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Jun 4, 2014 01:35 PM

Rehearsal Dinner near West LA/Westside


I'm looking for a place to host a rehearsal dinner for Friday July 11 for around 30-50 people. Top priorities are:

-Good food (anything from gastro pub to asian fusion, pizza, etc is fine as long as it tastes good!)
-Affordability (Would like to spend $20-$45 per person and maybe do a cash bar or byob place?)
-Ambiance (We'd like to have the dinner around 7 pm so if the place has a nice outdoor patio that would be cool)

As far as location, we have blocks of rooms reserved at the HGI in Marina del Rey but I think most guests are actually spread out all over LA since only a few people have actually booked rooms. I'm open to have the dinner anywhere but I feel like we'll probably get the best deal/best food somewhere around the Marina, Venice, Culver City, West LA, etc

I read a few other threads and gathered that there are plenty of options but just wanted to see if you guys had any recommendations.

Places I like/am considering:

-26 Beach - nice patio and good food
-Hal's - upstairs room for rent
-Del Rey Kitchen - small but BYOB
-Westside Tavern - ate here before, food was pretty good and they have private rooms
-waterloo and city - saw this mentioned in another thread
-cafe del rey - Place looks nice but too expensive
-whiskey red - place looks awesome but has horrible food reviews??

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  1. are you thinking $20-$45 before tax and tip and non-alcoholic beverage (i.e. sodas, coffee, cappuccino)?

    or are you hoping to get out at that number all told?

    imho, 26 beach is going to be a tight fit physically and could end up being a parking nightmare.
    keep in mind, a glass of wine at 26 beach was, the last time i went there, over $10 and their bar is not "tended" which means that your server will be taking the drink orders. this is going to complicate the logistics of having you pay for the food and having the guests pay for the booze.
    also, their kitchen is TINY so they really have no capability for "banquet" serving for a group of 50.

    have you priced what Hal's will charge you for that room? (Hal's is normally jammed on a Friday night.) also, be sure to ask them how their parking staff will fare parking that many cars thatall arrive at the same time on a friday night and how much it will cost per car.

    1. At the price point you are considering you should check with Fritto Misto in Santa Monica and C&O Cucina in the Marina.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        concur with servorg's recommendation of C&O CUCINA at your price point.

        they can set up a buffet for you in their private room upstairs. they have parking lot that can accommodate your party.

        i haven't tried frittmisto, so no opinion about them.

        if you are willing to spend more than $45/pp, my choice would be settebello.
        buy a few bottles of wine to have out for self serve.

        the logistical difficulties of having people in a party of 50 pay for their own drinks individually, is something that most restaurants won't want to touch on a friday night (a night when any decent restaurant doesn't really NEED your business in the first place).

        1. re: Servorg

          Unless you can rent out the entire 2nd room at Fritto Misto, I'd recommend against it. The acoustics are terrible and, if you have share space w/ the regular customer, both you and the regular customers will be unhappy, IMO. Parking there is also horrific.

          I can't imagine that any place is going to accommodate 30-50 guests w/o a separate room and/or w/o a buyout of the restaurant (which you won't be able to do on your budget).

          I honestly think that w/ the number of guests, your price range, your day being only ~1 mo away (and not on a slwo day of business), and your stated geographic preferences, you're doing to have a difficult time....

          1. re: ilysla

            They use that 2nd floor as a private room I believe, but the OP would need to check on what the seating capacity is. As to parking it's only a 5 minute walk from public parking at the SM Library (601 Santa Monica Blvd.) for 2.5 hrs for $2 with each additional 30 minutes at $1 per up to a max of $10.

            1. re: Servorg

              Didn't know about the upstairs and didn't know about the parking at the library. Great tips! =)

              To the OP, whatever you choose, I think you should use a set meal. Maybe provide a complimentary glass of house wine but otherwise BYOB?

        2. Del Rey Kitchen is small enough and they try to be very accommodating. Given all the challenges already posted in previous answers, they may be your best shot. Worth a further call at least.

          We were there this past weekend and they had shut down the entire place Friday night for a private party and customized a menu for them for around that price point if I remember correctly. I was asking why they closed and was given some details.

          Additionally there is a liquor store in the same center and BYOB would be easy enough.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jase

            I agree, BYOB would be easiest for you to stay on budget any way..... Buying a few bottles of wine at Settebello for 30-50 people at, I don't know, $25 each, would mean you would need A LOT of bottles just so everyone could have 1 glass of wine.... Even if not everyone drinks wine, you would still spend a lot of $$ for wine.

            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

              no question settebello would come in at far over budget.

          2. We had our rehearsal dinner at C&O cucina. My mom said that they were great to work (and very reasonable). She also did a cash bar for anyone who wanted alcohol, and it worked out fine. Also- I'm a vegetarian and my now husband is not. We also had 3 kids in our group. So there were several different dietary issues to consider, and they were able to work with them all.
            The only thing I would mention is that they had two or three other groups in their upper area, and it got kind of loud.
            My mom was planning to do a welcome speech, but wasn't able to because of the noise level. So just something to keep in mind. But oh...the garlic knots!!!! :)

            5 Replies
            1. re: amylovesla

              They also have an outdoor patio, I think (although whether or not they'd let you block it off is a different story....).

              1. re: amylovesla

                Westsidegal mentioned above the upstairs room at C&O Cucina is private, how many people did you guys have? That would kind of suck to share with another huge party, I'll see if I can find any pictures/info about what the seating capacity is like for that room.

                1. re: wholeinone04

                  doesn't the original post have the number of people?

                  1. re: wholeinone04

                    We had about 20 people, I think. So maybe it would be better for you all (with a bigger group). You are correct about the outdoor area. I think there was a concern about weather, though at this point I can't remember for sure (it was 3 1/2 years ago). Ask them about the outdoor area, and what the policy is if there is inclement weather. You know...just in case that is the day we get rain. :)
                    It's been a while since I've been to the Trattoria, but the difference is very minimal...same menu, same garlic knots, same sing-a-long (not when we were there for our rehearsal dinner..but on other occasions).
                    Where are you getting married?

                    1. re: amylovesla

                      1) menu smaller
                      2) no parking so your guests will be paying for the public lot at the end of the street
                      3) jammed all the time
                      4) for regular dinners, iirc, it used to be no reservations.

                2. Thank you guys for the responses, super helpful :)

                  Ok so I definitely like the idea of an Italian place since we'll also be honeymoon-ing in Rome for 5 days before we head to Greece and Italian has that nice casual atmosphere that we want. It's also very different from what we'll be serving at the wedding.

                  1. C&O Cucina - I should know this bc I grew up right down the street but what's the difference between C&O Cucina and Trattoria? I've never eaten at either. Looks like we would want to pick the Cucina right? I think we could get a great meal there for $20-$30 plus tax/tip/alcohol. Do they have a nice patio we could use or indoor/outdoor type seating?

                  2. Fritto Misto - This looks like a good option, is the food better than C&O Cucina though? I'll call them about their second room but this place could definitely be an option depending on price, seating capacity and availability.

                  3. Del Rey Kitchen - I'm gonna give these guys a call and see if they would rent out to our party for Friday night. Do you think they'd rent it out to me for $30/person plus tax/tip for 50 people? This would definitely be more of an intimate but casual dinner which I think would be pretty cool. Never heard of this place though, the food is top notch or what?

                  4. Sunny Spot - I ate here a year or two ago for diner and I remember the food being really good. It seems like it would be a really cool place for a rehearsal dinner too since if I remember correctly they have a patio and a pretty cool inside area. The reviews are so-so though, so not sure if they could handle a party our size. Thoughts? The only reason I brought this place up was bc I think I went on a friday night during last summer and the place was nearly empty haha.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: wholeinone04

                    It's been many, MANY moon since I last went to C&O (only been to the Trattoria), but I don't recall the food there being better than Fritto Misto. I actually find the food at Fritto Misto to be relatively unremarkable and am somewhat confused about why it's so popular, truth be told.

                    If you buy them out, I'm sure they could handle a party your size (or if they were willing to block off the patio). I went there once a few yrs ago. It was fine, but I'm not a Roy Choi fan. I would also be surprised if they didn't exceed your budget.

                    C&O definitely has indoor/outdoor seating. You'll probably just have to call to see if they let you reserve it.

                    1. re: wholeinone04

                      Del Rey Kitchen, the food is very good but I wouldn't call it revelatory. Best way to try their food, if you are in the area Tue to Thu, try their $20 prix fixe special. Side salad, half portion of almost any of their appetizers and a full sized portion of any of their entrees except the samurai steak which has a surcharge.

                      The deal includes their hamburg steak which I really like. Overall, it's a great deal for casual mid week dinner.