Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Sep 3, 2008 11:43 AM

Westwood for Sunday Dinner

We are going to the Geffen for a matinee on Sunday, and would love to have a nice dinner somewhere nearby. We usually go to Palomino which is ok, but we would like something better. Any ideas? Would like something quiet, with nice cocktails and wine, and probably not ethnic (although French or Italian would be fine).

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Napa Valley Grille on Glendon (just across from Palomino) is better than Palomino, so that might fit your bill. They also have a pretty big wine list.

    There's also Tanino on Westwood which will be closer to the Geffen, food is okay ..
    Do you plan on walking from the Geffen? If so, maybe venturing a little out of Westwood is an option?


    3 Replies
    1. re: burumun

      Venturing a bit out of Westwood would be fine.

      1. re: burumun

        strangely, i really like the napa valley grille. every year when we go to the tennis tournament at UCLA, we swing by napa valley grille for at least one meal. we always eat at the bar, i find the dining room to be cumbersome. but we always get great service and have always been happy with both the choices on the menu, the flavors and the wine list.

        1. re: lotta_cox

          Both Napa Valley Grille and Tanino have very easily reached websites ( or that include menus with prices. As you probably know, Napa Valley Grille is in the street-level front of the glass and steel rebuilt office building that formerly housed Monty's on top. Tanino is in the former historic Alice's Restaurant -- lots of tile and a few patio seats off the sidewalk in front and lots of nice alcoves. At or near that price level you might want to check out 930 at the new, stylish W Hotel on Hilgard in what formerly was the Westwood Marquis. I'm not certain, but the walk from the W to the Geffen may be shorter and nicer than to Napa Valley Grille or Tanino.

      2. Ditto on Napa Valley Grille.

        1. for great italian, i'd hop wilshire to san vicente and hit up one of the few restaurants there: Vincenti, Pecorino, or Palmeri.

          1. The original comment has been removed
            1. We took the advice of a few of you and had dinner last night at the Napa Valley Grille...and it was pretty awful. Part of it was not their fault, put the worst part was clearly in their ballpark and they blew it very badly.

              The restaurant was depressingly quiet, which is one of the reasons it is so hard to find a decent place to eat on Sunday night. The NVG is a pretty big restaurant, and at about six o'clock there were maybe two or three tables filled, and perhaps a couple of people at the bar. Not a good sign.

              We were a party of four, and although my three guests didn't complain, it was obvious that neither food nor service were particularly good. The worst thing happened to me. I am a huge fan of shellfish, especially mussels. I love Penn Cove mussels from Washington, and we just returned from a vacation on Prince Edward Island in Canada, where I had their wonderful mussels at least once a day. When reviewing the specials menu last evening (a separately printed sheet inserted into the menu) at the NVG, I was thrilled to see Penn Cove mussels on the menu as an appetizer. I specifically discussed their freshness with the server, who assured me that they had come in within 24 hours and were "delicious". We chatted a bit about various kinds of mussels. Now here is where it gets truly weird. Several minutes later our appetizers were served, and my plate of "mussels" was set down in front of me. These "mussels" looked nothing like any mussels I had ever seen before. Instead of black and elongated, these "mussels" were roundish, and pale grey and looked ever so much like clams! I stopped another server passing by and told him that these did not appear to be the mussels which I had ordered. He removed them and sent the original waiter back over. He then acknowledged that they were indeed clams, and that he had forgotten that they had "run out of mussels last night". Very weird. I guess I could have forgiven him for forgetting to tell me that they had run out had we not had a specific discussion about the freshness of the mussels...and even serve me clams, perhaps thinking I would not know the difference is really bad news. The server was not particularly apologetic, but the manager who I asked to see was. They did send over a plate of cookies at the end, but I felt it was too little too late for what was really a ridiculous experience.

              4 Replies
              1. re: josephnl

                Josephni, I empathize for your bad experience. But c'mon -- there is no excuse for a restaurant serving either bad or incorrect seafood, especially shellfish. But you went on a Sunday night, and entered a nearly empty restaurant. No turnover. I've seen you on this board often enough so you should be very leery of shellfish on a Sunday -- nobody except the rarest of exceptions gets a delivery on Saturday, much less Sunday. That is a time when you actually prefer that the scallops or shrimp originally were shipped frozen, and beware of the rest of the seafood.

                That being said, there are few restaurant experiences more depressing than dining in an almost empty dining room. The front of the house is bored and lamenting a bad payday, and the kitchen is off-stride and inconsistent. I'd be very interested in seeing the books at Napa Valley Grille and Tanino -- my guess is they are surviving on weekends, weekday lunches from the nearby offices and UCLA, and raking it in during graduation. (Palomino does its business during its pre-dinner and late-night happy hours.) They all are probably drooling at the prospect of the upscale crowd moving into the new very expensive ($3k+) apartment complex being completed on the east side of Westwood Village.

                You didn't want ethnic, but the best dining in Westwood Village for quiet, service, and moderate prices is Thai House, across from the Whole Foods on the west side of Gayley. Carpeted, real glassware, cloth tablecloths and napkins, and starters around $6.95 and entrees mostly under $10.

                1. re: nosh

                  Speaking of which, we went to Tanino last night. My husband and I had never been, my parents had been (they live in the general area), we seem to end up at Palomino a lot, I might've suggested The Galley but we were just there a week ago, so Tanino was something different (plus, I was lured by the 1000 Open Table points for a 7:00 p.m. reservation). When we walked in, it was quite empty. A few more tables filled as we ate but it was hardly bustling. The food was pretty good and the service was fine too. I really enjoyed my lasagne which was the thin-noodle bechamel-sauce type as opposed to the thicker-noodle ricotta-mozzarella extravaganza type. My husband had the sausage-broccoli risotto, which he liked. The folks had pasta dishes too. Arugula and artichoke salad to start, reminiscent of the one we have liked for many years at Ca' del Sole. No desserts, no alcohol (having drunk our fill at the folks house while killing a couple hours after Reprise which was one act).

                  1. re: nosh

                    Of course you are right that I should know better than to order shellfish on a Sunday night. But...I guess I was naive enough to trust the server who said they came in no later than late Saturday! I guess that was my original reason for the see where we could have a decent meal on Sunday night. Napa Valley Grille is definitely not the place. It still galls me that they sent out clams when I specifically wanted Penn Cove mussels. At least the entree which I had...shrimp (which were surely frozen) and capellini was edible...not great...but ok.

                    Part of my naivete may be the result of us just returning from Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island where several places told us (and I truly believe) they receive their shellfish in twice a day, seven days a week. We enjoyed the best oysters, mussels, clams, lobster...and regular fish...salmon, halabut, haddock...or even just fish and chips that we have had anywhere.

                  2. re: josephnl

                    wow. That sucks. I feel bad participating in a thread that sent you so far astray. One reason I don't like the dining room is that it is always quiet early.... But that mussel/clam issue is beyond the pale.