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LA restaurants with "ambiance" for out of town visitors?

hi everyone,

what are places west of la brea and north of the 10 with good food and "ambiance" (not sure what that really means) to take out of town visitors to? like the kind of visitors who eat mostly at places like Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, California Pizza Kitchen and Mimi's Cafe?

basicallly this means that hole in the wall ethnic places with awesome food (i.e. the kind of places i live for) are out.

i want to take them to places they'll think are "nice" without sacrificing the food aspect. basically, this should be an "LA for Beginners" type of deal.

places like Luna Park are good, because they are nice to hang out in and the food is relatively non-threatening.

thanks so much everyone!!!

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  1. www.fatfishla.com
    They have good food and drinks and a nice ambiance. Its located in West Hollywood on Robertson so itll give them a feel for the LA scene.

    1. What about Cafe La Boheme on Santa Monica Blvd just east of La Cienega? Beautiful room and good food.

      1. A Bev Hills spot like Grill on the Alley may work?

        1. We always try to dine at The Getty Center Restaurant with friends who come from out of town, they always enjoy the food and of course are impressed with the surroundings. It's like going to a restaurant and hitting one of L.A's best tourist attractions at the same time.
          The dining room is open for lunch, but lately it's only open for dinner on Saturday evenings. The more casual garden cafe is good too, and is open from 11 to 3 every day.

          1. I like to take out of towners to Asia De Cuba at the Mondrian on Sunset (I think it's the Mondrian, it's across the street from House of Blues.) It's communal family style eating, and although the idea of Asian Cuban fusion sounds intimidating it's really not, I've taken the blandest eaters there and they're cool with heaping plates of different varieties of fried rice, pretty straight preps of meat and fish etc. The mojitos are killer and the all white room and view of the city is very "Hollywood" and "Nip/Tuck"-ish so it gives the feeling of having "done" the Hollywood thing without velvet ropes, doormen or spending an arm and a leg.

            1 Reply
            1. re: PinotPlease

              I agree... this is a good place to take out of town guests... although they may freak out at the prices. My all time favorite salad is served there... it's this salad with bananas, crispy calamari, and hearts of palm. Ridiculously good. I also will have to agree that they've mastered the mojito.