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Meeting for a 1st date in the SM/Venice area...where should we go?

I'm meeting someone for a 1st date this weekend in the Westwood area. I have no idea where to go, though. I don't want to go someplace super-spendy, but I also don't want to go too casual. Anyone have any ideas?

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  1. If you don't think your date will mind sharing, Musha is a good option. I've had a lot of fun dates there. I think Violet, Nook and 3 Square would also be really good choices.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mollyomormon

      I second Musha, but be prepared for a long wait if you go for dinner on the weekends. I'd try to call ahead and make reservations.

      1. re: PandanExpress

        Yes, definitely make reservations at Musha!

    2. Musha is definitely a good option -- sharing food and ordering together is a good thing on a first date.

      You may also try Chaya Venice, Piccolo (it is tiny, so get a reservation), Nook, or Primitivo.

      1 Reply
      1. re: glutton

        Don't think Piccolo takes reservations.

      2. Beechwood and Violet are two of my favorite date spots on the westside. Even closer to Westwood, Orris and Upstairs 2 are fantastic. I'll throw in a rec for Bar Hayama too, I went with a group but it seems like a great place for a date.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hrhboo

          I second Beechwood and/or Violet. Both are excellent. However, Violet seemed quieter, at least when I was there. The bar area at Beechwood is a lively scene with a GREAT bar menu.

          BEECHWOOD
          822 Washington Blvd.
          Venice

          VIOLET
          3221 Pico Blvd.
          Santa Monica

          1. re: hrhboo

            I'll give props to Violet, Orris, and Upstairs2. If you know food/wine, Orris and Upstairs2 are great places to sort of show off. All three are nice and cozy with great wine selections and good service. Orris is probably the most high-energy, but in the way that 50-something westside-lexus-sophisticates are looking for high-energy (if that makes sense).

            Bar Hayama is really over-priced, but is tasty and a cool place. The fire pit outside is pretty romantic.

            1. re: daftpunkxl

              I thought the small plates at Bar Hayama were well priced, with nothing over $10. The food is great, it's a lovely space (if you don't want to sit outside by the fire pit, ask for a table inside by the window), and they take reservations. I also love Orris, but they don't take reservations.

              1. re: whatsfordinner

                I agree that the plates at Hayama were priced comparably to the ones at Orris. We ended up spending around $30 pp with a sake flight last time I was at Bar Hayama which is about what I end up spending at Orris. Love both places.

          2. Chez Mimi (26th South of San Vicente) and Il Moro (Purdue South of Olympic) are great first date spots as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: New Trial

              I had remarkable success with Versailles (the Venice Bl. branch) 20 years ago, (still married, now business partners, kid getting ready to go to college) but it's a little informal for your specs.

              You might also want to consider some of the new trendy places in Culver City. . .

            2. I second Il Moro, and also recommend Orris for small plates/sharing (esp if timing is uncertain - b/c they don't take reservations), Casa Sanchez - with mariachi's!, Cucino Paradiso (romantic and chill - but the neighborhood looks sketchy, so valet)

              1 Reply
              1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                I definitely vote for Musha!!! Also, Fraiche in Culver City is great (make a res).