somervilleoldtimer's friend has an interesting conundrum. She has a crush on a coworker, and is looking for a good spot in Cambridge or Somerville for a midweek "working dinner" that might turn into something more. But here's the catch: "It can't be so outrageously romantic that she and her colleague will need to jump guiltily if her other co-workers happen to see them there," somervilleoldtimer says. In other words, she's looking for a restaurant with some privacy, and that's romantic without being too obvious.
hckybg and opinionatedchef both think East by Northeast in Inman Square might work well for the occasion. It "doesn't have booths but is an intimate space without being too romantic," hckybg says. Bob Dobalina disagrees. "East by Northeast is a bit dimly lit," he says. "If I saw work friends there together, I would immediately think 'canoodling.'"
Another option might be Rendezvous in Central Square, particularly the bar's Monday night tapas menu. Madrid has been for the tapas several times, and says it has felt private despite the crowds. "I think it has to do with the incredibly warm, attentive, yet non-intrusive bar service," she says. viperlush thought the food on a recent Monday night visit was "awesome." "We didn't mean to make a dinner out of it, but one fried smelt, fried chickpeas, fried oysters, mini cassoulet, two plates of bread, and ceviche later...as good as any full meal that I've had there," viperlush says.
mkfisher thinks that Abigail's in Kendall Square could be a good choice. The tables (which include some booths) are well spaced out, and "servers wear t-shirts most of the time, so it's pretty laid back," mkfisher says. Another possibility is Temple Bar near Porter Square, which also has booths. pollystyrene thinks the food at Temple Bar is pretty good, and the atmosphere is not very memorable—which for this purpose could be a plus.
To read more ideas, check out the full thread below, and stay tuned for somervilleoldtimer's report on how things went!
East by Northeast [Inman Square]
1128 Cambridge Street, Cambridge
Rendezvous in Central Square [Central Square]
502 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
Abigail's [Kendall Square]
291 Third Street, Cambridge
Temple Bar [Porter Square]
1688 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge