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Valentino, Chinois, La Boheme

Hi everyone, I'm new to Chowhound, and can use some advice. I'm taking my sister to dinner and I want it to be special. I'm thinking of Valentino or of two restaurants I haven't been to--Chinois or La Boheme. Any suggestions?

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  1. Haven't been to Valentino or Chinois, but I can say that La Boheme is a little stuffy. Menu not breaking any new ground, and the crowd is a little older. But, the service is usually top-notch and the setting is pretty if you're okay with the previous disclaimers.

    1. The food at Chinois is excellent but the place is usually quite crowded and noisy (and has [deliberately?] uncomfortable chairs). Valentino's is more relaxed and comfortable--and has one of the best wine lists in town--but I prefer the food at Chinois. Three other great options in that area for special dinners would be Josie (Californian [with game] at 2424 Pico), Melisse (French at 11th and Wilshire), and Vincenti (alta cucina Italian on San Vicente, East of Bundy).

      1 Reply
      1. re: New Trial

        I agree about Chinois - The food is truly tasty but it's so small relative the amount of seating and tables crammed in there - nothing but elbows and asses...

        Maybe Vincenti in Brentwood? I guess they can get crowded as well, but you don't feel like you've been wedged in like a doorstop.

      2. I haven't been to La Boheme, but I second Chinois, or Josie.

        1. I was taken to Valentino's for my birthday Saturday and loved it from the moment I walked in the door. Sat in the center room which is a little nicer than the back room.
          Shared a pasta as an appetizer, gnocchi with lobster, which was incredible, delmonico steak for an entree which was very good, but not as earth shattering as the gnocchi, great dessert, great wine. I'd go back in a heart beat.

          1. I love Valentino, so that would be my recommendation. Chinois is quite good, but can be very noisy and the food is served family style, so I'm not sure it really is the best place if it just the two of you.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jwsel

              Valentino can be disappointing unless you go loaded with money and ask the waiter to do the ordering for you - and he doesn't order the less expensive items. It can be mind blowing, but be ready for $100 apiece and more if you want to exploit their extensive wine list.
              Chinois is very impressive if you're into Asian California food with very forward flavors, but go with a group and be ready to share (it's not necessarily family style, though you can make it so). Tables are close and the noise level is intense, but flavors are strong and unique if that's your priority.