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santa monica/venice area for drinks and apps

SUmoldoll Jun 21, 2007 03:59 PM

Last minute recommendation needed for tonight. I have a friend staying near LAX for one night and she wants to drink an ample amount of cocktails (think mojitos or something fruity with vodka) and have dinner together. I was thinking about going somewhere we could share some small plates, maybe even sit on a patio. I would hate to waste someone buying me dinner and a drive to LAX on sub-par food. Looks like we'll be taking a taxi, so all of my ideas really fall outside of the area. My first thought was Opus. Someone has already suggested beechwood or Monsoon, but after looking at a few posts on here I'm not to sure. Any suggestions???

Thanks chowhounders!

  1. g
    glutton Jun 21, 2007 04:09 PM

    I'd definitely skip Monsoon -- it's not sure if it wants to be a serious sushi restaurant, a fun fusion place, a bar, or a tourist trap. But Beechwood is a fine option. You'll get small plates and good drinks in a cool setting and it sounds like that's what you're after. You may also try Chaya Venice or Piccolo in Venice. Both have very good food and drinks. Joe's in venice has marvelous food, but I get the sense that you're looking for something more casual than that.

    Alternate suggestion... go to 3 Square on Abbot Kinney in Venice for dinner (very good Austrian-California food... never thought I'd write that) and then walk across the street to The Other Room for drinks. Both are very good places and conveniently located near the airport.

    1. l
      LisaStitch Jun 21, 2007 04:24 PM

      Beechwood is perfect. I was there on a weekday around 7pm and it was only half full. it was a very nice pleasant time. Yummy fries and great drink list. Nice patio.

      Chaya Venice is also great but will be very crowded and noisy and there is no patio. It is really fun though and they have a great spicy dipping sauce for their calamari.

      Maybe also try Whist at the Viceroy Hotel, poolside.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LisaStitch
        glutton Jun 21, 2007 04:35 PM

        Whist is offering some Tuesday night small plates deal this summer, so that might be an intriguing option. I cannot recall the specifics of the deal, but I think it was five bucks per small plate, served around their pool and in their cabanas. That could be nice and swanky...

      2. Emme Jun 21, 2007 04:46 PM

        Primitivo is perfect for small plates.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Emme
          mollyomormon Jun 21, 2007 04:51 PM

          Plus they have a back patio! I still think that I'd rather go to Beechwood because they have a full bar and I prefer the food, but either one would be great options.

          1. re: mollyomormon
            yogachik Jun 21, 2007 05:23 PM

            Another vote for Beechwood. Close to LAX, great bartenders, great food, great room.

          2. re: Emme
            okie Jun 21, 2007 06:16 PM

            Primitivo also serves a nice sangria by the pitcher. :)

          3. hrhboo Jun 21, 2007 06:05 PM

            Yet another vote for Beechwood here. At the risk of sounding like a broken record I'd also recommend Abode, you can sit on the patio or in the lounge and they have a full bar.

            1. l
              lisamp29 Jun 21, 2007 09:00 PM

              where is Beechwood?

              1 Reply
              1. re: lisamp29
                glutton Jun 21, 2007 09:38 PM

                It's on Washington Blvd right where Abbot Kinney dead-ends.

              2. s
                SUmoldoll Jun 22, 2007 12:37 PM

                Ended up at Beechwood last night. The patio was relatively packed so we opted for the dining room so we could actually hear ourselves talk. We ordered the sweet potatoe fries and lamb meatballs. Fries were fantastic, nice and crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. They were served with 3 sauces, a spicy catsup, a smoky bbq sauce and a garlicky cream sauce, almost an aioli, but not quite. The sauces were a bit boring, but still provided a nice contrast to the fried. Lamb meatballs were flavorful, served with a simple red pepper puree. Nothing to write home about, but still enjoyable. The highlight of the night was the cocktails. We tried a few different ones, but ended up coming back to the kiwi drink, which had pear vodka, muddled kiwi, and simple syrup. It was wonderfully refreshing, and the hard little kiwi seeds added an interesting cruch. We ended with the barnyard cheese plate. It had Fried goat cheese, idiazabal sheep cheese, aged dutch gouda. The fried goat cheese went nice with the quince paste, but again it left me a little disappointed, and wanting a nice piece of eppoise or humbolt fog. Didn’t get a chance to have the burger every one is talking about, but will next time. All in all it was a great place to catch up with a friend, loved the atmosphere and the drinks!

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