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Brewing beer, curing meat, or making cheese? Get great advice

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

dsignguy_36 Oct 24, 2007 04:36 PM

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

  1. Servorg Oct 24, 2007 04:49 PM

    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. n
      ns1 Oct 24, 2007 05:00 PM

      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. o
        omakase Oct 24, 2007 05:18 PM

        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
          ns1 Oct 24, 2007 05:25 PM

          Without blowing the bank, what about ChoSun Galbi?

          1. re: ns1
            wilafur Oct 24, 2007 05:34 PM

            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
            Lee by the Sea Oct 27, 2007 06:14 PM

            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. ipsedixit Oct 24, 2007 05:20 PM

            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
              nick_r Oct 25, 2007 04:53 PM

              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. PrettyPlaty Oct 24, 2007 05:38 PM

              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. j
                jillso Oct 24, 2007 06:32 PM

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

                5 Replies
                1. re: jillso
                  dsignguy_36 Oct 24, 2007 07:23 PM

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

                  1. re: dsignguy_36
                    ipsedixit Oct 24, 2007 08:25 PM

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

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      wutzizname Oct 24, 2007 08:58 PM

                      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
                      maxzook Oct 24, 2007 09:28 PM

                      Jar is perfect. Go there!!!


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

                      1. re: maxzook
                        wutzizname Oct 24, 2007 09:31 PM

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

                  2. n
                    Nicole Oct 25, 2007 03:47 PM

                    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. tatertotsrock Oct 25, 2007 04:55 PM

                      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
                        nick_r Oct 25, 2007 05:05 PM

                        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
                          tatertotsrock Oct 25, 2007 05:35 PM

                          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
                            PrettyPlaty Oct 26, 2007 08:33 AM

                            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
                              tatertotsrock Oct 26, 2007 03:27 PM

                              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
                                PrettyPlaty Oct 26, 2007 04:26 PM

                                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
                                  wutzizname Oct 26, 2007 05:08 PM

                                  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
                                    PrettyPlaty Oct 27, 2007 10:28 AM

                                    Ohhhh, the short rib grilled cheese, ...

                        2. re: tatertotsrock
                          sherpa50 Oct 25, 2007 05:15 PM

                          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
                            tatertotsrock Oct 25, 2007 05:32 PM

                            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
                            Nicole Oct 25, 2007 05:21 PM

                            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
                              PrettyPlaty Oct 26, 2007 08:37 AM

                              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
                              dsignguy_36 Oct 25, 2007 05:22 PM

                              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. scrappydog Oct 25, 2007 05:14 PM

                              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
                                ipsedixit Oct 25, 2007 05:17 PM

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

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  dsignguy_36 Oct 25, 2007 05:32 PM

                                  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
                                    ipsedixit Oct 25, 2007 05:39 PM

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

                                    Enjoy wherever you end up.

                              2. burumun Oct 26, 2007 01:36 AM

                                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. l
                                  LisaStitch Oct 26, 2007 05:22 PM

                                  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. Emme Oct 27, 2007 09:38 PM

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

                                    Via Veneto
                                    Angeli Caffe

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