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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).

              2. 26 beach on washington.
                they take reservations
                the food is very good
                the menu is huge
                the decor is terrific
                the price is VERY good.

                1. Literati II at Bundy and Wilshire
                  or Campagnola on Westwood South of Wilshire