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Anyone thrown a party at any of these places?

Trying to put together a fun birthday dinner for the husband on a Friday night after the holidays. Looking for a semi-private or private dining area where guests can order off of the menu. It is a young 30-something crowd of varying incomes so I don't want to go overboard with price (I'm too poor to fit the bill :). There will be between 15-20 diners. Last year I did it at Stella which was fun, great service & decent food.

So far, in my research, these places might fit the bill, although some of them probably have too high price points:

West Side Lounge
Cuchi Cuchi
Eastern Standard
Grill 23
Antico Forno

Any additional recommendations welcome! Thanks!

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  1. Eastern Standard has a decent sized private room that would probably fit the size crowd you are looking to have, plus the food is good and reasonably priced. It's been awhile but I went to a dinner in that room and it was great. I have found when trying to plan for groups that Cuchi Cuchi can be tough on the weekends. Unless something has changed, they won't always take a reservation past 6ish on a weekend night. A friend is having a birthday dinner for me this year at Rocca in their private room off of the bar and last year my birthday was at Grotto. I thought they handled our crowd of 18 or so wonderfully although we did have to do a set menu for a group that size but we chose in advance items from their regular menu to add to our fixed menu.

    1. Mama Maria has lots of private rooms, though the food is on the pricey side

      1. I threw a birthday party (30) for my wife at ES earlier this year. We had around 12 people, and aside from one person who is an amazingly picky eater and doesn't much care for drinking, everyone left very happy. The room is nicely appointed, service was good, the cocktails there are amazing, and the food is good but not exceptional. They do have a minimum price per head, and we ended up not quite hitting it. That was a bit disappointing when it came time to pay the bill.

        1. my opinion:
          cuchi cuchi - SUPER FUN, GREAT food
          grill23 - the steak never dissapoints, fun/busy enviornment
          radius - bad food

          other suggestions:
          33restaurant & bar -- very good food, and they have a private party area that you can reserve

          toro - great tapas, isnt pricey, but its ken oringer and its s.end both of which i love

          1. Dante, Grill 23 and Rocca have private rooms'
            Cuchi Cuchi and Eastern St. are the MOST fun!
            Marco and Antico Forno are too small

            1. You're unlikely to fit 20 diners at West Side Lounge, and certainly not in a (semi-) private dining area, unless you rent out the whole place. I think the latter is also very unlikely on a Friday night, especially if you don't want to go overboard with price. Can't hurt to call, though, since we love their food and drinks.

              3 Replies
              1. re: DavisSquare

                Oh, okay...I will follow up. The reason I singled them out is because on their website they boast "we are in love with private parties" or something to that effect. I thought they said they have a room for 25 people?

                Also, for those who recommend ESK, the private dining room looks like it only seats 10 --has anyone eaten in there?

                1. re: saridt

                  I could swear there were more than ten people in the ESK private room when I went. I think we had around 15 people if memory serves correct.

                  1. re: saridt

                    Hmm. Their website doesn't seem to be working for me at the moment, but if they have a private room, you should certainly check it out. I haven't seen it, but that means less than nothing. I was thinking of the main dining room.

                2. I've hosted private events at both Eastern Standard and Grill 23 in the last year. We had about 35 people at Eastern Standard, so it was semi-private-- too large for their private room. They blocked off a corner of the restaurant for us. The price was very reasonable, service was great, and food was good. I think the private room holds 15-20, and I would absolutely do another event there, especially if the size was right for the private room. I hosted a smaller dinner at Grill 23 earlier this month in the wine room. It's a lovely room-- they have several private rooms of various sizes. They offer a 4 course dinner in the private rooms, but they give the guests pretty much the entire menu to choose from so I was happy with the amount of selection. More formal (and much more expensive -- the pp price was about 2.5x) than the Eastern Standard event, but both were very nice. I think Sel de la Terre also has a private room that would be a good size for your group... priced probably between these two.

                  1. FWIW I had a party of 12 at CuchiCuchi and was underwelmed, both in service and food quality/price.

                    1. We had a Friday Night rehearsal dinner for 40 people in the private dining room at Elephant Walk (the Cambridge one) and it was fantastic. We had two dedicated servers who passed hors d'oeuvres before the sit-down dinner and drink service for the whole night.

                      1. Check out Avila at the 1 Charles Condo building. It's mediterranean tapas. They have private dining rooms that will fit your party and you can order off the menu. The prices aren't too bad as well. You can also check out a few of the places in the North End. Lucca and Bricco are two of the favs with private rooms, resonable prices and excellent food.

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: Joanie

                            Some items are on the pricey side, but you can still have a great meal without breaking the bank.

                        1. Hi

                          If you don't mind traveling a bit out side the city I would suggest Sichuan Garden in Woburn. It is right off Rte 128/95 so it is easy to get to. This place gets strong reviews on this board, the prices are very reasonable and the food is great. They also have very nice private dining rooms on the second floor of the old colonial house that the restaurant is in. It would be perfect for a group of your size.

                          1. I have been to Dante with a group and the "private" room was a separate, but open and noisy section of the dining room behind the bar -- not a repeat.

                            Brasserie Jo has a nice private room (or two) and a varied french menu with multiple price points and solid service.

                            The Zebra Room in the downstairs part (Monday Club) of Upstairs on the Square is great and should be OK price-wise (but may be a little too large). I haven't been since the chefs changed, but the service has always been warm and gracious.

                            The upstairs at Bricco sounds perfect, but I think the prices are very high relative to the quallity and service.

                            1. Just had party for 30 at Radius, Apps were great but the 3 dinner choices were disappointing. Price:performance ratio way out of whack.

                              Had a couple of similar parties at Sel de la Terre Boston) and it was excellent,