All you have to worry about is splitting the bill.
Joe’s waterfront. Joe’s waterfront
These beer gardens in the Boston area are now open for the season
An ongoing list of Boston decks open for al fresco dining
After more than a year of doing our best to stay apart, the chance to get together over dinner is slowly becoming a reality. This means that Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation parties, birthdays and other IRL celebrations take place instead of via Zoom and shared plates in restaurants instead of during virtual happy hours.
Of course, we can’t have huge brunch bashes just yet. According to Massachusetts regulations, restaurants can currently only seat up to six people at each table; on May 29th there will be ten. In Boston we have to wait a little longer: from June 19, parties of up to ten are allowed.
However, if you are planning ahead or looking for group-friendly restaurants to host your next festive meal, then these 10 local eateries should be considered. Many have spacious alcoves, private dining rooms, or patios for larger parties, and a handful have enticing kids’ menus for more family-friendly occasions. As always, follow each restaurant’s rules when it comes to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Whether you’re gathering for brunch or dinner, this Dorchester rendezvous is a prime hangout for family and friends, with a large outdoor terrace and beer garden and a separate “cubby” area for up to six people. Come for the cheddar cheese cornbread and Bolognese, stick around for the brownie sundae that you definitely need help with. (555 Talbot Avenue, Boston)
Tim and Nancy Cushman’s restaurant on The Street at Chestnut Hill is reminiscent of a sunny Palm Springs vacation with its orange-green color scheme and plant-filled dining room. Groups can curl up in one of the cozy sitting areas or at a patio table outside the door, where you can often see kids running through the open-air mall. Since there is something for everyone, the menu offers burgers and sushi rolls, pasta and salads, as well as a selection of Roman pizzas from the restaurant’s sister restaurant, Mr. Roni Cups. (47 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill)
Both private and semi-private dining spaces are available at this Watertown restaurant, in addition to a spacious outdoor deck that includes a bowling green for a playful post-meal competition. Branch Line’s rotisserie chicken is a fan favorite, and the kids have a “little chicken menu” with mac and cheese, a quesadilla, and an ice cream sundae. (321 Arsenal St., Watertown)
If your crew is looking for Mediterranean food, the Committee in the Seaport has plenty of space to spread out: communal tables, a cooking table and lounge, a private dining room and an airy outdoor terrace. The emphasis on shared plates is also suitable for group meals; Try the dips trio to start, followed by dolmas, a few orders of Bao Gyro, and one of the grilled platters for the table. (50 Northern Avenue, Boston)
Although it opened shortly before the pandemic began, Cósmica has already established itself as a standout Mexican restaurant in Boston, serving excellent tacos and a top-notch selection of tequila and mezcal. Dinner and brunch reservations can be made inside, but if you only want to hang out over drinks we highly recommend applying for a spot on the terrace. The outside area is a boon in the South End and has heaters in case the temperature drops. (40 Berkeley Street, Boston)
Located on the border between Roxbury and the South End, Darryl’s is a staple of the neighborhood for home cooking and live jazz. There are few better places in Boston to gather your friends around a table for fried chicken wings, shrimp and grits, and a basket of cornbread (an optimized kids menu is also available). Paired with cocktails and music from a local band, a group meeting here ensures an unforgettable meal. (604 Columbus Avenue, Boston)
If a birthday or graduation dinner has to be celebrated with a view, Joe’s Waterfront should serve the purpose. The family-friendly restaurant reopened at the beginning of April with a brand new terrace and a new dining, lounge and bar area; Private dining options are available if you want the inside jokes to stay with your group. The seafood menu features classics like fish and chips and a Maine lobster roll, and a kids’ menu features crowd-pleasers like grilled cheese and popcorn shrimp. (100 Atlantic Avenue, Boston)
Large booths and an expansive terrace with scenic views provide plenty of space for family and friends at this East Boston restaurant (there’s another location in Quincy’s Marina Bay). Start with common plates for the table, like Malaysian-style chicken wings and crispy seared calamari, as well as a few starters you’d like to share with a friend: swordfish steak, seafood fra diavolo, and grilled Statler chicken. (6 New St., Boston)
We can’t talk about group dining without mentioning the hot pot, and shabu-zen is one of the best in Boston. The restaurant, with locations in Allston and Chinatown, specializes in shabu-shabu and offers diners the option of choosing which meat to go with their hot pot medley of broth, vegetables and a selection of udon, vermicelli or rice. If you’re dining with a larger group, opt for the jumbo size option. (80 Brighton Avenue, Boston; 16 Tyler Street, Boston)
If your group connects through craft beer, Trillium Brewing’s Fort Point location has all the beer, food, and space you need. The large dining room, outdoor terrace, and rooftop terrace of the restaurant offer guests multiple seating options (although reservations are only accepted for indoor dining) and a solid selection of shareable plates makes ordering easy. Get the baked brie with onion jam, grilled octopus and stracciatella toast for the table, all of which can be paired with one of Trillium’s excellent brews. (50 Thomson Square, Boston)
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