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Fancy Lunch for Special Birthday, Weekday (Downtown or Cambridge)

I'm treating a family member that lives in rural New Hampshire to a birthday brunch or lunch, during the week.

I'm looking for something downtown or Cambridge. A place that isn't too heavy on the business crowd but is sophisticated, where we can take our time and enjoy the space.

They are a parent of small kids so one of the wonderful aspects I'm looking for is an adult place where they feel far away from the stresses of family management.

They have great food taste, have lived in big metro areas so there is no concern for the "suburb factor"


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  1. I think Eastern Standard Kitchen is exactly what you are looking for. Lots of posts about ESK on this board.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JudyHP

      If Eastern Standard qualifies as downtown, that would be my rec also.

    2. I love Eastern Standard too, though I don't really consider it fancy. You can have a leisurely, fancy lunch at #9 Park though there are often business people given its location, but I don't think it takes away from the ambience.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lissy

        Second No.9 Park -- there might be a few suits there, but it would be a really lovely birthday treat.

      2. Eastern Standard is a solid rec... but a bit far from downtown... I'm trying to think of a similar spot closer in...the idea is that we can bumble around the shops, Garden, etc before or after...

        1. I might suggest something on Beacon Hill:

          Beacon Hill Bistro
          Bin 26

          1. How about the Bristol Lounge in the Four Seasons? You can relax on one of the couches and enjoy a leisurely lunch. Not sure what kind of a crowd is there during the day, anyone?

            1. bristol during the day is lots of "ladies who lunch."

              anything downtown at lunch will be suits, but davio's during the day is pretty low-key.

              lala rokh is something different -- i really like that place.

              upstairs on the square certainly has a vibrant vibe and look. although i'm not sure how the food is since susan regis and amanda lydon left.

              what about douzo? i doubt they get great sushi up in that neck of the woods.

              none of the high end places really expect to turn tables at lunch, so you won't be rushed no matter where you go.

              1. It's been a while since I'd gone, but we had a lunch celebration at Radius. The food and service were excellent. I agree w/posting above about Lala Rokh...I need to get back there.

                1. in harvard square you could consider casablanca. it's more sophisticated than fancy. it's quiet and not usually crowded for lunch--would be a good place to linger. i like the comfortable atmosphere very much but i prefer the food at some places listed above.

                  1. This year I had a birthday lunch at OM and was very pleased. I couldn't imagine bringing a child there! Upstairs on the Square is also lovely and grownup.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Bluebell

                      I agree, Om is very adult and food is terrific.