The beautiful Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston is a mainly residential section of the city, but both Charles Street and Cambridge Street do have their fair share of shops and restaurants, and some dining spots can be found on the side streets as well. For instance, hidden in the "flat" of the neighborhood is 75 Chestnut, a restaurant that underwent extensive changes to its menu and decor a bit more than a decade ago and went from being an elegant and pricey dining place to one that is more of a casual, upscale neighborhood restaurant and pub. And while it is perhaps no longer a "special occasion" eatery to some, it is certainly much easier to go to on a regular basis since the prices are more reasonable--and the food continues to be excellent overall.
75 Chestnut is not a large restaurant, but it is very charming with its dark wooden walls, windows that look out at this quaint section of Beacon Hill, and its cozy little bar area. One notable change is that the wall cutting the bar area off from the dining room is now gone, giving the restaurant a slightly more airy feel. The noise level in 75 Chestnut is a tad high at times, but not overwhelmingly so, and much less than so many restaurants these days that are exceedingly noisy. The menu here is pretty much what you would find in a tavern (and much like the old pub menu at 75 Chestnut before the renovations were made), but with some items that you might not find in your standard pub, such as a red-hot chili with roasted polenta wedges; a salad with a sweet and savory mix of goat cheese, cranberries, and apples; a BLT wedge salad with just the right amount of bacon; a delicious char-grilled steak sandwich with cheddar cheese, mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes, and a port wine sauce, all on crunchy French bread; a turkey sandwich with fresh bread, top-quality meat, and tasty field greens; a plate of fish and chips with lightly-battered pieces of haddock; a tender grilled salmon with butter beans, polenta, and wild mushrooms; a hearty pork chop plate that includes mashed potatoes with shallots; and a meyer lemon chicken breast with wild mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and roasted new potatoes. A couple of standouts remains the bistro burger, which comes pretty close to O'Sullivan's in Somerville and Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage in Cambridge in quality, and the steak tips, which rival some of the best from bars just located north of Boston (although Newbridge Cafe in Chelsea still has them beat). Drinks include a handful of beers on tap and in bottles along with some decent wines, and a fully-stocked bar awaits for those looking to have a cocktail or two.
All in all, the changes made to 75 Chestnut years ago continue to impress; there aren't many other classy-looking neighborhood restaurants in Boston that allow you to have a great meal for under $25, and yes, parking can be difficult on Beacon Hill, but with a little patience (and a lot of quarters), you should be able to park within a few blocks of the place. Better yet, take the MBTA to Charles or Park Station and enjoy a leisurely walk through this quaint old neighborhood; the walk will surely build your appetite for some great "upscale pub food" in a mellow and laid-back environment.
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