Santa Monica recommendations for marriage proposal
I'm looking for a restaurant in Santa Monica to take my girlfriend to before I propose to her. We will be staying at the Fairmont Santa Monica, so something close by would be good. I am currently considering One Pico, Lavande, and Cezanne. Anyone have any recommendations regarding these 3 or any others? We aren't big meat eaters... mostly seafood. But atmosphere is very important. I want this to be a very memorable experience in all respects --- food, service and atmosphere. Also, whichever restaurant I choose should be willing to go out of there way to make the experience perfect (of course, I will let them know beforehand). I was thinking of having them write "Will You Marry Me" in chocolate sauce around the desert plate...
Well this isn't in Santa Monica and it doesn't have a view but I got proposed to at Beaurivage in Malibu. The reason I mention this is because the staff was extremely helpful. My then future husband worked with them via email (he lived in Australia at the time and was planning visit) to make it memorable. They arranged for flowers at the table and a beautiful cake with a chocolate plate on top that said "will you marry me." They even arranged for the live entertainment to be playing our song when he proposed. The staff was extremely helpful to him to make this whole thing happen and this was all done via email from 13,000 miles away! The food there is extremely delish, lot's a nice fresh fish and seafood with french and metiterrian flavors. If you don't have a car, it's a huge schelp, but you didn't mention you wouldn't have a car, you just mentioned where you'd be staying so I thought I'd take a stab.
Best wishes for the two of you!
PS- Very impressed with some of the romantic chowhounds here!
Having recently been to Cezanne I can say that the food was fine, but for the purposes of a romantic setting I don't think this is what you are looking for. The room is nice, quiet, well appointed, but it has no view at all. It looks like what it is, a very upscale hotel dining room. I can't understand a beach front hotel putting their best restaurant downstairs in sort of a bomb shelter like space. Service was excellent however. For a romantic moment like a marriage proposal I would say try Michael's in Santa Monica. I wish you the very best on your future wedding.
First of all, congratulations!
Now, first I must say, coming from experience: propose in the hotel room, THEN go out to dinner. Anyway, no one ever listens to that idea...
The Inn of the Seventh Ray suggestion is a marvelous one, but untenable without a car. They are definitely more than a little hippy-dippy there, but I suspect they'd work closely with you to help make the evening a success. When I've been there - even on a Monday - it seems like everyone in the restaurant is having a special occasion.
Of the restaurants you mentioned, I only have personal experience with One Pico. It is good - but that's really all. The less-formal sister restaurant downstairs (Pedals, I believe) has a better view.
Tell us a little bit more about what "atmosphere" means to you. If it means the traditional thing - beautiful flora, rushing creek, clear mountain air, etc. - then there's really only one place in LA you should even momentarily consider for a marriage proposal: The Hotel Bel Air.
Seriously, don't even screw around with any place else. This is one of the finest hotels in the world, with absolutely impeccable service. The setting is extraordinary - make sure you sit outside, and it is like you in a far off land. There's a creek/lake on the property with swans, the dining terrace is covered with ferns and bouganvilla, and the air...ah, the air...is like being in the high sierras. The food is, well, secondary; very good, very expensive, very predictable. (Although I am open to further input from chowhound insiders...)
Really, as great as Inn of the Seventh Ray is, if you are going to futz around with a marriage proposal outside of your hotel room, just go to the Hotel Bel Air.
re: Jeff Shore
The garden IS stunning. I don't think anyone could argue with that--beautiful flowers, majestic trees, chirping birds. The however food is another matter. There are definitely seafood items, but like Jeff said, it's very predictable and the time we went, our entrees came cold. It's a good thing you hardly notice it because of, that's right, the garden. There are also numerous little booth-like tables in the corner that might be exactly what you're looking for.
The patio at Michael's is very romantic on a warm summer evening (I think they have heaters on cooler nights!) and the food is still fresh and delicious after all these years (he was one of the originators of California Cuisine)...
1147 Third St. (Wilshire Blvd.)
Santa Monica (310) 451-0843
Oceanfront at the Casa del Mar is romantic, but the drinks in the lounge, served with fresh potato chips (with huge yet beachy elegant cushy chairs overlooking the strand and ocean) are perhaps better than the food in the restaurant.
I've not heard any raves about One Pico (the hotels have the same owners) - everyone seems to think that the food is just okay.
Restaurants I have heard food raves (people say - this is my absolute favorite restaurant!) about are Joe's (very close by in Venice)and Jiraffe, but they are fairly bustling and perhaps not quiet enough for your endeavor!
Good luck and have fun!
Jiraffe may have good food, but something about shouting a marriage proposal over the din lacks romance. Not that such settings always produce a poor outcome. I proposed to my wife at a pizzeria in San Diego because that was where she insisted on dining on our a year and a day anniversary... I had wanted to go somewhere fancy, but she wanted pizza. We're still together, so sometimes such things do work out. As I remember the food was pretty good too. She was so surprised when the ring arrived on top of the pizza that she knocked over her drink.
If you have a car or a way to get here (not all that far from Santa Monica...just a few miles up the coast and then inland up the canyon). Secluded with a small stream running through the property. It is one of the most romantic spots I have found. It is a little pricey, but then so is marriage. Best wishes. I took my fiance there, but after dinner we went to the Santa Monica pier and I proposed to her on my knees at the top of the Ferris wheel. The operator was more than happy to stop me at the top for a couple of minutes.
Inn of the Seventh Ray
128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd. (4 mi. north of PCH)
Topanga, CA, 90290-3807
"Cleanse your soul while you fill your stomach"
at this "remote", "blissful" Topanga "delight"
infused "with many shades of '70s mysticism";
its "healthy but fancy" fare's "good", but it can't
help being "outshined" by the truly "idyllic", "creekside" setting in the Malibu mountains.
re: Irish Mike
I forgot to add that the service was great and the food
is more vegetarian and seafood (really healthy, natural
stuff) than meat. This restaurant meets all your
criteria except proximity to where you are staying.
Again, sincere best wishes.
PS - I would love to hear where you finally go.