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Anissete, Is it as good as it looks?

We have some dear friends from Tokyo coming over and we want to take them to a wonderful meal. They are staying near the Beverly Center. I wanted to take them somewhere new and interesting, not Japanese food, but I don't get over the hill very often. We will be a party of eight with two children, 9 and 12. I have booked Anisette but want to check in with the Chowhounds just in case i am making a terrible mistake! Thanks!

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  1. I don't think it would ever be a terrible mistake, but it doesn't thrill me as much as it thrills some. If they are at all carnivorous, I might take them to Animal.

    5 Replies
    1. re: lotta_cox

      They are more into the seafood side of things. I also suggested Cut and they weren't that interested as they have Puck in Tokyo!

      1. re: dvsndvs

        I like Anissete, although as French brasseries go I prefer Church & State in downtown. There are, however, similar French restaurants in Tokyo. If you want to take them for seafood of a sort that they won't find in Japan, you might be better off with Water Grill in downtown, if you're looking for fine dining; or Mariscos Chente (Centinela Blvd. between Washington and Culver) if you want casual, but superb Mexican seafood.

      2. re: lotta_cox

        I agree with lotta_cox that Anisette is not a terrible mistake, but also not particularly thrilling. To me, it's a nice spot for brunch in Santa Monica, but it's not where I'd take out-of-towners to impress them. If "new and interesting" were my main criteria I would take them to the Bazaar. If seafood focus was my main criteria and price wasn't an issue I would take them to Providence (closer to the Beverly Center than Water Grill, and more exciting food). But I'm not sure if I'd bring kids to either place...I would say that it's not a good idea but lately whenever I say that a place isn't child-friendly someone chimes in and says it depends on the kids. But I am hard-pressed to think of someplace that is at once "new and interesting," impressive to out-of-towners, seafood-focused, and child-friendly.

        1. re: Nicole

          Good points. I didn't mention Providence as I figured at Water Grill you could get out of the place for something in the neighborhood of $20 or so per person more than you'd pay at Anisette. But it's true, if money is not a problem, Providence would get my highest recommendation - except for the kid problem. Not having kids of my own, I'm not partial to them in nice restaurants unless they are almost impossibly well-behaved.

          If you don't require swank, I do think Mariscos Chente might impress by way of the food, and it is certainly kid friendly.

          1. re: Nicole

            BTW Providence is awesome with kids (6 and 4 year olds). Both my boys love the food and Chef C is so nice about my youngest food allergies. Plus being in their kitchen is always a plus.

        2. Given your descriptions, I'd take them to Ocean Ave Seafood.
          I've taken there Japanese friends, they enjoyed the place.
          (Note: Anisette, besides the other commentaries in this post, and depending on the time, means risking a long and uncomfortable wait, specially with kids. They don't care much about reservations and their waiting area is nil).

          1. To answer the query posed by the subject, no, it's not as good as it looks, but you're not making a big mistake, either. Of course, I think it looks fabulous; the food didn't live up, in my one visit last summer. As someone else mentioned, the food at Church & State is better. But I'd rather take out-of-town visitors to Anisette, and Santa Monica, than the fringes of skid row downtown. As for the kids, I don't know what people are worried about. They're not 2 and 4; I would expect a 9 and 12 year-old to behave properly in a restaurant.

            1. Annisette is all looks, and the service is good, but the wine is 'way overpriced and the oysters from the Carlsbad seafood stall at the Wednesday's Farmer's Market are better.
              Had Mother's Day there, and while it was good, the prices weren't really worth it.

              1. If you are going to be near the Bev Ctr, I'd suggest Comme Ca on Melrose which is similar cuisine to Anisette.

                1. Try the Lobster. Great ocean view, good seafood,kids can go to the arcade and rides on the pier.

                    1. re: epop

                      OK, I am going to check out Providence and Comme Ca. Thanks so much!. Ocean Avenue and Water Grill are good choices but I am being selfish as I have been to both mulitple times and would like to try something new!

                      1. re: dvsndvs

                        The one meal I had at Comme Ca was mediocre. I also wasn't a huge fan of the atmosphere there--modern but pretty casual, patrons included many "posers." In contrast, every meal I have had at Providence has been truly exceptional, and the atmosphere is elegant without being stuffy. So if it's in your budget, definitely go for Providence!

                      2. re: epop

                        Ok I have two reservations now, for Comme Ca and Annisette. Will decide and then of course, call and cancel one, because that is what polite chowhouds do!

                        1. re: dvsndvs

                          Providence the far better choice.

                      3. Update, we went to Anissete, and it was wonderful. A huge hit with the Japanese superstar in our group, who was in town for a concert, as well as with my kids. The seafood especaily was amazing. The cod friters were awful. Thanks for you help!