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Oct 26, 2013 02:34 PM

Recommend a restaurant for a 40th birthday party for a party of 8-10

Good Afternoon chowhound friends:

I will be turning 40 in January and want to plan a dinner with some Vancouver-based friends. I want a place that can seat 8-10 and will take reservations. It should be in Vancouver proper only because of where the majority of our Vancouver friends live (plus alcohol will be involved so driving is not an option). It will preferably be within a short bus ride or skytrain trip from downtown because my wife and I will likely be staying in a hotel downtown. A downtown location would be ideal but I'm sure we could make Kits or South Granville work too. I would prefer not to take transit at that time of year only because of how unpredictable the weather can be.

It should be quiet enough (or have a private room for 8-10) that we can converse without having to scream (don't want a nightclubby-vibe or bar vibe). It should have a special occasion ambience but I do not want something as expensive as Bishop's or Le Crocodile because some of our friends do not have much expendable income at the moment. I am thinking of a place with entrees in the mid-20s to mid-30s and appies in the low to mid double digits.

It could be any type of cuisine but I am skewing toward European influence because of my desire for a delicious chocolatey dessert to top off the evening. I have not yet been to L'Abbatoir but understand it is quite noisy. I like the look of their menu, though. I have been to Hawksworth a few times and unlike many on this board I have enjoyed my meals there but it is a bit pricey for the crowd I am thinking of.

I am being a bit anal planning this far in advance but I find people have such tremendously busy lives these days that they need lots of advance notice (especially for a crowd).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you might have.

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  1. If you can book at L'abbatoir and stipulate the atrium, no worries about noise (I am very noise sensitive -- tinnitus) and I think it is a lovely setting to boot. We've taken various groups there and been very pleased. Agree that the upstairs is hella loud after eating there once.

    Another nice and much less pricey than L'abb option is Tuc Craft Kitchen. We had a table of four right in front of the stairs and it was no problem at all to chat away at normal voce all night (and we had two soft-voiced DCs plus a very large party one table over -- which is what makes me think they could easily seat 8-10). I've only been once so don't know what the mezzanine level is like for noise. I'm extremely keen to return; in fact was just discussing having brunch there!

    Also many happy returns in advance :-).

    1. Maybe:

      La Brasserie


      Tableau (back of restaurant, behind the bar) has an area suitable for small groups, with a large booth:

      3 Replies
      1. re: LotusRapper

        Wow. Thanks for the quick responses. Some very good options already. Grey-elf, your review of Tuc Craft Kitchen recently definitely piqued my interest. Sounds like great bang for the buck.

        LotusRapper, I've always wanted to try Boneta. Are the noise levels reasonable? I remember my wife ate there with some friends quite a few years ago (somewhere between 6 and 8 years ago now) and said that the music was so loud the whole evening that they had to shout to hear each other, and that was just a party of 3. But maybe they got feedback from customers and changed that. Plus I think they're in a new location now, no?

        1. re: anewton

          Hmm, I honestly can't recall how the noise level was, but it was an early dinner for wife and I (around 5:45pm) so I have no authority to say what the noise level might be like later in the evening, nor whether they have since tweaked the music level to more civilized levels. I defer to other esteemed CH-ers here for their insight :-)

          1. re: LotusRapper

            I couldn't recommend Boneta based on the food, to be honest (we were at the new location a couple months ago). It wasn't bad, just wasn't outstanding in any way. The noise level was reasonable though louder than L'abb atrium.

            I don't think La Brasserie takes reservations, if that is important. I'm also not sure they could comfortably accommodate a group of 8-10.

            I've only been to Tableau for brunch, last Sunday as it happens. It is a nice room but I wasn't blown away by the food. If you do go, be sure to tell your guests to use the valet parking as it is MUCH cheaper than parking on the street.

            Plus one on Jules, nice hearty stuff. I like their soupcon of French 'tude aussi.

      2. We like Jules. Good bistro fare; moderate prices; decent wine list; festive atmosphere but not too noisy.

        1. You might be able to see if your group could take over the cafe side of Les Faux Bourgeois, which would be private and quieter.

          4 Replies
          1. re: twinkienic

            Thank you for all of the suggestions. I have perused all of the above menus and like Tuc the best out of what I have seen. However, my wife wants a place that serves pasta (not her b-day, but I want her to be happy too) and I was thinking about Lupo. I see on their website that they take reservations for parties of 8 or more. Does anyone have any recent experiences there? I do like the looks of their menu...

            1. re: anewton

              Not recent but since the changeover at least. The noise level depends entirely on which table you get -- as you may know, it is a madeover heritage house, so lots of cubbies and corners. The last time we went there was a table of 8 next to us and they were LOUD, so much so that we asked to move and they accommodated. Food was good but not great. You said Kits might work so with the pasta stipulation, I much prefer La Buca, as you will know if you've read any of my posts about it. They can do larger tables but may require the alla famiglia option, not sure...

              1. re: anewton

                "However, my wife wants a place that serves pasta (not her b-day, but I want her to be happy too) ....."

                Ka-ching, total brownie points ! :-)

                1. re: anewton

                  Tuc has linguini on their lunch menu. Maybe you can inquire if they could make for dinner as well? If so

                  You get to go to your first choice + your wife gets her pasta = Win-Win!

              2. party-planning thought... Maybe send out "save the date" invites to your guests, with update later re: venue?

                1 Reply
                1. re: KarenDW

                  yes - good idea about the save-the-date notice

                  we do that too.