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Good Restaurant for my BIrthday Meal

OK, my birthday is coming up, and my daughters want to take me out for a meal and a movie on Saturday (my birthday is actually the week after, but since I have one daughter who is coming up from New Haven, a Saturday celebration is perfect).

I desperately need suggestions - these are the criteria:

1. Need vegan and regular (me) food on the menu..
2. Parking nearby
3. Hopefully a cinema nearby, too.
and last, but not least important:
4. Not too expensive

For price, I'd say up to about $17 a person is reasonable, less would be much better - I really like the idea that I can get the vermicelli bowl in Pho Pasteur (Chinatown location) for around $8, so use that as a basis - plus, while the atmosphere isn't special, it's still nice. My daughter mentions since PP is so reasonable, we could also order appetizers (and have some to take home - mmm)... there is parking at a nearby garage, I'm told, but I don't know how much that will cost - kids are telling me it doesn't matter, but neither of them are swimming in dough.

Exclude Mexican or Italian - I've had too much Mexican lately, and I'm half Sicilian, so I cook Italian at home all the time.

We originally thought of Elephant Walk in Cambridge, but it's gotten mixed reviews here.

Much has been written about Allston as a great chow destination these days - one of my daughters knows where to park around there, so that's a possibility.

Also thought of the other Pho Pasteurs, but I don't know how they compare.

Also - since it's the day (or evening) before Easter, do you guys think we'll need reservations?

Going out for the day - will appreciate any & all suggestions, of course. I'm depending on my chowhound family to steer me in the right direction - and, of course, will report back about our experience after our Easter Waffle-brunch (a new tradition in my home, designed my oldest daughter to force me to go easy on the work, lol).

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Elephant Walk
2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

Pho Pasteur Restaurant
682 Washington St, Boston, MA 02111

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  1. ...bump...

    wanted to add that I've searched the archives, but didn't come up w/anything different than I mentioned. Would love to try Grezzo, but it's way too pricey for us, IMO.

    So far, I think Pho Pasteur is a safe bet for both those of us who are veg. & those of us (meaning me) who are carnivores.

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    Grezzo
    25 State St, Newburyport, MA 01950

    2 Replies
    1. re: threedogs

      How 'bout Solea in Waltham. Tapas usually offers a fair number of vegetarian options, though I'm not sure they'll meet the vegan requirements. You're also close to the Landmark Embassy Theater .

      1. re: justbeingpolite

        Solea looks awesome, but there doesn't seem to be enough vegan choices in the tapas (and their are no vegan entrees).

      1. re: Taralli

        Fantastic!! I didn't know this restaurant existed - I am def passing on this info to my kids. I'd love to try it... even if we end up choosing someplace else, this will def be one I visit soon. Sounds great.

        1. re: threedogs

          I'll second Red Lentil. I've only been once, but I enjoyed it a lot. Causal, low-key place with an interesting range of options, some of which were more successful than others. When I was there they had a special pizza made with the sauce from the Gobi Manchurian appetizer that was incredible, although the other pizzas our group tried were fine but not particularly special. It was definitely good enough that I want to return, although I'll probably try more of the non-pizza options in the future.

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          Red Lentil
          600 Mt Auburn St, Watertown, MA 02472

      2. Elephant Walk may get somewhat mixed reviews, but I've always had a great time there, and it fits all your criteria perfectly. It isn't necessarily authentic, but if you don't go in thinking your getting an authentic Cambodian experience I think it does a pretty good job.

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        Elephant Walk
        2067 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

        1 Reply
        1. re: greenzebra

          Good to know. I only wish I could use a Restaurant.com coupon on the weekend - yes, I am way too cheap for my own good, haha.

        2. I would try the Blue Room in Kendall Sq./Cambridge. That might fill the bill. They do a little of everything.
          Enjoy and Happy Birthday,
          CocoDan

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          Blue Room
          1 Kendall Sq Ste B2001, Cambridge, MA 02139

          2 Replies
          1. re: CocoDan

            Doesn't seem to be much in the way of vegan for my daughter there - but if their website is any indication of the quality of restaurant - well, it's tempting. I loved the music - I also realize many restaurants will prepare special meals if I called ahead of time, so that's a possibility, too.

            Big decision!! :D

            1. re: threedogs

              I think they'll prepare a veggie special for her if they don't have a nightly veggie special.
              CocoDan

          2. This doesn't quite fit all your requirements, but we eat at Grasshopper, in Allston, all the time. It's vegan Chinese, and the decor is simple, but well taken care of and clean. The menu is huge, with something for everyone (even my meat and potatoes father likes it), and the prices are low. We've never had a problem parking; however, I have no idea if there's a theater nearby.

            Happy birthday!

            1 Reply
            1. re: invinotheresverde

              Thank you for the birthday wish!

              My daughters have eaten at Grasshopper a lot - I've been there a few times, too. I'd rather try someplace different (I think they'd like a change, too). One of my kids told me she's not crazy about Chinese, too (how is that possible?? that coming from MY child, no less... I think the world went a bit off it's axis when I heard that...)