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Need a place either in LA or OC for wedding anniversary: knock your socks off type

Hi all,

For our wedding anniversary last year, we went to Stone Hill Tavern and her birthday Marche Moderne. It was really nice. I am hoping to top myself this year. We don't drink wine so that's not important, but I would love to know ball park totals for 2 (app, main, dessert w/o wine). So I need some suggestions. I know she'll want to get all dressed up so something upscale is the goal with a nice WOW factor. I am almost resigned to going to LA as I can't come up with a topper in OC. As our anni falls on a weekend this year, I am up to an LA excursion from OC (if its worth is):

Some of my initial thoughts:

Spago
Californian
Sapphire
Osteria Mozza
London WeHo
Sona
Valentino
Joe's
Providence
Melisse (may break the budget)

I'll take any others...

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  1. Have you tried Napa Rose already?

    1 Reply
    1. re: mlgb

      I/we have not been to the Napa Rose, but I will consider as it's already in the OC.

    2. From your list, I think Providence has the best "wow" factor. For prices, see their website: www.providencela.com. The tasting menu is really worth it if it is in your budget. That would be my #1 pick. You might also consider Hatfield's, Grace, or Josie, which aren't on your list. They all have websites with pricing.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Nicole

        The prices for providence are in line with what my comfort zone would be for this dinner.

        1. I have been researching and Ortolan seems really nice as well. I guess I need to pair it down. Our normal (slightly special) occasion place is Ti Amo in Laguna. Nice and romantic. So I am hoping for the next level.

          Hmm...budget may not be as important as i thought.

          She was very wowed by Stonehill last year...so I have to top myself ;)

          1. Just about all of your options listed are good ones, but since you specified WOW factor I have to support Spago. Puck's flagship, outstanding food -- you could do a tasting menu, order from the regular menu, or save room and splurge on Sherry Yard's outstanding desserts. Superlative service, wonderful rooms -- it may be getting a bit cool at night for dinner on the patio after sunset. Huge star factor. An additional plus -- even non-foodies or 'hounds will recognize its name and envy your wife when she tells them where you took her.

            A few thoughts on some of the others: You will be missing perhaps the main strength of Valentino if you don't order wine. There have been at least two recent long reviews of Sona on this board, with links to blogs that include numerous photos -- be sure to look them over because reactions to Sona are quite strong in both directions. Mozza is still hot and the food can be bold and outstanding, but the noise (loud soundtrack) and bustling vibe of the place may not make for a relaxed, celebratory anniversary. Maybe hit the Pizzeria for lunch. Finally, if you and your wife are Top Chef fans, you might want to consider Craft.