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Nov 1, 2010 12:09 AM

Marin Rehearsal Dinner

My fiance and I are trying to locate a good place for a rehearsal dinner in Marin County for next June. We're definitely into good food, but unfortunately since the wedding party is so large (30-35 people) we have to try to keep costs relatively low. Here's what we're looking for:

1. Located near Novato. The wedding will be there, and everyone coming in from out of town (most of them) will be as well. Several won't have cars, so we'll have to coordinate travel, so near Novato would be nice.
2. Can accommodate our party comfortably. We'd love to have a private room, but it's not a deal breaker for us, if the space is nice.
3. Good food. We like good food, and don't want some nasty unpleasant food. That said, we're fine working with some of the most simple/less expensive products if they're prepared well.
4. Availability - The rehearsal dinner will be on a Friday. I know that makes things more expensive, and if you know of somebody willing to work with us, let us know. We're willing to do the dinner early (as early as 4:30PM if necessary) to try to keep our costs down as much as possible.
5. Cost - Here's the hardest part. We're trying to keep costs right around $35/person. That would include the meal, and possibly non-alcoholic beverages. We would like access to a cash and carry bar (wine, beer, cocktails if available) and our guests will likely indulge on their own dime, we just don't need it included in our price.

Are there any places that can do this around that area? We can't easily get into San Francisco proper, or all the way to Sonoma, but what else is out there?

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  1. One place I would look into is Le Chalet Basque. It's in San Rafael but actually near Santa Venetia, just east of the Marin County Civic Center on North San Pedro Road. It's not too far from Novato. Prices are very reasonable for the amount of food you get (soup + salad + entree for about $20-$25; additional $4 gets you pate for appetizer and ice cream for dessert). Some entrees are better than others but most are very good considering the price you are paying. They have a back room that would accomodate about 30-35 people. They have a full service bar and lounge in the front.

    Roger Minhondo is the proprietor. He's fairly flexible and you could probably negotiate a nice package deal with him if you have any special requests, even on a Friday night if you can commit many months ahead. Go there on a typical Friday night to see what the meal experience is like and if you think it might suit your wedding party.

    Chalet Basque
    405 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903

    1. Check out San Rafael Joes. Or, further south, Marin Joe's in Corte Madera.

      Marin Joe's
      1585 Casa Buena Dr, Corte Madera, CA 94925

      San Rafael Joe's
      931 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901

      1. I second Le Chalet Basque as a reasonably priced choice. Remember you are in one of the most expensive counties in the country. My wish is that you can savor these moments before your wedding and not get caught up in the details. Congratulations to you both .

        Chalet Basque
        405 N San Pedro Rd, San Rafael, CA 94903

        1. I have some Novato suggestions:

          Boca Pizzeria - You probably can't do inside, but they have a nice patio area off to the side that I would think should work for 30-35 people. They have a bar inside. (I know "Pizzeria" doesn't sound like a wedding rehearsal venue, but it's a very nice restaurant - offshoot of Boca, the steakhouse.)

          Rickey's - Haven't had dinner here in a couple of years, but it was good, and they have a nice ouside area with lawn and patio. Separate bar inside as well. Site is used for weddings, so I think it should be nice for wedding rehearsal dinners.

          Hope this helps!

          Boca Pizzeria
          454 Ignacio Blvd, Novato, CA 94949

          1. Can't vouch for the food, but the settings seem ideal -- and they're both in Novato: