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Birthday Lunch in Venice: Joe's, Chaya or ?

liu May 20, 2007 09:08 AM

A girlfriend and I are doing a birthday day-out in Venice. We will "shop" Abbot-Kinney and walk the canals. Where should we lunch? I am thinking Chaya, or perhaps Joe's, or is there somewhere else I might consider?

We are not in our 20's (!), any food is fine although we both love sushi and any form of Japanese, and we would love to be able to walk the area. Thanks!

  1. aching May 20, 2007 08:21 PM

    I vote for Joe's. I just love the atmosphere there, and except for one weird day, the service has always been fantastic for me - and the food is tops. If it's a warm day, the patio is nice.

    3 Replies
    1. re: aching
      Eat_Nopal May 20, 2007 08:24 PM

      Joe's happens to be one of my very, very favorite restaurants in L.A... but I don't really like it for brunch or lunch... the best thing there are the dinner tasting menus.

      1. re: Eat_Nopal
        aching May 21, 2007 11:02 AM

        I've never had brunch there, but I've lunched many a time, and for my money I think there's no better lunch deal in town than their prix fixe. But I've never tried the dinner tasting menu - good tip!

        1. re: aching
          bulavinaka May 21, 2007 02:03 PM

          You're both right - Joe's is solid dining - no question about it...

    2. liu May 20, 2007 06:21 PM

      Thanks for all your responses; you have offered some really good additional suggestions that I will surely consider!

      Does no one love Chaya?

      1 Reply
      1. re: liu
        bulavinaka May 20, 2007 06:46 PM

        Chaya? You've been there umpteen times! Can't blame you - smart contemporary atmosphere with a sprinkle of elegance but not stuffy, their kitchen has been pumping out great fusion and seafood dishes since the early 90s, and their bar is always at the top of their game. So what is there not to like? I personally didn't mention Chaya because I'm assuming their staff is probably on a first name basis with you! And I figured you and your friend would be looking for a casual day out - Chaya seems a little high-brow for your purposes on that day. I'm imagining you folks doing shorts and sandals or tennies while walking the canals (don't forget your camera but don't feed the ducks please!) and shopping on Abbot Kinney.

        One place I forgot to mention is 3 Square on the corner of Abbot Kinney and San Juan (1121 Abbot Kinney, the new architectually smart building). Hans Rockenwagner has been getting alot of thumbs up for his breakfasts and lunches (and now suppers) here. I only visit the bakery (about 2-4 times a week), but alot of folks I talk with who work around there have been impressed with their meals there... The Schnitzel seems to be the go-to entree, as well as the Pretzel Burger...

      2. ipsedixit May 20, 2007 09:39 AM

        I like Joe's alot, esp. their prix-fixe lunch special.

        For something a bit more casual maybe consider either Axe or Primivito.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit
          handlertaper May 20, 2007 09:49 AM

          I love Joe's as well. One of my favorite brunch places in town. Love AXE too and if you like Japanese influence, AXE would be great. The have a really good tuna sushi appitzer (I think it is in a salad). Lilly's Cafe is a pretty place to dine as you can sit on the patio. It is right next door to Joe's.

          1. re: handlertaper
            venicefoodie May 20, 2007 10:31 AM

            I vote for AXE. Simple, clean, fresh, quality food. It just happens to be very loud, and a bit trendy at times.

            1. re: handlertaper
              Emme May 20, 2007 10:38 AM

              Second Primitivo for small shareable plates and Lilly's especially if you sit on the patio, given that the fog lifts...

              1. re: Emme
                bulavinaka May 20, 2007 11:16 AM

                The weather has been like clockwork lately - should see sun around 1130-1200 if it plays out like the past week... but there's a strange chill in the air today... if the sun doesn't appear, you can still do Lilly's or Primativo on the patio as they surround the outdoor areas with clear vinyl on cooler days. But Axe is the go-to place if you like Cal-organic-Pacific Rim-Chez Panisse kinda cuisine. It's a rare day to hear someone criticize Axe for dishing out a subpar meal, as is the same with Joe's...

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