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trendy restaurant for b-day dinner?

I am looking for a trendy restaurant with a great ambiance for a friend's bday dinner. The guests are all in their late 20s/early 30s. Prices need to be fairly reasonable with options under $20. Unfortunately, she doesn't really like Italian. We've been to Cafeteria Boston and liked the vibe there. We're open to locations in Boston, Cambridge, & Brookline. Suggestions?....

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    1. see if it were me....i'd totally do chinatown or santarpios (does that count as italian?). pig out, drink up, and have a fabulous time.

      but gaslight and dbar might fit the bill. parking at both places.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          I was thinking the same thing, but then I looked at the online menu and the prices made me laugh. Maybe the portions are huge (haven't been), but there is some comically expensive stuff on that menu.

          1. re: mkfisher

            We've been there once, and the portions were huge. Not great by any means, but huge.

          2. re: hotoynoodle

            They'd bring the average age of the patrons down quite a bit

            :-)

          3. Hungry Mother, Bergamot, CasaB?

            1. "trendy" is a tough description. How about popular? New? Fun?

              How about Area 4 in Kendall/Central? Their menu is reasonably priced - creative pizzas, delicious salads, New England/comfort-leaning entrees. They have big tables and take reservations. Close to T and decent on street parking.

              Or try Park or Russell Tavern in Harvard or sharing tapas at Toro. If you have enough people (I think its 8) you can reserve at Blue Dragon, Ming Tsai's new place. "Asian Bistro" with an emphasis on small plates. If you have adventurous folks in the crowd, check out West Bridge.

              Casa B (Somerville) and Cuchi Cuchi (Central) are great places for girly birthdays - super cute, fun & festive. They might push past the $20/pp mark tho cause its all about small plates.