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Sep 23, 2012 08:58 AM

Lunch in the Back Bay

Need to find a suitable location for a business lunch: 10-12 people who need to be able to hear each other talk, and who will want reasonable prices for their meals. I'm from way out of town--we're planning this for a convention in January. Any tips?

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  1. Not break the bank but not cheap would be Sel de La Terre (you can also get a private room) - i'd consider walking a bit further to kenmore square to Eastern Standard Kitchen - less expensive and I think "hearable" is Salty Pig.

    1 Reply
    1. re: teezeetoo

      Thanks! I'll check these suggestions out.

    2. define reasonable?

      brasserie jo has a variety of private spaces too.

      2 Replies
      1. re: hotoynoodle

        Always a challenge to define "reasonable" for ten other people. Of the places I've looked at online, I'd say "The Salty Pig" is squarely within the range while "Sel de la Terre" may be a bit pricey for my group. Does that help? I'll have a look at Brasserie Jo.

        1. re: DaMiller

          you can give us your definition of reasonable by offering a price range. $15 pp? $25?

          salty pig is pretty small and unless you're there off-peak a table for 12 may be a pipe dream. please also consider chili duck and cafe jaffa. at the former you can order family-style to cut prices further.

      2. I really like the Salty Pig but I can't think of a place more inappropriate for a business lunch.

        5 Replies
        1. re: C. Hamster

          depends on the type of business, amirite? ;) maybe it's a consortium of bike messengers?

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            We're college professors one and all, though some of us might have worked as bike messengers in previous lives.

            I'll have a look at chili duck and cafe jaffa, hotoynoodle. As for price range, I'd say $15 - $25, if that isn't to big a spread. It's the junior profs with kids at home I'm thinking about, for the lower end of the range.

            Thank you all for the good advice!

          2. re: C. Hamster

            really? what's inappropriate about it? I'm curious. we love the outside tables and we've eaten inside as well - never found it excessively noisy though it certainly isn't formal. we're retired academics and not berklee music students so I'm really curious about what's inappropriate that I'm missing?

            1. re: teezeetoo

              op won't be eating outside in january. :)

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                If we go it will be with a reservation. I've emailed them about our needs for the lunch, so we'll see what they say. Informal is cool, this is not a business meeting IBM style.

          3. Inappropriate because it's smallish and loud. They'd have to sit at high top tables with those metal chairs. Also the menu isn't exactly business lunch.

            I like the place and have spent a lot of time there but I also do a gazillion business lunches and SP wouldn't be on my list.

            Neither would Cafe Jaffa. Another place I love but it's small, dark, noisy a bit smoky and I don't think they take reservations. Your party would take up half the restaurant. But again it great food.

            At the top of my list would be Brasserie Jo. Quiet, large enough to handle your group easily. Very reasonable lunch specials and good food.

            I'll throw Avila in there too.

            2 Replies
            1. re: C. Hamster

              That's a terrifically helpful post, and I thank you.

              1. re: DaMiller

                and I think it's good advice and I like Brasserie Jo - but I never sit at the high tables at Salty Pig (I'm too short and too old!!) and there are "real tables" as well. but I appreciate the explanation because I really was puzzling over it.

            2. Another option is Coda, technically in the South End but just around the corner from the Back Bay convention hotels. It's on Columbus Ave. near Dartmouth St. Not that crowded at lunch time and tables can be pushed together to accomodate 12. Not normally considered a business lunch destination - too informal but maybe not for your group. Same owners as the Salty Pig.