Looking for more to do in a restaurant than eat!
September 4, 2011 12:16 PM   Subscribe

What restaurants/bakeries/bars/food-places in Boston are a memorable experience for ambiance or other non-food reasons?

I'm looking for interesting food-places in Boston/Cambridge to host a small birthday party (or part of longer a birthday party.) They're very different from each other, but both Drink in Boston and Flatbread Pizza in Somerville are examples of what I'm talking about - one is a speakeasy that lets you ask for any kind of drink you want ("Can I have a drink that tastes like caramel, but without any caramel in it?"), the other is an amazing restaurant in its own right, with a candlepin bowling alley attached. What other venues in the area combine tasty food with something unique to experience?
posted by heyforfour to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The No Name Restaurant on Fish Pier has no name, but pretty good seafood. The old Jimmy's is gone for good, to be replaced by a new "flagship" Legal Seafood, and a couple other new restaurants, on the old Jimmy's site, but you can still have a memorable time, as tens of thousands of Bostonians before you, among a lot of Boston memorabilia at Anthony's Pier 4. Sooner or later, nearly everybody goes to Union Oyster House, to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary, for good reason. Hands down, the best New England boiled dinner (on the dinner menu as "corned beef and cabbage") , or pot roast, off checkered oilcloth, is still at Durgin Park. These places are all Boston landmarks, heavy on ambiance, and frequented by people celebrating something; they can all easily handle small to medium parties on short notice.
posted by paulsc at 1:57 PM on September 4, 2011

Liberty bar and Clink for former prison cred.

At the super high end, Menton - just a phenomenal dining experience.
posted by mozhet at 2:06 PM on September 4, 2011

Journeyman Restaurant in Union Square is very foodie but also very tasty. They've got weird wines and spirits, too.
caveat: not a self-link, but i know the folks who run it
posted by rmd1023 at 2:35 PM on September 4, 2011

In Chinatown, maybe Kaze Shabu Shabu, if you like the whole group hot pot thing. The advantage here is that it is relatively inexpensive so you will really feel like you got your money's worth here.

But I think what you are looking for is something like the Lava Lounge at the East Coast Grill. You can get a private room and it has the whole 60's polynesian vibe.

Have you checked out the Boston Chowhound forum yet? Sure to be suggestions there.
posted by jeremias at 2:41 PM on September 4, 2011

Shabu Zen in Chinatown is my favorite shabu shabu restaurant in the area.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:36 PM on September 4, 2011

I was also coming in to recommend Shabu Zen. I think shabu shabu is a fun activity dinner.
posted by lillygog at 7:15 PM on September 4, 2011

A bunch of us went to Medieval Manor (link is to their Yelp page because their web designer apparently learned everything he needed to know from a 1997 GeoCities design book) last month for my wife's birthday. It;s a 2.5 hour dinner-and-a-show, during which you will probably be summoned onto stage. If you like ren-faire camp, it will be right up your alley. It also had surprisingly delicious food-you-eat-without-silverware, and everyone gets his own pitcher of ale.
posted by Mayor West at 4:52 AM on September 6, 2011

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