Special b-day surprise dinner, westside
I've done a search for the best italian and/or chinese options on the westside (Santa Monica / West LA) and come up with only a few results worth considering. I'm looking for either a really good (different / unique) chinese or italian dinner option for my wife's birthday - it's a surprise. I was thinking Alejo's near LAX (food there is great) but I want it to be a little more intimate, etc. Also, I've seen too many mixed reports on Valentino's for it to be a consideration. As far as good chinese, I don't want to venture off to San Gabriel or downtown.
Chinois is the best, noisy and crowded but the food is to die for. Other Italian options might be Orsini's on Pico near Beverly. Great food (real Italian) and lovely villa like setting. Vincenti's on San Vicente near Montana in Brentwood. More modern setting, but great food. And lastly, Peppone's in Brentwood, on Barrington near Sunset. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but the food is great. The inside is dark leather booths, low lighting, very romantic.
Thanks everyone for suggestions. As far as naming a price range, I figure that A) since it's my wife's b-day and B) "somewhere between Valentino's and Alejo's - would have sort of covered it. For the sake of argument, I had hoped to spend around $100 with wine.
Though I've lived in SM for all of my 30-plus-several-years, haven't been to either Chinois, Il Moro, or La Bruschetta. Now I just have to decide whether I want to "italian" or "chinese" her. Darn these decisions!
You might consider also giving the chowhounds a price limit. You mention you were considering Alejo's and Valentino's which are certainly on opposite ends of the price spectrum.
You'd probably get better suggestions if you share the price you are looking to spend.
Just a suggestion
There is a very special place called Il Moro. It is on the Westside, on Olympic just west of Sawtelle.
They have a lovely back patio, and great food. It can be intimate and romantic if your table is on the little river garden they have in the back (so ask for that). Last time we were there, the service was spotty, but I think that was an isolated incident as my other meals there have been fine.
It is definately more expensive (and better than Alejos) but worth it.
Good luck and let us know where you decide!
Do check out the website linked below, there is a lot of detail in there.
Il Moro Restaurant
11400 Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Tel (310) 575-3530
Fax (310) 575-4911
Il Moro: Yes, very good, great atmosphere. I too have experienced spotty service, although I wouldn't be deterred from trying it if I were you.
La Bruschetta: Just went there recently for the first time, it was fabulous and very reasonably priced.
But if I was the birthday girl, I would be aching for Chinois. Never been, makes me want to go all the more!