Santa Monica Dinner
I'm meeting my out-of-town friend tomorrow for dinner. She's staying at the Viceroy in Santa Monica, so I want to go someplace close by there. I don't think she's a fan of sushi or other Asian food.
I'm looking for a mid-priced, nice place to eat. I'm not a huge fan of Whist in the Viceroy. Any suggestions? Thanks.
So -- here's a few ideas:
Nook -- on Santa Monica Blvd (just East of Bundy) so it's actually West L.A. Probably be about $80 for two if you don't drink much.
Fritto Misto - casual, Cal-Italian, friendly service, laid-back vibe, yummy specials. about $40 for two; corkage is $1.50 per person; accessible wine list too.
King's Head -- old-fashioned pub food -- not my favorite food, but if your friend likes fish and chips, or shepherd's pie, then it will be a hit. Nice place to talk/hang out.
Thai Too -- On Wilshire around 11th. Not the most authentic food, but always yummy and a cool atmosphere. Maybe $30 for two?
Father's office -- burgers, tapas; if you go out earlier. Probably be a wait if you go later.
Literati II at Wilshire and Bundy and Nook (Santa Monica near Barrington) are probably the two best mid-priced eclectic (i.e., New American or California cuisine) restaurants nearby. You might want to try Rustic Canyon on Wilshire/12th (altho' it's gotten mixed reviews), which is considerably closer. For more money, the Lobster is on Colorado and Ocean at the Pier (down the street from the Viceroy) and the food is decent or, now that I think of it, I Cugini might be your best bet--quite decent Italian at Wilshire and Broadway (I think). There is also Ocean Ave. Seafood on Ocean but probably too pricey. Oh yeah--I have never been but Cora's (Kitchen I think it's called) right across the street from the Viceroy is owned by Bruce Marder. It's supposed to be very good, and while the menu is limited, it should be very decent. For best price/quality ratio--I agree with Nook--10-minute drive east.
I heartily recommend Violet on Pico at 33rd. Wonderful food and a great atmosphere, very low-key.
Joe's on Abbot Kinney, Lilly's on Abbot Kinney, Chaya Venice, and Piccolo. All are in Venice, which is very close to the Viceroy.
Three Montana Ave recommendations:
1. Blue Plate on Montana Avenue. They started doing dinner a while ago. Nice, informal stuff.
3. Cafe Montana
Besides all of the great suggestions posted thus far, I'd recommend Library Ale House as a low-key place with a good beer selection and great "gastropub-ish" fare.
Of course, Nook is a great suggestion too but it's a bit of a drive from the Viceroy (especially if you are looking for something right around there).
Perhaps I've ordered the wrong things, but I wouldn't say The Library Alehouse is "gastropub-ish." They serve good bar food. Burgers, salads, sandwiches, and the like. It's good food, but it's not on par with most gastropubs, who aspire to serve very high end food in a more accessible setting.
If you're right, I retract my statement - I consider a "gastropub" a bar that has something a little more sophisticated than potato skins and chicken tenders, which is what Library Ale House has, including their ahi tuna plate, some of their faux-Mexican items, etc.
Nothing like the Spotted Pig, but still ...
Thanks for all of the suggestions. We ended up at nook. The ambience was nice.
The best part of the meal was the salad - my friend and I split the nook dinner salad. It was really good. I had the hamburger. I think I should have ordered it medium rare. I ordered it medium, and it was dry and a bit tasteless. I also thought it could be better if there was more arugula and a bit more cheese. My friend had the maple mustard glazed ribeye. I think she liked it - she ate most of it. We also had mac n cheese and smashed potatoes as sides. Definitely too much food! We had a lot of leftovers. We also shared the brownie cup with the vanilla bean ice cream. That was quite good.
We spent $80 for the meal including tax, tip and a lemonade. I don't think I had the best the restaurant can offer, so I hope to give it another try soon. I would go back for the salad for sure.
Just had a fantastic lunch at Violet w/ friends visiting from London. I'm an eastsider so don't go to SM that often - but I'm sooo glad I got to try this restaurant. Small plates for sharing, emphasis on the freshest ingredients...kind of reminded me of a place you'd find in NoCal. I've read on CH that it has a good night time vibe.