Sometimes eating to the tune of bartenders shaking drinks, groups guffawing, and the latest indie rock sensation on the sound system is cool. (We're looking at you, Bottle Cap.) But there are (so many) times when dinner needs to be a respite from noise. Maybe it's been a rough week. Maybe your older relatives are in town. Or maybe it's time for something a little corny romantic with your SO. Whatever the reason, here's our list of quiet, calm restaurants, by the neighborhood. There might even be a delicious pork chop or two for your enjoyment—in hushed tones, of course.
The first time I walked off the street into Japantown's Bushi-tei, it was just to take a closer look at the majestic, live-edge communal table that almost fills up the entire street-level dining room. A glance upstairs revealed irregular, Hobbit-like slabs of wood lining the walls. Another look down popped with pairs of whittled wood spindles, serving as the most delicate of chopsticks on each table. I had to come back.