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Like Oleana, but not Oleana

Looking for a spot for a celebratory dinner for 20. Technically, it's a wedding, but we want it to be more like a dinner for 20 than a "WEDDING" if that makes any sense- no cake, no dancing, no great uncle Walter. Just immediate family and 2 or 3 close friends, good food, good wine (although we're not wine snobs) and an elegantly relaxed time to celebrate together.

The garden at Oleanna would be pretty perfect, and the cost/ time constraints/ location are fine. I especially like the indoor-outdoor quality of the space, such that we could have a backup if the weather turns ugly. To me it has the "garden in your villa in Tuscany feeling" relaxed but sophisticated. Unfortunately my future husband goes to Oleanna a lot for work entertaining, and so it doesn't exactly feel like a celebratory place for him.

Any suggestions chow hounders for somewhere with that ambiance? Prefer in the central boston/ Cambridge area. Would be happy to do it late afternoon such that we don't interfere with dinner service.

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  1. I'm not totally insane about the food, but the porch at Stellina in Watertown would fit the bill:

    http://www.stellinarestaurant.com/

    Boston does not have a wealth of Indoor/Outdoor options.

    There are certainly more traditional wedding venues, but then it's not really about the food.

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    Stellina Restaurant
    47 Main St, Watertown, MA 02472

      1. re: Taralli

        I think Harvest is as close as it comes.....I've heard that Orchards (hotel and restaurant) has a nice outdoor setting, but it's in Williamstown. No idea what the food is like, and it's probably really expensive, and it's in Ipswich, but the Inn at Castle Hill has an informal Tavern overlooking Crane Beach.

        1. re: Madrid

          If you mean the Orchards Hotel in Williamstown, I would definitely advise against. It's much more of a corporate, hotel-y feel than OP is looking for.

        2. what about casa romero. different cuisine, but their patio is lovely

          1 Reply
          1. re: Wannabfoode

            not as romantic, but Gran Gusto might work. Very good Italian food, very Tuscan in style, and with an outdoor patio. I can't, however, remember if the outside is large enough for a party of 20.

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            Gran Gusto
            90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140

          2. Atasca, a Portugese restaurant is in the same neighborhood as Oleana. It has a nice outdoor space with a large fireplace. The food is great and the people who work there are super nice, so I think they would strive to make your celebration special.

            1 Reply
            1. re: snowcone

              The food is okay, some items are great, some not so much.

            2. Sounds like we're headed to Harvest. They're game for an off- hours (between service) event, so that we can have the place to ourselves. The food and beverage min. is completely reasonable, and so far they've been very helpful. Thanks so much for the suggestion Taralli We go there fairly frequently, but usually just to the bar, so I didn't even think about their patio. By coming off hours, we have the emergency option of indoor seating if the weather is foul.

              Again, thanks for the recco, and I'll post again after the event!

              3 Replies
              1. re: cpingenot

                Just wanted to say that the wedding was last weekend, and Harvest was a real star. The service was wonderful, the food was fantastic, and everyone was very happy about the whole thing. It helped that we had great weather between Irene and whatever's dumping on us now, and the courtyard was perfect for both the ceremony and the cocktail hour. The manager, who we had been dealing with was a bit MIA in the days before the ceremony, so if I'd been a super controlling person I think I would have been a bit freaked out, but they took great care of us on the day of, so all was well.

                In contrast the rehearsal dinner at Sel de la Terre (boylston) was kind of meh. The pacing of the service was glacial, which was tough for the very young and the older folks, and the food was just OK, with seriously overcooked halibut, and bloody rare lamb. We started dinner at 7, and weren't served coffee until about 10:30, with loooonnng pauses between courses. The presentations were pretty, but the food just didn't have much oomph.

                Anyway, just wanted to say thanks to Tarali for the suggestion and recommend it for anyone else in the same boat.

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                Sel de la Terre
                774 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02199

                1. re: cpingenot

                  so glad it worked out for you at Harvest, and the weather was good inbetween for you. Congratulations and good luck!

                  1. re: cpingenot

                    C, happy the Harvest & the weather made for a wonderful day for you. Congrats.