Party of 20, $40ish per person
A friend's asked me to scope out the possibilities for a party of 20 people in their late 20s. She loved my suggestion of Aziza, but felt like $55 (plus alcohol) was a lot to ask from a group of people that includes starving students.
Criteria are fun and casual. It's a special occassion, but they don't need a private room or realy fancy setting. They just want a place that will let them lounge, eat, and drink without it being a proper sit down dinner where they'll have to dine and dash.
So I thought about it and checked out some websites, and it looks like these are good possibilities:
Orson--this was the only idea I had that really excited me. The mezzanine seats up to 30, and I've eaten a nice dinner there for about $40 including a cocktail. There was sharing involved, but it was doable. And since it's a great place for dinner, drinks, and dessert, they can linger for hours.
Some other ideas:
I'd like to get some suggestions that are even more casual than these, but still nice. Alas, 20 is a huge crowd for most SF restaurants. Any help?
Okay don't laugh, I swear it's the funnest place to eat with a huge group: Bucca di Beppo. I'm not kidding. I'm not saying it's fine dining, but the food is surprisingly good and the atmosphere is really fun and casual.
I did a dinner for 25-28ish at the somewhat self-contained space at the top
of the stairs at Park Chow ... it is easily doable in the $40ish range if you
"internalize" wine/alcohol costs.
The only slight problem is there may be a room charge at 20 people ...
they waived it for me because we more or less filled up the room and more
relevantly ran up a good sized bill ... they might be flexible about the room
charge based on the time ... we probably did "linger for hours" but we were
ordering food. You'll have to negotiate about this stuff.
Bucca di Beppo is the perfect place for that group specifically because they serve huge portions. Best bet is to plan the meal before you get there with someone from Bucca and order wisely. Huge portions and lots of bread and wine - all will be well. All you really have to do is tell them your per person preference on price and see what they can do for you.
i'd recommend andalu in the mission. i've had a bunch of large (15 people +) group dinners there - it's a fun vibe, in your price range, good upscale bar food, and valet if you need it. format also lends itself to large groups well!