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10 Dine Out Boston Reservations to Make Right Now

By Scott Kearnan
March 5, 2014

In case you missed it, there will be no Restaurant Week in Boston this year. Well, not exactly. 

The dining event formerly known as Restaurant Week has been rebranded as Dine Out Boston. Running March 16-21 and March 23-28, the new name comes with a new approach: rather than force the estimated 188 participating restaurants to abide by the same fixed price ($38) for a three-course dinner menu, Dine Out Boston will offer newfound flexibility. Each spot can choose its price tag ($28, $33 or $38 for dinner; $15, $20 or $25 for lunch) and set its own number of courses. The idea is partly designed to spread reservations over a mix of low-, mid- and high-priced restaurants, rather than encourage all diners to simply rush for the best deal. But let's be honest: great deals is sort of the point, guys. 

So we decided to identify the spots that seem to be offering some of the best bang for your dining buck this year. Our method: first, we surveyed local restaurants with the highest price points, based on our Zagat Surveys. We compared it to the growing list of Dine Out Boston participants. To encourage a more boutique dining experience, we tossed out those spots with multiple locations. (Sorry, Capital Grille.) And finally, we narrowed it down to spots that are offering dinner service during the week (no lunch-only spots). Here's the result: a top-10 guide to must-try spots with great deals in store. 

  • Sorellina

    Average cost: $71

    Dine Out Boston deal: $38 for three-course dinner menu

    Why it's worth it: The elegant Back Bay Italian looks as good as it tastes (the swanky interior helped it take Top Decor honors during our most 2014 Restaurant Survey). It requires hefty bills to look that glam, so now's a good time to enjoy a deeply discounted prix fixe that includes smoked salmon with quail egg and fettuccine tossed with mushroom and truffle butter. 

  • Grill 23

    Average cost: $67

    Dine Out Boston deal: $38 for three-course dinner menu

    Why it's worth it: The special-occasions steakhouse is a long-standing Boston icon that incidentally celebrates its 30th anniversary this spring. No better time to dig into Dine Out Boston dishes like Dutch mussels with pancetta or a prime meatloaf with tobacco onions. 

  • Mistral

    Average cost: $66

    Dine Out Boston deal: $38 for three-course dinner menu

    Why it's worth it: Columbus Hospitality Group continues to churn out fine new concepts. In fact, today sees a glowing three-star review of their latest, seafood specialist Ostra, in the Boston Globe. (Head here for our close look at the spot.) But Mistral, the first entry in its portfolio, continues to impress. Their Dine Out menu includes plates like white mushroom bisque and braised pork osso bucco. 

  • Meritage

    Average cost: $63

    Dine Out Boston deal: $38 for three-course dinner menu

    Why it's worth it: As a consulting chef, Daniel Bruce this week opened his new restaurant, Chopps, in Burlington. But you only have to go as far as the harbor to find this classy pearl, where the Dine Out menu is going to feature pan-charred Atlantic halibut with Himalayan rice and wood-grilled filet mignon finished with a horseradish onion cream syrup. 

  • L 'Andana

    Average cost: $61

    Dine Out Boston deal: $38 for three-course dinner menu

    Why it's worth it: Speaking of Burlington, here's another reason to make the trek there. Chef Jamie Mammamo is serving a menu of sole, wood-grilled sirloin and cornish game hen that sounds second to none. 

  • Mare Oyster Bar

    Average cost: $60

    Dine Out Boston deal: $33 for three-course dinner menu

    Why it's worth it: A North End restaurant that doesn't simply ride the red-gravy train? Yes, they do exist. And Mare is among the favorites, so now is a good time to visit for Italian-style mussels with white wine and garlic or rock-crab spaghetti with shrimp, clams and scallops. 

  • Photo by: Jacki Morisi

    Rialto

    Average cost: $58

    Dine Out Boston deal: $38 for three-course dinner menu

    Why it's worth it: Because nothing that passes through the kitchen of star chef Jody Adams is ever less than impeccable. $38 seems like a nice price to pay for inevitable perfection, to be seen in dishes like a spring veggie lasagna with pesto and pine nuts or a seafood stew of shrimp, squid, mussels, clam and monkfish in a tomato-lobster broth.  

  • T.W. Food

    Average cost: $57

    Dine Out Boston deal: $38 for three-course dinner menu

    Why it's worth it: Because Tim Wiechmann has a way of turning out some of the best food around - both here and at his Somerville spot Bronwyn - while eschewing the spotlight that typically greets chefs of his caliber. Shine a little extra wattage on the man during Dine Out Boston.

  • Bistro du Midi

    Average cost: $53

    Dine Out Boston deal: $38 for three-course dinner menu

    Why it's worth it: The Public Garden-side French is so romantic, it's worth its usual price for the sheer joy in saving on a trip to Paris. But even better if we can dine at a discount on special menu items like garganelli pasta with duck and pork bolognese, apple and feta, or pan-seared coalfish with fricassee of mushroom, asparagus and sun-dried tomato.  

  • La Voile

    Average cost: $50

    Dine Out Boston deal: $38 for three-course dinner menu; $20 for three-course lunch menu

    Why it's worth it: Also on the French tip is this fab but oft-overlooked Back Bay restaurant, which will roll out a menu that includes foie gras terrine with strawberry chutney and crushed pistachio, and roasted duck breast with an orange honey cinnamon glaze. 

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Places Mentioned

Sorellina

Italian • Back Bay

Food28 Decor28 Service28 Cost$71
 
 
 
Grill 23 & Bar

Steakhouse • Bay Village

Food27 Decor25 Service26 Cost$67
 
 
 
Mistral

Mediterranean • Back Bay

Food28 Decor27 Service26 Cost$66
 
 
 
Meritage Restaurant

American • Waterfront

Food26 Decor25 Service25 Cost$63
 
 
 
L 'Andana

Italian • Burlington

Food26 Decor24 Service24 Cost$61
 
 
 
Mare

Seafood • North End

Food26 Decor24 Service24 Cost$60
 
 
 
Rialto Restaurant

Italian • Cambridge

Food25 Decor24 Service24 Cost$58
 
 
 
T.W. Food

French • Cambridge

Food26 Decor23 Service26 Cost$57
 
 
 
Bistro du Midi

French • Park Square

Food26 Decor25 Service25 Cost$53
 
 
 
La Voile

French • Back Bay

Food24 Decor22 Service25 Cost$50
 
 
 
 
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