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Oct 18, 2012 07:10 PM

30th Birthday Dinner for 14 - AQ or Chaya?

I'm not an SF local, but my husband is originally from the Bay area. I'm planning a 30th birthday dinner for him with 12 or so guests. After tons of research and asking everyone I know, I think I've narrowed it down to Chaya (semi-private table with view) or AQ (whiskey lounge) based on the following criteria:

1. private or semi-private space for 14 people
2. around $50 per person
3. has a fun, adventurous menu that will make for a memorable dinner
4. trendy vibe
5. a view

Husband wanted a private space or a view. His main concern is that everyone will have fun and enjoy the meal. Which would you choose? Am I missing a total no brainer restaurant that would be perfect?

Thank you all!

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  1. I am surprised AQ can do 50 a person. Every time I go there I spend about 130 on my self.

    AQ sounds perfect. I personally am not a huge fan of Chaya. Its ok, but its not AQ.

    I would throw out La Mar 's chef table,
    and I havent been to Nihom for a while, but their private room is great for parties.

    so those are two other options but between the two you picked I vote AQ with out a doubt

    1. I'm also surprised that either can do it for 50 a person, I'm assuming it's without gratuity or drinks. I would pick AQ if it was about the food, the private space downstairs has no view but the food is better and a private space to me is better for a party than a view at chaya which is a huge space. AQ also has a far more adventurous menu than Chaya. I wouldn't say Chaya is that trendy, maybe when it opened... it's more the place I would take folks that want a view, a business meeting or more uptight folks.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tjinsf

        AQ can do it for more like 80 per person (not including drinks, tax and gratuity. BUT, they only have $50 minimum per person, which brings our total minimum to $700 and is WAY more affordable than some of the other places I looked that have more like $1500 minimums for private space. Some places even go up from there for peak times (after 7) to upwards up $2500. We have some friends who are back to school for their MBAs and other things, so a lower minimum is a huge relief even though I'm sure we'll hit it by double.

        AQ has been amazing to work with so far -- and we've decided to move forward with a contract there. You can't beat the amazing menu, a private space, a 7:30 reservation (peak timing) all for a $700 min. They're also making a cake in-house for hubbs which I cannot wait to try, and we can bring an ipod and play our own tunes which is pretty cool.

        Will let you all know how it goes. THANK YOU for the input!!