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JiRaffe/The Lobster/Rustic Canyon - good choices?

My sister and I are taking my parents to Santa Monica (Shutters) for their 40th annivesary. We're from Chicago - so armed with Zagat's and this site, I just picked the above restaurants for two nice dinners and one casual dinner. I'd love any feedback/concerns/recommendations from this wonderful board - thank you! Also, any interesting recommendations for can't miss Santa Monica treasures?

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  1. I would go to Bay Cities for lunch one of the days.

    Rustic Canyon, unless you go on a very unpopular night, will be very loud. I know my parents at presumably a similar age wouldn't enjoy it.

    I don't imagine that you'll have a memorable meal at Jiraffe or Rustic Canyon either.
    I'd try Melisse, Valentino or Josie for your nice dinners and Nook for a casual dinner.

    1. Rustic Canyon is good but loud. I would recommend you just stop by there for a drink before or after dinner. Fantastic wine list (it's sort of a wine bar). Another good place for a drink is Casa Del Mar - across the street from Shutters - really nice view and super relaxing ambience and architecture.

      The Lobster has not the best but still great food, an unbeatable view, and great service. Should be memorable.

      1. I like JiRaffe's appetizers, and I like The Lobster's mains. /: Both are about the same in service, and have crowded tables where you can eat off your neighbor's plate.

        Of those two, I'd probably take my parents to Jiraffe.

        1. If you request an upstairs table at Jiraffe, I think you can avoid some of the space issues mentioned above. I agree with the Josie and Nook suggestions. Great ocean view at The Lobster, but I think the food is only okay. Parents might like Michael's in Santa Monica (assuming you have the budget).

          1. I ate at the Abode this weekend, which just opened across the street from the Lobster. It's a beautiful and quiet space. I liked my meal better than any recent meals I've had at Jiraffe, and it's certainly quieter. It's also pricier...Here's a link to their website which, sadly, doesn't have much info yet:

            http://www.aboderestaurant.com/

            here's a link to the chef's website too, which should give you some insight into the menu:

            http://www.dominiquecrenn.com/clients...

            Congrats to your folks!!