Celebratory lunch in Boston/Cambridge/metrowest

Hi Boston people! Taking a friend out for her 50th birthday on Wednesday / recommendations for a fun high end place? Neither of us eat red meat/pork. Thanks!

Yvonne’s is high on the fun quotient, and the food is fabulous. Move quickly as only late slots are available.


Of course lots of great seafood options. Fun ones include Saltie Girl, B & G Oysters, Row 34.


Hi @sallyt!

A high-end lunch may be tough to find these days - I think many places are not able to keep lunch hours?

I don’t eat at high-end places but every fancy-ish place I thought of (eg, Catalyst, Tallulah, etc.) is only open for dinner.

Edited to add: Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington. Friends of ours went for a celebratory dinner recently. I haven’t had a chance to ask them about it. They have a very brief lunch menu.


I do love Row 34 and I will also add that their space in Boston gets loud when it’s crowded—unless they’ve added sound absorption? It’s been some time since I was there.

Also @MaxEntropy you were the person who immediately came to mind in being able to offer recommendations. :blush:


Do you have a neighborhood or direction you prefer? It would help guide us as to whether Cambridge/Somerville is an option, or you really want Boston proper.

@digga is right - so many high end or semi high end places I thought of are either not serving lunch at all anymore or only on weekends. Sad! Hope they can all hang on.

Terra at Eataly has daily lunch, so does Henrietta’s Table in Harvard Square.


hi everyone,

thanks for the awesome suggestions. We love Yvonne’s but they don’t have lunch. I know, so many places stopped offering lunch during the pandemic (understandably). I love Catalyst! Saltie Girl is a great suggestion and I actually suggested it to my friend yesterday before posting; she isn’t a big seafood eater but is willing to get non-seafood items somewhere. @Parsnipity , sorry - I wrote Boston/Cambridge/metrowest in my post title, but not the post itself - whoops! We’re willing to go anywhere. We love Sarma/Sofra but Sarma no longer does lunch and Sofra only has about 4 outdoor tables. I actually went to Sofra yesterday to get hamantaschen and they were SWARMING with people.

If you have any thoughts, keep 'em coming! Thank you!! I SO appreciate the warm welcome to this board -


Catalyst is a good option for lunch in Cambridge

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Correction - Catalyst is open for weekday lunch. I was looking at Saturday hours.

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Thanks TT :blush:
Also high on the fun meter I’d like to recommend Contessa, though not based on experience as I haven’t yet been able to score a rez at a reasonable hour. Nothing available for dinner this Wednesday but they have a few late lunch slots open. Supposedly has a fantastic view overlooking the Public Garden. It’s the first Boston venture from NYC-based Major Food Group (Carbone, Dirty French) so there’s reason to believe the food is as good as the early reviews.

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See mention of Contessa (above or below?) In Watertown Branch Line has a lovely covered terrace. Harvest in Cambridge (Harvard Square) also has a lovely covered terrace. Both have great food and are open for lunch.


I have not been to Petit Robert in a long time. But have fond memories of the service and the lunch menu. Has anyone been lately?


I adore Branch Line! Lunch on Fridays only and brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

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Bummer…I vaguely recall they were open for lunch mid-week once upon a time.

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Oh they definitely were, pre-pandemic. I’m pretty sure they were open for lunch every day back in Before Times.


Be aware that Dine Out Boston (fka Restaurant Week) is happening, so some places may have limited menu. A few places I like that are mid-high to swanky and still serving lunch:

  • Alcove near TD Garden. Now featuring the great Chuck Draghi of the bygone and beloved Erbaluce as their chef. He has already added a few Erbaluce classics to the menu. Nice patio, too.
  • Terra at Eataly at the Pru. Big Italian menu, great wine list.
  • Select Oyster Bar, Back Bay. Super combo of raw bar and cooked seafood, fine wine list. If it’s nice enough to sit outside, choose the back patio. I find the front patio too exposed to constant traffic (noise and exhaust, and at night, headlight glare.)
  • The Banks Fish House, Back Bay. Raw bar and New England seafood in a fancy setting, the old Post 390 space. A good option if lobster is on your mind, though the price of it these days is frightening.
  • Peregrine, Whitney Hotel, Beacon Hill. Lovely Sardinian-inspired food in a small boutique hotel setting from the folks behind Juliet in Somerville. The room can feel a little too lobby-adjacent; I solve this problem by getting seats at the bar.
  • Petit Robert Bistro, South End. Classic Parisian bistro fair, nice patio.
  • Atlántico, South End. Seafood-centered Portuguese and Spanish small plates, nice patio. More limited menu at lunch.
  • Contessa, The Newbury Hotel (fka The Taj, fka the old Ritz-Carlton), Back Bay. Spectacular views (it’s the top floor of the hotel), terrific Northern Italian food, great service. Only hitch is it’s the toughest reservation in town right now, so you might have to do a later lunch (2-ish). But lunch and brunch are the best bets to get in here until the current frenzy dies down. Menu doesn’t lose a lot from dinner, and the views are nicer in the daytime anyway. That should feel plenty celebratory!
  • Mahanyiom, Brookline Village. Not very fancy, but a good food-geek choice, and thanks to some recent professional raves, also a tough table. Really gorgeous Thai food in a little-seen (for Thai) mostly small-plates format.
  • Saltie Girl, Back Bay. Small and very charming raw bar / seafood place with some nice Haley Henry style luxury tinned seafood options. I love that little bar setup and it’s very hard to get a dinner rez here.

Hope that helps!


Adults are definitely in charge at Branch Line. We used them for takeout (spatchcocked turkey) the last two Thanksgivings. Always interesting beers on tap, though lately they’ve dialed back the count a bit (pre-pandemic they would have 20 or more). And the rotisserie chicken! Both regular and Piri-Piri, worthy of mention in the same breath as the roast chicken at Zuni Cafe.

Owner Garrett Hawker is planning a return to Kenmore Square. Looking forward to developments.


MC, I want to love Terra (the space is boisterous and fun, the menu captivating, great vermouth selection), but the last time we were there the water service (yes!) was so energetic it became oppressive. We asked that they stop filling our water glasses every two minutes but word wasn’t shared with all the staff so it just continued. Also there was a big fail on making a proper espresso. My wife gave up after 3 tries.


I sat at Terra’s bar for a busy brunch service recently and the bartender was too slammed with brunch cocktails to worry overmuch about our water. We had ordered a big sparkling water and had a bottle of orange wine, so I guess he figured we could self-serve.

There’s definitely some comedy in the too-much-water problem. (I’m reminded of the old meme of the battle of notes between a hotel guest and a housekeeping staff who kept leaving him mini-soaps. I always thought it was real, but recently learned it was copied from a Shelley Berman standup bit.) I imagine it’s driven by those painful online reviewers (looking at you, Yelp) that have a great meal otherwise but dock stars for a failure to keep their water glass filled.

Bad espresso is a big misstep for that kind of place.

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