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StarChefs
Features  
  HOTELS RESTAURANTS
  Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro Hotel
Marlowe Seaport Hotel
The Charles Street Inn
The Nine Zero
Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston (Restaurant Dante)
Seaport Hotel

FRENCH
Clio
Craigie Street Bistro
No. 9 Park
Pigalle
Radius
Sel de la Terre

STAFF FAVORITE
Japonaise – Japanese French bakery café

ITALIAN/MEDITERRANEAN
Casablanca
Dante
La Morra
Marco
Oleana
Sage
Via Matta

CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN
B+G Oysters
The Butcher Shop
Harvest
OM Restaurant and Lounge
Restaurant L
Salts
Spire
Temple Bar
Tremont 647

 

Boston Travel: What to Eat and Where to Stay
By Amy Tarr
June 2007

Boston’s dining community is conservative and loyal. The conservative aspect should come as no surprise – chefs around the country routinely lament their struggle to satisfy patrons with conventional tastes. But the loyal part might come as a shock to those who have grown accustomed to feeding the fickle mob in other cities. What attracts these loyal customers and keeps them coming back for more are consistency, quality, and endurance. Restaurants like Hamersley’s Bistro, The Harvest, Locke Ober and Grill 23 are practically historical landmarks, serving Boston Brahmans, literally, for decades. Even the younger generation of great fine dining establishments, like Clio, No. 9 Park, and Pigalle have been humming since 1997, 1998, and 2000, respectively.

So what makes Boston a top culinary destination right now? If you as a chef had anywhere in the country – or for that matter, the world – to choose to visit, from a gastronomic perspective, why would you choose Boston?

If you dream of someday owning not one, but several successful fine and casual fine dining operations, there’s plenty to be learned from Boston’s leading chefs like Todd English, Ken Oringer, Michael Schlow, and Barbara Lynch. These phenomenal chefs/restaurateurs know that “conservative” does not have to mean boring. In fact, there are even a few daredevils in Beantown, including Oringer at Clio, Pino Maffeo at Restaurant L, and Gabriel Bremer at Salts, who are driven to be innovative and offer really sophisticated, unusual fare.

Second, Boston has one of the most tight-knit, familial chef communities we’ve seen. One of the first cities to have formal chefs clubs (the first one started here in 1894), there is a relationship between the generations of chefs, with strong bonds between mentors and their protégés. Chef dinners, informal get-togethers in chefs’ homes with chefs eating, are common. It’s refreshing to experience the deep sense of camaraderie, instead of the fierce strains of competition.

We encourage you to go and meet this personable bunch of talented chefs, experience their food and ask them questions. Chew the fat with Matt Abdoo at Marco and learn the finer points of house-cured salumi. Say hello to Andy Husbands at Tremont 647 and you might convince him to reveal the secrets of his award-winning barbecue ribs. Check in on Dante deMagistris at Dante and see how fine Italian cuisine is done. Find out from Greg Reeves at B&G Oysters everything there is to know about these tricky bivalves. You might even find yourself hanging out with these guys after hours, to share a few pointers as well as a few pints.


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RESTAURANTS
FRENCH

Clio
370 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 536-7200

Breakfast: Monday – Friday 6:30am-10:30am, Saturday 7am-11am, Sunday 7am-Noon
Dinner: Sunday – Thursday 5:30pm-10pm, Friday – Saturday 5:30pm-10:30pm

Chef: Ken Oringer
Pastry Chef: Rick Billings, Rising Star

Located in the Eliot Hotel in Boston’s historic Back Bay, Clio has redefined Boston’s fine dining scene ever since it opened in 1997. Chef Ken Oringer is without a doubt one of Boston’s most innovative and experimental chefs, fusing French haute cuisine with Asian influences. His menu reflects not only the New England seasons, but Japan’s as well, with fresh seafood, mushrooms and other delicacies flown in daily. Presentations are exquisite, with dishes often garnished with edible flowers and exotic fresh herbs. Oringer’s counterpart in the pastry department is a relative newcomer, Rising Star Pastry Chef Rick Billings, whose precision and taste for experimentation are a suitable match.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Hamachi Tartare with Raw Candy Cane Beets, Liquid Yogurt and Nori Emulsion
  • Foie Gras Terrine with Crunchy Dates, Lime Marmalade, and Pomegranate
  • Frozen Blood Orange Capsule with Amaretto Cream and Bitter Almond Ice Cream

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Craigie Street Bistro
5 Craigie Cir.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 497-5511

Dinner: Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday 5:30pm-10pm, Friday, Saturday 5:30pm-10:30pm
Closed: Monday and Tuesday

Chef: Tony Maws, Rising Star

Dining in Boston (o.k., technically Cambridge) doesn’t get any better than Craigie Street. Classically trained in French cuisine, Chef Tony Maws executes unpretentious market-driven bistro fare in an intimate dining room way off the beaten path. He concentrates on cooking for each and every guest, and the result is intense passion, soul, and pride in every dish. Maws’ Sunday Suppers offer a chef’s choice menu where diners put their faith in this young master and let him cook straight from the heart.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Eggs en Cocotte with Crabmeat, Rock Shrimp, and Green Garlic Sauce
  • Composed Salad of Watermelon Radish, Turnip, and Purple Potato with Walnut Vinaigrette and Herbs
  • Red Chile-Marinated Skirt Steak with Grilled Bone Marrow, Potato, and Carrot

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No. 9 Park
9 Park St.
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 742-9991

Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30am-2:30pm
Dinner: Monday-Saturday 5:30pm-11pm

Chefs: Barbara Lynch/ Colin Lynch and Ralph Fiegel
Bar Chef: John Gertsen, Rising Star

In this elegant, understated townhouse on Boston’s historic Beacon Hill, Barbara Lynch showcases her acclaimed regional French and Italian cuisine. The cool gray walls decorated with black and white photography of the Boston Common offer a serene backdrop for dishes layered with subtlety, like Swiss chard ravioli with braised pheasant leg, and Armagnac-soaked prunes. Currently overseeing the kitchen are two young, up-and-comers, Colin Lynch and Ralph Fiegel. Their mastery of Lynch’s cuisine defies their age. Wine Director, Cat Silerie, who runs the wine program for all of Lynch’s restaurants, assembles an exciting, ever-changing wine list, which she enthusiastically shares with diners. Don’t rush into wine at the expense of cocktails. Let Rising Star Bar Chef John Gertsen shake up one of his classic American cocktails with a twist. Savor the house-made maraschino cherry in his Red Hook, a variation on the Brooklyn, which is in turn a variation on the Manhattan.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Butter-Poached Main Lobster with Pea Puree, Morels, Asparagus, and Beurre Blanc
  • Prune-Stuffed Gnocchi with Seared Foie Gras and Vin Santo Glaze

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Pigalle
75 Charles St. South
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 423-4944

Dinner: Tuesday-Thursday 5:30pm-10pm, Friday-Saturday 5:30pm-10:30pm, Sunday 5pm-9:30pm

Chef: Marc Orfaly, Rising Star

If you’re looking for an intimate and romantic dining experience, look no further than Pigalle in the Theatre District. Chef Marc Orfaly runs the back of the house, while his wife and business partner Kerri Foley takes care of the front. Orfaly’s cooking is essentially French with myriad international overtones. The menu ranges from classic French bistro fare (as in the favorite Cassoulet of Confit Duck Leg, Braised Lamb Shank, and Homemade Pork Sausage), to the whimsical (as in Pastrami-Wrapped Monkfish), to the downright sexy (as in the Truffled Parmesan Risotto with Exotic Mushrooms). With only 50 seats in the house, you’re virtually guaranteed a personalized and memorable experience.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Goat Cheese and Braised Leek Tart with Truffle Potato and Petit Herb Salad
  • Spice-Crusted Black Bass with Salsify and Verjus
  • Cassoulet of Confit Duck Leg, Braised Lamb Shank, and Homemade Pork Sausage
  • Pastrami-Wrapped Monkfish
  • Truffled Parmesan Risotto with Exotic Mushrooms

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Radius
8 High St.
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 426-1234

Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30am-2:30pm
Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5:30pm-10pm, Friday – Saturday 5:30pm-11pm

Chefs: Michael Schlow and Patrick Connolly

Michael Schlow’s ode to modern French cuisine offers an entertaining dining experience from start to finish. Located in Boston’s Financial District, the circular main dining room is sexy, sophisticated, and instantly inviting. Schlow’s hyper-seasonal menu, executed by Chef de Cuisine Patrick Connolly, incorporates creative and often unexpected elements. For example, a simple sashimi of hamachi dressed with ponzu is further enhanced by a bright, silky blood orange and fennel pollen gelée. There is also a subtlety to the flavors, as in the barely detectable essence of foie gras in the crouton accompanying a soft-poached egg, bright watercress crème fraiche and paddlefish roe. Pastry Chef PJ Waters offers a satisfying and playful finish, with such treats as the Cinema Paradiso, a whimsical homage to movie fans, including caramel popcorn and peanuts, grape slushee, chocolate coated raisins and an ethereal chocolate choubouste with grapes, popcorn ice cream and grape jam.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Soft-Poached Egg, Foie Gras Crouton, Paddlefish Roe, and Watercress Crème Fraiche
  • Hamachi with Ponzu, Blood Orange and Fennel Pollen Gelée, Radish, and Kumquats
  • Cinema Paradiso – Caramel Popcorn and Peanuts, Grape Slushee, and
    Chocolate-Coated Raisins

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Sel de la Terre
255 State St.
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 720-1300

Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30am-2:30pm
Dinner: Nightly 5pm-10pm
Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 11am-2:30pm
Late night dining: Wednesday-Saturday 10pm-1am
Boulangerie: Monday-Friday 7:30am–Midnight, Saturday – Sunday 9am-Midnight

Chef: Geoff Gardner, Rising Star

As most Bostonians know, you don't need to fly to southern France to experience authentic Provençal cuisine—just make a reservation at Sel de la Terre on State Street, next door to the New England Aquarium. Chef Geoff Gardner (long time sous chef at L'Espalier where he worked under mentor and now business partner Frank McClelland) prepares rustic Provençal-inspired cuisine using seasonal, locally-grown food. The casual brasserie environment with mahogany tables and hand-painted murals is the perfect environment for devouring food that is indicative of its name, which translates as "Salt of the Earth." Chef Gardner prides himself on his use of New England's agricultural and fresh seafood and it shows in his dishes. Chef Gardner's love of bread-making led to the Boulangerie, located next to the entrance of the restaurant, with delectable artisan breads, French pastries, and in-house charcuterie plates.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Fricassee of Spring Lamb
  • Lamb with Fava Beans, Smoked Bacon, and Dates

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ITALIAN/MEDITERRANEAN

Casablanca
40 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 876-0999

Brunch: Sunday 11am-2:30pm
Lunch: Monday-Saturday 11:30am-2:30pm
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm-10pm, Friday & Saturday 5:30pm-11pm

Chef: Ruth Anne Adams

Harvard Square’s landmark restaurant has been around since 1955, but there’s nothing stale about this Mediterranean spot, thanks to a continual flow of top talent in the kitchen. Chef Ruth Anne Adams offers hearty, deceptively simple fare, like golden trout stuffed with brioche, accompanied by celery with lentils, wilted spinach, and a sherry sauce with capers, picholines, and preserved lemon. She works with classic flavor combinations infused with a motherly love that is reminiscent of home cooking, but way better.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Crispy Thin Eggplant, Herbed Ricotta, Roasted Tomatoes, and Fresh Mozzarella
  • Sautéed Stuffed Golden Trout, Celery with Lentils, Wilted Spinach, and Sherry Sauce
  • Grilled Venison with Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes, Poached Quince, Spinach, and Blue Cheese


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Dante
5 Cambridge Pkwy.
Cambridge, MA 02142
(617) 497-4200

Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30am-2:30pm
Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5:30pm-10pm, Friday & Saturday 5:30pm-11pm

Chef: Dante de Magistris, Rising Star  

Tourists lured to Dante by the talk of breath-taking views of the Charles River and the Bean-town skyline must be blown away once they taste Chef Dante de Magistris' modern, imaginative Italian cuisine. Chef de Magistris is known around Boston for having worked with some of the best chefs in the business, including his years with Michela Larson's at blu. The Boston native honed his culinary skills abroad before retreating to the area where he redefines Italian cuisine one dish at a time. His use of ingredients is inventive, like marinating a local cod in wildflower honey and serving it with shaved beets, hazelnut-sage brown butter, and soba noodles with cod butter.  He's become known for his homemade, perfectly cooked pasta and melt-in-your mouth gnocchi, and it could be in part to an old technique. His Spaghetti alla Chitarra is brilliantly executed partly because of his Chitarra, a guitar-like instrument that cuts the pasta after it's been rolled. It’s paired with king oyster mushrooms, garlicky rock shrimp, and preserved Sorrento lemons. If you happen to be staying in the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, where Dante is located, consider yourself blessed. If not, make a point to dine here.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Risotto Balls
  • Duxbury Oysters with Beet Tartar and Chardonnay Vinaigrette
  • Seared Tuna with Chive Olive Oil Over an Egg White Frittata
  • Spaghetti alla Chitarra with King Oyster Mushrooms, Garlicky Rock Shrimp, and Preserved Sorrento Lemons

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La Morra
48 Boylston St.
Brookline, MA 02445
(617) 739-0007

Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5:30pm-10pm, Friday – Saturday 5pm-10:30pm, Sunday 5:30-9pm
Brunch: Sunday 11am-2:30pm

Chef: Josh Ziskin

Ask just any chef in town where they like to go on their day off and they’re likely to tell you La Morra in Brookline. Chef Josh Ziskin offers his take on traditional northern Italian cuisine, influenced by his own extensive travels to that region. The dining room is completely unpretentious and the service is genuine and hospitable, courtesy of co-owner (and wife) Laura Ziskin. Try Chef Ziskin’s assorted cicchetti, Venetian-style tapas, including fried sage leaves with anchovy, fried olives stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes, and arancini with smoked mozzarella and braised beef. The house-made pastas are also a must, including a simple but richly satisfying tagliatelle with chicken livers, faro, and soffrito.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Assorted Cicchetti
  • Tagliatelle with Chicken Livers, Farro, and Soffrito
  • Monkfish Scallopine with Celery Root, Capers, Brown Butter, Lemon, and Braised Kale

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Marco
253 Hanover St., 2nd Fl.
Boston, MA 02113
(617) 742-1276

Dinner: Tuesday-Thursday 5:30pm-10:30pm, Friday - Saturday 5:30pm-11pm, Sunday 4pm-9:30pm

Chef: Marc Orfaly/Matt Abdoo

A trip to Boston’s North End can be mystifying. With so many seemingly authentic Italian restaurants, how do you know where to go? Go straight to Marco, Marc Orfaly’s recent venture with wine aficionado and cycling fanatic, Lorenzo Di Monaco. The cozy, 35-seat dining room is located on the second floor, with exposed brick walls and wooden tabletops reminiscent of the Old World. The young and talented Chef de Cuisine Matt Abdoo oversees Orfaly’s mostly Roman menu, with plenty of regional influences. Sample stellar antipasti like fried cod cheeks with hot peppers and crispy prosciutto, one of several examples of Abdoo’s own assorted house-cured salumi. House-made pastas are soulful and satisfying, like fedelini con pomodoro, rigatoni with gravy and meatballs, gnocchi with broccoli and cream, and a best-in-class Tagliatelle alla Bolognese that we would happily eat every day! Lorenzo’s wine list focuses on small, family-run vineyards around Italy, and he will delight in the opportunity to recommend a bottle or two to complement your meal.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Fried Cod Cheeks with Hot Peppers and Crispy Prosciutto
  • Assorted Salumi with Parmigiano and Grilled Focaccia
  • Tagliatelle alla Bolognese

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Oleana
134 Hampshire St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 497-1239

Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm-10pm
Friday and Saturday 5:30pm-11pm

Chef: Ana Sortun, Rising Star

Since its opening in 2001, Ana Sortun’s Cambridge restaurant has increased in stature from a neighborhood gem to a true foodlover’s destination. Both the ambience and the menu reflect the Arabic influences of the Mediterranean, especially those of Turkey. The menu begins with a range of boldly spiced small plates. Our favorites are the deviled eggs with tuna and black olives; spicy carrot puree with Egyptian spices, nuts and oil, and the whipped feta with sweet and hot peppers. Where you go from there is entirely up to you, and you’re virtually guaranteed to be delighted and satisfied. Sortun applies classic Arabic ingredients and spices to any and all number of seasonal produce, so the menu is changes often but the essence and satisfaction level are always the same. Pastry Chef Maura Kilpatrick brings fine dining finesse to her dessert menu, which, like Sortun’s savory offerings, resound with the flavors of the Mediterranean, incorporating ingredients like figs, dates, Meyer lemons, rose petals, and pistachios.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Deviled Eggs with Tuna and Black Olives
  • Spicy Carrot Puree with Egyptian Spices, Nuts and Oil
  • Whipped Feta with Sweet and Hot Peppers
  • Black Walnut Steamed Pudding with Kaymak and Fig Preserves

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Sage
69 Prince St.
Boston, MA  02113
(617) 248-8814

Brunch: Sunday 10am-3pm
Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday 5pm-12 pm, Sunday 3pm-10pm
Closed: Mondays

Chef: Tony Susi, Rising Star  

Among the many red sauce restaurants in the Little Italy section of town known as the North End, Sage is an Italian-American bistro with a touch of elegance. Chef Anthony Susi’s dishes are experimental without being too out there and comforting without being too filling. Chef Susi, who started locally in kitchens around the area at age 15, refined his cooking style abroad in Italy and working domestically under Todd English. His complex but approachable style is what’s great about his food—he serves hand-rolled potato gnocchi, flavorful risottos, a delicate slow-cooked duck breast, and butter poached lobster.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Lobster Tortelloni with Braised Mushrooms and Ginger Crema
  • Potato Gnocchi in Horseradish Cream and Bolognese
  • Panko-Crusted Duck Breast with Mandarin and Arugula Salad

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Via Matta
79 Park Pl.
Boston, MA 02116  
(617) 422-0008

Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30am–2:30pm
Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5:30pm–10pm, Friday–Saturday 5:30pm–11pm
Café: Monday-Saturday 11:30am–1am

Chef: Michael Schlow/Adam Halberg

Michael Schlow’s contemporary Italian restaurant is fun and inviting, cheerfully decorated with Italian circus paintings. The menu is superb, certainly as good as any restaurant in the Old Country, with welcoming starters like fresh burrata from California served on bruschetta with poached quince. At the helm of the kitchen is Adam Halberg, whose deft touch with pasta is deserving of much praise. His hand-made Trenette with Maine Shrimp and Oregano Pesto are out of this world, with the shrimp offering a sweet and briny edge to this Ligurian dish. Halberg’s desserts are equally appealing, including a surprisingly light Mascarpone Cheesecake with Blood Orange and Pistachio.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Trenette with Sweet Maine Shrimp and Oregano Pesto
  • Tortelli with Braised Duck, Mascarpone, Chive, Zucca, and Winter Squash
  • Mascarpone Cheesecake with Blood Orange and Pistachio

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CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN

B+G Oysters
550 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 423-0550

Monday 11:30am-10pm, Tuesday-Friday 11:30am-11pm, Saturday 12pm-11pm, Sunday 12pm-10pm

Chef: Barbara Lynch/Greg Reeves

The focus of Barbara Lynch’s oyster haven is the marble-top bar surrounding the open kitchen. The menu includes a daily selection of raw bar classics, including 12 oyster varieties, shucked to order. Chef Greg Reeves overseas a seasonally changing lineup of New England fare using local produce and seafood. Reeves has a knack for seafood, with a particular affinity for scallops, dressing them up in a variety of ways to highlight their sweet succulence.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Bay Scallops with Pear Brown Butter, Pancetta, Celeriac, and Baby Brussels Sprouts
  • Pan-Seared Diver Scallops with Red Kuri Squash and Baby Root Kale

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blu
4 Avery St., 4th Fl.
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 375-8550

Lunch: 11:30am-2pm
Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5:30pm-10pm, Friday-Saturday 5:30pm-11pm
Closed: Sunday

Chef: Tom Fosnot
Pastry Chef: Lynn Moulton, Rising Star 

Located, or should we say hidden, on the fourth floor of The Sports Club/LA in downtown Boston is blu, the fresh, funky, fine-dining experience. Chef Tom Fosnot prides himself on incorporating fresh from the farm ingredients into every dish. He matches Macomber (a Massachusettes variety) turnip puree and Brussels sprout leaves with locally-caught scallops that are seared then doused with truffle vinaigrette. He pleases the palate with a variety of vegetables and herbs, gently prepared. Likewise, Pastry Chef Lynn Moulton employs herbs and the freshest fruits in her well-balanced desserts. Her Lemon Tart with Orange Flower Cream gives a pleasant kiss of fresh citrus rather than a punch. And her sour cherry dipping sauce that accompanies the buttermilk beignets tastes as if you just pulled ripe cherries from the tree.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Potato Gnocchi in Celery Broth with Fiddlehead Ferns, Asparagus, and Pecorino Romano
  • Braided and Seared Branzino with Cauliflower Puree, Sugar Snap Peas, and Truffle Vinaigrette
  • Lemon Tart with Orange Flower Cream
  • Buttermilk Beignets with Sour Cherry Dipping Sauce

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The Butcher Shop
552 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 423-4800

Lunch: Daily 11am-3:30pm
Brunch: Saturday-Sunday 11am-3:30pm
Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday 4:30pm-11pm, Sunday and Monday 4:30pm-10pm 

Chef: Barbara Lynch/ David Reynoso, Rising Star  

Barbara Lynch’s combination of retail shop and wine bar, just across the street from B&G Oysters, is the ideal spot for a bite of homemade charcuterie and antipasti. Working in the most miniscule of kitchens, with only four induction burners and a Combi-oven, Chef David Reynoso supplements the menu with hearty bistro fare. Some of the dishes hint at his Mexican roots, as in the Venison with Mole and Pasillo Pepper. Others fall more clearly within the bounds of Lynch’s critically acclaimed Mediterranean cuisine, as in the braised short ribs with red wine reduction and lentils.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Venison with Mole and Pasillo Pepper, Ginger and Tomato Stuffed Shitake Mushrooms
  • Slowly Braised Short Ribs with Red Wine Reduction, Stewed Lentils, and Pearl Onions

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Harvest
44 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 868-2255

Lunch: Monday-Saturday Noon-2:30pm
Brunch: Sunday 11:30am-2:30pm
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm-10pm, Friday-Saturday 5:30pm-11pm

Chef: Keith Pooler

Harvest is a Harvard Square institution, celebrating the modern American table. The dining room’s most recent renovation reveals a tasteful New England scheme, with comfortable brown leather banquettes. Its kitchen has continually attracted top culinary talent, including, over the years, stars like Lydia Shire, Chris Schlesinger, Barbara Lynch, Frank McClelland, Bob Kinkead and Scott Bryan. Currently Keith Pooler is at the helm, who draws upon his New England roots in richly satisfying, complicated dishes like pan-seared cod cheeks served with a risoleed artichoke bottom, beluga lentils, Brussels sprouts, and Finnan Haddie sauce.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Cold Poached Nantucket Bay Scallops with Fennel Confit and Blood Orange Vinaigrette
  • Pan-Seared Cod Cheeks with Risoleed Artichoke Bottom, Beluga Lentils, Brussels Sprouts, and Finnan Haddie Sauce
  • Housemade Cavatelli, Braised Oxtail, Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, and Truffle Butter

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OM Restaurant and Lounge
57 JFK St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 576-2800

Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 5pm-10:30pm, Friday-Saturday 5pm-11pm
Brunch: Sunday 11am-3pm

Chef: Rachel Klein

If your mantra is to eat delicious food in a calming, almost spiritual setting then make a beeline to Harvard Square's OM Restaurant and Lounge. Upon entering OM Restaurant, you’ll feel as though you've entered a Buddhist oasis rather than a global cuisine restaurant. The bamboo floors, light-reflecting waterfalls, stonework, and authentic Buddhist art commissioned from Nepal make for a soothing atmosphere. Executive Chef Rachel Klein plates contemporary American fare but channels cuisines from abroad. Her Torched Tuna Tartare is accompanied by hibiscus lime, pine nuts, currants, and a spoonful of pickled ginger, pomegranate seeds, wasabi, and anise. This crème brûlée of tuna has balanced flavors and Klein uses the plate as a means of artistic expression. The Okinowa ravioli is pleasantly spicy and floats in a lime and chili broth with Chinese long beans, wood-smoked olives and micro cilantro. After your meal, if you want to retire to their lounge for a drink, you'll still be surrounded by ancient Tibetan treasures but with the addition of plasma screens displaying video art, swanky oversize leather couches, and steel-mesh drapes. The overall experience leaves you peaceful and thankful for a sound meal.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Korean Beef: Chili Spice and Brown Sugar Rubbed Sirloin with Yellow Watermelon, Asian Herb Salad, and Melted Red Pepper Jam
  • Torched Tuna Tartare with Korean Chili-Lime Vinaigrette, Pine Nuts, Currant-Hibiscus Spritzer, a Spoonful of Pickled Ginger Gelee, and Pomegranate-Wasabi Drizzle
  • Okinawa Sweet Ravioli with Thai Chili Broth, Chinese Long Bean, Wood-Smoked Olives, and Micro Cilantro
  • 23-Karat Gold Cake: Carrot Cake and Parsnip Ice Cream Sandwich, Crème Fraiche Icing, Toasted Walnuts, and Habanero Chili Caramel Sauce

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Restaurant L
234 Berkeley St.
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 266-4680

Lunch: Monday-Saturday Noon-3pm
Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday 6pm-10pm

Chef:  Pino Maffeo, Rising Star  

The dimly lit lounge entrance to Restaurant L with a red, white, and black color scheme prepares you for the stylish but simple décor you'll find inside the restaurant. But the cuisine is complex compared to the restaurant's modest furnishings. Chef Pino Maffeo's imaginative dishes fuse Southeast Asian flavors with Italian-American sensibility. It's no surprise he was hand-picked by Louis Boston owner Debi Greenburg to reinvent the retail restaurant (formerly Café Louis). To sample his Asian flare, choose the Thai Beef Salad with Caramelized Lemongrass Sauce or the Tuna Tartare with Soy Zabaglione made with sweet and acidic Japanese mountain peaches. If your tendency is toward Italian, try the Dandelion and Ricotta Racioli with Spring Peas and Morels. All of Chef Maffeo's dishes are presented Zen-like on the plate. The wine list is extensive but don't exclude the sake and beer choices particularly if you're having one of the many seafood dishes on the menu.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Fluke Sashimi with Sizzling Rice and Wasabi Greens
  • Ginger and Sake-Cured Salmon with Crisp Pumpernickel and Herb Salad
  • Pappardelle with Preserved Rabbit and Arugula Salad

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Salts
798 Main St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 876-8444

Dinner: Tuesday-Saturday 6pm-10:30pm

Chef: Gabriel Bremer, StarChefs Rising Star  

A superb dining experience awaits you at Salts, an intimate 40-seat restaurant by chef/owner Gabriel Bremer and his charming wife, Analia Verolo. The dining room is unassuming and sparsely adorned, putting the emphasis squarely on the food. Bremer pushes the culinary envelope by taking familiar ingredients and using them in unexpected ways. For example, a beet and goat cheese salad is made thoroughly memorable by lighter-than-air goat cheese foam and a garnish of beet paper. Bremer is an avid student of the latest innovative cooking techniques, but applies them in careful moderation so that his dishes are always accessible and satisfying.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Sunchoke Soup with Olive Oil Foam and Dried Olives
  • Roasted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese, Orange “Dust”, Beet Paper, and Pistachios
  • Pan-Roasted Sea Bass with Braised Salsify, Baby Carrots, Porcini, and Port Licorice Sauce
  • Citrus-Cured Hamachi with Blood Orange, Cilantro, Petite Basil, and Banyuls Vinaigrette

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Spire
90 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 772-0202

Breakfast: Monday-Friday 6:30am-10:30am
Brunch: Saturday-Sunday 8am-2pm
Lunch: Monday-Friday 11:30am-2pm
Dinner: Monday-Saturday 5:30pm-10pm

Chef: Gabriel Frasca, Rising Star

Located in the new Nine Zero Hotel, Spire is uber-modern with sleek design elements in a lavender and silver color palate. But behind the chicness of the place lies approachable, bold-flavored eats. Much of Chef Gabriel Frasca's food takes cues from French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese cuisines. Expect ingredient-driven delicacies like the three- basil salad with almond oil-chardonnay vinaigrette or the Chantenay carrot soup. He allows the ever-so-sweet heirloom carrots to cook in their own juices and serves it in a coffee press that is poured over chunks of lobster and hazelnuts. Chef Frasca’s entrees are flavorful and inventive like the veal porterhouse with ramp spaetzle, artisanal bacon, and whole grain mustard. Save room for the seasonal fruit desserts, each paired with its own house-made sorbet, sherbet, and ice cream creation.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Three-Basil Salad with Almond Oil-Chardonnay Vinaigrette
  • Chantenay Carrot Soup
  • Veal Porterhouse with Ramp Spaetzle, Artisanal Bacon, and Whole Grain Mustard
  • Pain Perdu
  • Pistachio Financier and Tarragon Ice Cream

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Temple Bar
1688 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 547-5055

Brunch: Saturday-Sunday: 10:30am-4pm
Dinner: Sunday-Wednesday5pm-10:30pm (late night menu available 10:30pm-midnight), Thursday-Saturday5pm-11:00pm (late night menu available 11pm-12:30am),

Chef: Tom Berry

Temple Bar, located between Harvard and Porter Squares, bills itself as an American bistro and is under the same ownership as Grafton Street in Harvard Square. What sets it apart from the average establishment catering to the university set is Blue Ginger alum/Ming Tsai protégé Tom Berry. Chef Berry’s approachable menu reflects suitably tangible French influences (it is a bistro after all), not to mention Italian and even Asian, as in a Hawaiian inspired “Lomi-Lomi” ceviche, in which a warm, crispy sushi rice cake comingles with cool, tender salmon ceviche. But best of all is Berry’s Steak Frites de Provence, a flatiron steak marinated with fennel, savory, oregano, basil, and tarragon. The frites may actually trump the steak in this dish. Berry has perfected a method of “house-curing” his potatoes, a methodical process that results in a lower sugar content, thereby enabling him to cut them extra long and to fry them to a perfect crispness.

Recommended Dishes:

  • “Lomi Lomi” Salmon Ceviche with Crispy Sushi Rice Cake
  • Steak Frites de Provence with Lavender Aioli

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Tremont 647
647 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 266-4600

Brunch: Saturday 10:30am-2pm, Sunday 10:30pm-3pm
Dinner: Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm-10pm, Friday-Saturday 5:30pm-10:30pm

Chef: Andy Husbands, Rising Star  

In Chef Andy Husband’s words, Tremont 647 represents an American’s view on world cuisine. From the Tibetan MoMos to the banana leaf wrapped Chilean sea bass with jasmine rice, some of Andy’s most popular dishes echo the flavors and cooking techniques of the Far East. We think he’s at his best when he’s down-home with America’s classics, like his award-winning ribs that receive a combination of dry rub and wet mop techniques, or when he kicks it old school with his truffle-scented fontina stuffer tater tots, accompanying his wood-grilled flatiron steak with New Orleans steak sauce. Whether you’re seeking a bit of international flavor or a classic Americana indulgence, you will find there’s no place more convivial, energetic, and downright fun in Boston.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Andy’s First Place Award-Winning Ribs with Mini Wedge Salad and Horseradish-Buttermilk Dressing
  • Wood Grilled Steak with Truffle-Scented Fontina-Stuffed Tater Tots and New Orleans BBQ Sauce
  • Vietnamese Hot Chocolate

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STAFF FAVORITE

Japonaise Café and Bakery
1020 Beacon St.
Brookline, MA 02446
(617) 566-7730

Monday-Saturday: 7am-8pm
Sunday: 9am-7pm

This French-Japanese bakery-café, located on Beacon Street in suburban Brookline, is truly a labor of love for Pastry Chef Hiroko Sakan. Her array of breads, buns, pastries, and cakes are classically French but blurred with Japanese ingredients. Our staff loved the Adzuki Cream, a crusty croissant made with adzuki beans and filled with sweetened whipped cream. The Raisin Bun is sweet, buttery, and filled with rum-soaked raisins. If you're intrigued by the concept, give the Curry Donut—a vegetable and beef curry-stuffed fried bun—a  whirl. As for the cakes, the Lemon Divine is popular (an oat sable cookie is topped with cream cheese and cottage cheese mousse with a lemon curd glaze on the very top), as is the Adzuki Surprise, a green tea flavored genoise layered with adzuki and green tea Bavarian mousse.

Recommended Dishes:

  • Adzuki Cream
  • Raisin Bun

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HOTELS

Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro
25 Charles St.
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 723-1133
Rates: Full $245/$285, Queen $285/$325, King with Twin $305/$345, In-room Suite $365/$405

Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro on Starchefs.com

 

Nestled in Boston’s historic Beacon Hill on a gas lantern-lined cobblestone street, this townhouse hotel is really a quant inn with 12 rooms and one in-room suite. The adjoining houses, built in the1830s and 1850s, have been completely updated and offer guests modern conveniences like flat-screen TVs, high-speed internet access, 24-hour room service, and even an elevator. The understated rooms are decorated in cool tones with black and white photography on the walls and louvered shutters on the windows. Guests will be delighted to dine in the 86-seat Hotel Bistro, located conveniently downstairs, where Chef Al Soto serves bistro-style food. The menu is predominately French with Chef Soto’s New England influence and seasonal approach throughout. It’s open until 11pm Monday through Saturday and until 10pm on Sunday.

What to Do: The affluent neighborhood attracts business people and tourists alike. The hotel is just one block away from the Boston Commons, two subways stops from Faneuil Hall, a short subway ride to Harvard Square in Cambridge, and the theatre/symphony district is within walking distance.


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Hotel Marlowe (a Kimpton Hotel)
25 Edwin H. Land Blvd.
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 868-8000
Rates: Standard weekend rates starting at $199, weekday $249-$349; Executive Suite weekend rates starting at $359, weekday $449.

Hotel Marlowe on StarChefs.com

 

The Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge is a large hotel with an individualized feel. The 236 guestrooms, with executive and presidential suites available, are bright stylish rooms with a whimsical mixture of colors and textures—animal prints with bold blues, vibrant yellows, and electric reds. They offer standard four-star quality amenities with lavish touches such as in-room exercise programs, Frette bed linens, and L'Occitane bath toiletries. They boast an attentive staff and accommodate families and pets as well as frequent business travelers. Don’t miss the hotel restaurant Bambara for Chef Jay Silva’s regional American cuisine. The 170-seat urbane dining room was designed by Puccini Restaurant Group and includes a cocktail lounge, outdoor dining (weather permitting), and floor-to-ceiling windows that offer scenic views of the Charles River.

What to Do: Located directly across from the Cambridge Side Galleria, nearby attractions include MIT, Kendall Square, Museum of Science Observatory, and Harvard Square.

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The Charles Street Inn
94 Charles St.
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 314-8900
Rates: $250 to $550, depending on season, day of the week.

The Charles Street Inn on StarChefs.com

 

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway or want a reprieve from bustling hotels, The Charles Street Inn is for you. An elegant bed and breakfast in Beacon Hill, each of the nine guest rooms are named and thematically decorated for famous Beacon Hill residents like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Isabella Stewart Gardner, and Edith Wharton. Victorian décor and antique furnishings surround modern amenities in every room. You’ll find a LCD hi-definition television hidden in an ornate wooden armoire. Or after soaking in an air-jet whirlpool tub—there’s one in every guest bathroom— retire to a queen or king size canopy bed amid an original 1860 marble fireplace, lithographs or oil paintings, and sculptured desk lamps. Also take advantage of their breakfast menu served in the privacy of your room.
 
What to Do: The hotel is located in the center of the best antique and boutique shopping in Boston. Sore muscles from walking the nearby Freedom Trail or a tough workout at nearby The Sports Club/LA? Make an appointment at the front desk for a spa treatment or therapeutic massage in your room.

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The Nine Zero (a Kimpton Hotel)
90 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 772-5800
Rates: Rooms start at $240/night.

The Nine Zero on StarChefs.com

 

Centrally located in Downtown Boston, this ultra chic, metropolitan hotel has 190 rooms and five suites with a stylish, apartment-like feel. Rooms have sleek interiors with dark furniture that strikingly contrasts creamy, butter-yellow walls. Along with the expected luxury amenities are customized minibars in every room, complimentary overnight shoe shine, and in-room spa services. Expect to see young sophisticates, business travelers, and the often-sighted celebrity as hotel guests. Along with providing stylish comfort, this award-winning hotel houses Spire Restaurant with Chef Gabriel Frasca’s modern international cuisine.

What to Do: Take a Swan Ride in the Boston Commons or rock out to a concert at the nearby historic Orpheum Theatre.

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Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston
40 Edwin Land Blvd.
Cambridge, MA 02142
(617) 806-4200
Rates: Starting at $199

Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston on StarChefs.com

 

Each of the 400 guest rooms and 21 suites at the Royal Sonesta Hotel have views of the Charles River, Cambridge, or the Boston skyline. The simply decorated rooms have a muted color palate of beige and tan with beds covered in plush down blankets. Complimentary high-speed internet is available (WiFi and wired) as are other standard amenities. Guests can swim laps in the atrium-style pool with a retractable roof, work out in the hotel’s full-service heath club, or bask on the sun deck in warm weather. Explore the hotel’s contemporary art collection on a self-guided tour (map is provided). For first-rate modern Italian cuisine, dine at acclaimed Restaurant Dante. Chef Dante de Magistris, our 2002 Rising Star, serves unique dishes with authentic Mediterranean flavors.

What to Do: The hotel is minutes from Harvard Square’s hip shops and fine dining. Or spend a day of discovery at the nearby Museum of Science.

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Seaport Hotel
One Seaport Ln.
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 385-4000
Rates: Starting around $179

Seaport Hotel on StarChefs.com

 

Located on Boston’s historic waterfront, the hotel is within walking distance of the new Institute of Contemporary Art, the Boston Children’s Museum, the New England Aquarium and the historic Freedom Trail. The North End and Faneuil Hall are also a stone’s throw away. With its convenient access to the Seaport World Trade Center Boston, this hotel is ideal for travelers who are coming into town for events there. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available throughout the hotel and grounds. Rooms have been recently renovated and feature new linens, restored cherry furniture, large work desks, and Bose Wave radios compatible with MP3 players and iPods. The hotel is both child-friendly and pet-friendly!

What to Do: After you eat your way through all of Boston, work off extra calories at The Wave Health and Fitness Club. The full-service health club and spa features plenty of strength training equipment and cardio machines, plus a full schedule of cardio, cycling, yoga, and Pilates classes. There’s also a 50-foot pool with panoramic views, skylights, and underwater music.

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   Published: June 2007

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