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Jul 11, 2007 09:00 AM

Rehearsal dinner: Cafe Gibraltar or Barolo?

My fiance and I are trying to decide where to hold a rehearsal dinner for 25-30 people. We're in Boston so are deciding based solely on reviews (haven't eaten at either place yet). Barolo has a private room, but the food doesn't look as good as Cafe Gibraltar. I would appreciate any opinions you might have on a group meal at either place or suggestion for a delicious rehearsal venue in Half Moon Bay/Peninsula area. Thanks very much.

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  1. I haven't been to Barolo, but love Gibralter. It's hard for me to picture a private area at Gibralter for 25-30 people, but you might give them a call. There are other options: Cetrella has good food, several private rooms ... looks like about $50/head:

    Also, I've had dinners in private rooms at Pasta Moon ... also very good .... Hope this helps.

    2 Replies
    1. re: doc

      Yes, thanks! There's no private room at Gibraltar, but they claim they can seat us. I'm just worried about having to wait for diners to finish so they can set up our table. On a Fri., Cetrella has a $2000 minimum for a party our size; Pasta Moon is $66 a person. Barolo is $39/head which seems suspiciously low; Cafe Gibraltar $45.

      1. re: phoreal

        Ouch on the Cetrella price ... looks like they really jack up the weekend rates. IMO, not worth it -- I like the food at both Gibralter & Pasta Moon better. The Gibralter people are incredibly accommodating, so you might ask how they plan to handle your group. Also, you might look at Mezza Luna which has lots of fans on this site, located in Princeton just 5-6 miles north of HMB. Barolo is in Pacifica which, off the top of my head, has to be 15-20 miles N of Half Moon Bay via highway one, which can be a zoo on weekends.

    2. Haven't been to Barolo or Gibraltar, but wanted to put in a plug for some restaurants where I've had some very nice group dinners:
      Left Bank in Menlo Park (great upstairs private room)
      Tied House in Mountain View ("Beer Garden" covered outdoor patio -- probably too casual for you but we had our 40 person rehearsal dinner there and the food, staff, and ambiance were all great.)
      Tamarine in Palo Alto (very pricey, but the food is amazing)
      Zibbibo in Palo Alto (multiple private rooms, good food, good service)
      Zitune in Los Altos (did not have a group dinner here but they do have a private room, and the food was fantastic. this is a newer restaurant)

      1 Reply
      1. re: cflower

        I've been to Gibraltar, and loved it. Agreed though, about not picturing where they will seat you... but if it works, I thoroughly enjoyed the place, and Half Moon Bay (I visited from the northern suburbs of Chicago).

      2. thanks everyone for the response (to my first post ever on any board not just chowhound).
        doc: we're coming from south san francisco, so the traffic would be better to barolo than the other places but we love HMB. but if it's a nightmare, not sure if we should subject our guests to the highway. mezzaluna has a $4000 minimum for the bar area on fri. not sure if their mimimums for other sections of the restaurant is as steep but will give them a call.
        cflower: thanks for the suggestions. many of these restaurants i haven't heard of so will do some research.
        ShikaSfrn: yes the space issue at gibraltar is a bit worrisome. they say to trust them, but it's kind of insane to trust people we've never met. although the same can be true of this whole process...

        2 Replies
        1. re: phoreal

          Gibraltar has nice atmosphere. Just ask them where they would put you as I remember it as booths with curtains rimming one smallish central dining area. Would you be one long table in the central area?

          It would be kind of memorable. OTH, I love Mezzluna, something about the place makes me want to drink a lot of red wine and get sentimental:) and the space if I remember is a little more segmented than Gibraltar.

          Heck, not knowing you, I vote go to HMB. It's v. romantic there. Plus, there are some cute places to stay if people decide not to brave Route 1. Look for the Harbor House, it has only 6 rooms or something but it's right on the water and the view and feeling is great.

          1. re: phoreal

            Barolo reports on the board have been mixed food-wise. Service is sometime cited, IIRC. Do a search to find those reports. OTOH, I'ver rarely seen a bad report on Gibralter.

            Would you be interested in Vietnamese food? There is a lovely-looking Vietnamese restaurant in South San Francisco. The caviat is I've never eaten there. It is on my to-try list. If you are interested i'll dig it out of my notes. You could always do a test dinner to see how the food is.

          2. LPCagain: mezza luna keeps coming up, so i'm going to give them a call today. but i have a feeling it's out of our price range for a fri. night. (we don't want to spend more than $1200 for 25 people). gibraltar says they won't have room for one long communal table; our party will be divided up to 2 tables.
            rworange: i'm vietnamese so vietnamese food would be great. only problem is my mom is a tremendous cook, so the restaurant has to be very good to pass muster. what's the name of the restaurant?

            1 Reply
            1. re: phoreal

              Hmm. that's not a lot of $$$. But if you do a set menu that's only pasta:)....JK. Good luck with your search. Hey, I just thought, there is an alternative. The Harbor House conference center at least 7 years ago was beautiful, very quaint and homey, with a view of the water, small, perfect for 24 people, and it has a kitchen. Maybe you could get a local caterer to do it for your price, bring your own wine etc?