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Downtown business dinner -- best food and most fun!

We've got some colleagues coming in from Chicago on Wednesday, and we'd like to go someplace with great food that's also kind of lively. Since they're from Chicago, we'd like to do something they don't have there (so The Palm's out). Initially we thought Patina, but they're closed for a private event. I was at Cicada recently and had a nice dinner but wasn't thrilled. I haven't been to Water Grill in a few years -- while the food was excellent, I thought the atmosphere was a little stodgy. Has it changed? How about Blue Velvet? Part of me just wants to put them in the car and go to Providence, but downtown's more convenient since that's where they're staying and they'll be arriving just before dinner. I'd appreciate any ideas you may have for upscale downtown places with great food and a fun atmosphere. Many thanks!

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  1. Blue Velvet has the vibe and the food is ambitious and pretty good. I was there on an expense account, so the past criticisms of smaller portion size and high prices weren't an issue. Water Grill has better food, but much more formal vibe. I've also had good business lunches at Kendall's Brasserie, though the scene is not nearly as fun as Blue Velvet and I can't vouch for dinner.

    1 Reply
    1. re: petecfoodie

      I would suggest looking at one of the sushi places, such as Sushi-Gen or R-23, or going to Koreatown [just search the Board for current favorites].

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      Sushi-Gen
      422 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    2. Maybe Takami?

      http://www.takamisushi.com/

      Take a look at this linked page on City Search. They have a little video clip that shows the restaurant off better than the web site: http://losangeles.citysearch.com/prof...

      1. I'll throw Cafe Pinot, Roy's, and Morton's into the mix. I have mixed impressions of all of these (and have never been to Pinot for dinner). I think Pinot is probably the best food; Roy's the most fun; and Morton's the most businessy.

        2 Replies
          1. re: scuzm

            And, perhaps more significantly, have branches in Chicago (Morton's started there).

          1. re: JE33

            IMHO great food and "vibe" are rarely, if ever, found in the same place. The food at Cafe Pinot is quite good. It has no vibe. I'd go there and then hit the rooftop bar at the Standard for the "scene." Stay away from Kendall's. It truly sucks. Water Grill is slipping and is very staid. Blue Velvet is a good recommendation. It's the best combo of food and fun of the higher-end places downtown. Some people - not I - like that "upscale" Mexican place (someone will have the name) at 5th and Figueroa. They do make a great margarita which might help with the fun part. Zucca - another Patina Group offering - sometimes has a pretty good vibe. In my experience, the food (Italian if it wasn't obvious) is hit and miss. As a completely out-of-the box idea, the Lakers play on Wednesday if they don't sweep the series. For the right crowd it might be worth splurging on some seats with waitress service.

            1. re: lebdog

              I think you are talking about Adore at 7th and Figueroa, no? Aside from the tequilla selection, I have no hesitation saying it sucks. I live and work downtown but will not eat there anymore. I agree that Zucca is hit and miss--I pretty much give it a thumbs down except for happy hour. While I don't know whether Water Grill is slipping, I'm just not as impressed as I should be for the sky high prices. I prefer Patina. Nonetheless, it goes without saying that Water Grill is good food.

              I guess I need to try Blue Velvet. I had never even heard about this place. One more option downtown is Pete's. I am pleasantly surprised by the food quality there. The downside is it is very crowded and loud all the time.

              1. re: aventinus

                Actually, I think lebdog means Ciudad.

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                Ciudad
                445 S Figueroa St Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                1. re: New Trial

                  Oh, Ciudad is OK I'd say, but more atmospherics than substance. I'd call the cuisine Americanized Caribbean. Atmosphere is fun.

          2. Thanks all! I was thinking I might be overlooking some fantastic downtown spot that has it all. Looks like we need to wait for some new places to open. I think they'll enjoy Blue Velvet, but one of my colleagues really thinks that Cicada's the better choice, so we'll do that and hope it's a great night there. At least it's an amazing room.