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Need rec. for dinner-10 people, visiting from Ohio

Good morning all,

My Aunt and Uncle and some of their friends are coming to Boston next week for the first time. I have been asked to make dinner reservations for a Wednesday night for 10 people. That was all I was given. So I need some help. Looking for something moderately priced. Since they have not been to Boston before, I am thinking something that is unique to Boston. My initial thoughts were something in the Fanhueil hall area or the North End. I realize that this might not be the most 'chowish' question but really need a bit of direction. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Well, when my family dines together (and we have a big family), we go to Maggiano's ( Back Bay near Park Plaza hotel)...they have "family style" dining menu and this is great for groups. And they continue to bring refills on what you order if you run out.
    I know some hounds will bash this pick but we love it and I have always found the italian food to be consistent and you can find something for everyone.
    I would also recommend Summer Shack...also a slightly controversial chow pick. It is extremely casual place but I have always found seafood to be well prepared and fresh (also located in Back Bay). And again, something for everyone. And if you have kids, they have plenty of options. You can also head downstairs after dinner and go bowling at King's.
    Boston can be an expensive dining venue if you aren't looking to go for Pho in the suburbs like Quincy...that would be the most affordable option but not everyone might go for that. The picks above are more "mainstream" dining.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bostongal

      Maggiano's is a chain from the midwest, though. And in a hotel, too. Not very unique.

      I agree that Summer Shack might fit the bill.

      If you have to go to Faneuil Hall, maybe McCormick and Schmick. I know it's a chain, too, but it's seafood.

    2. If your people are into seafood, I would suggest the Barking Crab. The outside dining is the "Lobster in the rough" experience, which you won't find in Ohio. It can get a little pricey there, but so can the Summer Shack. Or, if you have enough cars, you could even drive to Quincy, and eat seafood at Tony's Clam Shack.

      1. Go to the Summer Shack in Cambridge. Very laid back. Big lobster tank. Good oysters. Order off the board and a good time will be had by all.

        1. Someone will shoot at me for this, but take them to Durgin Park. There is nothing like it outside of Boston. The price is right, the menu has lots of old-school Yankee food, and there will be no problem accommodating the group. The prime rib is always a safe bet for big smiles. You can get a big platter of oysters as part of the appetizer course. Try to convince at least some of your relatives to try the Indian Pudding with vanilla ice cream for dessert. It is not a chow-ish kind of place, but the food is good, the setting is unique, and I can't imagine anyone (perhaps except for a raw-food vegetarian) not being able to find something they will want on the menu. Plus, the Quincy Market / Faneuil Hall area is great for after-dinner strolling, sitting, and/or drinks.

          6 Replies
          1. re: PinchOfSalt

            Second Durgin Park. Visitors love it.

            1. re: PinchOfSalt

              Why would anyone shoot you for reccommending Durgin Park? It may not be everyone's cup ot tea, but I think its a good idea. Those posters on this board that don't like Durgin Park don't have to go there. I thought eveyone's opinion was welcome here.

              1. re: skippy66

                I can't stand DP. But if the "experience" means more than the food (and in this case, a lot more, IMO) then it fits the bill.

                So does the Union Oyster House. Bad food in the most unique setting in Boston.

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Union Oyster House and Durgin Park should never be compared outside of saying that both are very old. I would never send anyone to Union Oyster House. When I think of my experience there (yes, I have been dragged there by out of town people who had to go there just because), I think of food that is maybe a notch above tv dinners, without the nostalgia and the folding table in the living room. Durgin Park, on the other hand serves food that is definitely better than acceptable. It is not gourmet fare, but it is fresh, decently prepared, and perfectly pleasing, unless you are looking for creativity and/or the latest foodie trends. However the OP said nothing about the visitors asking for that.

                  1. re: PinchOfSalt

                    Yes, the food at Union Oyster isn't very good, except at the oyster bar, but it's the oldest restaurant in both Boston and the US and that definitely is unique. And unique was what OP was looking for.

                    I wouldn't send people there if they were looking for good food, but neither would I send them to Durgin Park, as I think the food there is very mediocre as well.

                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      Good Lord, I in fact went to CH right now looking for ALTERNATIVES to Durgin Park—my boyfriend had his birthday dinner there last year for old Yankee tradition's sake and attendees across-the-board vetoed ever going back. Very mediocre food and, adding injury to insult, expensive too.

            2. I'll probably get flamed for this but for first time visitors, nothing says "Boston" quite like Legal Seafoods. Decent food, moderate price and (like Durgin Park) they're only in Boston. There's one right at the Aquarium near Fanueil Hall.

              3 Replies
              1. re: lowbuckbob

                There are Legal Seafoods in 10 states now -- not just in Boston.

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Oops. My bad. (I was born and raised in Boston and I've lived in the area for 55 years!)

                  1. re: C. Hamster

                    and there is nothing especially bostonian about the decor or the menus now.