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Please help me with anniversary dinner!

My husband and I have our first year anniversary coming up and my head is spinning after searching for restaurants for us to go to. We just moved in from SF, so I am only nominally familiar with the LA dining scene.

We'd like something with a nice ambiance, good food, and not too overpriced - something along the lines of Gitane or Aziza or Slanted Door in SF. As far as types of cuisine - we're fine with Middle Eastern, Mexican, Latin American, Tapas, Italian, or Asian Fusion. We live in Culver City, so we'd like to stay within 30 minutes driving distance. Also, I'm vegetarian but my husband is not.

So far, I've only come up with Il Cielo and the Little Door, which both seem to have great atmospheres but underwhelming food. Please help me!!! Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Yum, I love your restaurants in San Francisco!

    But you're in LA so:

    I know you will get umpteen suggestions but our adult son is vegetarian and we're not and we enjoy Mako in Beverly Hills - I think it hits all your qualifications. Please let us know where you end up and happy anniversary!

    -----
    Mako Restaurant
    225 S Beverly Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90212

    1. Check out Campanile, Providence and Crustacean.

      3 Replies
      1. re: stevedi

        Thanks for all of the suggestions! I think Providence is a bit out of our budget range, although the dessert tasting menu looks really good.

        Mako looks great, but they are closed on Sundays, which is when I am looking for a table.

        What about Osteria Mozza as an alternative? I've been to Babbo in NY and it was possibly one of the best meals I have had in my life. I'm not sure if OM is similar...

        1. re: hmruthi

          I also recommend Providence but you can limit yourself to the dessert tasting menu and not break the bank. Go have some great pizza at Vito's or some great Mexican food at your taco truck of choice and then drive/walk/run/bike over to Providence for the dessert tasting menu! A perfect anniversary evening!!!

          1. re: mrshankly

            Taco truck and Providence in one evening. I like the sound of that!

      2. The Restaurant at the Getty Center is very nice for a special occasion, if it happens to be a Saturday night. (the restaurant is only open for lunch on other days of the week).
        It's also a great "Welcome to LA!" restaurant.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jillso

          Yes, and what a wonderful idea to be able to make a day of it. If maintaining a friendship is an art, then a marriage is a masterpiece and then there would be no better place to celebrate an anniversary than at the Getty with so many masterpieces.

          I had salmon there once and it was very good, but really, with the Getty’s art collection and the view from the hill, the meal could have been just so-so and the day would still stand out like magic to me. But it is really good food in a classy setting. The café is nice for lunch also. I have a wealthy friend who goes to the café for lunch because he says, “it is like going someplace really nice and not having to pay big money.”

          The Getty
          http://www.getty.edu/visit/

          Eats at the Getty
          http://www.getty.edu/visit/see_do/eat...

          If divorce is war, then the statue of Bellona at the Getty should work wonders as a deterrent to anyone so foolish as to consider inviting the Goddess into their relationship – nations not excluded.
          Bellona
          http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/a...

        2. How about Akasha in Culver City? The food is very good, with an emphasis on organic ingredients and she has some lovely vegetarian dishes. They also have a fun cocktail list and a nice wine menu. Osterial Mozza is very nice, but I'm not sure how long it takes to get a reservation there these days.

          1. AOC is fun, but a bit noisy, Luques is good and has a patio, Osteria Mozza is nice, Jiraffe in Santa Monica is great, for more casual dining I like Border Grille in Santa Monica.

            Good Luck! You have a lot of great suggestions from everyone!

            10 Replies
            1. re: bosanova99

              Ditto. I think AOC, Lucques and Mozza are all great choices.

              Might also consider Angelini Osteria, Hatfield's, Piccolo, Ortolan, Grace...

              1. re: wutzizname

                Okay, so apparently both Lucques and Mozza have availabilities on the day I would like. But it is a Sunday, which means that we'd be doing the Sunday Supper at Lucques. Any comments on the Sunday Supper vs. Mozza.

                Also, Akasha seems to be a nice option - I'll throw that one out to my husband as well.

                1. re: hmruthi

                  Just an FYI - Lucques has been very lukewarm recently with many CHers disappointed with the food. Complaints of oversalting ,and oiliness on everything have been heard. We had terrible service and haven't been back in 4+ years. Too many better places to try.

                  Here's the thread:http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/617782

                  My faves to celebrate at are Ortolan (French), Whist at the Viceroy (Sa Mo) and Hotel Bel Air.

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    Thanks so much for the heads up! Oil/butter/grease is not up my alley. I will try some of the other suggestions instead.

                    1. re: hmruthi

                      Very sad to hear. I still think Lucques is one of the most perfect and romantic places for a couple to celebrate and I'd definitely do it there over many of the above suggestions. In fact, if food were the only factor, I'd say go to Mozza, but because you're celebrating an anniversary I'd still choose Lucques. It just has that special, personal appeal that lets you feel like this is your place to return to again and again on special occassions. Mozza is more a place that is about the place, Lucques allows it to be more about you. Ortolan would work in that respect too. As would Hatfield's. But places like Whist would just be more scene. In my opinion.

                      N.B. The Hatfield's previous restaurant was Cortez in San Fran.

                      1. re: wutzizname

                        The "scene" of Mozza is my concern. We just went to the Pizzeria last week and while we enjoyed the pizzas, we were a bit surprised at the bustling environment. I think I had hyped it up so much before going that my party was expecting a Babbo-esque experience, which they have all been to. Is the Osteria closer to Babbo or the Pizzeria in its ambiance?

                        I just checked Hatfield's and it doesn't seem to offer many vegetarian options. Lucques is willing to do a vegetarian version of their Sunday night supper for me...

                        1. re: hmruthi

                          I haven't been to Babbo, but I'd say the Osteria is only marginally less bustling that the Pizzera, and that depends where you sit. Perhaps others can make a better first hand comparision with Babbo?

                          And that concern only pushes me further towards recommending Lucques. With the atmosphere, value of the Sunday Supper, and vegetarianability, I'd say go for it. Or, if you have time, swing by and give it a look to see if it feels right...and whether you might prefer to reserve in the dining room or on the patio.

                          1. re: wutzizname

                            Having done both Babbo and Osteria Mozza this year, I would definitely say Babbo is the better, more refined (in every way) of the two. In fact, I would tend to compare Mozza more to Otto in ambience/"Scene" Factor.

                            Just my $.02

                            1. re: a213b

                              It makes sense that OM is more like Otto than Babbo. I just finished reading Heat, which is why I think I have been on a Mario Batali kick.

                              Too many options! I might just wait to see what the Sunday Supper menu is at Lucques and decide that way. Thanks for all of the suggestions everyone - I really appreciate it!

                    2. re: Phurstluv

                      Although Ortolan had a lovely Sunday brunch during the Spring, it is not offering it for the Summer and does not serve dinner Sunday evenings.

              2. Luques Sunday Supper. Fixed price, great food, can't beat the name or the location.