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Reasonably priced special occasion restaurant?

jessisthebest11 Aug 13, 2007 01:57 PM

I'm looking for a nice restaurant, that I can have a nice dinner with my SO for my birthday that won't break the bank. It doesn't have to be super fancy gourmet, just good food, nice atmosphere, decent service, not too loud, and where we won't spend say....over $50/person including wine. Last year we went to Maestros and although it was very nice and delicious, we don't have a ton of money to spend. Is this the $64,000 question?

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  1. j
    jkao1817 Aug 13, 2007 03:30 PM

    what part of town?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jkao1817
      jessisthebest11 Aug 13, 2007 05:05 PM

      Preferably somewhere on the westside of town.

    2. foodseeker Aug 13, 2007 05:07 PM

      Nook would fit the bill, or Upstairs 2 at the Wine House. Both are reasonably priced and have wonderful food. . .

      1. mollyomormon Aug 13, 2007 05:20 PM

        I'd vote for Orris. It should be doable depending on what you order.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mollyomormon
          whatsfordinner Aug 13, 2007 05:23 PM

          Second Orris. It's definitely doable on your budget. The problem is everything is so, so good it's hard to limit yourself!

        2. j
          jessisthebest11 Aug 13, 2007 05:29 PM

          Orris and Upstairs 2 are both tapas places....hmmm not sure that's what we're looking for.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jessisthebest11
            hrhboo Aug 13, 2007 05:33 PM

            I wouldn't call either of them tapas places, more like small-plates focused menus. Violet is great too. They have small and larger plates.

          2. stollingrone007 Aug 13, 2007 05:46 PM

            Il Pastaio on Canon Drive in Beverly Hills has fantastic Italian food at reasonable prices.
            App, pasta, and wine should cost ~$50 or $60/person.
            It's not loud, but it's not quiet either. Tables are kind of close to each other. But it all seems to work well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: stollingrone007
              Emme Aug 14, 2007 02:46 AM

              I like Il Pastaio as well.

              Pane e Vino might be nice on the back patio, and would get you in and out for that price range.

              I kno small plates weren't necessarily what you wanted, but I really like Cube as well as Lou on Vine.

              Magnolia and Bowery would also fit in your budgetary constraints.

            2. f
              fdb Aug 13, 2007 07:04 PM

              If your birthday falls within the next couple weeks, you may want to take advantage of Dine Out LA. 3-course dinner for $35 and you'll be doing good deeds for charity.


              3 Replies
              1. re: fdb
                Fru Aug 13, 2007 09:36 PM

                If Santa Monica isn't too far west, I suggest Cafe Bizou. I've only been to the SFV and Pasadena locations so I don't know the ambiance at the SM location. My husband and I love it for a reasonable "occasion" venue and have celebrated many anniversaries, etc there. I'm sure there will be naysayers but I stick to my guns!

                1. re: Fru
                  jessisthebest11 Aug 14, 2007 08:31 AM

                  I've been to Cafe Bizou in Pasadena (work down there). Nice place.

                  1. re: Fru
                    carter Aug 14, 2007 10:47 AM

                    The Bizou in Santa Monica has no affiliation with the ones in Sherman Oaks or Pasadena any more, as the Cafe Bizou was sold over a year ago, and is now called Bizou Garden Bistro, so make no assumptions based on the other locations.
                    Violet, Le Petit Cafe on Colorado in Santa Monica, Nook, Il Pastaio on Canon or Orso on 3rd St.(patio is great) near Cedars if you watch what you order.

                2. ipsedixit Aug 13, 2007 09:53 PM

                  Lots of good suggestions already (esp. Violet and Orris), but how about Joe's in Venice?


                  Joe's Restaurant
                  1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

                  1. m
                    minnie Aug 13, 2007 11:41 PM

                    Second on Il pastaio in BH. Also, Chaya Brasserie on Alden and Robertson.

                    1. d
                      Diana Aug 14, 2007 07:17 AM

                      Orris is good and Upstairs 2.

                      Also in Westho is Angeli Caffe, very nice.

                      Cube IS NOT in that price range!

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: Diana
                        Wolfgang Aug 14, 2007 08:52 AM

                        Pizzeria Mozza sounds like a pretty good fit.

                        1. re: Wolfgang
                          Diana Aug 14, 2007 09:03 AM

                          in that price range? not if you get everything you want, and not with wine.

                          1. re: Diana
                            Wolfgang Aug 14, 2007 09:56 AM

                            True, but very doable if you manage it right. I split a salad and 2 pizzas between my gf and me when we go and we stagger out of there usually.

                            2 pizzas: $28
                            1 app: $12
                            2 glasses wine: $20
                            1 dessert: $10

                            1. re: Wolfgang
                              Diana Aug 14, 2007 10:01 AM

                              then there's tip and the outrageous valet price.

                              1. re: Diana
                                mollyomormon Aug 14, 2007 10:07 AM

                                although it's easy enough to find street parking around there that I'm not sure why one would valet.

                                1. re: mollyomormon
                                  Diana Aug 14, 2007 10:09 AM

                                  some days are easier than others..but you are right!

                                2. re: Diana
                                  carter Aug 14, 2007 10:51 AM

                                  Why would anyone valet at Mozza, when you can park about 150-200 feet north of the restaurant on EITHER side of Highland after 7pm, as well as on Melrose east of Highland in a similar timeframe, unless you are with someone with access issues?

                                  1. re: carter
                                    Diana Aug 14, 2007 11:31 AM

                                    Intersting thought..if one had "access issues" would you have to pay to valet? In my mind, handicapped valet should be free.

                                    Of course, I'm not ther past 7:00 PM..I only seem to get early reservations. When I'm in Weho later, I go somewhere else.

                                3. re: Wolfgang
                                  Servorg Aug 14, 2007 10:24 AM

                                  They could get a "bottle" of wine at PM along with your menu above, and still be under $50 pp (including a 20% tip) if they can find street parking.

                                  1. re: Servorg
                                    jessisthebest11 Aug 14, 2007 10:38 AM

                                    Wow, this is really helpful!

                                    1. re: Servorg
                                      Diana Aug 14, 2007 10:49 AM


                            2. n
                              Nicole Aug 14, 2007 12:36 PM

                              I love the food at Orris, but I wouldn't consider it a special occasion place...particularly since they don't take reservations. Violet's food isn't as good as Orris, but it does take reservations, and has more of a special occasion feel. Joe's is pretty good, but not great, and possibly pricier than you are looking for. I know it has its fans on this board, but I only like it for lunch, which is a better value. I'm also not a fan of pizzeria mozza, although it has plenty of advocates on this board. I haven't been there in a long time, but Chez Mimi used to be good value at a reasonable price on the westside...and they have a very nice patio that has a special occasion feel. That would probably be my pick, with your parameters.

                              1. l
                                lalawgirl Aug 14, 2007 02:31 PM

                                Tasca, on 3rd Street just west of Crescent Heights, has fantastic food and great atmosphere (though its best to be there after dark, so you can enjoy the dim lighting/bistro feel). Their corkage is $15, so you could bring wine & save $$. I hate telling people about it because it makes it harder for me to get a table.

                                Cube has less atmosphere but is eminently affordable, delicious and BYOB. They do have a nice little table for two near the back you can ask for.

                                Lou on Vine is great -- a wine bar with yummy little snacks and small plates.

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