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Quality meal, nice ambiance, all near LAX

We're on our way to New Zealand. By chance, our older son (42) is arriving in LA from the east coast about 3 1/2 hours before we must board. We all love to eat (too much so) and and appreciate nearly every kind of foods. Son will have a car. This all happens on Monday 8/28/06. Do you have a special place to recommend?

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  1. Second City Bistro in El Segundo is very nice.

    1. Matsuhisa...Nobu's 1st and best. Only about 20 minutes from LAX on La Cienega

      2 Replies
        1. re: dfresh

          matsuhisa would be too far away to safely make it back to LAX in time AND the service isn't reliably fast enough to make it a safe bet in terms of time.

          (for many hours of the day, la cienega does not flow.)
          matsuhisa, is, though, a good restaurant to go to when one doesn't have time constraints.

        2. The easiest place to go if you run low on time is Encounters restaurant. It's the old control tower in the center of LAX that looks like a spaceship. The food is surprisingly good given the airport local but I expect to pay too much for what you get. With the car you could head north for a variety of excellent restaurants. I will mention three that are open on Mondays. You can mapquest these easily. The first is Via Veneto (3009 Main St. Santa Monica, CA 310-399-1843). An excellent Italian restaurant. Wabi Sabi (1635 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice, CA 310-314-2229) a slightly less expensive, Asian alternative. Last of all is Nook (11628 Santa Monica Blvd. West LA, CA 90025
          310-207-5160) an eclectic eatery and the best value of the three. Make sure to reserve a table for any of these especially Via Veneto.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Madpinto

            It just re opened. Any experiences?

          2. OK let's look at the time. Son arrives (you don't say what time of day, which is of paramount importance given LA traffic), gets off plane, goes to car rental place (off site at LAX), gets rental car. That probably takes 30 to 45 min at least. So now you have 2.5 hours before your flight leaves. The current recommendation for international flight is get to the airport 3 hours before departure. That would leave you about negative 30 minutes to get to a restaurant and eat. In other words, none of the other recommendations would work with your time constraint, except for Encounter.

            Another option is forget the rental car. Take a hotel shuttle to one of the airport hotels (Marriott has pretty OK restaurants).

            5 Replies
            1. re: PeterL

              You should work out the time carefully, as indicated above. If you had 3 1/2 hours between his actual availability and your check in, many of the suggestions would work. (Depending on the time of day you might include Shula's (steakhouse)at the LAX Sheraton (open at 5)in the mix.) But it sounds like it might be Encounters or worse, at best.

              1. re: PeterL

                My thanks to all of you who responded so quickly to my inquiry. Peter L (and those who also comment on time) is, of course, correct regarding the time (or negative time) given the information I provided. I was remiss in not giving more detail, and indicating that the time available to eat and go to and from the restaurant was net. Our son arrives at LAX about 3:40 p.m. and never checks a bag so assuming (heroically) that the plane is on time, he should have his rental car say by 4:30. We are driving from San Diego and will get to LAX and check our luggage early enough so that we can be at curbside when our son arrives to pick us up in his rental chariot. Our plane leaves for NZ at 9:30 p.m. so we do have some slack although, perhaps not as much as I had assumed. If we allow two hours to get through security which is the only task remaining since we will have already checked our bags and received boarding passes, we should have in the neighborhood of three hours to eat and chat. Perhaps we should allow more time for security; we'll try to assess that when we check our bags.

                Again, thanks to all of you for your help.

                Dick (profecon)

                1. re: profecon

                  in that case, without a doubt i'd go to cafe del rey in marina del rey.
                  i really like the food, they have great view of the boats, i've never been kept waiting for my reservation, quick in-and-out (the parking lot is right to the side of the restaurant so the valet isn't running around the block to get your car).

                  just so you know, this is a white tablecloth sort of place.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Cafe del Rey would be great, but you need to add into the time consideration that it doesn't open until 5:30 (5:00 on Sunday).

                    Second City Bistro is very close, and opens at 5 pm, and Shulas -- good but basic meat -- opens at 5:00 and is close and comes with hotel shuttle, if that helps. Also very very close (5 minutes tops) is Ayara Thai 6245 W 87th St in WWestchester which I believe is open from 10:00 am on. I love it, as do many others on this board, and it is less formal than the other places.

                    I think you have enough time to leave the Airport. Encounter is, in my experience, okay, but the other choices are better.

                    1. re: Capybara

                      ooooh!
                      i didn't realize that!
                      thanks for the info.

              2. I'd highly recommend Encounter. One of the best things is that you'll be able to check your bags, then go to dinner, and you'll have the worst of the lines behind you. We've eaten there several times when our flights were late, and it's a fun setting and the food is good. It's not great, but it's solid (and I tend to be super-critical).

                1. I have to agree... you really don't have time to go anywhere, even if you pick up the son from his flight, since he'll undoubtedly have luggage.

                  Another suggestion, if one of you is in LA now, is to bring the food with you, picnic-style, and eat it before you check in. I can't help the noise, but there are some picnic benches hidden in nooks and crannies throughout LAX.

                  The Tom Bradley International Terminal is a zoo. Three hours is a pretty safe bet, unless you're going business or first, in which case two and a half (business) or two (first) is OK, since you'll have your own checkin lines. If you're flying cattle class, you'll barely have time as it is without going offsite to eat.

                  1. Truxton's seems to be the hot new place in Westchester which is 5mins north of airport on Manchester about a block from the IHOP at Sepulveda.

                    I'm not sure if its open on Monday tho and its pretty busy since it just opened in a restaurant-starved neighborhood so everyone is going right now to check it out. I've tried it and was impressed. Its typical American family restaurant food with a California twist so a pretty safe bet for anyone.

                    You can find other threads about here if you do a search.

                    The hotel restaurants on Century all tend to be okay but nothing impressive. The plus side is they all seem to be empty any time I've tried them. Nice if you want a quiet place to talk.

                    Downtown El Segundo has a bunch of good places but if youre going to go that far you may as well just go to Rosecrans in Manhattan Beach where there plenty of high end chains like Houstons, Flemings, Romano's Macaroni and Daily Grill, all familiar decent food and usually not too buys on Mondays

                    With your schedule I wouldn't try going to West LA or even Marina, traffic is just too congested that direction. You're better off heading toward south bay where you will no problem getting in and out of aiport via Sepulveda. You should have no problem spending two to three hours having dinner in El Segundo or down on Rosecrans if you are familiar with the area. Make reservation ahead of time and explain that you will need to get served quickly. Restaurants near LAX are usually familiar with the situation and happy to accomodate.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: CNYinLA

                      Flemings in Ele segundo is great for steak , coctail and wine lovers.