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Primitivo, Lula's, Elsewhere?

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I'm looking for a great place for a delicious meal at a relatively low cost. Lula's and Primitivo have been suggested and are up for consideration. I generally don't like Mexican food that much (I like heat, but generally not that style of heat), so I'm leaning more toward Primitivo, but I haven't heard a lot of great things (here or elsewhere).

Here's what we need:
1) Around $20-25ish per person (cheaper is, obviously, better)
2) Around the Santa Monica/Venice area.

The rest is up for grabs. Things that are off-limits for various reasons:
1)Mediterranean food
2)Indian food
3)Sushi

Any help would be great!

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  1. You can't do Primitivo that cheaply, unless you're not drinking.

    Monte Alban - it's not your usual Mexican food, it's outstanding, and well within your budget. Musha is another idea, it's Japanese tapas.

    1. Agreed. I'm not even sure you could do Primitovo that cheaply without drinks! Monte Alban and Musha are great suggestions. Another option might be Fritto Misto for italian.

      1. Musha and Monte Alban are great.

        3 Square on Abbot Kinney would certainly be within range.
        Gjelina is probably too expensive given the portion sizes at dinner, but another new interesting option.

        1. Shamshiri might be great for this. I also like Toi Thai Too on Wilshire at 14th, and heartily second the Fritto Misto recomendation. Or maybe Chairman Mao?

          I haven't been to Lula's..but Primativo was $50 each, last Friday night (including wine,tax, tip, and a cake-cutting fee)