San Diego Dinner for 15- Interesting, low cost
Bandar in the Gaslamp quarter has good Persian food. Their portions are huge, so if anyone wants to save $$, splitting an entree will still leave you full. Entrees are variations of beef and chicken kabobs on mounds of fluffy saffron rice. The rice with barberries and lentils is my favorite!
Mama Testa's has excellent tacos and salsas, will run about $10-15 (max) per person. Good high quality grad student fare.
Yakitori Yakyudori in Hillcrest is all yakitori style food. I haven't been yet, but have heard very good things about it. Tiny place on 6th Ave, south of Washington. Open from 6 pm until past midnight.
There are many good buffet deals in "Convoy" Sunrise Buffet - around $10-$15/person for a fulfilling meal. or East Buffet - address and location is 8998 Miramar Rd. phone # 858-566-1888 or 858-566-6188 in San Diego. They both have all sorts of Asian dishes... vegetarian/seafood/meat/salads/dessert/sushi
I'd suggest Red Pearl Kitchen, downtown. It's a lively fun atmosphere, and kind of hipster cool and the Asian fusion food is very good. I think it's one of the most affordable places to take a group for a good meal. On the downside, it can be very crowded on Saturday nights and it might be tough to get a reservation for that many people less than a week in advance.
You might also consider the Bondi downtown, I don't know what their prices are like, but it's new and Australian and supposedly has very cool interior decor. The Guild in Barrio Logan also has a side room where they might be able to seat you if you were willing to eat early.
Where is your convention or hotel. Knowing where you are can really help narrow down the options.
* Modus might be an option, especially as the night gets older. It won't break the bank, and skip dessert (it's the weakest course).
* I think the Linkery falls into the interesting category, but I'm not sure how easily they could accommodate 15 on a Saturday night.
* Terra in Hillcrest is nice without being over the top or super expensive.
* The Guild in Barrio Logan is getting some prime buzz; small plates, interesting decor
* Mama Testa could probably accommodate a party of 15 and make it a party at that. It's an all taco restaurant, but very good tacos they are, best salsa bar in town, not fancy or trendy.
* Vagabond in South Park has fans, though I'm not one of them (crowded, noisy, hot and food is inconsistent. But the mussels are stellar)
* The 3rd Corner is definitely interesting, sort of a restaurant and retail wine shop all rolled into one. Stays open late, til 2 AM