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Jun 7, 2009 03:44 PM

Help, 1 night need great dinner!

My husband & I will be staying at Sunset Marquis and it is our first time to the area. I'd like to take my husband out for a surprise birthday dinner and I'm looking for great atmosphere and great food. I've done some research and came up with these:
Terrace Menu at XIV

Please give me your feedback and help me to narrow this done or let me know if I'm missing a great spot.
P.S. We'll be dining at Giorgio Baldi's our other night there because a friend insisted this is a must.
What do you think?

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  1. Bazaar is a very good choice for terrific food and atmosphere. Plus it's the "hot spot" of the moment, and that's always fun for someone from out of town.

    1. Of those choices (three of which are run by the same restaurant group, SBE, by the way), Bazaar is the most interesting and has the best atmosphere and food. XIV is stunning inside, and the service was great (to a fault) but I found myself unenthused about going back even though I think Michael Mina is terrific. AOC is quite wonderful in its way (terrific variety of small plates and wines by the glass) but can get noisy and is not really ideal for lingering. Katsuya is more about the scene than the food. I have not been to Cecconi's yet so have no view. I find Giorgio Baldi rather overpriced for the food, service and the experience (also not very convenient from your hotel). If great Italian is the goal, there are far better choices (e.g. Angelini Osteria, Mozza [strongly divided opinions on the Board about this], Valentino, or Vincenti). Other great, non-Italian choices nearer to your hotel would be Animal, Hatfield's, Ortolan, Providence and Spago.

      Angelini Osteria
      7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

      Pizzeria Mozza
      6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

      5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

      176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

      6703 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

      8338 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

      Valentino (Santa Monica)
      3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

      Vincenti Restaurant
      11930 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

      435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

      1. If you enjoy a hip, stylish atmosphere ( rather than, say , warm and cozy) I second Bazaar. You can read my review of it here

        Please don't waste your evening or your money at Cecconi's We ate there last night and though most of the food was good ( not great) the lobster in my 'pasta with lobster' was so tough and fishy I was shocked. Our waitress was friendly but she forgot a drink order, then forgot a side of pasta. Our res was for 6:45 and we arrived at 6:55 not typical for us but occasionally here in traffic-land unavoidable. First we were told they no longer had a table but then, after being told they needed the table in 2 hours ( meaning that they planned to give us 2 hours and 15 minutes I guess had we arrived right on the dot at 6: 45) and we said "okay, fine, we get it" we were seated. At 10 to nine 1 hour and 50 minutes later they told us they "needed our table." approaching $500 for a party of 4 for this? Amazing...

        Georgio Baldi is very good and, if you are spending a day in Santa Monica or driving up the coast to Malibu it will be a nice place to end your day. But there are other good Italian restaurants throughout the city so take convenience into account, especially as your time is limited. If, for example, you are downtown during the day it would be much better to eat at the wonderful Drago Centro than to drive all the way to Santa Monica for dinner.

        hope you have a wonderful trip!

        1 Reply
        1. re: goodcookin

          Thanks everyone for all your replies! I think Bazaar will fit the bill. I appreciate all your great advice!

        2. I don't like being the fly in your ointment, but my experiences at Baldi have been disasters. We're not regulars by any means but the service has uniformly been stand-offish and at times outright rude. We were looking for a new restaurant for my wife's parents and asked the waiter if we could talk to the chef to see if he could do the (admittedly unusual) food that they ate. We said they are in their 80"s, would come 5-6 nights a week, spend $150-200 and be out in less than an hour. We were told that the chef didn't have time. They have a bad habit (not uncommon) of offering specials with astronomical prices ($120 truffle risotto) without telling you the price. When my wife complained that her pasta was undercooked one night, she was told that "very al dente" is the only way the chef would cook it - this when my pasta was overcooked almost to mush. You'll find on this board that some rave about Baldi's food (which, when it's on, can be superb) but others pan it. Good for celeb sightings from Brentwood, though.