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Best Restaurant in Santa Monica area? (not incl. Melisse)

I am looking for the best restaurant in the Santa Monica/Venice area for a special occasion... I am considering Jiraffe, Abode, Catch, the Huntley, Drago, or anywhere else where the food is wonderful....help? I would appreciate any suggestions!!

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  1. My favorite restaurant ever - Via Veneto. Food (Italian) and service are both impeccable. Dimly lit, so can be romantic.

    1. I like Jiraffe a lot, but I think that it's too loud for me to really consider it for very special occaisions. Penthouse (the restaurant at the Huntley) has an amazing view and pretty good food, but again the volume of the crowd (and the sometimes spotty service) I think should rule it out. I'd say either Josie, Michael's or Abode.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mollyomormon

        We had our wedding at Michael's and use to really like it around 2000.... but it is pretty mediocre as of late (the last couple of Chefs are pretty clueless).

        1. re: Eat_Nopal

          Good to know, thanks for the heads up. I stick by Josie as my number one rec.

      2. My two favorite special occasion restaurants in Santa Monica are Josie's and Via Veneto. Josie's is elegant and quiet, and known for its game. Via Veneto is more lively and the tables are very close. I love their spaghetti with bottarga and giant prawns.

          1. re: tdo ca

            agreed. fantastic burrata salad, fire grilled meats, killer wine list and attentive service.......drawback? its quite pricey.

          2. Josie is wonderful. and perfect for special occasions!!

            http://www.josierestaurant.com/