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Planning ahead- special dinner, Oleana fell through

Hi, Hounds-
I need some help brainstorming. We need a venue for a graduation dinner for May. We are going to have a total of 8 people, and since it's grad weekend all over we know we need to reserve early. With this in mind, we called Oleana and were informed that they don't take reservations for more than parties of 6 on Fridays or Saturdays. What's up with that? Since I can't un-invite the in-laws (kidding!), looks like we'll have to change the venue.

Anyways, we have a diverse group- my husband and I are the foodies. His parents are from the Midwest, but will eat most things. My parents are from NY and think that the world revolves around NY restaurants so we need to show them the best Boston/Cambridge have to offer. My mom eats fish but not meat. My brother in law is a pretty good eater and loves seafood, and his girlfriend whom we haven't met yet apparently doesn't like anything.

The ideal venue will be upscale, but not quite at the price level of Le Espalier. We can take the T or drive if there's parking and we're coming from Davis Square. I was thinking Gargoyles, but we eat there a lot and were looking forward to trying something different. We've also loved Craigie but have been there 3 times recently and it's a little offal-heavy for our crowd. Basically, we want Oleana but with the ability to take reservations... what's close?
Thanks for your ideas!

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  1. Rocca in the SE has a great private room that seats 8-10. You can order off off the regular menu. Scout them out on line.

      1. re: capeanne

        Ooh- this looks promising- I will definitely consider it. Keep 'em coming...

        1. re: Parsnipity

          Salts (although small )has options in every entree category including veggie but they are always booked to the limit during Harvard MIT etc graduation week so plan accordingly ( as you are) Beer and wine only if that is a consideration

          1. re: Parsnipity

            We recently had a fabulous meal at Salts, next time I will order the duck for two (they say to order when you make reservations so that they don't run out - it's a big seller) - looked excellent but we all (5 of us) loved are meals. My son and gf love this place, they love Craigie too if that puts it into perspective.

            1. re: lexpatti

              How about across the street - Cuchi-cuchi is a great place for a celebration - fun, great cocktails and food, and very festive.

        2. Maybe Prezza, Bina, Benatti or EVOO.

          1. Honestly? I love La Morra and would absolutely consider giving them a shot, if you're willing to drive. We've never had a problem finding a parking spot within walking distance.

            1. Not sure if this fits for you but last May we had a similar group for my daughter's graduation from BU. We went to a family favorite, Eastern Standard, They took the reservations far in advance- can't exactly remember but I feel like it was a couple of months at least- and we were treated beautifully despite the crowds. We had my parents, in their late 70's and traditional eaters, two vegans, and two steak/meat lovers. They have a raw bar, which my dad really enjoyed. The cocktails are famous, the atmosphere vibrant, and it's right on the Green Line in Kenmore Square. I think my parents found it a tiny bit loud but I hope they understood it WAS graduation weekend and the Red Sox were in town, too. You are wise to start thinking about this now. Have fun!