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Midwestern Friend Visiting

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I want to take my friend who is visiting from Illinois out for a California dinner. It'll be both her first Californian meal AND her birthday, so I'd love for it to be a fun, unusual experience. Any suggestions for the Woodland Hills area?

Edit: Smokeydoke has reminded me that I ought to mention my area and price range! I'm in Woodland Hills, but I'm willing to travel. I'm on a college student budget, but since this is my birthday gift to my friend, I'd like this to be a relatively upscale place. Thanks!

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  1. What is the vicinity and the price range?

    My default answer is always Spagos, just because it's famous, and "argueably" the birth of California cuisine. It's also in a nice neighborhood, Beverly Hills.

    Do you want to have a celebrity sighting? I recommend Nobu or Comme Ca in Hollywood. They seem to be the "places to be' at the moment.

    If none of that interests you, I'd try Drago Centro in LA. If it's anything like the other Drago restaurants, it'll be great, and it's located in downtown LA.

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    Spago
    176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

    Comme Ça
    8479 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069

    Drago Centro
    525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

    Nobu
    11357 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: SmokeyDoke

      Given the added information about a college student but still wanting the restaurant to be relatively upscale I think that your recommendation of Comme Ca is spot on.

    2. Hi lizzieluna,

      Since you mention you're willing to travel, you might consider these places for your Midwestern friend's first California meal (on a budget):

      * Anisette Brasserie - Beautiful space, lively, some good dishes, and their Pastries are wonderful (made in-house, everyday). You can enjoy them for Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch or Dinner, and walk around Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade afterwards.

      * Pizzeria Mozza - Another lively place with some interesting dishes. The pedigree of its owners - Nancy Silverton (La Brea Bakery) and Iron Chef Mario Batali (Food Network) might be something she'd be interested in. And then there's all the shops on Melrose before or after the meal to browse as a possibility.

      (Also adding the correct link for Drago Centro (their website / card lists them at 525 S. Flower Street, #120, and not at the 515 Flower location in the previous link.)

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      Pizzeria Mozza
      6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

      Anisette Brasserie
      225 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

      Drago Centro
      525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

      1. i would second (or is it 3rd) pizzeria Mozza, but for the best time sit at the bar (not the wine bar but the other one) and watch the cooks make pizzas as you eat. It's fun to watch, and sometimes Nancy Silverton herself is back there making pizzas