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Birthday Dinner Saturday - Santa Monica area

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OK, so it's my birthday, and I get to pick where we go for dinner tomorrow (Saturday). And we're probably going to a 7:30 movie at the Aero in Santa Monica. Since I now spend virtually my entire non-working life in the San Gabriel Valley, I'm hopelessly out of it in terms of knowing where I might want to go. I probably haven't dined in Santa Monica in at least three years! So, I'm hoping for some suggestions. Guidelines: not ridiculously expensive (is there anyplace nice for around $50-$60/person, before tax & tip but including alcohol?). Not overly formal.

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  1. My favorite restaurant in Santa Monica is Jiraffe. I'm not sure how much you plan to drink when you say "including alcohol"...drinks can drastically alter the price of a meal, no matter where you go. Anyway, my husband and I don't drink much and can easily eat there for around $100. Entrees are $20-$36, with most in the $26-$29 range: http://www.jirafferestaurant.com/menu...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Nicole

      You know, I've never been to Jiraffe. That's definitely a possibility. Thanks for the idea.

    2. What type of food do you like?

      I'd highly recommend Jiraffe, too, if you enjoy French food. Other fine French places include Melisse and LaCachette.

      Seafood-wise, I'd go to Ocean Ave. Seafood or The Lobster (great views).

      For Italian, a place like Il Forniao or I Cugini might do.

      For funky, Typhoon (ants and crickets!)

      1 Reply
      1. re: chica

        I like just about everything, though I'm not much into seafood (except sushi). French is good. American, Asian, Italian, Mexican...really, just about any and all ethnics...

      2. Josie or Violet. Josie LeBalch of Josie and Jared Simons of Violet are two of the best chefs on the Westside. A bonus: at Violet, where they serve small plates, you could eat a solid dinner for about $30, meaning more money for drinks!