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Westwood - nice special occasion restaurant?

Need a nice spot for taking guests for an anniversary dinner. Should be nice, but not overly formal, reasonable noise level, nice drinks, food and service. Should have relatively straight-forward American or Italian cuisine. Guest are not too adventuresome. Cost not important. Thinking about Blvd 16, but haven't heard too much about it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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  1. Josie would fit the bill. It is in Santa Monica, but is reasonably close to Westwood.

    In Westwood itself, Napa Valley Grille and Tanino should both be all right for your needs.

    1 Reply
    1. re: J.L.

      I agree, Josie is great and not too far from Westwood. I would do Napa Valley Grill if you want to stay in Westwood proper.

    2. I recommend Osteria Latini on San Vicente in Brentwood. Five minutes West of Westwood. However they do not have a full bar.
      Matteos on Westwood Blvd. is somewhat redone with new ownership and a new chef. Have had a couple of good meals there.
      Skip Napa Valley Grille and Tanino is just OK. Dark.
      If you like Japanese, Tengu on Lindbrook is very pretty and quite good.

      1. In Westwood proper I concur that Napa Valley Grill and Tanino are your best choices. For a more casual yet tasty option, you can also consider La Bruschetta.

        1. I've only been to Blvd. 16 once, but I would definitely choose it over Napa Valley Grill. Food is better, service was much better, atmosphere is cool. The only thing is if you want to sit outside they don't have a patio. Also, the drinks are really interesting and good and the noise level is not a problem. Maybe go by and take a look at the room and the menu first.

          1. Agree w/ Napa Valley.

            As another idea, we did the W Hotel for Mother's Day, and it was actually quite nice - you have the option of the restaurant on the left when you enter or the patio/garden out to the right. Service was accommodating, and the ambience nice.

            1. Relatively new place on Santa Monica Blvd east of Sepulveda called Cinqueterre. Italianchefs and staff. Nice regional menu featuring Lingurian cuisine including a $70 tasting menu which includes a five smoked fish appetizer (tuna, salmon,halibut, scallop and one other, a duo of pasta dishes (one a pumpkin ravioli in a walnut sauce), a whole branzino baked in a salt crust and broiled langoustines served with a ratatouile of roasted vegetables. For $95 they had the above plus a beef carpaccio, a bistecca fiorentina and a cheese course. Lots of food per course, not just "tastes", cooked as you'd expect a fully Italian kitchen staff to prepare it and nicely presented. The wine list covers both Italian and domestic, somewhat limited, a little on the high side. We found a La Giustiniana Gavi di Gavi at $43 to be outstanding and a rival to a La Scolca at twice that price.

              You'll love it. Don't worry if the place is not packed. As soon as word gets out, this place will be jammed...

              1. Can you travel just a bit and head over to Il Grano in West LA? If so, I think that place is quite good.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Frommtron

                  i know that il grano has had great support on this board, but when i went there and had the tasting menu, virtually every fish dish was overcooked.
                  since the tab for the two of us ran about $250 for the evening, this was a tremendous disappointment.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Go back for their special crudo menu sometime. No worries about overcooked fish in that case.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      at that price, there are too many other excellent choices.
                      i won't be going back.

                    2. re: westsidegal

                      That's too bad. I had the complete opposite experience -- everything was beautifully cooked and prepared. Although, barring crudo naturally, I think Italians may prefer their fish cooked a little more than those of us with an Asian influenced california palate. I'm making all that up but it sounds reasonable.

                  2. if you want romantic for an anniversary i like sprazzo... it's a cute romantic italian restaurant on westwood (across the street from borders). good italian food, great dessert (the chocolate cake is the best dessert on the planet - we've gone there just for the dessert on numerous occasions, of course calling in advance to see if they are out of the cake, cuz i wouldn't know what else to order if they didn't have it.) i think they only have a wine list, but it's a very romantic place, great for an anniversary. quiet, cute, and the service is excellent.

                    1. Thanks to everyone for their recommendations. Based upon several posts in this thread, we decided to go to Josie, and were very pleased with our choice. The ambiance is very pleasant. Although not quiet, the noise level was not bad. The service was excellent; the menu interesting; and the food excellent. One caveat though...it's really quite expensive. Four of us had dinner there...we had four cocktails, four appetizers, three entrees, two desserts, and two of us shared a half-bottle of their least expensive white wine. With a 20% tip, the bill was just under $400. We thought it was a bit high...but we had a very nice time, and will definitely return.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: josephnl

                        Thanks for reporting back! Glad to hear that you had a nice meal. Yes, Josie is expensive but I think it's worth it. If you'd like to return and keep costs down, the Wednesday night farmer's market prixe fix is a good deal...3 courses for around $35, and it features fresh, local produce from that day's farmer's market.

                      2. Gardens on Glendon is great. My husband...then my boyfriend took me there on our first "romantic" date. It's a lovely restaurant with really great food.
                        1139 Glendon Ave
                        Los Angeles, CA 90024-3501