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Help me with my birthday dinner in South Bay

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Friday night is my birthday. I'm tired of the local (Manhattan Beach) restaurants. I've scoured the archives and just can't find any place that fits my needs. Which are: not more than 1/2 hour away driving in Friday night traffic, not seafood as my BIG birthday splurge will my first time at Providence on Saturday night (oh I am so excited, thank you board), not extremely pricey for the same reason, would like a nice environment for 3 couples to hear each other talk.
I haven't been to the Bottle Inn in at least a year, any recent visits to recommend it?
Joe's, Hal's, and Lily's have been eliminated for different reasons.
I know this is wishful thinking but I hope someone can come up with a hidden delight!

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  1. How about Chef Hannes on Main Street in El Segundo?

      1. re: LisaStitch

        Beachwood's latest menu is yummy, and the bar is happening and sceney if you're feeling that. I second 26 Beach. I also recommend Cafe del Rey highly, as a higher-end option.

      2. How about Christine in Torrance? It's not "extremely pricey" but it's not inexpensive either...it's higher end, but I think the pricing is good for the quality. The menu is on its website www.restaurantchristine.com, so you can get a sense of the pricing and menu and judge for yourself if it meets your needs. Although the actual menu will be slightly different, and there are always specials.

        1. Since we decided that proximity and quiet dining was the most important, we went to Bottle Inn. The best part of the evening was not being rushed. Despite a full house, we enjoyed a three hour meal. Sad to say, the food was mediocre. Maybe it was an off night but I wouldn't recommend going for just the food. Interestingly, there were at least 7 other birthday celebrations last night!
          I definitely want to try Chef Hannes another night as I have heard good things about it.
          Thanks for the suggestions.

          1 Reply
          1. re: amela

            I love Pinguini. Food is consistent, service is good. Have been going there for years. We ate at Gina Lee's last night-pleasantly surprised at quality of pan-asian cuisine and ambience of room for a restaurant in a mini-mall. Chef Melba's in HB is my fav restaurant near beach. The Bottle Inn-eh! Italian food and Mexican are the biggest disappointments for me in this area. Heard great things about Christine-will try tonite perhaps. Went to b-day dinner at HT Grill in RV last week. Had my doubts as last and only time I was there it was mediocre. Happy to report I enjoyed my wedge salad and seared Ahi. They serve a 1/2 litre of decent Sangria for 10 bucks too, which helped.