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Restaurant (for foodies) to celebrate

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I will be returning to LA from Chicago for a vacation this June. I am looking for a place to simply celebrate seeing 10-15 members of my family and friends together again. In terms of food taste, the last time I was in LA I went out to big dinners at Luques and Campanile and really enjoyed both. Did Sunday Suppers at Luques and Grilled Cheese night at Campanile, both of those menus were great and made the restaurants a little more casual and relaxed, and the food a little more creative as well.

I have heard good things about Luques sister restaurant/winebar A.O.C. and am interested in Osteria Mozza (is it open, or will it be by June?). What other places, possibly a little louder, hipper, and more informal than Luques of Campaile would you recommend?

Thanks,
AGMG

Oh, thought a list of my current favorite spots might be helpful, with example dishes in braces:

Avec (Chicago) - Mediterranean small plates [prosciutto with pickled feta and grapefruit] and wine bar in a skinny restaurant with great architecture, looks like a well designed modernist Scandinavian sauna, sounds crazy, but it works.

Blackbird (Chicago) - very minimal (both in terms of food and the space) progressive new American spot [braised pork belly with crunchy sauerkraut]

Schwa (Chicago) - Molecular Gastronomy with locally grown ingredients [olive oil ice cream, Quail egg Ravioli, great sweetbreads], tiny hole in the wall spot. Has foam with feeling.

Thanks again for any recs.

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  1. wow, I don't think we have foam with feeling in L.A.
    AOC sounds the best for your celebration, maybe the upstairs patio would be good for a group. I don't think Osteria Mozza will be open by June. Fraiche in Culver City is getting great reviews, though.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chowpatty

      Thanks, didn't know they had an upstairs patio, will check it out, Fraiche sounds good as well.

      AGMG

    2. You know, the LA dining scene isn't really into the avant garde stuff (nothing close to Alinea, for instance). Sona isn't exactly winning anyone over, but then Chef Meyers is not the same as Chef Achatz. Our strengths are in ethnic food.

      AOC sounds like it's the most in common with Avec. Grace sounds like it's a lot like the food at Blackbird.

      If you're looking for louder and hipper then Lucques, AOC would definitely fit the bill, and the food is top notch. Perhaps also Jar or BLD.

      Got a chance to speak briefly with Nancy at the Hollywood Farmer's Market while she was signing books. She said Osteria should be open by June, but I would still make contingency plans.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SauceSupreme

        Here is a 3rd for AOC. I've never had a bad meal or expierence there, as a wine freak the list is lovely, (strong on French) and the food is so wine friendly. A must try while in LA

      2. Abode in Santa Monica

        1. Sounds like Providence might be a good choice for you.

          www.providencela.com

          1 Reply
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Thanks everyone for the recs, starting to look them over and so far so good, will post what I choose in the end.

            AGMG

          2. For 360 degree view of the city, on Olive Street atop the SBC building is "Windows" or The Tower Restaurant (previous name). Also fun is STEPPS on Flower St. inside the bank building. If you like lively ambience try The Tower Bar inside the Sunset Hotel for a late nite hangout.