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Date Night - Need Suggestions

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I'm taking my girlfriend out to dinner on Saturday and I could use a little help. Trying to take her some place new (to us) and fun. But the food needs to be good. Here's my criteria:

Location: w/in a $15 cab ride (one-way) from Hancock Park area.
Price: Trying to keep it below $150 total (includes a bottle of wine, tax and tip). Definitely less than $200 - for sure.
Type of food: Anything is good (except chinese, japanese, and mexican).
Quality of food: Doesn't need to be uber-great. But it still needs to be good.
Vibe: Something a little more on the lively/fun side. I was thinking something along the lines of Terroni. But, I can't go to Terroni since they don't take reservations. I anticipate drinking a fair bit, so a really formal restaurant wouldn't be the best.
Places we've already eaten an are trying to avoid: AOC, Pizzeria Mozza, Hatfield's, Terroni, Comme Ca.
I'd love to eat at the Marmont, but sticking a thumb tack in my eye sounds better than being near Sunset Blvd. on a Saturdsay night.

THANKS FOR YOUR RECS.

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  1. http://www.tascawinebar.com/

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      Seconded. Can't do much better than that.

    2. Lou on Vine
      BLD
      Melrose Bar & Grill
      Village Idiot
      Hungry Cat
      Magnolia
      Bowery
      Table 8
      Luna Park

      And I second Tasca

      3 Replies
      1. re: wutzizname

        Second Hungry Cat!

        1. re: teach

          Good list above. Jones and La Terza might also work.

        2. re: wutzizname

          Good list (esp. Hungry Cat/Bowery/Magnolia, all within walking distance of each other), I would also throw in Campanile (the bar area is less formal and conducive to a bit of drinking, obviously) -- or you can trek down to Luna Park a few blocks down for cocktails (I'm not blown away by L.P.'s food, however).

          ~H.C.
          http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

        3. My first thought was Luna Park. Lively, good food, close by.

          There's also Pastis -- good french bistro food. don't know what their vibe is like these days haven't been in a while

          1. What about the Foundry on Melrose? I know it's received mixed reviews on CH, but I LOVED tasting menu.

            Would also add Citrus at Social.

            1. Tasting menu at Opus near the Wiltern Theatre. It's more hip and more affordable than other restaurants in that genre... I went once last year and hope to visit again soon.

              2 Replies
              1. re: avivale

                Do they still offer the tasting menu? Exec. chef Josef Centeno, who's the man behind that, left a few months ago (and the tasting menu had been quietly phased out shortly before that).

                ~H.C.
                http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

                1. re: AquaW

                  Like I said, it was in the first half of last year that I ate at Opus. If the place did change, and the tasting menu is gone-- I'm really disappointed to hear that!

              2. No one has mentioned La Buca...you might even be able to walk depending on where you are in Hancock Park. We went last Saturday and got a reservation that afternoon. It was around $140 including a nice bottle of wine, dessert, coffee, etc.
                Nice lively vibe, great pasta, and sort of similar to Terroni (although I like La Buca's pizza better).
                http://www.osterialabuca.com/
                As far as the other recs go, I wouldn't put Luna Park in the same class as most of these other places, it's been very inconsistent lately.
                And I don't think Opus is doing the tasting menu anymore, since Josef Centeno left.