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Oct 27, 2010 07:15 AM

Good Parking + Good Food in/near Boston = Possible?

I've been so impressed with all the helpful advice on this board. Where do you guys go in Boston for a sure bet for good parking and good food and nice atmosphere?

I am wrestling with the perfect dinner choice with a host of complicated criteria:

What is the best choice for a large dinner party of 10 people on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.....with the below preferences:

1) Easy Parking - Lot if at all possible
2) Nice ambiance for conversation with a size that can comfortably handle our larger party
3) Not too divey but not high-end ($20 or so per person, no alcohol)
4) Asian preference (but not pure shabu and not Indian. Sushi might be okay if not too pricey).
5) Non-Asian options that could work would be "experiential" like a Fire + Ice or a Seafood place or "Healthier".
6) If not right in Boston, prefer suburb with convenience to Mass Pike and/or Rt. 9 as 2 elderly couples live in opposite directions off I-495. Others will be coming straight to the dinner from the airport.

See my challenge? :)
Obviously from the criteria above this is a pretty finicky bunch with elders very cautious about dealing with crazy traffic and difficult parking in Boston they are anticipating on that Wednesday night. One possible idea I have is Oga in Natick, but not sure. I would be so grateful for any other ideas, or if anything a bit closer to Boston so we could have dinner earlier (flights arriving close to 7pm). Thanks in advance.

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  1. JP Seafood is pretty good and reasonable for sushi, bibimbop, etc. There are two lots off Centre St. with free parking, and JP is close to Route 9.

    Also, Coolidge Corner might not be that busy on the night before Thanksgiving. You could park behind the movie theater and walk a couple blocks to Dok Bua.

    1. How about Blue Ginger in Wellesley? I thiiiink parking's not too bad around there. Certainly not as bad as in Boston.

      Blue Ginger
      583 Washington St., Wellesley, MA 02482

      1. I can't think of a specific restaurant, but parking in Boston is AWFUL. Just plain, bottom-line awful. Very few decent-but-not-ridiculously-expensive restaurants have anything but roadside parking, and trying to park at a garage in Boston for any length of time really means you'll be spending upwards of $25 just on putting your car somewhere. I have a teensy weensy subcompact and I still have trouble parking, and it sounds like you're bringing a number of people.

        In short: I would strongly recommend parking at one of the outside of Boston T-terminals, be it Braintree, Newton, wherever, and just "commute" in. If the aforementioned elders are wary about having to walk, I'm sure you can find a good restaurant near an accessible T-stop. Of course, if they're completely unwilling to go on the T, then I suppose you have an issue, but seriously, I live 7 miles from Cambridge as the crow flies, and I *still* avoid having to drive into Boston (not because of traffic/etc, I actually find driving in Boston just fine) because parking is such a nightmare most of the time.

        Of course, I totally just missed the part about you having to catch flights, so all my advice is probably moot, since you'll have to have baggage with you... Oops.

        2 Replies
        1. re: HJSoulma

          Oh, it's not THAT bad. Someone should compile a list of Boston/Cambridge/Somerville/Brookline restaurants with their own or adjacent lots (in addition to those already mentioned, I'm thinking Highland Kitchen, dbar, Ashmont Grill, James' Gate, Red Fez, The Independent...)

          Highland Kitchen
          150 Highland Ave, Somerville, MA 02143

          Ashmont Grill
          555 Talbot Ave, Dorchester Center, MA 02124

          Red Fez
          1222 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

          1. re: HJSoulma

            Most of the garages in Boston offer flat rate parking ($12-15 around Fenueil, ~$10 around Copley) till at least 12am if you enter after 5pm on a weekday. It's been a while since I ate at any restaurant in Prudential Center, but as far as I can remember, if I entered after 5pm, I got validated at the restaurant, which gave me free parking.

            Pick a restaurant, use google map to locate a nearby garage, call them up and ask if they do this after-hours discount, or look for restaurant validation discounts.

          2. Shiki (Japanese) in Brookline doesn't have its own parking lot but there is a neighborhood lot a half block away right off of Harvard Ave. that usually has a few open spots on weeknights. Most of their dinner menu items are small plates, and if you order ~3 plates per person you could end up being just over $20 per person. It's a small restaurant so generally it is quiet. They can probably arrange the tables along the far wall to fit all 10 of your guests if you make reservations far enough in advance.

            9 Babcock Street, Brookline, MA 02446

            1 Reply
            1. re: Mike5966

              I am so thrilled for all the quick feedback so far. Boston Chowhounds rock. :) Please keep the ideas coming..
              Prav- unfortunately Blue Ginger is probably a bit too "fancy" this time around (I went there during Thanksgiving weekend 2 years ago!) and HJ - yes, can't do the T with this group for many reasons. Thanks Rob and Mike for some new food for thought...

            2. Both Rocca and Gaslight in the south end have parking lots. Both are good, solid choices that would be great for a group. However, neither are asian --Rocca is northern italian; gaslight is sort of french bistro (i.e steak frites, onion soup, grilled fish/meats).

              2 Replies
              1. re: twentyoystahs

                I agree about Rocca--excellent food, nice atmosphere, and and easy parking.

                1. re: twentyoystahs

                  The only problem with Gaslight is that it can get pretty noisy so the OP's second criteria of < Nice ambiance for conversation with a size that can comfortably handle our larger party >might be an issue. But the food is good, and parking is relatively easy.