting menu - you could see how much that is per person.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 05:30 PM
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Some good choices. I second Aquitane and Hamersley's. We also like:
No. 9 Park
Icarus
Abe & Louie's (Our favorite steak joint)
Via Matta
Union Bar & Grill
Clio


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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 06:50 PM
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I'll just throw in mine, Taranta in the North End.

http://www.tarantarist.com/v3/

small, romantic, great sicilian steak.
Very small, so best to go early in the week.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 06:56 PM
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As one poster mentioned, remember your boss can add 25-50 to his gift certificate if he likes pricey wine, etc and will still be thrilled with your gift.
We often add to a gift certificate given to us.
For both excellent food and the atmosphere, I like Spire, - and they have a nice bar for a before or after dinner drink. Excelsior the same - excellent.
Also, an option could be Rialto at the Charles HOtel in Cambridge - parking is so easy (although the other two also offer valet) and they have the option of perhaps listening to music after in the Regatta bar or strolling harv sq - Hammersley's Bistro never dissapoints either. Federalist is over the top expensive and some find it stuffy. Don't know his age or taste, but some still love Aujourd hui at the Four Seasons for old fashion fine dining. One of our execs when he comes in from NYC only wants Mistral. Also like the idea of an overall gift certificate he can choose from, but it's fun to sen dthem to a specific spot. North end , depending on the restaurant, can be a hassle in the parking end.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 07:53 PM
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Thank you for all the suggestions! My boss is around 40, he enjoys upscale food and wine but is definitely not into stuffy so I think I'll scratch the Federalist off my list. We travel a lot for sales meetings and conferences and he always tries to seek out the places with the best food in any city we go to. For example, he chose Emeril's when we went to Orlando recently. I went to L'Espalier recently and he commented how he really liked it so I could always go that route but I'd like to try something new.

Rialto is a good option, especially with the ease of parking. I really liked the idea of Mistral but the wine list is prohibitive, many choices are over $100. I'd like the gift certificate to cover everything if possible. So I'm thinking I need a place that has a good selection of wines in the $40 range.

I've heard mixed reviews about Spire, anyone eat there recently? Anymore comments on Aquitaine, No. 9 Park or Hamersley's Bistro? He likes steak so I thought about Abe & Louie's but I'm thinking that's not very imaginative?

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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 08:05 PM
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Espalier is THE most expensive and formal restaurant in Boston. We went when it first opened in that year but ever have ben able to afford to go back, It is very formal, so I don't understand, he doesn't like stuffy?
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 08:14 PM
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I didn't find L'Espalier to be stuffy but then again I went to a prix fixe wine dinner on a Monday night so maybe that wasn't the best representation. I didn't say he doesn't like stuffy but I don't think of him as particularly stuffy.....
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 08:36 PM
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as a local person, sorry if I misunderstood this.

Thank you for all the suggestions! My boss is around 40, he enjoys upscale food and wine but is definitely not into stuffy so I think I'll
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Old Nov 22nd, 2005, 08:55 PM
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Count us among those who do *not* find L'Espalier stuffy!! I realize that what this term means differs according to the person using it. However, it is such a lovely place in a charming old brownstone, and everyone who serves you there treats you so warmly and graciously that I don't see how anyone would call it stuffy.

We also have to get a gift--in our case, a wedding present-- and dinner at L'Espalier was the first thing that I thought of. I agree w/those who say to give what you can afford, and let the recipient supplement, if he chooses...
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