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UCLA Grad dinner with 80 year old grandparents

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I'm not from LA, so need some ideas for a special restaurant that my 22 year old son and my 80 year old parents will enjoy. 'Need a comfortable, moderately expensive place between LAX and Westwood. We'd like a place where it is quiet enough to carry on a conversation. 'Could be a steak or seafood place, but we're open to a variety of cuisines.

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  1. Not halfway but close to Westwood, Lawry's would be a good place.

    4 Replies
    1. re: WHills

      Lawry's is an excellent choice.

      I'm not sure what "moderately expensive" means, but Vicente in Brentwood (on San Vicente, west of the 405), Il Grano in West LA (Santa Monica, just west of the 405) and La Cachette in Century City (Little Santa Monica, east of Westwood Blvd) are elegant restaurants with great food. La Cachette is definitely quiet, with very good French food. Il Grano is not mentioned often on this board, but has fantastic Italian food, emphasizing seafood.

      More casual than the above (and perhaps not expensive enough) is Sprazzo in Westwood. It is Italian, with good pastas. It is more of a neighborhood Italian place.

      Although I have not been there in years (bordering on decades), there is another Italian restaurant on Westwood called La Bruschetta. I have not seen any recent reviews.

      1. re: Jwsel

        i have to disagree about il grano.
        had the tasting menu there about 3 weeks ago.
        the fish was waaaay overcooked.
        since i was on a first date, i was in no position to graciously ask the kitchen to fix the problem.

        it was a very expensive, very beautiful-looking, but very unsatisfying meal.

        1. re: westsidegal

          Matteo's on Westwood Blvd between Olympic and Pico - a teriffic special occasion place directly between UCLA and LAX. There should be some reviews on here.

          Congratulation! Enjoy!

      2. re: WHills

        How a bout Michael's in Santa Monnica......I took my 89 year old mother there and she loved it. Food was great.

      3. Vincente or Drago, in Brentwood fit the bill perfectly. Maybe Peppones. Chez Mimi in Brentwood is another idea, always excellent, a beautiful patio.

        1. although a chain, i'd have to recommend palmonino's in westwood. not the best food you will experience, but it is consistent and caters to a variety of palates.

          2 Replies
          1. re: wilafur

            Palmonino's was very loud when I was there.

            1. re: jlq3d3

              My mom (who is 82) loves Palomino b/c it makes her feel hip n happenin.

              Depending on what type of 80 year olds they are, it may well fit the bill.

              The food is "fine." I had a good salmon there once; it's active and has a varied menu.

          2. I'm not sure if this will work since I'm not sure what you mean by moderately expensive, but you might also consider Josie in Santa Monica.

            1. it's his college graduation...just go to the bel air hotel. it's a block away, on stone canyon on the other side of sunset (or you can just follow hilgard across sunset and follow the signs). it's beautiful there in the spring and summer, and the food is fine and the service is great. why make this so difficult on yourself?

              2 Replies
              1. re: JE33

                i love the bel air but i'd not ever categorize it as 'moderately expensive,' it is, imo, out-and-out-honest-to-god expensive.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  The Hotel Bel-Air patio is probably the most beautiful setting in Los Angeles, but unfortunately the food and service have slipped so much in recent years, that it's hard to recommend this restaurant. It really is sad, because this was for many years the ultimate special occasion restaurant in L.A. Because it remains very expensive, for the price I think there are many other restaurants in Los Angeles that would be better choices for a special occasion.

                  I would absolutely endorse a previous poster's recommendation of Michael's in Santa Monica. They have a beautiful garden, and very good food and service. It's also quite quiet and conducive to conversation.

                  Another thought would be Spago. I don't think that any restaurant says L.A. more than this Wolfgang Puck flagship. The setting is great (I love the courtyard and the main dining room), the food and service are very good, and celebrities can often be spotted...most frequently Wolfgang himself! Always a fun place and the 80 year olds will love it.

              2. Napa Valley Grille - Westwood near UCLA (I reviewed this last month; if you click my handle, you'll see it.)
                Il Moro - West L.A. - a few miles south west of UCLA - very nice patio; Bolognese cuisine.
                Cafe del Rey - Marina del Rey; closer to LAX; lovely view and music.

                I also second these recommendations:
                Josie - Santa Monica - further west, but easy to find
                Vicente - Brentwood - lovely space, quite pricey.

                -----
                Josie
                2424 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                Cafe Del Rey
                4451 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

                Il Moro Restaurant
                11400 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064

                Napa Valley Grille
                1100 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024

                2 Replies
                1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                  Agree w/ all of these.

                  In Westwood, there's also Gardens on Glendon, which is suitable for a nice occasion and older folk.

                  Also, for Mother's Day, we took the grandmas to the W Hotel, and they enjoyed the ambience very much - sat on the patio at the restaurant on your *left* when you enter the front, not the big patio out to the right.

                  1. re: Emme

                    Wow! This is my first experience on chowhound and I'm really impressed with so many interesting responses. Thank you all, EB