O'Brien's isn't an Irish pub, despite what its name may suggest; yet the menu does include a shout out to the Emerald Isle with dishes like fish and chips and shepherd's pie. And while innovative fare isn't behind O'Brien's success, appealing to the masses with a wide variety of dishes is. The continental menu tips its hat to Italy (veal parmesan and chicken penne pasta), China (stir-fry) and Japan (teriyaki-glazed salmon with jasmine rice, shitake mushrooms and pea pods), with entrees priced $12-$30.
Before you choose your dish, you'll need to choose your seat. The indoors plays host to a piano bar featuring live music nightly and a formal dining area where those with deeper wallets can sup on oysters on a half shell followed by filet mignon. Forget about dessert menus, the day's selectionsólike tiramisu, carrot cake and sorbetóare brought out on a tray and waved right under the nose in all their tantalizing glory. In warm months, birds of a certain feather flock to the popular outdoor garden cafe to order cool beverages from the fully-stocked gazebo bar and a round of appetizers like pita chips with spicy artichoke dip. Claim your seat early on weekends when tables disappear faster than the mixed drinks.
Located amid the specialty stores and entertainment venues that line Old Town's Wells Street, the family-owned restaurant and bar draws a crowd that includes shoppers lunching, show-goers grabbing a pre-performance dinner and working-types downing cocktails with a side of live piano.
Average cost: $31+
Centerstage Reviewer: Albrey Nuss