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Party of 20 in downtown Santa Fe?

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I am planning a business dinner in June in SF and the stakes are high. I need some 'Hound help! I am looking for a restaurant downtown with a comfortable space, good service, and great food.

Details: All guests are from out-of-state and sophisticated food-wise. It doesn't have to be New Mexican cuisine, though I would prefer continental or fusion to Asian or Italian. This won't be the attendees' only night out in SF; they will be able to try other local places during the trip.

I'd like to do entrees that go up from $25, so something more formal than, say, The Shed.

A pretty view or something on a nice patio would be bonus. Full bar would be nice but beer/wine only is acceptable if all other factors are good.

It doesn't have to be a completely private room as we won't actually be doing any business; this dinner is strictly social in nature. But I don't want us to have to shout over one another either.

I have read all the threads on Santa Fe, but am worried about out-of-date information.

I am considering all of the following:

Fuego: Many of the guests will already be staying here, so it's easy to get people into. But how is the atmosphere? Any input on Fuego's dinner? I've only seen mention of brunch.

Pink Adobe: I am interested in the private apartment they offer for groups... but have heard mixed reviews on the food and service lately.

Coyote Cafe: Can't get a good sense of what people think now that Eric DiStefano has taken over.

Santacafe: Looks good from the website... but any experiences there in a big group?

La Casa Sena: The outdoor seating looks enchanting, and the menu looks like a nice upscale Southwest. How's the courtyard at night?

Geronimo: I am reluctant because I don't want stuffy. I want the perfect dinner experience, something that looks like I put thought into it without simply throwing money at the event. Does Geronimo say "casual elegant evening with colleagues" or "just picked the biggest 'name' in town"?

Luminaria: Haven't been since it was Baleen. What is notably different? I remember thinking that the outdoor seating (in the shadow of the chapel and the bell tower) would be lovely for a large group but maybe they've rearranged all that since the re-do.

Or, am I missing something else wonderful?

Thanks in advance for your counsel. I don't plan an important meal anymore that I don't check the boards here first.

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  1. You might also check out Amavi. I think it's overpriced for what it is, but then again, what isn't in downtown Santa Fe? Quite good continental cuisine, strong wine program, good space for larger functions; they have a lovely 2nd story setting with a terrace, although I've never seen it in nicer weather, so I don't know if they offer outdoor dining.

    If you can part with the downtown idea, I've been very impressed with the restaurant at the Encantado resort as a business dinner locale. Reliably excellent food, and the resort's setting is simply unbeatable, easily worth the 15 minute drive.

    www.amavirestaurant.com
    www.encantadoresort.com

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    Amavi Restaurant
    221 Shelby Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

    1 Reply
    1. re: finlero

      I strongly second the recommendation for Terra at Encantado. We've had dinner there on at least four occasions and have yet to have a bad experience, and as an Auberge property they should have plenty of experience working with larger groups. Get a caravan together and have everyone drive out Bishop's Lodge Road through Tesuque and make the great scenery part of the experience!

    2. Andiamo! is a great place, with excellent food and prices. Nice experiences there, all the time.
      http://www.andiamoonline.com/parties/

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      Andiamo
      322 Garfield Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

      2 Replies
      1. re: DebitNM

        This may all be moot given the OP's preference for no Italian, but I'd definitely recommend Trattoria Nostrani over Andiamo for a high-end business dinner.

        I think Andiamo has tasty enough midscale Italian food, a lot of value on its mid-grade wine list, and pleasant enough digs, but everything about it is a distant second in quality to Trattoria Nostrani, which is one of the better Italian restaurants I've been to outside Italy, period. Nostrani also has amped-up prices and pretentiousness, which extend to its stellar yet annoyingly top-heavy wine list, but that may actually work in the favor of a business function like this. It's still a trattoria, it's by no means a formal dining experience, but there's no question it knows how great it is.

        It also occurs to me that newcomer Restaurant Martin (run by semi-celebrity chef Martin Rios) could be a terrific fit, very good upscale New American with Southwestern accents, and a gorgeous patio. NB as of the last time I was there a few months ago, they were beer and wine only, no cocktails.

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        Andiamo
        322 Garfield Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

        Trattoria Nostrani
        304 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

        Restaurant Martin
        526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

        1. re: finlero

          I didn't read that request too carefully! Misread about Italian and the entree price.
          Nevermind.... :o)