Recommendations on 25th birthday dinner
I am trying to plan for my 25th birthday in May and wanted suggestions. I want something that can handle a group, probably no more than 10 people. I also want something that will be a treat.
Many of my friends are very picky eaters, vegetarians or just not very adventurous, but I love all food. I'm leaning toward sushi, steak or seafood (and the picky eaters, I hope, will have options on the menu to choose from). I would love suggestions on places that have good food and a cool vibe, but type of cuisine isn't too much of an issue, especially if a place has decent vegetarian options.
Location doesn't really matter, but I live in Pasadena, work in Santa Monica and West Los Angeles. I've only lived in California for a year, so I haven't been everywhere.
SGV Chinese, or any family style Chinese food may be a good option in terms of the price requirement, as long as you don't mind going out there. Mei Long Village (search the forum) has some good vegetarian options, as well as great (from what I hear) non-veg food. They have beer (and possibly wine) there.
I usually drag my friends (meat eaters and all) to a Chinese vegetarian place; some of these either serve beer cheap or let you BYO (some don't allow it at all, though, so check). House of Vege in Lomita (South Bay) and Vegetable Delight in Chatsworth (Valley) are similar (and closer).
Angeli Caffe on Melrose might be worth looking into - prices are reasonable and they have a big table that would probably work.
To keep at under $50/person AND to accommodate those who love to drink - perhaps your best option would be a BYOB? La Buca, on Melrose, might be an option (although I don't know how large a party they can handle). Also, there's Girasole on Larchmont. With Italian, you generally have several decent options for both vegetarians and picky eaters.
Canele, in Atwater Village, might be another option. While not BYOB, it's a more affordable restaurant, with entrees less than $25. I can't remember what options they had for vegetarians, though (it would depend on whether those vegetarians ate seafood or not - if yes on the seafood, then there are enough options). Maybe Village Idiot, on Melrose and Martel, also - entrees aren't horribly priced there, and it's a rather nice space. Not sure if either takes reservations for large parties, though - I'd recommend calling to check.
How much are you willing to spend per person?
Without knowing that, here are some options for places that appeal to lots of people... Joe's in Venice has good fish, vegetarian, and meat entrees. Chaya Venice has a lot of energy and has a pretty broad menu, including some sushi, some meat, and some pretty straightforward dishes that might work with picky eaters. I have found Josie in Santa Monica to be pretty accommodating for picky eaters.