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Some very close acquaintances are planning a late July party somewhere in So-Cal, and would like any tips or opinions on locales, especially restaurants, so I'd like to use the vast collective knowledge here on TC! Tiki / polynesian is good, but other nice themed places might work. Ideally, the place would have good food and a private room where a (loungy) band can play - big enough for 30-40 people but still intimate. Off the cuff, here's what I could think of, and it'd be a great help to hear comments about these and other places...

Yamashiro's - not tiki, but very nice and good food

Trader Vics BH - do they have a good room for this kind of thing? I've only been to the bar area.

Bahooka, Damons, Sam's Seafood - all great decor, but maybe not quite the greatest food

The Reef (Long Beach) - nice view, nice food, some nice tropical rooms. There are probably lots more places like this in LA that I don't know about, that aren't necessarily tiki, but that have one or two tropical themed rooms for parties and weddings.

Anybody know of anything like the Encounter - sorta space-age or googie - but not located at the airport?

What about the San Diego places? I still haven't gotten a chance to visit them, but are any of them set up for this kind of thing?

Thanks in advance for any help...

-Randy

If you're looking at San Diego both the Bali Hai and the Islands Room at the Hanalei Hotel have rooms that can accomodate private parties. Of course, the food is subjective. At the Islands Room, the food wasn't half-way bad. They even offer sushi on their menu. However, I've never eaten at the Bali Hai (just been to their bar).

Regarding OC joints - I really like the Hidden Garden in Sam's Seafood. They host private events there very regularly (almost weekly, I think). Bahooka also has a backroom for private events but the food is so-so.

Good Luck.

Aloha, Aquarj!

Way back in 1999, I hosted the Enchanted Hollywood Hawaiian Holiday at Damon's, Bahooka, and Trader Vic's. The nicest for an intimate affair is certainly Trader Vic's. We took over their private dining room with 45 people and it was great. We had our own servers and about 6 or 7 round tables set up. Plenty of room to mingle, yet small enough to feel intimate. I don't recall if Damon's has a private room, they just sat us at a few large tables next to each other in the main dining room. Bahooka is fun, and they can give you the back room or rope off a section for you. The service is casual and friendly. The service at Trader Vic's will be more of the high-end restaurant style, and in my experience(I know contrary to other reports), has always been pleasant. The food is good and the drink quality can't be beat. Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns and I'll tap the old memory banks.

-Weird Uncle Tiki

I'd have to endorse the Hidden Village at Sam's Seafood. Great atmosphere, stage for band, bar available, and their catering for private parties is pretty good.

I hosted a banquet there a few years back, and everyone was pretty impressed. I think they were so much into the atmosphere of the hidden village, the food actually seemed even better than it was!

Of course, with most themed places, you do generally sacrifice a bit on the quality of the menu selections.

Royal Hawaiian in Laguna Beach does not have private rooms, but you can reserve a section of their dining area. They are not really set up for a band or entertainment, but I have seen it done. The food is edible, but Sam's is better.

Good luck on your venue search!

:tiki:

I can personally vouch for the food at Sam's and the Bali Hai. Both are great, but being biased because of location, I'd have to say that I like Sam's better. I get the impression that the Bali Hai would be more expensive too.

T

Randy-

Besides the other good suggestions, if you don't mind a newer place, consider the Lava Lounge in Hollywood. The decor is nice, they're set up for bands, and you could have it catered as I don't think they serve food. The neighborhood is ugly though.

The good thing about San Diego is there is nice lodging on Shelter Island at Humphrey's Half Moon Inn (very near the Bali Hai) and also at the Hanalei (where the Islands restaurant is located). And the whole outdoor atmosphere at Humphrey's is great - the buildings and the gardens and the bay views.

The Hanalei gardens are beautiful also with some tikis here and there and a nice pool area with a huge Moai watching over the area. The Hanalei has some Polynesian style private rooms in addition to the main restaurant. The food at the Bali Hai is OK, but nothing great. I liked the food at the Islands more but the drinks at the Bali Hai were better. I have not tried the food at the Half Moon Inn. If you can afford it and you want a romantic tropical event at a place with polynesian style to spare, I would do it in San Diego at either Shelter Island or at the Hanalei.

http://www.halfmooninn.com

http://www.balihairestaurant.com

http://www.hanaleihotel.com

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Everyone, thanks for the tips and suggestions - that's all very helpful!

-Randy

a few years back we held a big tiki party dinner at Damon's - we had a private room there for 40 people. I like the food there.

Jab - as much as I like the Lava Lounge (from the one time I've been there), I want to reiterate your point about the neighborhood - it's BAD.
Randy -belive me, you DON'T want the event's guests having to try to avoid being hit for spare change or worse on their way back to the car.
Bali Hai - nice view and atmosphere - food -OK.
Islands room - Nice decor, have private room, didn't try food (were closed).

Ran

I have eaten at Damon's and Bahooka, and I would choose Bahooka. I personally thought that their pulled pork sandwich was one of the best, that I had ever had! The service their is great and the manager Pat would try to provide the best of service. The culture there is a throwback in time, they do not surf the web and do not know little about the growing number of tikiphiles. I have actually faxed them copies of reviews that they had no knowledge of.

Pat (626) 285-7514

Cheers,

Kreaky

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