30th birthday party fit for a foodie.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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
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.
3627 University Ave., San Diego, CA 92104
"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.