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Best quiet adult restaurant in Santa Monica for first date

Was thinking One Pico versus Ocean and Vine in the Loews(not many reviews) versus Oceanfront versus The Lobster (probably noisier). Haven't been to One Pico in a while. Is it good these days? Nothing too "sceney." Any other ideas welcome. The other person is a foodie who has recently moved from years of living in San Francisco so the food is very important. Capo would be too expensive, by the way IMO.

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  1. The ones you mentioned are less expensive than Capo but not by much. The food at Ocean & Vine is great but service is sometimes off; however, sitting by the firepits (inside or out) has its charms. Oceanfront has a new chef that the L.A. Times likes a lot but I have not yet been. One Pico is a solid but uninspiring choice. The Lobster is gorgeous but too crowded and noisy and I am not a fan of much of the food there. Have you considered Jiraffe or Josie?

    1. You should try JiRaffe. Although it's more of a neighborhood joint, the food is outstanding. I love the foie gras, and they prepare great fish specials.

      What about Josie? Gets a little busy, though.

      One Pico I love as well. Maybe see how your night is going and head over for a drink after din?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica

        JiRaffe is a great suggestion. We went to One Pico for dinner about a month ago--can't recommend it for dinner (breakfast-yes!).

        1. re: Funwithfood

          i love jiraffe but it is very noisy so i rarely go there

      2. When I lived in Santa Monica 8 years ago, I used to go to an Italian restaurant that was family-owned on Santa Monica Blvd. between 20th & 26th streets...I'm thinking it's kind of around 23rd street...does anyone know the name? I think it's still there, and it was a great place to have good food and hear yourself talk because it never really got that crowded. Food and wine was good quality...and while not one of the L.A. trendy places to go...a good first date place that's off the beaten path...

        3 Replies
        1. re: cimero

          Is it called Bistro of Santa Monica or Santa Monica Bistro, something like that? On the north side of the street, near St. John's?

          1. re: PaulF

            Santa Monica Bistro- on Santa Monica and 23rd just east of St. Johns.

            very good Italian, and I think they have a live piano player on the weekends. A great Date choice!

            But I LOVE JiRaffe, and its quiet enough if you ask to sit upstairs....

            1. re: msmd310

              That's it, Santa Monica Bistro....you can hear yourself talk to your date!

        2. agree with above poster. the restaurants you mentioned are expensive price wise.

          how about joe's in venice?

          violet in santa monica?

          wilson's in culver city?

          if you want food to be your ice breaker, i'd recommend these.

          1 Reply
          1. re: revets2

            I would second the Joe's recommendation. It's quiet enough to have a civil conversation, but not so quiet that you fall asleep. The food is very good and the service tends to be professional.

          2. Ditto on Jiraffe--it meets all your criteria. And ditto on asking to sit upstairs--it's much quieter and more intimate. Josie is another good choice, but Jiraffe is a little less expensive, and a little less formal (might feel more comfortable for a first date). Neither place is "sceney." I am not a huge fan of Violet or Joe's, which others suggested.

            1. Josie is much too loud. Go with Jiraffe, upstairs.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chica

                too noisy even upstairs, the times i went.

              2. wow, is there an echo in here?

                i agree with jiraffe... great food, intimate ambience, attentive service... it's not cheap eats, though...

                i like violet, too. a more casual dining space, and good for sharing multiple small plates.

                ocean and vine is cool, too. the fire pit gives it the "wow" factor, but the last time i went there in april, they had constructions outside on the beachfront, so the view was obstructed about halfway down the dining hall. which also happens to be near the pit.

                1. After reading all 10 posts , the only safe choice for food and quiet would be OCEANFRONT. Plus you get a Unlimited View of the Ocean from anywhere in the room. Fresh fish or Pork Chop are our favorites.

                  1. I have an "off the beaten path" suggestion for you ... Dante's, a great little Italian restaurant on Wilshire (at Westgate, so not quite yet in Santa Monica ... more like Brentwood).

                    This place is quiet and dimly lit, making it perfect for romance. The food is amazing and the authentic Italian staff is wonderful and attentive.

                    I used to work around the corner and would meet my hubby there after work when we wanted to be able to catch-up and talk about our days ... actually talk and be able to hear one another ... while consuming great food.

                    This place is strictly old school (but in a good way). There's nothing "scene-y" about it. If you happen to drink, they have a great wine selection. I would highly recommend the gnocchi in pink sauce ... heavenly! Have a fabulous date! :)

                    1. Thanks everyone for all the great ideas. Had decided on Jiraffe (was there recently--I like it, don't love it but it fits the bill--I don't think it should be that noisy on a week night), but we are meeting earlier at Casa del Mar anyway, so maybe I'll make a reservation at Oceanfront since we'll be there already and Russ is a very reliable source (to say he knows his way around the Los Angeles Restaurant scene is something of an understatement!). Then friend can decide once we've seen the menu. If we decide against, I think we probably can get in at JiRaffe on a Tuesday night if we call a bit early.

                      Russ: Have you tried Ocean and Vine yet?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ThatPat

                        No , not been to O and V yet and probably won't be rushing over there, based on trusted friends experiences. Go to Oceanfront, it's a safe bet. We find it very relaxing, food is above average as an added bonus. Some portions are large enough to share.

                      2. Chez Mimi on 26th. I sent my roommate there to propose to his now wife. It's a collection of small rooms. Very intimate and quiet. French.

                        Locanda Portofino on Montana. Very tiny Italian with good food. Don't sit outside though as you won't be able to escape the feeling that you're eating in a parking lot.

                        Rocca on 4th, may be a little loud but I love the food and the atmosphere.

                        I'd agree on JiRaffe but that's dropping some serious coin on a first date. To me it would be over-the-top trying to impress.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Kevin B

                          Sadly Rocca closed; it is now the so-so Three on Third. Chez Mimi is a great first date choice--in addition to all the little rooms, there is a lovely patio.

                        2. After the first, there should be a second dinner. Thre are many good suggestions above in Santa Monica, but you might consider Cafe del Rey in Marina del Rey. Quiet, excellent food.