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Help for husband's 40th bday in Venice area

I have gone over these boards and read a ton online and am making myself crazy!! So please help if you can.

I have honed in on Joe's on AK, Chaya Venice and Cafe del Rey. Or group ranges in age from 35-70. My husband's and my parents plus some friends. Fifteen people total. I'm not worried about price and am expecting to spend a lot. However we will bring our own wine.

My first decision was the patio at Joe's which seats 12 at a long table. Then some no's turned into yes's and with 15 we would have to sit inside. I keep reading Joe's is more of a date or small group place too. This was my first pick but not sure if the small inside is good for a big group. Also small bar area to meet up beforehand.

so then i moved onto cafe del Rey as "the spot" but my husband thinks its pretty average. We both like the big bar area to meet beforehand and all our family are staying at hotels in the marina. Easy but maybe boring?

Today I thought of Chaya. I always love Chaya but haven't been in ages. I can't stand loud music playing during dinner and I read that it bothered someone in a review somewhere. I'm much more sensitive to noise now than I was in my twenties when I frequented Chaya and with two, possibly three, hard of hearings in our group and four above age 60, maybe it's not the right spot?

Any thoughts? Other recommendations? Our group likes to party and have fun (especially the ones pushing 70); we don't want a private room, but would like somewhere lively with good food, just not crazy music loud. Our last big celebration was at the galley which was great but want something a little more upscale.

Thanks!!! Oh the party is June 1, Saturday night. I have reservations at joes and Chaya and am in touch with CDR. Help!

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  1. Go to Cafe Del Rey's and Joe's menus and decide if you have a clear preference. Cafe Del Rey was one of my favorite restaurants 15 years ago when they served their kung pao seafood sausage dish. Then they seemed to turn way Japanese seafood and sushi-oriented for awhile.Always loved the leveled seating on the marina so all tables had some view, the good service, the easy parking.

    Joe's has its charms, but the garden, patio, canvas tents above atmosphere always seemed nice to me, but somewhat of a compromise. More difficult parking, drop-off situation, though certainly easy by Venice, Abbott Kinney standards.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nosh

      You think Cafe del Rey over Joe's? Menus look equally good to me.

    2. Think a bit further north, into Santa Monica:

      Whist at the Viceroy - perhaps a large outdoor table by the pool?
      FIG at the Fairmont Miramar
      Catch at Casa Del Mar - big bar area
      Capo - maybe a bit more subdued, but the food's very good
      Ushuaia Argentinian Steakhouse
      The Penthouse at The Huntley Hotel - can't guarantee the noise level will be to your liking, though

      Good luck!

      1 Reply
      1. re: J.L.

        thanks! I'm going to look into Capo, Catch and the Argentine place.

      2. Have you checked out/with Gjelina http://www.gjelina.com/ or The Tasting Kitchen http://thetastingkitchen.com/ ? Both on Abbott Kinney.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Servorg

          +1 for both Gjelina & the Tasting Kitchen.....

          Can get loud, but if you can get there right when they open or start serving dinner, as in Gjelina's case, you will not have to deal with the loudness until your dinner is partially over....

          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

            I would bet that if they got a table for 15 on the patio at Gjelina they wouldn't be the ones worrying about incoming noise...(and it's a lot quieter out there than inside).

            1. re: Servorg

              Yes, I agree. They could shoot for a 5-5:30 reservation, and practically have the entire patio to themselves.

          2. re: Servorg

            How would Gjelina be about the outside wine, though? Something tells me their policy is probably ridiculous.

              1. re: Servorg

                Awesome. Thanks. $20 also. And I guess they have a private room. I'll call them. It's worth a look into if we can get patio or private room.

              2. re: schrutefarms

                Good point. I haven't asked them. Joe's is great. If you buy a bottle, corkage is free. Or $20 per bottle. Same with Chaya and Cafe del Rey. They are all $20 per bottle.

            1. If you and your husband enjoy 'trendy/hip' then Gjelina is the place to go. They create some of the best vegetable dishes in the city. Tasting Kitchen's another idea if you haven't thought of it.

              Hal's is consistent, great food....my friends who have been born/raised and live in Venice have found this place, after all the hoop-la and 'new', innovative and creative restaurants that've been opened on AK, to be their comfort & familiarity away from home.
              The bartenders are enthusiastic and welcoming.

              I'm also in agreement with J.L. about Capo. It's a wonderful restaurant. The food is stellar, having been to several parties with the age range you're talking about, everyone had a great time and enjoyed ambience.

              1 Reply
              1. re: latindancer

                Oh yes, Hal's. One of my all time Faves and standby's. I did not like the private room. The table would be in the middle of all those booths so I didn't like the feel for a big long table right in the middle of the room. I kind of want to be tucked to the side. Does that make sense?

                I will look into Capo now. That sound great.

              2. Sam's at the Beach is very good,
                You might get the private room at Chinois
                Love Capo

                IMO the service at Gjelina is iffy and its very crowded. No bar either although you might not care.

                1 Reply
                1. re: BSW6490

                  Thanks. I do care about bar, or at least having one close by and I'm not a fan of the Brig.