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Good place near Palo Alto for a large group? (20-30 ppl)

l
LittleEgg Nov 3, 2009 06:38 AM

Hello SF Chowhounders,

I'm coming in from Chicago for a business recruiting visit at Stanford, and need a place to take applicants / candidates for a group dinner not too far from campus. Any advice on restaurants that might have appropriate spaces, and fit within my budget? (~60/person, or else my compliance folks will get uncomfortable!) Type of food not too important (it's a free meal for them, after all), but I'd prefer some place that's at least edible for my own selfish sake.

Thanks for your help!
LittleEgg

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  1. v
    vis RE: LittleEgg Nov 3, 2009 10:14 AM

    Here are a couple of decent spots:
    1) Evvia is always great - just now sure how you would have an intimate meal in there
    2) Mantra - decent "trendy" indian fusion spot that has a semi-private room that may be able to squeeze you guys in
    3) Tamarine - don't know their facilities for large parties but the food is great
    4) Zibbibo - a bit more casual but it's a nice space and will fit within your budget and they have a mezzanine spot upstairs that may fit you
    5) Resposado - new mexican spot that also has an upstairs i think...great space, ok food but the students will likely enjoy it
    that should be a decent start...Evvia and Tamarine may push the envelope on price but they can likely make it work...

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    Tamarine Restaurant
    546 University Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301

    4 Replies
    1. re: vis
      l
      LittleEgg RE: vis Nov 3, 2009 12:29 PM

      Thanks, Vis. Evvia & Tamarine are definitely too expensive, but I've got calls in to the other 3, so hopefully one will work out!

      1. re: LittleEgg
        v
        vis RE: LittleEgg Nov 3, 2009 01:03 PM

        i'm thinking about your audience...20-year olds...they may also like Three Seasons (vietnamese fusion)...

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        Three Seasons
        3317 Steiner Street, San Francisco, CA 94123

        1. re: vis
          l
          LittleEgg RE: vis Nov 3, 2009 02:21 PM

          Not sure they have the kind of space we're looking for - their upstairs is a little bit too spread out, isn't it?

          1. re: LittleEgg
            v
            vis RE: LittleEgg Nov 4, 2009 09:36 AM

            you may be right...it's more of a mezzanine that circles the main room with hole in the middle. folks have given good suggestions. i think between Zibbibo, Resposado, Mantra and NOLA you may be covered. NOLA is the most "young" of the group and has a hopping bar downstairs in the front. With that said, i remember it was a place i always liked going in my 20's and was always a hit for drinks or birthday parties. Depends what type of vibe you want to project. One thing that NOLA has going for it is that I think there's a room upstairs that has a little couch room in the front and then an attached room with a very large table. I've been to a birthday party at that room and it felt private.

            I still stick by my top choices being Zibbibo, Resposado and Mantra (if their semi-private room in the front can fit you)

    2. s
      SteveG RE: LittleEgg Nov 3, 2009 02:52 PM

      I have a neutral memory of the food, but Mac Arthur Park Restaurant in Palo Alto is as close as you can get to campus, and my one experience there was as part of a 20-30 person group being recruited. Some of the other places mentioned aren't as conducive for uninterrupted networking/discussion in a quiet business-friendly environment.
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      Edit: yelp reviews from individuals seem pretty down on the food; other reviews of people who went as part of a corporate event or other organized event are better. The food won't amaze you, but it should probably be decent enough to make a good impression. More importantly, the restaurant keeps itself in business by doing a great job handling groups exactly like yours in a professional and unobtrusive way in various private rooms.

      7 Replies
      1. re: SteveG
        v
        vis RE: SteveG Nov 3, 2009 03:05 PM

        good suggestion - food at this place is fine but i think the location and the space could work for LittleEgg...I've been to a birthday party at the semi-private room at Mantra and at a networking/sell event on the mezzanine in Zibbibo so I know those can work, just my memory fails me on whether they can fit the group.

        1. re: SteveG
          bbulkow RE: SteveG Nov 3, 2009 08:51 PM

          I would *not* take prospective students to macarthur park. It's overly staid, the food is chic-dining-hall - very cookie cutter. There is supposed to be an upswing with the latest chef, but I can't imagine it's the right image for you, no matter who you are. Maybe if you're warren buffet. I would take my 85 year old grandfather there.

          Consider NOLA. The food there is really good for moderate-price - they punch far above their weight - I love the marinated skirt steak, went there just a few weeks ago when the jones hit me. The shredded pork sliders were wonderful, and the beignet deserts. They have this funny building with lots of nooks and crannies, getting a private area for that size group should be possible. The only problem is it can get noisy, so you'll want to ask for as seperated an area as you can get. The place fills up almost every night - it's a Fun place. They have these great couch/dinner areas on the first floor that are quite noise isolated. This place will be a huge plus if alcohol is in the mix - the bar there is talented. If everyone is < 21, might not be the best - and good if you want to project a Fun atmosphere.

          Zibibbo will be almost certainly exactly right, if the price & space work. Besides the mezzanine, there's a private room on the main floor. The food is light, should be just upscale enough to be impressive. The bar's not bad, but angle for some basic wine service. They do enough corperate events (I've been to two there), it should be a well-oiled experience. The service there is great, it projects both business-like and fun.

          I don't think I'd do Reposado. I haven't eaten there yet (one of the 7 restaurants left), but it's a bit hat-no-cattle. As mentioned - the students will be fine with it, and it's a nice new room. You could do worse, though.

          Instead, try Pampas, the AYCE brazillian grill place. There's this great enclosed "pit" area with a smaller and larger private dining area in the middle of the restaurant. Food's good, rhodizio is fun. The AYCE is around $45/pp, so you might squeak through with a drink each - and less of the complexity of ordering, since they bring around the skewers and you self-serve from the veggie bar. AYCE and that quality of food means waddling away. They'll probably cut you a deal. Bar's not bad there either, yet it's not the booze soaked holiday atmosphere of NOLA.

          If none of that works out, call Il Forniao in the Garden court, and whatever's in the Westin on El Camino. The westin's atmosphere is a bit generic, and it gets no props but is turning out some good cooking, might be easy to get some space. They're doing a fair amount of middle eastern inspired, which is fun.

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          Il Fornaio
          520 Cowper Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

          Zibibbo
          430 Kipling St., Palo Alto, CA 94301

          Nola's Restaurant & Bar
          535 Ramona Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

          Reposado
          236 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

          Pampas
          529 Alma Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301

          1. re: bbulkow
            j
            jsaimd RE: bbulkow Nov 4, 2009 06:49 AM

            For recruiting I would think carefully about Brazillian grill. The concept really appeals to some, but not to others. I for one hate the meat centric meal, and I do eat meat. You very well could have vegetarians in the crowd. Yes, they do some fish and have the salad bar, but the draw tends to be the meat.

            lots of students like NOL A and Zibibbo does a lot of department events for the University (well the wealthier departments before the new food restrictions : ) ).

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            Zibibbo
            430 Kipling St., Palo Alto, CA 94301

            1. re: jsaimd
              bbulkow RE: jsaimd Nov 8, 2009 08:26 AM

              I think their food bar is really good. I prefer it to the meat.

              I finally went to Reposado last night, and my opinion turned around 100% degrees. The food is quite, quite good. I think anyone with a jaded norcal mexican palate would also be impressed. The tortillas are hecho a manos, just like the ones at Los Gemelos. The service was quick and friendly, the price was reasonable for the quality (we would have gotten out for $60 without desert, which we nearly skipped).

              They have a communal table in the back near the kitchen, but the entire room was loud.

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              Reposado
              236 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

              1. re: bbulkow
                Melanie Wong RE: bbulkow Nov 9, 2009 12:42 AM

                Yes, the tortillas are handmade, but the ones at Los Gemelos are superior.

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  bbulkow RE: Melanie Wong Nov 9, 2009 08:08 AM

                  Of course! But Reposado is still a decent dinner.

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                  Reposado
                  236 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

            2. re: bbulkow
              s
              SteveG RE: bbulkow Nov 4, 2009 09:19 AM

              Note, the OP is recruiting potential employees, not recruiting potential students. A potential business employee who needed to be entertained by the likes of NOLA probably wouldn't make a good employee. As a potential recruit for a job, I wouldn't be happy if there was a salad bar or AYCE at a recruiting meal.

          2. j
            jsaimd RE: LittleEgg Nov 3, 2009 03:53 PM

            I think Reposado in palo Alto. Close to campus, very young open large space. Food definitely edible - even good. I don't think the value is there for my own dime, and I was disappointed in yet another upscale Mexican falling short, but for your purpose I think it would fit the bill perfectly. It would definitely impress most recruits.

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            Reposado
            236 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

            2 Replies
            1. re: jsaimd
              Shane Greenwood RE: jsaimd Nov 4, 2009 07:11 AM

              I have eaten twice at Reposado and would definitely recommend it for a large group. They have a lot of variety to suit different tastes. The cuisine is upscale Mexican and most of the dishes are done well. We had a couple of executional issues (like shrimps that weren't deveined, and mole that was a little out of balance). But for the most part the food was good and the staff is very professional, which will be good with such a large group. The upstairs room would be perfect for a group your size.

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              Reposado
              236 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

              1. re: Shane Greenwood
                bbulkow RE: Shane Greenwood Nov 8, 2009 08:28 AM

                I agree, it's a good choice. I worry about the amount of noise on a friday or saturday coming up from the main room, but it should be OK.

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