good food/moderate price
Coming into LA area from SF August 18-19 to visit my sister and brother-in-law. I would like to treat them to a nice dinner and get them out of Sherman Oaks for an evening -- but don't want to totally break the bank. Pricing of $20-$35 for entrees would be a good ballpark. After searching the boards, I was inclined to pick Opus or AOC, but my sis is not a very adventurous eater, so I don't think she would be game for tasting menus, etc. Is Opus as good off the menu? Other suggestions?
If you want an alternative to AOC, one which is a little less adventurous (and pricey), but still pretty fantastic, you might opt for Lou on Melrose and Vine instead. It's nestled in a dreadful little strip mall across from a grocery store, and the food is more American than the Mediterranean that AOC serves, but it's a nice place to kick back and unwind with a glass or four.
The first time I went, my fellow diner remarked their cheese board was better than the one she'd had a few weeks prior at AOC. If you do go, make sure to get an order of pig candy.
I've only gone on a weeknight, around 8:00, and it wasn't crowded. I can see that a wait could form on weekends. It's a small place (though not tiny), and parking in the little lot - it's wedged in with a laundromat, Thai massage parlor, etc. - can be hard to secure. Street parking may be the best option. With such places in L.A., earlier is always better. You might call to ask what the situation is like on weekends - best times, normal waits, etc. They're very friendly there.
In short, uh, I'll wait for someone who's been on a Saturday to answer.
Lots of complaints about Opus recently on these boards, particularly about value declining. I haven't been in a while, so can't confirm.
I do like AOC; I also like Bin 8945 even if not getting the pricier tasting menu.
Hungry Cat fits in your 20-35 entree range, so long as you don't order the 125 dollar grand sea platter! ;)
For Italian, I'd consider Divino up on Barrington Ct., not too far from Sherman Oaks.
Also, perhaps Trattoria Amici at Doheny and Santa Monica Blvds.
I'll second the Bowery. I like Magnolia as well.
I recommend Nook Bistro for yum food/wine/excellent service.
Nook is small, so, if you go, call ahead and make a reservation.
11628 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 9, Los Angeles, CA 90025
go to violet in santa monica (on pico nr the 405)...it's a quick trip down the freeway from sherman oaks...well within your price range...
or else, head west down the 101 and go to the saddlepeak lodge...great food and great location, and it is spectacular in the summer
Please no VIOLET. Much is made of the menu but honestly too basic and fairly pedistraian, if not untasty. I've been 5 time and not once statifisted (though my favourite waiter at Melisse keeps recommending the place and I've had Sunday dinner with him and his girlfriend.) Tapas that don't satisfy and the most egregious of all cuisines--unejoyable mac and cheese.
What kind of food does she like?
Luna Park has pretty basic American food in a trendy atmosphere.
Maybe 25 Degrees for a fancy burger.
The Bowery is also fun and has surprisingly great food & specials. Was just there last week and the specials included salmon and lamp chops. The eggplant chips are a must, and I love their burger served on an English muffin.
25 Degrees Restaurant
7000 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
6268 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
672 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036