Baby-Sitter Worthy Restaurants?
My wife and I can get baby-sitting once every few weeks on a Saturday night, which gives us little room for error in selecting an interesting restaurant. Nothing is worse than wasting the baby sitter on boring, over hyped or inconsistent food or interchangeable ambiances. (It also doesn't do us any good to go to a restaurant that's good only "if so and so is in the kitchen tonight." ) We like just about everything. So please give me your own baby sitter worthy places!
To state the obvious, avoid places that would be appropriate for children and generally pick expensive places. It is a lot easier to justify an extra $60 in babysitting costs on top of a $200 dinner than a trip to Don Antonio's. Off the top of my head, these should get you going: Lucques, Capo, Sona, AOC, Josie, La Botte, Via Veneto, Nobu, The Hump, Spago, Cut, Sushi Zo, Saddlepeak, Grace, Hatfield's, Nook, Catch, Wilson, Jar. And remember some places with lesser (but still good) food can be funner on saturday night than places with great food. STK, Koi, Katsuya, Chaya Venice, the Penthouse, and even Border Grill would fit that category. I am not a big Joe's fan, but it seems to fare better with others who post comments.
so many good choices in here, so i'll just add a bit to some of those mentioned...
lucques and jar have been louder IMPE, as is (one of my faves in the city) Via Veneto. Chaya too can be quite loud, and not datenight like.
my last meal at Wilson left me in no rush to return. the food was oversalted, and the service absent.
places like AOC and Tasca are nice to share plates, plus I like the wine selection at Tasca, and it's a fun place, though AOC is too. if you want small plates Cube and Lou on Vine are both good to consider.
for feeding each other, you might also consider one night having moroccan at dar maghreb or touns of munis. you might also like ethiopian for a change of pace.
to the finer dining i'd add Providence, Hungry Cat, Campanile, Wilshire
No geographic preference? In that case, I'll offer up Fraiche, Lucques, Joe's on Abbot Kinney, and Josie. Those are places I like and have been to multiple times without disappointment.
for food, i'd add jiraffe in santa monica
for general romantic atmosphere i like cafe del rey in marina del rey.
the restaurant is extremely comfortable and i like the fact that they have sofas and a lovely fireplace in their lounge so that you can have a nice before dinner or after dinner drink.
also you can stroll around the boat slips before retrieving your car.
I'd second the Fraiche recommendation. We have frequently headed there with a bit of time to spare before we return home to the babysitter, and either get very tasty bar food or if you have more time, a full on meal there will not disappoint. The seafood tower for two was what we had last time and it was more than enough excellent shellfish for the both of us.