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Challenging Request for Assistance -- Six (or more) for Saturday Dinner from DC

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Nothing so out of the ordinary, but a tough nut to crack. We're two families from DC, six persons in all (four adults, two late teens), who will be in Boston for only one restaurant meal -- this Saturday evening (likely on the late side). (And it could get tougher --we might be a party as large as 10 or 12.) Staying way out in Newton -- willing to drive, but not ridiculously out of the way. No tables available at Craigie or O Ya -- and ideally we don't want to break the bank, anyway (although if the food is good enough . . . ). I'm informed that getting a table at Neptune Oyster will be impossible.

Used to be I'd hunt down Limster's recommednations, but he's not around this board any longer, right?

I've enjoyed Maqueca in the past (and we don't have great Portugese in DC). Is it still good? Still in Inman? Scanning the board, I saw a couple of raves in the Newton area for Baza and Farm Grill. Is either worth a shot? What about Erbaluce, East Coast Grill, Bergamot (although that's quite far, no?), Coppa, Hungry Mother, Radius, Eastern Standard, Peach Farm? Any chance at getting a table at any of these spots? (but only if they're really good!)

We have great Sichuan in DC now -- but limited Taiwanese, which I know is a recent Boston strength. Any Taiwanese places that are manageable, might have a large table, and delicious?

Open to any and all suggestions -- thanks very much in advance.

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Peach Farm
4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

O Ya
9 East Street, Boston, MA 02111

Neptune Oyster
63 Salem St Ste 1, Boston, MA 02113

East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Eastern Standard
528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

Hungry Mother
Cambridge, MA, Cambridge, MA

Baza
30 Tower Road, Newton, MA 02464

Erbaluce
69 Church Street, Boston, MA 02116

Coppa
253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

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  1. Coppa, Neptune, et al: good but crazy on weekends.

    How about: Golden Garden for Northern Chinese food
    Mulan, Jo Jo Tapei for Taiwanese
    My favorite; CK Shanghai in Wellesley ask for special pork; CK makes great pork if things are not completely crazy

    Tamarind Bay - Indian in Harvard Square
    Helmand - Afghan in Cambridge

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    Tamarind Bay
    75 Winthrop St, Cambridge, MA 02138

    Coppa
    253 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118

    Golden Garden
    63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

    4 Replies
    1. re: cambridgedoctpr

      as you are in newton, you might try lumiere or, for less upscale but quite good, kouzina. I also like blue ginger in wellesley and consider it worth a trip and it will keep you close to newton and out of boston/cambridge traffic. you can find them on line and check out their menus.

      1. re: teezeetoo

        2nd Lumiere. No need to trek into town for a great meal. This place is way underrated.

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        Lumiere Restaurant
        1293 Washington St., West Newton, MA 02465

        1. re: teezeetoo

          Second Kouzina on Beacon Street in the Waban section of Newton - updated Greek/Med. Farm Grill is ok, but Kouzina is superb.

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          Kouzina
          1649 Beacon St, Waban, MA 02468

          1. re: Bob Dobalina

            Farm Grill is really not very nice IMHO. Order at counter and come and get it sort of place, which doesn't seem like what you are looking for. Lumiere is very nice......I highly recommend. Jo Jo Taipei is really great for Taiwanese. I agree with the post below regarding parking in Allston, but I've usually eeked out a spot not too far from there (weekdays, though!). La Campania in Waltham is outstanding....not very far from Newton (depending on which side of Newton you are staying in).

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            Lumiere Restaurant
            1293 Washington St., West Newton, MA 02465

      2. Baza is a russian supermarket and Farm Grill is a good but cafeteria-like Greek place - not special and definitely not what you seem to be looking for, so cross those off. How late are you talking? - 9 PM is probably doable at a lot of those places, 10 or 11 narrows it down a bit.

        Taiwan Cafe (in chinatown) is excellent and (according to an old take-out menu) is open until 1 AM. It was one of the first Taiwanese places in town; now there are several more but I think they still hold their own. They have several big tables, though it's not a big place and it can fill up at prime times. Very casual, service generally friendly though sometimes a bit harried. Bear in mind that parking in chinatown (and most of downtown Boston) is difficult; if you drive here rather than taking public transportation you'll want to locate a garage beforehand.

        Mulan, in Cambridge, is also great Taiwanese, bigger than Taiwan Cafe, and has much more street parking nearby. I haven't been there nearly as often as to Taiwan Cafe, so I don't have the same soft spot for it, but it's excellent (some prefer it to TC).

        Jo Jo Taipei was great in my one visit there - it's in the Allston neighborhood which is closer to Newton, but note that parking there, especially on saturday night, is no picnic either.

        Peach Farm (chinatown) is almost certainly open quite late - most places in Chinatown are - it's cantonese, with excellent seafood from the tanks and some other great items. Several big tables there and they will steer you right if you ask for the more authentic dishes. Eel with XO sauce is great there. It's about a block from Taiwan Cafe (our chinatown is tiny but powerful). As long as I'm recommending chinatown places, I'll also mention Best Little Restaurant - very hole-in-the-wall but they have some big tables and the food - cantonese? some other region? it's not seafood-focused particularly - is wonderful. Get the squab and the garlic-covered fried pork ribs.

        Hopefully others can help with the other places on your list. I like East Coast Grill - though more for the appetizers than the entrees - but I think a party of more than six people might be tough there on a saturday night. Oh, and Limster has indeed moved on (to the London board, I think) unfortunately for us.

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        Peach Farm
        4 Tyler St, Boston, MA 02111

        East Coast Grill and Raw Bar
        1271 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

        JoJo Tai Pei Restaurant
        103 Brighton Ave, Boston, MA 02134

        1. How late is "late" and are you not planning to make reservations (due to not knowing the final size of your party)?

          8 Replies
          1. re: LeoLioness

            No, I'd gladly make a reservation if possible. 8:30 or 9:00 would be ideal. Thanks for the great suggestions so far -- keep 'em coming!

            Any consensus on the various Chinese places listed by MichaelB and cambridgedoctpr?

            1. re: Marty L.

              of the Taiwanese places I would go with Jo Jo taipei. For more upscale, you might still be able to get a table at Troquet, Scampo, or (as already suggested, being closer to Newton) Blue Ginger. Some of these places will have space if you call them directly even when opentable.com says they are full.

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              Troquet
              140 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

              Blue Ginger
              583 Washington St., Wellesley, MA 02482

              Scampo
              215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

              1. re: Marty L.

                I would second the suggestion of Golden Garden in Belmont. It is not an upscale restaurant, but the food is excellent. The dishes will likely be new to you, since Golden Garden specializes in the cooking of northeast China (Beidong or Manchurian cuisine). Plus it is easy to park nearby and you will not have a problem reserving a table. To ice the cake, Belmont is relatively close to Newton.

                It is surprising that nobody mentioned Shangri-la, another restaurant in Belmont, as a choice for Taiwanese. It is very good - though not quite as excellent as some of the choices in Chinatown or (in my book) Mulan - and closer and easier to park than if you went to Chinatown. I don't think they take reservations, though.

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                Golden Garden
                63 Concord Ave, Belmont, MA 02478

                1. re: Marty L.

                  Should I also consider Gran Gusto? They have a table available.

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                  Gran Gusto
                  90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

                  1. re: Marty L.

                    are you looking for Chinese or non-Chinese? in boston or out of boston?

                    1. re: barleywino

                      It can be anything, in or out of Boston. It's a plus if it's not *too* far from Newton. I raised Taiwanese and Portuguese only because those appear to be Boston strengths that aren't shared with DC.

                      1. re: Marty L.

                        where have you found tables available? Sat PM is approaching fast. no point discussing restaurants that no longer have tables available

                    2. re: Marty L.

                      I think you might consider it. Evening parking is a cinch, empty employee lot in back.

                2. Newton is next to Waltham where there are many good restaurants. Il Capricio is probably the best in Waltham. Try a search for Waltham entries.