Group dinner in Fairfax area
I live near around Fairfax and Third in LA. I'm always looking for a place to go to dinner with a medium sized group (say, six to eight people). What we're looking for is: (1) good; (2) cheap; (3) not too loud; (4) not impossible for a group of that size; and (5) within a 20 minute drive of the Fairfax/Miracle Mile/West Hollywood area.
Places that I like include:
El Colmao, 2328 W. Pico (good, cheap cuban food, NEVER crowded)
Alegria, 3510 W. Sunset in Silverlake (GREAT, cheap Mexican)
Maurice's Snack 'n Chat, 5549 W. Pico between Hauser and Fairfax
Noshi Sushi, 4430 Beverly between Normandie & Western, Koreatown (not great for groups because of the way the seats are organized, but the best cheap sushi I've found in LA)
Campanile, 624 S. Labrea for Thursday's grilled cheese night (otherwise, it's way too pricey)
Purans, 142 S. La Brea (Cute Italian place, not great for large groups)
I apologize if you've all covered these places before; I'm new to the board. I'd love any recommendations: we've gone to Swingers or Red by default way too many times.
A place I love to go with larger groups is Carousel, an Armenian restaurant in the back of a mini-mall near the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Normandie on the south side of the street (5112 Hollywood Blvd.) It's got wonderful appetizers including the usual hummus and tabouli as well as spicy labneh (thick, sour-cream-like cheese), great homemade soujouk (armenian beef sausage), fattush salad (veggies with toasted pita bread)... classic middle eastern/mediterranean fare. You could be happy with appetizers alone. The dinners are huge plates of kebabs (my favorite is lula kebab) served with rice and tomato and bread and salad. They'll serve the dinners family style if you have a large group, and they don't have a liquor license, so if you want beer, ask for "apple juice." The atmosphere leaves a lot to be desired, but they have a lot of big tables and one or two always seem to be available. I've shown up with eleven people and no reservation and had no problem. Marouch on Edgemont and Santa Monica is great for this type of food too, but it's not as roomy for large groups. Good luck.
Have you tried any of the Ethiopian places on Fairfax, south of Olympic? Lots of group seating, spicy food, cold beer and -- what could be more convivial? -- finger-food (it's picked up with a thick napkin-sized pancake called 'injara.') Mmmmmmmmmm...