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Need rec for graduation dinner in LA please!

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Does anyone have any good ideas where I can have a fun yet delicious law school graduation dinner in LA/Hollywood/Beverly Hills? There will only be 5 of us, so price is not a huge factor, yet I don't want to spend an outrageous amount of money. I'd love a place that has a great atmosphere, nothing too stiff (so places like Providence are out). The catch is that it cant be Italian since I'm doing that the next night. I'm open to places in Santa Monica too, but would prefer LA. Thanks so much...I'm drawing a blank :)

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  1. So you want somewhere you can yuk it up, tell stories, make speaches, and/or propose a toast or two without bothering someone's Grandma at the next table:

    Chaya Brasserie ~ Asian-French-Eclectic ~ West Hollywood

    http://www.thechaya.com

    Chinois on Main ~ Asain-Calif-French ~ Santa Monica

    http://www.wolfgangpuck.com/restauran...

    1 Reply
    1. re: JBC

      Good recs. Both Chaya & Chinios are fun places, but haven't been in a while. I also love Craft, as nosh recommends, frequently, and you can eat family-style, so as not to break the bank.

      Loved Fraiche, except now it sounds like they're getting too big for their britches. Love Wilshire's patio, but heavens, don't bring a cake with you!!

      Rustic Canyon is a bit small & intimate, and I fear you'd get many dirty looks if you got a little giddy.

    2. A party of five is great for Craft -- dishes are served to share, you can order a lot, and you can split two or three of the higher-priced "entrees" and order lots of the starters and sides and keep the tab within reason. They also recently began serving a bar menu -- I don't know if it is limited to certain areas or times.

      If it is for a Saturday evening and some of the party is first-time in L.A. (or leaving town) a good spot would be The Restaurant at the Getty. Amazing views, and the food and service are surprisingly good. You'd have the sunset, the gardens, and the fun/experience of the parking structure and the tram.

      Spago, La Cachette, Campanile. Nook Bistro, Fraiche, Wilshire, Rustic Canyon, Orris, Musha.

      3 Replies
      1. re: nosh

        I'd agree with Spago for a special, fun night with amazing food (had my own grad dinner there). AOC is another favorite for special occasions and it's great for groups with all the small plates you can share. The Bazaar is incredibly fun and food is fantastic. Or for something more traditional and less expensive, Comme Ca is always a good time and the food is quite good.

        1. re: nosh

          I second most of these great recommendations.

          However, I had a very disappointing experience at Orris last week and would not recommend this for a party. La Cachette is pricy, stuffy, and unremarkable.

          1. re: nosh

            i you go to mushs be sure to reserve one of the private rooms in back.

            orris does not take reservations so your entire party could end up standing there for a LONG time waiting for a table.

          2. Matsuhisa or Nobu.
            Cut or Craft.
            I would add XIV but haven't been there since they changed their menu concept

            1. Thanks guys, I will have to check these options out before everyone else graduating that day book them solid!

              1. Bazaar would be worth considering too, esp because you'll have a group and can order a lot of plates.

                1. Don't know where you're graduating from (congrats by the way) but a lot of USC student like to celebrate at Campanile. And don't get thrown by the name - it's not an italian restaurant. Great food and ambiance!

                  -----
                  Campanile
                  624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                  1. Tagine, on Robertson at Wilshire has great food and might be fun.

                    -----
                    Tagine
                    132 N Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                    1. Try Come Ca on Melrose

                      1. you say you don't want to spend an outrageous amout of money--please give us a hint about how much you are willing to spend. (.i.e.what number is not outrageos to you:?)

                        about atmosphere. i'm gessing not sedate, but not a widhouse either.
                        parts of town?

                        1. Fun! I was going to make this same thread, I am graduating from law school this month too!

                          1. I would check out Lucques. My gf had her graduation dinner there and everyone was thoroughly impressed. Its an elegant meal with exceptional service but the crowd is a little older and not too lively. Its not cheap but its more affordable than Cut or Craft. Can i ask where you plan to go for your Italian meal? I would go with Mozza.