Trip review -Santa Monica & Dining near B.Hilton
Just got back from my SoCal vacation & wanted to thank you chowhounds for all your help. The first part of our week long journey was spent in Carlsbad, then in Santa Monica and finally in Beverly Hills.
I had booked The Border Grill on Opentable but by that day, my family (including two tweenies) didn't want "South of the border" & my husband was craving miso marinated cod. I remembered Musha from Chowhound but that was too far to walk & didn't know if the Tide would take us there. The concierge at the Delfina suggested Tengu (and I remebered it from Chowhound). Needless to say, it hit the spot. The location, atmosphere, service & of course food. Everything our server suggested was very good except for one thing which was okay, just not as good as he said. Unfortunately, I can't remember the names...one memorable dish was a red snapper sashimi which was lightly charred on the edges but had a nice smoky flavor throughout. Thanks to chowhound readings, I ordered the ahi tuna on crispy rice. We liked it so much that we had to get another round. I have GOT to find this in the Bay Area! My husband ordered the sea bass entree which he absolutely loved (so did my eight yr old). My 11 year old had hand cut rolls (one shrimp & one salmon) which she said was just okay (preferred the spicy ones from Sushi On the Rock in Carlsbad). BTW, we had asked if they could make it spicy & were told they couldn't. I am sure there are less pricey & better places but given location restrictions, we couldn't complain. In fact, if you know any sushi places like this up North, please let me know.
Next night was Angelini Osteria. You had said it was cozy, but we'll like it. Yes we liked it! The best dish was my husband's dover sole, very light but flavorful. I took a chance & ordered the branzino which I thought was just okay...soft, but bland. I would have ordered the bistecca but our server said it was big & I just wasn't hungry enough (and I was pasta'd out at the Aviara). I suggested a bistecca split for my girls but my older one insisted on lamb chops which she loved and I thought was good but not great. We got a choc. cookie crusted dessert w/ hazelnut gelato, yum. My older was holding off for MILK across the street. Thanks for this tip! She had a strawberry shortcake shake, double yum! Would I go back? Definitely! Actually, to both:-)
Our last night was at Lucques. I had told the girls that they can have a great Steak Frites but alas it was only available after 10:00 on the bar menu. Our server was very nice & guided us through the menu. I started off with a wonderful, lush Melville estate pinot noir. For our entrees, I had the veel cheeks & the rest of the family had the beef short ribs (my husband was sea bassed out so ordered the beef). Although rich, the beef was hands down one of the best dishes we've ever had. For dessert, we had a mille fleur (sp?) & a beignet. The mille fleur was absolutely delicious! While the food is very good, the restaurant seemed "special occasiony" & didn't have the vibrant energy as the others. Actually, the front looked more fun than the courtyard. It depends on what you are looking for I guess.
Again, thank you so much for helping make our vacation memorable. And now, off to the gym to shed all those pounds:-(
p.s. we did have some food from the Lobby Lounge at the Hilton...yuck, not what you'd expect from a hotel of this caliber! We also had a drink at the Trader Vic's but since I am not a fan of their sweet drinks, I asked if they would make me a mojito martini which they obliged & it was delicious.