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40th Birthday Dinner for a Group

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I'm turning the big 4-0 next month and will be traveling to Vancouver from Washington State with a group of friends (total party: 15) to celebrate this milestone. My birthday dinner will occur in late August.

I made a reservation and placed a deposit at Tuc based on one or two positive Chowhound mentions. However, Tuc is limiting me to a set menu that is quite heavy and comfort food simply doesn't sound appetizing for a summer meal. Because my husband and I will be footing the bill--which is an extravagance for us--I want our dinner to be really great. With that as well as my concerns about the menu in mind, I am having serious doubts about Tuc and want to find another restaurant (or nice pub) to host my party.

Ideally, this casual restaurant (or even nice pub) would be locally sourced or at least in tune have a menu that's in tune with the season. To accommodate the non-meat-eaters in our group, the restaurant should offer some good veg/fish options. Personally, I really like farm-to-table restaurants that experiment with fresh flavors and combos (such as Sitka & Spruce in Seattle). One of my favorite places (in Vancouver or otherwise) is La Quercia, but unfortunately it cannot accommodate my party. I've looked at Burdock & Co's menu, which looks spot-on, but am waiting to hear whether it can accommodate a group like ours.

One other issue: because my husband and I are definitely not made of money, we'd like to keep the food costs to no more than $50/person.

Do any of you have any recommendations? Thanks.

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  1. I've never been before but maybe Kitsilano Daily Kitchen?

    1. Izakayas abound here-does that appeal?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Sam Salmon

        Yes, they do. I've only been to Hapa Izakaya and that was years ago.

        1. re: luckywonton

          I'd be getting in touch with Zakkushi on Main and asking about their "side" room (south side of the resto) which can accommodate larger groups if you're feeling izakaya. Agree that Tuc would not be ideal for a summer gathering based on two meals there. Burdock fits your food requirements but I wouldn't do a group of 15 in there, personally. It's just too small, even if they can seat you along the south side. The north side is tall bar stools which I am not crazy about.

          Another thing to keep in mind is that it will likely be warm (maybe not as warm as the current heat wave) and many/most restaurants here do not have air conditioning. If I'm paying, I don't want to be sweating unless I am eating something with big heat at a Sichuan resto :-).

          1. re: grayelf

            Thanks for the tips. I was hoping you would chime in without my resorting to lighting up the Bat-Signal, Grayelf. :)

      2. Baru Latino? Lot's of nice cool ceviches and other hot-weather friendly tapas, salads, mains. I've been with groups about that size and it's a good space and many cocktails offered by the jug
        http://www.barulatino.com/index.php

        1 Reply
        1. re: kinnickinnik

          Thanks!

        2. Not really a foodie destination as such, but the location is fun if your group is on the patio, a stone's throw from floatplanes landing/taking off. Casual atmosphere, quite doable for < $50pp. Easy to find, parking not a problem.

          Dunno about A/C, 'tho, but it is a very summery kind of place.

          http://www.mjg.ca/flying-beaver/

          http://briefed.ca/vancouver/2013/01/t...

          http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/180639...

          6 Replies
          1. re: LotusRapper

            good idea LRapper - and you're working out there for how long ; ) ?

            ------------
            where are you staying when you come up here?

            check out this casual option closer to downtown - nice views

            definitely not fancy
            (Jericho Sailing Club)
            http://www.thegalley.ca/

            1. re: Georgia Strait

              The Galley certainly has views no other restos can beat. However for a special 40th b-day celebration where their whole entourage is coming up from SEA, The Galley would likely disappoint on that basis. Then again, maybe Flying Beaver is only a notch above.

              In Richmond until end of Friday.

              1. re: LotusRapper

                Thanks, LR and GS. Although I'm looking for casual, I want to go with something a little more polished. Swanky gastropubs qualify.

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  what's your fav menu item at the flying beaver?

                  also - is there parking in the shade? my friends are heading to Cal and have their dog (who is flying cargo on same plane) - so we just want to have lunch before their late afternoon flight - and give the little dog a quick run around before he is crated for the airport adventure.

                  1. re: Georgia Strait

                    Been awhile (3-4 yrs ?) since I was last there, I only remember my son was still in a stroller ! I do recall a full rack of ribs that was decent. Another time was a really mean platter of nachos. And maybe a pizza (?) for the kiddo but no recollection of details.

                    Ask the servers what are the most popular mains and appies and look around to see what other tables ordered. I just like being there (outside patio), but this weekend the weather is looking iffy around here, GS :-(

                    No covered parking, all open lots (across street, or along Inglis): http://goo.gl/maps/QlUbT

                    1. re: LotusRapper

                      yes, I see what you mean - Google maps etc are handy for sure.

                      maybe we will instead go to the Pier 73 at the Delta Hotel nearby - I think one can sit outside on a nice day - plus that parking lot has some shady trees etc -

                      plus they have a friendly concierge dog working in the lobby in the mornings - her name is Cessna https://twitter.com/CessnaHotelDog

                      BTW - I notice that the Delta says that location will no longer be managed by their brand after Nov 2014 - I know the property itself sold a couple of yrs back - but I can't figure out which brand it will become (ie which new management) -- I hope it maintains its low-key BC atmosphere and cleanliness and friendliness (and the kamaaina prices for BC locals)

            2. La Buca's Alla Famiglia dining is just a hair over your budget at $55/person, but worth it without question in my humble opinion.

              http://labuca.ca/

              6 Replies
              1. re: jerkstore

                I am a fan of La Buca but fear it won't be able to fit our group. (I also experience wicked hot flashes and the last time I dined there during the summer I was a wilted mess ten minutes in.)

                UPDATED: Ignore my previous response, Jerkstore. I phone La Buca and (1) it can accommodate a party of this size, (2) it is (now?) air conditioned, and (3) there's space available on my selected date.

                Thank you for reminding me of this gem of a restaurant!

                1. re: luckywonton

                  Plus 1 on the alla famiglia at La Buca -- the main reason I didn't suggest it above is that their HVAC has been spotty at best since they opened. Even without hot flashes, I was a wilted mess the one time I went in the summer. It's always irked me to have to limit my visits to the other three seasons, so I'm cautiously optimistic but I'd want reassurance that they have CHANGED/AUGMENTED/FIXED the climate control before I'd commit.

                  We have dined in La Buca when there was a larger party across from us and it was pretty deafening but since you will be in the party, that may not be an issue :-).

                  LOL on the Bat-signal!

                  1. re: grayelf

                    Glad I'm not alone in my problems with overheating. I will ask!

                  2. re: luckywonton

                    You could provide paper fans for all guests, as party favors... (personalized, even?)

                    1. re: KarenDW

                      Brilliant!

                    2. re: luckywonton

                      Glad to be of help. Hopefully either their AC has improved or you get a relatively cool day.