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May 22, 2013 12:06 PM

Ethnic restaurant for birthday dinner?

Lots of great recs on ethnic restaurants here, but a lot of them are really tiny places or very casual. I'm not looking for super fancy, just a sit down place that can accommodate 9 on a Sunday evening. Preferably within 20 minutes of North Park! Thinking about Pomegranate, but would prefer something Asian or Latin. Any help is severely appreciated!

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    1. How about Izakaya Sakura? I've been to a couple of birthday gatherings there and they had no problem accommodating a group of that size.

      1. With a nod to ipsedixit's comprehensive knowledge and judgement that there is "no good Chinese food" in San Diego,, I would stilil add to the "not too fancy sit down, close to Hillcrest and can easily accommodate a group" request:

        Chef Chin's (haven't been, but recently heard good things and seen great looking pics on blogs)

        China Max

        And (gasp!) Jasmine. I hear that they do much better with banquets that are reserved and the menu ore-ordered. .

        5 Replies
        1. re: Gypsy Jan

          Whoops! Forgot to mention no Chinese. They're coming from San Gabriel Valley, and have plenty of great Chinese up there. But I will be hitting up your recs myself another weekend, thanks!

          1. re: Gypsy Jan

            With a nod to ipsedixit's comprehensive knowledge and judgement that there is "no good Chinese food" in San Diego,,

            Don't you mean "middle finger"?


            1. re: ipsedixit

              Nah, not at all. (smiley duly noted).

              I am Southern California white bread and a "no nothing"about authentic Chinese cuisine.

              My only claim to fame is that I thoroughly embarrassed my family at Seafood Paradise in Westminster when I ordered the whole lobster (with chiles) and used my hands to tear it apart in order to get every bit of the deliciousness.

                1. re: Fake Name

                  You drive, I'll buy.

                  Happy hour somewhere on the way.

                  GJ :)

            1. Reviving this semi-old thread to gather opinions....My birthday is next week and I am considering several places for dinner. Might I trouble the Chowhounders for your yeas or nays?

              Lion's Share
              Tapas Picasso
              Riviera Supper Club
              Meze Grill

              Or somewhere else I have not mentioned? I am open to ideas.

              Thank you in advance, Dag

              18 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Oh yeah! I have been following that thread too..it might wind up as a lunch and dinner eating extravaganza.

                2. re: Dagney

                  Among the restaurants you listed, I'd probably pick Chopahn or Romesco's (which I haven't been to but hear is very good) if I were choosing for myself. Chopahn has a nice birthday-type ambience and interesting food. If you're willing to downscale in ambience a little, DJK for Korean might be fun. The OP mentioned Pomegranate, which might also be worth considering.

                  1. re: DoctorChow

                    Russian! That could be a serious possibility.....hmmm.

                    Though, is Pomegranate Russian or Georgian?

                    1. re: Dagney

                      For what it's worth: We ended up going to Pomegranate, which was perfect! Fun atmosphere for a birthday, they gave us all (suspiciously smooth) vodka shots and birthday girl got the spicy, toad sweat ice cream, which was very yummy. All the dishes were great and it was a lot of fun to try a cuisine we had never tried before. The food was delicious, and so I've returned for lunch many times and it still hits the spot. Love the grilled meats!

                        1. re: Dagney

                          Pomegranate has russian and gregorian dishes

                          1. re: honkman

                            Gregorian? Did you mean Georgian?

                            1. re: Tripeler

                              Yes, that should have been Georgian

                            2. re: honkman

                              I see. I just looked at their online menu. I guess I can't tell what's genuinely Russian from what's Georgian, to be completely honest. I do think that the owner is Russian, though, and is the same person who used to have that Russian restaurant out on Adams around 30th until there were some problems, many years ago, and they had to move. Tried, but can't remember the name, darn it.

                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                That would have been Russia House, which was at 32nd and Adams, I believe.

                          2. re: DoctorChow

                            I thought of Chopahn because I ride by it during work all the time, and it always looks so polite and inviting.

                            1. re: honkman

                              You know, I love Sakura and I have not been there in forever, and there is always Shirahama too.

                              1. re: Dagney

                                If you go the Japanese route (esp. non-sushi) try Okan.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  We have never been there, so I will add that to the list. Which is now growing and not close to being narrowed down....:) I am thinking about writing down the choices on paper and drawing one out of a hat.

                            2. re: Dagney

                              Virgo chicks rock!

                              Mine is the 16th..happy bday dags!

                              Lions Share

                              Lotus of Siam in Vegas for the best Thai in the US if your feeling frisky and a road trip coming on..

                              Shine on, you crazy diamond...hee hee

                              Footnote to Salty.

                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                Thank you!...;))

                                I think Lion's Share might be saved for our anniversary. I made reservations at Chopahn for my birthday. I'll post a review later.