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First meal with my boyfriend's out-of-town parents... where to?

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My boyfriend's parents are visiting from the midwest. I have never met them. They are taking us out to dinner and I have been put in charge of suggesting a restaurant or two or three. Type of food doesn't really matter, except they have already been to a steakhouse here. Not anywhere crazy fancy and not too casual, which I think leaves a wide range of options. We have a car. I was thinking about Harold and Belle's, but wanted some other good suggestions.

To sum it all up, I'm looking for:
- A nice place which showcases L.A.
- Conducive to awkward first-meeting conversation
- Not too frilly
- Frilly enough
- Delicious food (most important)

Thanks!

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  1. Nook Bistro, very nice restaurant hidden in the back corner of a minimall on Santa Monica Blvd. at Barry in West L.A. Quiet enough for conversation, excellent service, most entrees around $20, exceptional value. Share the mac'n'cheese and the mussels to start, and their short ribs have been replaced by potroast as the go-to entree, though everything from the steak to fish to their upscale burger are all good.

    1. Nook is a good choice as suggested above. I would also suggest Violet. Nice place, good prices (will they think the portions are too small if they aren't of Cheesecake Factory dimensions?) and an active LA atmosphere.

      Joe's on Abbot Kinney is also a great place that really showcases Cal cuisine and you can stroll around Abbot Kinney afterward.

      1 Reply
      1. re: NAspy

        agree w/ all of these.

        i'll also throw IL MORO into the mix, as well as ANGELI CAFFE

      2. I would go someplace that's quintessentially LA like Chaya Venice or Hidden or Whist at Viceroy or Penthouse at The Huntley. All are in Santa Monica.

        1. I would go to Fraiche. the scene in culver city is great and good street action and the food there cannot be beat at twice the price.

          1 Reply
          1. re: peterboy

            i would totally agree with this. unless you're going to do a view or scene place - this would be a great la pick.