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Anniversary Dinner...feedback on rest. that I'm considering

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we will be spending our first nite away from baby and celebrating anniversary and we finally have an opportunity to make a trek out to the westside.

wife is not picky about food and we just want someplace to have great food and conversation w/ breaking the bank. We plan to spend 1 nite in Santa Monica area so I was thinking about three places:
Joe's in Venice
Josie's
Lucques

Heard good things about all three places. Any feedback.

If any of you have any other suggestions, would welcome that. Thanks

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  1. Of those three I would go for Joe's -- excellent food, nice vibe, but things can get a bit cramped in there and noisy.

    I've not been impressed by either Josie (too ambitious) or Lucques (indifferent service, food not up to par) but there are many devotees of both on this board. Of the two, I would prefer Josie to Lucques.

    Consider JiRaffe as an option also -- the food is excellent, in the same price range and I prefer it to any of the three on the list.

    1. We went to Joes for our anniversary this past year and loved it. Haven't been to the other two places, though, so I'm quite biased. If you go to Joes, ask to sit on the patio. It's much less cramped and has a great feel to it, especially with the weather we've been having.

      1. I've only been to Joe's once and I didn't have a reservation so of course we got the worst seat in the house. Lucques I've never been a big fan of. Josie, however, is amazing. Have them create a tasting menu for you and do wine pairings. It's a wonderful experience.

        1. A big YES to Josie, and to JiRaffe. Either would be great. The room at Josie is a little more special, I think. But food-wise both are super.

          Same goes for Lucques, but it isn't in Santa Monica. If it were me and I were staying in S.M. for my anniversary it might be nice to avoid the hassle of driving across town to and from Lucques.

          A big NO to Joe's, which I don't rank anywhere close to the others and that I've always regarded as a disappointment.

          1. I completely agree with Cheese Please. Josie and Jiraffe are both excellent choices in SM. If you go to Jiraffe, ask to be seated upstairs--more intimate for an anniversary. And I agree that Joe's isn't nearly as good as either Josie or Jiraffe. All the places you suggested have menus online, so you may want to make your final choice based on which menu items appeal to you.