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ISO Christmas / Xmas Eve dinner -- 2006

Hey 'hounds!

I've done a search, but didn't find anything helpful...

Does anyone have any suggestions for a superb Christmas Eve dinner here in LA? Table for two (me and my husband).

*Prefer a French or an Italian restaurant* (But I am open to any and all suggestions.)

For the record -- over the years we have enjoyed memorable meals in Sydney (Quay) and Paris (Le Carre des Feuillants). Here in LA we had a magnificent feast at BASTIDE, fairly soon after they had opened, with Giraud at the helm. I will never forget his lobster bisque -- it was like liquid gold.

We even went two years in a row to L'ORANGERIE, once with Eme in charge, the next year I forget who. Last year we did a fancy meal (tasting menu) at Providence *before* Christmas eve, and I wasn't all that blown away by it.

So -- can anyone suggest a place where we are likely to have a fantastic and memorable night out? Willing to drop a fair bit of dough, as necessary (but not crazy Joel Robuchon or Urasawa prices...) Superlative wine list is not a priority -- we are more concerned with fine cuisine.

Thanks, in advance.

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  1. What happened to Christmas with the family? =)

    1 Reply
    1. re: mstinawu

      Our family are back in Sydney : (

      Big Christmas *Day* feast with a good friend's family, though, which is so cool!

    2. After decades of Christmas with the family, in house, all the prep, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, setting up, cleaning, putting away and more..... the family decided we would all go out so we can actually enjoy ourselves. It works! It is a production to put on a family dinner for 10, when all but myself come from out of town! For a time, until a family member became too old, we come home and open our door to a fabulous dessert party, with friends, and the desserts from the best (our fav) bakeries in LA. We still get our desserts!
      Just fewer for less drop bys.

      Our 'out' is still dinner with the family!

      We went to Lawry's for several years. Loved it. This year, Mastro's, which may not be what the OP is thinking of, but there are many meat lovers in this family, works for all. Some are picky, a steak house will always have something for everyone, including lobster and fish dishes. Works for us!

      We still have some food prep for Xmas day, a ham, bacon, eggs, sausages, pastries...things to munch, a nephew makes a fav soup. I ordered a Rosengarten ham, a Greenberg turkey, and will pick up some things from Clementine's. NO...we won't be polishing silver and cooking. Does this make our holiday any less? I don't think so.

      At the end of Xmas day, there are some dishes, some clean up, of course all the decor, etc. that needs to go up, and come down..but the experience going out has improved our family time.

      Sorry, but the reply of 'what happened to Christmas with the family' does not mean that those who go out are not spending it with the ones they care about...be it two or 10.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Jesdamala

        ^ I appreciate your thoughtful reply. It sounds to me as if you have it all worked out.

        Thanks for the suggestions of both Lawrys and Mastros -- it actually didn't occur to me that a good solid steak might be the way to go.

        1. re: Maxmillion

          Went to Lawry's over the weekend for the first time in years and it was better than ever. Tip the meat carver and you will be rewarded with an extra generous helping of prime rib. Creamed spinach, spinning salad, and even the bread all excellent

          1. re: Ernie

            I go on record as loving Lawry's. In the old days, before reservations, we would not eat all day long, and be first when the doors opened. The left overs were and still are treasures!
            What they do, they do to perfection. Our Christmas Eve dinners were always amazing and fun, and exactly what the season calls for.
            Didn't make reservations in time this year for the time we need, we have a fabulous, remarkable, 92 year old young Grammie so need an early, coveted time. Yes, I agree, excellent. Thank you for replying. Sometimes the oldies don't get the good rap, which is unfortunate, as they have their place in ChowLand, in my opinion.

      2. Okay, I don't seem to be getting many suggestions...

        I've investigated Lucques -- they are closed that night.

        Jar is doing their usual menu and a special menu for New Years Eve.

        Providence is doing the same as last year -- the Feast of Seven Fishes, which doesn't particularly appeal to either of us.

        I haven't checked what L'Orangerie are up to, but considering we've been there twice before, we probably want to try somewhere else. YET -- seeing as they are closing down, they might see the end of the year out with a bang, so it wouldn't hurt to investigate.

        Can anyone think of anywhere else I should try?

        1. Try Opentable. They have a list of all the open restaurants. While you'll probably want to call to confirm, their list is a great place to start.

          http://www.opentable.com/promo.aspx?m...

          What about Ortolan or Valentino? They are both open and have tables.

          3 Replies
          1. re: foodiegrl

            Those two are definitely on my short list. Thank you.

            1. re: foodiegrl

              Thank you for posting this link. It is unbelievably helpful. I'm also searching for Christmas Eve reservations, and I live in China (but am traveling home to LA for the holidays). Am trying to arrange a nice Christmas Eve for my in-laws and parents - you are a lifesaver!

              1. re: Petitpois

                Glad I could help! Regarding Saddle Peak Lodge, you should try calling and telling them your story. They may make room for you if they know you're coming all the way from China to enjoy your special holiday meal with them. Restaurants love to do what they can for an appreciative customer.

                Happy holidays!

            2. SADDLE PEAK LODGE has been my Christmas Eve choice the last few years and it has been just wonderful.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Tom P

                Hmmnn, according to Opentable, Saddle Peak Lodge is already booked out for over two hours either side of an 8pm table for two...

                1. re: Maxmillion

                  It can be tough to get in at this late date...a lot of people do it annually...but you can probably get on the waiting list.

                  1. re: Tom P

                    He's right - it won't hurt to call. They may have tables set aside that they can crack into, as well.

                    1. re: foodiegrl

                      ^ Thanks for your suggestion -- I did call last night (Dec 8th) and not only were they solidly booked out, even the *waitlist* was booked out!!

                      She said it was booked up a month before Christmas...

                      Also, it seemed like a reasonable price -- $60 or $70 pp (presumably not including alcohol). Not sure what's on the menu. Didn't see anything about it on their website.

                      Maybe we'll get in early enough next year.

              2. How about Michaels on 3rd Street in Santa Monica? The patio is gorgeous this time of year! Not sure if they'll be open on Christmas but worth a shot!

                  1. Thanks, everyone, for your splendid suggestions. We have decided to go with Ortolan this year and I expect we will have a wonderful time. I have made a note of Michaels and La Cachette for future ref.

                    Thanks again to everyone who took the time to come up with ideas and recs.