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My 21st birthday 6/26/2010

Hey all I'm turning 21 on the 26th of this month and want some help finding ideas for places to go. For the first part of the night Im looking for a place to go with my family, would like to keep the food cheap for this part at less than 20 a piece, you know places like TGIF, applebees and the likes of that, but would like comfortable seating (no squeezing into a non movable booth ( in a big guy)). PROB A GROUP OF 16 SO COMF SEATING PREFERED. also a plus if the place had a good selection of drinks ( not huge on beer... looking to try multiple drinks). and the 2nd part of this would be places to go either later that night or later on the next night with my friends.. all over 21, the only thing i would ask is no "clubs". Yes i know it seems like i want and or am asking too much but anything and any ideas help. Thanks everybody. either reply here or to me and jamesmfresno@yahoo.com

By the way im in san diego

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  1. I would look at Bite in Hillcrest. No entree over $20 a good wine list and specialty cocktails. http://www.bitesd.com/ great place to order a lot and share for a reasonable price.

    If it was me I would go to one of SD's Speak easies (Kind of a hidden bar that specializes in cocktails
    My 2 cents anyway

    have a great Birthday

    3 Replies
    1. re: chris2269

      Thanks chris I am looking at those places now as we speak. Bite looks great but because some of my family is older ( little pickier they wont like idea of sharing it would seem) but again thank you cause me and friends will def go again on diff time.

      But still others please post as well because i got time and the more selections and ideas i get from all of you the better i know this birthday can be.

      1. re: jamesmfresno

        How old is older? You don't have to share plates if you don't want. They have regular size entrees if some of your family wants to go that way. Are they local or are they coming from somewhere else to help you celebrate?

    2. happy early birthday! same day as mine, though you're a heck of a lot younger ;)

      *where* in SD do you live or want to go out? are you planning to cab/have a designated driver, or would you prefer places that are close to you and each other?

      3 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Well happy early birthday to you as well.

        I live in fashion valley and for the family meal their will def be designated drivers and anywhere that is not downtown for ANYTHING would be amazing.

        For the later thing it will be friends only no family and their will also we a designated driver. they dont need to be close to me or each other but would again like to avoid downtown.

        1. re: jamesmfresno

          got it. Turf Supper Club could be fun for dinner - you grill your own food and it's less pricey than a traditional steakhouse.

          Turf Supper Club
          1116 25th St, San Diego, CA 92102

      2. After thinking about it i think some of the family members would prefer a place like black angus or something like that. I think a perfect place would be one where you could eat under 20 per person or you could go and get a nice expensive steak. (jesh while im at it might ask for world peace too right?)

        1 Reply
        1. re: jamesmfresno

          Happy Birthday, I love Cancers :-)

          It's a short (10 min?) drive East of FV to the Riveria Supper Club in La Mesa - http://www.rivierasupperclub.com/ Original owners of the Turf Club. Most of the entrees are $20 or under, the sides are $5 - 8 bucks but will feed 2-3 people generously, plus their bartenders pour some seriously good cocktails. You grill your meat. It's fun and it will keep you within your budget. That's the good news. The down side is that the Riveria could use some spiffing up; it's a tad bit seedy and the clientel the same. BUT...if you go early, i.e. before 7 pm no one will know what it morphs into later in the evening (it trends young and gets loud). My 90 y.o. mother actually LIKES the Riveria Supper Club, especially if we hit it about 5:30 or 6 pm. Earlier in the evening you will see everyone from couples on dates to families with young kids to , well, my 90 year old mother.

          There's a Stuart Anderson on Friar's Rd. right before it changes into Mission Gorge Rd. but I really, really can't recommend it. Not because it's Stuart Anderson or a chain, but because the last time I ate there it was truly awful and ranks as one of the 10 worst meals I've ever had.

          Check out the menu for Bully's East - http://www.bullyseastsd.com/ - most likely over your price range, but they do some really good prime rib and steaks, plus they make good cocktails too.

          Happy Birthday and have a good time :-


          Bully's East
          2401 Camino Del Rio S, San Diego, CA 92108

        2. I would look into Alchemy in South Park. They have a wide variety of food including steak, fish, vegetarian, burgers. They also have some good beers, wine and some good cocktails. In addition pretty much evertthing is below $20. I have seen quite often large groups at Alchemy.

          1. With a request for a place that will be able to seat 16 people for dinner on a Saturday night, be large and comfortable enough to seat you all in the same spot with lots of room, but will also keep to under $20 a person, I think your pickings are somewhat limited. Especially if you want to stay out of downtown, where there are more restaurants that can accommodate large groups (but there, the prices are usually higher and the quality doesn't usually warrant it - so you're actually better off staying away).

            I'd say try Cucina Urbana in Banker's Hill. It is a large place and they do family-style portions on many of their apps, so you can get a great deal sharing those. The cocktails and infused liquors are first-rate, so there are lots of drinks to try. And the food is excellent and priced well. Lots of good dishes and variety on the menu. So, you may be able to stay on budget there. And, they have that large semi-private table in the wine-area, so you could possibly get a group of 16 comfortably back there and have plenty of space (although the wine shoppers do walk back there to check out wines - but that's all in the atmosphere). They have been consistently booked since they opened, so you may want to call ASAP.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cookieshoes

              Thank you for your ideas.

              And again to others more ideas are definitely welcome so if you have them post them

            2. Based on your guidelines "TGIF, applebees and the likes of that" you will be pleased with Albie's Beef Inn in Mission Valley. Tasteful decor, full bar, comfortable seating, steaks and table-side salad prep and a step up from the chains. Follow dinner you could head up the street to The Tickled Trout for some drinks.

              Albie's Beef Inn
              1201 Hotel Cir S, San Diego, CA 92108

              3 Replies
              1. re: stevuchan

                That is a very interesting idea,, thank you for that one.

                1. re: jamesmfresno

                  While I've only been for drinks and the entertainment (which was all fabulously tacky and quite Bedazzled), I might caution that the "tasteful decor" is mostly composed of 60s-era paintings of nude ladies. While my friend and I think it's wildly fun, I don't know how I would have felt dining amongst all that naked glory in the company of older family members when I was 21. Now that I'm in my 30s, maybe...but when I was 21, it would have definitely made me blush.

                  1. re: camilles

                    They don't bat an eye. We used to dine there regularly with my parents in the mid-60s. I don't think they paid much attention to what was on the wall. Certainly they weren't scandalized by the nudes...and my parents are (were in he case of my dad) conservative mid-west transplants, tho' they've lived in SD far longer than they ever did in the mid-west <gg>

                    BTW, my sister and LOVED going to Albie's back then, it really was very good.

              2. $20 including drink, tax, and tip? Or $20 entree?

                Option 1:
                Dinner at Starlite, drinks at Aero Club/Regal Beagle/Shakespeare/Bar Dynamite

                Option 2 (North Park centric):
                Dinner - Urban Solace, Ritual Tavern
                Drinks - Toronado, Bar Pink, Bluefoot

                Option 3 (PB):
                Dinner- Costa Brava
                Drinks - wherever the PB kids go out, there's a ton of places

                Costa Brava
                1653 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

                Urban Solace Restaurant
                3823 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104

                3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

                Ritual Tavern
                4095 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

                8 Replies
                1. re: DougOLis

                  Happy early birthday!! Keeping your $20pp budget in mind and if you have various palates/tastes/ages to please, for your family dinner, I think Buca di Beppo would work. We've been there a couple times for big group dinners, and it's been fun and tasty. The food is good (not super creative but solid Italian-American classics). Because it's a chain, people here might poo-poo it, but it fits the bill for your needs. I know for my extended family (even though we generally prefer more creative food) it would still be a solid choice. There's a location in Mira Mesa near the Edwards Cinema. The portions are gigantic (even the ones they list as small) and can be served family style. Have fun wherever you go!

                  1. re: carli

                    You shouldn't put Buca di Beppo and tasty in the same sentence.

                    1. re: honkman

                      To each his or her own! This website is about opinions, so I'm glad to hear yours, too, honkman. I was considering the parameters of what the OP was requesting and I think Buca di Beppo works, but I also knew I might have to duck after posting that. I'm a brave girl.

                      1. re: carli

                        There is nothing wrong with americanized Italian food but I think even for that Buco di Beppo is a bad example. I also think that if possible chowhounds should support local businesses as long as they are at least of similar or better quality and there are reasoanable options for this type of food in SD which could also accomodate larger groups, e.g. Di Mille, Da Nino, Sardina's

                        1. re: carli

                          One more thing...the OP mentioned TGIFs, Applebees "and the likes of that" so I paid attention to that. I think we need to watch being overly judgmental...there's sharing opinion and then there's looking down one's nose, viewing everything through one's own (usually biased, perhaps elitist) singular lens. Granted, it's a fine line. But, most are not privileged to enjoy (especially in this economy or as a 21-yr old) the same dining out budgets/standards that some others have grown accustomed to and trained their palates by. And, hey, at least I didn't suggest the Cheesecake Factory.

                          7510 Hazard Center Dr Ste 407, San Diego, CA 92108

                          Cheesecake Factory
                          2015 Birch Rd Ste 705, Chula Vista, CA 91915

                          1. re: carli

                            I think you can eat cheaper (and better) at the DiMille and others than at Buca di Beppo. And qualitywise Cheescake Factory and Buca di Beppo are on the same level, IMO.

                            1. re: honkman

                              Fair enough. Next time I have a big group that's leaning towards Buca di Beppo, I'll suggest DiMille. Thanks.

                              1. re: carli

                                One more thing...can't comment about whether Cheesecake Factory and Buca di Beppo are on same level since I've never been to CF, but all I know is that we have a 21-yr old who's a very adventurous eater and yet loves going to Buca di Beppo w/lots of friends. They do the party thing well. But who knows, maybe we'd even find something to like at Cheesecake Factory and then all credibilty would be out the window! :) I'm just sayin' we might want to let the OP put Buca di Beppo in the mix along with DiMilles and others.

                                Cheesecake Factory
                                2015 Birch Rd Ste 705, Chula Vista, CA 91915

                  2. I have to second the Turf Supper Club. The place is small, but here's an interesting point about its history - the Casbah's owner started the Turf, and the place was so successful that not only did the money allow Tim Mays to buy a house during the height of the real estate market, but the Cohen Restaurant Group stole the idea and opened the Gaslamp Strip Club, AND the landlord literally stole the place from Mays (by refusing to renew the lease).

                    Its not just the grill your own meat either. The drinks at the Turf are top-notch, classic cocktails. What better way to start your drinking than in style with Martinis, Side Cars or, my favorite, Manhattans.

                    Now, if you don't want to fight over the tables at the Turf, I'd go with the Rivera Supper Club in La Mesa, which is a little bit bigger. Or, you can go to the Starlite. The benefit of the Starlite is that you can then walk to the Aero Club, the Regal Beagle, Shakespeare's and Bar Dynamite.

                    Turf Supper Club
                    1116 25th St, San Diego, CA 92102

                    3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

                    Bar Dynamite
                    1808 W Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103

                    Gaslamp Strip Club
                    340 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101

                    Shakespeare Pub & Grill
                    3701 India St, San Diego, CA 92103

                    The Aero Club
                    3365 India St, San Diego, CA 92103

                    Riviera Supper Club
                    7777 University Ave, La Mesa, CA 91941