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.