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Jan 6, 2008 01:00 PM

AOC or Upstairs 2?

I'm an out-of-towner in need of an LA restaurant to give a gift certificate to. The recipients are definite foodies and big-time wine lovers. "Hipness" definitely not a priority. They live in Venice but would happily travel for a great meal. Having done a preliminary search, it seems like AOC and Upstairs 2 might fit the bill. Any preferences between the 2? Or other suggestions? Thanks.

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    1. re: bubbles4me

      As you can from the thread below, there is plenty of reason not to heap praise upon the AOC. It was one of my most disappointing meals in LA, especially as I love both Lucques and Hungry Cat.


      AOC would probably feel like a more of a 'special' experience for a gift. But since you said 'hipness' was not a priority, either one could work well, and Upstairs 2 is certainly closer.

      Here's another thread for great wine-friendly experiences if you're looking for additional ideas...


    2. agree w bubbles. no question-aoc

      1. AOC certainly wins this prize, hands down. Had friends in from Vermont and they still cannot stop talking about the AOC experience 18 months later. Not trying to denigrate Upstairs 2, yet it is not in the same category whatsoever.

        1. Not knowing where they've been already, it's a bit tougher to suggest other options, but I'd look at Bin 8945, Via Veneto, Joe's, Jiraffe, Il Pastaio, and Lou on Vine

          1 Reply
          1. re: Emme

            Without question, AOC; tell your friends to sit at the bar or "cheese" bar.

            I'd avoid Bin 8945; it's been sold and Haskell and Bryant will be opening a more casual place soon called Keg and Barrel.

          2. The argument in favor of Upstairs 2, however, is that your friends have probably already been to AOC, and perhaps Upstairs 2 is not on their radar. Upstairs 2 has an extremely fun wine list with a lot of great selections at incredibly fair prices. Your friends could drink a great bottle, eat decent food as second fiddle to a special wine, it won't cost a fortune, and they'll feel like they're making a discovery as opposed to going to a place that everyone knows is hip and cool.

            2 Replies
            1. re: la tache burger

              Or buy a bottle downstairs, and then pay another $10 for the privilege of popping the cork upstairs ... too.

              1. re: RicRios

                Upstairs 2 really needs to rethink their corkage policy. I understand that EVEN when a customer is buying a bottle from the shop downstairs, there are costs in stemware and service. And certainly the customer is then NOT buying equivalent glasses or a bottle from the restaurant. So I understand the rationale.

                But it irks a patron to shop the wine store and then be hit with the corkage when one walks it up the stairs. Obviously a white would probably need to be chilled, so we are probably talking reds. I honestly don't know how this fits into the equation. The profit margin in a wine store is not nearly that of a restaurant, so there is a smaller mark-up. But considering all of this, wouldn't Upstairs 2 be better off with a more friendly cooperative policy?