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Graduation dinner - Los Feliz/Silverlake area

Headed to LA from NYC for my brother's graduation from AFI in June and I've been searching the boards for a good place to have his graduation dinner.

Big portions and low prices are my parents' major determining factors in liking a restaurant, and my mom instructed me to find a place "that's at least as decent as the Olive Garden".

So the challenge is finding a place that our parents will like and that my SO and I will be happy with (we're the CHers in the group, the other two - my sister and brother - care about food but not as intensely as me and SO).

I think reasonable proximity to AFI would be best, and I'm looking for either American (not too modern), Italian or seafood where entrees are in the $16-25 range. The more extensive the menu, the better - my parents like choices. So far I think Aroma looks like it might work, and I liked the looks of Vermont but worried it might be too fussy for my parents. Took a look at Blair's and I think the price point is a bit high. Alcove looks cute but maybe too casual?

Appreciate any other recs. Thanks in advance!

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  1. I was going to suggest Vermont when I saw the title of your post. I think it probably has enough basic stuff on their to please your parents, but anyone else have an opinion?

    1. Alcove is pretty casual....more of a coffee shop with food. How about Tom O'Shanter? The food isn't fabulous, but if you stick with the basic menu it's good. And it's a comfortable, fun, retro space.
      I do like Vermont, and don't think of it as fussy....though some might call it modern.

      1. Vermont is not that fussy -- it might fill the bill.
        How about Farfalla or Il Capriccio?
        I don't care for the room at Aroma, it doesn't seem that good for a celebratory group.
        At Alcove you have to line up and order at the counter, so that doesn't seem like it would work.

        1. I wasn't blown away by Aroma although folks I respect like it enough. And although it may sound unhoundlly, I would rather eat at Les Frere Taix than at Vermont and probably even Blair's. Atmosphere is retro and probably not in the happiest way but the value is excellent and the simple dishes are very reliable. Seasoned waitstaff, very good at larger parties and a famous wine list too. And how can you not have rainbow sherbet for dessert the day you graduate from the AFI?

          1. A very appropriate place to take an AFI graduate would be that Old Hollywood hangout, Musso & Frank's, the oldest restaurants in Hollywood, and legendary as the hangout for William Faulkner, Ben Hecht and Raymond Chandler.

            Plus it's got a solid menu, not terribly foodie but certainly "at least as decent as the Olive Garden" ;) And, it's less than two miles from the Western Ave. AFI campus.

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            Musso & Frank Grill
            6667 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

            1. Big Portions + Low prices = Claim Jumper (better than Olive Garden)
              http://www.claimjumper.com/hypertext/...

              3 Replies
                1. re: monku

                  Actually this looks like just the kind of place that my parents would like to go to. And I promise that Olive Garden reference from my mom is a direct quote.

                  1. re: pellegrino31

                    Might as well show you the low end too. They wouldn't be disappointed.
                    The deserts are as big as your head too.

                2. Thanks for the recs...I would really like to go to Vermont; I'm going to send my parents the menu and see what they think.

                  Chowpatty - thanks for the Farfalla rec. That looks like it could be a good backup if Vermont doesn't get my parents approval.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pellegrino31

                    What about Cha Cha Cha? It's reasonable, and the patio makes a nice, festive place for a large party. The entree prices are definitely in your range, and they do pitchers of sangria. It's at Virgil & Melrose.

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                    Cha Cha Cha
                    656 N Virgil Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90004

                  2. another possiblity might be cliff's edge. reliable food. reasonable prices. and a fabulous outdoor patio that is a perfect setting. it's in silverlake on sunset. a little tough to find the first time, but worth the effort.