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Friend's Birthday - help! Il Moro or Chaya Venice?

jennp Oct 3, 2007 10:24 AM

Hello friends and foodies!
Based on this current thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/44523... I gave my friend's bf a few choices on where to eat (they're flying down from SF). He asked me to choose between Chaya Venice and Il Moro.
While I've heard good things about both... let me be honest, I would PREFER to spend 30~40, and no more than that, and I'm sure the other guests would also appreciate a lower-cost meal. Is that possible at either location?
If it is... which would be better for a fun, birthday dinner for twenty-somethings?
Other recommendations would be appreciated too if that price limit isn't enough (ooh can I be more honest and say, 25~30 would be even MORE ideal?


Thanks everyone! It's hard for me to eat a meal now without first consulting these boards!!

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  1. cookie monster RE: jennp Oct 3, 2007 10:51 AM

    I like the food at both, but they're really different. You'd have an easier time staying in your price range at Il Moro, but it's definitely a more staid atmosphere. Chaya Venice always feels like a party - I've celebrated many a birthday and other occasion there - but you'd have to order very carefully to stay below $40/person (and I'm assuming you're not including alcohol in that amount).

    1. m
      Mark Sarvas RE: jennp Oct 3, 2007 11:03 AM

      Il Moro without question. Unless you're 25, you'll find Chaya a bit of a loud, meet-market zoo, and once all the drink get tallied up, you'll blow your budget. Il Moro is a first-rate restaurant with reasonable prices - it's a lovely place for birthdays, have had many there myself.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Mark Sarvas
        jennp RE: Mark Sarvas Oct 3, 2007 11:23 AM

        Oh. Does it make a difference that I'm 25 and that my friend is celebrating her 25th birthday as well? haha but Il Moro sounds good too :)

        Thanks Mark and cookie monster! :D

        1. re: jennp
          mollyomormon RE: jennp Oct 3, 2007 11:57 AM

          What about the patio at Beechwood? I think it's a really fun place for birthdays and if you order a bunch of food to share you should be within your budget (I'm assuming without alcohol).

          1. re: jennp
            ElJeffe RE: jennp Oct 3, 2007 02:10 PM

            Il Moro has kind of a business lunch/corporate feel, so I'd go with Chaya for a birthday party. Did enjoy the food though.

            1. re: jennp
              Mark Sarvas RE: jennp Oct 4, 2007 03:06 PM

              Yes, I've got a few years on you guys. If you're 25, you'll much prefer Chaya - go back to Il Moro for 35!

              1. re: Mark Sarvas
                bulavinaka RE: Mark Sarvas Oct 4, 2007 03:12 PM

                And howz about 45? And please don't say Denny's for the senior's specials...

                1. re: bulavinaka
                  ElJeffe RE: bulavinaka Oct 4, 2007 04:31 PM

                  No, not Denny's. Norm's. Just kidding.

          2. hrhboo RE: jennp Oct 3, 2007 03:37 PM

            While it would be easier to stick to your budget at Il Moro, it can be stuffy. Chaya is much more fun for a celebratory event.

            4 Replies
            1. re: hrhboo
              yogachik RE: hrhboo Oct 3, 2007 03:45 PM

              I agree, Chaya is much more fun. But, I'll second the recommendation for Beechwood, above - it's in your budget, and the most fun place, especially on the patio (where you can order from both dining room menu and bar menu). I'd pick Beechwood, personally.

              1. re: yogachik
                hrhboo RE: yogachik Oct 3, 2007 03:51 PM

                I had my 26th at Beechwood and it was a blast. I third the rec.

                1. re: hrhboo
                  bulavinaka RE: hrhboo Oct 3, 2007 04:03 PM

                  26th? Naw - don't look a day over 21... ;} Beechwood, Chaya, then Il Moro... The fung shui of Beechwood's location sucks, but I think they've got some serious mojo going on there to counter the curse... Chaya just feels happy... Il Moro is good but as others have mentioned, it doesn't feel like party central. But heck, if there's enough of you who are making merry, my guess is you folks will set the atmosphere....

                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    hrhboo RE: bulavinaka Oct 3, 2007 04:20 PM

                    Thanks, and I've had a couple of birthdays since then! While we're heaping the love on Beechwood, I'll add that it would be very easy to stay within budget as some of the portions are easily enough to share.

            2. j
              jennp RE: jennp Oct 8, 2007 11:24 AM

              oh my... I wish I checked again before her dinner. We ended up going to Il Moro, and while the food was... interesting (I got the pasta with boar ragu...), it probably wasn't the ideal place for a fun celebration :)
              When I told my friends I frequently check a "food message board", they thought it was some weird, food-fetish, dating board. I had to clarify that it was for food recs only... not so much with the dating...
              Thanks everybody. I may have to check out Beechwood for another night.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jennp
                mollyomormon RE: jennp Oct 8, 2007 11:41 AM

                That's too bad! I've had that boar ragout at Il Moro and I think I'd also describe it diplomatically as...interesting. Hopefully you get to try Beechwood soon!

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