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The Lobster, Sushi Roku, or Chaya Venice?

Trying to decide where to go this weekend for my 30th bday dinner. Any opinions? Something I'm missing? I prefer westside, but would go further east for a good dinner. I am thinking seafood or asian food. Was also thinking maybe koi (I've never been there) or grace (which got a lot of good comments on the board). Thanks!

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  1. You're missing a list of good restaurants. In the price range of a decent dinner and drinks for any of the first 3, you can do much better. I expect you'll be given a long list, so I won't put any here, unhelpfully. Having said that, I think the best of the 3 would be Lobster, and also, by the way, be the most "birthday special" in terms of non-food issues. I cannot speak to Koi or Grace, except that I too have read the Grace-positive reviews. Happy birthday!

    1. It sort of depends on what you're looking for in terms of food/atmosphere. I think of those three, Chaya Venice definitely has the best of both.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mollyomormon

        If you're willing to move outside of those three choices but still want to stay on the westside, I'd go to Abode. The Lobster feels very much like a corporate chain and would be way low on my list of places to celebrate a birthday.

      2. Of your three I think Chaya is probably the most birthday-ish. If you are venturing east, you might want to try Table 8- it's in close vicinity to Grace and in my opinion a lot better. (I'm probably one of the few people on this board who is not a fan of Grace) Also keep in mind that it might be tough to get reservations at this point.

        Depending on your price range (it's your 30th- eat like a rockstar), the "Westside" also has:

        Joes
        Jiraffe (might be a bit conservative)
        Melisse
        Josie

        If you are willing to blow a bit of cash and want seafood, I would try Providence and their wine paired tasting menu. I took the SO there for his 30th last year and he still thinks it's the best meal he's ever had. The Hungry Cat is a great seafood place. Neither of these are "Westside".

        2 Replies
        1. re: PrettyPlaty

          I've been to table 8 a few times and don't like it. To me, it's the epitome of "nothing special."
          Melisse is delicious and memorable, but it also feels very conservative.

          1. re: PlatypusJ

            That's sort of how I felt about Grace- with the added bonus of the food not being very good. (Well, the appetizers were interesting but that was about it). I thought Table 8's food was good (not the best ever) and that the ambience would be good for a birthday dinner, get together, etc. If it were any birthday dinner, I'd pick Table 8, Joes, the Hungry Cat. If it was my 30th, I would want to be treated to something more like Sona or Providence. :-)

        2. Happy Birthday! Out of the three, I am not too excited about Sushi Roku. I love the other two. You should double check me but I think that Spiny Lobsters are still in season and if they have them at the Lobster they are a fortune but they are divine!Haven't been to Koi or Grace. Let us know where you end up!!

          1. Out of the those three (and believe me, I do understand the urge to stay on the far westside), I would definitely pick Chaya Venice. I was just there again last week (c.f. my previous post about where to take my parents, who made my decision for me by walking past Chaya on one of their afternoon strolls and deciding that was where they'd like to go). I was amazing by how lively it was the day after Christmas, and in general it's my Venice / Santa Monica pick for good food in a festive atmosphere. I agree with the other posters that Sushi Roku is pretty meh foodwise, and the Lobster is rather staid (although the view is fantastic, but that's kind of a moot point for dinner this weekend).

            1. Of those three, I would definitely choose Chaya. The food is consistently good, the atmosphere is fun (I love those sea-inspired shapes on the ceiling) and you can stroll Main Street afterwards if so inclined. I also like the Lobster, but I agree with other posters that it feels a little corporate. Also, along the same lines in terms of food and near the beach, you could try Tengu. The Chilean seabass there (I know, I know) is great. I would nix Sushi Roku.

              1. I'd also go with Chaya. You won't go broke, and it's a very fun place for a celebration. Close to several good bars too for after-dinner drinking.

                1. For the love of all that's holy... you only get to do your 30th b-day dinner once, so please DON'T waste it on Sushi Roku!

                  If all you want to eat is spicy tuna on crispy rice, then by all means, go to Koi.

                  Of what you wrote on the original post, Chaya Venice, Grace & Lobster are good options. Have you considered Chaya Brasserie (by Robertson)?

                  Happy B-Day!

                  1. I had a really terrible experience at The Lobster. I thought the service was lousy and the food mediocre. My special birthday spot is Josie on Pico but I would also recommend Ocean and Vine at Lowes in Santa Monica. Their lounge has the best ambiance and it's fun to have pre-dinner cocktails around the fire pit.
                    Happy Birthday!