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Dec 14, 2006 02:34 AM

Where Do I Want To Go For My Birthday?

Assume spouse is taking me out for birthday dinner and is not planning surprise party. Where new should I want to go? I'm not angling for pricey, fancy, fun or free-because-it's-my-birthday, but all of those are options too.

Here's what I like and representative places I've found good, so you have an idea of what I like already - basically interesting flavors and skillful preparation. We're on the west side but don't have to stay there.

Where I've been and like:
Tasty sort-of fusion: Jiraffe in Santa Monica
Asian fusion: Monsoon in Santa Monica (though meh lately, not ideal)
Indian: Akbar in Marina del Rey
French: Bistro de l'Hermitage in Culver City
Moroccan: Dar Maghreb in Hollywood
Persian: Tajrish in Venice
Greek: Taverna Tony in Malibu
Game: Saddle Peak Lodge in Calabasas
Upscale Mex: Ciudad downtown
Thai: Natalee Thai for beef panang curry in Venice

I particularly like the way Akbar flame-cooks food - they and Jiraffe have spot-on preparation. For instance at Jiraffe, what's supposed to be crispy is, flavors are perfectly melded, sauces are intricate and revealing.

red curries
Chinese five-spice
blood orange
great black pepper


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  1. Well, I know this rec is waaaaaaaay off the mark, but I want to suggest it anyway.


    Top notch haute cuisine. The best French restaurant in LA and *closing its doors* -- after 28 years -- by the end of the year.

    I've often gone there for special occassions and have never been disappointed.

    Just thought I'd throw it out there.

    1. How about Monte Alban for Oaxacan in West LA? Or Shahrezaad (check that spelling) for Persian on Westwood? Or Indian food at Bombay Cafe in West LA?

      1 Reply
      1. re: glutton

        Thank you. Shahrezad is a finalist. :)

        1442 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024
        Cuisines: Persian
        Special features: Romantic, Child-friendly
        Tel: 310-470-3242

      2. Hope this isn't too late... Sounds like Bistro K would be up your alley, although it's in South Pas. It's French, but they are really creative with spices in a way that traditional French places never are.

        Poached Sea Scallops with Oxtail, Celery Root Puree and Black Truffle Oil, liquorice Dust

        Atlantic Skate Wing, Beef Bone Marrow Beignet, Kaffir leaf and Spanish Chorizo Infusion

        Roasted Venison Loin, Blood Sausage Crumble, Served with Sautéed pears, Glazed Salsify and a Balsamic Vinegar Jus with Smoked Black Cardamom

        Degustation menu is only $55 per person! Main dishes are in the mid to low $20s. Oh, it's BYOB.

        Note, however, that it's very"cozy"... i.e. small. And can be noisy. But you can think of it as full of the joyous din of people enjoying each other's company and the great food...


        1 Reply
        1. re: Cicely

          Wow - that sounds amazing, thanks for the thoughtful post. Definitely a finalist! :)