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1 Dinner in LA?

We will be in LA, staying in Beverly Hills, for one night. I haven't been to LA in more years than I can count. What restaurants would you recommend? We like italian, seafood, american, pretty much anything but sushi/asian food. We aren't looking for a French Laundry kind of experience, but something that has good food, casual dress, and a good atmosphere. Can you help me?

I also need recommendations for Santa Barbara...Big Sur area (near the Post Ranch Inn), and my favorite city, San Francisco. I'll post on those boards too.

Thanks Chowhounders!

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  1. With your comment about liking seafood the Hungry Cat is an idea that would work for you. In Hollywood, so a bit of a hike but if you will have a car (and if you're driving up the coast that's a pretty safe bet) it won't take you long to get there. Excellent cocktails as well. A closer idea would be AOC in the West Hollywoodish area, close to Beverly Hills. Small plates, great mixtures of bold flavors.

    The Hungry Cat
    1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

    8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

    1. PROVIDENCE! Great seafood. Nice atmosphere. You'll remember this meal. Get 1 of the tasting menus!

      4 Replies
      1. re: peppermonkey

        just so you know, providence and spago (recommended farther down on this thread) are two of the hottest 'fine-dining' restaurants in town.

        from the tone of your post,i 'm not sure that fine-dining is what you are seeking.

        1. re: westsidegal

          Providence is fine dining but I feel that it's not "stuffy" and "uptight" as compared to the other fine-dining restaurants. That's why I would rec Providence in a heart beat. I also agree that synergy should visit Spago, he/she won't go wrong.

          They can also go to Anisette Brasserie. Great casual french cuisine. Chef Giraud is super friendly. Worth the drive there.

          1. re: westsidegal

            We'll be spending a week traveling in CA and will end up in San Fran. I just wanted to have maybe 1 or 2 'splurge' dinners and will absolutely consider Spago. Anyone have a web address for it? If we select Spago how much ahead of time should I make a reservation?

            1. re: synergy

              Spago link.

              176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

        2. sorry forgot to link

          5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

          1. PROVIDENCE -The best food currently in LA.

            1. In Santa Barbara there's Brophy's on the pier. Very casual, very fresh and very good seafood. The best clam chowder and reasonable prices. The Post Ranch Inn has its own very fine, not so casual, restaurant with a world class view. Worth the price.

              1. I love Sona on La Cienega. Not necessarily casual, but a terrific tasting menu (set aside 3 hours).

                Also, Luques in West Hollywood. More casual, but very, very, good, with a nice little fireplace lounge beside the bar.

                I heartily second Brophy Brothers in Santa Barbara (not the one in Ventura). Clam chowder. Seriously.

                401 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90048

                8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                1. Certainly you must consider Spago. It's the quintessential L.A. restaurant.

                  1. Spago is Puck's flagship, convenient in Beverly Hills, has excellent food and service, and is definitive L.A. with celebrity-sightings likely. You can get away with business-casual attire, but some will be dressed up and the bill will be substantial. Craft, Colicchio's L.A. outpost next door in Century City, is also stylish, serves dishes to share, draws industry types, and is comparably priced. Either excellent, but not sure that's what you are asking for.

                    Two good possibilities for very tasty American food, a nice but more casual setting, and significantly lower prices would each be about ten minutes west. Nook Bistro is hidden in the back corner of the minimall on Santa Monica Blvd. at Barry, in W.L.A. just a bit past the San Diego 405 freeway overpass. Wilshire is named for its street, a bit further west, but also a straight easy shot from Beverly Hills. Both have excellent websites online with complete menus including prices.

                    If you are looking for something even more casual, consider Father's Office, the new branch in Culver City. This would be a fairly large bar, about ten minutes south of Beverly Hills on Robertson cutting over west on Washington. Many locals rate its gourmet burger as the best in SoCal, but note there are no variations allowed -- you have it their way. Their other offerings are surprisingly good as well, the place serves topnotch beer and small-house spirits, and you order at the bar and there are no reservations.