Dine Out Boston: Starter Kit

By Bovey Rao ’19

The city of Boston is a great place to find an eclectic and engaging dining experience. Home to some of the oldest restaurants in America–and some of the hippest new bars–, Boston has a diverse and incredible food scene for any palette and budget. From March 6-11 and 13-18, 2016, Boston will offer its hungry masses two weeks of good-eating. It’s called Dine Out Boston (formerly called Restaurant Week), an event organized by the city of Boston with the goal to make restaurant dining more economical for two mouth-watering weeks. Enjoy two or three course meals at some of Boston’s finest restaurants (Lunch $15/$20/$25, Dinner $28/$33/$38). While I encourage looking through all 169 restaurants participating, here are some of my recommendations.

Note: You are strongly encouraged to make a reservation at the restaurant, whether by calling, booking through OpenTable, or using the Dine Out website.


I Sea Food – Boston’s prime location (i.e. by the Atlantic Ocean) means that fresh seafood is always close and convenient, so don’t miss out!

Photo Courtesy of Atlantic Fish Company
  • Atlantic Fish Company – 761 Boylston Street, Lunch: $25
  • Mare – 135 Richmond Street, Dinner: $33
  • SELECT Oyster Bar – 50 Gloucester Street, Lunch: $25
  • Union Oyster House* – 41 Union Street, Lunch: $25, Dinner: $38
  • Oceanaire Seafood Room – 40 Court Street, Lunch: $25, Dinner: $38

Best of the North End – The Historic North End is known nationally for its authentic Italian food, and some of their best restaurants are participating this year:

Photo Courtesy of Terramia Ristorante
  • Bricco – 241 Hannover Street, Dinner: $33
  • Mamma Maria – 3 North Square, Dinner: $38
  • Nico – 417 Hannover Street, Dinner: $38
  • Terramia Ristorante – 98 Salem Street, Dinner: $33
  • Tresca – 233 Hanover Street, Lunch: $25, Dinner: $38

Italian outside the North – While the North End boasts some pretty impressive Italian fare, other exceptional Italian joints are scattered all over Boston.

Photo Courtesy of Scampo
  • Da Vinci – 162 Columbus Avenue, Dinner: $38
  • Davio’s – 75 Arlington Street, Lunch: $25 Dinner: $38
  • Grotto – 37 Bowdoin Street, Lunch: $25 Dinner: $33
  • Scampo – 215 Charles Street, Lunch: $25

Je Suis Francais – French food has a strong showing this year, with many past and current winners of Best French Boston participating in Dine Out Boston.

T.W. Food Photo Courtesy of Boston Magazine
  • Bastille Kitchen – 49 Melcher Street, Dinner: $38
  • Bistro du Midi – 272 Boylston Street, Dinner: $38
  • Gaslight – 560 Harrison Avenue, Dinner: $33
  • T.W. Food – 377 Walden Street, Dinner: $38
  • La Voile – 261 Newbury Street, Lunch: $25 Dinner: $38
  • Ma Maison – 272 Cambridge Street, Lunch: $20 Dinner: $33

Something’s at Steak – Do you have a beef with someone? Resolve it at one of the many great steakhouses in Boston!

Photo Courtesy of Grill 23
  • Boston Chops – 1375 Washington Street, Dinner: $38
  • Capital Grille – 900 Boylston Street, Lunch: $25, Dinner: $38
  • Grill 23 & Bar – 161 Berkley Street, Dinner: $38
  • STRIP by Strega – 64 Arlington Street, Lunch: $20, Dinner: $38

Somewhere Beyond the Sea – Other countries exist besides Italy and France, I promise, and they have delicious offerings as well.

Bronwyn Photo Courtesy of Boston Magazine
  • Bronwyn – German, 255 Washington Street, Dinner: $33
  • Oishii Boston – Japanese, 1166 Washington Street, Lunch: $20/$30
  • Q Restaurant – Chinese (Hotpot), 660 Washington Street, Lunch: $20, Dinner: $33
  • Estragon – Spanish, 700 Harrison Avenue, Dinner: $33

Murica has Food Too! – Why is it so hard to describe American food…?

Photo Courtesy of Parker’s
  • Courtyard Restaurant – 700 Boylston Street, Lunch: $20
  • Kitchen – 560 Tremont Street, Dinner: $28
  • Parker’s** – 60 School Street, Lunch: $25 Dinner: $38

Nearby Dining – If you feel like leaving Harvard Square is too much of a chore, fear not! A number of restaurants nearby are participating.

Photo Courtesy of Henrietta’s Table
  • Beat Brasserie – 13 Brattle Street, Lunch: $25
  • Grafton Street – 1230 Mass Avenue, Dinner: $28
  • Harvest – 44 Brattle Street, Lunch: $25, Dinner: $38
  • Henrietta’s Table- 1 Bennett Street, Lunch: $25, Dinner: $33
  • Park Restaurant – 59 JFK Street, Dinner: $28
  • Rialto – 1 Bennett Street, Dinner: $38
  • Russell House Tavern- 14 JFK Street, Dinner: $28
  • Temple Bar- 1688 Massachusetts Avenue, Dinner: $28
  • Toscano Harvard Square – 47 Charles Street, Lunch: $20, Dinner: $38


*One of the oldest restaurants in America with frequent visits from presidential candidates.

** Original creator of the Boston Cream Pie

Bergamot: Somerville Stand-By Delivers Exemplary Dishes in Sophisticated Space

by Bovey Rao ’19

In nearby Somerville, the buzz and activity of Cambridge and Boston seemingly do not exist. Quaint is the only way to describe the rustic buildings and quiet space. A mere ten minute walk, and you are able to escape the infamous “Harvard Bubble.” If you need a reason to allow yourself to leave Harvard to Somerville, go to Bergamot.

Bergamot is inconspicuous, sharing a building with a cable store and a kebab shop. It may not catch your attention immediately, but a glance inside the space reveals a sophistication that is unexpected.


My dining companion and I had a reservation for two at 5:00 pm (opening time), and we were promptly seated. Our waitress greeted us and informed us of our options. The two most popular offerings are the $44 dinner prix fixe, composed of an appetizer, entrée, and dessert of your choice, and the $75 tasting menu, a creative sampling of the chef’s choice. Given our time restriction, we opted for the $44 prix fixe (menu items can also be selected à la carte). After some careful deliberation, we ordered our appetizers and entrees and waited patiently.

The customary bread and butter were delivered and were pleasantly surprising. The unique apple mustard butter paired excellently with an almost burnt crust and custardy crumb. My appetite was stimulated. I excitedly watched as plates of food began exiting the kitchen. As my plate was placed in front of me, I could barely hold myself back out of courtesy for my companion. The instant both plates touched down, we ravenously began to eat.

Squid Ink Tagliatelle
Sea Bass Crudo

The jet black squid ink tagliatelle left an immediate visual impact: a contrast of colors with a white plate and brightly colored heirloom tomatoes. The pasta itself was cooked a nice al dente, which gave it an almost meaty characteristic that complemented the sweet juiciness of the tomatoes. The light saltiness of the pecorino cheese plays on the palette like a light ocean breeze. My appetite slightly sated, I tasted the sea bass crudo and was confused by the complex saltiness from the avocado dressing, the floral notes from the petals, and the sweetness from the two types of melon. While these flavors bounced around my mouth, I was slightly off-put by the amalgamation of flavors. I could see the inventiveness in the exploration of taste, site and smell, but this particular dish was not appealing. We finished our courses and waited for the entrees.

20150915_183359 (1)
Scallops Provencal
20150915_183359 (2)
Korean Grilled Short Ribs

As our waitress deposited the plates in front of us, I sat in awe of the meticulous plating of each course. I started with my course, the scallops provencal. My knife sunk through the scallop like a warm butter. The scallop simply melted in my mouth but simultaneously retained the meatiness of a protein. In a state of sheer bliss, I was amazed by the sweet scallop with minor notes from the tomato sauce and dill. The green beans served as the necessary textural component to give the dish a crisp element. Enjoying my course, I sampled my friend’s dish, and experienced an entirely different sensation. In contrast to my dainty scallops, I was almost overwhelmed by the rich meaty short ribs. The slightly sweet Korean glaze was apparent, and it balanced the plate with the crisp salty wild rice pancake. Nothing could describe this course besides a masterful expression of umami (savory flavor). Fairytale eggplant and shiitake mushrooms only contributed more to the savory nature of the course.

As our meal wound down, we prepared for our dessert courses. To say the least, I was underwhelmed. My peach ice cream was a nice reminder of the end of summer, but the ice cream was slightly icy and detracted from the overall dish. The tres leches was also unimpressive, so we finished our meal on a slightly more subdued note.

Despite this, Bergamot provided an incredible meal and experience. While the wait times between courses may have been longer than expected, they allow time for a truly enjoyable dining experience. Prepare yourself by bringing friends and companions outside of Harvard Square and enjoy a phenomenal meal. While Bergamot may appear to be a formal white tablecloth restaurant, it exudes a familiar and homely vibe. Keith Pooler, Executive Chef and Owner, has created a comfortable dining environment for those seeking a good meal and a nice conversation.


Location: 118 Beacon Street, Somerville, MA 02143

Reservation: OpenTable or by Phone (617)-576-7700

Stand out dishes: squid ink tagliatelle, Korean grilled short rib

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Food: 4.5/5

Service: 4.5/5*

Ambience: 5/5

* Note: the $75 7-course tasting takes 2 hours, so be prepared.