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Suggestions for a New Yorker visiting Los Angeles/West Hollywood area for Birthday

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So I am living in TX but am a Native NY'er. Last visited L.A. over 6 years ago. Going next weekend for my birthday and am looking for a restaurant that my boyfriend and I will both love. We will be staying at the Andaz in West Hollywood. We are trying to NOT rent a car so distance matters. Price doesn't really matter to me that much. Place doesn't need to be super duper fancy but I'd prefer something above a hole in the wall b/c I do want to get a little dressed up (but not a lot dressed up). I'd rather go to a non-trendy place but if the trendy place is really really good, I might be open for it.

My first choice would be a Spanish Tapas place. For some reason, I'm feeling tapas. I'm open to any type of place though really. I do tend to like more modern looking places. I would love to go to Gordon Ramsay's restaurant at The London but have a feeling that, in addition to being super duper pricey, it would be hard to get a reservation. I have also read that the Boxroom Cafe (or something like that) is also now open at The London. That might be a possibility I'm thinking?

I also love Cuban food but most of the Cuban places I've found on the net don't seem to be that close to the WeHo area. But then again, I am not that familiar with the geography.

An Asian fusion style nice restaurant would also rock. The boyfriend loves Asian and I'm okay with Asian but wouldn't want to go to a straight Asian place for my birthday. (And I am not a sushi fan)

Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions!!

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A Restaurant
24075 Lake Dr, Crestline, CA 92325

First Choice
13210 Estrella Ave, Gardena, CA 90248

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  1. by the way, the RH restaurant in the hotel is very good, so don't discount that whatsoever. The initials stand for the hotel's predecessor nickname, the Riot Hyatt, but don't let that fool you, the chef can really cook.
    Take a look at the menu when you arrive and judge accordingly. Might even have a website, yet I have not looked.
    Cafe La Boheme on Santa Monica Blvd. just a couple of blocks east of La Cienega is very nice for Asian, yet it is an Asian blend, not just one country representation, but a mixture of them all.(8400 Santa Monica Blvd. - 310.848.2360)

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    Cafe La Boheme
    8400 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069

    1. The Bazaar might be perfect. It's Jose Andreas' take on Spanish tapas, it's not far from where you're staying, and has a trendy buzz, but is also very good.

      I don't think you'd have any problem getting a reservation at The London (in fact, there are only a small handful of places in town where reservations are hard to obtain on short notice), but there haven't been many reviews of it here recently and they only food I've had there was for their one year anniversary party, and it was only good.

      1. I second the Bazaar (and part of their menu does feature some Asian fusion-style tapas), but depending on the night it can get very trendy. Less trendy but not so tapas style, is XIV by Michael Mina which is also excellent and not very far from you.

        I don't think you'll have a problem getting a reservation at the London. I do like it, but it is pricey. Lovely view, and a great place for a special occasion, though.

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        XIV
        8117 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

        3 Replies
        1. re: sidwich

          Ok, I'm now in love with Bazaar but it seems pretty pricey b/c I have read that the portion sizes are super small. It sounds like an awesome place but I don't know that I'm prepared to spend over $200 on a meal for two which it sounds like would be the cost considering the small portions and the prices for bottles of wine. I lived in DC for 10 years and so I know that Jose Andres' restaurants are amazing! Unfortunately, I'm not making the kind of income I did back in DC.

          I looked at the menu at XIV and it didn't really call my name.

          Also, I guess when I said that price wasn't a big deal for me, I didn't mean that I wanted to spend $200 +! Ouch!

          I was thinking that 100-150 for two would be reasonable. Neither me nor the boyfriend have huge appetites and we usually share an entree and get a couple of apps when we go out to eat plus a bottle of wine.

          Now, I'm really confused as to what I want for my birthday dinner place...lol. I was hoping to go out on the Saturday night we are there (although Sunday night would work b/c on West Coast time, most of the football games will be over unless our teams are playing at night). I definitely don't want a super loud place b/c I would kind of like it to be romantic since the BF and I have only been dating for a few months and have never gone out to a really nice dinner.

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          XIV
          8117 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

          1. re: curlygurly

            I don't think Bazaar is overly expensive for what it is, but I definitely do think you'd probably end up spending around $200 for two there, especially if you order any drinks at all. What about Animal?
            http://www.animalrestaurant.com/

            I'll warn you that it's not really a romantic place, though, but the food is amazing. It's where I did my birthday dinner this year and I couldn't have been happier. It's maybe a 10 to 15 minute cab ride from where you're staying.

            That would be within your $150 budget easily

            1. re: curlygurly

              I took my boyfriend to the Bazaar for his birthday and if I remember correctly we spent $150 exactly for food, two cocktails and a bottle of wine. And you can definitely get dressed up there, though ressies are hard to come by. If you're still not interested in that there is always AOC which is fabulous for special occasions...upscale and fun with small plates and amazing wine. And like carter said the RH restaurant at your hotel just got a three star review in the LA Times, so might be worth a shot.

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              AOC
              8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

          2. I'm still considering Bazaar, although they don't appear to have any reservations for Saturday but I'm also liking that Cafe Boheme place. It looks like the space is nicely designed and the menu had me drooling. Yummm.

            Keep the suggestions coming! It's making me quite excited for my trip :)

            4 Replies
            1. re: curlygurly

              If you're using Opentable, take a step back, and call. It seems they only use OpenTable to fill very early and very late reservations.

              1. re: curlygurly

                I don't know if I've seen any recent reviews of Cafe La Boheme on here so maybe ask before you commit to it.

                Have you for sure ruled out RH in your hotel?

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                Cafe La Boheme
                8400 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069

                1. re: mollyomormon

                  I will check out AOC. I looked at the menu at RH and read the reviews and it just doesn't seem like my style, frankly. It didn't grab me. Good to know that it's possible to spend less than $200 at Bazaar. I was worried about the reviews I read in which many said the portions were tiny. Like I said, the BF and I don't have huge stomachs anyway. We're probably bigger drinkers than eaters sometimes...lol. I will check out AOC, call Bazaar to see about reservations, and keep looking.

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                  AOC
                  8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                  1. re: curlygurly

                    Sorry if my previous comment was unclear. I think it would be difficult to go to the Bazaar and spend much less than $200. If you're planning to drink, then I would say it's pretty much impossible.

                    If you're thinking along the line of AOC, maybe check out Lucques as well, which is another of Suzanne Goin's restaurants. If you're sharing a couple of apps and one entree, that should be within your $150 budget.

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                    AOC
                    8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                    Lucques
                    8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

              2. Look up Yatai, it would be fun, delicious, cheaper and not as scene-y as Bazaar,(or Boa, Koi, Katana and other WeHo spots). Also not far from you is Mexico, Bar Marmont and Pinches Tacos. AOC and Luques are both very good and fun...if they say they have no ressies both have walk-in bar service. A cab to Pizzeria Mozza would cost too much.
                Never been a fan of Cafe La Boheme

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                AOC
                8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                Bar Marmont
                8171 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

                Katana
                8439 W. Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

                Pinches Tacos
                8200 W Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046

                Cafe La Boheme
                8400 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069

                Pizzeria Mozza
                641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                Koi Restaurant
                730 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                Yatai
                8535 W Sunset Blvd Ste 1, West Hollywood, CA 90069