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May 13, 2011 04:31 PM

Large group - Monterey / Carmel / Pacific Grove

Ack, a little last minute, I've been asked to find a restaurant for a large group (30-35 people) for a graduation dinner next weekend (a week away), Sat night.

At a bit of a loss, as I don't know the area all that well, and browsing through the boards, a bit tough to figure out what would actually be good for such a large group. Ideally, something that's more mid-range - not too expensive, but we can still have some wine, etc.

Any thoughts from folks?


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  1. Have no idea about your budget, but will just suggest a few off the top of my head. Would help to also know if it's college or HS?

    Tarpy's: close to Monterey airport, good food lovely large patio and restaurant. They are used to large groups.

    Rio Grill: Crossroads shopping ctr, Carmel. Same owners as Tarpy's. Smaller restaurant, but appropriate.

    Mission Ranch: Clint's place, Carmel. Has both indoor and a lovely outdoor deck with heaters.

    There are also various hotels that could handle your group. Guess we need more info. as to budget, age level, etc.

    Rio Grill
    101 The, Crossroads Carmel, CA

    Mission Ranch Restaurant
    26270 Dolores St, Carmel, CA 93923

    1. Maybe Vito's Italian Restaurant in Pacific Grove? I know they have a "bigger" banquet room and you can get your wine too.

      Vito's Italian Restaurant
      1180 Forest Ave Ste A, Pacific Grove, CA 93950

      1. Thanks, I'll take a look at these, and call to see what availability is like. This is for a business school graduation, we'll have a broad range of ages (a couple small children, a bunch of people in their 20s, and then folks who are older).

        Budget-wise, I'll have to confirm, but let's say no more than $25/pp for food. Also, we'll have a good number of vegetarians.

        (Keeping all this in mind, perhaps Vito's is a good option based on the suggestions given so far?)

        1. Hi N, you should consider Ambrosia. We had a chowdown mwhen it first opened and it was quite good then. The chef and staff came from Amber India. I've not been back recently. Full bar, outside seating, many veg options. Nice setting in a historic restaurant.

          There's a casual Lebanese cafe in downtown that would be more budget and should have more veg selections.

          I like Tarpy's, but you'd need a higher budget. The space is great for a group and there's a patio fir the kids to escape.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Thanks Melanie, ran this by a couple people, they've eaten there, said it was good. (Our group will mostly Indian, so Indian restaurants often are a "safe" choice.) They had availability for next weekend, so this works.

            I'll report back on how it went!

            1. re: nsheth

              Please let us know how it goes! We love Tarpey's Roadhouse. PortaBella in Carmel and Fandango ( we had lunch there on Sat.) are both very nice places for large groups. All of these places have charming ambiance and excellent service. :)

              1. re: nsheth

                I thought that might be the case. I'm so glad that you could get in on short notice. I'm really looking forward to your report, as I've been meaning to return.

                The Lebanese restaurant I mentioned is Maha's, in case you need more meals during your time in Monterey.

                Congrats to the grad!

                Ambrosia India Bistro
                565 Abrego St, Monterey, CA 93940

                470 Alvarado St, Monterey, CA

            2. Thanks all for the recs, again. We ended up at Ambrosia. We had to sit outdoors on the patio due to our large party size and the late notice. It was a cold night, but enough heat lamps that it was comfortable enough.

              Food was very good, and they handled the group size very well. We had pre-ordered for the group. If I recall, we had samosas, pakora, papad, raita, garlic / butter naan, chicken curry, dal bukhara, palak paneer, and malai kofta (perhaps I'm missing something).

              One slight complaint, we hadn't specified how spicy to make everything, and, while tasty and balanced, a little more heat would have been nice. We did order one last chicken curry and requested it spicy, and it made a world of difference, almost tasted like another dish entirely. If I wasn't so stuffed at that point, I would have gladly eaten the whole serving myself.

              The graduating individual mentioned that's there's only a couple Indian restaurants in Monterey, and this is the only one with good food. With such a low density of options, I'd cynically expect things to be at most serviceable, but Ambrosia far exceeded those expectations and should be a real option for anyone looking for quality Indian food in the area.

              (We also had a group dinner at Cibo over the weekend. Pretty disappointing across the board, with items being sent back, a couple significant service snafus / kitchen mistakes, and overall mediocre food.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: nsheth

                Glad it all worked out so well. I never would have chosen ethnic for a group, but you knew your group well apparently. Melanie picked up on your vibes, guess I was asleep. Anyway, I'll remember Ambrosia for the two of us as we are in PG quite often.

                1. re: Gail

                  Ah, to be clear, I'm Indian, and this was all family - like I mentioned earlier, going to an Indian restaurant is usually a pretty safe and easy option!

                  Also, I wouldn't consider myself knowledgeable about wine, but they seemed to have a pretty extensive list for an Indian restaurant, not something I notice often. (We brought our own bottles.)