25 Charles Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone (617) 723-7575
stay@beaconhillhotel.com

Reviews & Accolades

“The very terms ‘town house hotel’ and ‘bistro’ are suspect these days. But the Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro in Boston is the genuine article”

- The New York Times

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“It is one thing to open with a splash. It is another altogether to maintain excellence over the years, to remain invested, to keep head down and shoulder to the wheel day after day… Since opening in 2000, owners Peter and Cecilia Rait have made a practice of cultivating talented chefs who offer unexpected dishes along with a few classics.”

- The Boston Globe

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“Like their last venture, La Brasserie de l’Entrecôte in Lisbon, Cecilia and Peter Rait’s Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro in Boston is sure to be the toast of the town.”

- Travel & Leisure

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” Grade: A — Beacon Hill Bistro’s Bond has the Midas touch. . . the restaurant is on the cusp of national recognition and deservedly so. Thanks to Bond. Jason Bond.”
- The Boston Herald

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— How does a kid growing up in a family of ranchers in the mountains of Wyoming wind up with the soul of a French chef? Through some sort of Dalai Lama-esque reincarnation, perhaps. This is what seems to have happened to Jason Bond of Beacon Hill Bistro. Paul Bocuse is happily still alive, or I might pinpoint him as the one – Bond’s comfort with embracing tradition or poking holes in it, his market-driven cooking and grasp of technique, seem inherited from “the grumpy pope of French cuisine,” as Alain Ducasse once described Bocuse in Time magazine..”

- The Boston Globe

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Best of Boston Neighborhood Restaurant, Beacon Hill
Hill dwellers flock to this chic little bistro for its cozy atmosphere and inspired French cooking. And while the long, narrow dining room is packed most nights for dinner, weekend brunch is the real draw, with mouthwatering fruit-topped pancakes and fluffy omelets—perfect accompaniments to coffee and the morning paper.

- Boston Magazine

“Flat-screen TVs, handsome rooms, and a gourmet eatery all deliver at Boston’s Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro. Who says business travel has to be tough?”

- AmericanWay Magazine

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Winner of Boston Magazine’s Best of Boston Hotel Award
“With an unbeatable Charles Street location and a truly intimate size, this newcomer is settling in quietly and with style. Detail driven, modern luxury meets personal and perfectly keyed service.”

- Boston Magazine

“BHHB is just what Boston ordered.”

- Stuff@Night

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“Beacon Hill Bistro stands out with excellent food, friendly service and charming décor.”

- The Improper Bostonian

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“Small hotels are popping up in odd places in downtown Boston, and some of them have very decent restaurants. The Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro houses one of them, with some dinner platters rivaling the fare at the top restaurants in town.”

- The Boston Phoenix

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“Boston’s Best Bistro”

- Delta Airlines

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“Bistro of the Year”

- The Boston Phoenix

“The quintessential ‘walking city,’ Boston provides unlimited opportunities for wandering hand-in-hand with your sweetie. Add a romantic dinner for two with a spectacular view or a ride on a swanboat and you’re well on your way to a Boston vacation teeming with romance.

- MSNBC

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Named by The Boston Globe as one of its Top 25 Restaurants.

- The Boston Globe

Hot 100 Issue – “The rooms are remarkable.”

- Stuff@Night

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As seen in The New York Times

Cheery Cosseting On Beacon Hill
The very terms “town house hotel” and “bistro” are suspect these days. But the Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro in Boston is the genuine article.

Unlike those who appropriate the terms to denote informality only to lay on marble, gilt and a starchy concierge, or instead of French classics serve tacos or lemongrass chicken, Peter and Cecilia Rait, the owners, cleave to strict definitions.

The hotel, which opened in December, occupies two 19th-century town houses on the city’s premier antiquing street. Behind louvered shutters each of its 13 snug bandbox rooms has a bright bathroom, air-conditioning, good reading lamps and downy pillows, as well as high-speed Internet access, flat-screen television monitors, and the less expected bonus of an elevator. All the rooms are decorated in the understated but cheery tones typical of the prized houses lining Beacon Hill’s brick sidewalks. Service is in the same vein: cosseting.

The ground-floor bistro is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A fireplace warms its lobby, shared with the hotel. The neutral, slightly Deco furnishings are less statement than backdrop for the animated neighborhood clientele.

The menu runs to asparagus soup studded with fava beans and carrot cubes, hearty pâtés, and grilled lamb and beef. The chef makes good use of the local larder, with cod—this is Boston, after all—arrayed with Savoy cabbage and salsify…Breakfasts run to the indulgent, while lunch features tender omelets and good crab.

Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro, 25 Charles Street; (617) 723-7575, fax (617) 723-7525, www.beaconhillhotel.com. Doubles from $225. A three-course dinner averages $33 a person, without wine. Lunch averages $15.

Catharine Reynolds

As seen in The Boston Globe

Five Boston-area restaurants that inspire long-lasting love
Beacon Hill Bistro, part of Beacon Hill Hotel, looks charmingly fusty — a narrow space paved with black-and-white tiles where the neighborhood’s blue bloods and young professionals rub shoulders. From this apparently classic bistro, one might expect onion soup au gratin and leathery steak frites. Instead, it is a delight to find creative, French-inspired food fueled by the seasons. Since opening in 2000, owners Peter and Cecilia Rait have made a practice of cultivating talented chefs who offer unexpected dishes along with a few classics. Currently heading the kitchen is Josh Lewin, who began here as sous chef under Jason Bond, now of Bondir in Cambridge and Concord. Lewin serves the likes of scallop tacos with dried lime and saffron; duck two ways with butternut squash, cranberry, and puffed rye; and bar-menu dishes such as monkfish consomme and mutton pastrami Reubens. And for the sake of keeping up appearances, there is steak frites, too.

Devra First

As seen in Travel & Leisure

Boston Slumber Party
Like their last venture, La Brasserie de l’Entrecôte in Lisbon, Cecilia and Peter Rait’s Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro in Boston is sure to be the toast of the town. On historic Charles Street, Cecilia and Peter have converted two connecting 1830 and 1850 town houses into a 13-room inn with flat-screen TV’s, mahogany fireplaces, and cool color schemes (gray, cream, and the occasional splash of Matisse red). Open the plantation shutters for views of Beacon Hill’s cobblestones, gas lanterns, and 200-year-old brownstones. Downstairs, the Beacon Hill Bistro serves classic French bistro food like cotriade, a Breton fish soup, and steak frites. Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro, at the top of Boston’s game.

As seen in The Boston Herald

Beacon Hill’s Bond has Midas touch

Grade: A
Meet Boston’s next up-and-coming new chef: Bond. Jason Bond.

While most local diners have never heard of him, 36-year-old Bond is well known among his peers. Early in his career, he worked at Relais & Chateaux properties The Inn at Little Washington in Virgina and Ryland Inn in New Jersey. In the Hub, he was chef de cuisine at No. 9 Park and helped Barbara Lynch open B&G Oysters and the Butcher Shop. He cooked alongside Susan Regis during the early days of Pava. Now Bond finally takes center stage by himself as executive chef at Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro.

Not surprisingly, given his resume, the guy knows his way around a stove. Bond’s food is uncommonly delicious, quietly confident and misleadingly simple. I loved every last bite.

Maine crab salad ($14), with a hint of cream, grainy mustard and chives, is wonderful with the aromatically sweet flesh of a crescent of seared Charentais melon and a few grains of smoked salt. The subtle tang of jasmine-tea-cured gravlax ($14) is lovely with a salad of cucumbers and yogurt and a drizzle of turmeric oil.

Bond spent time in France learning charcuterie. The pate du chef ($14) one recent evening was a dense, delectably unctuous country pork pate, perfect on slices of crusty bread with a schmear of mustard. It’s as authentic as you’d find on the Seine.

Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro’s current menu is a salute to summer in New England. As you’d expect from someone who ran the kitchen at No. 9 Park, nobody does gnocchi better than Jason Bond. His ethereally light gnocchi Parisienne ($22) are superb tossed in chunky basil and almond pesto with English peas, pea tendrils, garlic chives and bits of Gloucester lobster meat, nubbins of pink in a bowl of emerald green.

Olive oil-poached salmon ($26) is meltingly tender on a bed of sauteed chanterelle, morel and oyster mushrooms, pickled ramps and a handful of tiny escargots. Yes, that’s a leaf of sorrel on top, its distinctive sourness accentuating the richness of the fish.

Plump diver scallops ($29) are flash-seared, top and bottom, so their natural sugars caramelize. They’re divine with a pot-au-feu of summer vegetables – rutabaga, turnips, baby squash, carrots, asparagus, snap peas, chanterelles and artichoke – in gingery lobster broth.

The spicy, citrusy notes of ginger- and lemon-cured Moulard duck breast ($26) pair seamlessly with the earthiness of watermelon radish and kohlrabi and honey-glazed carrots, sweet enough to qualify as dessert. We asked for spoons to lap up the duck-pork-white-wine sauce.

How can you eat at a self-described “modern French bistro” and not order steak frites ($28)? It’s a slab of grilled strip steak brushed with Madeira-infused melted butter and a mound of shoestring fries. Carnivores will be happy to know Bond possesses a license to grill.

The wine list is smart – if rose-challenged – and accessible to all pocketbooks. From the summer wine specials selection, we were blown away by a 2003 Chateau le Devoy Martine Lurac Blanc ($29), whose simultaneous minerality and tropical fruitiness were dead-on with the gnocchi and fish. A jammy 2004 Chateau Pesquie les Terrasses Rouge ($34) is excellent with the duck and steak.

When it comes to dessert, calorie counters can always diet another day. Bond’s maple-vanilla creme brulee ($7.50) nicely reinterprets an old classic. Walnut tart with Armagnac ice cream ($8.50) and fudgy pistachio-cashew gateau with creme fraiche sorbet and warmed banana will appeal to sophisticated palates.

Bond also offers an assortment of daily dessert specials from a tableside cart. That’s where we found fresh strawberries picked at Verrill Farm in Concord ($8). They are extraordinary dipped into whipped cream and/or pureed raspberries.

The dining room looks authentically Parisian, with mahogany paneling, black, white and green mosaic tile floor, white butcher paper on white linen tables and long banquettes. The clientele is a mix of hotel guests and foodie neighbors; the stained-glass backlighted bar seems to be a popular Charles Street haunt. Service is attentive, knowledgeable and friendly.

Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro has had several chefs over the years but none with this much talent. Now the restaurant is on the cusp of national recognition and deservedly so. Thanks to Bond. Jason Bond.

Mat Schaffer

As seen in The Boston Globe

This Boston establishment Is a true bistro, but with a French soul.

BEACON HILL BISTRO

How does a kid growing up in a family of ranchers in the mountains of Wyoming wind up with the soul of a French chef? Through some sort of Dalai Lama-esque reincarnation, perhaps. This is what seems to have happened to Jason Bond of Beacon Hill Bistro. Paul Bocuse is happily still alive, or I might pinpoint him as the one – Bond’s comfort with embracing tradition or poking holes in it, his market-driven cooking and grasp of technique, seem inherited from “the grumpy pope of French cuisine,” as Alain Ducasse once described Bocuse in Time magazine.

This isn’t a restaurant that throws around the word “bistro.” It really is one – a narrow little strip of a space lined with simple dark green banquettes, black and white tiles on the floor, a chalkboard spelling out upcoming themes for Monday wine dinners. The fare is moderately priced, with entrees in the $20s and a nice chunk of the wine list under $50 per bottle. Currently, there’s a “Local for the Locals” prix fixe available at $25 for two courses and $32 for three, and those wine dinners are $55 for four courses, pairings included.

Some of the dishes are eternal, solid as an old chair with armrests burnished by elbows, the legs creaking pleasantly under your weight – pate, duck confit, steak frites. They match the appealing out-of-time feeling of the restaurant and the Beacon Hill Hotel it’s part of, two renovated townhouses from the 1800s. When you enter, there’s a little curved desk behind which the hostess stands; one recent night it holds a package, as if for a guest who, quaintly, resides in one of the upstairs rooms. A clock ticks away on the wall.

The steak frites is one of those dishes that, when a waiter walks past with it and the olfactory trail hits your table, either crushes you or confirms your ineffable wisdom, depending on whether you ordered it. It’s a strip steak, so it’s tender rather than onglet-chewy, which will appeal to some and turn off others: the great steak frites divide. On this issue I’m Switzerland, and this steak pleases thoroughly, cooked just to medium-rare and juicy, topped with melted herb butter. The frites are crisp, slender, and golden – in the McDonaldian vein, which, admit it, you love.

Bond – who has also cooked at the likes of No. 9 Park, the Inn at Little Washington, and L.A. Burdick – is a longtime student of charcuterie. (He’s been at Beacon Hill Bistro since 2006; the Globe last reviewed the restaurant in 2001, too long ago given Bond’s talent and culinary thoughtfulness.) The pate du chef changes frequently, and all the selections are made in-house. A rustic pork terrine one night is served far too cold, so much so that it’s difficult to slice, much less really taste. But another evening, a duck liver pate is silky, smooth, and delicious. It comes with several excellent mustards, cornichons, and a sort of dried-fruit chutney made from figs and apples.

Other dishes are classics folded up like origami to make something new – a beet salad to wake up the bored diner, arriving at the table as nicely dressed greens beside a piece of crimson pie: the roots sliced thin, then layered with creme fraiche and eggs and cut into triangular wedges. Its texture approaches that of a sweet omelet at a sushi shop, dense but springy.

Duck is cured in Hu-Kwa tea. The meat is beautifully tender, slightly smoky from the tea, with crisp, dark-brown skin. It’s served with Brussels sprouts that have been braised with guanciale, the brassica deeply infused with the flavor of pork, as well as reddish-brown roots. What are they? Salsify cooked with red wine. The dish is unusual yet within French parameters, with a nod to local history. Hu-Kwa was the brew of choice at exclusive Beacon Hill tea parties a century ago.

Nantucket diver scallops are overwhelmed visually by the pool of jade green sauce in which they’re served; this is billed as an herb broth but is more of a puree, tasting faintly of mint. The presentation seems dated; one wants a cleaner look on the plate. But once you taste the scallops it doesn’t matter anymore. They are wonderful, charred on the edges and sweet, like the best thing you’ve ever eaten at a seaside summer cookout. A ragu of wild mushrooms completes the dish.

Striped bass has impeccably crispy skin, the flesh flavored subtly with fresh bay leaves. Bronze fennel and Macomber turnips are the earth elements here, and picholine olives and the zest and juice of the citrus bergamot (more tea allusions) their counterpoints. It’s a harmonious dish, with no one flavor dominating.

And then there are dishes freshly conceived. Vegetable herb broth with diced roots and spring nettle raviolini sounds tonic and spare, but the broth turns out to be incredibly round and deep. The raviolini are flat tablets of tender pasta filled with a tangle of the green nettles and ricotta, light and wonderful.

Lasagna comes in the form of a tall cylinder rather than a flat brick, and it’s as far removed from the standard in taste as it is in shape. The herbed noodles are wrapped around sweet root vegetables with mustard cream, tiny lentils pooling around the lasagna, and pea greens lending the taste of spring. All the pasta is made in-house.

Dessert is a coda paralleling the menu. Classic: a cheese plate, a straightforward lemon tart. Not-quite-classic: a walnut tart, a wonderfully simple and buttery little cake served with Armagnac ice cream; creme brulee flavored with Earl Grey tea. Like nothing you’ve had in a bistro before: a house-made graham cracker with a molten chocolate-and-marshmallow cake and banana ice cream. In other words, a really good s’more.

Service is always competent, but ranges from good to somewhat inattentive, in real bistro fashion. One night, we wait and wait for water while our waiter chats with other staffers on the other side of the partition beside us; another we order duck confit with grits and collards, but the waiter arrives at our table with a special of crab, grits, and sorrel. The confit’s not available, but they’d already made the crab dish, and would we be interested in it? Why not, as it’s at our table. The crab is OK, though more meat would be nice and the flavor of red peppers dominates; when we get our bill, the confit charge is on there. It’s the same price as the crab dish, and we did eat the crab, but it also wasn’t what we’d wanted. Some would have comped the dish.

Beacon Hill Bistro represents a cultural crossroads, bringing together Brahmins, younger neighborhood residents at the bar (there’s a gas fireplace, very appealing on chilly nights), and a panoply of tourists. This results in amusing eavesdropping and people-watching: Who is that conservative-looking guy talking about Germaine Greer, kitchen remodeling, sex, and the songs of World War I? How does that woman get her hair to resemble a tall pouf of gray cotton candy?

The one thing they may have in common is an appreciation of Bond’s elevated yet still-honest bistro fare. When searching for the soul of French cuisine in Boston, don’t pass Beacon Hill Bistro by.

Devra First

As seen in AmericanWay Magazine

Boston’s Beacon
Don’t just tour those historic brick walks and gaslit streets of Boston’s elegant Beacon Hill: Move in! The neighborhood’s new Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro restores two connecting 1830 and 1850 townhouses into a cozy 13-room inn touting all the modern amenities (flat-screen TVs, high-speed Internet access, 24-hour room service) of a large hotel. Fresh from a five-year stint running a brasserie in Portugal, owners Peter and Cecilia Rait bring a European flare to the new boutique lodging. Its 86-seat bistro dishes up crowd-pleasers like pumpkin soup with chestnut dumplings, roast duck, and vegetable cassoulet. Most remarkably, guests gain residence on the affluent Hill for as little as $225 per night…Flat-screen TVs, handsome rooms, and a gourmet eatery all deliver at Boston’s Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro. Who says business travel has to be tough?

As seen in Stuff@Night

Beacon Hill Bistro Shines
Beacon Hill Bistro is a charmed addition.

We are about to share a meal with Peter Rait, owner of Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro, when he apologetically excuses himself. Just outside the hotel, on Charles Street, a cab driver has locked his keys in the car – with the motor running. Rait is among a handful of people who help find a wire coat hanger to get the cabbie back in service. It is the kind of Good Samaritan hospitality you cannot fake.

We are charmed. Even when conversation is interrupted by his intermittent need to tend to a guest, it is all in a day’s work – or in the case of Rait and his wife, Cecilia, a lifetime’s dream.

Okay, so maybe spending more than $5 million to purchase and renovate the former Rebecca’s enclave at 25 Charles Street is more like a restaurateur’s nightmare. But the couple have done very well to establish such a chic and friendly business in such a short time.

BHHB, as the logo reads, is just what Boston ordered. Nearly seven months up and running, it already sees the same folks return a few times a week for breakfast, lunch, or dinner – and the 13 individually decorated rooms are often booked with weary business travelers, tourists, or locals looking for a city escape.

Though the place was completely gutted (the only remnants of the 1850s and 1830s converted townhouses are their Beacon Hill brick facades), BHHB feels as though it’s been here for years, it is so comfortable in its skin.

The 86-seat bistro is sunlit and cheerful during the day, showing off the gray-green leather banquettes the mosaic tile floor, the dark mahogany walls, and the bright white china on white paper on white linen. White kitchen towels with green stripes (imported from Switzerland), used as napkins add a bit of whimsy.

At night the bistro converts into a romantic dining room, still casual and comfortable, yet glowing with the warmth of votive candles and wall sconces. Portuguese and Brazilian jazz interweaves with the conversation. In the winter, seats by the fireplace are as coveted as a room reservation.

It is a true bistro. And the menu, with no dinner entrée over $25 (at least at press time), keeps to the notion that simple, delicious food need not be expensive. The wine list exemplifies the same affordability: you can get a glass of wine for under $8 and a nice bottle of Pouilly-Fumé for $29.

Seven months out and the chef, with a hunger for seasonal ingredients and training that includes stints at the Gotham Bar and Grill and La Grenouille in New York City, is already on his fourth menu change.

Right now he’s celebrating the early tomato season with a chilled tomato soup and cucumber soup with minted sorbet. The menu also offers . . . striped bass with fennel, white beans, and lovage puree and a handful of dishes the chef dare not take off the menu – steak frites (the strip steak so rare and tender, the skinny long French fries so good they can be addicting), confit ot chicken with mushroom fricassee, and roasted-beet salad among them.

This is bistro food, but not “cliché” French. “French food is much more varied and imaginative than those name items people identify right away, “ says Rait, who has worked at the US embassy restaurant in Paris and at restaurants throughout Europe. “This whole notion of what is a bistro has gotten clouded,” he says. “A restaurant will have linen on linen and it’s much more expensive’, It’s “typically much more muted and quiet,” whereas a bistro is “a more casual environment” where “people will sit closer together.” Bistros, he says, “should have a healthy vigor, which says people are enjoying life.”

Just as the bistro has a sense of understated class, so does each room. They are small, comfortable havens painted in earthy, soothing tones like taupe, moss green, or beige and feature designer-fabric duvets, flat digital-TV screens, and serene black-and-white photographs by a Long Island photographer, Daniel Jones.

Plenty of light pours through the shuttered plantation windows that look out over Charles Street’s cobblestones and the Public Garden. An open deck allows guests to sit outside during the day or to see the stars through haze city lights at night.

Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro buzzes with life. At breakfast, families order from the blackboard specials; single diners linger over their choice of international newspapers. Guests, wearing jeans, dresses, khakis or slacks, wheel their luggage through the small lobby.

During our dinner, Rait chats with a man and woman who liked the hotel so much that, even though there were no vacancies, they returned for dinner.

“One thing’s for sure,” says Rait, “there’s no point in being in the service business if you don’t take pleasure in serving people.”

As seen in The Improper Bostonian

Finesse and Flair
Beacon Hill Bistro stands out with excellent food, friendly service and charming décor.

The Beacon Hill Hotel is a small, European-style boutique hotel that opened quietly on Charles Street late last year. Its name aptly conveys the casual charm of its décor and reasonable prices, but it could well lead one to underestimate the quality and seriousness of its food. The work “bistro” is said to be derived from a work chanted by Russian soldiers as they occupied Paris in 1870, banging their fists on the tables and demanding that their food be served “bistro” or quickly. There is nothing hurried or casual, however, about the cuisine, whose flair and finesse rivals some of the best kitchens in the city.

The bistro’s long, narrow dining room sports gray-green leather banquettes that run its entire length beneath sparkling, rectangular mirrors along one wall and picture windows with the etched hotel logo along the other. Stainless-steel or brushed aluminum triangular art deco sconces punctuate the dark wooden paneling, while the floor of tiny white tiles adds a touch of lightness to the inviting French ambiance. In classic bistro style, tables are set with white tablecloths covered by butcher paper, and napkins are of heavy, absorbent cloth . . .

. . .The Beacon Hill Bistro’s excellent food was accompanied by splendid, chewy crusted loaves of slightly dark bread well-suited to mopping up the toothsome sauces produced by the kitchen. Even better, in a city plagued by outrageous wine prices, the imaginatively selected and reasonably priced wine list had a number of selections in the low $20s.

Service at the Bistro was friendly and accommodating. . . . From the point of view of value — what the French call rapport prix-qualité — the Beacon Hill Bistro is outstanding. If it stays the course it has charted, it will be around for a good, long time.

As seen in The Boston Phoenix

Beacon Hill Bistro: You can’t have too many restaurants like this
Small hotels are popping up in odd places in downtown Boston, and some of them have very decent restaurants. The Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro houses one of them, with dinner platters rivaling the fare at the top restaurants in town – and that’s not even getting started on lunch and dinner.

The room looks a lot more like a French bistro than most American bistros. It’s white and dark green, with dark wood, and tables in two straight lines, like the girls going to school in Madeleine. It has a floor of fine tiles and a soundtrack of world music that runs mainly to Portuguese, perhaps because the owners managed a hotel in Lisbon. But other than a few fava beans, there’s nothing openly Iberian about the food, which is predominantly French, with strong New England flavors. With 10 appetizers, as many entrées, and a couple of blackboard specials, the menu fits nicely somewhere between the bistro and the full-tilt restaurant.

The bread is crusty, glutinous sourdough stuff with butter, not olive oil. The dish that set the tone of our dinner was gnocchi with cèpes and braised vegetables ($7.50). The gnocchi were good, the braised baby vegetables (turnips, carrots, and such) were outstanding, and the cèpes – porcini in Italy, my favorite wild mushrooms – were amazingly delicious. A dark sauce has never been lapped up with such alacrity. Same was true of the garnishing pools of asparagus purée. Roast-beet salad ($7) is becoming a cliché (albeit a welcome cliché), but this restaurant breaks the mold by molding slices of beet into a layered cake like pommes Anna, cutting a pie wedge, and serving it as a deconstructed salad with an olive of goat cheese (not farmer’s cheese as the menu says) and field greens (not mint as the menu says).

Asparagus soup ($7.50) is a beautiful green bisque that doesn’t overstate the asparagus, but does overuse salt and pepper like many seafood bisques. The garnishes of asparagus tips, fresh green fava beans, and “confit carrots” (sweetened chunks of carrot) were appetizing morsels, but when they ran out, the green stuff wasn’t so much fun.

“Confit” has another culinary meaning for confit of chicken ($17) – that is, cured with spices under oil. Beacon Hill Bistro’s chef does a light cure, but presents a handsome leg of chicken and three slices of sautéed breast, rolled and stuffed, on a bed of butter beans and a little spinach, with a sweet-and-sour sauce. Food here is somewhat vertical, and rather more elegant than the Parisian idea of bistro food, but just as tasty.

Roast cod on savoy cabbage and fava beans ($16.50) was a superbly sweet chunk of fillet, served with favas alchemized into a potato-like cake, along with wisps of cabbage. This dish might be a little Portuguese or a little Basque, but in the Boston context, let’s call it a very elegant update of schrod.

Native lamb ($18.50) is some baby chops and a hunk of flavorful, lean, braised meat (perhaps from the leg) complemented by a real potato cake, and more of those marvelous cèpes.

The wine list comprises about 30 bottles, mostly from $19 to $48, with 13 wines by the glass ($5.50 to $7.50). The wines by the glass aren’t the same as the wines on the list, even when they are the same kind of wine. Thus a glass of 1998 Cave de Ribeauville riesling from Alsace ($7) was bone-dry and spicy, but only the appetizer for a bottle of Trimbach riesling ($33), also from Alsace. Among the current reds, don’t miss the ’96 Valdepeñas ($6.50), a softer and spicier idea of Spanish red wine; it’s ideal with today’s spicier food. Tea ($3.50) is served properly, in a china pot with loose tea in a mesh insert. Cappuccino ($3.50) is excellent.

The dessert tray had only three items, although a few more desserts are concocted”downstairs” (a true Parisian touch, the kitchen downstairs, although it reminds us of the subterranean kitchens in George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London and Nicholas Freeling’s The Kitchen). We had three items from the tray, and one from downstairs. The blackberry tart ($6.50) was an immortal, a classic thin-crust tart with just enough pastry cream to hold the numerous berries – smaller but riper than we usually get in May. The flourless chocolate cake ($5.50) was very good – perhaps a little dry, although it had the Viennese-style real whipped cream to help it along. Crème caramel “roll” ($5.50) was a long slab of stiff custard, from which our waiter cut a respectable square and spooned on more caramel. From downstairs, the cheesecake ($6.50) is a little round cake of almost unbearably rich cheese confection, with a sprightly wine-fruit topping.

Service at Beacon Hill Bistro is in the French-bistro style, which is effective but less forthcoming than full restaurant service. Atmosphere very much reflects the affluent neighborhood the hotel restaurant sits in. If hotel guests were dining our night, they blended into Beacon Hill pretty well. Even the Portuguese music blends in, especially when a fado singer or Cesaria Evora slows down and gets, uh, torchy. (There is a fine bistro called Torch across the street.) It’s not that Beacon Hill didn’t have a bistro before, but two places where you can walk in early and eat a terrific meal are not too many. Twelve would not be too many, either.

As seen in The Shuttle Sheet, Delta Airline’s inflight magazine

Boston’s Best Bistro
Even if you can’t get one of the dozen rooms overlooking Charles Street and Olde Towne at the intimate Beacon Hill Hotel and Bistro, you can still enjoy Left Bank fare like salmon with roasted fennel.

As seen on MSNBC

Three romantic days in Boston. Fun, romance or relaxing – a great vacation for everyone
While Boston is a thoroughly modern city, during your visit you’ll often feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. So much of the city remains unchanged — the gaslit and cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill, the narrow alleyways of the North End, the ducks waddling at your feet in the Public Garden — its romantic side is just below the surface. You’ll find it in not only in the obvious places, but also in fleeting moments as you open the time capsule of Boston.

The quintessential “walking city,” Boston provides unlimited opportunities for wandering hand-in-hand with your sweetie. Add a romantic dinner for two with a spectacular view or a ride on a swanboat and you’re well on your way to a Boston vacation teeming with romance.

Home Away From Home
The intimate Beacon Hill Hotel (12 guest rooms) is as romantic and charming as the neighborhood for which it’s named. Located on the corner of Charles and Chestnut Streets, this neighborhood gem is conveniently located to the Boston Common and Public Garden. Its most outstanding feature is the private roof deck, perfect for sipping champagne before turning in for the night.

On your first day in Boston, head for Back Bay, the home of the Boston Public Garden (adjacent to the less impressive but historically significant Boston Common, the oldest public park in the U.S.). The centerpiece of the perfectly manicured lawns and flowerbeds of the Public Garden is the lagoon that houses the Swan Boats. Enjoy a peaceful 15-minute ride on the swan-shaped paddleboats.

When you’re ready to leave the tranquility of the Public Garden behind, exit at Arlington Street and make your way to the near end of Boston’s most fashionable shopping and people-watching promenade: Newbury Street. The streets that run across Newbury Street are alphabetically arranged starting with Arlington, then Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester and Hereford. As you stroll, you’ll pass Chanel, Burberry, Armani and a variety of high- to mid-range clothing stores, shoe stores and art galleries. Check out Calypso (Newbury between Clarendon and Dartmouth) for funky, high-end beach attire.

If your feet need a rest, there’s no place better to stop for a light lunch than at the patio at the Armani Cafe (about halfway down Newbury Street at Exeter). Enjoy the Northern Italian fare and sip your wine leisurely — the much-coveted patio tables are prime real estate for the best people watching in all of Boston.

As seen in Stuff@Night

Hot 100 Issue
HOT SCENE. Brunch is bountiful. Lunch is luscious. Dinner is delectable. The libations are lovely. The rooms are remarkable. The Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro has it all. The classic bistro food also happens to be one of the best foodie deals in town, so catch it while you can.

25 Charles StreetBoston, MA 02114Phone (617) 723-7575Fax (617) 723-7525