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B'day dinner for woman of a certain age in Newton/Needham/Wellesley/Dedham/W Rox

Planning a party for mom and her friends and family, probably about 20 in total. Need a place in the area listed above, with parking. Prefer a private room, and more than 1 or 2 choices. Hoping to do this for under $75/head

51 Lincoln and Lumiere both came back with quotes that were too pricey. Considering Sofia's in West Rox and Aquitane in Dedham, among others, but would appreciate other suggestions.

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  1. Not particularly chowish, but the Papa Razzi on Washington St. on the Newton/Wellesley line has a nice private room in back.

    Capital Grille on Rte 9 in Chestnut Hill might work.

    1. I dislike papa razzi and agree it's not chowish, so skip it! I really like Petit Robert Bistro in Needham. They have a parking lot (one of the reasons I love this location) and plenty of on street parking in the area. I believe they will actually do a party of up to 20 but you will have to check with the location. Prices are really reasonable for dinner so I imagine they will fit well within your budget for a private party.

      1 Reply
      1. re: AaronInBoston

        Celebrant is not a fan of Petite Robert. Was one of my first suggestions to her.

        Appreciate the input!

      2. The Cottage in Wellesley or Chestnut Hill should hit your pricepoint and has pretty good food that should be popular with a mature crowd. Alta Strada may be another option.

        5 Replies
        1. re: JoeM

          Did I mention that she's picky?

          She doesn't like The Cottage.

          OK, I'm picky, too. I don't like Alta Strada.

          Any input on Sofia's? She likes it, we've never been (are going on Friday, though)

          1. re: L2k

            how about maxwells 148 in natick? tell them your budget goal up front and see what they can do at that price. decide if $75 must include tax and tip. i would aso suggest asking @ candidate restnt. what price it might be if you were in a section of the restnt but not in a private room.

            Maxwells 148
            148 East Central Street, Natick, MA 01760

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              Natick is a bit too far for many of the guests. We are looking at private menus vs. ordering off of the regular menu.

            2. re: L2k

              Re: Sofia's: I didn't think I could be dragged back to the spot that previously housed the just awful Vintage, but I was. It's actually pretty good. They have a side room with a fireplace which would be nice for your party. And, if Mom already likes it, seems like a good choice.

              1. re: jpcat

                Oh yeah, the Vintage stories are MEMORABLE. Glad to hear you think it's a good choice. We're eating there tomorrow night (w/out mom) and will report back

          2. What about Sweet Basil in Needham?

            The original side of the restaurant seats just over 20 people, and you could probably book that room for your party if they can accommodate you. They have curtains to separate it from the main dining area. If you order off the menu, it's definitely way under $75/head. If you talk to them, they could prepare something specifically for your group.

            Sweet Basil
            942 Great Plain Ave, Needham, MA 02492

            7 Replies
            1. re: dlin2007

              Eastern Standard has a small private room that will seat that number easily. And you can pre-order the menu (with choices) to hold down the cost.

              1. re: suepar

                We did a b-day party for my Mom's 70th there and it was great. They worked with us on a menu that offered choices, but kept costs down. Everyone enjoyed it, including kids! Highly recommend

                1. re: Science Chick

                  If parking wasn't an issue, this would have been under consideration. Also location is further than some of the MetroWesters want to go.

                  I've got a 50th I'm responsible for in a couple years, though, and this is my leading choice as of now! :)

                  1. re: Science Chick

                    SciChick, which one hosted your mom's party: Eastern Standard or Sweet Basil?

                    1. re: kingrmking

                      Eastern Standard, and she still talks about it.

                2. re: dlin2007

                  didn't know they do groups, will definitely check this out. Thanks!

                  1. re: L2k

                    I'm not 100% sure that they do, but it's always worth asking!

                3. Skipjacks on Needham Street in Newton has private dining. Not a terribly interesting or exciting choice, but generally reliable and likely below your price point. Certainly better than its seafood competitor at the Chestnut Hill Shopping Center. I don't know how old your Mom is going to be, but this restaurant is generally appreciated by mature diners.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Highland Park

                    Ate at Skipjacks with Mom and part of the gang on Monday. Food is always decent there (better than that alternative!), and we looked at that front room, but it's too much on our regular cycle for something special.

                    1. re: L2k

                      OK fair enough. How about Kouzina in Waban?

                      1. re: Highland Park

                        I'd like that, not sure of the rest of the crowd. We're leaning towards a Sunday, and their website doesn't show Sunday hours. Any idea if they have a private area?

                        1. re: L2k

                          Hmmm. Kouzina is closed on Sunday for sure. I don't think there is private dining, but the place is small enough that you would get a whole area to yourselves.

                          Have not been, but B Street in Newton Center may be an option. Easy parking and long hours. Menu looks OK, but not overly special.

                      2. re: L2k

                        I was at skipjack's in newton a few weeks ago. The food was ok but the service was slow. I wouldn't trust them with a large group.

                    2. Olivadi's is in Norwood and has two private rooms. Plenty of parking and nice bar.

                      1. Although I love the Steak Frites at Aquitaine Boston, I hosted a horrible brunch at Aquitaine Dedham. Service, food, everything was horrible. Not one of the 8-10 people enjoyed their dish. But this was a year ago, so maybe new cooks and staff have made it a better choice. Just wanted you to beware.

                        1. We have a similarly fussy Mom of a certain age on board here, and she always adores Bernard's at the Chestnut Hill Mall, and they return her adoration. No private dining room, but they could certainly accommodate twenty and are well used to this type of clientele. Baker's Best on LIncoln St. would be another old lady-friendly venue, and you could either use their resto or the catering service. Either one would easily fit within your budget.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: rubysdad

                            Is Baker's Best still open? I remember reading that they were closing the cafe to focus on catering.


                          2. Not a typical consideration, but you may also want to think about the Masona Grill in West Roxbury. There are two levels to the restaurant, with an upper bar and a lower dining room, and I believe the dining room holds around 2 or 3 dozen. It would be well within your price range, and I have always enjoyed their meals (Peruvian twists on typical bistro fare). They regularly accommodate such parties.

                            West on Centre in WR also has a couple of options for a large party, including a downstairs function room, and part of the main dining room can be closed off.

                            Good luck.

                            Masona Grill
                            4 Corey Street, West Roxbury, MA 02132

                            West on Centre
                            1732 Centre St., West Roxbury, MA 02132

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: ML02132

                              We love Masona Grill, but we didn't think it right for the crowd we're expecting.

                              And the last family function was at West on Centre (downstairs), so no repeats.

                              Had a good meal at Sofia's last Friday, so we're homing in on that.

                              1. re: L2k

                                Good to know on Sofia's - have not been there in almost a year. Will be sure to give them another try.

                                1. re: ML02132

                                  It was good. "Solid" was the word most used by the four of us. We had three apps (Suppli Bruschetta, and Polpette), 4 different entrees (lamb chops, salmon, scallops, chicken), and two desserts (molten cake and apple pie special). None of them were WOW, but all of them were good, especially the desserts. I think they do their own molten cake, it was not the same one you get everywhere.

                            2. The event was this past Saturday, and everyone (especially the birthday girl) had a good time. Had 3 passed apps (Brushetta, crab cakes, prime rib sliders), choice of two salads, choice of 4 entrees (Salmon, Pasta w/shrimp, Chicken piccata, Prime rib, although they ran out of that and substituted sirloin for 4 of 7 prime rib orderers), and choice of 3 desserts, with wine and soft drinks, and it was just over $50/head (plus tax/tip). We had the back room for more than 3 hours, 2 dedicated servers, and waaaay more food than anyone could consume. Again, nothing was spectacular (although the crab cakes were pretty close), and the shrimp was good, while the surrounding pasta was fair, but it really worked out as well as anyone could have hoped.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: L2k

                                So where did you end up holding the birthday gathering? Sofia's?