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Impressive Dinner Near LAX?

Hi, so my future father-in-law will be in town this friday and he has assigned ME the job of finding a great resturaunt for the family to have dinner. I really want to do a great job, so of course, I came here first for your help.

Here are the caveats:
must be within 2-3 miles from LAX and there must be a little atmosphere.

Price and cuisine doesn't matter.

Thank you for your suggestions!

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  1. it's 5 miles from LAX, but imho the best choice

    Cafe del Rey
    4451 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey, CA

    1. Why not try the top of the tower at LAX? I believe it's open again and I hear the food is pretty good... you'll definitely find atmosphere since it sits atop the runway at LAX? Good luck!

      1. thank you for your suggestions :)

        1. Fleming's Steakhouse
          2301 Rosecrans Ave
          El Segundo, CA 90245
          Phone: (310) 643-6911

          Minutes from LAX and you will not have to use the freeway.

          1. Jerne at the Ritz Carlton in the Marina...a couple of doors down from Cafe Del Rey and a hundred times better

            1. Agree that Cafe del Rey and Jer-Ne are nice options.

              I'd drive the 7 miles to Joe's in Venice, were it me.

              There's also Encounter, which has an impressive location, and is right there at LAX.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Emme

                I second these recommendations, with the exception of Encounter (because I haven't been there).

                1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                  We ate at Encounter a few weeks ago and were pleasantly surprised--the food was actually reasonably good--not outstanding,ut thoroughly competent and better than on previous visits. The atmosphere is definitely gimmicky but that's the fun of it. It's at least a little more unusual than a hotel steakhouse (good as Shula's might be--I have never been to the LA branch). As Cookie Monster said, if you have some need to stay close to the airport, I wouldn't venture too far away on a Friday.

              2. 2-3 miles with atmosphere:

                The Buggy Whip on La Tiera-it's all about naugahyde booths, piano playing singing Peter, lifer staff. Not sure if that is what you mean my atmosphere. This time of the year, they probably still have Stone Crab claws. That is what I get there along with salad with green goddess dressing. They have steak and baked potato kind of menu.

                Playa del Rey is very close to the airport and has at least one good restaurant-Caffe Pinguini. Very good "upscale" italian food with a nice patio. I have been going there for years and find it very consistent. Right across the street is The Del. Check out reviews on this site.

                Of course El Segundo is next to the airport. Main St. area is very charming and there are quite a few restaurants. Chef Hannes, The Farm Stand, etc. Search the board and you will find tons of talk.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Densible

                  encounter being in the airport is great but last time we dine there (few years ago)....the food was just so-so and decor was little gimmicky (star trek like)?

                  1. re: Densible

                    my recommendation would be to skip chef hannes; in my experience the uneven food quality ranges from mediocre to vile.

                    1. re: Densible

                      if steak is what you're after, i would NOT go to the buggy whip, instead, i'd go to shula's.
                      can't comment on the crab there because i've never ordered that.

                    2. Culver City is about 5 miles away and there are some first class restaurants there. How about Fraiche, Beacon or Wilson. If your family is into steaks, just go up Century about a mile to Shula's 347 at the Sheraton Gateway. The Sheraton shuttle circles the airport every 7 minutes or so. They can meet you right there with little or no hassle. It is very expensive, about the same as Flemmings, Manhatten Beach, but QUIETER! the atmospher is "private club". Dark booths and the clink of martinis being downed by expense account travelers.

                      1. If your father-in-law is a football fan you might check out Shula's 347 at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: monku

                          My vote is for Shula's too.

                          It is within your distance unlike many offers here. I don't understand why some hounds feel free to double and triple the maximum distance requested. the Marina, during rush hour, is not close to LAX.

                          1. re: Wes

                            Sheraton Gateway shuttle to and from LAX is free and Shula's validates for discounted valet parking.

                        2. Is there an issue about someone getting back to the airport at a certain time? Because while I agree that there are many more options in Marina del Rey or Venice, as a Venice resident I can vouch for the fact that it can easily take 30 - 35 minutes to get there from LAX at dinner time on a Friday. So Shula's may be your best bet.

                          1. 3 Flames Mongolian BBQ

                            Three Flames Mongolian Bar-B-Q
                            5608 W Manchester Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Skunk2Racer

                              If atmosphere is important, then please don't go to 3 Flames! If I recall correctly, the neighborhood is really shabby, the restaurant itself is kind of a dive, and I think there is a live chicken place nearby. I also wouldn't call it great food; it's a local place where you can get your fix for mongolian bbq and that's about it.

                              1. re: empfam

                                i think you are being overly kind about 3 flames.
                                i live minutes from them, yet when i get the hankering for mongolian bbq i drive to manhattan beach to BIG WOK.

                            2. I'm in a similar positon -- need to find a nice (semi romantic) resto near LAX. Is Shula's in close walking distance from Renaissance Montura (on Airport)?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: yoginla

                                It's about a half mile, so maybe a 10 minute walk.

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  I've had very good luck at Shula's in the past, and I do think the atmosphere is at least slightly, if not more than slightly, romantic. However, wanted to pipe in to say that I was there perhaps a week or two ago, mostly because I was staying walking distance away and couldn't stand the thought of getting back in my car (sometimes the LA traffic does get a bit daunting)....

                                  anyway, while the service was outstanding, the food was not as good as I've had on previous visits. Not sure if kitchen was having a bad day, a new chef, or just that I ordered wrong, but if this had been my first visit I'd have been very leary of returning. I had oysters, which were totally tasteless, not fresh and briney; the braised short ribs, which were also fairly blah and in a very heavy, sweet sauce, and berries and ice cream for dessert which was fine. And (ack!) it was $90 or so for one! Granted, I had oysters along with a vodka martini AND a half bottle of wine (well, heck, I didn't have to drive, after all), and that did include a very generous tip (as I said, the service was great)...but still. I will stick to the burger next time I am in the neighborhood and not in a car mood...or go all out for a steak. Those ribs were definitely not worth the price.

                                  Shula's 347
                                  6101 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045