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Nov 19, 2008 10:03 AM

dinner - MDR, Culver City, or Venice

I'm looking for a place to have a birthday dinner w/ 2 of my girlfriends this weekend -- a quiet place where we can talk since we don't get to see each other often. Something not too expensive (i.e., Joe's would be too expensive) and with vegetarian options since one is a vegetarian. Venice, Culver City, or Marina del Rey are convenient for the three of us, since we are coming from the south bay and the valley.
Thanks so much!

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  1. There's not much ambiance to speak of, but the food is very good at Antica Pizzeria in the Marina. The Pennette a la Vodka is my favorite.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Juji

      their pizzas are terrific as is the grilled vegetable platter.

    2. I dont think you can go wrong with Brunello's in Culver City. It's a family run Italian restaurant with very friendly service, good food with reasonable prices and quiet. No problem for your vegitarian friend. Its's on Washington just east of downtown Culver City. Cant think of too many "quiet" restaurants.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Baron

        I like Brunello as well. They're really good folks, the staff is very attentive, and the food is spot on.

        Another place I rally enjoyed a meal that is very friendly to vegetarians and vegans is M Cafe de Chaya in Downtown Culver City. However, I didn't see any booze options, and while it's clean, it's a little sparse and the air-con can be quite chilly - not conducive to long casual conversations.

        Akasha is another option that offers a lot of vegetarian and non-veg options but is more upscale. I'm guessing food alone will run around $35-$40 per, and wine will be around $12-$15 per glass.

        Another possibility would be to either eat a meal at M Cafe or keep it to a few small plates at Akasha, then walk over to Bottlerock on Main Street and resume your conversation over some great wine choices (pretty much at market price - $8-$14 on average). Just about everything on the menu is small plates-oriented or desserts, so you can budget incrementally of the food there. In fact, now that I think about it , you may want to even consider going there to begin with. I think at least half of their menu is vegetarian-friendly - it just depends on how your friend defines her diet restrictions. If she eats seafood as well, they have couple of pretty good shrimp and scallop dishes as well.

        3847 Main St, Culver City, CA 90232

        9543 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

        M Cafe De Chaya
        9343 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

        1. re: bulavinaka

          Bamboo on Venice a few blocks west of Overland. Wonderful Caribbean food with great prices.

          1. re: bulavinaka

            I agree with Brunello; we had a very nice girls' dinner there 2 weeks ago. Reasonably priced menu, friendly service and quiet.

            Akasha is fun, but it is quite a bit louder.

            I *LOVE* Axe's food, but I is more like $65/person to Brunello's $35.

        2. yo.

          A good place that has a good amount of vegetarian options is right by Joe's on Abbot Kinney called Axe, pronounce ax, like paul bunyan's. They have a nice outside patio that isn't too loud, and they have other good regular type dishes for the carnivores, (bless you, keep eating meat). Not crazy pricey at all, think $20-30 a person. Then come join the rest of us down the street for a beer at the other room.

          2 Replies
          1. re: gtflier

            Ummm, like, yo: Axe is not pronounced like umm... Paul Bunyan's ax, it's pronounced "Ahh-Shay." Ummm, also, like, it has a back yard which has not yet permitted for outdoor dining, but the owner has been trying forever to get those permits. Other than that, like, you're right on. It's farmer's market driver, almost completely organic, with a bunch of vegetarian options, and good beer and wine options as well.

            1. re: gtflier

              I like Axe a lot as well, but the seats/benches are a little uncomfortable for long periods of sitting and talking, and it gets pretty busy and kinda noisy in there - somewhat contrary to what the OP specified. Otherwise, great choice...

              I think Axe is pronounced, "ah-shay," sounding similar to the name of the northern region of Sumatra - Aceh. Whatever the case, it's a great place. Joanna is really down to earth, lives in the hood, and tries to source as much local stuff as possible.

            2. The newest place on AK is Gjelina at 1429, 310.450.1429(catchy), and I hear the food is sensational. Might check into a website for menu and pricing.

              1 Reply
              1. re: carter

                this was my original idea, but the review said it was noisy there!

              2. Fraiche is worth considering as well. Terrific food, nice atmosphere--though the Chef, Jason Trevi, has been spending most of his time lately at their new place in Santa Monica, Riva, to get it up and running properly.

                9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232