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Apr 1, 2007 10:17 AM

Looking for an UNUSUAL restaurant

My birthday's fast approaching, and in keeping with my tradition of celebrating it at a MEMORABLE eatery, I'm trying to find a place that fits that description. Past examples: Bahooka's, Guelaguetza, Lowenbrau Keller... You get the idea - a place
a) with an extremely UNIQUE ambience
b) with decent-to-great food (while food's less important in this case, I still want it to be edible!)
c) reasonably priced
d) within a 10-mile (give or take) radius of the city

Ethnic restaurants are great (and seem to most often fit the specs. Although if Clifton's was open later at night, I have it there in heartbeat). If it's got a private room, or is small enough to take over with 30 people (eg. Polka) -- so much the better.

I welcome all suggestions. (And would be happy to invite the winner -- as my guest -- to the celebration... which is always a blast!)

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  1. I recently had a birthday dinner at Tagine Restaurant on Robertson in Beverly Hills. The food is Moroccan, with a gourmet twist, and very good. They have a tasting menu that runs around $40 per person -- the food is varied, fun, delicious -- and nobody will leave hungry, as portions are generous. Service is excellent and the ambiance is nice as well. With a group of 30 you could probably take over the whole place.

    Here's a link to their webpage:

    Here's a link to a photo review that Perceptor did a while back, which gives you a sense of the ambiance and the tasting menu (although the items vary):

    1. For some reason I'm thinking of the Gardens of Taxco. Maybe it's more kitsch than you're after and the food isn't terrific, but it's not bad. And it's fun.

      2 Replies
      1. re: pnoeric

        My first thought was of the Gardens of Taxco, too. It's fun and feels different and festive. It's pretty small--I don't know how they'd feel about someone taking it over for the night, but with 30 people, you'd probably come close. I went for a smaller birthday gathering and there seemed to be many others taking place, so I'm sure they're used to dealing with parties. And I agree with pnoeric--the food isn't great, but it's not bad. I have friends from Texas who love it and feel it's the closest to the Mexican food they get back home, so some obviously like it more than others. The only other weird thing is that they don't have a liquor license, so the margaritas are made of one of those weird sweet potato wines or something. They're not bad though--especially after you've had a few!

        1. re: sarahvagaca

          Gardens of Taxco has a back room for parties. don't know how big it is though.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. I like Dar Maghreb for unique and for groups given you can order family style, and then of course, you eat with your hands.

          I don't know if Ethiopian counts as unusual, but Messob and Rahel would be options if so. Magic Carpet for Yemenite cuisine.

          With groups, I have found places of sharing fun, i.e. korean bbq, shabu shabu, or fondue concepts...

          Asia de Cuba might be a fun choice as well.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Emme

            Dhar Maghreb definitely. Gorgeous, exotic interior and you eat with your fingers on low couches, patrolled by belly dancers.

            Or if you're looking for pure hoopla, the Saddle Ranch Chop House, with mechanical bull - lots of tipsy but cute types choosing to ride said bull with comical results, and as I recall, decent steaks.

            1. re: Emme

              I went to Dar Maghreb a few years ago with a group of people, and we had a blast. I recommend it.

            2. How about Carousel? I was there last week, had a fantastic meal, and on Friday and Saturday nights there's bellydancing.