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s.m / venice restaurant help?

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i am a dedicated east-sider, but i am trying to find a good place for a business dinner in the santa monica / venice area for this wk and since it's not my regular 'hood, i nd some help. there will be about 6 people. it shouldn't be too expensive -- this is not about having to make an impression with something fancy. the crowd is young, creative, not suits. it's a fashion crowd, so something with a little bit of style would be good, but not too much of a scene -- doesn't nd to be over the top. looking for good food, good drinks, relaxed atmosphere.

i usually think of border grill and i'm usually happy with the food there, but i don't like the environment. it's too loud and the tables are not really comfortable and i don't think the service is very good. i think that chan dara is pretty reliable and a little more comfortable. but i feel like i'm drawing a blank. would love to hear some other suggestions from people that know the area better than me. thx!!

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  1. I recommend Joe's, on Abbott Kinney in Venice. The neighborhood is right up your alley given your description of your group. Food is great, prices are not astronomical, and atmosphere is tony but not really a "scene."

    1. Try 26 Beach Restaurant, 3100 Washington, just west of Lincoln. Good creative food, a nice patio, and reasonable prices, sandwiches, burgers and salads start around $9-10, pasta dishes are around $14-$16, with some of the seafood & steaks around $20. everything comes with a salad. I love this place, it is a great value, and they have some great desserts. If you go, let me know what you think. Enjoy, wherever you go.

      1. I prefer Joe's for anything having to do with the Venice area, but I have had business lunches at Hal's a little further south of Joe's on Abbot Kinney (just before Venice Blvd?). It gets a good mix of business and happy hour people, since they have a bigger bar, and the food is just fine, nothing more. SOme folks swear by it, but not any chowhounds :)

        1. I agree w/ some of the others, Joe's is terrific! If it's a nice evening there's an outdoor patio as well. Don't miss the foie gras & ahi tuna app, it's AMAZING!

          I also suggest Jiraffe (pronounced giraffe) in santa monica which is also wonderful & comfortable (but louder).
          These restaurants are not cheap by any means but not over the top and I have experienced great food & service at both many times. Enjoy!

          1. Chaya Venice beach is a stylish place for young professionals. Although, Friday nights do turn into a scene, They have large round tables in the main dinning area and big loungy booths along the back wall that are perfect for a group of six.