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May 23, 2009 03:42 PM

My 1st Anniversary in LA

I am relatively new to LA and my first anniversary is coming up soon. I want to take my wife to a great place but am still pretty unfamiliar with almost all of LA. Ideally I would love a place with lots of atmosphere, views even possibly outdoor seating.

Mexican, Thai, American and Italian would be preferred.

Last but not least, I am looking to get the most bang for my buck. I can't really go for the most expensive places, but it is my 1st Anniversary, so I will make it work. Please let me know good restaurant suggestions, thanks so much.

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  1. Pace (pronounced PACH-ay) is in-between priced, not too expensive, and also very romantic. Italian.

    1. The $105 per person tasting menu at Melisse may fit the bill.

      1104 Wilshire Bl.
      Santa Monica, CA

      2 Replies
      1. re: J.L.

        it doesn't sound to me like melisse would fit a number of the criteria:
        1) it is not thai, italien, nor mexican
        2) MRG states, "I can't really go for the most expensive places." to me, Melisse, even the tasting menu, qualifies as 'one of the most expensive places."
        3) imho, melisse, even the tasting menu, does not meet the 'bang for the buck' requirement.

        1. re: westsidegal

          I will stand by my rec for Melisse until the original poster says it's too expensive. We just had a WONDERFUL meal at Melisse last night. Definitely a "special night" type of place.

          (1) "Mexican, Thai, American and Italian would be preferred." - so sayeth MRG. Melisse is advertised as French, BUT (as of last night), it was quite undoubtedly American in its sensibilities.
          (2) Expensive is relative. MRG didn't mention a hard number... "but it is my 1st Anniversary, so I will make it work"
          (3) Our $105pp menu, in both its quality and quantity (not to mention the great service and ambiance) should have cost me $175pp - so yes, I certainly felt bang for the buck. There are many other eateries in this town where you cannot get out the door for under $125 per person.

          If you want a less costly alternative, may I suggest getting a bento box from Mako, getting the lawn tickets (cheap) for the Hollywood Bowl and seeing the fireworks while picnicking. That got me a lot of "bang for the buck" back when I was first dating Mrs. J.L.

      2. For Mexican, I'd drive out to Babita.

        For Italian, I'd splurge for Angelini Osteria. Or, maybe Vincenti. Or, Pane e Vino out back on the patio.

        Thai could be done very cheaply... I'd probably do Jitlada.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Emme

          depending what items you order jitlada can become very expensive.
          as i recall, one time when we ordered a couple of whole fish (not particularly large ones, either) the tab was surprisingly high.

        2. Happy anniversary! I haven't been there in a long time, but I enjoyed the food at Chez Mimi, and while they are a French restaurant, they meet your criteria of atmosphere and outdoor seating (a lovely patio). While not cheap, they had more moderate prices for a restaurant that has a special occasion feel.

          One way to up the bang for the buck (and potentially the view) is to take your wife out for lunch. This would probably bring most L.A. restaurants into the affordable range. My favorite lunch deal is Joe's, where they have nice outdoor seating and the 2-course lunch is around $16. Or if you do lunch you can get more creative and plan a day around it. For instance, while I still haven't managed to eat there myself, a lot of people on this board have recommended the restaurant at the Getty Center for lunch with a view. I can't vouch for the food, but I can vouch for a breathtaking view of L.A., interesting architecture, and a lovely garden to stroll through after lunch. I think it would make a memorable 1st anniversary.

          1. outside+atmosphere+great place+american(?)+bang for the buck=craftbar or xiv outside