Restaurant News

Ask The Editor: Quiet Restaurants for Big Business Dinners?

This reader is looking for a place where a group of colleagues can talk shop.


Welcome to Ask the Editor, Boston magazine’s dining advice column. Need a restaurant recommendation? Ask a pro.

The far wall of the private dining room at Alcove is decorated with a bright blue topographical map

The far wall of the private dining room at Alcove is decorated with a bright blue topographical map, visible throughout the restaurant. / Photos by Emily Kan provided

Question:

I’m arranging a dinner for eight colleagues (some of us are already close, some are new) to gather, talk shop, and have a nice meal with cocktails. What are some restaurants to consider reserving for a group of this size? We’re coming from all ends of town, so I’d like somewhere nice, but not exorbitantly expensive, not too rowdy, and has at least some options if any of the attendees have dietary restrictions (e.g., gluten-free). If it helps: cocktails and wine are preferred over beer.

—Y.S.

With a call in advance, most any restaurant that takes reservations will be able to accomodate a group of eight people. That’s right, call in this reservation instead of trying to reserve online. Talk to a real person: The restaurant may be able to seat you at a round table more conducive to conversation, or even at a table secluded in a semi-private nook.

But a few spots certainly come to mind to satisfy your other desires for this dinner. Alcove is a brand-new restaurant situated across from the TD Garden, overlooking the harbor in between the Zakim and Charlestown bridges. Throughout the large space are places where a group of eight could meet for dinner, and not lose sight of the unique Boston view. A bartending team led by Will Piquette (an alum of Island Creek Oyster Bar, Yvonne’s, and more) has a cocktail for everyone’s palate, from this fall’s sage-inflected Cool Collins, to the Fluffy Bee, a rum-and-egg white sipper dusted with bee pollen. If you’re the type to share with colleagues, choose among dishes like ancho chili-dusted Spanish octopus with potatoes and black olives; or keep house-made pastas, or the comté cheeseburger to yourself. (50 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, 617-248-0050, alcoveboston.com)

The Grafton Group knows how to make a restaurant comfortable, as evidenced by their Cambridge standbys like Temple Bar and Russell House Tavern. Across the river, their Boston property, State Street Provisions, is a fine dinner choice for a group of eight colleagues. The spacious dining room has tables among curtain partitions, for added quietude without being seated in a fully private room. The bar menu abounds with creative riffs on classic drinks, such as Nantucket Reds, with citrus vodka, cranberry syrup, lemon, and Aperol; and a Greenpoint cocktail on draft. The Long Wharf restaurant has a wide-ranging menu of standards such as a house Caesar salad with anchovy croutons; a cold lobster roll with tarragon aioli; and grilled heritage pork chop with leek spaetzle. (255 State St., Boston; 617-863-8363, statestreetprovisions.com)

My final suggestion is the great crowd-pleaser, pizza. Bring your crew to Pastoral, Fort Point’s wood-fired pizzeria. With high, industrial ceilings and an open kitchen, this spot can get a little noisy, but when you’re seated on a comfy banquette bench along the back wall, conversation should be achievable. For dinner, split a few antipasti, salads, and pies, like margherita with hand-torn mozzarella; fennel sausage with fromage blanc; and the adventurous, lemony jalapeño and arugula pizza, flecked with bonito. This place is best-known for a beer selection that includes Italian craft brews, but cocktail fans will find a well-made negroni; Pimm’s and lemon; a house Old Fashioned; and even a margarita with a Cocchi Americano floater. (345 Congress St., Boston, 617-345-0005, pastoralfortpoint.com)

No matter where you end up, it will be great: All business meetings should have a great cocktail selection.