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looking for great restaurant to celebrate sweet 16?

I am planning a surprise dinner out for my 16 year old daughter. I am looking for a nice restaurant either in or around the Boston area, somewhere with great food, can be more upscale.
We considered Mama Maria's , luccas? North end? Olives, but I heard that has gone a bit down hill.

she loves good food and there will be about 20ish people coming...again, really looking for a fantastic evening. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. is this mostly for teens? mama maria's may be a bit stuffy for them. a group of 20 in the north end will be a tight squeeze for most places to accommodate. what night of the week were you thinking? if a friday or saturday, they may not be able to fit you at all.

    taranta has an upstairs room and also does interactive cooking demos that your daughter and her friends may enjoy.

    5 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Eastern Standard Kitchen or EVOO come to mind as with a less formal vibe, very good food, and very good service so if they can accommodate 20 they'll make sure you'll well-served.

      1. re: teezeetoo

        Thank you very much for these two suggestions! I'll be looking in to both of them!

        1. re: teezeetoo

          as much as i love esk and as servicey as they are overall, i wouldn't recommend a large party of children there on a saturday night. it's bustling and hectic and little ones underfoot could present unnecessary challenges -- both to the family and staff.

          1. re: teezeetoo

            From recent personal experience, ESK considers a party that large to be a private event. Agree also that it might not be ideal for young teenagers.

          2. re: hotoynoodle

            It's really going to be family mainly with younger cousins. Actually it's for this Saturday night! Thank you for the heads up on the tight squeeze for north end.i'll check out Taranta!
            Thank you for the feedback!!

          3. Island Creek Oyster Bar is such a bustling, friendly andf professionally run placel very CH popular. I love the room- great design, and even though it's large, you still can hear each other and have intimate conversation. They also will print her name and bday on the table's menus for a keepsake.(no charge; just tell them in advance the occasion and date.) My fav dish there is the lobster roe noodles w/ lobster, oxtail, and chanterelles. They also have more trad. seafood dishes.

            Aquitaine in the South End is another very handsome space (beautiful historic building and neighborhood) w/ top service and consistently exc.food. (Tremendous frites, and steak frites as well.) The cheese gougeres they bring out as amuse bouche- are a real treat ,and she might really like that touch (and I bet if you called Alex, the mngr., they'd happily do up a little plate of them, just for her, and put a candle in one to start off her evening!)

            Wherever you do end up, do call and talk to the mngr and ask for them to do some extra touches for her (beyond the candle in the cake type thing.) Won't she just be thrilled !

            [I still remember my 16th dinner; in a revolving tower restnt, w/ the rare and delicious pompano as my entree. I can still taste it!!]

            ICOB is very large and stylish. Aquitaine is small and stylish, w/ trad. Parisian bistro decor. Both offer valet service, if that helps.

            1 Reply
            1. re: opinionatedchef

              Wow thank you so so much! These are fabulous suggestions and tonight I'm googling every place And probably need to call tomorrow since its on the 29th of this month!
              Thank you thank you for all the great information.

            2. Russell House Tavern in Harvard Square has a semi-private room for that size group and a crowd-pleasing menu: http://boston.menupages.com/restauran... Not stuffy, lively atmosphere, really fine food in the gastropub vein. Plenty of inventive stuff for sophisticated grownups and food-geek teens, but a fabulous burger, flatbread pizzas, and other delicious but unchallenging dishes for the less adventurous.


              2 Replies
              1. re: MC Slim JB

                That sounds fantastic! Thank you.

                1. re: hnb123

                  Strong, strong second. It feels 'special' without feeling stuffy, and the staff are used to and very comfortable with younger customers - something which I don't think would be true of many of the places suggested here. I would make sure you mention the age range when you make the booking, so they can plan appropriately; but I reckon you'd have really good luck there.

              2. Catalyst in Cambridge might fit the bill. Its on Main Street in the Kendall/Tech square area. Its a bustling day time area but might easily accomodate you on a less busy weekend night. Very interesting menu, gorgeous atmosphere, great service, atleast everytime I've been there which admittedly has only been for lunch.

                1 Reply
                1. re: momoftwo

                  Never heard of Catalyst! Thank you for the suggestion, I will look in to it!

                2. East Coast Grill in Inman Sq Cambridge has a lively atmosphere and a semi private room that, from memory, should easily hold 20
                  Upstairs on the Square has Sweet Sixteen written all over it
                  Cuchi Cuchi - tapas in Central Sq - hais very fun parisian nouveau cafe/baubles vibe.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: 5thAndNowhere

                    That sounds fun!Another one I am putting on my list to check out tomorrow.
                    Thank you all so very much.

                    1. re: 5thAndNowhere

                      If hnb is not going for an elegant sophisticated vibe for her daughter's surprise,then I would def agree w/ you on cuchi cuchi. i always like to rec it for girls' parties. It's just such a fun unique place, w/ all the women staff wearing the costumes and jewelry. The small plates can have some misses but we always get the asian salad and the sushi salmon cones w/ sour cream, and find enough other good things for a fun evening.

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        Hmmm, I was leaning towards Aquaitane but now curious about Cuchi cuchi. Is it more of a modern twist or vintage type atmosphere? The food would probably be a deciding factor as well because it's really just my 16 year old daughter...not her friends..all family/cousins.

                        Thank you by the way. I am so grateful to get such amazing responses.

                        1. re: hnb123

                          Cuchi Cuchi is very frilly, girly and fun. 1920s flapper Paris? The hosts and managers are always to the couture nines. But its casual enough clientele wise. Youd be comfortable in a dress or jeans.

                          Food is global tapas (and more). Related to Dali and Tapeo but different menu. Im sure theyd work with you on a large party tasting menu!


                          I've liked most everything I've had there. My favorite thing is the lobster-stuffed avocado. Some people knock it. It can get pricey - it is tapas afterall.

                    2. Dali has a back room - tapas. This board tends to hate it for price and flavor, but I like it.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: enhF94

                        I will look in to Dali! Thank you!

                      2. I apologize, one of the replies explained the atmosphere perfectly for Cuchi cuchi! Sounds fun!

                        1. Given it's newness, you might be able to get 20 people into West Bridge in Kendall with enough advance notice. Very cool vibe for younger people and really great approachable food. A lot of good options for teenage girls. Great review in the Boston Globe here.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ScotchandSirloin

                            wow! that looks amazing! great suggestion