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Mother-in-Law's 96th Birthday Dinner in Center City

I live in Hartford, CT - and need some excellent tips on where to host my mother-in-law's 96th birthday dinner in Center City at the end of Sept.

Someone recommended Meritage, which has a prix fixe menu option for larger parties. Someone else recommended Estia. We don't want to spend thousands and thousands - but we'd love a private area/room so we can all hear one another talk.

Any suggestions?

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    1. re: barryg

      Oops. I forgot that little detail: 12-15 (with 3 kids under 3)

    2. You might look at Lacroix, Fork, or Amada for private rooms. Are there any cuisines you want to stay away from?

      5 Replies
      1. re: urbanfabric

        We want to stay right in Center City - around Rittenhouse Sq. area. We also want to stay within a reasonable budget - and all of the restaurants you just mentioned are sky high for that many people.

        1. re: food maven

          Well they are less than "thousands and thousands" that you mentioned as out of your budget in the original post :). What do you want to spend? Fork and Amada aren't cheap but are moderate for a private room downtown.

          Branzino near Rittenhouse does private parties and it is a little more affordable. It's BYOB. I have never been to a party there but I have for dinner and IMO the food is mediocre but the space is pretty nice:

          http://branzinophilly.com/menu_privat...

          However, I think the private room is upstairs and getting there may be an issue for mom and other family members and friends. I don't know if they have an elevator or anything, or downstairs section you can rent.

          1. re: barryg

            If you want very traditional food right on Rittenhouse Square, you might look at Prime Rib, the restaurant in the Warwick Hotel right on Rittenhouse.

          2. re: food maven

            Would you consider doing lunch instead of dinner? You picked a pretty nice neighborhood to want an accessible, private room for dinner. Also, have you called any of these places or are you just basing your price estimates on their regular menus?

            The more information you can provide, the more helpful responses will be. What is your budget per person?

        2. Caffe Casta Diva is near Rittenhouse Square, tends to be rather quiet, and has "Recession Specials" during the week:
          http://www.opentable.com/casta-diva

          1. The $75 tasting menu at Lacroix is reasonable,the room is quiet and the service among the best in the city. The sommelier is respectful of your budget and won't try and oversell you.