North Carolina native Deirdre Auld is the director of operations for the Coda Group, putting her at the head table for neighborhood hangs like Jamaica Plain’s Canary Square, the South End’s SRV and Back Bay’s the Salty Pig. The 29-year-old Bostonian also co-founded L.E.A.D., which stands for Ladies Engaging & Advancing Dining, a group that aims to motivate and educate female front-of-house leaders within the local restaurant community. She dishes on her favorite duo for date night and the magic of mugaritas.
Best meal under $5?
Honestly, is anything in Boston under $5? I don’t even think coffee is under $5 anymore. For under $10, I love Darwin’s Ltd on Cambridge Street. They make the best sandwiches and pastries.1629 Cambridge Street, Cambridge,darwinsltd.com.
Best hidden gem?
I absolutely love Bondir in Cambridge. I think Jason Bond’s food is so thoughtful and consistent and the service always matches the food styling. It has an old school Boston feel to it. The interior’s very homey.279A Broadway, Cambridge, bondircambridge.com
Best place to dine alone?
I love to dine alone at Coppa. The bar is small and the space is cozy. The team has been there for years so they are awesome at knowing all the regulars but still making newbies feel like part of the party. You can have whatever experience you want, interactive and engaged or quiet and private. They’re good at reading the signs.253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, coppaboston.com.
Place you recommend for out-of-towner?
I would always steer out-of-towners to B&G Oysters — it’s such a quintessential New England seafood restaurant. They were among the original new wave of oyster bars in Boston. Go there for the full oyster, clam chowder and lobster roll experience.550 Tremont St, Boston, bandgoysters.com.
Go-to date spot?
This question in my opinion really depends on what kind of a date person are you — do you like quiet and romantic or vibrant and low pressure? I would say Ana Sortun definitely has both covered. For a quiet romantic date my go-to would be Oleana. Sit on the patio in the summer and you’ll feel like you’re in the secret garden. Oleana’s food and wine show Middle Eastern food with so much finesse. Sarma would be my go to date spot for a more vibrate and casual date. Also focusing on Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, Cassie Piuma, Sarma’s chef/owner, creates intense spice driven flavors in a space that is colorful and vibrant to match.
Sarma,249 Pearl St, Somerville, sarmarestaurant.com
Oleana,134 Hampshire St, Cambridge, oleanarestaurant.com
Best place to catch up with friends?
My friends and I love to catch up at Lone Star Taco Bar. They have locations in Allston and Cambridge and they’re both small and always buzzing. Mugaritas are the best because you never have to wait for a second drink, it’s already in your glass. Plus, the price is a steal.635 Cambridge St, Cambridge;479 Cambridge St, Allston,lonestar-boston.com
Most Instagrammable dish in town?
Any of Bar Mezzana’s crudo for sure; they are using the most gorgeous high quality fish and the dishes are striking. Plus they have the cutest plates with their logo on them to really tie the whole image together.360 Harrison Ave, Boston,barmezzana.com