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Jul 2, 2007 06:10 PM

Inexpensive wine-focused dinner for small party

I'm looking for a place to host a dinner party for about 7 people in the Santa Monica/LA area. I'd like to have a very wine-focused dinner...meaning lots and lots of wine (can be inexpensive) and some good food. Inexpensive is key.

I've been referred to Upstairs 2, and I've taken a look at Bodega Wine Bar in Santa Monica.

I emailed the people at Upstairs 2 to ask about setting something up, but I haven't heard back from them, and after reading a few posts regarding that restaurant on these boards, I'm a little leery of going there! I keep reading about the manager's bad attitude; this has to be a fun, light-hearted, really enjoyable evening.

Has anyone been to Bodega or have any other recommendations? I don't want to spend more than $45 or so per person, if possible.

Thanks so much in advance!

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  1. I've always had great experiences at Upstairs 2.

    Alternatively, you should check out Cube on La Brea/near Melrose. I'm not sure if they have a liquor license yet...but they have a private room, they'll work with you to create a 6-course dinner ( I think it was 6-courses) and you can bring unlimited wine with no corkage fee. We had 10 people and it was $40 per person --- it might be a little more with less people, but worth checking out.

    It might also be worthwhile to check out Lou --- this is in Hollywood, but I remember the food/wine being reasonable.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Obessed

      Ah BUMMER!! I just called Cube...they only do a private party for 10 people or more. :( That sounds ideal!

      I'm going to call Lou on Vine; I'm not necessarily tied to Santa Monica, so Hollywood is fine. You guys are awesome! Keep the recs coming.


      ETA: I just emailed Lou as well. Thanks again for the great recommendations!

    2. While I really want to like Bodega, I'm not sure that's the right place for a dinner party - for one, it's much more of a bar scene. Also, the food is more along the lines of pizza, some paninis, etc. It's decent, but nothing more in my opinion. I also personally don't find their wine list that interesting (nor, if I recall correctly, does it change that often).

      I've only been to Upstairs 2 once, and had a good time. I think that unless you were careful with menu planning, however, you could easily bust your $45/person limit - while the food is good, serving sizes are small.

      My recommendation would be to try calling/emailing Lou (www.louonvine.com) and see if they could set something up for you. At the very least, the wine list and food is much better than that which you'd find at Bodega. I had my birthday dinner there last year, and they were very helpful in helping me stick to my price range.

        1. I really like Upstairs2 a lot. Look into Wine Cellar and the Cheese Shop Beverly Hills.

          I want to suggest Bin8945, but I think it's outside your budget.

          Enoteca Drago has a nice private wine room.

          1. Try calling Peter or Ivo at Il Tiramisu in Studio City. they can probably work out a very nice wine pairing dinner for you, for a price you will like.