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  • c

has anyone been lately? is it amazing? i made reservations for tomorrow, but if there's somewhere better like wilshire or valentino, let me know. i never get to the SM area so i want to try somewhere i've never been. melisse looks great- but the online menu seemed intimidating.
oh we're no meat, fish only.

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  1. We were there for dinner 2 weeks ago. It was one of the best meals we've had in recent memory. I can't remember what everybody had but my lamb actually tasted like lamb and was perfectly rare. If you can, sit on the patio - it's is quite beautiful. Michael worked the room and was very friendly (we were there with 2 regulars). But if you want Italian, definately Valentino.

    4 Replies
    1. re: TomSwift

      That's funny because I went about a month ago and it was one of the worst meals I've had recently. Completely overcooked and inedible pork chop, which they replaced with steak frites, which was fine but incredibly overpriced. The salmon we had was over sauced and plated in some ridiculous 1993 hotel-food matter (sauce overwhelming plate, some sort of rice pilaf on top of that--mounded on the entire bottom of the plate--fish on top of that, some sort of squirt bottle something around the edge, ridiculous. I have no recollection of our apps, completely unmemoragle. But the most memorable thing was the price tag: almost $300 for two people, 2 apps, 2 entrs, four glasses of wine, tax and tip.

      While the patio is still lovely, Michael has obviously not dropped one dime in upkeep anywhere--worn carpeting and furniture inside and out, etc. This was definitely the grandfather of the kind of market-friendly fare we're eating everywhere today, but I can rattle off a handful of restaurants doing it so, so, so much better and for at least half the price--Hatfield's, Barbrix, Lou on Vine, Gjelina to name a few. And yes, Wilshire, that would be a good choice. Don't think Melisse is intimidating,either. If you're willing to drop that kind of cash, it's wonderful.

      And if you're fish only, have you thought about Providence?

      1. re: diningdivala

        hmmm... been to providence, have 6pm reservations at barbrix but that's 'too early' for my dining partner. perhaps i can change his mind. been to lou and hatfields... i guess there are mixed reviews for everywhere. never heard of Gjelina. where is that?

        1. re: Clyde

          gjelina is on abbot kinney blvd in venice.
          it is one of the hottest restaurants in LA right now.

          there are a lot of threads about it.
          i've only been once.
          my personal take on it this:
          1) the positives---
          the food is, to my tastes SUBLIME. my tastebuds still do a little dance whenever i think of their food.
          the service was fine

          2) the negatives
          parking--no valet
          no sign on the door so a member of my party ending up driving around and around not being able to find the place
          crowded tables-- our table for three was basically placed in a doorway
          small tables--not really enough room on our table to hold all the plates and the wine.
          uncomfortable chairs.
          very crowded (after all it is the hottest ticket in town now)
          imho overpriced wine list.

          would i go back? in a minute. the tastebuds win.

          1. re: Clyde

            I think Wilshire is another great choice, btw.

      2. Have you considered Animal on Fairfax? I loved my dinner there and plan to go again soon. Take a look at this extensive review from Exilekiss and see if it doesn't intrigue you: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/620960

        1 Reply
        1. re: Servorg

          Animal is amazing, but original poster said no meat. That, my friend, is not impossible at Animal, but close. So delicious though.

        2. Melisse, hands down over Michaels, it's so 80's. Or try Josie.

          2 Replies
          1. re: stevedi

            2nd Josie. The food is awesome and the winelist great, and the ownership warm and inviting. I think they could use a bit of help from all of us on here, as well.

            1. re: jdwdeville

              I completely agree about Josie, which doesn't get nearly enough love on this Board. Although, that probably has to do with its location - kind of out of sight, out of mind.

          2. Have you tried The Hungry Cat and Water Grill? Not in SM (Hollywood and Downtown, respectively) but both do awesome seafood, and a lot of it!

            I've done both with groups of foodies who aren't easily impressed and everyone LOVED both
            places. If you can get into Gjelina on a Saturday night, I've heard it's like a miracle. Some friends were there earlier this week and said some things were okay and some were great.

            1. Anisette has great seafood, like moules.

              Chaya Venice has a great happy hour.

              Whist at the Viceroy & Wilshire have better patios than Michaels. Last time we dined there, quite a few years ago now, the veal chop I ordered was significantly underdone.

              Bar Hayama is good sushi and macro combos, if interested. And Rustic Canyon has vegetarian dishes that are farmers market inspired.

              Rustic Canyon Wine Bar
              1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

              Chaya Venice
              110 Navy Street, Venice, CA 90291

              Whist Restaurant
              1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401

              Bar Hayama
              11300 Nebraska Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025

              1. I love Michael's but not been in close to 1 year. It had been one of my favorites. I've eaten a few times in the private room upstairs. The patio is really nice.

                I enjoyed the duck and lamb the most.

                It has a long history, like Joe's in Venice...consistently good and as such, durable.

                1. I live just down the street from Michael's. I walk by it on a regular basis on my way to Sur La Table or the Promenade. Funny thing is, I have zero desire to eat there. I look inside and the place is almost always empty unless they are having a private event going on. I've heard the patio is beautiful but the rest of the place is definitely in a time warp. It has the look of a nice restaurant from the 80's.
                  Given the choice, I'd do Josie, Melisse, or JiRaffe before I did Michael's.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Azizeh

                    happened on the thread.
                    yes - it is somewhat 80's. If that's the case, then melisse is somewhat 19th century. they are both quite good. Looking inside, from teh street, you would see very little at Michael's because the patio isthe majority of the seating. I dno't think I've ever sat in inside - are there more than 6 tables inside?
                    the patio is wonderful. THe food is fine. Is it cutting edge? no. Is josie's? I don't think so.

                    1. re: Azizeh

                      as a place to go on a date,
                      michaels is, imho, far superior to jiraffe.
                      the ambiance and the service at michaels is much more romantic. terrific food. terrific wine list. tables spaced farther apart. much quieter feels more intimate.
                      when going out with my girlfriends, or a blind date, jiraffe is the choice.
                      when going out with someone who rings my bell, michaels is the choice.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Agreed... although I will say Michaels is a great place for a business dinner as well.. the service is wonderfully attentive without being obtrusive... I had a client who would fly into L.A. at most 2 times a year and always visited Michaels... They would ALWAYS remember his favorite wine and port, even when it was not on the menu, they offered it to him always at the perfect time...


                        1. re: Dommy

                          when i was a salesperson with an expense account, michael's was my first choice of restaurant in which to close the deal.
                          absolutely dependable service and dependable experience.