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Looking for a Good First Date Spot in Santa Monica/Manhattan Beach

I am taking this girl out for the first time (both of us in our mid-twenties) and am looking for a fun first date spot. Somewhere in between South Bay and Santa Monica is perfect. Something relatively affordable, excellent food, lively yet cozy, and doesn't give this original small-town girl a feeling of Los Angeles pretension. Tapas perhaps? Help me out please!

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  1. Musha. I have only been to the Santa Monica location, but know there is one in Torrance as well. It's a fun, lively place with excellent(!) food. . . I would say the food is a Japanese tapas style with many great selections. And, everything we've had there has been amazing. And, it won't break the bank. It is located on Wilshire and 4th in Santa Monica.

    1. Chakra in Manhattan Beach. Tapas/small plate Asian restaurant with great food. Later in the evening the place heats up with a live DJ or band. It's one of the hot spots in MB right now and the food is good too!

      Walk to the beach when the scene gets to be too much...

      1. Beechwood - always lively, not pretentious, full bar (sit outside)
        Primativo on Abbot Kinney - tapas and great wine selection.
        Lilly's on Abbot Kinney (also, outside!) - romantic atmosphere.

        All have very good food, but if a guy took me to Primativo on a first date, I'd be impressed - it shows you thought about it - there's something on the menu for all kinds of eaters.

        1. A warning about Primitivo - the tables are VERY close together. I'm used to close tables, but their tables are much closer than I'm comfortable with.

          World Cafe in Santa Monica is a great first date choice. www.worldcafela.com

          1. Despite the fact that I am not entralled with their food, I am going to suggest Primitivo. I took a girl there on our first date and married her just a few months later. Tapas are a good first date option because it's a collaborative effort, which creates conversation, sharing, etc. If you sit on the patio, the tables are not as close together as they are inside. The food is fine, but it's not amazing. For example, I feel like their cheese plate tastes like everything else they stored in the same refrigerator.

            1 Reply
            1. re: glutton

              Yes, I would definitely sit outside if you go to Primativo - I thought I had included that ! Glutton makes a good point about tapas creating conversation, tapas also create an occasion out of a meal.