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30th birthday party fit for a foodie.

  • m

I need to plan my 30th birthday and I want to have it a an amazing restaurant. A great location with, something that signifies San Diego as I will have friends traveling from OC and LA. I don't mind north county down to downtown.

I will pick up the check and figure I may have about 15-20 people, trying to keep my total tab no more than 1,000 bucks.

I would like some sort of private/semi private setting and want really amazing food and service.

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  1. It's hard to say what is an "amazing restaurant" anjd everybody will have a different definition but it will be hard anywhere (even outside of San Diego) to find any "amazing restaurant" which will give you great food and drinks/wine for about $50pp. Most restaurants on that level will cost you around $10pp for appetizers, $25-30pp for entrees and $10pp for dessert. You might have to look into lower priced restaurant like Alchemy, Starlitem Urban Solace but even there it might be tough to be within your money plans (and even though I think these are good restaurants I would put them in the "amazing" category).

    3 Replies
    1. re: honkman

      Ok so food only $1k does that help?

      1. re: mjsp1

        Whisk n ladle in La Jolla has a pretty cool looking private room for aroun 15-20 people with lots of options and the price is in your budget. The food is good to outstanding and they have tasty cocktails.

        1. re: mjsp1

          I had a really nice 5-course tasting menu at Georges for $59 a few months ago. Georges is a nice example of a good restaurant in SD. They also have one or two private rooms. Another possibility would be Wine Vault. They don't have a private room but perhaps you could contact them and see if you could arrange something with them.
          Another restaurant which I like (but it is more French inspired and doesn't have a special location) is Cavaillon.

      2. As honkman points out, your budgets aren't realistic.

        My own $0.02, if you want to throw a party that will impress foodies, is to hire Super Cocina to cater, and buy some great local beer. Host it at a home or something like that. The price will be right, and the food impressive.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Josh

          ...and with the money left over desserts picked up from Elizabethan Desserts...

          Elizabethan Desserts
          155 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA

        2. I'd have to say a Friday night at Wine Vault- that's work great. It's not a private room, but with 15 ppl, they'll but you in the west portion of the place- you'd be fine.

          Unless you're a crowd of obnoxious and loud drunks, in which case you'd be better of at, say- Harney Sushi.

          Service is pretty good for the food, but you have to go to the bar for your wine flights. That might be a fun thing- appoint a member of the party to be sommelier for the evening.

          That's what I'd do.

          1. With all due respect to the opinions above and a restaurant I love, Wine Vault would be a bad fit for a group of 20 celebrating a 30'th- too tight and noisy, and the get your own wine thing might get old pretty fast. Semi-private can be had on the cheap in the form of patios- just contact the place well ahead of your date and see if you can claim:

            the whole back patio at Starlite Lounge (ask for Roy)
            the whole side patio at Tractor Room

            Both places are very "San Diego" to me, and would make for one fun 30th bash. Very respectable food, but no views at either place- hopefully your guests will make up for that.


            3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

            The Tractor Room
            3687 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103

            1. Is the evening going to be quiet and intimate, or are you looking to create a party atmosphere? Do you want to show off San Diego as a city of neighborhoods, or highlight the "big city" side? Or the "beach city" side? Or the "border city" side? I am over-thinking, I know, but I like themes. :)

              I'll probably lose my street cred for this, but I think the large table at Searsucker is a great option for a party. I was there Saturday with some well-travelled foodie friends (party of 4 total), we ordered wine, 4 entrees, 3 sides, 6 appetizers, 3 salads and several glasses of wine for $275. Everyone was impressed with the food, the service was really great and, if you have any Top Chef fans (my visitors are huge fans), having Brian Malarkey visit the table throughout the night is fun. (BTW, he was very nice, humble and personable) We had a great time.

              That said, it's not private, it is loud, but it does feel like a party.

              I also love the idea of the semi-private limestone room at Bleu Boheme in Kensington. Call ahead for a custom menu. And bringing your friends to one of our great neighborhood places would be a nice "San Diego" option. And to my knowledge, BB is one of the few neighborhood joints large enough for private dining for a group.

              The La Jolla options here are good for the upscale beach city vibe. But for my money, Josh's Super Cocina option would be my first choice. You are turing 30 - go for the downscale (setting, not food) fun that cannot be duplicated anywhere else (assuming you have a space for the party). Save the overtly upscale private dining option for your 40th.

              Super Cocina
              3627 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104

              4 Replies
              1. re: Divamac

                Divamac- streetcred– pfft.

                1. re: Fake Name

                  ;) As long as I have FN cred that's all that matters.

                  1. re: Divamac

                    Well, after our last meet, you have 100% FN cred forever.

                    I've not been to SeerSucker So I can't tell if it's a better idea than MV. But if DivaMac says so, I believe her.

                2. re: Divamac

                  "show off San Diego as a city of neighborhoods, or highlight the "big city" side?"

                  Those are both tough sells aren't they?

                  I would maybe think about Starlight (back patio. and you can smoke too!!! Freedom at last in the USA.) or Jaynes Gastropub (back patio). The budget part will be tricky though.

                  But what's a few extra dollars among friends?

                  Josh's idea of " hire Super Cocina to cater, " might be the best idea.

                3. Water taxi over from Gaslamp to the Bali Hai in Shelter Island at their private dock for $7 pp and have a nice window corner table with bayfront views of downtown SD..start with pupus and mai tais and then dinner.
                  They have Polynesian dancers downstairs and they could put on a show and then head back to the Gaslamp for a night cap at the Top of the Hyatt..
                  BYOB of champagne/wine and work a deal with the house on corkage fees..keep the cost down.
                  Another idea is Roy's at the SD Marriott/LJ and they have a 3 course meal for around $35 pp..maybe customize for couple $ more.
                  I think for your budget, both would be great food, fun and a really good time.

                  Aloha and Happy Birthday!


                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    I must be really jet lagged to of missed the amazing food, service, private room for 15-20 people all for around $1k..
                    Totally unrealistic..but I think the 2 restaurants suggested above, would be a lot of fun.

                    1. re: Beach Chick

                      Hey BC, welcome home!! go anyplace exciting with chow to match?

                        1. re: Beach Chick

                          Nice report, I really enjoy HI and it sounds like you did as well, been going there for many years, mostly Maui. Almost thought you went on a Patty Melt junkett!

                          1. re: cstr

                            Been going twice a year to all the islands and Tahiti since the 70's..when I was a mere infant..lol
                            I think the OP should buy 2 tickets on Haw Air for $330 rt pp..long weekend it with fresh ahi, mai tais and swim all day in the ocean..
                            Less than $1k for two for 4 days..
                            If your friends want to follow, cool..if not, enjoy your bday with $$ well spent on you and send them a pineapple..
                            ; )


                          2. re: Beach Chick

                            BC, you missed Poke Stop at Ward Warehouse!

                    2. I think ideally i would like to find a place where we can have a great meal, good drinks and linger for a great late night scene.... my bday is on a sunday so we'll be dining and boozing till the clock strikes midnight.

                      as for the budget i can push it a tad... figure first round on me and then it's a freeforall.... maybe out the door $1500.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: mjsp1

                        we had my husband's 30th at urban solace a few years back. we reserved the patio for our group on a saturday, from 4 - 7. we were well within your target budget and had the same amount of guests you're looking at. the events manager was great and we customized the menu to my husband's tastes. it was a fantastic night, as we just wandered next door to bar pink to celebrate the latter part of the evening, which takes care of your other concern ;)

                        1. re: beachbunnySD

                          Starlite back patio at 7pm? Or Cowboystar then bowling at east village and tavern?

                          Starlite will only reserve a party of my size no later than 7 pm. I want my guests to hang till after midnight. Is 5 hours at Starlite to much?

                          3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

                          1. re: mjsp1

                            5 hours at Starlite probably isn't too much, but if you get bored you could walk over to Aero Club, Regal Beagle, Shakespeare's or Bar Dynamite.

                            3175 India Street, San Diego, CA 92103

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

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

                            1. re: DougOLis

                              That comes out to $13 per person per hour (if 15 people attend and it is $1000)... do you think that is a normal turnover?

                              1. re: Cathy

                                thats not going to include coktails.