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Sep 12, 2000 03:19 AM

romantic restaurants?

  • m

Hi all! I'm looking to take my girlfriend out for her birthday and need suggestions for a place to take her. Looking to go in the West LA area, type of food is fairly open, if I had to choose I'd say seafood, japanese, or american. Thanks for the help!

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  1. When thinking "romantic" the first place that comes to mind is the Saddlepeak Lodge. Although it's not in the West LA Area,it's a nice drive up Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu Canyon, turn right toward the valley and then a right on Piuma Road. The restaurant looks like an old hunting lodge with deer and moose heads on the walls. They're famous for their game dishes, i.e., elk, but it's basically American cuisine. They have patio dining as well as the inside rooms and if it's hot out I would suggest requesting an outside table. The restaurant is located in Calabasas and has an 818 area code.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Joan Winston

      Joan, you're my kind of gal--one who finds a hunting lodge environment "romantic."

      However, if Ming Ma thinks his girlfriend might respond better to something more classically "romantic," here are some additional suggestions: (1) the Bel Air Hotel, complete with beautiful gardens, ponds and swans; (2) Chez Mimi (in Santa Monica), a charming cottage full of tastefully decorated little rooms; (3) Four Oaks, for a woodsy, secluded ambience in Beverly Glen Canyon; (4) Le Chardonnay (mid-town at 8284 Melrose Ave.) for an art noveau replica of Vagenende on Paris' Blvd. Saint-Germain; or (5) Diaghilev, for caviar and vodka, and other Franco-Russian dishes in a high-ceilinged, spectacularly elegant room. A word of warning; both the Bel Air Hotel and Diaghilev are very expensive.

      1. re: Tom Armitage

        another suggestion is "il cielo". although the food is not spectacular, the ambience is perfect for a romantic dinner. it is basically outdoor seating with candles, vines on the walls, etc. ask for table 50 if you go. it's the best table for 2.

        the bel-air hotel is elegant but it still has that hotel feel...a little bit older of a crowd as well. the gardens are beautiful, but the food was not as good as i expected. granted, i've only gone once.

        tom mentioned le chardonnay. it's definitely french. not sure if that fits within what you mentioned.

        i also really love crustacean, although it may not be as romantic...a little more towards the hip. great food from their "special" kitchen (crab or prawns), but at $50 a plate, it's not cheap. you can check out my web page for more info...

        good luck!


        1. re: Tom Armitage

          I walked by Le Chardonnay and was impressed with the room - so much so that I resolved I would try it at some point. I've never heard anyone mention the food, however. How good is it?

        2. re: Joan Winston

          I took my girlfriend to the Saddle Peak Lodge on her birthday last July. I had not eaten there for several years, but have enjoyed both the food and the ambience on past occasions. While the outdoor patio area is, indeed, a romantic spot for dinner, the food was pretty substandard. My King Salmon was overcooked and my girlfriend's Ahi looked less than market-fresh. Maybe we should have stuck with the game.

          For a really nice romantic dinner, I would recommend Chianti Ristorante on Melrose in West Hollywood. It's so dimly lit that the waiters hold flashlights to your menu. The Raymond in Pasadena is also a good choice. It's an old, stone groundkeeper's cottage on what used to be the grounds of a posh hotel.

        3. I find "the Little Door" to be a very romantic restaurant. The patio is particularly beautiful, it's high vine covered stone walls illuminated by a small universe of candles, all set beneath a starry sky. The food is very solid, sort of Moroccan influenced Franco-Californian (seared Ahi with tahini and preserved lemons, filet of beef with madiera sauce, etc.), and the wine list is quite extensive with a vast number of selections available by the glass. Service is among the best I've had in LA, by which I mean you don't have to be a celebrity to be treated well (the downfall of many other would-be "romantic" restaurants and a particular pet peeve of mine). It's a very "appetizer-main course-dessert" type of place, which is nice in some instances if you have other plans later in the eve (nudge-nudge, wink-wink). Also, it is very fairly priced, which is a big bonus in my book. I have dined at the Little Door a number of times and have never been disappointed (and I am very critical of restaurants in gene

          1. Sorry for the extremely late message. But I just wanted to say thanks for the tips. I ended up going to Le Chardonnay since it was close by the theater we were going to. I had the duck with orange ginger honey sauce. I thought it was very good and would recommend it to anyone who goes. My girlfriend had a halibut with the parsley sauce. I personally didn't like it, but she thought it was ok. I thought it was overcooked, but I've been called a fish snob before so maybe it's just me... next up il cielo!