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I need a Resturaunt suggestion in greater L.A.area

Ok, heres the setup:

Girlfriends 24th birthday dinner. just us 2
She wants to go somewhere she can wear a dress. not formal, but still "upscale", and definately not stuffy. some kind of atmosphere,as she put it "not just tables and chairs".
I'm not a fan of chinese("asion fusion" is ok) or mexican. anything else is good. we both like meat.
My budget is up to $150, and neither of us really drink much.
I dont mind a drive, so anywhere in the greater L.A. area is ok.
Any input welcome

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  1. Celadon on 3rd St. just west of Fairfax has really good Asian fusion food, a creative drinks list if you do decide to have one to mark the occasion and a really beautiful room. The service is good without being at all snooty.


    1. Was at Hatfield's on Saturday and had a fantastic meal. Dunno what you would qualify as "atmosphere"...

      Oddly enough, it was my 24th birthday. I picked the place, she picked up the tab =D

      1. Thanks, you made it easy for us - $150 without drinks. Here are a few atmospheric places that my honey enjoys:

        1. Bistro Garden (12950 Ventura Blvd.) - it's like sitting in an indoor garden - good Cal-French - one of the best chocolate souffles

        2. Fogo De Chao (133 N. La Cienega Blvd.) - Brazilian steakhouse, where they keep serving and serving and serving until you cry "Uncle."

        3. Lawrey's (100 N. La Cienega Blvd.) - wonderful prime rib served from a cart - salad made tableside - overall great atmosphere

        4. Mastro's Steakhouse (246 N. Canon Dr.) - Maybe more scene than atmoshphere, especially upstairs - but you won't find a better steak

        5. Papadakis Taverna (301 W. Sixth Street in San Pedro) - How about a Greek floor show with all the Greek classics - it's a fun time

        3 Replies
        1. re: omakase

          Without blowing the bank, what about ChoSun Galbi?

          1. re: ns1

            to add to the suggestion above, it will easily be under $100 for two people.

            however, probably not the best place to go when dressed up. hehe!

          2. re: omakase

            Papadakis is a great choice. Wonderful lamb, a party place, safe area--but don't be surprised, as two ladies alone, if you receive friendly (though unembarrassing) attention from the wait/entertainment staff!

          3. 150 without drinks can get you pretty far food-wise.

            How about Saddle Peak Lodge? www.saddlepeaklodge.com Just be warned that this place will probably strain your budget.

            Or maybe something a bit closer like Grace? www.gracerestaurant.com

            1 Reply
            1. re: ipsedixit

              I think Saddle Peak may be ideal since it has some of the most unique and memorable decor in L.A., and is certainly a great place if you like meat. And I don't think $150 without drinks would be budget-straining... though you'd be straining to come in under $100.

            2. Table 8- Table8la.com- has a more trendy atmosphere- my boyfriend and I went there for our anniversary- it's dark with enough lighting to read the menus- food is seasonal with decent sized portions and a lot of meat on the menu- I would call it California style cuisine.

              I saw a plug for Hatfields already- I love that place- it has a more elegant atmosphere, I would say. Food also leans more towards meat with some great seafood options. Desserts are wonderful.

              Neither Table 8 or Hatfields are stuffy or will break the bank if you aren't drinking. (Which is too bad because Hatfields makes a great French 95)

              There are very few places in LA that are going to throw you out for not dressing up but these are both places that are more upscale and probably deserve the effort of a little dolling up.

              If you want to add a nice after-dinner stroll by the beach, you might want to try Jiraffe in Santa Monica.

              1. If it's a Fri or Sat, The Restaurant at The Getty Center.

                5 Replies
                1. re: jillso

                  anyone try JAR?
                  been reading its good, but is it more casual?

                  1. re: dsignguy_36

                    Jar would definitely be a good choice. Fits your criteria well.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Agree. JAR is no more casual than Table 8 or Hatfields. If anything, slightly less so. Fantastic food. Great room. Great vibe. It's where I'd want to spend my 24th Birthday.

                    2. re: dsignguy_36

                      Jar is perfect. Go there!!!


                      Jar Restaurant
                      8225 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

                      1. re: maxzook

                        Just be sure to get the Lobster Bernaise. And the Kombucha Squash.

                  2. Agree with suggestions of Jar, Hatfield's, Grace, and Jiraffe. Would also add Josie and Lucques to the list. Some of these may be slightly tight budget-wise (i.e., Grace), but all these restaurants have good websites with menus with prices, so you can judge that for yourself.

                    1. OK fello CHers,
                      Please keep in mind, this is a birthday for a 24 year old young woman...I'm reading some of these suggestions and even I (a very young looking 35) would feel as if I was dining at the kinds tabel, surrounded by the grandparents....c'mon, bistro garden..golly. maestro's , c'mon, I like the place (when someone else picks up the tab) but that's jsut a bit stuffy...if you're taking your business friends, find, men in suits, fine...this is a young lady's birthday.
                      take her to

                      At any of these places, she'll be able to get all dolled up, the food will be great, the service will be great. The lighting will be great (K-ZO's lighting is fine but not exactly romantic), there are good wines-by-the-glass choices at all these places so you wont have to commit to a full bottle that you may not be able to finish, and the servers/sommeliers are helpful with no pretense or intimidation..just ask them to make a suggestion to go with what you order.
                      Each suggestion is in a different area to hopefully cover "the greater LA areaa" since I have nbo idea where you are..let me know and I can give you more choices closer to where you'd like to be.

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: tatertotsrock

                        I can't speak for the other 3, but I've been to Grace on a Saturday night and it didn't feel all that young to me. I mean, it's nothing like Orso (where their refusal to use microwaves stems not from traditionalism but rather the fear of pacemaker interference), but still.

                        In my experience, any top-notch restaurant in L.A. is usually populated by a mix of ages, from 20s on up.

                        1. re: nick_r

                          Hi nick-r
                          Did you also notice that even the older crowd is not exactly geriactric...they are usually nicely dressed and a sometimes alittle loud (not because they are going deaf, it's usually because they are enjoying a lot of wine and having a good time...you know, enjoying their food without any stuffiness...again, the room is the type of space that I enjoy when on a date...it's got enough people watching ability without being obvios and you still can focus on your date.
                          People can get dressed up or down thereand the service is spot on!

                          1. re: tatertotsrock

                            I don't consider myself quite geriatric at 30 yet- some of my friends are older, some are younger. We'd go to any of the places mentioned. (Though I don't know that I would want to go to a steakhouse for my birthday)

                            1. re: PrettyPlaty

                              Hi PrettyPlaty,

                              I actually enjoy the places YOU suggested.
                              Notice, I mentioned Bistro Garden and Maestros...been to both..would NOT want to go for my birthday.
                              What's your fav at Table 8...I need to go again...it's been forever...a good time...yum.

                              1. re: tatertotsrock

                                Agreed on all counts!
                                I loved the ambience at Table 8- and it's not going to break the bank- great place to have a birthday party. I loved the lamb (came with rice pudding- interesting touch, I thought) and the heirloom tomato salad. I also have liked all the drinks I've tried there!

                                1. re: PrettyPlaty

                                  When dining at Table 8, ask to see the lounge menu as well. Some of thier best apps are only available there (Short Rib Grilled Cheese, Lobster Roll, Kobe Slider).

                                  1. re: wutzizname

                                    Ohhhh, the short rib grilled cheese, ...

                        2. re: tatertotsrock

                          I think of Violet as very casual. I've worn jeans or the equivalent each time I've been there.

                          I say Spago. She can definitely wear a dress, it's a lovely atmosphere, food is great (have the cookie box for dessert; they'll add ice cream if you like). $150 should be enough without booze.

                          1. re: sherpa50

                            Hi sherpa50,
                            The thing about VIOLET is that even if you get dolled-up, you wont feel out of place. At night, the room is pretty, the room has the ability to creat a "focus only on your date" quality...I think it's the lighting.

                          2. re: tatertotsrock

                            Agree that a couple of recs aren't ideal for a 20-something (i.e., Lawry's), but the vast majority attract both younger and older people alike (I am in my late 20's so I should know!). I don't consider Violet dress-worthy. Same goes for Fogo de Chao (mentioned by someone else).

                            1. re: Nicole

                              I wouldn't wear a dress to Violet or to Fogo de Chao- the latter because it's a Brazilian bbq place and while good, you don't want to get dressed up to get bbq. However- it depends on how formal "dress" is considered. I don't know that I would wear formal black tie attire to any restaurant in Southern CA unless I was going to the Oscars or another awards type event. Or maybe the LA Opera.

                            2. re: tatertotsrock

                              Thanks guys. I really apprciate th suggestions. Hatfields sounded good, but I hear its a little plain on the atmosphere, plus I found its been getting some not-so-shining review as of late. Grace looks and sounds unbelieveable....but I'm worried it would break the bank..especially if she decides to have some wine. Jar sounds good, looks great, I found nothing but good reviews, and she loves french fries(sopposedly they've got the best around), so I made resevations there. However, I liked what Tatertots had to say, so I'm doing a little research on his suggestions.
                              We are in LaCrescenta, so most of these places are about the same trave time(santa monica is a bit farther, but its all freeway, so time roughly is the same)

                            3. Catch at the Hotel Casa Del Mar is a classy place that you would feel comfortable dressed up and without drinks should be doable for under $150. It has a great view of the beach in Santa Monica if you are there before dark. Saddle Peak, as mentioned should also work nicely.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: scrappydog

                                But the food at Catch is so .... how do you say? ... so bad.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  lol @ ipsedixit

                                  Just found out Bashan in like 4 minutes from my house, and around the corner from our usual hangouts...so I dont think it will feel like a special night out.....but I'll give it a shot in a few weeks.

                                  1. re: dsignguy_36

                                    Yeah, definitely check out Bashan some time. It's a great addition to the 'hood.

                                    Enjoy wherever you end up.

                              2. if you like meat and don't mind the drive, go to La Fondue in San Juan Capistrano? :P (I raved about it in my blog http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2007/...)

                                closer to LA though, yeah for a 24-year-old ... Okay if you like the more hip, how about Asia de Cuba on Sunset. I do love the burger at Grace (going to Grace for burger? YES! and you'll definitely be under budget)
                                oh, oh Geoffrey's at Malibu is still one my fave as far as romantic goes.

                                so well, these can all be under budget if you order accordingly :


                                Geoffrey's Malibu
                                27400 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

                                8440 W Sunset Blvd West, Hollywood, CA

                                1. Another for consideration - La Dolce Vita. I go there quite often and the bill usually comes to $100 including tip, more like $150 with a bottle of wine.

                                  La Dolce Vita
                                  9785 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                  1. Good stuff so far... so I'll just add...

                                    Via Veneto
                                    Angeli Caffe