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Which Wedding Venue has the Best Food?

My very darling sister is planning her wedding reception (!) and has narrowed down her choices enough that the deciding factor is now food. Unfortunately, there seems to be little on the net or Chowhound about these Los Angeles/Orange County/Riverside venues.

Have any 'hounds been to or held wedding receptions at the following lately, and have good things to say about the food? They are flexible about food style, but would very upset if they ended up with country club rubber chicken.

-Padua Hills, Laguna Hills
-Mission Inn Hotel and Resort Spa
-Cal State Long Beach Earl Burns Miller Japanese Tea Garden
-Summit House, Fullerton

She is also open to suggestions for venues that will comfortably seat 150 guests and are of the price range of the above venues. Thank you! You are helping a young bride avoid many hours of despair.

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  1. I'm on the same hunt!
    The two weddings I've attended with the best food are nowhere in my own budget or vicinity, but maybe they would work for your sister.

    Best food ever was at the Four Seasons in Westlake Village and a close second was the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Dana Point. The entrees themselves didn't sound especially spectacular or inventive - just filet mignon and fish choices (salmon or sea bass) - but they were cooked perfectly with good accompaniments and everyone was raving over the food.

    1. La Venta high on a mountain top over looking the ocean in Palos Verdes has really good food
      http://www.laventa.com/3/2/Home.aspx

      2 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile

        I've heard that, but when I was hunting I did a tasting with them and the food was horrible. The appetizers were okay, but the entrees were cooked until rubbery, hard, covered in overly salty sauce, not presented in a pleasant way...and that's just the parts I can remember 2 years later. My sister who's getting married now was with me at the tasting and she specifically said "not like that tasting we did." So even though I know La Venta and its partner venue Verandas get great reviews, it's not for us even if we just caught them on a bad day.

        1. re: Pei

          I threw weddings at La Venta for daughter #1, we did stations and the food was very good. I threw a wedding for daughter #2 at Veranda in Manhattan Beach. The Veranda did a horrible job all around. The place was ok, but the food was comperable to Dennys. Awfull. The cake (we had to buy their cake) was stale. I should have sued them.

      2. I had my wedding at Calamigos Ranch (they have some great rooms!) three weeks after some friends had theirs. They had plated service and it was "banquet chicken" and we were horrified. We had the buffet for 130 three weeks later and seven years later people still talk about it, especially the fruit trays -- it was like two separate places.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          We went to a wedding a Calamigos a year ago and had the plated service and it was beyond bad wedding food... poor quality everything... We had to bite our tongue when our friends asked us what we thought of the food... We told them that the food wasn't as important to us as spending their special day with them... which was very true :)

          --Dommy!

          1. re: Dommy

            I've never had the plated service at Calamigos, but I have had the buffet twice and enjoyed it.

        2. I just got married in May at the Wilshire Ebell in Los Angeles (not the one in Long Beach) and everything was fantastic. We did five passed appetizers -- a duck confit crepe, a fig and goat cheese crostini (which was a "safety" choice, but actually turned out to be delicious), a crab cake with tomato jam, gravlax on a potato chip (also awesome) and lamb skewers with mint pesto. Really all of the appetizers were great.

          We did a pear carpaccio salad with a lime vinaigrette -- light and refreshing. For entrees, we had a sea bass with kalamata olive and sundried tomato sauce and a beef tenderloin with horse radish remoulade. Both entrees were incredible. Most brides don't eat, but I killed my tenderloin and ate a good deal of my hubby's sea bass too.

          We brought in our cake from Susina.

          I don't know if the Ebell is in your price range, but their food is really tops. I also like the Old Hollywood feel of the place. Melissa Allen, who runs things there, is true professional.

          1. I am not familiar with the venues you mentioned and don't know if you are limited to a certain geographical location -- but my daughter's wedding reception was at the Sheraton Universal in the Roof Garden ballroom. The room itself is magnificent -- located on the 26th (27th?) floor of the hotel with 3 sides of floor to ceiling windows with sweeping views of the Hollywood Hills, San Fernando Valley and Burbank/Glendale and beyond. We had many out-of-state guests and they were going nuts for the incredible views (especially since the reception was at night and you got all the twinkling city lights).

            The meal......well, 3 years later we are still receiving accolades. We started with a soup course: Fresh Tomato Basil served en croute. Not only was the presentation lovely but the soup and crust were delish. Next we had a salad of mixed baby greens served with chilled asparagus spears, goat cheese and kalamata olive bruschetta. Very tasty. The entree was a duet of filet mignon and norwegian salmon. The filet was cooked to perfect temperature and the salmon was not dry or overcooked......which is no easy thing when you are serving 250 people at the same time. Which, by the way, brings me to service. Each table (we had 25) had two servers assigned. When the food exited the kitchen - it ALL exited the kitchen. The servers placed their trays next to each table and like a perfectly orchestrated ballet, ALL the tables were served at the same time and with 2 servers per table there was maybe a 30 second lag between the first person at the table getting served and the last. I highly recommend them.