In Venice, Hal's or Joe's??
I'm having dinner Friday in Venice. Which is better?
They are completely different. Joe's is more upscale fine dining. Hal's is a more casual bar and grill. The food at Joe's is excellent and worth driving across town for, Hal's is a good solid neighborhood restaurant. I guess it depends what you are in the mood for.
Huge difference. First thing you should know is that Hal's is LOUD. No matter what table you get, you are going to be asking your dinner guest what he said at least once. I don't mind this so much because I'm a loud talker -- and I'm from NY, so I am a bit used to it. But if this is a first date kind of thing, you should know that long conversations can be a little challenging. The acoustics in the room do not absorb anything... that said, I honestly LOVE Hal's. Consistently great food at reasonable prices, a good crowd, and a menu that's chock full of choices. I am a big fan of their burger (think it's one of LA's best) but everything is really good (including their starter artichokes -- and their bread is wowza!).
I used to love, love, love Joe's. But the real Joe is no longer working there (he left with a partner to go to the restaurant above the Wine House called Upstairs 2). I think Joe's has fallen a notch (just had lunch there a week ago). It's still good mind you, just not the Joe's of a few years ago. It is however beautiful and romantic and impressive if you're going for that kind of thing. The food is not a deterrant per se. I just wouldn't run there anymore to eat like I used to. Hal's bar is a lot of fun. I go there with my husband and sit and eat dinner once a month -- very lively and fun. Joe's is more formal.