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May 25, 2001 12:14 PM

Santa Monica recommendations for marriage proposal

  • j

Hello all,

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...

Any ideas?


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  1. 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

    (310) 455-1311

    "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.


    2 Replies
    1. 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.

      1. re: Irish Mike

        I'll cast my vote for the Bel-Air Hotel. Divinely romantic, and you can take a walk on the grounds after. Good luck!

    2. 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!

      2 Replies
      1. re: julia

        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.

        1. re: Richard Foss

          You gotta love a woman who wants pizza on her "anniversary."

      2. 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 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.


        2 Replies
        1. 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.

          1. re: FredYC

            I second the Hotel Bel-Air patio. The setting is one of the most beautiful I've encountered. And the service is quite good, too. I'm sure they'd accomodate your every wish -- particularly b/c they do a sizeable wedding and reception business!

        2. Has anyone been to Cezanne at Le Merigot Hotel in SM? Their menu looks wonderful (I had them fax it) and it is close by. Someone from la.eats stated that it was perhaps the most romantic and fanciest dining in the area.

          1. 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.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Mike Kilgore

              Thanks for this information! I just assumed (I know...) that being on the beach, their would be a view. Know that I know there isn't, its back to square one.