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Need dinner rec in Venice/Santa Monica

Having dinner with a friend visiting from the East coast tonight. We are looking to be in Venice or Santa Monica. When asked what kind of food he wanted, he said "something Californian," by which he meant an experience that he couldn't easily have back East, not necessarily California cuisine. Looking for something casual, budget is inexpensive to moderate. My first thought was maybe Musha, but I would love some other ideas.

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  1. I like Hal's in that price range as well as capri. If you can spend a bit more, via veneto is amazing.

    1. I don't know the East coast food scene beyond what I read and hear but I would think that what you sugggest about Musha is a great idea. You may want to run the word, "izakaya," by your friend and see what kind of response you get. If the reply is something to the nature of, "Is that a new Japanese gangster movie?" or, "bless you," then you know you're on the right track.

      I think there are great options around Venice/Santa Monica. Outside of Musha, Chaya (kinda Cal/Euro/Asian) on Main st at the north tip of Venice is always good. Practically down a few blocks and around the corner are two more great choices on Abbot Kinney. Axe is very California - it's got the organic/Cal thing going, and Joe's which is French/Cal, although I would go for lunch as it is a real bargain versus dinner. Of course there's Michael's in Santa Monica but budget-wise it's a little rough on the pocketbook.

      www.thechaya.com

      www.joesrestaurant.com

      http://axerestaurant.com/flashindex.html

      4 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka

        Chaya Venice
        Axe
        Rustic Canyon
        Brass Cap
        Sushi Roku

        1. re: yogachik

          Certainly wouldn't consider Brass Cap "budget or inexpensive." In fact, I feel it is overpriced and not very good.

          1. re: maudies5

            bar menu is reasonably priced, but the food is inconsistent. when it's good, it's v. good.

          2. re: yogachik

            Wouldn't consider Sushi Roku inexpensive or somewhere that I would suggest to someone lived in LA, let alone take someone from out of town... He can get sushi back east... I might suggest good Mexican or Thai. Chaya could be fun, as would La Cabana. Primitivo would be a pricier option. Violet and Nook would also be good reasonably priced fare.

        2. He probably means something hearty, southwest and satisfying? Or blended like traditional with Angelino influence -- Why not Angeli Caffe http://www.angelicaffe.com/allAboutEv.... Or go down to Abbot Kinney - I don't know the name of the restaurant there, it's new but as you come up on Abbot Kinney off of Venice Blvd., it's about 1 block in on the left hand side. Have heard good things about it. There are other really nice places there on Abbot Kinney.

          2 Replies
          1. re: martasiete

            Capri (Italian - been there a while) is toward the end of the first block on the left side of AK... halfway up the next block on the left side is Shima (brown rice sushi - about 2 years) - does that help?

            1. re: bulavinaka

              Ah, yes...that's it. Thanks bulavinaka.

          2. another idea which is a little less upscale is the library alehouse on main st. they have one hell of a burger esp with the sweet potato fries. more importantly they have the best selection of beer on tap in venice. ;)