19th Birthday: Saturday Night Dinner Reservations and Suggestions
I’m looking for somewhere fun to celebrate my 19th birthday on Saturday night with 10-15 friends. I had my heart set on Everest, but they don’t take regular large-party reservations and from my conversation with a guy there today, it doesn’t seem like a Saturday dinner will work out.
Can anyone suggest a restaurant that will still be open for reservations for this Saturday night and is easy to access by subway (preferably downtown somewhere)? I’m looking for reasonable prices, a decent drink selection (you only turn 19 once), and a more upscale ambiance- somewhere that we can dress up (nice tops and dark jeans and/or cocktail dresses), but nothing too formal.
I was looking at similar posts and compiled a list of some restaurant I’m going to look into tonight: Insomnia, Sultan’s Tent, Rosebud, Kalendar, Fire on the East Side, Brassaii, Boba, amuse Bouche, Bodega, Focaccia, and Sequel. If anyone can recommend any of these or make any new suggestions, I would really appreciate it!
Thanks so much!
Try to get a reservation at Kultura on King East a few blocks east of Yonge. I went with 10 people last year and we had an amazing time. It's a gorgeous space and the food was great. It will run you between $80-$100 per person with booze though.
For something a bit cheaper but still great for a large group of people try Gio Ranas Really Really Nice Restaurant... unfortunately it's at Leslie and Queen which is off the subway line. They don't usually take reservations but make exceptions for large groups. A similar restaurant called 7 Numbers is on the Danforth but I don't like it as much as Gios.
For your age group, caddie is right on with Insomnia or Supermarket. The other places you've mentioned are more for late-twenties crisis daters like myself, and older. Save the really really nice birthday dinners for 25 and beyond, when your friends all have jobs and can afford it. If I were still 19, I'd probably have my birthday upstairs at Sushi on Bloor, with sake bombs galore. However, this year, at 28, I'm bringing John Lee to me.
I'm not familiar with all of the places on your list, but I think that Rosebud, Boba, and Amuse Bouche (though all good restaurants) would likely not have the right young, fun vibe required for a 19th birthday party. Plus, they're pretty expensive.
I agree with the posters who suggested that Gio Rana's would be a great destination. However, as mentioned, it's off the subway line; also, it's perhaps not as much of a dress-up place as you had in mind. If you guys are willing to forego cocktail dresses for nice jeans and tops (and are interested in going uptown to Y & E), you'd get a similar experience to Gio's at Five Doors North.
Of all the ones you mentioned, Fire on the East Side is probably the one I would pick. Good food, young hip atmosphere and probably enough space for the group.
If Yonge and Eg is in the picture, either Five Doors North, Coquine or Mariachi could work.
Irie Food Joint might be fun for caribbean food - they often do large groups.
One other idea (more about fun than food) would be Zelda's in the Church/Wellesley village. I recall having a birthday there with a bunch of friends too many years ago but it was tons of fun. The price point is good for your age group and there is something for everyone on the menu.
Of your current selection, Brassaii offers both fairly reasonable prices and an environment where jeans or dreeses would fit in nicely.
These ones have good food, but there are issues with what you want. Bodega may feel a little constrained. Fire on the East Side doesn't really have a 'special' atmosphere and dresses, well... Don't think so.
Again I find myself 2nd'ing Supermarket for what you're looking for although I'm struggling with the notion of cocktail dresses in Kensington Market.
Wow, thank you all so much for the suggestions and responses!
I went through about 35 different restaurant sites last night and I think I've decided on Insomnia just because it's along the subway line and the pricing is right (plus I hear their martini selection is great). As of right now I have the sofa lounge area at the back reserved. I thought that would be a little more exclusive/fun,but does anyone suggest otherwise (to book the tables instead)? It's a live DJ on Saturday, which is exciting, I'm just worried that we won't be able to hear/have a conversation. Where's the best place to sit/what do you reccomend off the menu? Thank you all once again and I will definitely follow up with a post-dinner post :)
I ended up wearing a dressy top with dark jeans, mostly because it was a little too rainy/cold for a dress that night. That having been said, Insomnia has a pretty cool vibe and I don't think it would be too out of place for simple cocktail dresses...nothing TOO elegant/over the top though.