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Last minute request --birthday dinner tonight

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Ok, here's the deal --2 adults and an almost 5 yr old...casual spot...good food...ideally somewhere new i haven't tried before. Ok with going somewhere that gets busy as we can get there early - 5, 5:30, whenever they first open so we don't have to wait.
I was thinking M3 --love the concept, love Southern food (just had an amazing meal at Hungry Mother with the grownups, i know it's not southern but close)...also really like Italian. I was thinking of Gran Gusto and I know the pizza's great, but the menu didn't excite me all that much. We are open to wherever in the Greater Boston area .... but I need help. Thoughts??? Consider this your birthday present to a fellow chowhound :)

thanks so much

-the birthday girl

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  1. Trattoria Toscano in the Fenway area. Rino's in East Boston. If you have never been to Dali on the Cambridge/Somerville line it has very good tapas, reasonably priced, fun atmosphere and be sure to let them know its your birthday if you go.

    1. you might try StripT's this early: possible you'd get a reservation and it definitely is casual, fabulous food, affordable, and fun. I think a kid would be fine there on the early side.

      1. Posto in Davis? Great pizza (better than Gran Gusto IMO) but also a lot more.

        1 Reply
        1. re: greenzebra

          all good choices, i have been to posto, that was good....strip t's too tho the menu is a bit limited for tonight i think....i'd up for trying rino's but i'm not up for a long wait, and even at 5pm it sounds like that'll happen...

          keep 'em coming!

        2. M3 I wanted to love....if it's close to you, worth a try. It is small and quite crowded and noisy but if going as soon as they open, maybe ok. Also, their exhaust system has real problems. We went for a late lunch on a Sunday in the last month and the place reeked with frying oil. Even with the door open.

          enjoyed posto the one time I went again late sunday lunch. I love Spanish food, not much a fan of Dali, and never seen a child there, but then I don't go that often. It's OK, interesting atmosphere, of course, go early.

          Za in Arlington is child friendly, may be not enough of an occasion place for your birthday. Easy parking, I love the salads there. Or Za or Evoo in Kendall.

          Some of the new Kendall places might work too, early on...I can't comment. Bergamot across the street from Dali in the old Evoo place might work, too.

          hope you find something good and happy birthday!

          Have you tried Highland Kitchen? Gets crowded and noisy, but small parking lot in back and very child friendly early on.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Madrid

            Have you been to Picco in the South End (did I spell that right?) Great pizza and a few nice pasta dishes. And as a bonus, they make their own delicious ice cream!

            1. re: justbeingpolite

              If you're willing to travel to Wellesley - Alta Strada is a good casual choice for both adults and children. It's pasta is as good as its more upscale sister, Via Matta.

            2. re: Madrid

              Second Highland Kitchen - great place for taking kids in the 5-5:30 area and even on a Friday night that early, you should get in without a wait.

              Pescatore is a good back-up plan.

            3. Happy birthday! I would not go to M3. I thought the food was mediocre at best (except for the pie, which was amazing) and have not really read any super positive reviews of it.

              Highland Kitchen or Posto would be great, I think. I also love Area Four (I feel like all my posts lately are anti-M3 and pro-Area Four... I swear I go to other restaurants!).