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Gonpachi vs. Celadon vs. Mako?

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We're looking for a nice, low-key, not too pricey (less than $150 for two) place for food and drinks to celebrate an annivesary. What's your opinion of the above three? I've chosen each for a different reason, but I'd love to hear what others have to say.

Gonpachi is on the list because it looks like it has a nice atmosphere (and we're Kill Bill fans).

Celadon is walking-distance from our house, which is good for the "drinks" part of the evening.

Mako is on the list because I've been reading about it on Chowhound for quite awhile.

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  1. We like both Celadon and Mako. Food is good at both. Creative, delicious and not over the moon expensive so your budget is doable unless you go to town on drinks, (Celadon probably will be a little bit less $, but it's close). Celadon has a nicer looking space. Have not been to Gonpachi but the food reviews here have been pretty bad.

    1. Agreed that Celadon & Mako are the better options - depends if you want food that's more Pan-Asian fusion (Celadon) or not (Mako); Celadon had a makeover of their menu pretty recently, but when I went everything was pretty delish. And yes, very good & creative cocktails.

      Gonpachi I haven't been, but food seems iffy on quality and definitely on the pricey side, from what I heard on the 'hound boards & LA food blogs. You may be even better off heading to the nearby (on La Cienega) Tokyo Table.

      ~H.C.
      http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

      2 Replies
      1. re: AquaW

        Tokyo Table is fun, but not really romantic -- decor is pretty sterile, better for a group of friends looking for late night Japanese comfort food and such.
        Gonpachi is certainly worth seeing for the decor but maybe better for lunch or a smaller meal?

        1. re: AquaW

          We've actually been to Tokyo Table, and while we enjoy it (very good infused sake!), we do want something a little different and less casual.

        2. I haven't been to Celadon, so can't comment on it, but I have been to both Gonpachi and Mako and I would highly recommend Mako. Gonpachi was very disappointing--I would not return.

          1. been to gonpachi and celadon... i'd say celadon for the anniversary. good food and ambience... my experience at gonpachi wasn't that bad, actually, but celadon takes the cake anyway.

            1 Reply
            1. re: tuttifrutti

              I'm a big fan of Celadon. Both times that I went, I was very surprised by the quality and creativity of the food. The drinks can be a bit precious with their descriptions, but they are tasty and the food is good.

              I also really like Mako's food, but it is small, and feels more like a neighborhood place than a special occasion restaurant. You won't go wrong if you go there, but I just think the vibe at Celadon is more fun.

            2. No contest. Mako all the way, and Orris needs to be on that list. Gonpachi needs to be removed in my opinion, unless you are a fan of a watered down noodles version of koi?

              Actually Orris might be too busy. Celadon is a nice space, and not crowded.

              1. I would also say Mako hands down. I have been going there since it opened, and I have never had anything short of a stellar experience. The staff is friendly and unfailingly competent (John at the door is charming), and the food is fantastic (with Mako himself almost always on the premises). I recommend ordering the pesto basmati (not sure what it's called on the menu these days) and the Szechuan green beans with whatever else you get. They are simple, fabulous dishes that complement everything else beautifully.
                As much as I wanted to like Celadon, I cannot give it the same unhesitating recommendation. I liked the food there just fine, but at least the night I was there I experienced some inexcusable service flaws. First of all, we were curious about a wine on the list (Consilience Pinot Noir, $50 range), and not one single person in the restaurant had the slightest clue about it. Secondly, despite being assured the courses would be staggered and arrive in proper order (crudo-cold dishes first), the hot dishes arrived first, followed, no more than one minute later, by the cold ones. Getting everything at once at a small plates place takes a lot of the fun out of it. Third, our server's slick glibness could not conceal his lack of experience or concern for his customers.
                When we expressed our disappointment to the manager, we received a nice bowl of sorbet and fruit on the house, a much appreciated gesture that nevertheless could not undo the previous unpleasantness of the experience. I would consider giving the place another chance because I think it has real potential (and those delicious tuna tartar "lollipops"), but for a special--or any fun--occasion I'd always turn to a sure thing like Mako, which has never lost its spot in my Top 5 and everyone here seems to like as well.

                1. MAKO