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Restaurant to celebrate 30th w/ boyfriend & my parents

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Hi! I'm new to the boards. I am looking for a nice restaurant to celebrate my 30th birthday at with my boyfriend and my parents. I'd prefer New American that evening, but I also enjoy French cuisine for special occasions.

I live in Glendale, so I realize I'll likely have to venture out. Since my parents are coming up from San Diego, and my boyfriend works late, I'm trying to coordinate something fairly close to my house. Something in Pasadena would be ideal, but I have no problem going to the following areas: Downtown, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Ventura Blvd. by Sherman Oaks / Studio City, Burbank, Los Feliz. I'd like to avoid the Westside simply because I don't want to deal with traffic that night (Wednesday).

The nicest restaurants I've been to in LA were The Little Door, Jiraffe, Patina & Simon LA. I've enjoyed The Little Door, but it is a bit too romantic since my parents will be coming along with us. Jiraffe is a bit far that night. Patina was decent, nothing to write home about. I loved Simon LA, but I'd like to try something new.

Taste on Melrose is one of my favorite restaurants, but I'd like to do something different for this big birthday.

I've been reading about Providence, but it seems a bit pricey and the pictures I've seen look like portions are tiny. My parents are a bit on the budget side, but of course they don't mind spending money for a special occasion, as long as it's worth it. I've also been reading about Hatfield's, Madeleine's (Pasadena), Craft.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions you have, thank you in advance!! :)

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  1. Try Palate right in Glendale.
    http://palatefoodwine.com/

    1. i've only been to hatfield's once, but was underwhelmed by it.
      they served the same type of food as Lilly's in venice, but the portions were much smaller, the prices were higher, and, to be frank, i think the food a lilly's was simply better. obviously, lilly's is not an option for you for this special night because of the distance.

      to me the price/quality and the price/quantity ratios at hatfield's are not worthwhile.
      (heresy, i know)

      if i'm going to spend that kind of money, i'd rather be eating the food at gjelina (although it is of a different style), or, for food in the same style but for less money, lillys french cafe would be a better choice.

      4 Replies
      1. re: westsidegal

        Thanks to those who have replied so far! I think the challenge of my search is that I would love to try one of the popular, more exclusive restaurants for this occasion, but I'd hate to feel ripped off and leave with my palate unsatisfied. I'm curious to see what others think. Like I said, it's not so much about spending money, just spending money on something that is only so-so that worries me. Thanks again!

        1. re: westsidegal

          Unlike WSGal, my wife and I THOROUGHLY enjoyed our meal at Hatfield's last week. Sure, it was not cheap, but it was one of the better meals I've had in LA in recent memory. Each of the 7 dishes and 2 cocktails we had was perfectly executed, delicious, and well thought out. They are currently offering a 3/$49 prix-fixe menu, and I believe the menu on their website is very accurate for their current offerings.

          Downtown, we also loved Church & State, though for us our experience at Rivera was the epitome of mediocrity (at best).

          If the budget fits, and you are a seafood lover, Providence is a must . Or Spago, one of the few Grande Dames of LA cuisine.

          1. re: a213b

            I second a213b's (great name by the way) assessment of Hatfield's. But keep in mind that August 8th is their last night before closing to move to their new larger space (supposed to reopen in September, but who knows). So if your birthday dinner isn't before then, that won't be an option.

          2. re: westsidegal

            I also have to strongly disagree with westsidegal--the best restaurant/overall value on your list is Hatfield's, which a213b mentioned has the $49/3 courses deal. The food is excellent, you will not be disappointed. It's a great place.

            Providence is amazing, but it is indeed pricey with small portions. I love it, but I would never take my own parents there, they would be appalled by the prices.

          3. It might be fun to head downtown. It's close to Los Feliz, and there are some interesting new places. I really like Church & State. It's French and very good. Medium prices. Though it is very loud, if you think that would bother your folks. Also Rivera is a lot of fun. Interesting menu...fun vibe. And if you like the idea of Palate (which someone recommended) there is another wine bar that is a little closer....Barbrix on Hyperion.

            2 Replies
            1. re: perk

              Don't discount the Palate recommendation just because it’s in Glendale, as many consider it to be one of if not the best new restaurant in the whole greater L.A. area. That said, I know venturing a little further can add to the cache of a very special evening. Perk is right on the money. Barbrix is an excellent choice. And so is Church & State.

              If you want to head into the Hollywood/West Hollywood areas, consider A.O.C., Lucques, or Osteria Mozza (though obviously that’s Italian).

              Also, forget about the portion size, Providence is an extraordinary experience and there are few better excuses to indulge in it than a 30th birthday. However it does take a big bite out of the wallet, so if your folks are paying and you don’t want to subject them to that, save it for another special occasion.

              1. re: wutzizname

                I enjoyed Barbrix recently, and think it would be quite fun for a birthday and affordable. All the food my party of four had was good, though nothing was so memorable that I would go back specifically for that dish. What I did remember was the deafening noise level. The OP should keep that in mind if she wants any kind of intimate conversation. I literally could barely hear my friend who was 2 feet away. It's also more casual than some of the restaurants mentioned.

            2. Making this recommendation despite the fact that I have yet to go myself... Based on the parameters (30th B-Day; New American/French; Special Occasion) and the restrictions (boyfriend works late; no Westside; not too Romantic; not too Spendy), might I suggest XIV? I know many of the other posters will shudder at this, but bear in mind that the $250 "Gamut" menu split 4 ways works out to approximately $75pp - with tax and tip. Certainly a special occasion place that would be memorable for your 30th. Congratulations and Happy Birthday, btw. :)

              1. Of the places you mentioned, I think Hatfield's is your best bet. If you get the 7-course tasting menu, each person (well, up to 2 people, anyway) gets a different item each course so you end up getting 14 different dishes. I think Patina is grossly overrated (yawwwwn) and Little Door is overpriced.

                If you prefer to stay closer to home, Bashan in Glendale is good, though the food says more "special occasion" than the atmosphere. And the chef worked at Providence.

                1. Happy Birthday!

                  I don't mean to rain on the Hatfield's love-fest. It is a perfectly great choice. But there are more fish in the sea. You might also want to consider Lucques, Jar, and Grace. Also, the Water Grill downtown is always nice. If you don't mind Italian, think about Osteria Mozza or the new Drago downtown. How about Patina? The restaurant at the old Huntington Hotel in Pasadena was great when it was a Ritz Carlton, but I haven't been there in a long time (I think it is now a Langham hotel?). Last time I was at Mastro's, it seemed like 75% of the place was graduations and birthday parties. They all seemed like they were having a good time...

                  So have fun...unless things go unexpectedly well, or unexpectedly poorly, the people you're with will impact the evening more than the place you go.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: JE33

                    I've taken my parents to both Jar and Grace before and they loved both of them (probably Jar even more than Grace). Decent portion sizes that match the prices. I also like Hatfield's (the tasting menu was incredible), but I probably wouldn't take my parents there b/c my dad isn't a fan of smaller portion tasting menus (he doesn't know what he's missing, haha). I also really like Drago Centro in downtown, but that is Italian.

                    Happy Birthday!

                    1. re: chris1621

                      I'm also a huge fan of Jar, more so than Grace. But it is essentially a high end steak house of sorts, so take that into consideration if you add it to your short list.

                      1. re: wutzizname

                        All of the aforementioned restaurants are fabulous.. and just an addition... if you are looking for something more budget-friendly but also delicious, I'd recommend Pace in Laurel Canyon. It's Italian food, but some of the best and very reasonably priced.

                  2. If you want something fairly close to your house I would look into Far Niente in Glendale.Ask for the Cheese and you get a big chunk of Parmigan cheese.