Boston’s high-end hotel restaurants have long been a lure to everyone from politicians looking for a quiet corner to wheel and deal, to famous faces, perhaps in town for a performance, to locals who learn quickly where the best martinis and meals are served. In the last year, three of the city’s most celebrated hotels have revamped their restaurants.
Here are the hot new places to dine the next time you’re in town:
A top-to-bottom facelift of Taj Boston transformed this somewhat dated, but beloved, hotel into a gorgeous new property, with the rooftop Contessa as its crown jewel. Designed by Ken Fulk and run by renowned Major Food Group, the restaurant serves Italian cuisine and unparalleled views of the Boston Public Garden.
Contessa is full service, as befits a hotel restaurant, providing breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, as well as offering a stylish bar. Highlights at dinner include the daily imported burrata or meatballs Aldo (a whole grain mustard sauce) as your antipasto, then grilled branzino or ribeye tagliata as your main. The pizzas also are popular and for a special meal for two, the 40-ounce bistecca Fiorentina is a treat.
Grana at The Langham, Boston
Appropriately elegant, with soaring ceilings and remnants of the former bank space it once was, Grana, which means “grain” in Italian, was part of The Langham’s massive 2021 renovation. The stone floor and frieze ceiling are original to the building, but whimsical additions, such as the eight portraits of former Federal Reserve Bank presidents, painted by Debra Keirce, pairs colonial New England portraiture style with modern details.
At the all-day-dining restaurant, breakfast fare is the usual eggs, granola and the like, but brunch is a more luxurious affair, with a prix fixe or à la carte menu. Braised short rib Benedict or zucchini bread French toast, along with a brunch punch or prickly pear spritz kick off the weekend with pizzazz. For lunch, beef and pork Bolognese, stewed cioppino with shellfish and striped bass and meatballs are Italian favorites. Vegetarians can enjoy lasagna made with Impossible meat or mushroom garganelli. The Italian cookie plate or ricotta cheesecake are tempting finishes.
For a more casual dinner or drinks, also check out The Fed, the hotel’s cool retro bar with a 1920s feel and a fabulous patio with views of Norman B. Leventhal Park.
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay makes his first foray into the Boston dining scene at the Mandarin with his new concept called Ramsay’s Kitchen, which he says will be the first, implying there may be more down the line. Inside, the restaurant is all cool blues and wood accents, making for a warm atmosphere to dine in. The bar is meant to evoke the Zakim Bridge, with suspended cables and a dark blue marble bar.
Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant features Ramsay’s beef Wellington and sticky toffee pudding, both dishes he is well-known for, along with more regional fare like Boston Lager-steamed mussels, fish and chips and lobster rolls. A raw bar menu offers shrimp cocktail, tuna tartare, oysters and a king crab sushi roll. There are several dishes for vegetarians, including chickpea tikka masala and a beet burger. Dessert options include lemon cheesecake and Eton mess, composed of baked meringue, cranberry jam, Chantilly cream, winter citrus and pistachio, though it’s hard to resist Ramsay’s delicious sticky toffee pudding.