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Graduation dinner for 17? 30 miles radius West LA. ~$40/person

Hey guys!

Anyone have any suggestions for a nice dinner on Saturday for 17 ppl within 30 miles radius of West LA? Budget around $40/person. I'm considering a few potential places (Carlitos Gardel, The Jar, Tony's Italian Steakhouse, Lucques) but I've never been to any of those places so I would be grateful if any of you nice people out there could point out their suitability.

So, summary! I'm looking for a place that is...
*Roomy enough to accommodate a group of 17 without being cramped
*Reasonably priced (~$40/person)
*30 miles radius of West LA
*Reasonable noise level so that we won't get dirty looks but is at least conducive for conversation

We also have 3 kids in our group (age 12, 9 & 2) so a nice place that's not too formal is a plus though not necessary.

I look forward to your suggestions. Feel free to recommend any other places that might be suitable. Thanks in advance.

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  1. imho, you will not come in anywhere near your budget at lucques.

    1. does your budget of $40/pp include beverages, alcohol, tax, tip?

      2 Replies
      1. re: westsidegal

        I'm not including beverages/alcohol since the group doesn't usually drink. With tax/tip I'm expecting $50/person

        1. re: sevter

          You should figure that at least 30% of the total bill will be for tax and tip. If you are capping the total at $50 per person, that means you are realistically looking at a cap on food (not including any drinks at all) of $38.50 per person. I don't think any of the places you've listed are very realistic if you really intend to stick to that limit. And, while I mentioned Il Moro, I doubt you can do dinner for that amount.

          Just thinking of places where my friends have held parties when we have had concerns about budget concerns, you might consider Gaucho Grill in West Hollywood or Border Grill in Santa Monica (though it can get very noisy).

          One other option, though it is pricier, is Fogo de Chao. I am not sure what the per-person dinner cost currently is. (It was $44.50 when it opened, but it might have increased to closer to $50 per person.) But it is a nice celebration place and can surely handle 17 with ease. And you would have a general idea of the likely cost in advance. (For a lower-priced variation, Sampa Grill in Encino is a good, but reasonably priced churrascaria. The meat is not as great as at Fogo de Chao, but the salad bar is nice and I believe Saturday dinner is about $30 per person. I believe they could rearrange tables to fit 17 people.)

      2. Try Shanghai Red's in Marina del Rey. It's in your budget range, they specialize in groups, there are a number of smaller rooms which can accommodate the size of your group, and most of the restaurant offers views of the marina. www.shanghairedsrestaurant.com

        1 Reply
        1. re: missmobe

          for dinner, if any of the guests have more than one course (i.e. a starter and an entree) and order a non-alcoholic beverage, they will be over budget.

        2. c & o cucina will work. they serve American-Italian food.

          1. 26 Beach should work also, burgers, salads and sandwiches start around $12-13 and steak & lamb around $31-32. You should average out around 23-24 then add drinks, tax and tip. I am sure they add 18% gratuity on a group that size. www.26beach.com

            3 Replies
            1. re: Burger Boy

              fwiw, a glass of wine at 26 beach normally runs me about $10, this means that having a glass of wine practically doubles the cost of a hamburger meal. if your guests order an dinner entree rather than a burger or salad, a glass of wine, coffee and dessert, you will be well be over your budget.

              1. re: Burger Boy

                The group isn't very fond of burgers but thanks for the suggestion. I'll probably check it out with a different group some other time.

                1. re: sevter

                  It is so much more than burgers, look at the menu before you dismiss them, www.26beach.com Now that we know drinks are not an issue, you should do fine.