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Romantic dinner with French BF

pnoeric Apr 1, 2007 10:56 AM

Hi, I'm trying to figure out a new place to take my French boyfriend for a nice romantic dinner tomorrow night... I'm looking for a restaurant with a great French wine selection. We've been to The Little Door, which he liked a lot; I love the ambiance and want something similarly cozy.

Right now I'm thinking about AOC or Lucques (I've been to neither). I've been reading the reviews here on Chowhound and they both sound like terrific food and wine, if a little pricey for what you get. (I'm comfortable with spending around $150 for the two of us, though, so I know what I'm in for.) The BF is from southern France, tho, so the Mediterranean influences at AOC might be just th thing for him.

Any suggestions about one over the other? Or anyplace else we might want to try? (I was toying with Jar but I don't know their wine selection, and it feels more like a place to take a group of friends or a celebration dinner than a romantic meal.)

thank you,

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  1. perk RE: pnoeric Apr 1, 2007 12:39 PM

    I like AOC, but don't think I'd categorize it as a romantic restaurant. And though they have French wine choices, I'm not sure they really specialize in French wines. Lucques is charming and seems to fit your description a bit more. But if you're really looking for a romantic spot--why not try the Bel Air Hotel?
    Incredible location, good food, extensive wine list.

    3 Replies
    1. re: perk
      westsidegal RE: perk Apr 1, 2007 01:07 PM

      probably, though, the hotel bel-air will be well over $150 for two.

      1. re: perk
        Cinnamon RE: perk Apr 1, 2007 01:10 PM

        Just in case you're not a local... there are two Bel-Air hotels, and the one you want is called Hotel Bel-Air on Stone Canyon Road. Absolutely gorgeous. On the formal side, though, not very 'isn't this a great little unknown hotspot'.

        1. re: Cinnamon
          pnoeric RE: Cinnamon Apr 2, 2007 09:19 AM

          Didn't even know about it-- looks charming. Thanks for the recc.

      2. b
        bbirch RE: pnoeric Apr 1, 2007 01:18 PM

        Not been to Lucques, but AOC gets my vote. While not being overtly romantic, it's still a sweet spot. We went with two couples, love the ambience, had plenty of cheese, food, and two bottles of excellent wine for $320 with tip.

        3 Replies
        1. re: bbirch
          ecaitlin RE: bbirch Apr 1, 2007 08:43 PM

          I vote for Figaro Bistrot on Vermont Ave. Others may disagree, but I love the place, and the waiter I have had each time (Giles?) is French, not an actor, and wonderfuly knowledgeable about wine. The ambiance is very French and beautiful: dark wood, silver, scrolly things, mirrors, small...The bartender (Zoe) is not French, but is delightful. The food (I had the special both times--chicken dijon) was exquisite. The veggies and potatoes that came with it were perfect. And for two, with wine and desserts and after dinner drinks: about $120.

          1. re: ecaitlin
            pnoeric RE: ecaitlin Apr 2, 2007 09:20 AM

            I think it's going to be AOC tonight, partly because it's walking distance... but I'm loving all these other ideas, too! Figaro sounds lovely and v. French, which I know he'll like. Thanks for the idea.

            1. re: ecaitlin
              teach RE: ecaitlin Apr 2, 2007 12:57 PM

              I, too, love Figaro. They have the best mussels I have ever had. It's not exactly cheap, but the food is fantastic and you can just sit there forever and have a lovely, leisurely meal.

          2. b
            Bite Me RE: pnoeric Apr 1, 2007 08:50 PM

            I haven't been in awhile, but I like Le Petite Bistro on La Cienega. The food and the wines are French and delicious.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bite Me
              pnoeric RE: Bite Me Apr 2, 2007 09:16 AM

              Ah! We went there and had a funny moment-- when we asked the waiter about the souffle, he waved his hand and said "blah blah blah." (I mean, that's exactly what he said.) We interpreted that as "what is there to say?" and ordered it; unfortunately it was spongy and not very good at all, despite the delicious accompanying sauces (crème fraîche, a lemon sauce and a chocolate sauce). The rest of the meal was terrific, though, and even the house wine was decent. The BF pronounced it "very Parisian." ;-)

            2. ipsedixit RE: pnoeric Apr 1, 2007 09:22 PM

              Two options to consider on the "cozy" side.

              Bistro Verdu in Montrose. www.bistroverdu.com


              Bistro K in South Pasadena. http://www.lqmanagementservices.com/

              1. b
                Bite Me RE: pnoeric Apr 2, 2007 04:35 AM

                Just remembered Lilly's in Venice. It's French owned and appeared to hav a great French wine selection.

                1. pnoeric RE: pnoeric Apr 2, 2007 09:21 AM

                  Both Bistros and Lilly's are going on the list... much appreciated.

                  1. g
                    Griller141 RE: pnoeric Apr 2, 2007 07:24 PM

                    If you're considering S Pas or Glendale, don't forget about the most fun French Restaurant in the city: Cafe Beaujolais in Eagle Rock. Waiters are a hoot (especially if you speak French) and the food is Parisian Bistro to a T. They also have fairly priced good French wines - be sure to ask for the special wines. Just watch out that he doesn;t get homesick.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Griller141
                      justanotherpenguin RE: Griller141 Apr 2, 2007 09:08 PM

                      griller141 beat me to the punch. definitely Cafe Beaujolais.

                    2. c
                      Cinnamon RE: pnoeric Apr 2, 2007 09:12 PM

                      (I have a theory that half the people who've browsed this thread have done so because the title's pretty inviting and they become wistful.)

                      There's one place I'm tempted to mention though I've no idea about whether they have much of a wine selection - it's probably decent and European but small. If you're ever near Marina del Rey or LAX, straight down Culver Blvd. in Playa del Rey, almost to the beach, is The Minotaure.

                      Ah, I see they now list themselves as a tapas place and wine bar. Very romantic little setting, not fussy, good food, gorgeous lighting - and sometimes, Spanish guitar. Plus they're open kinda late.

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