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Good place in Santa Monica to meet up with a friend for dinner?

Looking for a restaurant in Santa Monica with great food, and a great place to catch up with a friend. Any kind of food ok. Not too pricey, but definitely somewhere with a nice vibe. Any ideas? TIA chowhounds!

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  1. if you don't mind venturing a little bit west into West LA, i would highly recommend Nook Bistro. good food, good vibes and reasonable prices.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wilafur

      Nook is, in fact, great.

      Not in Santa Monica, but still great.

    2. I've recommended it a million times, I'll recommend it again: I've always immensely liked the food and the vibe at Fritto Misto, on the northeast corner of 6th and Colorado. It's a very warm, low-key pasta restaurant with wonderful food and extensive menu choices, which are exponentially magnified by the best "Make Your Own Pasta" option I've seen anywhere. I've never had a bad meal there, nor (to the best of my knowledge) has any of my dinner companions.

      Be advised, though, that they don't take reservations and you might have to wait outside during peak hours.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Arthur

        I need to go back here ...

        I went to FM quite a bit maybe 15 years ago, right around the time it split off from another restaurant up in the Palisades. I can't remember the exact story.

        I lived for ten years walking distance to FM. And it was one of those places "everyone went." And my kids were small then and pasta was a good choice for them.

        But at some point I realized that -- without fail ... and I mean, every single time I went -- the pasta was overcooked, too soft, mushy even. I had been going because everyone else liked it and maybe as a young parent I was so happy to have a place my kids could eat I didn't notice the food. I stopped going and haven't been back in a decade ...

        Clearly you love the place ... have you ever found the pasta overcooked? (By now, there could be new owners or whatever, might not be the same place I stopped going to.)

        1. re: PaulF

          I know a lot of people love this place, but for me, the pasta is always overcooked.

          1. re: mollyomormon

            See, that's what I thought ... sort of an emperor's new clothes thing ...

            Maybe they improved the pasta

            1. re: PaulF

              I haven't found the pasta to be overcooked. Then again, one person's rare is another's well-done...

              If your only problem with the place is that the pasta is to your taste too soft, you can always make a firm point when ordering that it must be prepared for you al dente. If they don't then serve it to you that way, you should by all means send it back and tell them to get it right.

              But like I said, this hasn't been a problem for me at Fritto Misto. My most repeated pasta there is the cheese-stuffed pillows, and I have always found theirs to have an exactly right chewy consistency.

      2. I would recommend:

        Le Petit Cafe
        2842 Colorado Ave
        Santa Monica, CA 90404
        (310) 829-6792

        French but accessible, very quaint, great place to talk and catch up.

        1. The original comment has been removed