Feast and Fete
South End hot spot Mistral is a grand restaurant, with arched floor-to-ceiling windows and dramatic topiaries, but its private room for 60, Le Salon e Mistral, feels both intimate and chic. The standout menu showcases unfussy French-Mediterranean fare — e.g., Dover sole meunière with lemon and capers, sauté of spinach and onions, and fingerling potatoes — and the overall vibe is hip but not pretentious, even if Tom and Gisele do stop by the bar once in a while. >> 223 Columbus Ave., Boston, 617-867-9300, mistralbistro.com.
A former city jail that once housed the Boston Strangler might seem like a questionable place to host a party, but hey, times have changed: Guests here now stroll through the Liberty Hotel’s luxe lobby past vestiges of holding cells to get to Scampo (Italian for “escape”). The private dining area seats 45 and boasts views of the bustling kitchen, where chef Lydia Shire and her crew turn out Italian-inspired dishes like lobster pizza and garlicky grilled clams over risotto. All in all, this is one place you’ll be glad you locked down. >> 215 Charles St., Boston, 617-536-2100, scampoboston.com.