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40th birthday celebration for 20 women

Looking for a place (restaurant, hotel, or even a caterer if the caterer can suggest locations) to host a milestone birthday meal. At most I expect 20 people--ages range from 30s though 65-ish.

Ideal venue (I doubt I can find one that meets all of this!) would have: farmer's market ingredients; solid interesting seasonal food that isn't too frou frou or contrived; ATMOSPHERE and/or a view or indoor/outdoor space that allows guests to linger; good service; ideal location would be West LA-ish but since this is a special occasion, driving is ok (so don't hold back if you know a great place in Malibu, Pasadena or wherever); good pastry chef (since there must be birthday cake) OR are willing to let me bring in a cake on my own

My ideas so far:

Hotel Bel Air (went to check out the restaurant today as I'd never been before, what a beautiful place);

Getty Center (have eaten here before and liked the food well enough)

Inn of the Seventh Ray (never been I see food gets mixed reviews, but location sounds fantastic)

Bel Air Bay Club (was just told they are taking parties by non-members--know nothing except it overlooks the ocean)

Saddle Peak Lodge (I've never been)

Other upscale hotels (good for lingering): Peninsula, Beverly Hills Hotel, Four Seasons, Ritz MDR.

Also, having searched this board it sounds like a lot of people recommend a restaurant in SM called Wilshire.

Please HELP?! Would love to hear from those who have been to any of the above places and/or those who can recommend other possibilities.

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  1. i would avoid inn of the seventh ray.
    aside from the fact that i am not at all a fan of their food, the service is so amazingly terrible that for a party of your size it wouldn't surprise me at all if some NEVER get their food.

    do you have a budget or is the sky the limit?

    1 Reply
    1. re: westsidegal

      Right now I'm just in exploration mode, so I'm willing to entertain expensive places. The Hotel Bel Air (the first place that came to my mind for this event), without my even having to ask, was willing to waive their usual fee for a private room in their initial proposal.

      Too bad about the Inn, it sounds like a lovely location.

    2. Just went to the newly remodeled Shangri La Hotel/restaurant. It's a great location...on Ocean. They have a restaurant in the front, and seating in cabanas around the pool.
      They boast of all organic food. We didn't have a good experience at lunch. We waited a very long time for two hamburgers, and when we finally got them they were medium well, not medium rare. They were very apologetic, and I would go back in the hopes they've worked out the kinks. I just read that they've hired a new executive chef, so I'm guessing things will get better. But it's a great space. Maybe worth checking out some night for a drink and appetizer.....before booking for the big event.

      1. Wilshire was the place that first leapt to mind (market driven and they have a large patio and a private room just off of it that would probably suit) but it would be on the higher end in terms of budget. The back room at Riva and the annex at Cafe Del Rey are two other thoughts. The poolside cabanas at the Viceroy might be fun but I do not know how the food is under the current chef and whether they would do a full meal out there.

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        Wilshire Restaurant
        2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404

        Viceroy Santa Monica
        1819 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Cafe Del Rey
        4451 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

        Riva
        312 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

        1. Why not consider Cafe Pinot?

          With a group of 20, you could reserve their entire outdoor patio area and dine under the stars and the gaze of Downtown LA skyscrapers with the LA Public Library as a backdrop.

          And the food by Meehan is solid and consistent.

          http://www.patinagroup.com/restaurant...

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Thank you for this suggestion. I will check this place out for sure, it sounds really good.

            I also look at the Patina group site and I also saw that (while granted, it wouldn't be the same chef) that they also have Descanso Gardens as a location.

            Do you think that the farmers market focus would extend to the rest of Patina group? (I am not totally against downtown so Cafe Pinot is worthy of consideration, but my initial thought was to have something a bit less urban than downtown.)

            Thanks for expanding my horizons.

          2. I can't help but ask...why are men banned from a birthday party?

            1 Reply
            1. re: wutzizname

              No ban. It's quite simple really--most of my friends are female. Believe me I'd like nothing better than to have a boyfriend/husband to invite to this party--and no doubt I'd know more men if the SO was already in place. (Actually, if I had said SO, he'd be throwing this party for me.)

              Hope that satisfies your curiousity! NOW--do you have suggestions on locations? ;-)