Phantom Gourmet: Great 8 Special Occasion Restaurants
Whether it’s a birthday, an anniversary, or a first date, Phantom always has the perfect place for any special occasion. These are the 8 Greatest spots for top notch treatment.
Kicking off the Great 8 is Menton. If you’re looking to REALLY impress someone, there’s no topping Menton. Located in Boston’s hot Fort Point neighborhood, this elegant space has luxuriously simplistic décor so the focus stays on the food. The offerings change frequently as world renowned Chef Barbara Lynch likes to work with what’s in season. Customers can choose from two different dining experiences – a four course prix fixe menu or a more elaborate seven-course chef’s tasting with the option to pair wines.
L’Espalier at the Mandarin Oriental in the Back Bay has it all, from the stunning views of downtown Boston, to the jaw-dropping, artful presentations of seafood and meat. And for the ultimate L’Espalier experience, there are just two words you need to know: CHEF’S TABLE. Lucky customers can actually sit IN the kitchen, and get served by the chef’s themselves!
“It’s one of the most exciting tables I have ever come across. Fortunately it’s at L’Espalier.”
Another Great 8 winner is Bonta in Hampton, New Hampshire. This elegant eatery has high ceilings, a high-class bar, and highly delicious Modern Italian cuisine like mussels with white wine and grilled ciabatta bread. Phantom always orders Bonta’s hearty Bolognese – a slow cooked masterpiece served over fresh Tagliatelle.
“We have beautiful three types of meat in there: fresh-ground veal, pork, and beef, with roasted carrots and celery, and then we finish it with a nice hearty tomato sauce that’s cooked down, little bit of ground Avagano cheese, some crispy sage and a touch of extra virgin olive oil.”
For over a decade, Mistral in Boston’s South End has been one of the best and most consistent restaurants in the city, serving high-classic cuisine in a breath-taking atmosphere. The French menu includes upscale items like tenderloin of beef with a red wine reduction and casual snacks like ultra-thin crust grilled pizzas. Any special occasion is made that much more special with an order of profiteroles stuffed with vanilla ice cream.
Craigie on Main
Craigie on Main in Cambridge is the brainchild of super chef Tony Maws. He’s so serious about freshness that deliveries constantly come fresh from the farm and off the boat – so a new menu is crafted every day. If you want to make this experience even more special, ask for one of the seats along the open kitchen.
“The first four seats we call the ringside seats, and you are literally overlooking everything that is going on in the kitchen. You hear every sight and sound; you smell everything.”
Another Great 8 winner is Arrows in Ogunquit. When there’s a $50 per person cancellation fee for reservations, you know you’re in for something special. Located in an 18th century farmhouse, Arrows serves up dishes that look almost too pretty to eat. The playful menu changes daily, with much of the restaurant’s produce grown in their very own garden.
Castle Hill Inn
Castle Hill Inn in Newport, Rhode Island is a lovely Victorian mansion with plenty of ocean views. All four dining rooms have a stately, conservative aura from rich polished woods, thick fabrics, and an entourage of servers. The menu embraces local, organic ingredients with 3, 5 and 8 courses of delicately delicious dishes. Phantom recommends capping this special dining experience off with a drink outside on the sprawling grounds.
Rounding out the Great 8 is Hamersley’s Bistro in the South End. If you ever wanted to go to France before you die, Chef Gordon Hamersley’s food will transport you there without having to go through a security check. Hamersley’s set the bar for culinary excellence in Boston with their signature dish – the tender, succulent roasted chicken. Every last bite is laced with garlic, lemon and parsley that bursts with flavor.
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