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Small celebration of our wedding near Arlington

Hi there -

We're coming to Arlington to celebrate our wedding with friends and family who couldn't make it to ceremony. Need a place we can have lunch on a Saturday afternoon for 20-25 people, relatively near Arlington. Looking for either a place that normally isn't open for lunch, but will do a private party, or a place that has a suitably small but private room.

Here's the choices I've come up with so far:

Flora - heard very good things, but it seems the most expensive, the food is also probably a bit "fancy" for my New England in-laws.

La Buona Vita - seen some good things, but can't tell what the restaurant is like b/c they don't have any pictures online, can't tell if it's all booths, if a large party would work there, etc, also concerned about parking for everyone since its right in the center

Scutra - mixed opinions, same concerns about parking and layout of the room, menu seems a bit like Flora's but less expensive

Verona - Watertown, would be the most casual, but the owner seems great, no room rental fee, could bring our own cake with no cake cutting charge etc

Max Stein's - looks like the most traditional food, they mentioned their garden room (used to be the patio when it was Hartwell House), don't see much posted on it yet since it's still relatively new

Cafe Escadrille - not sure if they've got a space that would work for such a small group, they certainly have experience with weddings, but that might mean more $$

Any opinion on which would work best for this sort of thing? Or other suggestions on that general side of town? We don't want anything too formal, but would still like it to be nice. Ages from 80+ down to 3 so we're quite a mixed group. We're probably going to repeat our vows, etc, so needs to be somewhere where that's ok (but who isn't going to charge us for a whole "wedding package" b/c that's not what it is).

Appreciate any other suggestions or advice. Thanks!

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  1. La Buona Vita- I seem to have terrible luck there. Friends say "it's great" but the three times I've eaten there I've struck out. In any case, it's pretty small for 25 people. If I remember correctly, there are about six or eight 4-tops in there. We had a dozen people once and felt like we had taken over the place.

    1. I agree with last poster on La Buona Vita - I wasn't at all impressed with the place, though others seem to like it. My last experience with Scutra was not great (more about what seemed to me to be somewhat muddled flavors rather than any real food or service glitches), but have had good ones in the past (including a small birthday party -- 8 or 10 people). They have a parking lot, so parking shouldn't be a problem. Flora has the best food of your Arlington choices, and I don't think parking would be a problem on a Saturday afternoon.

      1. You should check out Prose in Arlington. Fantastic food but not as expensive as Flora or Scutra. Some people don't like the look from the outside, but the inside of the restaurant is really quite cozy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: margie

          The thing about Prose is that (unless things have changed) the sole chef also waits the tables and it's just not set up for serving a large group all at once. Agree that the food is good though.

        2. I had the displeasure of eating at Cafe Escadrille for the first time last month. If your guests all happen to be 90 or older, it might be perfect, otherwise skip it.

          1. For something this important, I strongly recommend that you try the food yourself at the place and talk to the people there before committing to a lunch location. I've had a very good meal at Scutra but that was over a year ago. Perhaps it would be feasible if you narrowed things down to 2 or 3 choices and then go to the restaurants to try the food and see what the service is going to be like.