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LA Restaurants in April

t
Tennyson Feb 7, 2008 08:36 AM

My wife and I will be in L.A. with our two boys for a week in April and I would greatly appreciate some feedback on some of the restaurants we are considering. We are staying in Beverly Hills. My sons are 11 years old (twins) and are fairly adventurous eaters. We have traveled quite a bit with them and taken them to upscale places in the past so we are not necessarily limited to purely child-friendly choices. For example, while I wouldn't take them to a Michelin three-star restaurant, we have done very well with them at places like La Folie and Michael Mina in San Francisco. That being said, we would only attempt a couple of those types of places during the week we will be in L.A. and the rest of the time, we'll mix it up with more casual options, burgers, pizza, Mexican, etc.

The places we are considering are:

Matsuhisa
Sona
Lucques
Hatfields
Pizzeria Mozza
Angelina Osteria
Apple Pan
Border Grill

As among Sona, Lucques and Hatfields, we'd probably just pick one (unless a persuasive Chowhound convinces us that more than one of these is a must) so I'd be curious to see which one people would recommend based on our situation.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the above or any others that you think we should consider. Thanks so much!!

  1. Chowpatty Feb 7, 2008 08:54 AM

    Certainly Pizzeria Mozza, the Apple Pan and the Border Grill will be good for them, although there's probably better Mexican food to be had than Border Grill.
    Sona is really precious and I can't imagine any youngsters having a good time there. Hatfield's is only slightly less so, Lucques is probably the most accessible of the three.
    Maybe consider some other sushi spots too? A trip to the Japanese places along Sawtelle could be fun.
    I would consider a trip to Hollywood Blvd. for Lucky Devils too, great hamburgers, shakes, beer for the grownups, etc.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Chowpatty
      Servorg Feb 7, 2008 08:58 AM

      Your comments regarding the OP's son's and Sona are well founded. The boy's might be much more comfortable and interested in Comme Ca, David Meyer's new French Brasserie in the same general vicinity as Sona, but light years away in terms of feel and fun, accessible, (yet still delicious) food.

      1. re: Servorg
        f
        fdb Feb 7, 2008 10:36 AM

        If the boys can handle Michael Mina, they will be fine at Sona. I say go for it! I haven't been to Hatfield's and am indifferent about Lucques, but I really enjoy Sona! For another high-end place, you may want to consider Providence. Just had a chef tasting dinner at their Chef Table--fabulous!

        1. re: fdb
          Servorg Feb 7, 2008 10:45 AM

          I guess that Chowpatty's reference to "fun" made me suggest Comme Ca over Sona. They could handle Sona. Would it be a good time / place for them?

          1. re: Servorg
            f
            fdb Feb 7, 2008 11:05 AM

            Well, I guess it all depends on the kids. My own kids would not endure nor enjoy a 9-course meal at Sona, but my friend's 11-year-old son can eat at Urasawa and totally enjoy the 4 to 5-hour feast. I wish my kids are like the OP's kids that I could eat at grown-up places when we travel. :)

            1. re: fdb
              t
              Tennyson Feb 7, 2008 11:21 AM

              Thanks for the responses to my post. My kids would also rebel if we tried to schedule too many meals like this during our vacation but we generally enjoy trying to go to at least one upscale place like Sona, etc. when we travel. The kids like it and feel like they are big deals for a night-- but if we tried to do it every night they definitely wouldn't go for it. That's why we are also looking for more casual places for most of the nights (like Apple Pan, Pizzeria Mozza, Angelina Osteria, etc.) we are in L.A. That being said, should we assume that Sona would be a 4-5 hour affair? If that is the case, it might be a bit much for them. If it helps, we wouldn't be getting the tasting menu.

              I've also read generally good things about Grace. How does that compare?

              Thanks again for all of your help.

              1. re: Tennyson
                c
                condiment Feb 7, 2008 12:13 PM

                Sona's not a 4-5 hour meal - what outside the French Laundry is anymore? - but it is at least a couple, and of all the restaurants listed, it is hushed, rather formal, the one where children are pretty much nonexistent. And the entire point of Sona is the tasting menu

                Comme Ca, on the other hand, is very kid friendly. Lucques is great with kids, especially for the famous Sunday dinners - reserve now.

                1. re: Tennyson
                  PrettyPlaty Feb 7, 2008 02:33 PM

                  I would choose Sona over Grace because I like the food more but Grace seems to be more kid-friendly to me. Of the "nice" places you mentioned I like Hatfields the most though it is in a fairly small space.

      2. p
        potofood Feb 7, 2008 09:25 AM

        Definitely Angelina Osteria,Apple Pan,Pizzeria Mozza.Border Grill is fun and I like the food.I would add The Lobster on Santa Monica pier Great view of the California coastline even if its just for a drink.Kids can have a coke.

        1. n
          nosh Feb 8, 2008 06:03 PM

          The Apple Pan may be fun for the kids, with its counter service and drinks served in those old-style cones. But realize it will be a hassle during busy times to wait for four seats together, and the burgers, fries and pie are VERY expensive for what you get. I would recommend Carney's, on Sunset right on the Sunset Strip (just slightly NE of Beverly Hills) which is in a converted actual train car. Much better burgers and particularly hot dogs and chili dogs, also very fun, and a convenient free parking lot (essential for that area). If you are not from a state that has them, definitely try In-and-Out for their burgers -- a whole different experience in fastfood, a double-double is barely over $3, and be sure to order the fries welldone or crispy. There is an In-n-Out in Westwood Village on Gayley, which would be right on your way from BH to the Getty Museum in Brentwood, which I'm sure is on your list of destinations.

          When you make your reservations at Pizzeria Mozza be sure to mention your boys and request the pizza bar or a table where they can see the pizzas being made. Then call the day before and the morning of and reconfirm your preference.

          Are you good with Mapquest? Search this board for dim sum in the San Gabriel Valley (SGV) which is a straight shot east on the 10 freeway (which segues into the 60) and only about a half-hour during late-morning after rush hour. If dim sum is fairly new to the boys I'd choose cart service -- 888 Seafood was a top choice about a year ago, now many are lauding New Capital.

          I would plan a dinner at Nook Bistro, very convenient on Santa Monica Blvd. in West L.A. -- about 15 mins from BH even during evening traffic. Excellent American fare, really well-executed food, generous portions, one of the best values in town. (Entrees run high teens to low twenties.) Order some mussels or mac'n'cheese to share as starters, and at least one of you should have the short ribs.

          I'm a big fan of Chinois on Main in Santa Monica, Wolfgang Puck's original Asian fusion restaurant. Not horribly expensive if you stick with the smaller plates, which are varied, delicious, and about a third the cost of entrees at more than half the size. Everything is served to share, the place has real energy and buzz, it is decorated in '80s extravagance, and the service is very professional. You may want to sit at the counter overlooking the open kitchen.

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