HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >


Dinner with teenagers in Central Square

I'm thinking of taking my two teenage nieces to ImprovBoston in Central Square this Saturday night. Looking for a fun restaurant that would appeal to them. They are not picky eaters.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. Area Four for pizza. Life Alive is always a nice change of pace for me, might work if they are interested in healthier fare.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Novasmurf

        Miracle of Science is a fun bar with good burgers.
        Garden at the Cellar has fun small plates.
        If you want to be known as the aunt that is corrupting your nieces, you could take them to the Middle East Upstairs or Zuzu. ;-)

      2. River Gods is a few blocks outside of Central, but the decor is funky and could be a fun experience for teens. Food has been solid in my experience, but I admittedly haven't visited in a couple of years.

        One caveat: It can get packed, fast, so you may want to have a backup plan in case there are no available tables when you arrive.


        1 Reply
        1. re: huuvola

          I haven't been to River Gods in a few years (adopted an older special needs child) but the decor is very interesting and funky and the food is interesting and varied. I would have swooned if I'd been in this place as a teen girl. Found it compelling and very different in a good way as a 50 year old woman!

        2. I second the Middle East upstairs, great atmosphere for young and developing minds?

          13 Replies
          1. re: drewinmrblhd

            Great suggestions! Thank you. I want to be "that aunt," but is the Middle East really appropriate for a 13 and 15 year old?

            1. re: Marisa23

              I can't think of anything remotely inappropriate about eating there..

                1. re: DoubleMan

                  They serve one of my favorite Sysco burger/fries plates around

                  1. re: Luther

                    I thought all the middle eastern stuff on the menu was decent, no?

                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                      Yeah people seem to like it, I haven't had it enough times to really comment

                      1. re: Bob Dobalina

                        i thought that the food was fairly good at the MIddle East.

                        What about Chinese: Thai Cafe and Mulan are worth trying.

                2. re: Marisa23

                  cuchi cuchi is such fun! so unique. young people (all people, i think) never forget that friendly dramatic unique look and vibe. and lots of small plate variety.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    I guess it's fun, but I think more for the young drinking crowd than teenagers. I also think the food and drinks are totally mediocre and overpriced there. I'd recommend walking a couple more blocks and getting pizza and soft serve sundaes at Area Four.

                    1. re: DoubleMan

                      I like Cuchi Cuchi, but I agree that it's a little more in terms of price and experience than what I was looking for. Pizza and soft serve sounds like the speed I was going for. Thanks for all the suggestions!

                      1. re: DoubleMan

                        I like the idea of walking...I think it will enhance the overall experience since they'll get a feel for the city by being out in it.

                        1. re: Marisa23

                          Area four is a great choice. Also if they like vegetarian food, you can go to Veggie Galaxy for the fun diner feel.

                        2. re: DoubleMan

                          really? wow, some of the food is meh but we've alw had delicious sashimi cones w/ caviar, and asian salad and more.... and did not feel they were overpriced. also had a blackberry lime cosmo that turned me on to a whole diff way of thinking about cosmos (and was delic) But i bet you're completely right about the young drinking crowd vs teen appeal. Though i still highly rec it for girls' 16th bday dinners.

                          we'll have to try area four soon. catalyst is at the top of the list though, with vee vee and eventually deuxave.

                  2. Is there a place to get ice cream or dessert close to Improv in Central Square?

                    5 Replies
                      1. re: LeoLioness

                        marisa, you've not tried Toscanini ('tosci')??!! wow, are you and those kids in for the hit of the evening! this place is a real treasure and its fans are as legion as those for Regina's North End!

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          I have not been to Toscanini, but have heard lots about it. Looking forward to it!

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            Toscanini was perfect! I had the goat cheese brownie. My nieces had fresh mint and bananas foster. Great atmosphere too. So active. Line moved fast.

                            1. re: Marisa23

                              I had the goat cheese brownie Friday night. Fabulous, who would have thunk it?

                      2. If you're okay to walk, you could go 12 minutes up Prospect Street to Inman Square. There are some great shops to browse in if you have time, as well as *heaps* better dining options than Central: East Coast Grill, City Girl Cafe, the Druid (pub, but totally suitable and with awesome food), All-Star Sandwich Bar and Pizza Bar... you're spoiled for choice in two blocks! There's also Christina's Ice Cream for dessert, which is the perfect way to finish any meal.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: TimTamGirl

                          Or you could start with a tour of the Taza Chocolate factory and work your way back.

                        2. I still think the Middle East would be the most colorful destination, the hummus appetizer is very good and the falafel is quite good as well. Try the vegetarian cous cous with carmelized onions!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: drewinmrblhd

                            Thinking back to my teenage years I think I would have enjoyed the Middle East the most. Granted, I ate at the ME when I was a teenager. That and the Burger King ;)

                            1. re: drewinmrblhd

                              I have to say, I've found even the Middle Eastern food at the Middle East to be unreliable. Some days it's great, and some days... eesh. After the last time - which put me off hummus for weeks - I decided to give it up altogether.

                              It's totally suitable for teenagers (heck, I was going there for shows from their age, let alone to eat) but I don't think it's all that exciting to dine there, either as a diner or as someone looking for an exciting environment. For me, the excitement there came from the music and the crowds, not from the restaurant.

                              1. re: TimTamGirl

                                Your last statement is a good point ....

                                1. re: TimTamGirl

                                  I agree that the Middle East is not a big culinary destination, but just thinking of them makes me crave their whipped garlic. Seriously, my salivary glands just started up.

                              2. Hands-down favorite Central-Square routine with the teens in my life is dinner at Mary Chung's followed by dessert at Toscanini's, which is just a block away. My 15-year-old nephew called Mary's "a dream Chinese diner," and that's a good summary. Food aside, Mary's is an excellent place for real conversation - cool, comfortable and fun. Bonus: inexpensive!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: pocketviking

                                  Pocketviking that's a great idea. And, it's a place the can come back to with big groups of friends in the future, making the girls culinary leaders. And, they will remember who opened that door for them.

                                  Be sure to take a look at the daily specials on the way in to Mary Chung's. We usually end up ordering something great from that list.


                                  1. re: BostonZest

                                    What a nice thought, Penny! It's lovely to open doors for the youngsters...

                                    Definitely good idea to check out daily offerings, especially at this time of year. The seasonal greens are excellent & high-volume, and an especially great choice if ordering lots of high-sodium dishes. [Our household has a name for physically painful salt overload: "Chung Foot!"]

                                2. So I targeted Area Four, but when we walked up to the door, we were told that it was closed for a private event. Fortunately, Catalyst was right across the street. Catalyst was wonderful, but it's not what I would have chosen for kids. I would have rather been there with my husband. They loved the food-it was delicious, but more than I wanted to spend on this type of evening. The decor in there was great.

                                  It was also too far from Central Square the Improv. I am good with directions, but I was not familiar with this area and had a tough time finding the parking garage. Then when we left Catalyst, I had lost my sense of direction and had to ask a couple people how to get to Central Square. The area around Catalyst is DEAD on a Saturday night. Our walk to Central Square was...interesting. It was too far, especially in the heat. If I had to do it over again, I would have picked a more casual restaurant in the heart of Central Square so that there was less walking, less getting lost, and more activity. Live and learn!

                                  The highlight was definitely Toscanini. Wish I could go there more often! Thanks for all the suggestions!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Marisa23

                                    Missed this thread, Marisa. I would have suggested Thelonius Monkfish. Sushi for those who like it, and lots of noodle and rice dishes for the others. Close to Toscanini's/Improv Maybe next time.