Special meal for this sunday night
I'm looking for a special meal this sunday night, kind of a first date, but not exactly (more of a third date). I know Lucques has the sunday night supper, but I've heard that it's not as great as their other tasting menus. I'm looking for something below $65 per person, including wine. So, preferably, below $150 total. And looking for anything within 15 miles from downtown.
I have been thinking about these places:
What would you pick?
-I like the Luna Park idea -- if either of you like cocktails, especially.
-Violet is fun - but a bit more crowded on Sunday night because of their "deal."
-Lucques, Grace , AOC and Joe's are all wonderful options - if you're really looking to wow!, or if your date *loves* food, but each will probably bump up against or exceed your budget.
-I found Jiraffe to be formal, stiff and too light; low-value for what it is.
Just to add to the idea tangle, I think Orso is a fantastic 3rd'ish date option - romantic (especially on the patio), low-key, fairly quiet, with good food that won't blow your budget. Anyway, it worked for my husband 5 years ago:)
For an occasion that's kind of a first date, I would recommend AGAINST going to Grace and Lucques even though they're two of my favoritestest restaurants. I haven't been yet, but I wouldn't recommend Providence for the same reason.
I mean, once you go there, where would you go for your second (but really fourth) date? :D
I would recommend Jiraffe, if only because afterwards, it's easy to stroll down 3rd Street Promenade. AOC is also a fun recommendation.
La Cachette: fine french cuisine, wonderful service. chef uses fresh ingredients from the farmer's market, and foods are paired creatively, many of which are made in a beautifully healthy way. many dishes may be substituted with meat or w/o.
Little Door: romantic, dark, good service, but can be a bit loud. food is generally good.
Grace: awesome tasting menu, great service, chef and pastry chef are very kind. dishes are solid and always executed well.
Lucques: I get the same feeling from grace as lucques -- always reliable, fine food, well prepared and creatively done.
Luna Park: younger crowd, very loud, great mixed drinks and special wines. love the goat cheese fondue, portions are large. if you go, ask for a booth with curtains that can close.
AOC: fun fun, awesome wine and cheese, tapas w/ perfectly paired ingredients; loud, reservations must be made well ahead of time.
Violet: haven't been here, sorry!
Jiraffe: one of my favorite french restaurants, next to la cachette. many daily specials, dishes can have a little twist to them, innovative desserts. ask to sit on the second floor, it's more romantic and less loud.
Providence: tasting menu, but a la carte is excellent, too. if you love fine dining w/ seafood, it's the place to go; pastry chef is hot...in person and in the kitchen. ;) food is always creative, perfectly paired with wine, desserts are delish, service is sweet.
If you want to keep under $65 per person, there's no way you can get a tasting menu at some of the places, like Grace or Providence. A la carte would be fine though. I really wouldn't be able to choose for you because I pretty much enjoy most of them; my decision would be based on which one I'd been away from longest and my mood. I suppose if you consider the fact your in the early dating, AOC would be the most comfortable and fun. :)
Jiraffe is the only one I've been to, and while the inside is nice, the tables are pretty crowded together. Also, we had reservations, but we had to wait half an hour to be seated. The bar is tiny, so there is no place to even sit down if you're stuck waiting.
Also, the famed pork chops were not that great... though I do rec'd the foie gras with mango and the apple and butter scallops as appetizers.
Jiraffe is the only one I've been to as well. I've been there a handful of times and did have one experience where we had to wait about 20 minutes to be seated, despite our reservation. However, on a Sunday, I'm willing to bet that you'll be fine. Their rack of lamb is always fantastic and while I've heard some complaints that the service is spotty, I've always had great waiters/waitresses.
Another option that's priced reasonably is Joe's on Abbot Kinney. I'd request a table on the patio for more intimate dining.
Of the list you mentioned, Grace, AOC, Providence, and Jiraffe are excellent, and Violet is ok (haven't been to the others). But I think you will have trouble staying within your budget at Providence, so I'd rule that out. I think I'd probably pick AOC--small plates are fun to share and talk about on a date. Violet has small plates too, but isn't nearly as good as the other places you mentioned. Grace and Jiraffe are also excellent, but I think the date fun quotient will be higher at AOC, and you might have trouble staying within your budget at Grace. So I guess Jiraffe would be my second choice, based on your criteria. Another small plates place you might consider is Mako in Beverly Hills--very good Asian fusion food. But the atmosphere isn't as nice for a date as AOC.
Yeah, I was originally thinking AOC because it seems really fun and there will be much to keeo talking about. I also remember reading about sitting upstairs to keep things quiet as the main dining room may become loud. What do you recommend? Is there a particular place to sit that may be better?
I had a very nice dinner for two at AOC before and I think the bill topped out right around where you're looking including a few glasses of wine.
I requested a table along the back of the front/main room which worked very nicely and was not too loud at all. I especially liked it because you're in view of the wine and charcuterie bars.