• Guide

26 Restaurants for Celebrations in Boston

UNI - Restaurants for Celebrations in Boston
UNI / Credit: Chris McIntosh
By Jacqueline Cain · 09/12/2022

For all of life’s occasions, there is a vibe. Does this dinner call for a rowdy table with all the appetizers, keep the shareable cocktails coming? Or is this a night out in Boston celebrating a promotion? A romantic anniversary? Whether you’re imagining an intimate private room and a prix-fixe menu or the table in the middle of the action for your next special occasion, there’s a Boston-area restaurant with reservations ready. Check out these spots with great food and something special to make every occasion memorable.

26 Restaurants for Celebrations in Boston

 

Party City

Whether you’re bringing friends or just +1, these spots bring the fun with adventurous food and drinks. 

Little Donkey - Restaurants for Celebrations in Boston

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Little Donkey

One of Boston’s most respected restaurant groups—Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s JK Food Group—lets loose at Little Donkey, a foodie world tour located right in Central Square, serving up what Biss allegedly once called “chef stoner food.” Treat yourself to a Caviar Sandwich (exactly what it sounds like), and don’t miss the BLT Lettuce Wraps or the Manti (Istanbul meat ravioli). The wide-open dining room holds a mix of high, communal bar tables, bench seating along the walls, low tables, and bar seats; it can get loud. Pro tip: The drink in the grapefruit you keep seeing people order is called, “The One in the Grapefruit.” Take me there.

Myers + Chang

If it’s not a party to you without cake, make your res at Myers + Chang, the pan-Asian South End eatery co-owned by Flour Bakery founder and James Beard award-winning Outstanding Baker, Joanne Chang. Slices of heaven like Fluffy Coconut Layer Cake are always on the menu, ready to turn any meeting into a party. Feel free to eat dessert first (Chang would!), but savory dishes we love at dinnertime include Mama Chang’s Pork + Chive Dumplings and Tea-Smoked Spare Ribs. Date Night menus for two are just $65 on Monday through Wednesday evenings; Dim Sum Brunch every Friday through Sunday is also always an occasion. No need to leave anybody out: Myers + Chang has inclusive menus for folks with numerous dietary restrictions. Take me there.

Nautilus Pier 4

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Nautilus Pier 4

A larger, littoral, and even livelier outpost of Nantucket favorite The Nautilus is moored in Boston’s Seaport District. Despite Nautilus Pier 4‘s shiny exterior, the restaurant nonetheless has the feel of a mermaid’s favorite haunt 20,000 leagues beneath the sea. Asian, Mediterranean, and Latin flavors imbue the seafood-centric menu, with shareable plates like Blue Crab Fried Rice and sushi-esque Tempura East Coast Oyster Tacos wrapped in nori. The showstopper is the Peking Inspired Whole Roasted Duck, served DIY-style with warm steamed buns. Cocktails are clever and culinary, with local-produce infusions like the strawberry-sweetened Blackout Barbie. Take me there.

Food from Sarma

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Sarma

The festive environment of Somerville’s Sarma can’t replace international travel, but it can admirably stand in for a night of exotic revelry. Family-style dishes span the Mediterranean and Maghreb, with diversions here and there: The Lentil Nachos, Brussels Sprouts Bravas, and Lamb Kofte Sliders are all party-ready menu favorites. Up the excitement of the evening by keeping an eye out for specials circulating the dining room dim-sum style. Order the Sesame Fried Chicken if any comes your way: Accented by crispy sesame and spicy nigella seeds, it’s an offering worth celebrating. You’ll definitely want to make a reservation here—and probably start saving for your next big trip. You know, after dinner. Take me there.

Shōjō in Boston

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Shōjō

Get ready for whatever the night has in store at Shojo, which turns up the hip hop and makes a killer Mai Tai. The intimate Chinatown hotspot is always lively, with high-top tables, a busy bar, and a window into the kitchen cranking out small plates as bold as the vibe. Sample the bao, which come in several varieties; and indulge in the Shadowless Duck Fat Fries smothered in spicy mapo tofu sauce and “Kimcheese.” Lean in with a pot of Cold Tea for Two, a shareable cocktail of tea-infused vodka. Shojo is a great spot for a double date, and it can’t handle groups larger than six (to go all out, inquire about the upstairs private dining room for 30 to 350 guests). Take me there.

Toro

It’s impossible to estimate how many celebrations Toro has hosted since opening in the South End in 2005. It’s always cozy and humming, like the party has arrived when you step in. Spanish tapas may suggest a familiar course for the night, but Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette veer into new directions with the likes of street corn-inspired Maíz Asado with espelette pepper; and a handheld Uni Bocadillo with miso butter. For a special occasion, we suggest the Asado de Huesos (roasted bone marrow): After spreading the luscious meat on toast, use the bone to put back a celebratory shot of expertly-spiked sherry. For a main course, it’s gotta be Toro’s stunning, shareable Paella. Take me there.

Wusong Road - Restaurants for Celebrations in Boston

Credit: Lauren Hallion

Wusong Road

From escapist bachelorette parties to milestone anniversaries throwing it back to a certain era, Wusong Road is a singular setting. A narrow, two-story bar with a staircase to the upstairs dining room tricked out as a bespoke jungle, the Harvard Square spot is an homage to the connection between tiki drink culture and American Chinese cuisine from chef Jason Doo, who grew up in his parents’ restaurants. Nostalgic tastes like Scorpion bowls, Pu Pu platters, Zombies, and Peking ravioli are fun, crowd-pleasing, shareable, and oh-so-Instagrammable. Take me there.

Group Dining

Reunion dinners, bachelorette parties, and more memorable moments deserve a backdrop as unforgettable as the occasion.

Cocktail from Blossom Bar

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Blossom Bar

Big platters of Chengdu Dry Hot Chicken, Steamed Pork Dumplings with chili vinaigrette, and double-cooked House Special Eggplant with a sweet-savory sauce have made Brookline’s Blossom Bar a pillar of the local Chinese food scene. But what really makes this place most memorable is the swoon-worthy cocktails. Caracas Express is a signature sipper with rum and brown butter-banana, layered with lime; and Bocadillo Sour takes inspo from the sweet-and-salty match of guava and mascarpone cheese. Does your special occasion really call for icing on top? Try Duan’s Whip, a frozen confection spiked with aged rum. Take me there.

Giulia

Gather your six to 12 closest friends to get in for a real treat with a reservation for the Pasta Table at Giulia. Chefs at the Cambridge restaurant, beloved for its rustic Italian soul, use the white oak table to craft buckwheat pizzoccheri, farro fusili, and more handmade pasta by day. Come night, lucky diners take their seats to enjoy the fruits, so to speak, of that labor as part of the nightly chef’s-choice menu at this special table. Sfizi (small bites), antipasti, secondi, and dolci courses are also served family-style as part of the $95 five-course prix-fixe, or opt for a three-course tasting menu on a Friday or Saturday night for $75 per person. Take me there.

Lolita

Throne-like seats and blood-red chandeliers give Fort Point restaurant Lolita a seductive sort of charm for groups of friends, lovers, or frenemies. In warmer months, a covered patio-bar along the Fort Point Channel is a sunnier, celebratory scene. A tequila bar from the team behind Yvonne’s and Mariel, Lolita’s Margaritas are praiseworthy, whether you keep it as simple as she gets with grapefruit and house orange liqueur; or try something more adventurous like the Spicy Cucumber or the frosty Frolita. Snack on a guacamole flight, and delight in the whimsical cloud of spun sugar that’s delivered with the check. Take me there.

Mariel Boston

Brian Samuels Photography

Mariel

The ambience at Mariel might be compared to the New Year’s Eve scene in The Godfather: Part II in which the Corleones attend a lavish ball in Havana’s last hours before la Revolución. But rather than ending in dramatic fashion, the party at this lavish Cuban restaurant and cocktail lounge in downtown Boston starts anew every night. The bass is thumping, and cocktails turn heads on the way to group tables: The DTO (Daquiri Time Out) balances four or more half-Daiquiris in a metal tree surrounded by flaming limes. Take me there.

SRV

Though it’s modeled after a bar in Venice, SRV is pure South End charm. The airy dining room, standing-room bar, and courtyard-like back patio are all serene surroundings in which to dine on bite-sized cicchetti, heritage grain pastas, risotto made to order, and fresh, creamy gelato. Get yourself a Negroni, then ask about the multi-course Arsenale menu: The nightly offering ($65) brings out the best from this Italian-esque gem. We love how the chef’s-choice lineup of dishes and dessert takes decision-making off the menu so you can focus on the folks across the table. Take me there.

Yvonne’s Boston

Credit: Richard Cadan

Yvonne’s

Extravagance is in Yvonne’s DNA as the former Locke-Ober, once Boston’s most illustrious fine-dining spot: The downtown restaurant has an elaborate entryway, two intimate bars, and a  chandelier-lit dining room outfitted in tufted furniture that’s designed for social dining. Small plates like the classic Bavette Steak “Mirabeau” (studded with caramelized green olives) and Seared King Trumpet Mushrooms are meant to mix and match along with Feasts for a crowd, like the Grilled “Viper” Chop. Meanwhile, the cocktails are excellent, and some also serve two or more people. How can you possibly end a meal like this?? With a flaming Baked Alaska, of course. Take me there.

Cool and Casual

Just because it’s low-key doesn’t mean it’s boring. These comfortable spots make any meal an occasion.

Brewer’s Fork Boston

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Brewer’s Fork

This Charlestown pizza joint and beer bar is an anytime destination for farm-driven raw bar, wood-fired comfort food, and local libations. But Brewer’s Fork is equally welcoming any given Tuesday as it is for a special occasion like a birthday, graduation dinner, or engagement brunch. Everything on the menu is of the utmost quality, from the dolled-up oysters on the half-shell to the thick-cut pepperoni dotting a perfectly charred sourdough pie. Beer lovers: Ask about what’s aging in the cellar to pop a one-of-a-kind bottle to mark the moment. Take me there.

Lincoln Tavern and Restaurant

Open since 2012, the high-volume Lincoln Tavern is Southie’s go-to, with a wide-ranging menu of casual American fare enlivened with fire. The spacious place takes reservations and boasts a killer draft beer list and creative house cocktails. And then there are the Wood Fired Pizzas, ringed in an airy, chewy crust and arguably Lincoln’s biggest draw. Open daily from brunch on through late-night, Lincoln is never not the move in Southie. With big booths and private dining options, it’s ready to host whatever kind of event you have in mind. Take me there.

Picco ice cream

Picco

Think back to the birthday parties of your youth: The best ones had you squashed into a leather booth with what seemed like your very own pizza in front of you, ice cream sundaes ready for dessert. The dream is alive at Picco, Boston’s “pizza and ice cream company” of the South End, which specializes in rustic, artisanally scorched pizzas and rich, homemade ice cream in all the classic flavors. Fixings like chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and sugar cones make dessert extra-special. Take me there.

State Park

For the celebrations that call for a toast with the Champagne of Beers, State Park leaves the screen door open. The High Lifes are chilling behind this worn-in bar, ready to be topped with a floater of 100-proof Rittenhouse Rye and Braulio Amaro. This Kendall Square local, outfitted with a jukebox, pool table, pinball machine, and shuffleboard, has a come-as-you-are quality, and there’s a nook of a 10-person table reservable for semi-private groups. Pitchers and frozen cocktails are fun to share, and there are always nostalgic, seasonal desserts on the menu. Take me there.

Date Nights

If you’re popping the question or celebrating a silver anniversary, leave the romantic ambiance to the pros at these special restaurants.

Field & Vine - Restaurants for Celebrations in Boston

Credit: Chris McIntosh

Field & Vine

Of-the-moment dishes and bottles of natural wine fill the table while the din of the dining room is muted but merry—even the potted plants around the room are thriving. Field & Vine makes hosting the kind of dinner parties we can only dream of pulling off look achievable and fun. So, we leave the party planning to the pros at this Somerville spot, which also has a reservable semi-private room. The sweet, vine-draped dining room is one of our favorite places for any occasion. Field & Vine is a restaurant for omnivores with the sensibility of vegetarian dining, and a wood-fired grill that warms the place up from the busy center of the open kitchen. Take me there.

Mooncusser

Rising three stories above Back Bay, Mooncusser is a hidden gem of occasion-worthy seafood. Chef Carl Dooley (formerly of the now-closed, yet eminently memorable Table at Season to Taste restaurant in Cambridge) is at the helm of the elegant nightly tasting menu enlivened by global flavors. There’s a choice of two dishes for each of four courses, but you can trust this Top Chef alum, who made his name presenting local seafood and other high-end ingredients in new ways. Mooncusser’s white-tableclothed dining room hums efficiently while you and your date have just a few simple choices to make—like one wine pairing, or two? Take me there.

Pammy’s in Boston

Credit: Chris McIntosh

Pammy’s

Talk about couple goals: Married co-owners, chef Chris and Pam Willis, together create one of the Boston area’s most meaningful dining experiences at Pammy’s. A marbled and mirrored retreat between Central and Harvard Squares, this restaurant turns out homey Italian-influenced dishes with a mix of honed skill and splashes of inspiration. You can canoodle over pastas like the snail-shaped Lumache, doused in spicy Bolognese; and linger over a sweet crostata, stuffed with whatever’s ripe and in season. There’s a large table in the center of the dining room and quieter two-tops by the fireplace setting the right mood. Take me there.

Oleana

There is no more idyllic atmosphere in Inman Square than the fairy-garden patio outside of Oleana. The twinkling terrace is seated first-come, first-serve, yet it has undoubtedly seen many a special occasion celebrated amongst its greenery and stringing lights. The ambiance doesn’t lack inside the longtime Cambridge jewel, either: Richly textured fabrics and colorful tiles make the place feel positively royal. The cuisine of shareable meze rises to the occasion, too, especially the sticky-sweet, fall-apart-tender Sultan’s Delight short rib with smoky eggplant purée; and world-famous, flaming Baked Alaska for dessert. Take me there.

Splurge

You’re worth it.

food from Deuxave 

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

Deuxave

A table next to a fireplace is pure anniversary dinner- or Valentine’s Day-gold. And if that table happens to be in a chic French restaurant ensconced in a Back Bay mansion, well, you’ve hit the jackpot. Dining at Deuxave is worth every coin thanks to never-had-it-better iterations of classics, like a $22 bowl of 9 Hour French Onion Soup with Comté cheese and a bone marrow crouton, and a seasonally enhanced slab of Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras. Deuxave’s award-winning, manuscript-sized wine list promises multiple bottles worthy of whatever you’re celebrating—just ask your server for a suggestion, especially if money is no object. Take me there.

Grill 23 & Bar

With white jacket-clad servers, lush tapestries hanging from its walls, and an entire second floor dedicated to private dining, Grill 23 & Bar is as tony as it gets. There are a few ways to indulge at this Back Bay destination, from perching on a cushy barstool with a plate of American Kobe Steak Tartare, to uncorking a special bottle from the wine cellar alongside premium steakhouse cuts and a parade of traditional sides. The dessert menu’s Famous Coconut Cake with pineapple sherbet and coconut dulce de leche will make your day. Take me there.

O Ya sushi

Credit: Brian Samuels Photography

O Ya

For those unmatched moments that require a no-holds-barred sushi experience placing taste above all else, enter the hallowed hall of O Ya. A certified stunner in the trappings of a well-worn bar in the Financial District, O Ya has racked up national awards and recognition over the past 15 years from the likes of the James Beard Foundation and Blake Lively—for good reason. Across 20 courses for $250, bite-sized delights brim with indulgent flavor, such as a blow-torched Hamachi Nigiri with banana pepper, and the deliciously different Potato Chip Nigiri with black truffle. Go all out with seasonal add-on dishes and a sake-centric beverage pairing. Take me there.

Tasting Counter

The unconventional experience at Tasting Counter begins with buying a ticket, so you can simply take your swiveling seat at the time of your tasting menu reservation and leave the rest to the chef. Instead of a menu to read, you’re overlooking the cleanest and quietest kitchen we’ve ever seen, waiting with anticipation for the food to arrive. For the next two hours, you’ll watch a team led by chef-owner Peter Ungár meticulously craft marvels of gastronomic science that they’ll personally deliver and explain each time, using the bounty of preserves lining the laboratory-like dining room hidden in Somerville. Take me there.

Uni spoon from Uni

Uni

This Back Bay restaurant is like a high-end, hip Tokyo sushi bar where the chef has a Boston address and a well-stamped passport. A freewheeling izakaya from one of our best-known chefs (Ken Oringer of Toro, Coppa, and Little Donkey), Uni is worthy of all acclaim as one of the city’s top dining destinations. The menu showcases New England and Japanese seafood as delicately garnished sashimi, nigiri, maki rolls, and caviar flights; with eclectic small plates and an extensive selection of Japanese whisky that help make this one of our all-time favorite celebration spots. Do not skip the Maine-urchin Uni Spoon or the Spicy Tuna and Foie Gras Tataki. Take me there.

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