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dinner w/mom near Century City

Seems like I'm at a loss for restaurant choices every time one or both of my parents come to town . . . looking for some place to take my mother for an early Mother's Day dinner next Wednesday. She'll be in town for a conference, staying at the Century Plaza (or whatever it's called these days). Since she will have just flown in from the east coast that day, I'd like to keep it relatively low key and casual, but still some place kind of nice where we can carry on a conversation without screaming across table at each other (and where I can make a reservation rather than waiting around for a table), and within about a 10 minute drive of Century City. Foodwise, I don't eat seafood of any sort, and she doesn't eat red meat or anything extremely spicy, so good options are usually Italian, any Asian other than sushi, California cuisine (whatever that means these days) - any suggestions?

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  1. If your mom likes East coast style red sauce Italian then Carmine's II would be a good choice. Just 2 or 3 minutes west of the Century City Mall on the north side of Santa Monica Blvd.


    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      carmine's can be hit or miss.
      i was there two weeks ago. my dining partner's sausage came COLD. he sent it back and it came back warm, but with the consistency of an old leather shoe.
      the red sauce on my squid was so-so.
      the bread was ok.

    2. I always like La Cachette. Quiet, French, consistent quality, and the menu is varied enough that you'll both be happy.

      1. How about Craft? It's walking distance from the Century Plaza, quiet (agents need to keep their confidential conversations w/ clients quiet), and you can make a reservation.

        1 Reply
        1. re: slacker

          I would second Craft. It's quiet enough for conversation, classy, and the menu is large enough with plenty of choices.

        2. Upstairs 2 might be a nice option.

          Il Pastaio in BH for Italian, or in Brentwood, Pecorino or Palmeri would be nice Italian options.

          for Japanese in BH, try Mako.

          if you want very simple, in Westwood, Napa Valley Grille or Gardens on Glendon.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Emme

            Upstairs 2 and Mako both sound like interesting options. I know I put Italian on my list of cusines, but that's one thing she can get really good versions of at home (Rhode Island) so I'm inclined to branch out with something a little different.

            1. re: cookie monster

              I had dinner at Mako over the weekend and highly recommend it. It's about 5 minutes away from Century City and fabulous.

          2. Are you familiar with La Cachette? It is a very quiet French-inspired restaurant in a converted house setting with small dining rooms just west of Century City on the south side of little Santa Monica Blvd. I've taken parents there and enjoyed it; it is on the formal, set menu classic dining side of things.

            I don't know whether you want to go through the rigors of reserving, parking, dressing, and choosing from the menu at Craft, though if your mom is a Top Chef fan she might enjoy eating at and critiquing Colicchio's place. Or if she has a special love for roasted specialty mushrooms.

            I'll add an option for a much less expensive but very excellent meal where you can mix entrees, starters, soups and salads and satisfy any sort of appetite -- Nook Bistro. A quick hop west on Santa Monica Blvd., in the back corner of the minimall at Barry in W.L.A. Lots of two-tops for conversation, but a nice vibe, interesting decor, good service, and close neighboring tables so you won't be stuck talking about "what is new" for the whole meal.

            1. I'll echo the votes for La Cachette and Mako. Both are excellent.

              If you want something less expensive, there is a nice little Italian restaurant on Westwood Boulevard south of Wilshire called Sprazzo. The pastas are good and it's usually quiet.

              Another option is La Bruschetta on Westwood. It has been there forever, but I have not been there in ages.

              A few other places that you might consider are Orris on Sawtelle and Locanda Veneta on Third Street near Cedars Sinai.

              1. For a nice little French place where you can have a conversation and spend a lot less than you would at La Cachette, you should check out Soleil in Westwood.