Food is romantic. Fall is romantic. Time to go to Boston.
Boston is much more than a “second city” to New York; it’s a world-class destination with dining and nightlife options to match. As a born and bred Bostonian, my love for the city is boundless. But I can also objectively report that my hometown’s food scene is wicked awesome at the moment. If you and your S.O. are into eating, you need to come to Boston this fall. Here are my top picks for a romantic foodie weekend in the Bean.
Boston really hits its stride in the fall. The Red Sox are back in town, the sun is still shining and the air is refreshingly crisp. And you can still manage to dine alfresco without needing a Canada Goose. The two streets where you’ll find an abundance of alfresco options are Newbury Street and Tremont Street. While both will be filled with chic locals, they have completely different vibes.
Newbury Street is Boston’s main shopping street, filled with everything from Gucci and Chanel to H&M and consignment shops. If you and your honey are shopaholics, I recommend checking out the intimate patio at Met Back Bay. Sunken slightly below street level, it offers people-watching without pushing you into the crowd. Cuddle up on relaxing lounge-style seats while enjoying elevated comfort food like one of their famous burgers or mac and cheese. After lunch (and shopping), stroll the surrounding neighborhood, Back Bay, to check out the tony homes on Commonwealth Avenue and Marlborough Street.
Tremont Street is located in Boston’s South End—once home to starving artists, now home to trendy young professionals, galleries, and boutiques. It’s filled with excellent restaurants, many of which are go-tos for Sunday brunch. Unlike Newbury Street, Tremont Street invites you linger over a meal. After a wild night out, I recommend recovering at Barcelona Wine Bar. You’ll be feeling much better after some tapas and a Bloody Mary that you crafted yourself at their make-your-own Bloody bar. Barcelona knocks Spanish classics like albondigas and patatas bravas out of the park.
A few of Boston’s finest restaurants have been around for decades. Consistently named the one of the city’s most romantic dining experiences, the Top of the Hub, located atop the Prudential Building, which is the second tallest building in Boston, is a must for its breathtaking vistas. As you dine 52 floors up, you’ll have an unobstructed view of the skyline, various neighborhoods, and the Charles River. The Top of the Hub is is open all day, but dinner is your best bet, so you can see the city lights come on. If you’re looking to indulge, I recommend the Chef’s 5-Course Tasting Menu with wine pairings.
Nearby on Boylston Street, close to the Boston Marathon finish line, is L’Espalier, where serious foodies must pay homage. Apart from the first-class culinary experience, what keeps me coming back are the details: the way the servers seem to know the precise moment to bring out the next course, or how the music is always at just the right volume. Food-wise, you can do no wrong at L’Espalier. Depending on how much you want to splurge, you could order a la carte all the way up to a 10-course tasting menu with wine pairings. One thing you mustn’t skip is the Grand Fromage, their premier cheese tasting. You tell the fromager what flavor palate you like, and he will put together a plate complete with jams, honey, and breads that will make you sing.
In recent years some newer restaurants have come up the ranks as the standard-bearers of romantic dining. Located in the up-and-coming Seaport District, Menton is the most formidable of the bunch. Offering up a menu so innovative, you’ll often have to take a second glance to figure out exactly what it is you’re eating, Menton is never boring. Chef Barbara Lynch challenges guests to expand their horizons and delivers immaculately presented combinations (think venison, matsutake mushrooms, jaegerwurst sausage, escargot) every night of the week. The “Into Evolution Menu” is an eight-course voyage into molecular gastronomy.
Where to Stay
Located in the Theatre District, the W Boston is chic and romantic. It’s worth the money to upgrade to a “Cool Corner Room,” which offers fantastic views of the Theater District below, spacious and luxurious accommodations and an amazing soaking tub. Also, be sure to check out the lounge downstairs—it is not a bad place to start or finish any night out on the town.
Jacqueline Neves is a food and travel writer based in Boston; check out her blog JQLouise.com to see more of her work.