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First dates a go-go

I live in Hollywood and would love some suggestions for good first date places when he says "Do you have a favorite place near you?" (Does Cactus #1 on Vine count? Help!)

Casual (not bank breaking) food and/or great place to grab a drink (preferably wine).....

Bonus round: This week's bachelor lives in Hermosa Beach....any suggestions for somewhere fun halfway?

Thanks!!

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  1. not exactly half-way, but
    26 beach restaurant near marina del rey, but technically in venice.
    pretty restaurant (shabby chic style)
    very decent wine (rutherford chardonnay about $10 glass)
    terrific array of inventive entree salads for about $15
    terrific burgers (including veggie burgers) for about $13, irrc. including great fries (if you chose the salad instead of the fries, imho the house salad is better than the caesar side salad)
    entree dishes (not their strongest category, imho, despite having a great whole crispy striped bass there the other night) mostly in the $20's.
    good desserts.
    valet parking

    1 Reply
    1. re: westsidegal

      I think that striped bass is the real sleeper on the menu. I had it when someone else ordered it and now I love it, so good. Some of the pastas are interesting, the chicken chipotle or the chicken curry pasta. Get the 3 layer devil's food cake for dessert.

    2. The newly relocated Vinoteque on Melrose might be good to try.
      www.vinotequela.com

      As would the Foundry next door -- if you eat in the lounge and avoid the main menu prices.

      I also like the 3rd Stop for good casual eats and mellow beer & wine only vibe.

      Bowery by the Arclight could be another good choice, closer to you than him.

      Or if you really want to save him the longer drive, Father's Office could be fun, among several other Culver City spots.
      www.fathersoffice.com

      To name just a few.

      -----
      3rd Stop
      8636 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

      Foundry On Melrose
      7465 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046

      13 Replies
      1. re: wutzizname

        I agree about the Foundry, I love the place and believe it or not, their patio menu is very reasonable.

        And I want to second Father's Office, I've taken two first dates there, both were successful!

        1. re: SmokeyDoke

          If someone took me out on a date to Father's Office, I think I would walk out. Isn't the point of a first date to Impress Someone, not turn them off??

          1. re: Phurstluv

            Point taken that you don't like the place but if someone was into beer, it would be hard to do better than Father's Office on the westside.

            1. re: Phurstluv

              It depends, if it's an internet first date, FO is fine, if it's a formal first date, then I'd opt for something fancier.

              1. re: Munniker

                Actually it depends on what the OP asked for, which is "a casual (not bank breaking) food and/or great place to grab a drink."

                In my book, Father's Office hits all those on the head. But then I never thought first dates where about "impressing" anyone, just finding a comfortable, enjoyable place to talk.

              2. re: Phurstluv

                FO in Culver City? or SM?

                I thought the FO in CC was nice; dark, intimate, nice couches, all the variables needed for a romantic conversation. Only problem is it can get too crowded and they may get stuck outside in the park benches.

                1. re: SmokeyDoke

                  I've been to the CC location a few times, and I love their burger and sweet potato fries (and beer!), but I wouldn't think of it as a good spot for a date. It's always been fairly full to having to spend 30min. hawking for a table. I wouldn't consider it quiet either.

                  Also, I don't think they have couches... they have the "bench" along the walls and a couple "mini-booths" IIRC.

                  Would probably be solid for a 3rd or 4th date though...

                  1. re: SmokeyDoke

                    Either one. And in the words of mollyomoron, both places seem to "douchier" as the evenings wear on...

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      I was referring to Renee's and Bodega, not to either location of FO.

                      1. re: mollyomormon

                        I know, I just wanted to use the term "douchier"!

                  1. re: flylice2x

                    Both liked Father's Office, it made for a pleasant date.

                    :)

                    A lady doesn't kiss and tell.

              3. i'm surprised no one suggested Renee's....

                Renee's Courtyard Cafe
                522 Wilshire Blvd
                Santa Monica, CA 90401-1412
                (310) 451-9341

                another option (that's also unfortunately closer to him than to you) - Primitivo Wine Bar in Venice.

                -----
                Primitivo
                1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291

                5 Replies
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  With the caveat that Renee's would only be a good option earlier in the week as it gets louder and douchier as the week goes on. Similarly, I think that Bodega on Lincoln and Broadway in Santa Monica is a good spot, but only early in the week. Culver City seems pretty mid-point and there are a ton of spots there, as wutzizname pointed out.

                  1. re: mollyomormon

                    hmmm, interesting. now that you mention it i may only have been to Renee's early in the week! good to know...

                    1. re: mollyomormon

                      Douchier? I've never heard that adjective.

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        It gets loud and has sort of a frat boy meat market-y feel later in the week.

                        1. re: mollyomormon

                          Ahhh, okay, got it. Guess I'm getting old!!

                  2. patio at il moro is great first date place. very good regional italian food at reasonable prices, lots of wines by the glass or cocktails

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: peppermonkey

                      could you give us an idea about what the 'reasonable' dinner prices are at il moro?
                      when a date and i went for dessert and cappucino, it ended up costing over $20/per person all in.
                      my assumption is that a full blown dinner there might be a little expensive for a first date.

                      have to say though, the place was very pretty and romantic.

                    2. Lucky you, I think Hollywood is a central location for dates. I guess it depends what you consider "casual" as so many places offer good happy hours and prix fixe these days.

                      Here are some places I'd recommend, all of them have a romantic vibe, are smallish and have good, reasonably priced eats.

                      Magnolia http://www.magnoliala.com/
                      Boho http://www.bohorestaurant.com/ I believe they have a good wine selection.
                      Hungry Cat for happy hour
                      Kitchen 24

                      As for the midway spot, I recommend Culver City. It's fun to stroll along Helms, or shop at Surfas. I believe there's a museum there too. Good luck!

                      -----
                      The Hungry Cat
                      1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                      1. well i think we usually get 3 things and share them. No dessert and the portions are always too big for us. even the smaller size portions. We usually do around $25/per.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: peppermonkey

                          so, if you each ordered your own food, and you didn't share dishes, the price would be about $50/per??

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            yeah i guess it is a little pricey....not that much though b/c i could only eat one entree there...

                        2. in hollywood - i really like the bowery. it has great food and the vibe is lively. also, i think the cat & the fiddle is a great first date place - lots of people, pretty lively, stuff to do, and the food is solid pub grub.

                          half way - i would go to don antonios (mexican on pico b/w barrington and bundy). the liquid kitty and arsenal are pretty ok bars to hang out in. the arsenal also has food - but i haven't eaten there in a few years now.

                          there's also a lot of stuff in culver city which is half way.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: dtud

                            I've always wondered about that Don Antonio's. What do you get there?

                            1. re: Phurstluv

                              their beef or steak nachos are my favorite thing in the world. their chips are really crispy (like you can take chips home and they remain crispy - which is rare). i like ther salsa too - but it has gotten more watery over the years. these nachos are really to die for. the refried beans are outstanding!

                              other than that - pretty solid standard la-mexican fare. their carnitas chimichanga is delicious - pretty much the best chimichanga i've ever had. i get the shrimp burrito combination which is very good (the menu only says beef/pork/chicken - but you can order shrimp). the fajitas are really good -- they smoke the whole restaurant out, and so it's quite a show. but they're good. i like their tostada. they have potato tacos which is nice for veggies in a group.

                              i have not been happy with the shrimp dishes - like shrimp diablo and shrimp with garlic. those are only ok.

                              1. re: dtud

                                Good to know, thanks. I love fajitas, and have a hard time finding a non-chain place that has good ones.

                                1. re: dtud

                                  If you have never tried a cup of their albondigas soup then give it a test. It's something we get most of the time and it's really quite tasty. The large meatballs they give you are outstanding and you get plenty of vegetables too.

                              2. re: dtud

                                one restaurant recommendation for dtud's culver city recommendation is k-zo.
                                they serve sushi and many other japanese dishes.
                                the place is pretty.
                                the prices are in line when you consider the type of food and the quality of food they serve.
                                you self-park in the parking structure that they share with trader joe's, there is no fee for parking; the first couple of hours are free and they can validate for more time if you need it.

                                an advantage of this location is that if the two of you are getting along, you can stroll around downtown culver city afterward without getting in your cars again.

                              3. If your date comes up to Hollywood, one of the best first date places (IMHO) is Cafe Amici in the Beverly Terrace Hotel, on Doheny and Little Santa Monica. Sit outside with all the twinkly little lights. Best when the weather is warm.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: schrutefarms

                                  I agree that Cafe Amici would be a nice first date place. Another, would be Il Pastaio (where the food is better, but lacks the" twinkly little lights."