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Another desperate plea for fancy B-DAY DINNER REC!

Okay, I'll try to get straight to the point.

I LOVE food, and my parents are coming into town this week to take me out to a nice dinner for my birthday. I want it to be a FABULOUS experience. The food is the most important part, no doubt, and I want to have an exquisite meal! I'd also like quality ambiance and service so that we all feel like we've had a wonderful experience worth every penny. As for types of food, I don't really care, but of course I want the food to be a touch above anything that could be easily replicated at home.

I have so far been angsting over Providence, Michael's or Wilshire, possibly A.O.C. - though I think I want more of a traditional meal - help me out here. I'm lost!

Thanks everybody!!

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  1. I think Asia de Cuba is a great birthday celebration location, but it's not "traditional" as you said. By traditional I'm assuming you mean more American food?

    2 Replies
    1. re: labs

      By traditional I mean a regular sit-down meal as opposed to Tapas.

      1. re: labs

        I have not been impressed with Asia de Cuba. The food at places like AOC, Providence, Grace, etc. is a lot better. They might lack the cool factor of Asia de Cuba and some patrons are really into that, but I'm too chowish to be swayed by it all.

      2. ..." I want the food to be a touch above anything that could be easily replicated at home"...

        Based on that statement, I suggest you read the linked review that got me to try, and become a fan of, Norman's:



          1. Skip AOC for this one and head to Lucques - definitely a cut above. If everyone loves and wants fish, go to Providence.

            2 Replies
            1. re: gearoy

              i second lucques - and suzanne goin just won the beard award too. the food is outstanding as is the service.

              1. re: gearoy

                My fine dining chef friends swear by Providence

              2. Take your pick ...



                SADDLE PEAK LODGE

                and of course, URASAWA.

                1. You might consider adding Josie (2424 Pico, in Santa Monica, (310) 581-9888) to your list.

                  1. Thanks everybody! I'm thinking I'll do Norman's on my own sometime, since that seems to be on the more affordable end of my options that I can indulge in. Right now for my b-day I'm leaning towards Lucques. I really appreciate all the advice!

                    1. I second JOSIE. Absolutely my favorite restaurant in LA and have had some wonderful birthday celebrations there....

                      1. HIGLY highly recommend Providence. I had the tasting menu and was just blown away by the creavity of the food. Every dish has tons of different flavors and textures. The service was impeccable too. It's a little on the pricey side but worth every penny.

                        1. What about Koi?
                          Its fantastic. Can be a little bit pricey but I have never had a bad meal here. Everyone I have taken has been extremely impressed. Its a great scene, celeb watching, and the food is great. www.koirestaurant.com
                          Also, Ago Restaurant. Co-owned by Robert Dinero
                          Again, I bring people here all the time and have never gone wrong. Make sure you sit in the main dining room and get a table away from the bar (or people will be bumping into you during dinner) www.agorestaurant.com

                          1. Providence, hands down.
                            I adore Lucques however Providence is a dining experience that is a cut above any other I have had in L.A. in the 5+ years since I moved here from the east coast.
                            Providence is artful in a way few restaurants even aspire to and the deserts are incredibly creative.

                            1. Wow, thanks again! I have to admit now I'm swaying back towards Providence, someone told me it's more of a "dining experience" and a place I'm less likely to go to without my parents, so that sounds pretty great. Tonight we are meeting some family friends to go to JAR though, so is going to Providence still gonna be a good way to follow that up on Friday or should I go for something very different at this point?

                              1. I think Providence and Jar differ significantly enough that going to both would be quite a culinary treat.

                                1. If you're truly looking to impress with food in a nice, intimate atmosphere, try Nook on Santa Monica and Barry (2 blks east of Barrington). Food is unbelievably good and b/c of it's hidden, "diamond in the rough" status, you won't get any attitude or pretention like a lot of the other places mentioned here. Classy and warm staff as well as great prices. I've taken many out of town guests here and those who aren't looking for the cheap Hollywood thrill always appreciate it. Border Grill in Santa Monica on 4th St. also has great food, drinks and a fun atmosphere.

                                  1. if your folks are taking care of the tab, then i would go to spago and take advantage of their tasting menu w/ wine pairings.