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Aug 30, 2009 10:00 AM

Larger birthday party recommendation?


It's my birthday next month and I'd like to host a gathering for my closest friends (~20 people). I am swinging in two directions - either for a huge, sit-down dinner or a "happy hour" type feel with finger food and mingling space.

Thus I am looking for location suggestions for both.

While I'm at it, since all you foodies give fantastic recommendations, is there a way to rent a dinner table if I wanted to host this event at a friend's house and put my own culinary skills to the test?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. I love Hollywood East Cafe (Chinese restaurant) in Wheaton, Maryland. They have great food and energetic service.

    1 Reply
    1. re: yummyumyummy

      According to their website, Hollywood East will not re-open until Mid-September in their new location in the Wheaton Mall.

    2. Where are you looking? Zaytinya does very nice sit-downs at the large tables on the upper level. You kind of get your own wing with a gorgeous view, and they do a modified tasting menu, where you have three or four course with two or three platters of mezze for each course.

      1. Yechon in Annandale does great Korean barbecue. They have special samplers that are quite reasonable and serve larger numbers of people than you might think for about $50. We ordered 3 special barbecue samplers for about 15 people for my husband's birthday--plus a seafood pancake and a few other loose ends--it was all very reasonable--and memorable, too!

        1. I think it might be tough to find a place with a "happy hour" type feel with mingling space since usually happy hour environments are quite crowded. Someone already suggested Zaytinya, which might work. The food is very good, but I often find that it is extremely noisy there. I've been to bday celebrations with friends at Jaleo (the Chinatown/Penn Quarter location) and have always had a great time. That would be my choice for a fun atmosphere with small plates.

          1. Thanks for all the messages; great suggestions so far & I've followed up on quite a few. I'm still looking, so feel free to send more suggestions here.

            To clairfy: I am looking for something in DC proper. In terms of happy hour feel - I guess I'm picturing a room/area where we can mingle, even if it's not actually during happy hour with tiny plates to sample or a larger dinner, though not necessarily gourmet.


            2 Replies
            1. re: thebutterqueen

              If you want to reserve a private dining room for your celebration, you might check the following DC restaurants:

              1. Dino
              2. The Oval Room
              3. Citronelle

              I've dined at all of them. Citronelle is great, but pricey. The other two are very good too. Not sure if some of these options are too formal. Dino would be very accomodating and also boasts a great wine list.

              1. re: thebutterqueen

                I still think Zaytinya would be lovely. My company has had happy hours where we rent out the upper level and they set up a bar with passed appetizers. That could be another option.

                I have thought about your idea about cooking yourself, and I think the best option would be to contact Zola about their cooking demonstration room. That could be a fun birthday celebration.