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Work dinner in Vancouver

  • j

Hi!

A bunch of pediatricians are visiting Vancouver for a conference in early May. I have been put in charge of organizing a dinner for 10-15 of us from DC for one of the nights but have never been there. It's not sponsored, and I'm thinking people won't want to pay more than $50-$60 per person including drinks. Any suggestions for a fun venue for a small group of professionals with great food??

I would really appreciate any recs.

THANKS!! :)

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  1. Izakaya - you won't believe how good the food is or how far that money will go.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Tinfoilhat

      I like the izakaya idea too -- definitely fun. Just be sure to do your homework on which one you pick. The atmosphere can be more raucous at some than others (I'm looking at you Guu with Garlic!) which may not be an issue but if your group is diverse in age and noise tolerance, you might want to pick one of the Hapas or Kakurenbou or Kingyo. Also be sure to make a reso ASAP for that many people.

      Here's a Chow article that will give you an idea of what you're getting into: http://www.chow.com/stories/10980/3?t... and another from Gourmet with more writeups: http://www.gourmet.com/restaurants/20... and another from VanMag: http://www.vanmag.com/Restaurants/Iza...

      Note that both are out of date (eg there is now another Hapa in Yaletown) and don't include all the options available, either standalone or other locations (eg there is more than one Zakkushi and they are all bigger than the 4th Ave outpost).

      1. re: grayelf

        Izakaya are a lot of fun and DC probably doesn't have many - so that is a good bet (and is a uniquely Vancouver scene - for North America). You can eat and drink very well for $50 at any of them.

        Another option is Pourhouse in Gastown....then cocktails at the Diamond.

      2. It may help responses if you can provide some specifics in terms of the location/area you are staying, how far would your group wish to travel (ie: hotel vicinity, 15-min walk, etc), what types of food would likely appeal to most of the group, etc.

        In Vancouver, Cdn$50-60 (incl. drinks) can buy you a large variety of options in terms of authentic foods in very very decent environments.

        1. Rodney's has a private room you can book out, and the night can totally be as cheap as you'd like!

          2 Replies
          1. re: yuyu

            imho, besides the oysters nothing on the menu stands out for me at rodney's. still a viable option.
            if its a beautiful day. consider a place with a nice patio to enjoy the sunset.

            1. re: betterthanbourdain

              For some OK food and good views: Lift, Bridgers, Sandbar, The Teahouse, Cardero's. (They are personally not my kind of places, but many people like them). The last three are run by a restaurant group that specializes in view restuarants. The food is decent enough - with dishes that may please the less adventurous....always a few of those in a big group like this.

          2. Samba Brazilian Steakhouse can be boisterous and fun .......

            http://www.thaihouse.com/samba/

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kr7oWa...

            Or the Afghan Horsemen near the entrance to Granville Island. They have a separate private room you can book, which easily accommodates 15 people seated on cushions on the floor.

            http://www.afghanhorsemen.com/

            Fun starts with the belly dancing ......

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_LGq5...

            Here's a fellow local food blogger review:

            http://chowtimes.com/2009/06/21/chowt...

            -----
            Afghan Horsemen Restaurant
            1833 Anderson St, Vancouver, BC V6H4E5, CA

            1. Wow- just checked back in. THANKS everyone so much for the responses. Gonna read them all now. :)

              6 Replies
              1. re: jmarx

                Oh yes... DETAILS!!! SORRY!!! This may help narrow things down.

                - Prob 10-15 people
                - We'll be DOWNTOWN near the convention center so anywhere within walking distance would be cool, or we can take short cab rides
                - I'm thinking now that people are going to want to spend closer to $40 to $50 including drinks (sorry if that messes any of this up)
                - It will be a Saturday night
                - I don't think we have a food preference (I'm the only foodie, probably. We definitely have a few vegetarians). I was thinking something with a Vancouver feel, fun, good for groups, and decent food (I'd appreciate great, but I don't think I have a group of super-sophisticated palates. Heehee)

                1. re: jmarx

                  If your group is as wide ranging as it sounds, then some of the places I mentioned above will work. Cardero's (for example) is near the convention centre. Here's the menu - http://www.vancouverdine.com/carderos...

                  You'll see that they played it pretty safe with the menu....but at least you'll get fresh seafood and a few Vancouver specialties. I wouldn't spend my own money there, but it is a pretty safe option for a "work-related" meal.

                  You should eat light...then sneak away afterwards for a real feast later.

                  1. re: fmed

                    I don't think I would spend my money at Cardero's either. If I were a tourist I think I would head toward Gastown. Steamworks is nowhere near as fun since they lost the oyster bar, but the food is safe and the beer is decent. Pourhouse would be a good bet, Irish Heather/Salty Tongue would be fun as a group if they could seat you and then they could hit the Shebeen. Boneta would work. They should just squeeze under the price cap and the food is very nice. Smallish portions though. If they are Americans they might feel like they are being ripped off until they taste it.

                    1. re: Tinfoilhat

                      Pourhouse is an excellent choice, come to think of it. http://www.pourhousevancouver.com/foo...

                      A post-dinner cocktail crawl in Gastown would be in order....

                      -----
                      Pourhouse Restaurant
                      162 Water Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B2, CA

                  2. re: jmarx

                    I like Tapastree. It's small plates..so you can try lots of different dishes. It close by.
                    Here's a link:
                    http://www.tapastree.ca/Tapastree/Hom...

                    -----
                    Tapastree Restaurant
                    1829 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G 1E4, CA

                    1. re: moyenchow

                      All the above venues have their own merits. Trouble with Vancouver sometimes is it's hard to nail down just one or two "perfect" locations to eat.

                      From a geographic standpoint, Gastown and much of the northern half of the downtown peninsula is walkable for your group (and we have a damned pedestrian-friendly downtown core !).

                      From a pure "Vancouver feel", I'm thinking a venue near the English Bay might define the Vancouver experience. As the OP JMarx mentioned, he's really the only foodie in their group, so from a culinary perspective it wouldn't take too much to please his entourage (I say that with respect), whereas the venue, ambiance and surrounding view would weigh more heavily here. To that end, I recommend either The Boathouse or Milestones Grill & Bar right on English Bay:

                      http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=english+...

                      By my routing, each way is 2.6kms but a scenic one at that:

                      http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=d&so...

                      Both restaurants cater to groups, both feature diverse, well-thought-out menus that reflect local and West Coast tastes, and both are priced reasonably to provide safe, satisfactory experiences at the Cdn$50 cap. In the event the group come away disappointed (I doubt it), they can feed their senses (and stomachs) to their hearts content just walking back to their hotel along Denman and Robson !!

                      The Boathouse menu:
                      http://www.boathouserestaurants.ca/fo...

                      Milestones menu:
                      http://www.milestonesrestaurants.com/...

                2. What is the name of that Italian place in gastown? It's just down the street from Steamworks? That would be walking distance to the conv. ctr.

                  5 Replies
                    1. re: LotusRapper

                      Has to be Al Porto. I must say that I have never been disappointed there. I've had great Osso Buco, and some wonderful grilled calimari out of that kitchen. I don't think this restaurant gets the respect it deserves.

                      1. re: Tinfoilhat

                        You are right about Al Porto....it has been consistent through the years. It doesn't get the "buzz" that the newer places get.

                        1. re: fmed

                          - same location for well over a million years. sort of a ' masonic lodge ' in the long- term vancouver restaurant scene. deliberately low- profile, and yet rewarded by loyal, contnual patronage.

                          1. re: slugsunderfoot

                            re Al Porto: just don't ever book "The Loft" there for a group function. Xmas party there two years ago was really bad -- food was bland, service was staggered and slow.

                            Here's a useful link for Gastown restos even though it focuses on the Owelympics: http://www.gastownblog.com/places-to-...