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One year anniversary dinner

My wife and I are celebrating our one year anniversary this saturday. We are 30 years old. Neither of us eat pork and we don't really like French food. We are open to any place on the Westside, Beverly Hills, Hollywood. I would prefer someplace romantic. No budget restrictions. Thanks very much.

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  1. There are so many choices the mind reels. PLaces I would choose for my anniversary include:
    Providence if you love seafood.
    Apple, I adored Ogden's work in Vegas and cannot wait to taste his food here.
    Urasawa if you love Japanese, but I will be jealous because I have not gone yet, although probably not romantic.
    Sur, in West Hollywood is very romantic but the food is more basic than anywhere else I have listed.
    I find Ortolan to be romantic and nommy. I have been there for 2 anniversaries.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lotta_cox

      I'll second the Ortolan rec... (lotta cox: what's a nommy?)
      Also, add Belvedere at The Peninsula to the list.

      1. re: banquisha

        Embarrassingly, "nom" is LOLcats speak for "yum", therefore, "nommy" = "yummy".

        I might even add the Tower Bar at Sunset Towers hotel. That is a very romantic spot to me, maybe because I got married in that room when the hotel was still the Argyle. But I love the food and the atmosphere.

    2. I like Hatfield's tasting menu and cozy atmosphere- just make sure you ask for a table inside. Everything is fresh and seasonal.


      1 Reply
      1. re: tokyoastrogirl

        We went to hatfield's for our 1 year anniv. as well.

        Love the lamb, love the croque.

      2. My SO and I are around the same age range and enjoyed AOC a lot, which allowed for trying a variety of food/wine and sharing which is always romantic!

        Would also suggest the tasting menu at Spago (ask for a table on the lovely patio).

        Our last outstanding special occasion meal was at Melisse which, while French, had quite a few menu options that were not French and you can pick your own dishes to construct a tasting menu.

        1. I think if I had no budget restrictions and didn't like French food I might go to Valentino and have the kitchen decide what to make (except pork, of course) and order an exquisite bottle of wine.

          4 Replies
          1. re: la tache burger

            Agree that Valentino would be a great choice. Also, because of the wonderful atmosphere and very good food, the garden at Michael's would be a good choice for a romantic dinner. Someone else recommended Ortolan, which I would fully endorse...except, it is definitely a French restaurant.

            1. re: la tache burger

              I, too, agree on Valentino. Great food, romantic, totally NOT a "scene" ... I think it might fit the bill perfectly.

              And if you do go, ask for Paul Sherman as your captain/waiter. He is SUPER knowledgeable about wine, and a genuine delight.

              1. re: la tache burger

                I recently celebrated my b-day at Valentino's and had a wonderful meal. It's a great place for a romantic evening such as your anniversary!

                One of the guests and I decided to share our food (getting 2 apps, & 2 entrees then split it). We told our waiter that was our plan. When the food came out they plated it for us like a tasting menu by putting half of each apps on one plate and the same for the entree. I was quite impressed with this presentation. It was much nicer than switching plates or sliding the food on to each others plates to share.

                I was also at Ortolan for my anniversary last month and had a wonderful meal there too. We had the degustation course which had both hits & misses. It was kind of sad to see how dead it was in there. There were only about 4 other tables filled. It was nothing like it was when they first opened. It still is a romantic place to go!

                1. re: BombayUpWithaTwist

                  yes, it was very sad to see how empty ortolan was on a saturday night!

              2. Hi djginsbe,

                I agree with the votes so far. Do a search on this board, and check out the Chef's Tasting Menus offered at Spago, Providence and Valentino.

                5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                Valentino (Santa Monica)
                3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                1. I really love Grace for a romantic meal, and will also toss in my support for the Spago tasting menu - especially if you have never been there before.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: parmamom

                    Thank you all so much for the outstanding variety of choices. All these places look great. The next problem is getting in somewhere on 4 days notice.

                    1. re: djginsbe

                      These places aren't as hard to snag as you might think. If OpenTable doesn't have anything, call the restaurant. They can usually work something out, especially if you're flexible on time.

                      1. re: nick_r

                        if you have any trouble, you might consider cafe del rey.
                        the view of the boats, the lovely lounge for afterwards, the ability to stroll around the yachts afterwards, the outstanding wine list, AND the willingness of the host/hostess to give you a table that allows you to sit on the same side of the table touching each other (i.e. NOT a two top) all, to me, add up to romance.

                        be sure when you make your reservation to let them know you would like a table that allows you to sit on the same side.

                  2. Seems like my boyfriend and I find ourselves at Tower Bar for every event - good food, great service, and the ambiance is probably its best asset.

                    Swanky, classic, and romantic.

                    1. i just had a bday dinner w/husband at spago and ordered the 5 course tasting menu. it was OUTSTANDING. the service was lovely--they accomodated our special requests (after checking with the chef) and were so pleasant and professional. so, the pork thing might be an issue - but they will likely be able to work around it (maybe call ahead to check). overall, it was one of the best meals i've had. it was paced perfectly and i couldn't be happier. what i can remember:

                      several amuses - mainly fish, one pork (bacon and another pork in pastry).
                      cucumber sorbet before meal
                      seared cod - crisp and perfect over a vegetable; slightly asian feel - but just sweet and crispy and salty. it was great.
                      bbq shrimp over ricotta
                      seared beef with balsamic-ish reductoin. perfect.
                      another main - but i just can't remember.
                      chocolate sorbet over multi-layer chocolate cake that is from wolfgang's hometown.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: dtud

                        I love Spago....but I don't think it is especially romantic. For a special occasion, it can't be beat, but for two who want to spend a night together with themselves, I would not recommend it.

                        1. re: josephnl

                          i agree with josephnl on this.
                          the focus of spago's is the food--not so good as a romantic spot.

                        2. re: dtud

                          Great food trumps a "romantic" setting any day (or night) of the week. Thanks for the review, dtud.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            thank you, i agree!!! i mean what's more romantic than savoring a delicious and memorable meal with someone you love? i mean i have had romantic meals at a taco truck. if you're happy, with the person you love most in the world, and are having your mouth and mind explode with flavor -- i really can't think of anything better in the world. but to each his own i guess.

                            i also don't find spago cold like some people. we sat on the back banquet and it was nice. i also think the room with the trees is lovely. the middle of the dining room is a bit worse - but i'm sure you can call and request a more "romantic" seating assignment.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              Absolutely, totally, 100% disagree! Indeed there are times when delicious food trumps all....but there also times when the best food in the world in an inappropriate setting is not what is desired. Sure, bad food is never acceptable, but there are times when (for me at least....and I'm sure many others) a romantic, intimate setting with very good food definitely trumps the best food in a noisy, uncomfortable setting. It depends on who is dining, and what they want on a specific evening. If I'm going out to eat with old college buddies or my gourmet buddies, the requirements are totally different that if I'm celebrating an anniversary with my sweetheart. For some persons food trumps everything on any occasion....and that's ok....but for others (me included) the entire dining experience has to match the specific situation. Of course, bad food is never acceptable...but very good food in the right setting is sometimes the best choice for some of us.

                          2. Congrats on your 1st anniversary! I think I'd save the $$$ for a later anniversary (considering most marriages end within 3 years these days) and find a nice neighbourhood restaurant to have a nice dinner.... Sorry for the doom & gloom.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: OCAnn

                              With an attitude like that you are doomed to failure. Wine and dine your spouse and show her how much you appreciate her and your relationship. Read Exilekiss' review of Valentino, I would love to go there for a nice romantic evening.

                              1. re: JEN10

                                How do I find exilekiss' review of Valentino?

                            2. One other restaurant to consider is Sona on La Cienega. It has wonderful food, service and ambiance...but it's quite contemporary in decor. I personally think that Valentino might be a better choice for a romantic dinner particularly if you like an elegant traditional look...but Sona is definitely a special occasion spot also and should be considered. I think both restaurants have websites where you might look at some pictures, and their menus.