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Need a great restaurant to go for my 40th birthday

r
rydyl Jan 6, 2008 03:07 PM

There will either be 4 or 6 of us going out to celebrate my 40th birthday. I want an excellent place with fantastic food, fabulous service and a great menu. I was told to pick anywhere, so price isn't a big issue although some of the most expensive places might feel a bit much to ask someone to pay (Providence might fall into this category). Thank you for any input. Oh, location doesn't really matter - anywhere in the general LA area.

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  1. w
    Wes Jan 6, 2008 05:50 PM

    Saddle Peak Lodge
    419 Cold Canyon Rd
    Calabasas, CA 91302

    saddlepeaklodge.com

    My S.O. treated me for my birthday and it was wonderful.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Wes
      a
      alexfood Jan 7, 2008 11:27 AM

      Second! This is a unique special occasion dinner that doesn't leave you feeling like you just went to one of many similar-feeling high-end restaurants in L.A.

    2. k
      KimcheeBreath Jan 6, 2008 06:07 PM

      I went to AOC for my 40th and had a wonderful time. Depending on your group size you might be able to get a private area upstairs. Also been to Campanile's upstairs room and that was wonderful. But another great place is Chosun Galbee! Plenty of private rooms, very convivial and excellent food (even if it's not the most "authentic" Korean place). My friend had a 40th there and it was so memorable, we went back for his 41st! happy Birthday!

      1 Reply
      1. re: KimcheeBreath
        maxzook Jan 6, 2008 06:12 PM

        Second the motion for Campanile,esp. the second floor rooms.

      2. Emme Jan 6, 2008 06:39 PM

        pane e vino might be nice assuming it's not raining and you get the patio... big fan of the grilled artichoke app and whatever fish they might have on special. good meat selection as well.

        lucques and jar would also be good options in my book.

        if you want to go down to santa monica, try via veneto on main.

        1. r
          rydyl Jan 6, 2008 06:40 PM

          There are just 4 of us, possibly 6 total. Just a dinner, not a party so a private room or party like atmosphere is not needed.

          1. m
            maudies5 Jan 6, 2008 07:19 PM

            Call Toscana in Brentwood. You'll have great food, a great time and the staff will celebrate with you. Not a stuffy place; a fun place. Call and ask for Antonella or Antonio.

            1. d
              Diana Jan 7, 2008 07:54 AM

              All great suggestions!

              I also would add
              Cafe Angeli

              Think about Prividence

              Valentino

              The Water Grill

              Cut

              Cube

              West

              OPus

              Bastide

              Moun of Tunis (really fun moroccan, lounging on couches, bellydancers, eating with fingers!

              Alexis Greek Cafe

              In of the Seventh Ray

              Chez Mimi

              Fraiche

              5 Replies
              1. re: Diana
                goodhealthgourmet Jan 7, 2008 11:20 PM

                if the OP feels providence is too pricey, i think that also takes valentino, water grill, cut, opus & bastide out of the running, no?

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                  d
                  Diana Jan 8, 2008 06:49 AM

                  Without wine, the Valentino tastying menu is way less expensive then Providence. Opus is also cheaper.

                  Plus, it is the OP's own morality not the dinner restrictions keeping Providence a maybe.

                  1. re: Diana
                    goodhealthgourmet Jan 8, 2008 10:16 AM

                    interesting, i never knew opus was so much less expensive. valentino i figured without the wine, but who wants to do that? ;)

                    your suggestions were all excellent, i just thought it might be easier on the OP if we didn't point out the numerous meals they could potentially enjoy if he/she didn't feel guilty about letting friends foot a super-expensive bill.

                    then again, it just might be the kick in the pants the OP needed to drop the guilt and let those friends splurge on him/her for the occasion!

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                      d
                      Diana Jan 8, 2008 10:18 AM

                      yeah, it is a 40th birthday! Go for the gusto!

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                        maxzook Jan 9, 2008 07:48 AM

                        You can feel guilty, or you can settle for a less-than-splendid meal at a price your friends can afford.

                        Or you can offer to chip in.

                        I'd do the latter.

                        Bring on Providence! :)

                2. e
                  ElissaInPlaya Jan 7, 2008 09:26 AM

                  Fraiche!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ElissaInPlaya
                    t
                    The Sauce Jan 7, 2008 12:26 PM

                    The Dining Room - Ritz Pasadena
                    For casual fun - Ford's Filling Station in Culver City
                    Fraiche - Culver City
                    Terroni

                    1. re: The Sauce
                      r
                      Rizza Jan 7, 2008 02:20 PM

                      Sauce - what was your terroni experience? I just had lunch there last week for a party and loved it. Notably the mushroom appetizer and the squash blossoms. The desserts were abslutely wonderful - and a great presentaton on the big wood boards. Since I haven't been there at night, I haven't reccomended it. But what a great party luncheon we had. Festive and delicious.

                      1. re: Rizza
                        t
                        The Sauce Jan 7, 2008 03:57 PM

                        I've been there 4 times, twice for dinner, twice for lunch, and have loved it each time. The atmosphere is lively, food is so tasty. I am really happy with it, no complaints at all. The pizza is fantastic!

                  2. l
                    LisaStitch Jan 7, 2008 05:08 PM

                    I also second the Via Veneto suggestion. That would be my first choice. Excellent food and service. Can get loud, but I was still able to hear everyone at the table I was at without having to yell or anything.

                    I might also consider Mastro's if I were in a steak mood, or Cut since I still have not been there.

                    If you like sushi, The Hump is wonderful, or so says the SO since I took him there as one of his Christmas presents. It also has the nifty unique of being right at the Santa Monica airport. My SO is an airplane nerd and got such a kick out of seeing planes take off. The quality of sushi (so I'm told) and service are both impeccable. Bonus - free lot parking!

                    Fraiche has been bad both times I have tried it. Bad service, bad wine, okay but nothing special food, and even if all those things were great, it's still not an ambience I'd want for a special occasion like a birthday - it's a bit too casual for that, super loud, and has the most uncomfortable wooden chairs I've ever experienced.

                    1. r
                      rydyl Jan 7, 2008 05:45 PM

                      So many great suggestions. I think I am going to narrow the choices down to places I've never been to, so now I am thinking of one of the following...

                      Ortolan
                      Buffalo Club
                      Providence
                      Jar
                      Bastide

                      Any thoughts?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: rydyl
                        n
                        nosh Jan 7, 2008 08:23 PM

                        Providence is indeed highly regarded, but almost all of the raves have reviewed their tasting menu. This would probably have to be selected by everyone in the party, which could be problematic and definitely would be expensive. Bastide has been adored in each of its reincarnations by the L.A. Times Virbila, meaning it has its uniqueness but also is beyond pricey.

                        I'd pick Jar. Great food, sides that you can share among the group, fun celebratory atmosphere.

                        1. re: rydyl
                          n
                          New Trial Jan 7, 2008 10:01 PM

                          Well, I threw a Birthday party at Jar 5 years ago that my friends are still talking about (and that was with a set menu) but, this year, I am having it at Ortolan and expect similar raves. Very different styles; Jar is the ne plus ultra of American comfort food and can be loud and crowded; Ortolan, on the other hand, is much more sedate and serves brilliant, modern French fare. This is not to denigrate Providence, where I have had many terrific meals (and Donato is one of the best hosts in town), but I would only choose Providence for a birthday party if everyone in the group really liked seafood and were ok with unusual preparations. I have yet to have the pleasure of dining at Bastide (on the list!) but you should note that it is tasting menu only and, per other Hounds, the meal takes about 4+ hours. Buffalo Club, while good, would not even be in the running.

                        2. t
                          Tiffanyyum Jan 7, 2008 06:28 PM

                          I just wanted to suggest 2 places that I did not see mentioned before. I had a wonderful birthday at Cheebo on Sunset as well as did my husband since we had such a lovely time with our small group of friends. Fun ambiance, great food and I would definitely recommend it to any of my friends. Second, is Mexico City in Los Feliz. Really fun place with very authentic mexican style food but, not typical Burrito and Enchiladas place...the food is so yummy and it is always a fun environment that is not pretentious but, hip in a non-hip kind of way. haha. Anyway, happy birthday and good luck!!

                          1. w
                            whatsfordinner Jan 8, 2008 11:43 AM

                            Josie's in Santa Monica would be my choice.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: whatsfordinner
                              goodhealthgourmet Jan 8, 2008 05:05 PM

                              you can never go wrong with josie. one of my all-time faves. in fact, i recently took a friend there to celebrate a 39th birthday!

                            2. i
                              imho Jan 8, 2008 02:34 PM

                              Mozza
                              Lucques
                              Boa
                              Comme Ca
                              Yamashiro?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: imho
                                d
                                Diana Jan 9, 2008 05:35 AM

                                eew, not Yamashiro for food. OK drinks (there are better) nice view. Maybe a pre dinner drink or a nightcap place.

                              2. r
                                rydyl Jan 8, 2008 07:23 PM

                                Thank you for so many great suggestions! So to enlighten a couple of posters, my mother is paying for the dinner. I would be more than happy to go for broke if it were just the 4 of us (my husband and her husband). However, I invited 2 other people that might or might not be able to come and I would feel it a bit much to have her foot the bill for 6 at some of the prices I've seen. I don't think she'd feel comfortable asking the other couple to split the bill. At this point I think it will just be four people, which leaves me with all the choices. I'd love to go to Providence, but I know a couple of the diners would prefer some sort of meat to fish, so perhaps we'll try it another time. Many of the other recommendations sound great, but are a more casual atmosphere. My husband and I love a great menu with interesting items and combinations, but my mom and her husband are more traditional in their taste.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: rydyl
                                  goodhealthgourmet Jan 8, 2008 07:55 PM

                                  well, then, in light of the additional details, i'd say you can't go wrong with either josie or jar. both have options to please everyone.

                                  happy birthday!

                                2. r
                                  rydyl Jan 8, 2008 08:57 PM

                                  Okay, so after sharing all these suggestions and my thoughts with my husband he said... pick somewhere great, somewhere exciting and don't worry about the price.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: rydyl
                                    d
                                    Diana Jan 9, 2008 05:40 AM

                                    Providence has a few meat dishes Steak and duck on the regular menu. Usually you can get some sort of pork belly on the tasting menus. Still it is fish centric, and the tasting menus require the whole table does them. With four, you can get the chef's table and tasting menu...but that would be pricey, maybe over $1000 for four? The regualr menu would be doable.
                                    www.providencela.com

                                    I really think Saddle Peak Lodge might be the way to go. Fish and meat on the menu-cow and pork as well as game options and poultry options (and vegetarian).

                                    It's in a nice place, has a fun and nice dining area, good service and more.

                                    http://www.saddlepeaklodge.com

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