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most fancy-pants resto in LA?

a friend of mine's mom is turning 80something. they had the big bash for the zero year, but this bday, she wants the family to go out for a dinner somewhere where they can dress to the nines. of course, they also enjoy good food, so please help me make some suggestions to make betty's birthday dinner special.

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  1. The Dining Room at Hotel Bel-Air?

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Just make sure if you pick Hotel Bel-Air that you go before the end of September when they will be closing the entire hotel for 1.5 to 2 years for a complete remodel.

    2. Melisse, Ortolan, Providence and Valentino all come to mind. Dressy would also not be wholly out-of-place at Spago, though there will be plenty of more casually dressed patrons as well.

      5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

      176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

      Melisse Restaurant
      1104 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

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

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

      1 Reply
      1. re: New Trial

        Nice list. (Although, the last time I was at Melisse I had sand in my leeks and was surrounded by hippster doufuses in red leather and t-shirts.)

        If you or anyone else in your party is a member of one of the private dining clubs around town (the City Club, California Club, or Jonathan Club, for instance), those might be good options for this sort of thing as well.

        City Club On Bunker Hill
        333 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA

        1. I would highly recommend Melisse. I had an incredible meal there last Friday. I like Providence also, but it just did not compare to Melisse.

          Your friend's family may be a little overdressed compared to the rest of the room, since you might get people in business casual at Melisse. (One man walked in on Friday night in a polo shirt and flip flops, though most men were dressed in slacks and dress shirts, with about half wearing jackets.) However, the waiters and maitre d's are in suits and ties, so dressing up won't be too out of place.

          I have also done dressed to the nines at Saddle Peak Lodge in Calabasas and Spago. Both are great food and wonderful special occasion restaurants.

          1. The Magic Castle, while not the greatest food (although the Beef Wellington I had last time I was there was not bad) is fun, because there is a dress code, men have to be in ties, women must be in cocktail attire, even a tuxedo wouldn't be out of place. I'm not sure about gaining entry, though, since it is a private club.

            2 Replies
            1. re: schrutefarms

              I must respectfully disagree. While the food may have gotten better to being passable, I don't think the Castle is the most navigable place, especially for an 80 year old. The last two times I have been, the place has been so crowded, it was almost impossible to walk down certain hallways.

              Also, while there's a dress code, I get the giggles, because there are tons of bridemaids dresses displayed. (Again, not the measured, dignified feeling for an octogenarian.)

              1. re: cjla

                True that. I was just thinking of the dress-up dress code.

            2. What part of town are you in or more importantly is mom in?

              6 Replies
                1. re: chez cherie

                  I never feel out of place dressed up at the Water Grill. The building, servers, and old school regulars make dressing up appropriate.

                  1. re: chez cherie

                    Langham Hotel
                    Mr. Chow - she would probably have a blast here!
                    Nobu - only if she likes sushi

                    I love the rest of the ideas rec'd by New Trial, also.

                      1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                        I would just make sure to read reviews since Michael Voltaggio started. It sounds somewhat on the daring side which I know might throw some people off:

                        For more conventional high end menus, I second the recs of Melisse and Valentino.

                        1. re: mollyomormon

                          Ditto. If Craig Strong were still there, the Langham would be my clear choice -- a little formal (until they ruin it with the upcoming renovation) but luxe and fun and great food.

                          Assuming Mom can make the trip to Santa Monica, I recommend Valentino for this and almost everything else.

                2. One other suggestion for a place that you can get dressed up and not feel out of place at is the main dining room at the Peninsula Hotel (The Belvedere) in Beverly Hills.

                  1. The Dining Room at the Langham in Pasadena does make sense. It's nearby and pretty formal. The food is great but I haven't eaten there since Craig Strong left.

                      1. The post by David Kahn about the private clubs is probably your best bet. City Club on Bunker Hill is a great option. The food is pretty good (Melisse, Spago, Providence, etc... are definitely better), and pretty approachable - I don't know the palate of your friend's mom.

                        For dinner, the dress code in the dining room is jacket and tie REQUIRED for gentlemen and skirts for the ladies. Also the view is absolutely spectacular - 54th floor of the Wells Fargo Building downtown with floor to ceiling windows.

                        Also, the service there will be top notch. Especially for an 80th birthday.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: woojink

                          Any ideas for getting them into such a "private" club to have dinner if they don't happen to be friends with a member?

                          1. re: Servorg

                            I would say that City Club is not THAT private. I would definitely try to give them a call and find out. Also, there are a lot of members there. If the OP has an attorney, accountant or any other professional that is based or has a friend based in downtown, they are quite likely close to a member. As a member, I've seen LOTS of non-members that are sponsored in for meals and such. Also, the City Club has a plethora of private rooms that may be available for a party. There are rooms for parties of as few as 6 or 8.

                        2. Just a heads up, because we would take my elderly gram out for similar dinners, you should pick a place that's quiet with good lighting.