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Aug 30, 2012 09:37 AM

Birthday dinner 10 adults 6 kids nice but non-foodie

If anyone can help with suggestions I would greatly appreciate it!

I am planning a special dinner on a Saturday in November for family. This is a group of 16: 10 adults and 6 kids age 6-12. We have to accommodate the guests of honor’s tastes primarily, so this is not a request for a foodie destination (unfortunately). Here’s what we are looking for, roughly in priority order: (note: Great American Restaurants would be great but they cannot give us a reservation and guarantee we are seated together at dinner time)

1. A place that will take a reservation and can accommodate our group at a single table or two tables right next two each other in a semi-private room or area slightly set apart so we don’t bother other guests.

2. A menu good for non-adventurous eaters with a good variety such as steaks, crab cakes, shrimp, etc. OR non-adventurous Italian food (pastas, pizzas, meat/seafood entrees) OR seafood would also be fine

3. A nice environment with some background noise (not too quiet)

4. Good service, especially nice service (not rude)

5. A couple of steps is OK but not a full flight of stairs (thereby eliminating the nice group table on the 2nd floor or Virtue Feed and Grain)

6. Something in Northern VA or DC – within approximately 30 minutes of Fairfax/Burke/Springfield

Places we have considered: Founding Farmers (still under consideration), PassionFish (still under consideration, maybe not good for kids), Great American Restaurants (can’t accommodate us), Carmines (worried about the poor/rude service noted by reviewers), Rays to the Third (maybe environment not quite nice enough plus they haven’t returned my phone call), several others not worth mentioning

Thanks for any help you can provide.

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  1. Carmine's in Penn Quarter might be just the ticket. It won't knock your socks off, but it's reliably tasty and family style.

    3 Replies
    1. re: katecm

      I second Carmine's. I liked their cocktails and the bartender was great. I haven't had a problem with rude service there.

      1. re: woodleyparkhound

        Also liked Carmine's. Food was good and it's fun.

      2. re: katecm

        Carmines did well for our large group. Service was fine. But the house wines were not.

      3. Have you thought about Chef Geoffs?
        Old Ebbitt?
        Hamilton would definitely be able to accommodate a group your size

        1 Reply
        1. re: Jeserf

          Chef Geoff's was accomodating for our group of 10 last year. We were all at one table.
          As for Passionfish, not sure how large their tables would be but I have seen many families with children there. There is at least one private room that I noticed.
          What about Il Forniao for italian?

        2. Great suggestions so far, thank you! We will look at all of the above. Hamilton is especially interesting, but all of the suggestions deserve further investigation. Glad to hear that people have had good experiences at Carmine's.

          Passion Fish is out. For a Saturday night, the largest party in the standard dining room is 12, and the private room has a $2000 minimum tab, which is above our budget (I mean, even if we have the splurge of a lifetime, the 6 kids just can't eat & drink that much!)

          Founding Farmers is out. The largest party they can seat "at one table" is 14, according to their email reply. They didn't suggest any other options.

          Any further advice still appreciated, thanks.

          3 Replies
          1. re: KeithW

            Definitely try Hamilton.

            The food was decent when I was there (shortly after they opened) and the space is seriously huge. And also convenient if you have people metroing in.

            1. re: KeithW

              Try Walkers Grille. It's similar to GAR but smaller place and can accommodate reservations. It's one of my favorite new places. It's in Springfield near the INOVA.


              There's also Pane Vino in Lorton. They have a private room.

              1. Clyde's at Willow Creek in Ashburn might be a good option for you. Another thought is Trummer's on Main -- it's a little more "adventurous" in that they seem to be into using foams and powders and other trendy food tricks, but good for the non-adventurous crowd since they use cuts of meat, etc. that are easily recognizable and familiar (though, might not be the best environment for young kids). Zefirelli in Herndon may also be an option -- good italian food!

                1. All of my suggestions are posted so I'll throw in Maggianos in Tyson's Corner.