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Need Help finding relaxed fine dining in LA...

I am here for the summer and have tried several fine dining options (sona, hatfield's, providence, grace, etc.). However, on some nights I find myself desiring a chill, relaxed restaurant with great food and have not been able to find any. Some restaurants that I would somewhat describe as what I'm looking for are: Terroni, AOC and Comme CA. However all three of these aren't exactly completely relaxed dining - they are all scenes. Can any generous hound lead me in the right direction?

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  1. Very funny. Your first option, Sona, is defined in this link as "a relaxed restaurant":
    http://www.faqs.org/abstracts/Food-an...

    Now, seriously: try La Terza.

      1. Go back to Providence, but this time book the chef's table. It is in a private room, behind the host stand. It is glassed off from the kitchen, so you get the view, but not the noise of dinner service in full swing. You could roll in there in jeans and a t-shirt, vanish into privacy, and enjoy an amazing meal with whatever level of relaxation you desire.

        1. Just walk into the bar at Craft without a reservation, sit down at a table in the bar area and sink into one of those big comfy chairs (or if you are lucky you might score the couch) and sit back and enjoy. What could be more comfortable than not even having to worry about reservations? I ate tonight in the actual dining room at Craft and I have to say that the tables in the bar area are every bit as comfortable as the tables in the dining room and I actually find the chairs in the bar a tad more comfortable than the dining room banquette seating. I'm not saying the banquette was uncomfortable, just that I love those bar area chairs.

          1. I personally thought Providence was pretty relaxed as far as fine dining restaurants go, however, I get what you're asking for. I would have to say the most relaxed and relaxing fine dining meal I've had was at Josie. Very pleasant noise level, great lighting, delicious food. The booths are large and comfortable, so make sure you request one. When I went it was all couples out for a romantic evening. No expense account or "hip" scene.

            1. Try Pane E Vino, on the Patio, you can sit there relax and have a nice dinner.

              1 Reply
              1. Melisse, Ortolan, La Cachette, the Foundry, La Terza, Vincente, and Mako come to mind.

                1. first, i'm jealous since you've hit so many good places in just a summer
                  you might try jiraffe in santa monica - not at all uptight
                  also campanile is more chill than some of the other fine dining establishments
                  and nook in west la is another possibility
                  and fraiche in culver city is pretty casual too with incredible food

                  1. Several of my favorites have been mentioned--La Terza, Campanile, Jiraffe.

                    Also--Joe's in Venice and Violet on Pico,

                    (I left (sob) LA two years ago, so some of these might be outdated/closed. If so, I apologize)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: PetiteSyrah

                      They are all still in business with a good amount of support on the board (Campanile gets a bit more of a mixed review than the others). Lots of new places to try if and when you come back for a visit. Just post if you do plan on coming and lots of folks will be glad to make recommendations.

                    2. lots of great recs here, so i'll just add what i don't see mentioned...

                      wilshire (on wilshire, great patio)
                      tasca wine bar
                      cube on la brea

                      1. Try Ortolan, especially a table in the bar, for a more relaxed evening.

                        1. Orris on Sawtelle has very fine Franco-Japanese cooking. No reservations. You can sit at the bar. It's always very good food in a relaxed, if somewhat crowded space. It depends on what you mean by "relaxed." If you mean no scene, Orris fits the bill. If you mean quiet, Orris is quite small so it's not quiet.

                          JiRaffe, Fraiche, Nook and Violet are all good recomendations.

                          1. The Hump, Melisse, Restaurant in Hotel Bel Air (cushioned patio seat with friends), Belvedere, I agree with the choice of Valentino above

                            1. I also highly recommend JiRaffe in Santa Monica---excellent food and I felt like it had a pretty relaxed atmosphere.