Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.


30 Gloucester St. (Newbury St.) Send to Phone
The French Contemporary cuisine of chef Frank McClelland will find a new home at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston on Boylston Street.

  • No Credit Cards

* Click here for rating key


: CHEF-OWNER FRANK MCCLELLAND’S L’ESPALIER HAS REOPENED A COUPLE OF BLOCKS AWAY IN THE NEW MANDARIN ORIENTAL, BOSTON ON BOYLSTON STREET. L'Espalier doesn't pretend to be anything it is not, making no concessions toward casual convenience or accessibility. To the contrary, it is relentless in its pursuit of perfection and fully committed to dining as an experience, not just an extended act of eating. From the moment one enters the wrought-iron front door of this Back Bay brownstone and begins the ascent to one of the three dining rooms (ask to be seated in the salon for maximum intimacy), it is as if longtime chef-owner Frank McClelland has invited you into his home for a gala dinner. Time is all but suspended. This is why so many diners sit down, order Champagne, and green-light the kitchen to cook them a seven-course dégustation (of which a vegetarian version is available) without a moment's hesitation. Though the tuxedoed waiters and name might suggest otherwise, L'Espalier is not the dyed-in-the-wool decadent French restaurant it was in the '80s. Blessed as chef McClelland may be with an Escoffier-like handle on traditional haute cuisine, his food soars because he is able to put classical techniques in service of local ingredients---and vice-versa; each brings out the best of the other. While McClelland's flavors tower highest when they are most visibly provincial French or regional American, his is an undeniably global cuisine in which smoked cockles or kajiki (Hawaiian marlin) is as sure to pop up as brioche or sweetbreads. And he is justly famous for his foie gras preparations. We're also amazed time and time again by the balletic service and wine director Erik Johnson's knack for making the food here taste even better with one tip of a bottle (the wine list is, as you'd expect, boggling).


GAYOT's Annual Restaurant Awards honor America's best chefs, as well as promising newcomers and a top restaurateur.