Walking into Catalyst you're met by a sense of calm, the large space is filled with inviting elements that make you want to find a seat and stay there for a very long time. The double sided fireplace is surrounded by benches begging for you to take a seat and hanging from the wall you'll see live greenery adding a splash of color to the industrial chic decor. But what makes Catalyst special is their food. Dinner is excellent but brunch is a real treat. Appetizers invite a family style experience for the first part of the meal. In the spirit of eggs benedict, you'll find a breakfast that could satisfy a movie star- a poached egg atop a tournedo of beef sitting on a pile of grits all doused in hollandaise.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: The large space of Catalyst gives staff the opportunity to string tables together allowing you to remain part of the main dining room.
Jessica's expert tip: Share a few "For the Table" treats like the Skillet Cinnamon Coffee Cake and the Scones, but order your own meal as you'll devour the entire plate, especially if yours includes their flavorful grits.
A casually elegant interior is swanky without being stuffy. Small tiles seem to glisten from the light reflecting off their shiny surface. The lively bar scene is the perfect place to sit solo and order a light meal, or a simple snack including something from their impressive selection of raw bar essentials even during their brunch hours. Enjoy the leisurely scene at one of their many private or communal tables, or opt for a patio seat; with warming stations you can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air well after summer ends and much in advance of when it begins. Gaslight's brunch is as inviting as its atmosphere; order a few things to share from their sweet and savory options to create your perfect brunch.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Gaslight has a lovely layout, and will work with you to create your ideal French brasserie group dining experience.
Jessica's expert tip: Gaslight's crepes are worth every calorie but if you'd prefer something savory try the Steak & Eggs with pommes confit, casramelized onions, & sauce meurette. And if you're feeling more like lunch order the Moules Frites.
In the heart of Kenmore Square, moments away from Fenway Park sits Eastern Standard. A sophisticated restaurant with a fabulous bar that churns out out some the best New American cuisine in the city. Although you can make it a light lunch, who would want to when the raw bar summons diners to indulge and entrees like, The Gouda Mac n Cheese, and Chicken Sausage and Gravy served over a buttermilk biscuit are options you could enjoy mid -day? If you have time for a cocktail then sip away-the menu is a sophisticated list of libations. For those looking to avoid the booze but in need of more than a basic soda, enjoy one of Eastern Standard's anything but ordinary mocktails.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Eastern Standard offers a board-room style private dining room that seats up to eighteen, and is available for business as well as pleasure.
Jessica's expert tip: If the Red Sox have a home game, be sure to take the T, parking can be tough in Kenmore Square.
Summer Shack has consistently good food, excellent blackboard specials, stiff drinks and a seasoned wait staff. The laid back atmosphere is family friendly, but also offers an oyster bar in the center of the space as well as a more casual sports bar in another room (for those looking to leave the kids behind). Excellent daily specials combined with a variety of classics make Summer Shack a place to return to over and over again. Not a seafood fanatic, the land lover's menu allows all an equally exciting dining experience as specialties like their fried chicken make it hard not to get an order for the table even if a lobster is your main course plan.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: The Summer Shack is a large space with multi-levels, long tables allow large groups room to spread out while the menu offers something for everyone.
Jessica's expert tip: Very family friendly, a perfect place for seafood with kids; the atmosphere is lively and laid back.
Fugakyu in Brookline's Coolidge Corner has been a favorite for many Boston locals since it opened its doors 12 years ago. Everything is perfectly prepared, allowing you the opportunity to truly get what you want without worry. Their fun variations of rolls, which use their super fresh fish, are served in your setting of choice: private booth, tatami room, a table or simply at the sushi bar. An elegant sushi escape, Fugakyu works well for dates, nights with friends, family or a group. And for those who prefer to eat their food cooked, the of Japanese cuisine is exceptional. Either way, Fugakyu is sure to make you happy.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: A private tatami room at Brookline's Fugakyu lets your group enjoy a sushi adventure with some privacy.
Jessica's expert tip: Make a reservation to dine with friends in a tatami room.
Towne Stove and Spirits is an upscale, yet casual, Back Bay hot spot where you'll find a varied crowd. The main dining area consists of two floors with sectioned off areas and is and ideal dining destination for a large group. The food offered at Towne is well worth the cost as the high prices truly reflect a quality product and the Chef proudly stands behind what he puts out ensuring guests the ultimate indulgence. Late night revelers will love that Towne offer bar dining at its best until 11:00pm on weeknights and 12:00am on weekends. Indulge in their lineup of shareable snacks and dishes that are meant to compliment their well developed drink list. Favorites include playfully topped toasts, a collection of small plates with a global twist, indulgent grilled flatbreads and of course, burgers.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Towne Stove and Spirits is a lively spot with several rooms, allowing both private and semi-private dining.
Jessica's expert tip: Build your own chopped salad is a great lunch option and the nightly dinner specials can't be skipped.
Located in Liberty Wharf, arguably the hottest place to dine in the city, especially during warmer months, Del Frisco's offers outdoor waterfront dining on their stunning glass walled patio (to keep it comfortable even if the wind blows). But location alone does not sell Del Frisco's, their steaks are charred on the outside while staying melt in your mouth perfect on the inside, and the service is second to none. Their seafood selection is off the charts, and the wine list wows even the toughest crowds. A meal here will have you encountering more than one waiter whose sole purpose is to make your meal memorable. And memorable it will be because each bite at Del Frisco's leaves you longing for one more.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: A large private room with windowed walls overlooks Boston Harbor where groups can gather to enjoy a top-notch steak house meal.
Jessica's expert tip: Known for their steak be sure you don't overlook the seafood. Excellent menu items include the crab-cake, tuna tartare and Shanghai style calamari.
Walking into Maggiano's you get the sense you're entering an Italian home. A warm welcome awaits as you approach the host who will happily seat you. Your server will offer the option to order individually or family style, but the entire table must stick to the plan you select. Offering their Italian specialties either way, group dining is more fun when you can pass the plates around. When the large platters of food appear at your table for passing, just as they would for a family dinner in an Italian family, don't be shy as this chain does red sauce right. Dig into classic appetizers like calamari fritt� and caprese salad. Enjoy seconds of the hearty servings of pasta like their baked rigatoni or spaghetti and meatballs and save room for the main course selections like chicken parmesan and veal piccata then indulge in desserts like tiramisu and spumoni.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Maggiano's menus are designed to allow for ordering family style, so your group can pass the plates and share as you would at home.
Jessica's expert tip: Ideal for large groups, Maggiano's family style ordering is a must.
The Atlantic Wharf location of Smith and Wollensky overlooks the historic Fort Point Channel. Their outdoor dining scene is bustling during the warmer months when diners can score a seat for dinner or just drinks at their outdoor bar and take in the sweeping waterfront views. Offering diners prime dry aged steaks, premium seafood, award-winning wines and an extensive cocktail list, it is a hot spot for a business lunch or special dinner. Indulge in their coffee cocoa rubbed filet or one of their dry aged favorites like the melt in your mouth rib eye. Request your steak sliced family stay;e and share a few bites of each or make a meal of their appetizers like the mussels and crab cake.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Four options allow you to customize your private dining experience to suit your party on Boston's waterfront at Smith & Wollensky.
Jessica's expert tip: Smith & Wollensky is known for seafood and steak, and the Atlantic Wharf location is ideal for a warm New England day-nothing beats dinner by the water.
New Shanghai is a Chinatown favorite, not for its decor, but for its authenticity as a go to for hot, spicy Szechuan-style cuisine. Prices are reasonable, starting with appetizers under $10 and entrees in the high teens. The fish is fresh, meats are well seasoned and the dim sum is to die for. But be forewarned, you will find a sampling of unusual Chinese treats like Szechuan Style Frog and Peking Style Jellyfish. Don't be alarmed, just enjoy as everything; even the little out of the ordinary is quite tasty. Great for an authentic Chinatown experience, and welcoming to duo's, trio's and even large groups.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: New Shanghai is a fun Chinatown spot where groups dine family style allowing you to sample a little of everything.
Jessica's expert tip: New Shanghai is the place to step out of your comfort zone and sample some of their authentic Chinese specialties like the Szechuan Style Frog.