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Jun 1, 2007 12:10 PM

Romantic birthday dinner for husband -- fussy eater

Hello wise ones,

I am taking my husband to Los Angeles for his big 30th birthday (we are natives of San Jose, CA) the first weekend of July and would like to treat him to a very special, romantic birthday dinner (both of us need some quiet in a dim area of the restaurant since this will be the first vacation for both of this year -- work's gotten the better of us and we really need a break!)

I have been researching for the past week and looking at Chowhund's message board for ideas but have finally given up passive reading and asking actively for help.

My husband's a picky eater -- Indian by birth, he's a strict vegetarian, LOVES home-cooked meals and when we eat out, he only likes Indian (but, of course!), Thai, Italian (stuffed ravioli only!), Malaysian and Mexican. Given these limitations, I'm having a really hard time figuring out where I should take him for a quiet dinner where we can just relax and he's able to eat something he likes.

My first preference would be a private booth (I had taken him to Maharani restaurant in San Francisco last year and they had these beautiful Fantasy Rooms that fit the bill just right) where we aren't disturbed by other people or an imposing server. However, I would compromise for a nice, quiet table in an open restaurant.

We'll be staying in downtown L.A. but willing to drive wherever. Also, as far as budget, I'd be happy to pay $200 for the meal and drinks and extra if the restaurant could arrange for a little special surprise cake (a petite one since hubby darling doesn't have much of a sweet tooth) at the end of the meal.

Thank you so very much for your help.


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  1. okay... fyi, people on this board SLAM yamashiro in hollywood... over price, not authentic, blah blah blah.... i'm sure you'll hear it after i post this... hahaha

    i happen to like it... perhaps i've just had way too many great memories there.

    it's "japanese" but not really. it's more of a japanese fuisine type of place. you can check out the menu to see if your husband would be able to enjoy the food there.... if not, it's okay too =)

    i went there recently (within the last month) for my SO and i's faux anniversary (we were celebrating something else and the hostess put us down for anniversary).

    it's in a great location. has great views of the city. the place is dimly lit, and yeah it can get packed, but i've never been bothered with noise. whenever my SO and i go, we feel like it's just us 2.

    this time we started out at the bar (i was sick so i got tea, he wasn't so i think he got some kind of lychee drink.. either that or a jack and coke hahah).... and then moved over to a cute little table. one of the table's corners was cut off and was against the window/wall so that both of us could enjoy the view. plus we sat on the opposite corner which made for such a romantic meal.

    we ordered soup, entrees (i think he got the special) and a dessert. i thought it was good. of course i have had better AND worse at other places, but the ambiance is also what you pay for at this place. in fact, the lady at the table next to us had just accepted her SO's proposal!!!! =)

    since we had a faux anniversary, they gave us a little strawberry panna cotta type of dessert on a shortbread cookie. it was pretty good. it even came with a little candle. of course no waiters came to sing, but it was just a little intimate moment for the two of us....

    and for moments like those, i enjoy that place...

    happy bday to ur husband!

    5 Replies
    1. re: kinipela

      Thanks, Kinipela. I appreciate your taking time out to help me with this but I looked at the menu and did not find much that my husband would like :(

      Hopefully someone out there would be able to help...

      1. re: mansibhatia

        no worries MB! =) i kinda had the feeling, but thought you might want to look at the menu anyway... =) let us know where you decide to go =) i'm always looking for new spots =)

        i hope you guys have a romantic time =)

        1. re: kinipela

          Such a =) Smiley =) Person=)!

          But I find Yamashiro a rip off of mediocre food and service with a good view.

          It's too bad!

          With a good chef and a great menu. they could make all of LA =)

          I hope someday someone like Puck, Silverton, Nobu or the like buys it out.

          Heck, even "Iron Chef" morimoto could do a geat job.

          1. re: Diana

            hahaha and i'm a smiley person in real life too =) hahah although, not one of those overly irritating smiley persons who u just want to shut up already... hahaha... i have a limit... haha and i'm one of those happy-but-don't-piss-me-off type of individuals... haha

            i've been going there for 10 years (special ocassions only.. we're not rich) and you know i think i liked ot more when i first started going. this last time i went, i think i was more aware of the CH reviews and i could understand where people are coming from re quality of food. but i've had worse and i've had better.

            still, overall, i find the whole experience to be worthwhile.. and heck, it even helps when i like my SO... A LOT =) hahaa

    2. this thread might be of help. Grace would be my first choice but others noted are equally good. Definitely call the restaurant as my experience is that they are almost without hesitation happy to put something together. the vegan in our group has never been disappointed.

      P.S. don't think Real Food Daily is what you're looking for at all, so disregard that rec.

      1. $200 can go very far, or not far at all depending upon where you go.

        My favortie Italian is Il Tiramisu northern italian in Sherman Oaks, where you will be treated like gods and your $200 will get you something.

        Angeli Caffe on Melrose, which has no private booths but does have good food (not as good service as Il Tiramisu


        Laconda Del Lago on the third street promenade is pretty nice:

        If he would go for California food, Inn of the Seventh Ray would be PERFECT. romantic, and has a LOT aimed at vegetarians. If you can get the gazebo table, it is very cozy and romantic:

        Very little romantic Indian food.

        God Vegetarian Indian Food is to be had at Woodlands in Chatworth, but it is far from an ambiance place

        5 Replies
        1. re: Diana

          don't disagree at all with above recommendations, but be aware that the Inn of the Seventh Ray, in Topanga Canyon, tho' a perfect match for OP's request, is a fair distance timewise from downtown L.A., esp. if driving yourself back after dinner...

          1. re: Local

            Not really all that far. Definitely worth whatever drive there is, and a lovely romatic drive at that! Up the coast, through the hills...

            1. re: Local

              Was absolutely going to suggest Inn of the Seventh Ray.

              If you want great veggie food for lunch or another dinner, try Madeleine Bistro in Tarzana.

              Grace does a veggie tasting menu, but I think it'd break the bank.

              Rahel isn't fancy, but it's good vegetarian Ethiopian options as well as Meals by Genet, both on Fairfax.

              You might also consider Valentino and Vincenti for Italian. Also, Peppone up in Brentwood has a nice, traditional feel and take on Italian.

              1. re: Emme

                Was also going to suggest Inn of the Seventh Ray. Very lovely and romantic setting. Not Indian, but definately vegetarian.

                1. re: gsw

                  Inn of Seventh Ray is very nice and very romantic and lots of organic/veggie choices! You may want to call in advance to ensure most romantic table. I had a dinner in the gazebo and that was nice - but would also like to sit by the little stream/river some time.

          2. How about Nirvana (8689 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211, 310-657-5040)?

            It's Indian and they have like lounge-type beds with dim lighting so you can just relax and eat your meal. There is also a fireplace in the back. If you call, they can probably arrange for the most romantic spot. I have no idea how the food is.


            1 Reply
            1. re: dtud

              I second Nirvana as well. I am Indian myself (but crossed over from being a vegetarian a few years back) and although Nirvana isn't the best Indian you'll get in Los Angeles, the ambiance is perfect for a romantic meeting and the food is still very good. By the way, the Black Daal was amazing there. You probably won't need the fireplace during the first week of July, but those giant beds are a great place to just sit back and relax.

              If he is willing to be a little more adventurous, Melisse (French) in Santa Monica has one of the best vegetarian tasting menus I've ever had (it's been a little while so definitely check if they still offer it). Also, La Botte (Italian) in Santa Monica has some fantastic vegetarian options (both on and off the menu) and we go there often with strict vegetarians.

              Good luck.

            2. A bit low on the romantic scale, but how about MEALS BY GENET for Ethiopian? Lots of vegetarian choices, incl. the vegetarian plate/combo, vegetarian curry and the foul (which is a garbanzo concotion)


              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                I actually find Meals By Genet to be very nice and romantic inside.

                However, down the block is another good ethiopian place. Rahel, whcih has less ambiance, has better food and is less expensive. Plus Rahel is ALL vegetarian, and has vegan desserts!