One Night on the West Side!
My aunt from NYC will be visiting during a long weekend in March. I have everything covered except for Sunday night. I am new to Southern CA, so I am still learing about the "restaurant culture"! I live in Pasadena, but we will be on the westside Sunday night for dinner. Any suggestions? We would prefer excellent food, trendy, great atmosphere,and good "people watching" (I know, but she is a tourist! )
Here are my thoughts:
Jiraffe(she LOVES Santa Monica)
Osteria Angelini(I went there and loved it)
(I am making a reservation for mozza on sat night. I have been there already, but I know she is dying to try it).
Capo has excellent (albeit a bit overpriced) Italian food, and the highest celeb-to-nonceleb ratio I've seen...
I was sitting next to Spielberg and Hanks (same table) on one night, and Babs and James Brolin on another occasion. Crazy. Even Randy MachoMan Savage (SlimJim pimp these days) was spotted at Capo!
Their chops are outta this world, though...
Toscana would be my number 1 choice. It's a convivial atmosphere, not as outrageously priced as Capo and the celeb-watching is just as good. Streisand was there the other night..same week saw Affleck, Garner and baby. Also, Rob Reiner, Diane Keaton. The Maitre'd's are very warm and there is no "siberia" in the restaurant. It's like a big, happy party with great food. Oh yes, Capo loves to brag about it's big "wood-burning oven." Guess what? Toscana also has a big wood burning oven and turns out the same delicious steaks, lamb and fish as does Capo. (for a lot less $$). Moreover,, that nice oven also cranks out first rate pizza.
Are you sure you want Italian after Mozza on Saturday?
If not, I would go with Campanile or Jiraffe. Josie, recommended below, is one of my favorite restaurants, but I wouldn't say it has great people watching, if that's really important to you. It's a little sedate. The same holds for LaBotte.
For Italian I would go with Via Veneto - the food is fantastic, it's in Santa Monica and has a great scene. All' Angelo is trendy, has a great atmosphere and is good for people watching, but I wasn't crazy about the food (I think I'm the only one on this board who thought the food was just ok). I haven't tried Osteria Angelini.
re: New Trial
Chaya Venice on Main St in Santa Monica is fun-a big scene- and the food is good.Primitivo on Abbot kinney.I like Hals Bar on Abbot Kinney the Venice Artist and locals go there.The Border Grill on 4th street in Santa Monica has good food and is fun.The Penthouse on 2nd st in Santa Monica - its at the top of the Hotel and has an amazing view-go for a drink and watch the sunset.
not prime for people-watching, but you certainly won't be disappointed with the food at josie.
chaya venice does have great energy, and reliable [if not spectacular] food.
axe in venice has good food and a nice atmosphere with a little LA flavor.
border grill is a wee bit touristy, so for good mexican and nice atmosphere i think la serenata would be a better choice.
primitivo is another one with a fun vibe & passable food.
then again, if you really want to do some serious people-watching, take her to the ivy at the shore, or nobu up in malibu. [giorgio baldi is another celeb hangout, but extremely expensive].