Museum restaurants have come a long way since their arrival on the scene as a simple cafeteria for a quick bite along the way. Instead, they have been transformed to high class dining destinations with sit-down service and memorable dishes, all offered in a setting quite like no other. From a garden cafe to an oceanfront location, here’s a look at five of the hautest museum restaurants in Boston.
1 Water Café at the Institute of Contemporary Art/BostonICA Boston
The Water Cafe at the ICA sits prominently in the Seaport District facing the Boston Harbor and is even accessible by water taxi. The waterfront restaurant is open daily offering small mezze plates with roasted garlic hummus and pita; the chef's whim of cheese; pizzas with an upscale twist (think truffle parmigiano-reggiano) and larger dishes that include slow braised short ribs. Enjoy a glass of wine or a local Harpoon beer while taking in the beautiful view.
100 Northern Avenue Boston, MA 02210
2 Bravo at the Museum of Fine ArtsBravo
Bravo at the MFA has become a dining destination, not just for museum goers but for locals looking for a celebratory night out on the town. After checking out the latest touring exhibition, head to the second floor of the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art for lunch here served weekdays; dinner Wednesday through Friday or brunch on the weekends served inside or on the patio during the warmer months. The restaurant is also continuously recognized for its award-winning wine list.
465 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02115
3 The Courtyard Restaurant at the Boston Public LibraryCourtyard Restaurant
If you never knew there was a restaurant tucked away inside the Boston Public Library, you're not alone. It is only open a few select hours a day for weekday lunch and again for afternoon tea served in the McKim building. The restaurant overlooks the library's beautiful Italianate courtyard and offers a nice selection of starters like seared sea scallop, salt roasted beets and roasted butternut squash with champagne vinaigrette. For main events, try the slow roasted chicken tartine, poached hen egg or cornmeal crusted skate.
700 Boylston Street Boston, MA 02116
4 Café G at the Isabella Stewart Gardner MuseumIsabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Café G is not your typical museum restaurant. For starters, the chef is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, who serves up historical recipes created by Isabella Gardner herself. The lunch menu here starts off with braised pork shoulder taco with avocado mousse, Cape Cod clam fritters with green goddess remoulade and Atlantic salmon rillettes with rye toast and lemon aioli. Moving right along, try the sourdough crusted catfish, polenta Milanese or request the chef's three-course pairing.
25 Evans Way Boston, MA 02115
5 The Reef at the New England AquariumNew England Aquarium
This seasonal restaurant is located right outside the New England Aquarium on the Aquarium Plaza. Enjoy a fruity cocktail or local beer here served up with an oceanfront view to enjoy alongside a cup of creamy clam chowder and overstuffed lobster roll served on a warm buttery bun. Summer in the city never tasted so good.
Central Wharf Boston, MA 02110