Let’s be honest; there are prix fixes, and then there are prix fixes — the multi-course meals to remember that really are a steal. The ones for which you pay less but still enjoy an experience that tastes like a million bucks. Whether you’re headed to Boston or you live local, here are nine of the best prix-fixe menus in Boston (including one just north of the city) where you’ll find prix fixe lunches, brunches, and dinners that also show off the chef’s culinary chops.
Bar Boulud, Boston, Massachusetts
The menu at Bar Boulud in the Mandarin Oriental hotel is French-inspired with seasonal New England dishes, too, and then there’s that’s wine cellar (think Burgundy and Rhone Valley). Come for the Bouchon dinner prepared by chef de cuisine Jonathan Kilroy — you’ll choose two courses for $36 (add an additional course for $6 for more bang for your euros.) Featured appetizers include Celery Root Veloute (lardo vinaigrette, pickled shallots, and celery leaves) and Pâté de Campagne (country pate, wild mushrooms, and sourdough toast). Featured main courses like Coq au Vin Traditionnel (red wine-braised chicken, bacon lardon, and pearl onions), and Fish and Chips (beer-battered local haddock, hand-cut French fries, English peas, and tartar sauce) are solid options. For dessert, pastry chef Robert Differ’s Gateau Basque (traditional Basque custard cake, brandied cherries, and vanilla anglaise) is a trip to Paris without the jet lag. Make a reservation at Bar Boulud.
Davio’s, Boston, Massachusetts
A power prix-fixe lunch is served Monday through Friday “for the busy young professional.” You’ll get an appetizer, an entrée, and dessert for $22. Highlights include Grilled Petite Ribeye (with Parmigiano potato puffs, pepata sauce) and Seared Haddock, Cauliflower (with golden raisins, peppadews, and toasted pine nuts), and, for dessert, Davio’s homemade cookies and gelato. Perfect for the power hungry. Make a reservation at Davio’s.
Gaslight, Boston, Massachusetts
Start the day with savings with the prix-fixe brunch special at the South End Parisian-style bistro that is Gaslight. Served from 9AM to 3PM on Saturdays and 9AM to 11AM on Sundays. What you’ll get: fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, coffee or tea, Julia Child’s Spiced Shortbread with raspberry jam, and a choice of Vanilla French Toast (with sautéed apples and sweetened fromage blanc), Omelette Lyonnaise (with gruyere cheese, potatoes, and caramelized onions), Scrambled Eggs Forestiere (with roasted mushrooms and Boucheron cheese) or Omelette Florentine (with garlic spinach and French feta cheese). And, it’s all for just $11.95. Make a reservation at Gaslight.
The Elephant Walk, Boston, Massachusetts
Hurry up and make a reservation for lunch on Thursday or Friday at this South End French and Cambodian-inspired restaurant. The prix-fixe Fast Lunch is promised to be served in half an hour and features a two-course tasting menu for $15. Expect items like Poulet a la Citronnelle (available vegan with organic tofu) and a Braised Duck Sandwich. This is fast food redefined. Make a reservation at The Elephant Walk.
La Motta’s Italian Specialties, Boston, Massachusetts
Rise and shine for the $9.95 prix-fixe brunch deal at La Motta. Available from 10AM-11AM every Saturday and Sunday, the brunch options include a choice of Smokehouse Ham & Manchego Cheese Omelette, Challah French Toast & Maple Syrup or Eggs, Toast and Everything Potatoes (think everything bagel but in tater form). Brunch also includes Hot Cinnamon Sugar Bombs (brioche donut holes, sweet whipped cream) and a glass of fresh-squeezed juice and bottomless coffee. Make a reservation at La Motta’s Italian Specialties.
Brine, Newburyport, Massachusetts
Newburyport is a coastal town about an hour north of Boston, so it’s no surprise that Brine offers its Surf + Turf prix-fixe deal. The year-round, two-course special is $25 and available on Wednesday evenings. Chef Justin Shoults mixes up the menu each week, but dishes have included Seared Beef Shoulder with fingerling potatoes, onion jam, fried oysters, and quail egg, and Spring Peas with Ham Brodo (smoked char, preserved lemon). Make a reservation at Brine.
TAMO, Boston, Massachusetts
Neighborly love is also big in the Seaport District. Grab the nabes and head over to TAMO on Monday and Tuesday nights. Cozy up in a chair by the fireplace (hey, it’s New England, fireplace season doesn’t end ‘til July) and you’ll get two courses per person and a bottle of wine to share for just $40 per person. Menu showoffs include Prosciutto Meatballs, Nepalese Dal Bhat, the signature TAMO Burger, and Lobster Rolls. Dessert is all about S’mores in a Crock (graham crackers, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and ice cream). Make a reservation at TAMO.
Bistro du Midi, Boston, Massachusetts
Applause please, for the superb pre-theatre prix fixe that takes the stage at this popular Back Bay bistro, where authentic Provencal cuisine plays a starring role. The restaurant is ideally located near Boston’s Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre, Boston Opera House, and Charles Playhouse, and its views of the Public Garden are a set designer’s dream. Another dream: You get to order off the regular a la carte menu — the $49 prix fixe includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Menu standouts include Yellowfin Tuna with quinoa, heirloom baby beets, and basil crème, Black Pepper Chitarra with calamari, mussels, and preserved lemon, and Bouillabaisse du Midi with saffron-scented broth, rouille, and gruyère Available daily from 5PM-5:30PM for seatings in the restaurant’s main dining room, the prix-fixe menu requires that diners present a digital or printed show ticket or receipt upon arrival to receive the special. Encore: Half-off valet parking is also included. Make a reservation at Bistro du Midi.
Laurie Bain Wilson is a Boston-based journalist, author, and essayist who writes often about travel, food, and baseball. Find her on Twitter @laurieheather.
Photo credits: Nancy Batista-Caswell (Brine).