HELP! mother-in-law's b-day :]
Yes, it's my mother-in-law's b-day this weekend and we're taking the trek from sf to la to celebrate. looking for a fun, laid-back, really really good, but not too swanky or divey place to have a birthday dinner for 10 people. Attendees live in Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Venice and Redondo Beach. So geographic location is definitely WIDE open. It's been five years since I've lived in la... help! My mother-in-law is hip, works at a museum and is turning 56 on Sunday. I want to know the places you love. Thanks angelenos :]
I like the Celadon suggestion, and along the small plates vein, AOC would work, too.
Out of left field, how about Belacan Grill in Redondo Beach. Malaysian food might be something fun and different, with plenty of fried rice, chicken satays and curries to satisfy the "safe" eaters, while also having lots to offer the more adventurous ones. Great big room that can easily accomodate a group of that size, especially if you get one of the large circular tables with the lazy susan.
Cha Cha Cha in Silver Lake is also fun and laid back, and I am all about their sangria.
I really like the patio at Pane e Vino for birthdays. It has a vacation-y, Tuscan feel to it, and feels very special.
Campanile is another nice birthday option.
If you want hipper or *funner,* maybe Luna Park.
In SM, I might suggest the new Adobe.
However, I usually base my decision for birthdays around what the guest of honor wants as the main, but more importantly the dessert :-)