What's between Tarzana and Venice
Meeting friends for dinner, they're in Tarzana, we're in Venice. Looking for recommendations somewhere in the middle. Not too $$$, in the realm of $30-40 pp for dinner and a drink or two. We're open to all cuisines, but two of us don't eat meat, but are easy to please.
At the Tarzana-end, I'd pick Hummus Bar & Grill. Not a bar in the sense of serving alcohol, though. It would fit perfectly for those who don't eat meat, as well as those that do. You might want to call to see if they would allow you to bring your own wine or beer. I'd bring a nice white (albarino or pinot blanc) that would go with the hummus and tons of salads.
Hummus Bar and Grill
18743 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, CA 91356
I'd recommend Alcazar in Encino over Hummus Bar, though I would recommend making a dinner of different mezze (basically, hot and cold small plates) over their entrees.
If the friends are okay coming over the hill, any place in Westwood or Brentwood is mid-way. In Westwood, I would recommend Sprazzo on Westwood Blvd. for pastas that fit your price range.
If you would prefer to stick to the valley side, any place in Sherman Oaks would be reasonably close. Simon's Cafe, La Frite, and Cafe Bizou all fit the price range, and have plenty of options for carnivores and vegetarians alike.
Spumoni on Ventura near Van Nuys Blvd. is a small, family-run Italian place (it was once co-owned with Sprazzo, so has some menu similarities) with good pastas. Here is a thread from a few months about Spumoni: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/591433
4515 Sepulveda Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
15013 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
17239 Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA 91316
14016 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
14533 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Sprazzo Cucina Italiana
1389 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
I went to Hummus Bar & Grill for the first time last weekend. Oh man, that bread is AMAZING! They have it all figured out: bring out some piping hot delicious looking bread and some pickles and such. Who could resist that bread and getting filled up on it? By the time you get your AYCE mezze assortment at 6.99pp (or 9.99pp with no entree), you are well on your way to being full. I can't imagine anyone wanting any refills. Not that I'm complaining or anything.. it was all delicious and still a good value. Hummus Bar & Grill put Tarzana on my culinary map and I'll be returning soon.
another westwood suggestion is shamshiri grill which offers many, many, vegetarian options. (they will even make many of their specialty rice dishes using brown rice if you so request)
In Sepulveda, right near the 405 and 101 exits is Simon Cafe, right below Ventura on Sepulveda.
you could also meet at the top of beverly glen at Vibrato, and enjoy some dinner and jazz at the same time.
If Brentwood is agreeable to all, you might consider Pizzicotto or even Palem of Pecorino.
Without wine, there's also Upstairs 2 on cotner, which is pretty central to both,
People are pointing you in the wrong direction(s). "Somewhere in the middle" between Tarzana and Venice = Topanga Canyon. Two suggestions: Canyon Bistro (http://www.canyonbistro.com/html/inde...) or -- particularly for the two who don't eat meat -- the Inn of the Seventh Ray (http://www.innoftheseventhray.com/). Both, and particularly Inn of the Seventh Ray -- have very nice outdoor areas, really nice in the warm weather.
It can PROBABLY be done, but maybe not PROPERLY. Their menu is on their website -- take a look. And as to "pretty far for both parties": I've looked at all of the suggestions above, and virtually all of them have one party or the driving for a pretty significant distance. I live in Topanga, and it takes about half an hour to get to (or from) Tarzana and about 40 minutes maximum to get to (or from) Venice. That is more "somewhere in the middle" than, say, Encino or Brentwood.