There was a time when hotel dining was a last resort, but that has changed. Today, many hotel restaurants can hold their own against the best in their city. Such is the case of Meritage which can actually stake its claim as one of Boston’s best.

By day, the room seems anything but romantic, but at night it is transformed. Hardwood and tile floors, modern art, eclectic overhead lighting and sleek modern furniture all come together into an intimate and warm delight with huge windows overlooking the sparkling harbor.

Start with a drink at the bar, I suggest a Berritini, vodka infused with blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, shaken and served ice cold straight up.

I love when a chef does something truly innovative and Chef Daniel Bruce has done just that. His entire menu is available in either a small plate or a large plate and matched to six primary characteristics of wine. So, there are menu items that work well with Champagne, light whites, full bodied whites, fruity reds, spicy, earthy reds and robust reds.

I opted for the small plates, so I could try more things. I began with a duet of Champagne mignonette laced Duxbury oysters and fried oysters with smoked pepper mayonnaise and paired that with a glass of Nicolas Feuillate, Brut Premier Cru Champagne. A delightful Vernaccia di San Gimignano “Ab Vinea Doni,” perfectly complimented a sweet pea and shallot filled cannelloni with braised rabbit and pea sprouts. I selected a Meritage “Seña,” from Chile to go with a Kobe beef duo of tartar and charred carpaccio and served with a crispy potato cake and sweet garlic aioli. Finally for dessert a chocolate tasting plate of white chocolate chiffon cake with green tea ice cream, milk chocolate ganache tart and dark chocolate Boston éclair paired with a Barbera d’Asti “Panta Rei,”

This was one of the most satisfying and fun meals I have enjoyed. Every course, every wine was an adventure. Add to that the glorious view on a summer Friday evening and an attentive staff and you have one very special night.

ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: High. Ask for a table by the window.

AAA Four Diamond Award
Forbes Four Star Award
Wine Spectator Award

Chef Daniel Bruce’s upscale waterfront New American destination at the Boston Harbor Hotel has undergone an extensive renovation, retaining the awe-inspiring harbor views but updating the environs with a more modern, stylish decor and a centerpiece wine bar where flights are poured from a 750-label collection. A tweaked menu concept stresses “vineyard to table” dishes designed for pairing, and even features a monthly rotating olive oil used to prepare the fresh, delicate cuisine. ZAGAT