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What's Good Midway Between LA and OC

David Kahn Apr 17, 2007 06:51 PM

The Missus and I are in the process of adopting a child, and are meeting some other similarly situated couples for dinner this Saturday evening. Some of these good folks live in OC, so we are trying to find a suitable place that's reasonably convenient from both LA and OC. Unfortunately, this is not a part of SoCal with which I am familiar, and so (as always) I turn to you all.

In addition to geography (i.e., midway between LA and OC), we would like:

(a) good food, but nothing too exotic since we don't know tastes/tolerances yet
(b) we need to be able to carry on a reasonably private conversation, so no place too loud or crowded,
(c) it needs to be moderate in price and fanciness, and
(d) we need to be able to get a reservation with only a few days notice, because I'm a clod and waited until the last minute to post this inquiry.

Having written all this out, it occurs to me that this may well be the most challenging, constraint-ridden request I've ever posted, and I gratefully await your suggestions. TIA hounds.

  1. j
    JBC Apr 17, 2007 07:34 PM

    "...nothing too exotic..."

    Someplace thats near the top of my rather long "must try" list based on people I've talked to, what I read here, and Jonathan Gold's review is a Peruvian/Japanese:


    I think for the less adventurous diners a fish and rice option, for eample, isn't going to push their culinary envelopes too far and yet provide them with something prepared in an enjoyable version they might not have had before. Maybe someone else can chime in if it is loud or not? One could always call and ask?

    1. Local Apr 17, 2007 09:57 PM

      I'm thinking Long Beach, depending on where they are coming from in Orange Cty. and assuming you're all generally closer to the 405 Fwy than points east...so maybe this thread will help. ...and congratulations on the new addition!!!



      4 Replies
      1. re: Local
        brekkie_fan Apr 17, 2007 11:04 PM

        agree. Long Beach/Belmon Shore area sounds like a good location. I would almost stick with a chain like Lucille's just to satisfy general tastes, but I'm a fan of La Creperie Cafe.

        1. re: Local
          David Kahn Apr 18, 2007 09:49 AM

          Walt's Wharf sounds good, but they apparently don't take dinner reservations. Is it going to be a zoo on a Saturday evening?

          1. re: David Kahn
            Local Apr 18, 2007 04:28 PM

            My brother says yes, esp. on weekends, Walt's can be crowded and he once "waited over 40 minutes".

            I'd agree with woojinks suggestion, Lashers. Have only been to their brunch, years ago,...seems consistently good.

            1. re: Local
              revets2 Apr 18, 2007 04:42 PM

              also, i'm not WALTs provides the best venue for conversation, although i love their artichoke.

        2. d
          david t. Apr 17, 2007 11:46 PM

          Thai Nakorn, arguably SoCal's best thai restaurant is re-opening in Stanton somewhere.

          3 Replies
          1. re: david t.
            Das Ubergeek Apr 18, 2007 05:24 AM

            It is, though that is much closer to O.C.

            If Renu Nakorn were open, alas it is not.

            1. re: david t.
              David Kahn Apr 18, 2007 10:06 AM

              Unfortunately, my wife is allergic to peanuts, which seem to pop up a lot in Thai cuisine.

              1. re: david t.
                Grubber Apr 19, 2007 02:53 PM

                Thai Nakorn's new location is on the NW corner of Beach Bl and Chapman Ave

              2. w
                woojink Apr 18, 2007 10:17 AM

                David - Congratulations! That is absolutely terrific, best wishes to the two of you on the great adventure of parenthood.

                Given that you don't want anything exotic, but a nice, quiet type place is what you're looking for, I would really recommend a place in Long Beach called Lasher's. I used to live near there and have been many times... they've also opened a location in Burbank (which is a bit higher end).

                Price ranges should be mid/high teens to low 30s for entrees. It's quite a nice environment... the restaurant is housed in an old converted California Craftsman style home, and Long Beach is very much a good central place between LA and OC. Easy access via the 405.

                Also, depending on timeframe, etc... and the number of people, there are a couple of private type rooms there that they may be able to accomodate you with. There is a small room in the back that can hold 6 easily... maybe 8 (not sure), and there is a larger room in the front part that holds 12-14.

                Traditional American (steaks, seafood, etc...) cuisine. One of the best things there is their clam chowder and they do a great job with soups in general.

                Congratulations again and hope this was helpful.

                1. r
                  revets2 Apr 18, 2007 03:19 PM


                  first, congratulations!

                  i would suggest S VIETNAMESE in huntington beach. it's an easy on/off from the 405 and stephanie will accomodate any palate. they have a beautiful room on the other side of the bar where it is very amenable to these types of discussions. the rest of the restaurant would be fine too.

                  also, STARLING DINER, is a wonderful small restaurant in belmont heights/long beach. it's homey and yummy. www.starlingdiner.com

                  1. b
                    BruinEric Apr 19, 2007 12:21 PM

                    Worth considering ... Los Alamitos Fish Company at the corner of Katella and Los Alamitos Blvd is right on the LA/OC border, and is a standby with good food and nice atmosphere. Plenty of free parking.

                    1. e
                      ElissaInPlaya Apr 19, 2007 01:07 PM

                      With the caveat that I haven't eaten here in a few years, I recommend Spaghettini. It's right off the 405 in Seal Beach. Food and atmosphere are lovely, and not too terribly expensive. They also have a full bar and decent wine list, and yummy desserts. If the weather is pleasant, you can sit on the patio (I recommend this.) As a bonus, they used to have live jazz on Sat nights - later. I don't know if they still do this though.

                      Enjoy. Also, congratulations.

                      Spaghettini Rotisserie & Grill
                      3005 Old Ranch Pkwy
                      Seal Beach, CA 90740View Map

                      1. SauceSupreme Apr 19, 2007 03:46 PM

                        Does Garden Grove count as midway? I usually stop in Little Saigon en route to Irvine or points southward.

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