Taking out of town guests to dinner is not about what’s trendy or new, it is all about the places that consistently serve up the food you love. Between my husband’s business associates from the South, and friends who have recently relocated to MA, I am often asked where to dine with out of town guests. My response rarely varies as these excellent eateries offer all you need to impress your guests.
Boston is known for seafood and Neptune Oyster is the place for a perfectly prepared seafood meal. Inside is long and narrow with a sleek oyster bar anchored on one side, seating is limited and reservations are not accepted, so arrive earlier than you intend to eat, put your name in and wander the North End until your table is ready. Famous for their lobster roll, Neptune offers many other excellent eats. The appetizers are always amazing, and I often make an entire meal of these. The clam chowder is served with a thinner consistency than most, and has the most fantastic flavor. The oysters have a crisp clean flavor, the fried clams are to die for, and the steamed littlenecks are tiny morsels of heaven.
If seafood is not all that you are seeking, head to Gaslight, a Brasserie that serves a selection of French inspired fare that will leave your guests looking for more. Gaslight is located in a less developed section of the South End, and offers free parking, but is tough to access by T. There’s a lively bar scene and patio seating. Although they serve great steak frites, opt for the “Bar Steak”; the congac cream and caramelized onions that adorn the steak are divine.
If you prefer a cool place to order tasty American fare, enjoy the hustle and bustle of Newbury Street and eat at the Met Back Bay. With patio seating you can watch the crowd wandering past (indoors and out) while enjoying the huge salads (great to share), juicy burgers (with lots of topping options), and a super creamy baked mac and cheese.
If you’d rather roam Cambridge, go to Garden at the Cellar. A seasonal menu, lots of small plates, and a cozy atmosphere make Garden at the Cellar a good bet for your guests. Located in Central Square (not far from Harvard Sq), this is a perfect place to share lots of fun foods (bacon wrapped dates and truffle fries are two of my favorites) because so much is so good that it is hard to choose any one item.
Finally, if your guests have kids and you don’t want to sacrifice quality food to make everyone happy, take them to Full Moon. This Cambridge restaurant believes that parents should be able to actually eat and chat when dining out so they’ve added a play area to their restaurant. Offering a seasonal menu that includes selections from around the world, Full Moon aims to please all their guests no matter what their age. Now, all you need to do is decide what works best for your guests.