One of Boston’s best kept dining secrets is The Courtyard. If one needed another reason to visit Boston Public Library, this delightful restaurant is surely a good one. We had read and heard so much about The Library, which claims to be the oldest in the USA, that we could not resist a visit and the opportunity to sample a traditional afternoon tea at the restaurant.
Leaving the Cape – it had been a while – involves crossing Sagamore Bridge and leaving behind that reassuring insularity, which makes many a Cape Codder tremble at the prospect. Even we joke about it and feel a sense of relief each time we cross the bridge on our return. After living in London for so many years, navigating the Boston traffic comes easily to us. If only London’s streets could be even half as clean as Boston’s though. We always enjoy the trips we make to this impressive city, and this was no exception.
We decided to spend the night at one of our favorite hotels, The Lenox in Back Bay, which just happens to be nextdoor to The Library and within touching distance of The Prudential Centre, another favorite of ours. We just had time for our effortless check-in (beautiful room with great view) before we went off to tea.
The Courtyard is an elegant stylish restaurant which instantly reminded us of The Pump Room in Bath, England, which is also an historic tea room with a huge reputation. This exquisite Boston affair has that added classy understatement that sets it apart from so many tea rooms. Not a doilie in sight! The creative and mouthwatering Luncheon Menu means we shall be making a quick return next time we are in town.
As for the afternoon tea, it was beautifully prepared and presented to us on a three tiered pastry stand. I shall not attempt to describe each delicate little sandwich and tartlette. I could not possibly do them justice……check it out for yourself. We particularly enjoyed the scones served with traditional clotted cream and artisanal preserve. Oh I nearly forgot to mention the petit pain with lobster – I got to eat Helen’s as well. We were seriously impressed by the whole experience and will recommend it to this season’s guests, especially the Brits amongst them, who are always looking to us for ideas of things to see and do in Boston. The check came to $70 ish with tip – I can hear the groans already – worth every penny too!
Before leaving, we explored some of the incredible reading rooms in this magnificent library, Bates Hall, entrance foyer and lavishly ornate main staircase should not be missed. We left plenty yet to be explored on our next visit.
Now I wonder what’s for dinner….