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Apr 12, 2012 02:07 PM

Need help! Rehearsal dinner for 30 in Pasadena?

My son will marry on 5/12/12 in Pasadena. I will pay for their rehearsal dinner. My budget per guest will like to keep under $80 (including taxes and service tips).
We have been looking for a place around Pasadena for rehearsal dinner for around 30 people.
I don't like Malbec. My son doesn't like Cafe Santorin or Parkway Grill. He leans to Vol 94. But Vol 94 can't provide regular dining tables and chairs on their 2nd floor private area on Friday night.

I saw Il Fornaio was mentioned on other discussion. I just checked out their website. They have different sizes private rooms and dinner menus. Any idea, their food quality is still as good as before? Haven’t been there for more than a year.

Any suggestions? Any idea? Thank you.

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  1. Vertical Wine Bistro? I've seen rehearsal dinners on the enclosed patio at Briganti in South Pas.

    1. we had ours at Bistro45. it was a while ago so i don't recall how many people we had but it was well over 20. We sat in the separate dining room that attached to the main one. they said if we had a larger party they would have sat us in the covered patio area which seemed more private. our dinner was pretty good. they paired wines with our meal as well. i looked into Il Fornaio and decided against it since the food was pretty hit or miss. i went recently and the food was ok. not horrible but not great. another place i considered was Celestino's on Lake st. I would probably pick Briganti in So. Pas over Celestino but it was still a contender.

      2 Replies
      1. re: trolley

        Thanks for your input. I will call Bistro 45 and find out if they let us sit in the patio area. I have never been Briganti. However, looking the pictures on their website, I am not very into their deco. Am I wrong with that comment?

        1. re: tchao

          you mean the decor at Briganti? it's pretty average. food is decent. based on just food i'd pick Briganti over Celestino or Il Fornaio. But that's just me. others may disagree...

          I do like the food at Bistro 45 and the wine paring was very lovely with the food. they have great service as well which makes a big difference to me. i've had average to bad service at Celestino (food was delayed and sat for almost 45 min with nothing-we didn't want more comped wine we need food) to Briganti with a really terrible waiter who brought out the wrong order and tried to force me to take it. however, those were restaurant visits. i would hope if you booked a party it would be different.

          I have nothing bad or terrific to say about Il Fornaio. The rooms i looked at felt a bit cramped and depressing for my party size. maybe since you have a bigger party the rooms would be better. i worked above an Il Fornaio in SF for 3 yrs so think there's a soft spot in my heart for the restaurant chain.

          i would call and visit all locations if you can before booking. you will really get a better feel for things once you do.

      2. Noir Food and Wine? I think they could seat 30 on the patio although I do think the food at Vol 94 is better. What kind of seating is upstairs?

        1 Reply
        1. re: PattyC

          I will checked out Noir Food and Wine. Vol 94 put lounge tables upstairs. Seating is very relaxing but not for sit down dinner. My son thinks their food is not conventional as most of other Pasadena restaurants.

        2. I have had large group events at Il Fornaio and Celestino. In terms of food, I think both are quite decent, though would not be destination restaurants - but large events are not necessarily that.

          6 Replies
          1. re: suvro

            Suvro, with your experiences which place offers better services and ambiance if food quality are about same in Il Fornaio and Celestino ?

            1. re: tchao

              On that score, my experience is better with Celestino - though since we are repeat customers, the head waiter knows us quite well. But even w/o that benefit, it would probably be more intimate, and they would probably customize a menu more readily than Il Fornaio.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    The OP mentioned that his son didn't like Cafe Santorini