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Feb 24, 2009 11:41 PM

Rec Needed for Affordable Restaurant, 8-12 people

I'm looking to plan a movie night with dinner before hand. The movie will be the highlight of the night, not the food. But of course it would be perfect if I can find a restaurant that is tasty, affordable, casual and accommodating to fluctuations in the size of the group.

These would be the criteria:

1) Anywhere from Koreatown west to 405, bounded by 10 freeway on south, and no further north than Hollywood. The closer to a movie theater the better.
2) $20 or less per person (before tax and not including alcohol)
3) No reservations required
4) Easy to seat 8-12 people at one table
5) Sit down service preferred
6) T-shirt and jeans ok
7) Decent service so we can get in and out on time
8) No Korean BBQ

The only reason I say no Korean BBQ is because that is usually my default choice to satisfy the above criteria. Manna would be a perfect example.

I'd appreciate any and all help, thanks!

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  1. I suggest kay and Daves on Pico near Beverly Glen. It is healthy Mexican food and they have a full bar. They can easily accommodate your crowd ...they even have a private room. Everyone I've taken there has really liked it. It's fun and affordable. The interior is comfortable and very pleasant to be in. Century City and West Side Pavillion for movies are both less than three minutes away. There is valet parking and parking on the street if you can find it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: delishdonna

      thanks donna! i'll check this place out.

      if there are any other recs, i'd appreciate it just for future reference.

      1. re: delishdonna

        Unfortunately the food here is not great.

      2. Altho it doesn't satisfy your request for sit-down service unless you go to Marcel's (which is also a good choice), how about dinner @ Farmer's Market & then walk over to Grove for your movie? Couldn't be easier; you have a wide range of delicious food to satisfy everyone (Loteria, Banana Leaf, Brazilian Bbcue, Greek, Moishe's, etc) & definitely all w/in budget. If tables aren't large enough, you can probably move a couple together. Alcohol available @ bar in center of market but wine choice is limited; however, you can byo wine as long as you also remember a corkscrew & glasses (altho you probably can get empty glasses from any of the restaurants.)

        1 Reply
        1. re: archer

          Good Idea, although Marcel's tends to take quite a while.

        2. Hello... How about Papa Cristos (on Pico) for greek chow? I think the room is large enough and the tables abundant enough to push together for your group...

          1. what night of the week?

            many restaurants would have a hard time accomodating a group that large walking in with no reservation on a friday or saturday night, but might be ok with it on a slower night.

            if you can find your way to making a reservation first, i believe you will have more options.

            2 Replies
            1. re: westsidegal

              archer, silence, westside, thanks for the suggestions!

              re: farmer's market, i did consider it. but i was concerned about finding enough seating for 1 big group.

              re: reservations, unfortunately i was thinking sat. night. but i didn't want to hassle with making reservations and then calling to revise if some people didn't show or brought extra friends last minute.

              1. re: urbanfoodninja

                Farmers Market usually has fairly big round tables available right in center of market. And you can always pull up extra chairs. There's also a long communal table in front of Banana Leaf that would accommodate your group. At worst, if you can't push tables together, you could probably sit @ 2 adjacent tables. I've been there many times when my small group has evolved unexpectedly into a larger group & always found seating. Just a thought. It would be my first choice for casual dinner & movie night.

            2. The Landmark Theaters on the very western end of The Westside Pavillon on Pico is now my favorite Movie House in L.A.; especially the Screening Lounges. Easy to get to, just take the Overland exit from the S.M. Freeway and go north. Free parking.


              A very short walk west from the Landmark on Pico is La Serenata Gourmet with 2 dining rooms and an outside patio. Never been on a Fri. or Sat. night so I don't know how busy they are then. One phone call should end that mystery. Easy to satisfy everybody for under $20 per person (food only).


              4 Replies
              1. re: JBC

                If it is a movie night, I agree with JBC that the Landmark may be the best destination -- the theatres were built recently, have a lot of upscale features, and parking is convenient and free. Gosh, it has been so long since I've actually been inside the Westside Pavilion that I don't even know if there are still any restaurants on the ground floor -- I remember back to the Sisley and Panda Inn. Junior's Deli is right across the street north on Westwood -- the recent deli thread blasted a lot of their sandwiches and chicken soup, but people seem to like their skirt steak. La Serenata is blasted as not being anywhere near as good as the Boyle Heights flagship, but I don't know if that is true or just reverse elitism. There have been some favorable recs for Bossa Nova on this board, particularly as a latenight option, but some have savaged it. There is a Thai restaurant nearby, a Korean grill, and a Bourbon Street shrimp place. Islands has started offering free fries or a side with a burger or entree, and Hop Li is just a bit west.

                If you are choosing a current hit that is playing at the Village or Bruin in Westwood Village, you get one of the few remaining bigscreen experiences where the theatre hasn't been divided. Parking is always an issue, but there is a public lot on the east side of Broxton after it becomes one-way south, just below those two theatres. You can have a very good and civilized meal at Thai House on Gayley, across the street from Whole Foods just to the west -- good service, quiet, carpeted, real glasses and plates and tablecloths, but the prices aren't more than usual for Thai -- stir-fry and noodle dishes around $10, starters like mee krob for about $7. Dishes big enough to share.

                1. re: nosh

                  juniors is a great idea. they would probably fit on all criteria.

                  i dunno if you could reasonably expect to meet the budget at la serenata.
                  also, i'd be wary of popping into La Serenata on a Saturday night with a large group without a reservation with the expectation of being able to get out in time for a movie.

                2. re: JBC

                  If you are going to the theaters at the Westside, then I agree La Serenata is a good choice. In the same area (pretty much right next door) is also Torafuku which I like (


                  It's not exactly fast, but service is decent so given reasonable time for dinner should be able to make it in/out in time.

                  I won't mention Gyukaku since it's close enough to K-BBQ :P

                  1. re: burumun

                    what are the prices at la serenata?
                    can urbanfoodninja really expect to get out of there for $20/pp or less?

                    myconcern about them being able to get out on time was not a concern about the general level of service, it was about the fact that with a party of 10, with no reservations, they might have to wait for a table. could this be a problem?