Recs for dinner for group (5-7) staying in Universal City, but will be happy to drive for good food
Several collegues and I will be staying in Universal City at the Hilton for a conference and I'd like to be able to recommend some good resturants. If there is nothing in that neighborhood (doesn't sound like the best place to stay unless you're traveling with kids) we'll have cars and will be willing to travel a bit for dinner. Obviously not hours away, but 30 minutes isn't too long to drive for a fun meal. Looking for dressy casual, mid-range price, interesting atmosphere and of course good food.
Thanks in advance.
You should try the Universal Hilton Buffet for dinner (Thurs to Sunday). It's an excellent seafood buffet, one of the best in Los Angeles. You could also try Sunday brunch there. I think it is just under $40, but if you like seafood (crab, lobster, etc.) and can eat a lot, it will be well worth it! Free beverages included too.
Avoid Universal City Walk; nothing there but "upscale" chains (and a Dodger Dogs outlet).
I wasn't crazy about Minibar, but it's been a while; maybe they've improved.
Agree that Ca' Del Sole is worth a visit.
There are a lot of restaurants on Ventura Blvd., including some of the better sushi restaurants in the city, e.g., Asanebo [good selection of cooked food as well, but can be expensive], Nozawa, Kazu, Tama. Also there's Lazlo's Hortobagy Hungarian, which is affordable comfort food and has a decent selection of Hungarian wine.
If you wait til late evening on a weeknight (other than Friday), you can get from Universal City to downtown LA in ten or fifteen minutes. Izayoi and Haru Ulala are both pretty good and open late -- and great for group dining since you probably won't want to eat, say, an entire order of deep fried Camembert.
I'd suggest driving to Hollywood or WeHo. Off the top of my head, in Hollywood, I'd suggest...Hungry Cat and Magnolia. For WeHo/West LA, try Taste on Melrose Ave., or the nearby BLD. For some great people watching and a good burger/sandwich/salad, you can drive to Bev Hills' Newsroom Cafe.