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Dinner for UCLA grad and family

I'd like to get your suggestions on where I should make a reservation for a party of 20. I'm looking for good food, but not too expensive, place to eat around 7 pm (I'm aware of the difficulty of finding a decent place to take such a large party on Fri. night, but it's the day of my graduation!). I would like to stay near UCLA if possible.

Oh, by the way, I'm considering Monte Alban, but I'm not even sure if this would be the right choice.

So, please help me out. No suggestion is a bad suggestion~ Thank you

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  1. What kind of cuisine do you want?
    Gardens on Glendon or Napa Valley Grille is nice in Westwood.
    For Persian, Shamshiri
    Could go over to Beverly Hills to Il Pastaio (little pricier and might be too small), Enoteca, or Il Fornaio
    Palmeri on San Vicente
    i Cugini in Santa Monica might be a good option as well

    2 Replies
    1. re: Emme

      No preference on cuisine, my whole family is up for anyting, so the more choices the better!

      1. re: hambriento

        You might go for Ethiopian then over on Fairfax... Rahel's, Messob, Meals by Genet

        Or, try Dar Maghreb for Moroccan or Mouns of Turis.

    2. I'd also suggest heading to Santa Monica, as anywhere in the UCLA vicinity will be packed.

      As suggested, ICugini is good for large parties. I'd also add Monsoon Cafe. Relatively few people know of this place (at least when I've been there), and it has quite many large seating areas. There are two Il Forniao's, one in SM and the other in BH, so if one is filled, you can call the other.

      You could also search the places on Sawtelle. Curry House has an outside patio.

      In any event, reservations should be made quickly.

      Congralulations from a fellow Bruin! :)

      1. Congratulations from another fellow Bruin!

        A couple years ago we went to Palomino in Westwood following graduation which turned out to be great. I thought Palomino was going to be chainy and lame, but the menu suited the varied tastes of our large group and the cocktails were strong and came quickly.

        As it was graduation night in Westwood, things were a bit hectic and unfortunately my graduation was one of the later ones that day. While we were waiting for all of the earlier tables to leave, the wonderful bar staff/hostess sent over tons of apps for our group. Very nice gesture, I thought.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Suebee

          I also really like Palomino...

          You might also consider Tanino. I had a wonderful dinner there on I think a Tuesday or Wednesday night and it was practically empty. I think they have an upstairs area, but I'm not positive. If they aren't too booked for a Friday they should be able to accommodate you downstairs anyway. Amazing Italian food, very well done.

          1. re: LisaStitch

            i enjoy palomino as well. if you are seated early for dinner (iirc, before 6pm) you can take advantage of a 3 course prix fixe dinner deal....and it'll only set you back $20.

        2. You could try Xi'an in Beverly Hills. It's a Chinese restaurant, fairly trendy and has a full bar. For a party of 20 they can section off part of the restaurant. You would have to select the menu beforehand, which you might or might not like. I had a private party there and everyone had a great time.

          1. I like your idea of Monte Alban -- tasty, somewhat unique but accessible food, downright cheap prices for what you get. Place isn't big, so you'll need to call and see if they can handle a group that size and reserve. Also, I'm pretty sure they don't have a full bar, if that is a concern.

            Shamshiri is a nicely appointed Persian place, the best of the bunch I've tried so far, and could handle a group that size, though probably broken up onto three or so tables. You could order an assortment of kabobs, shawarma, and koobideh and eat family style. I don't think they have a full bar, either, and street parking should be ok by that time of evening.

            Nook Bistro has a big community table in the middle but I doubt that it would hold 20 -- maybe so. Excellent food, good service, full bar. Entrees range from high teens to low twenties for most dishes. Good starters, too, if folks would be into sharing some mussels, mac'n'cheese, and salads. One of the best value restaurants in town, and call quick because it is no longer a secret.