Boston >Food & Dining > Bin 26 Enoteca
26 Charles St, Boston, MA | Directions 0211442.356823 -71.069872
Monday To Thursday From 12:00 PM To 10:00 PM Friday To Saturday From 12:00 PM To 11:00 PM Sunday From 05:30 PM To 10:00 PM
Neighborhoods: Back Bay, Beacon Hill
Sounded and Looked Better Than It Was- Not ALL Bad Though! – The risotto saffron balls were okay- not very hot and not very interesting. Literally you get two on a plate with some arugula in the middle with some olive oil drizzled (not much flavor across the whole plate).
The mushroom and cheese bruschetta was pretty good but it was served cold (although the cheese had been melted)...probably would have been better served warm!
The scallop dish was fantastic!
Desserts were okay- their version of Tiramisu was good (it was in 3 different forms- interesting and presented nicely)- the strawberry multi-layered dessert was NOTHING spectacular (okay it wasn't good).
All in all- it's in a great location on Beacon Hill. It's well-decorated and inviting (even though for the prices you would expect staff to NOT be wearing jeans)....I would probably go back but it would not be my first or second top choice considering how many other restaurants I haven't tried! I would likely go back for drinks though.
Incredible wine selection, but that's about it – A friend and I went there for dinner this past Friday. We found the overall ambiance and decor of the place very charming - hundreds of bottles of wine on display and the back wall covered in wine labels - but were otherwise unimpressed.
Our server seemed unable to appreciate the middle ground between rushing us to make a decision and ignoring us. When asked for wine suggestions, she would point out the one bottle on the menu that was of the same varietal mentioned suggested she had no idea what was really on the menu. (e.g. I mentioned that I liked Pinot Noir, she points to the one Pinot Noir on their by the glass list.)
The food was also very disappointing.
To start, I ordered the cheese plate, which is a hefty serving of cheese, but doesn't really come with anything to accompany the cheese, like crackers. Pretty much only the gorgonzola tasted like it should, the other three were extremely sub-par; one tasted like Laughing Cow and another like some extremely waxy coagulated version of Kraft romano cheese. My friend ordered the tomato soup which was quite literally chunky tomato sauce - the canned variety. She poured nearly all the salt & pepper from the table into the bowl to attempt to give it some flavor and then tried adding some of my icky-cheese; none of this helped.
For our main course, we both ordered the cocoa tagliatelle with mushroom ragout. The noodles could best be described as overly-doughy udon, a far cry from proper tagliatelle. They were an odd green-brown color and didn't taste at all cocoa-like. To make matters worst, the sauce had an overwhelming orange zest flavor.
All in all a huge miss in the food department.
The wine was decent, and maybe I'd come back just for wine, but I would most definitely not order food here again.
relaxed and welcoming – Having been to Bin 26 numerous times over about a two-year period, I was surprised by the lackluster reviews it has received from several patrons. I have never had a bad meal or an unpleasant personal exchange in this cozy place.
My first experience was as a single walk-in guest on a Friday night when the joint was packed. Given that I had been through a long workday followed by a long walk on a blustery winter night, I probably looked like a tumbleweed with a purse, but the host immediately and graciously seated me at the bar for what was a leisurely and thoroughly nourishing experience. I love wine but am completely ignorant about what makes a good one good, yet the staff of Bin 26 unfailingly and charmingly provide information that leads to discovery and gratification.
Since that first visit I have returned with my husband, with visiting relatives, and more than once on my own. Each visit has been a delight.
Stylish Italian Experience – We went here on a busy Friday night and got a great table for two in the back. The place is on the small side, and the decor is basically supplied by the large amount of wine bottles, corks and lables. Our server was extremely nice and attentive, with food coming out at a great pace.
The menu does not provide an extensive list of options but does have a good range of tastes and prices. The carapacio was very good, as were the gnocci. By far though the best thing we had was the wild boar bacon fucili, it was absolutely outstanding, from the pasta to the sauce to the bacon.
The wine list lives up to the decor and is pretty extensive. I found a bunch of great options by the glass which is great beacuse they come in 4 different sizes. The wine list really lends itself to drinking a wine appropriate to each plate, which is a nice change. I would definitely suggest ordering a large selection of items and sharing!
terrible experience – We read a nice review about ?Bin 26? and decided to go there for Mother?s Day. IT WAS ONE OF THE WORST EXPERIENCES WE EVER HAD. We ordered a whole wheat Fettucini dish and got some completely undercooked pasta. It felt like eating flour. If you don?t like raw pasta don?t go there because the only thing we heard from the manager was that ?this is the way we usually serve our pasta here?. As a courtesy, they took one of the two pasta dishes off the check which we thought was nice. However, minutes later the manager came again to our table and actually had the nerve to ask us (in a very rude tone) whether we were unhappy about the service given the fact that our tip was not within the usual range (we tipped 15%!!!). We will never go there again.
Finally! – Astonishingly complex, exciting wine list (ask for Andy if you need help), complemented by a carefully chosen, sophisticated menu clearly aimed at connoisseurs. An authentic "enoteca" (unfortunately you can't buy the wine to take home since Mass. law doesn't allow it) not a wine bar. I only know of one restaurant in Italy (Aimo e Nadia in Milan) with a comparable wine list. If you don't know how to pair the food to the wine, the fabulous wait-staff seems always enthusiastic to help. They seem to be constantly adding new wines (well over 300, I would guess) and the menu changes seasonally. I have been coming here twice a month since they opened a year ago and I discover something new and wonderful every time.
Nice wine, possibly served in a dirty glass. – An interesting wine list, but a more interesting way of determing if the wine glass could be used again. Instead of removing all glasses after the first customers left, the busboy removed only those clearly used. He then lifted each of the remaining glasses to his nose, sniffed, and then made the determination that the glass could be used for the next customer. Frankly, I like to see all glasses and silverware removed after the diners leave, I know that the "sniffing" could be done in the kitchen but I did not like to see it done in the restaurant proper. This was not an isolated incident as I questioned our waitress who confirmed that so-called unused glasses were not returned to be washed.
Very nice experience, considering.... – As visitors to Boston, two friends and myself happened upon Bin 26 one afternoon after discovering that Figs down the street closes between lunch and dinner. I was apprehensive as it looked to be a bit too chi chi, since we were looking for just a bite and some drinks (we had been walking all day and looked hot and bedraggled). To our surprise, the host was very inviting and the wait staff was extremely eager to assist. Of course, there's the excellent wine list (it's as thick as a text book), and the server was happy to offer a tasting of anything we were interested in. We ordered the Bruschetta-Fontina and Field Mushroom which was above average. Unfortunately, a couple with the most unruly, loud, spoiled brat was seated at the end of the long communal table where we were seated. Tip to the host: foresee a problem before it happens and seat children in a far off corner maybe? The owner finally addressed the situation trying to quieten the child (whose parents were oblivious), but to no avail. We quickly got our check with major apologies from the wait staff, which I thought was a nice gesture. Overall, I would return because of the service, wine list, and food.
Not Impressed – When this place opened up around the corner from my apartment, my girlfriend really wanted to try it. So the improper bostonian writes a piece about it, and it seems like it was a positive review, so we made a reservation to try it out.
Service: We were seated by the host, and after waiting for over 10 minutes, he finally came back and offered us water... Then after another 10 minutes or so, the waiter came over and asked us if we were ready to order... Perhaps a wine bar should discuss wine? We were never asked how our meal was, though our server was attentive in keeping our wine glasses filled. We rarely saw anyone who could assist us in things we needed, like more water... The place had 2 tables being used, so it's not like our server was overwhelmingly busy. Also, the phone kept ringing this OBNOXIOUSLY loud ring all through the meal, cutting in to what was an attempt at a casually soft atmosphere.
Dinner: Eh. The risotto ball appetuizer was bland. The lobster raviolli was hard. Tasted like it wasn't cooked enough, though the inside lobster mix was very good. I ordered the chicken stuffed with prosciutto and asparagus with risotto. Chicken was dry, and the rest of the plate offered no relief or flavor. Boo.
Wine: Very broad selection. The wine we chose was very good.
Price: Way overpriced for the service and lackluster menu.
Another high-priced bistro posing as an enoteca – Intrigued by the excellent wine list on the website and liking the whole wine-bar concept, I went here for after dinner drinks and dessert with some friends. We quickly discovered that this isn't really a wine bar, but a restaurant trading on the presumed Eurosophistication of the word "enoteca". When I told the host that we just wanted drinks and some desserts, I was told that we had to order food because they didn't have a liquor license to just sell drinks. Why call yourself a wine bar, then? We ordered a glass of wine each and desserts. (A friend who joined us later was told he couldn't order a drink and stand at the bar, but would have to wait for another seat or table to open up, so he left.) The desserts, while small, were good but not great. My friend's risottoballs were stone cold. When she complained, she was given a lecture on the "proper" temperature of risottoballs, before they were whisked away to the kitchen and replaced with some warm ones. The wine was excellent, though the server seemed mystified by the range of syrahs on the list, which resulted in some confusion over who was being served which wine and us being overcharged $10 on one of the glasses of wine we ordered. (In all fairness, when we noted this to our server, he apologized and corrected it promptly.) Still, I'd have to say this was a massive disappointment. Lots of attitude and not a lot of substance. And not really a wine bar at all, which is a shame since that's the best thing going here.
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