Need suggestion for social event for 15-20 people in Palo Alto/Mtn.Vw. - good food/private rm.
I am organizing a dinner event for 15-20 people in the Palo Alto/Mountain View vicinity. We have some vegetarians and need room to have clusters of tables versus one long one.
We also need room to mix and mingle before dinner.
I'm looking for a place with great, flavorful, interesting, crowd-pleasing food, relaxed ambiance, and a total bill of no more than $40 per person including drinks.
Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
As a postscript, we wound up having an enjoyable event at Shiok!, 1137 Chestnut Street. It turned out to be a perfect setting -- family style food was a great natural icebreaker, particularly with dishes inviting commentary like the ostrich.
Food was enjoyable, low-key and served promptly by an attentive waiter. Some dishes were better than others -- many of the appetizers - 5 spice roll, roti prate with curry dipping sauce, sambal string beans, crispy tofu were universally enjoyed by the group. Some of the specialty dishes were similar in presentation and flavor. I am partial to the Char Kway Teow - flat rice and yellow noodles mixed with Chinese sausage, eggs, beansprouts and chives in a sweet black sauce. Kokkien Mee, with vermicelli, prawns, calamari, chives, beansprouts and eggs stirfriend in a prawn-based sauce was also tasty.
We had a large number of appetizers and ~9 entrees, and I was shocked to find the bill was under $300, including wine. It was a casual, reasonably-priced, tasty meal for the not-for-profit group I was hosting.
Palo Alto has a couple of options, but the best location is Zibibbo:
I have attended several private events (including birthday parties to formal sit-down dinner) and the service and food have been fantastic. The food at Zibibbo lends itself to family style or large-app platters. I have not had a bad dish yet.
My sister had her graduation party at Nola in Palo Alto. Cajun-ish place- she got to choose what dishes to have on the platters that they brought, and they got the food and the room for a good price. The food was quite good, though I don't think it's authentically Cajun- just nicely Cajun-influenced. Nice interior and nice atmosphere also.
http://www.nolas.com/ (they have a private parties section on their site)
The food at Nola is quite good, but the place can get rowdy/loud. They have a few different rooms that can be converted to host private events. It is a great place for a fun evening, but may pose problems during a busy night.
Also: Nola has, by far, the most family friendly attitude in the Bay Area. When my family shows up (2 adults, 3 kids ages 8/5/3), the immediately provide the kids a bowl of french fries each, along with the usual crayons/activity sheet/beads. This keeps the kids entertained while the adults get settled in. The food choices for the kids are also better than the usual "nugget/burger", they include fresh fruit salad and a huge dessert... all for $5!
Nola rocks, but I like Zibibbo for more "intimate" events.
I know of 2 restaurants in MV with private rooms: Don Giovanni and Shiva's Indian Restaurant. Cannot attest to food quality of either, but cased out DG for my rehearsal dinner a few years back and yes, you can cluster tables there. Had rehearsal dinner at the (now) Shiva's when it was Vivaca and yes, you can cluster tables in that space too. Both have full bars.