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Feb 4, 2008 02:07 PM

Group Dinning San Francisco

I am a teacher planning a senior trip for a group of graduating students and need some advice! I need a memorable dinner location for Saturday May 17th for 60 people. Cost is obviously a concern but we are from a small rural farming community and I want the kids to remember the trip and San Francisco. Help?

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  1. Could you be a little more specific? Are you interested in "fine dining" or "ethnic" and if "ethnic" what kind? Do you want to have a set menu, or a set menu with choices (most restaurants will require some kind of pre-arranged menu for a group that large). And generally what ballpark per-person are we looking at?

    Most Chinese restaurants are set up to handle multiple tables of ten and have set menus priced per-table that work out to a very reasonable amount per person. A banquet in Chinatown would certainly be a memorable experience.

    If you're interested in more of a fine-dining/Western-style experience, then I think you should look into Sens. The restaurant is definitely big enough for a group that big, and the setting on the Embarcadero is very "San Francisco." Rworange just recommended Town's End in another thread, and that might also be a good choice, and probably less expensive than Sens.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Thanks for the reply Ruth. Set menu with choices would be ok. I am looking for the San Francisco Experience and think under $35/person. Do you think that is do able? I am trying to save the students money by planning the trip myself. I will check out the suggestions.

      1. re: rowroe

        As long as the small community is not Locke, sorry little historical joke, the Chinese banquet can fill your needs for an inexpensive experience. Pay attention to this link.

        1. re: rowroe

          If you want to go Chinese, you might want to check out Empress of China. It's a beautiful setting and view, and I bet if you talk to the banquet manager they could do something nice in your price range, especially since you probably won't want the more exotic banquet dishes that drive the price up for the more high-end banquets. You could definitely do Town's End for that price, since their regular prix fixe is $22.

          1. re: rowroe

            Town's End has a $21.95 three-course prix-fixe menu and could accomodate a group that large though the website says the limit for groups is 36 people, they have much more room than that so you might give them a call and see what they can do.

            What are travel plans ...are people driving up in cars or is it a bus?

            Bistro Boudin might be a good choice. It is on Fisherman's Wharf. They arrange a tour of the museum and bakery for groups. There is a big parking lot surrounding it if that is necessary. The food is not too out there and would probably be pleasing to most high school students,

            There's a nice view of Alcatraz and the Bay. You could probably organize some activities like visiting the Maritime Museum or a cruise on the bay ... or at least check out the sea lions on nearby Pier 39.

            You didn't mention if ethnic food like Chinese was an option.

            1. re: rworange

              Thank You for the suggestion's.
              As to ethnic food being an option--we are ethnic. Our school has quite a diverse student population but they all have one thing in common--financially challenged. I have been talking to McCormick and Kuleto's. They seem nice but I know nothing of their food. If I budget $35-40 per person can we find a location with a WOW factor?

              1. re: rowroe

                Hmmm ... I'll have to think of this and hopefully someone else can think of something.

                Does it have to be dinner? I know Gary Danko has arranged meals for school kids at lunch and might be open to working within that budget if you sweet-talked him. This is not his price range ... but explaining the circumstances ... who knows.

                You know, McCormick and Kuleto's has a pretty restaurant and view and I've spent many business lunches and dinners there, but I've never been really impressed with the food. There's nothing wrong with it, it just isn't better than average. I'd pick Boudin over McCormick in a second. The upstairs cafe is very old San Francisco. McCormick is more of a chain format than Boudin.

                Putting this on a Saturday, the busiest restaurant night of the week doesn't make this easier. A restaurant might be more likely to cut you a deal on another day of the week.

                I guess I'm missing what a wow factor means to you. On this board a lot of people tend to think in terms of food. From the McCormick selection I'm thinking you are looking at a place that might look fancy and have a view.

                I'm thinking if you could somehow work a deal with Ganko (and it would NOT be for dinner on a Saturday night) it might give you the best of both worlds ... some top-class food in an elegant restaurant. I don't know if this is possible, but it might be worth a try.

                If it is room, despite the ethinic thing, some of those Chinese banquets can be quite impressive in beautiful restaurants.

                I'd even suggest Ana Mandara which is upscale Vietamese. In terms of a wow factor for a restaurant look it is like being on some sort of movie set (Don Johnson was a former owner). However, if some of the kids are Vietnamese ... well ... Vietnamese people have been known to mock the food.

                1. re: rworange

                  Ditto what RW said. The food at McCormick and Kuleto isn't wow -the kids would probaby be bored.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    I have been checking out your suggestions. It would be great to go to Gary Danko and we could do a late lunch. Suggestions on who to contact and give them our sad sad story. I have been asking the students about Chinesae food and almost all of them are " down with that" So we have options. Thanks for the information on McCormick and Kuleto. I guess the WOW factor is the experience.

                    1. re: rowroe

                      I am of a generation that does not know if "down with that" is good or bad or baad. So does that mean yes or no?

                      1. re: rowroe

                        Here's the Danko website.

                        It is flash so I can't link you directly. However look under the 'information' link where they have email addresses and actually talk about special lunch reservations.

                        Actually I'd still go with Boudin. From dining experiences with people of different cultures and different experiences, sometimes a place like Danko might not appeal to everyone and not be fun. With a joint like Boudin which is nice and not too stuffy and has the advantage of being located in an area where there are a few things to do.

                        I'm still thinking though.

                        Someone else will have to help with Chinese banquets since that isn't my level of expertise. Or search the board since there are a ton of posts about them.

                        Hope you report back on what you selected and how it turned out.

          2. If you're from a farming community you might want to check out some of the slow food groups in SF. Tell them the story, kids from farm country. It could be both educational and enlightening for everyone, including the slow food people. I'm thinking they'll be able to find you a host restaurant and perhaps something more.


            2 Replies
            1. re: ML8000

              Thank You,
              I called slowfoods and they seem very helpful. They are going to get back to me with some information and maybe an idea or two.

              1. re: rowroe

                Just an idea. Perhaps put together a presentation, background about the kids and make something educational about it. Perhaps things can help out or get comped (although don't count on it) since you really will be giving them as much as you're getting.