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Dressy Birthday (Calgary)

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Hi! I was wondering if anyone could help me find a good restaurant for my cousin's birthday. The requirements:

- Decently Priced (nothing that makes you go, "wow there goes tuition")
- Can hold around 20-ish people
- A "dressy" place
- Serves good seafood/vegetarian food (the birthday girl is avoiding red meat like the plague)
- Good food (this is sort of a must...)

I'd like to avoid the generic places like Moxie's, Joey's, Cactus Club etc... She had her birthday at Vintage Steakhouse last year and it came out to a ridiculous amount for some not so great food. All suggestions are welcomed. Thanks in advance.

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  1. Hmm, in light of the high resto prices in Calgary this is a bit of a tough one. Two restaurants that may fit the bill are Blink and Divino's. Although I think they would cover most of your criteria (not 100% sure about fitting 20 people) you might find they are too expensive. I would check their websites and see what you think.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Hart50

      Blink's pricey but I checked out their new dinner menu (since recent renos) and it has 3 meat entrees, FIVE seafood and two veg. I remember somebody commenting on here about how terrible seafood was in Calgary and how restos only have one seafood entree- those days are definitely over. I've had too much great seafood in Calgary recently to even remember it all.

      Anyway, be sure to give us a report back whatever you decide!

      1. re: Hart50

        Price isn't THAT big of a deal. It's just that last year the bill came out to $5000 (five thousand). So we're kinda aiming for a bit (okay a LOT) lower.

        1. re: cn1822

          You can check out this thread I had last year: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/402492

          Teatro was expensive, but no where near what you guys spent. Give them a call anyways to price it out. Would still do Centini as well.

      2. catch restaurant downtown is pretty good, they have fantastic seafood and their prices aren't too bad. if you book upstairs in the dining room, the menu is more on the fancier side (as opposed to the downstairs oyster bar) and the presentation of the food is beautiful! definitely one of my favorite places in calgary

        1 Reply
        1. re: dod10

          Catch has three floors that could possibly work out for you. The Living Room on 17th has a private party room downstairs, we were there for a birthday last week and it was really great. We tried Vintage and were equally disappointed with the food and the price. When your booking, most chefs love to create special dishes for vegetarians...the menu is a start but all chefs will create to order...they love to display their talents!

        2. The Laurier Lounge might be pretty fun on a summer evening if you could book their whole patio section. http://www.laurierlounge.com/. It isn't all that dressy, but its fun and 20 dressy people would change the vibe to more dressy. For more formal I would not suggest the Living Room. Last time I was there the appetizers were great but the mains were terrible. It was expensive and noisy with a far too expensive wine list. I think Chinese food is fun for birthdays but I don't know any dressy Chinese places in town. The Silver Dragon isn't exactly a formal dining room any more. I find many Italian restaurants in town will gouge you- but can be fun for birthdays. The people at Il Sogno have always been really nice and if you are willing to compromise on fun, for slightly more formal with really good food then it might be the right spot. I'm sure they would let you make special requests if you called ahead for a party of 20. It's a tough call though from the information you provided, but it would be interesting to hear about your experience.

          1. Well my cousin and I had a plan to go to all the places and try out their food but that kind of fell through. First place we went to was Teatro and one bite of the Halibut was enough for my cousin to make up her mind (that and the fact that the Opera room has it's own bar). I still wouldn't consider it "decently priced" (call me cheap, I don't care) because it's going to come out to about $85 a person but most of the cost will be covered by my cousin (Champagne and Hors D'oeuvres). I tried the Lobster and Scallop Lasagna and Venison appetizer and I've got to say that it was really really good. I'm a big fan of the Halibut now though since it's so tasty. I've got to recommend the Creme Brulee because the Earl Grey flavored one was wonderful (the regular flavored one wasn't so great). I'll keep you guys posted on how the event and food goes. Thanks to everyone who posted!