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30th birthday party for tightwad foodie?

I am not from SF, so I am unfamiliar with the best restaurants up there, but I am planning a birthday party for my boyfriend, whose pet peeve is overpaying for food. he's a foodie...he usually spends an hour perusing this board (hope he doesn't see this post!) before we go out anywhere. the food needs to be excellent, the space needs to hold 20ish people, and it can't be too pricey. any recos?

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    1. Can you give us an idea what you mean by not too pricey? That really does mean different things to different people. In addition to food, are you interested in wine? Cocktails? Etc.

      1. Not sure what pricey means to you, but both Bar Crudo and Canteen are on the small side - I've not been to either but they are both well spoken of. Any particular cuisine you are interested in?

        5 Replies
        1. re: dinnerout

          he likes asian, and is japanese, so if it's japanese it's gotta be really good (at least better than his dad makes). not to pricey is less than 20 bucks a plate. thanks :)

          1. re: Mixster

            Bodega Bistro would be one option. Another option would be to do a full Chinese Banquet -- I'd check with either Louie's or Great Eastern and see what they can do for you in your price range.

          2. re: dinnerout

            I'd guess the OP means the space needs to hold 20ish people because there are 20 invitees to this party--in this case, Bar Crudo and Canteen probably are too small to accomodate your party.

            1. re: pane

              Silly me, I thought OP meant that the entire restaurant needed to be teeny, tiny and only seat 20ish people, not 20 people in their party!

              1. re: dinnerout

                Understandable--the post was a bit unclear.

          3. Well, there is Todai [birthday boy free]. Or go around balboa theatre in Richmond; free theatre ticket for him.

            1. How much is "not too pricey"?

              I think one of the issues you'll find is that the less expensive places tend to be small mom and pop place, i.e., less rent, less overhead, lower prices, so seating 20 on a reservation will be harder at less expensive places.

              Any way, take a look at this, the SF Chron's annual bargain bites, listing about 100.

              http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/listing...

              5 Replies
              1. re: ML8000

                thanks all. I think part of my problem is that living in L.A., there's a wealth of awesome, cheap holes in the wall nestled in the abysses of the endless strip malls, so I expect cheap, quality food. I know SF doesn't have the strip malls...so maybe it doesn't have the endless supply of family owned restaurants? Maybe this is why I got the sharp tounged suggestion to take him to in n out for his 30th bday. Thanks for the suggestions I did get, and if anyone thinks of any others, I'd be glad to hear em!

                1. re: Mixster

                  If you are not averse to Chinese, Great Eastern offers good Cantonese in a reasonably nice room. No problem seating 20. You'll end up w/ two tables of ten. Menu is here: http://sanfrancisco.menupages.com/res... The Chinatown Selection is a great deal at $88. One per table, plus 4 or so additional dishes (depending on size) will meet your needs. FYI: you can upgrade the whole fish if you're not a catfish fan. I would definitely include bbq (either the platter or the chicken/pork). If you don't go crazy on high end seafood, you can get out for around $15 per person before tax/tip/drinks. You could do something really nice at $20 per person.

                  1. re: lexdevil

                    Just a note that Chinese New Year is on February 7th, so many places (including Great Eastern) might be crowded due to CNY dinners.

                  2. re: Mixster

                    There's plenty of awesome, cheap hole-in-the-wall places run by mom and pop places in SF, blocks and blocks of them...but they're in "neighborhoods" instead of the strip malls. The Richmond, Sunset, Mission, etc. If you know where you're staying that'll probably help.

                    1. re: Mixster

                      I think that the trouble is that you emphasized cheap, with no real information about what that means, and that it seemed like cheap was your only real qualifcation that you were interested in. If you give us better perameters, I'm sure it will be easier to come up with good suggestions. Also 20 people is hard, because a lot of the good quality and still lower priced places in San Francisco are on the smaller side, and so 20 people wouldn't fit, unless, as others have said, you want to do chinese. If that's not what you want, it will be a little tougher, though not impossible. Korean might also be a good idea, and it's really fun for a big group.