There is a certain joy in wandering down a side street only to find a true hidden gem of a restaurant. It’s hard to describe the rush of surprise when a concealed hole-in-the-wall exceeds your expectations. The Marliave, with its charming unassuming exterior down a glorified alleyway near Park Station, is one such spot that I will not soon forget.
The Marliave is a secret worth sharing. It is a smart, classy spot perfect for a date, a special occasion, or an evening of culinary exploration. Everything about the place just works – the service, the ambiance, and the food. This has been my best meal in the Boston area to-date and I could not recommend it more highly, especially if you catch the daily $1 oyster deals (4-6 p.m. and 9-10 p.m.).
Set in the style of the early 1900s, it is a testament to what exceptional dining could have felt like generations ago. The two floors of the restaurant are neatly adorned, with the second floor bar and dining areas standing out as intimate and sophisticated. The first floor has booths and a long bar. Being closer to the front entrance, downstairs can be a bit cold – sit upstairs if you can. Either way, you’ll be treated well by the food and the staff.
The Marliave’s history is impressive. The story of Henry Marliave is imprinted on every menu, but you’ll have to visit the place to read it. Even the drinks harken to days and figures gone by, with names such as “the flapper” or “the W.C. Fields”.
The Beef Wellington was perfectly prepared in a puff pastry with foie gras pate, and was one of the best dishes I’ve ever had. The staff even split the dish at no extra charge – just half the entrée was enough for two people. The four different types of oysters offered a variety of ways to savor the flavors of the sea, each for only a dollar. There is simply no comparing the dollar oysters at Noir (okay) or the Red House (avoid) here in Harvard Square to the Marliave in terms of taste and variety.
If you’re looking for a place to take your significant other or your parents to make an evening special, look no farther than the Marliave. As the days get shorter this winter, braving the cold to try new eateries must measure up given the constraints on your time as a busy student. Put simply, the Marliave is worth your time and worth the money for an occasion and a great meal.
4.5 / 5 Stars
52 Bosworth Street, Boston
Daily: 11a.m. -10 p.m. (food); 1 a.m. (bar)