Haute Spots for Museum Dining in Boston

Boston is well known for its standout seafood restaurants, hearty steakhouses and stylish outdoor cafes, but you may not realize there are some hidden gems found in some very popular places. Here’s a look inside a few of our favorites:The Museum of Fine Arts houses some of the world’s best collection of contemporary art, historic pieces from the Italian Renaissance and Asia, not to mention one of the largest collection of original Monets outside of France. From prints and drawings to photography and musical instruments, you can easily spend a full day exploring all the museum has to offer. When you are finished, head up to the second floor of the Linde Family Wing for contemporary Art and meet Bravo, the on-site full service restaurant that serves up eclectic dishes in an art lover’s paradise. Here you can get started with a sampling of mussels Provencal in a garlic white wine sauce before moving onto pork medallions with fava beans or a crispy Atlantic salmon sitting atop an English pea puree. The restaurant is open for lunch weekdays, dinner Wednesday through Friday and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The view from inside Café G at The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is a work of art itself. The menu here focuses on recipes prepared by Isabella Gardner, whom the museum is named after, a local woman who created one of the world’s most intimate collections of art. Today, the museum pays homage to her historic collection, which now includes not only paintings, but furniture, sculptures and impressive pieces from various cultures spanning many historic periods. Chef/owner Peter Crowley created the Café G menu, receiving his artful inspiration from the museum. Start off with a sampling of Cape Cod clam fritters with green goddess to pique your palate before ordering up a sampling of polenta Milanese made with house made ricotta. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner is served only on Thursday evenings.

One of the most hidden gems can be found tucked inside the Boston Public Library. Dining at the Courtyard Restaurant would be remiss without a little fun and the chef here certainly does just that with his daily presentation of amuse bouche (a small bite designed to “amuse” the palate). Bookworms come here to sip on a mango chili or passion fruit lemonade and prepare for a whimsical lunch. There is an impressive selection of one ounce caviar offerings, including Galilee Prime Osetra from Israel, classic white sturgeon from the United States and Osetra Supreme from Germany that taste even better when paired with an ice cold Belvedere vodka. Lunch dishes include everything from seared Atlantic salmon and roasted Amish chicken to Peekytoe crab cake and lamb tartine.