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Jun 5, 2007 12:55 PM

Ideas for a Fri night dinner in Boston --for 5?

Ok, here's the setup. 5 adults, Fri night dinner, prime-time (probably btwn 7-8).. 2 of the adults are from out-of-town, so it would be fun to take them to an interesting, fun place with good atmosphere/vibe..Need a place that has great food, fun energy, takes reservations, and is VERY reasonably priced --entrees mostly in, say, the $14-17 range, topping out at $20 max. Wine/cocktail list is not as important as those in the group aren't big drinkers, if at all. Bonus points if we can find a restaurant right in the South End, as that is home base. But, somewhere else in the city is ok, would prefer not to drive out though. Here are the leading contenders, in order of my preference. I believe they all take reservations -- Thoughts? Other ideas? TIA.

Eastern Standard
Petit Robert Bistro
Columbus Cafe (?)
Bouchee (?) --not sure why we'd choose this over PRB tho'....

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  1. What about Pho Republic or Stella?

    1. I would choose PRB over Bouchee though the PRB in the South End doesn't take reservations (but the one in Kenmore does). Pops is a good option especially as they should have their ventilation issue taken care of now. I find the staff there to be quite friendly and accommodating. Another reasonably priced option is Rocca. I haven't been since week one but I'll be there tomorrow night to see what kinks have been worked out. If it's nice out, they have that lovely outdoor space too.

      3 Replies
      1. re: lissy

        I think both Pho and Stella are both just ok...and the truth is, once you venture beyond the apps at Pho you're looking at a higher price point, most entrees $20+ ....just trying to be sensitive to our guests. Also, Stella is crazy-loud. I like the Rocco idea, and I definitely considered that too. But then did a little chowhound research and it looks like that may suffer from a similar fate. Lots of small plates that don't seem to be all that filling and then entrees get a bit pricier. Not true? I may have to check out their menu online. Either way, I'd love a Rocco report once you go again, Lissy, if you don't mind. Our dinner isn't till a week from this Fri so we still have some time.

        1. re: twentyoystahs

          Another option that I just thought of is Grotto. It may not be in the South End but the food is good and reasonably inexpensive.

          1. re: twentyoystahs

            I was going to suggest to add Rocca in the mix too and like Lissy I haven't been since week 1 (but instead of going tomorrow, I'm going next week). I think it's a bit more exciting for a group of your size than at PRB. I'd also put in a vote for ESK, maybe depending on the Sox schedule...

            I'm sure you've considered the cash-only aspect of Giacomo's which may be a plus or minus based on your party size.

        2. Some options:

          Bob's - very reasonably priced, definitely fun, live music = energy, not sure about reservations.

          Jae's Cafe - moderate price, lively place, wide range of menu options, not sure about reservations.

          Pho Republique - expensive, fun, cool (as in a different kind of energy), not sure about reservations.

          Beehive - moderate to expensive price, fun, see above about live music, reservations on Open Table.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Bob MacAdoo

            I thought abt Beehive, just 'cause the atmosphere seems fun and lively...but have read sort of mixed reviews on the food..and since this dinner will be more about food than drinks and music, I thought that might not be the best choice. Seems like a great place to grab some drinks and apps though.

            1. re: twentyoystahs

              I haven't tried the Beehive food yet, just went for drinks. That alone was worth the trip. Great vibe, and good music too. Despite the mixed reviews on food, I will give it a go sometime this summer. Good luck with the search and let us know how it goes.

              1. re: twentyoystahs

                From the reviews here, doesn't it seem like the Beehive is above the price parameters?

                1. re: Dax

                  Yes, but price was not 20 O's only requested parameter! Alas, it's not so easy to find cheaper fare in the South End ...

                  BTW, one more place to consider. Delux Cafe. Though I haven't been in eons - and therefore cannot comment on the food - but the dive atmosphere is certainly lively and interesting. And I understand the price point is within the parameters ...

                  1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                    But she wants to make reservations. I'd go with Pops or PRB, both of which I'm considering for my party of 6 in a couple weeks. And since Pops is new to me...

              2. re: Bob MacAdoo

                beehive sucks as well.. nice atmosphere thus... laurel food is pretty good and good prices!
                rocca is overpriced and food sucks as well... nice atmosphere and service is ok a bit slow

                1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                  I'm really surprised to see Jae's Cafe being offered as a recommendation - this pales in comparison to ESK or Pops. I find the food and service at Jae's to be just awful. The menu is all over the map and barely authentic ("mango chicken" and "szechuan shrimp") - like the kind of Asian restaurant I'd expect to find in a strip mall somewhere in the midwest where no Asian people live. We can do better! If you want to do something fun and Asian, Koreana is not bad (if you can get the waitstaff to give you the time of day).

                2. I love your post name, it always makes me hungry. If you do drive, head down to Little Q on Hancock Street in Quincy. The broths are fantastic, and it is a great place to get together without an uncomfortable bill at the end.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chowfamily

                    I would highly recommend Laurel at 142 Berkley Street. They have an interesting menu and very good food and service. Almost all of their entrees are under $17.00.
                    Their website is

                  2. bouchee sucks.. go to eastern standard or petit robert bistro