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Can some recommend a "special occasion restaurant in Santa Monica that is not to trendy & has good food.


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    1. re: tony michaels

      I agree. Josie would be my first choice. Order the venison.

    2. Via Veneto on Main has fantastic food, is small, very romantic. Also very expensive though.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Eczander

        Via Veneto is my favorite restaurant in LA! Definitely special occasion. Fantastic Italian food and great service. Worth every penny in my book. Reserve now because they book up for dinner fast.

        1. re: LisaStitch

          Via Veneto, Caffe Delfini, Giorgios, Whist, or Locanda Portofino.

          1. re: yogachik

            I'd have to disagree on Whist - it's VERY trendy (though I do love the food).

            1. re: CChow

              Whist isn't trendy anymore. The food is solid if a little unexciting.

        1. Joe's on Abbot Kinney in Venice. It's not Santa Monica, but it's damn close.

          1. I never think of the enduring classics as trendy such as Capo, Michael's, Drago, Valentino or Melisse. I'm probably even forgetting a few but the food at each of these places is amazing.

            1 Reply
            1. I don't consider Jiraffe trendy, and it's very good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Cinnamon

                I think Jiraffe is a good choice, low key and delicious.

                1. re: Nicole

                  You can't go wrong with Melisse (if price isn't a problem) or Valentino.

                  1. re: brandygirl

                    I love Il Moro on Perdue in W.LA -sit outside on a warm night with spectacular Italian food, good wine list, nice people, spacious, and not too noisy. They also have a couple of small private dining rooms. Look at their website.

                2. Joe's and Il Moro are good but not very "special occasion". More business lunch places to me.

                  1. I have used the outdoor tables at Michael's for more than one special occasion dinner and that place came through every time. Now, I will introduce the caveat that I did this when Sang Yoon was in the kitchen (Father's Office now) and David Rosoff (Mozza now) was the GM. When Michael's was serving flower salads for $8 in 1988 it was definately trendy, but these days I would just consider it one of deans of dining Santa Monica dining.

                    I just had dinner at Chinios on Wednesday. Considering the decor still screams B. Lazaroff circa 1984 and I could get a table for 2 at 7:30 same day it doesn't really bend my trendy meter much. The only downside is that this is still a very expensive restaurant. Nonetheless, I loved the dinner. The deep fried whole catfish was really really good.