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recs needed near Disneyland + West Hollywood or Beverly Hills

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I have some friends coming to town from Colorado and they would like to meet for dinner. I refuse to go to Downtown Disney but don't want them to drive very far to meet me. What's a reasonably good dinner restaurant ($25 or under)? There's a vegetarian in the group so there should be something for her (I was looking longingly at Jagerhaus but it sounds too meaty).

Also, on another night, we're going to either West Hollywood or Beverly Hills. I am somewhat doubtful of finding a restaurant under $25 a person in BH but any suggestions? The places I narrowed down are:

WeHo-
Bin 8945
Basix
O-bar

BH-
Grace
Chaya
Barefoot

Thank you!

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  1. Grace is not in Beverly Hills, and it usually runs around $50-80 per person, so it doesn't sound like it would work out. Bin 8945 sounds ok because it's easier to control the ordering system with small plates, although wine bars usually end up costing me about $40 each. $25 is pretty low these days -- if I seriously wanted to only spend that much I would probably go to someplace like Newsroom Cafe, Tuk Tuk, Magic Carpet or Mishima. Or I'd do drinks and happy hour appetizers at Nic's in Beverly Hills.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chowpatty

      $25/person was what they told me and I already told them it wasn't really realistic at cities they wanted to go to. But I threw out those suggestions because that's where I'd like to go (does Grace still have a doughnut night on Wednesdays?).

      Thanks for the other suggestions. They are helpful.

    2. Kinda close to Disneyland is Park Avenue Dining in Stanton.

      Here's a review of mine with pics:

      http://elmomonster.blogspot.com/2005/...

      2 Replies
      1. re: elmomonster

        Oh, looks good!

        1. re: gourmetla

          I love Park Ave--killer Grilled Steak Salad, and Spinach Salad, served tableside.

      2. Why do you refuse to go to Downtown Disney? Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen is fine and fits in your price range. Plus they hired some people from Louisiana who were displaced by Katrina.

        2 Replies
        1. re: slacker

          Because I'm driving from downtown LA and don't particularly want to deal with cranky tourists, bad service and bad food after battling traffic on a weekday.

          1. re: gourmetla

            OIC. Would not have known from your original post. But Disney tourists are not generally cranky, service there is not bad, and considering food-near-Disnyeland, it's not bad stuff. It's just the drive that'll kill you.

        2. For decent Chinese, there's TEN TEN SEAFOOD (Chinese) off the 5 @ Euclid in Anaheim.

          For healthy, homey, vegetarian style menu (they also have meat-dishes) there's RUTABEGORZ (www.Rutabegorz.com) in Fullerton.

          Other quick recommendations in the area would be ZOV'S BISTRO (www.ZOVS.com) in Tustin.

          1. Since you were looking lovingly at Jagerhaus I suggest you put it back on the short list as it would EASY to accomadate a Vegatarian. It definately works budgetwise.

            Example - On the menu they have a Steamed Vegatable Plate and 16 sides all, or almost all, of which are meat free. Plus a few apps.

            http://www.jagerhaus.net

            You should be able to eat at a Persian restaurant like Shaherzad on Westwood Blvd. for $25 per person.

            1. I can't imagine you'll be able to eat at Chaya for under $25 a person, unless you order the cheapest thing, and even then, with tax the poor server would be looking at a mighty small tip. How picky are your friends food-wise? Torito Grill in BH is the only place I can think of that really fits the budget, but the food's only OK, and it's a chain. Il Fornaio might work, but again, it will be close budget wise, and it's a chain too. Authentic Cafe on Beverly is btw. BH and WEHO. It's lively, but I've only had drinks there so I can't vouch for the food. You might see what other Hounds think of it. Good luck!

              EDIT: I've been to Barefoot it's horrible! Don't go! Any place that has lasagna, sushi, AND burgers is just bound to be bad.

              1. In Beverly Hills/West Hollywood, I've eaten at Da Pasquale and Bossa Nova for well under $25 a head.

                Da Pasquale is simple Italian food. Pastas are under $15, meat dishes over $20. Portions aren't big, they're "just right" for one person and plenty if you're also sharing appetizers or saving room for dessert. Very cute, comfortable, chic but not over the top or pretentious dining room.

                Bossa Nova is very casual. The food is just so so, but the huge portions are really cheap. Especially given the area. I can't really recommend anything, because everything we had was okay but not great. It's supposed to be Brazilian, but sort of a lowest common denominator ethnic food that I describe as "just food." As in there's chicken in sauce, there's a burger, there's beans over rice, but somehow all of it tastes like stuff you've tasted before.

                1. Marix Tex Mex in West Hollywood.
                  Santa Fe Chopped Salad Hold the Chicken for the vegetarian!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jackattack

                    Thanks, I've been to Marix but thought the food was so-so. The atmosphere is lively but I wouldn't return for anything but drinks.

                  2. I could swear I had replied to this...

                    Thai Nakorn, which is up there for Best Thai in California by almost all accounts, is about 5-10 mins' drive from Disneyland, on Garden Grove Blvd. near Palm Ave. (two blocks east of Harbor).

                    A little closer, on Chapman and West (actually juuuuuuust east of West on Champan) is Carolina's Italian, which is a nice, normal Italian place with really good service and very tasty food. Is it Angelini Osteria? No... but it doesn't aspire to be that froufrou either. It's the Italian joint of choice for Disney CMs on lunch breaks.

                    1. i second some opinions above regarding your resistance to go to DT Disney. i have to say i've been pleasently surprised and there are actually just as many locals as tourists.

                      i had an incredible pizza at napoli (patina group). very thin crusted with creamy real bufala mozz. delicious. sitting outside among the lit olive trees was pleasent. we kept trying to think of where we could have a reasonably priced excellent pizza with the same ambiance in l.a. we came up empty.

                      they also have a nice wine bar, uva (also PG).

                      thanks to the patina group. there are some very good, high quality restaurants you may not find elsewhere. plus the vibe is fun for your guests.

                      come on! give it a try!

                      also, in your choices of weho, i think bin 8945 is the call, but you must, must, must have reservations. although grace is not in bh, i think neal fraser can cook like a fiend. pass, totally pass on barefoot.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: revets2

                        I agree with the above post about Napoli -- the pizzas are actually quite good. However, summertime at Disney and Downtown Disney means long lines, crowds, kids, noise and unless you have already braved the melee of the Magic Kindgom, you may not be prepared or inclined to experience similar conditions at a restaurant.

                        But the food at Napoli and at Catal, another Patina offering in Downtown Disney, is more than serviceable.

                        1. re: NAspy

                          we went on a saturday evening, 7pm, walked in, and sat right away. it's a big place. have you had to stand in line for napoli or catal? this is good to know ahead of time.

                          1. re: revets2

                            I generally make reservations at Catal (you can make reservations at any full-service restaurant on Disney property by calling 714-781-DINE).

                            I've never had to wait when I haven't, though -- and I concur, Brennan's isn't bad. Tortilla Jo's (the full-service) isn't bad. We've actually gone to Downtown Disney specifically to go to Catal.

                            Remember that a) the screaming gaggles of tourists are not likely to drop into a fancy place, b) DTD has its own parking, you don't park in the giant parking structure, and c) the summer rush is over -- kids are back in school this week.

                            That said, you'd be hard-pressed to eat at Catal for $25 out the door per person.

                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              yup, at napoli, that would be no problem.

                            2. re: revets2

                              Yes, we have had waits at both places -- the wait at Catal was fairly long, and the wait at Napoli less long (it is a pretty big space), but it was in summer.