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Need Italian restaurant guidance... help!

My beloved hubby is turning 60 (!) this year, and I'd like to host a dinner for him and about a dozen of his friends at a nice Italian restaurant. He is particularly partial to eggplant parmesan. : ) I'd like a place...
-- with a private dining room or some space off the main area
-- pricy is OK, but not TOO pricy
-- onsite parking that's manageable
-- awesome food with some choices for vegetarians as well as carnivores.

As it so happens, we live very close to Bistro 5, but we go there most birthdays, so I was wondering what other options might be out there. Thanks in advance!!

Bistro 5
5 Playstead Road, Medford, MA 02155

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  1. Is this happening soon? If so, I wonder if you could get the roof deck at the Saraceno in the North End. Totally old school red sauce, but I love the eggplant parm there and at the Bella Vista next to them. Silky and delicious with a great red sauce. We had a family dinner with diverse group preferences at the Saraceno a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it.

    Saraceno Restaurant
    286 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

    Bella Vista Restaurant
    116 Elm Ter, North Attleboro, MA 02760

    2 Replies
      1. re: Beachowolfe

        Yes. I don't remember the exact configuration, but we had a great time on a beautiful summer night. Unfortunately the pictures from the website are as nebulous as my memory. I'm not sure it's open all the time. I believe it's the fourth floor.


    1. Have you been to Tre Monte in Woburn? I always get fabulous meals there. Municiple parking right out the back door.

      1. Salvatore's right in Medford Square seems to fit your needs. Maybe you can get the private dining room that used to be the bank vault (scene of the "The Cops Are Robbers" break in).

        1. mama maria has a lovely private room and very good italian food. it may be pricey and a little less traditional than you want, so take a look at the menu.

          3 Replies
          1. re: teezeetoo

            No need for traditional just b/c he's nuts for eggplant parm! : ) In fact, a little sass would be good.

            1. re: teezeetoo

              I was going to suggest this, but wasn't sure if the OP was looking outside of Boston.

              MM's is outstanding in my book too. The ambiance perfect for a special occasion. :)

              1. re: mcel215

                Plus, she was looking for parking. Mamma Maria's does valet, for a price of course.

                Mamma Maria Restaurant
                3 North Sq, Boston, MA 02113

            2. How about Bocelli's in Medford? I don't know if you could reserve a room downstairs, but they turn out good red sauce italian-american. Nice eggplant parm.

              1. Via Matta has a great crunchy eggplant parm (or at least it was the last time I was there, which was a while ago). Not sure what the parking situation there is.

                2 Replies
                1. re: barleywino

                  Via Matta definitely on the pricier end. Two of us recently dropped almost $180 there. Garage parking available in that area (Park Plaza), plus valet, but thatd increased costs for large party.

                  have you ever been to La Vita Mia in Saugus? went there over the winter and i was pleasantly surprised - especially given its ummm strip mall location. very nice inside and very very reasonable prices (i think my pork shank was $20?) and portions were huge. no private room that i could tell. plenty of parking.


                  La Vita Mia
                  331 Main St, Saugus, MA 01906

                  1. re: 5thAndNowhere

                    Hmm.. at Via Matta one could get an eggplant parm app for 12 and a pasta for 26, which comes to 38 before tax/tip. Of course one can always spend more on wine, dessert, secondi, etc if one wants to

                2. What about that really unique, one of a kind...Maggiano's

                  and yes...just messing around

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: meeps2002

                    Given that it hits all of the OP's requirements easily, I wouldn't count it out just 'cause it's a chain.

                  2. Excellent meal, enjoyed by our party of 6.

                    Appetizers we liked: Shrimp in grand mariner sauce, Melanzana, house bread, and the huge iceberg wedge salad with outstanding crunchy bacon.

                    Diners we liked: Stuffed chicken, chicken paradiso, fruitti di mare, lobster ravioli (yes, really).

                    Desserts we liked: profiteroles, and lava cake.

                    Friendly attentive service, we will be back to try the shrimp scampi.

                    3 Replies
                      1. re: Beachowolfe

                        My apologies for leaving you hanging - lo these many months..

                        Tre Monte in Woburn. Went last weekend and did have the shrimp scampi with fresh tagliatelle (help, I'm a meddler). Straightforward dishes we find very enjoyable. Service is sharp, prices are reasonable, there is a new rewards card program also.

                        1. re: hounda

                          If you want good food at a good price Jevellie's in East Boston. Call ahead They will set the tabels up. Best bread and veal around.