Bay Village may be Boston's smallest neighborhood but its location next to the Boston Theatre District means that Bay Village restaurants are top choices for before-show dinners and after-show drinks, as well as fine dining on any other occasion.  You'll find one of the city's best French restaurants, a top steakhouse located in a castle, a couple of highly regarded Italian restaurants, and a couple of more casual choices tucked away in this conveniently-located neighborhood.  Here are two mouth-watering options to consider.

Pigalle (75 Charles Street South, next to Radisson Hotel) is a long-time favorite with theater-goers.  This award-winning French restaurant specializes in using the freshest local ingredients to prepare classic French cuisine.  Chef Marc Orfaly offers an a la carte menu with daily specials, as well as several other options: a 3-course prix-fixe menu, a casual bar and patio menu featuring $ 1 oysters on the half shell plus many other yummy items, and special chef's tasting menus, with and without wine pairings.  On Wednesdays, there's even a "kitchen vs. bar battle" that pits 3 tastes from the kitchen against 3 drinks from the bar - this may be a battle, but it's also a win-win!

What should you try here?  For starters, think about the spiced carrot soup with calamari and a touch of chorizo, or the arugula salad with fried goat cheese fritters.  The crabcakes, and the charcuterie platters are also wonderful.  Plus Pigalle makes some of Boston's best French onion soup with fabulous 4-cheese croutons. 

For main courses, consider the crispy comfit duck with herb spatzle and creamed Brussels sprouts, or the halibut baked in a flaky crust with creamed artichokes and jasmine rice.  You can also get a riff on the classic French steak-frites - at Pigalle, it's a juicy flank steak with peppers, French fries, and creamed spinach.

Dessert choices at Pigalle also run to the classics - creme brulee, a pineapple tart with mascarpone pastry cream and chocolate sorbet, a cheese platter, and other tempting daily specials.

Erbaluce (69 Church Street) is the newest of the Bay Village restaurants, and Boston diners are quickly becoming addicted to Chef Charles Draghi's Piedmontese Italian cuisine.  Named for an Italian grape, the restaurant features dishes that are flavored with herbs, fruit and vegetable essences, and cooking techniques such as roasting that bring out the flavor of each dish - no heavy creams or sauces here! 

The menu changes a few times each week, depending on what's in season and freshest in the markets.  You'll find organic meats and produce, plus dishes based on game such as wild boar that you don't usually find in restaurants.  One of my favorites is the spaghetti with clams in fennel-tomato broth with bottarga, a pressed block of cure tuna or mullet roe that's shaved on top of the pasta, giving it an incredibly buttery, sort of caviar-like flavor - try this and you'll immediately start planning your next visit to Erbaluce. 

With even more Bay Village restaurants to try in nearby streets, you may decide to skip the theater and just concentrate on eating.  Be sure to walk around Bay Village afterwards to admire the early 19th century Federal architecture and work off all those calories!

Susan writes about other favorite Boston restaurants in, where she shares information about more mouth-watering Bay Village restaurants

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