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Need help for romance on a budget

I'm looking for a romantic place that is not too expensive. I dont mind spending around 30 dollars on an entree, but 40-50 dollars is just too much on my college budget; especially after the Christmas holidays. I'm just looking for a place where I can hang out with my girlfriend. Good food, good drinks, and an atmosphere where we can hold a conversation and not get drowned out with noise. I have been going through this forum and looking at the menu's of suggested restaurants....seems good but priced for special occasions. Can you guys help me out? I want to find a place around Santa Monica, Hollywood or closely neighboring cities. Any help would be appreciated. And the type of food? I love everything, but my girlfriend is not a big fan of cilantro....that is all.

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  1. Petit Bistro on La Cienega may be a litttle loud but if she's into french at all, she'll love it and it's by far the most expensive seeming place for the price. Entres are maybe $20 when you'd expect them to be $30 at least. We usually spend a little over the $100 for 2 when we go to Carlito's Gardel on Melrose, excellent steaks and very big wine selection.

    1. Check out Taste on Melrose Ave., just east of La Cienega. It's a good vibe, good food and entrees are around $20 or less.

      1. Girasole, or another place that doesn't charge corkage, would be a good choice. Chameau is fun and the food is festive.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JudiAU

          I 2nd Girasole! It's in Larchmont Village. They don't sell wine or beer, it's BYO but with no corkage fee. Saves a bundle! Husband loves the osso bucco, and everything is 10-20 for entrees.

        2. SAWTELLLE KITCHEN on Sawtelle between Olympic and Santa Monica Blvd.

          Chicks love this place, works everytime . . . unique twist on some familiar dishes all treated with a Japanese theme, several seafood choices, several pasta choices, all entrees under $20.
          It's hard to describe Japanese catfish or linguine, etc but trust me -- they've got it going on.

          The ambience is cute-chic, not formal but simple, very friendly and the lighting is nice and warm. One drawback is they DON'T take reservations so you just walk up and get on the list . . . BIG PLUS is they don't serve booze so you bring your own and there's no corkage fee.

          Bring a bottle of chard for the fish choices and a merlot or pinot noir for the more substantials, it's not a big red meat joint so you don't need a pricey cabernet. They don't mind if you drink wine while you wait on the patio but you'll need your own opener for that although I remember they'll give you the glasses.

          There, your bar tab's at $10 - $20 and the dinner tab shouldn't top $50 even with dessert. Try this place . . . if not this time, sometime.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jimmyodonnell

            Sawtelle Kitchen is currently closed for remodeling.

            1. re: JudiAU

              Sawtelle Kitchen is also not even remotely romantic. The tables are very close to one another and it can be noisy.

              I'd recommend Sprazzo on Westwood Blvd, just south of Wilshire. It's good, basic Italian with nice ambience. Typical entrees are in the $10-$20 range. It's quiet and a great place for a conversation.

              1. re: Jwsel

                Well, not CLOSED it's not ;-) . . . but I've always found it very comfortable in there, is there something unromantic about the smallness of the room or the proximity of the tables?

                1. re: jimmyodonnell

                  I would call Sawtelle Kitchen homey, but not romantic. I find it hard to have a romantic experience when: (1) I'm nearly sitting on top of the people next to me; and (2) they can hear every word of my conversation (and I can hear theirs). I'm not saying Sawtelle Kitchen is a bad place; it's not. But if I want to take my SO somewhere romantic, I'm looking for a little more upscale and quiet.

          2. La Buca, Melrose near Bronson (right by Paramount). Exceptionally good Italian, byo wine (no corkage fee), very intimate and very romantic. And, considering the quality of the food, cheap. No entrees over $30.

            1 Reply
            1. re: thegrifter

              I second La Buca -- it is cute, intimate, affordable and the food is wonderful, but be advised, it is more of a neighbourhood osteria than a "romantic" venue.