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Celebratory dinner for 20 in SF or Marin - Appreciate your thoughts

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Hi everyone,

My wife and I are trying to plan a special celebration and we need your ideas and suggestions. We want to hold it in a unique and intimate setting (not just a big table in a nice restaurant) and we want exquisite food.

Our first consideration was Boulette's Larder - the space is intimate and the proximity of the kitchen adds a great element to the environment and their food is fantastic. But their prices for a private dinner are astronomical. They quoted me $185 per person plus 29.5% for tax/service. That's $240 per person and does NOT include wine. And changes to their standard menu format (which does not include soup or salad or cheese) may result in even more charges. Those prices are more than we'd pay if we just took everyone to Fleur de Lys! In fact a 4 course meal WITH wine pairings and including tax/service at Fleur de Lys would be $184 per person!

I bring up Fleur de Lys because we're willing to spend those kind of prices for that quality of food but we're also seeking a really special venue/setting. Unique and memorable are more important than coat/tie fancy.

What/where is the solution that provides the specialness of a setting like Boulette's Larder and exquisite food like Fleur de Lys for $175 per person or less? We're also open to a catered dinner at a location which we could choose but frankly, I don't know/trust a caterer that delivers truly exceptional food for a party of 20.

- John

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  1. This website may be useful in your search. You can browse some of the options.

    http://www.sfpdv.com/upto20.html

    http://www.sfpdv.com/view_all_rooms.html

    5 Replies
    1. re: Scott M

      Intriguing list of venues for twenty; I'd select The City Club of San Francisco for its unique setting and wonder if membership is required.... otherwise, I'd go to Absinthe. Are you searching for 'one table fits all' in a private room?
      La Folie has a private room seating 30; http://www.lafolie.com/
      Acquerello's private dining seats 20 at two tables of ten; http://www.acquerello.com/private_din...
      Incanto http://incanto.biz/group-dining/
      Zare at Fly Trap http://www.zareflytrap.com/private_di...
      Spruce has private dining in the Laurel Room for up to 40 persons and The Library for twenty; http://www.sprucesf.com/

      "but frankly, I don't know/trust a caterer that delivers truly exceptional food for a party of 20." really?
      http://www.paulaleduc.com/#/home/

      floral arrangements, too?

      1. re: Cynsa

        I would not say Absinthe's food is "exceptional" - not by a long stretch. Perfectly fine/good. Not exceptional.

        I searched recently for a private venue for 30 people ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/802678 ). For you jschembri, I might suggest Prospect, or Perbacco if you can cut your guest list to 18. Or Spruce.

        1. re: artemis

          I absolutely love dining at Perbacco - but private dining in the mezzanine is too noisy and too warm IMHO; http://www.sfpdv.com/perbacco_barbare...
          You've done all the legwork for your 30 pp event - was One Market exceptional?

          For 'unique and memorable' would you consider buyouts? too casual? not 'exceptional'?
          L'Ardoise seats 38; http://www.ardoisesf.com/index.html
          Bistro Central Parc http://www.bistrocentralparc.com/Cent...

          -----
          Perbacco
          230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

          One Market Restaurant
          1 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

          1. re: Cynsa

            It seems like the 18-seater room at Perbacco would be more quiet than the b.s. Barbaresco "room," but I did not see the 18-seat room personally. Semi-private Barbaresco my left foot. It's too bad because the food at Perbacco is spectacular.

            One Market had the right combination of traits for my needs (wedding reception). I think the OP's needs are different - higher budget, smaller party, just for starters. But for me, One Market had excellent food, very professional staff, the right price, accessibility/parking, and perfectly lovely decor in a truly private room.

            I wonder if Atelier Crenn has about 20 seats? I seem to remember it being quite small in uhockey's recent review. Talk about exceptional food.

            -----
            Perbacco
            230 California St, San Francisco, CA 94111

            One Market Restaurant
            1 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

            Atelier Crenn
            3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

            1. re: artemis

              by jove, I think you've got it, hit the nail on the head, artemis! That's perfect...Atelier Crenn, of course! "Beautiful Private Garden Room" ?

              -----
              Atelier Crenn
              3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

    2. I've been tempted by peko peko catering for a celebratory event but have never actually tried them. I have eaten their delicious takeout food from the popup general store. They seem to have the same attention to aesthetic detail as Boulette's IMO. Perhaps you can be our guinea pig. It's a Japanese-inspired menu: http://eatpekopeko.com/menus/ and they get great reviews.