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HELP! A South End place for cheap eats and a large group, maybe 6-8 people?

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Any suggestions?

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  1. Anchovie's on Columbus should be able to handle a smallish group like that. Also, Thai Village on Tremont is very tasty and reasonably-priced. Another possibility is Masa, on Tremont, which is also pretty good and not that expensive.

    1. Pho republic is great atmosphere and good food.

      1. Hmmm I wouldn't say Masa isn't expensive...unless the group orders from the dollar tapas menu, it can definitely add up...

        My favorite spots for larger groups are the Red Fez and Pho Republique. I haven't been to the Fez in a while though, and have read some mixed reviews lately on the board, so...I might lean toward Pho. I think it's a lively place with fun drinks and good food (albeit much more $$ than you should be paying for this type of food, but still..) I always have a good experience here. On the app menu, don't miss the Tuna spring rolls and the sticky ribs, both exceptional.

        I also think Anchovies could be a good choice. Certainly a cheaper one. You'd just need to make sure they'd have room for your group, perhaps by calling in advance?

        1. Another option might be Giacomo's on Columbus Avenue. They do tend to get busy but the South End location does take reservations.

          1. Pho is a great choice for groups on the cheap.

            1. I don't really understand the allure of Pho. It's fine for drinks but the food is ridiculously priced when compared with better food a short walk away in Chinatown.

              1. "The South End" and what I think of as "cheap eats" are pretty mutually exclusive. Don't forget, it's Restaurant Week: you might want to call ahead before you show up anywhere with eight people.

                I like the Fez, but understand it's gone downhill sharply of late. The Delux and Joe V's both disappointed me on my last couple of visits.

                Anchovies seems like a reasonable bet, but it's tough to fit eight people in there, and you'll wait a long while if it's busy.

                In the more mid-priced range (most entrees under $20), the Franklin is a fine value, but similarly tough for a big crowd; unless you split your party across two booths, there's only one table in the back corner that can squeeze in eight. It has been surprisingly slow on weeknights lately, so you might luck out. In this range, Columbus Cafe, Orinoco (another tight fit for crowds), The Dish, Addis Red Sea, and Petit Robert Bistrot II are decent values for the neighborhood.

                I don't consider Pho Republique to be cheap eats: apps are $8-13, a bowl of duck pho $23, entrees $18-23, shaker drinks $8-10. It's a fun place, but a bad dining value in my book.

                Masa is only a value for the $1 tapas in the bar, and they aren't anything special. A couple of drinks torpedoes the bargain.

                House of Siam is probably the best South End Thai option, with just slightly-above-average prices for a Thai place.

                My "worthy cheap eats" list in the South End includes Don Ricardo (most entrees mid-teens), Miami Cafe, and Morse Fish. I had an above-average pie from Mangia Mangia recently. Mike's City Diner and the South End Buttery are good, but not open for dinner.

                1. When we lived in the South End as (very cheap) grad students, we ate at Addis Red Sea. It's fun and cheap and you should be able to get in there with your group with little difficulty. YUM!

                  1. You may want to consider 'Laurel' or 'Prairie Star' - they are owned by the same couple. Laurel is more upscale but still reasonable ($15 entrees). Prairie Star is 'frugal' on Mon-Tue-Wed nights - all entrees (including steak) are $10. It's reasonable any night, but especially so on Mon-Wed.
                    Good Luck.
                    I don't recommend Anchovies for a group that large - you could wait forever. Same goes for Franklin. I like the Red Fez idea.

                    1. No question there are quality chinese spots in chinatown that offer a much better bargain and even better food than Pho Republique. But here's what you get at Pho: fun, kitchy drinks, a lively atmosphere, a variety of really good "pan-asian" apps and entrees, all fairly mainstream. In my opinion, this is a good formula for a large group. Unless you're all really good friends with really similar tastes, it's almost impossible to find a place to please everyone. Is it the best value in town? Definitely not. But in my book, it scores on just about every other level, given the poster's parameters.

                      Morse Fish and Miami Cafe and even Don Ricardo may be very good, and fairly cheap, but the atmosphere in all of these places is pretty lacking. Unless the group is all about the food and low cost, and is ok with a really no-frills place, these wouldn't be the spots I'd be going to for a night out.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: twentyoystahs

                        Oh I agree on most of those points, I just think Pho is over-priced Pan-Asian, sort of like PF Chang's. None of the food is bad per se, but it's not exactly cheap either. I meet up with friends for drinks at Pho on occasion and always have a great time. Excellent bar service every time too. One could always eat elsewhere and get drinks there.

                        If Don Ricardo were ever full and had some music playing, I think it could be loads of fun. Reasonably inexpensive, delicious food and reasonably priced bottles of wine too.

                        1. re: twentyoystahs

                          I agree- I think Pho is fun and great for a group. It's not the best food you'll ever eat in your life but it's tasty and a great atmosphere.