BOSTON - It’s hard to imagine a city more romantic than Boston. Pedestrians blindly walking into traffic while texting. Drunken party girls throwing up White Claws over the BU Bridge. Slack-jawed tourists taking selfies with passed out bodies on the Common. And all around you, burgeoning innocence blossoming like orchids. Series C backed software ventures sprouting up like fungi. The brave new world of commercial property overdevelopment. That sweet succulent sound of gentrification in all its forms humming in your ears. Paris has the Champs-Élysées. Rome has the Trevi fountain. We’ve got a giant milk bottle.
Lacking inspiration this Valentine’s Day? Depending on the number of stings at any given North Shore massage parlor that week, there’s always Mario’s Motor Inn off of Rte 1. Too rich for your blood? A romantic evening pairing bad EDM, sports memorabilia, salmonella and a 14 inch TV at the Greatest Bar awaits you. Still not tickling your love buds? OpenTable has you, your special someone and your latent need for codependency covered.
You know OpenTable, right? Well, they know you. They know your likes and dislikes. Your hopes, dreams, and fears. Your travel habits, your shopping habits, whatever end of an algorithm-derived emotional spectrum you fall under and most importantly, your dining habits. They’d never let you down. They can’t. Making you, your significant other and over 131 million other diners happy is their business. And if that’s not romantic, you tell me what is.
With only three entries, Boston may have lagged behind Philadelphia’s seven as a top contender for the reservation app’s “100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America” list for 2020. But that’s OK. Scrapple and cheesesteaks should be high on anyone’s list as a recipe for amour éternel. But if Boston’s contenders are notable, it has nothing to do with ambiance. And if you’re guessing it has everything to do with price, welcome to Valentine’s Day.
Don’t know Sorrelina yet? It’s the Jan Brady to its bigger sister Mistral. Reviews range from “an acoustically friendly special occasion for dates, business, and sophisticated girls night out” to “I had be better service!” Both of which might be true if grammatically incorrect, but I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been there.
Mamma Maria might be known for almost 50 years of continuous service, but it’s also known for its view and decor. Reviews have ranged from “It’s been a while since I’ve enjoyed every bite!” to “ultimately, it’s just tourist Italian.” And I’ll trust you, anonymous OpenTable reviewers. Because despite living here for over thirty years, I’ve never been to Mamma Maria. Nor do I ever plan to.
Finally, there’s the Capital Grille. Surely it doesn’t need an introduction. It’s helped shape the trend of elegantly homogenous steakhouse experiences as well as the glut of corporate-backed high-end chains choking every last breath out of independent restaurants across the country for thirty years. Reviews have ranged from “Cuts like butter and soooo delicious” to “I cannot remember the last time in dining around the world that I have been treated so callously.” Unlike the other two, I have eaten there. Don’t ask me how, because normally I wouldn’t even be able to afford a glass of water. And it’s everything you would expect. A romantic, intimate setting for the next time you want to finance a Ponzi scheme or off-shore holding account.
"We craft this list every year to help diners looking for inspiration for the most popular date night of the year," Jessica Jensen, Senior Vice President of Marketing at OpenTable, said in a press release. “Whether it's a special night with your significant other, a girl's night out, or your first outing with someone new, these restaurants have passed the test of setting the table for exceptional ambiance and an incredible meal."
OpenTable knows you better than you know yourself.
Image via Yelp/Tiffany L.