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What Can You Tell Me About The Enterprise Fish Company in Santa Monica?

We love fish, especially shell fish! (Being an ex-Bostonian, I drool over Maine lobster, clams, crab, shrimp, etc.) How is the food, service, and ambience? Would you recommend it as a good fun place (while still being a level above "casual) for a celebratory dinner for a young lady (26) her mother (50) and her sister (22)? Does the ad for a complete lobster dinner $24.95 mean Maine lobster or Australian lobster tail? This is a special night for a special young lady; her mother and sister. Do you think that we can have a wonderful dinner including appetizer and dessert, a drink or two (possibly even a glass of inexpensive champagne) for a max of $150.00 (including gratuity and parking)? There will be 4 of us. Are reservations encouraged? Opinions will be deeply appreciated. Thank you.

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    1. imho, you will not be able to get that much food and drink and come in at budget.

      3 Replies
      1. re: westsidegal

        Hi, Westsidegal:

        Much thanks for your help last year when I was taking this same family to dinner. You were right on! Re the Enterprise: Can you give me a rough estimate as to what my cost would be to satisfy the above? And please tell me if you think it would be worth it, especially since , I'm not exactly affluent.

        For many years my wife and I were frequent patrons of the Cafe Bijou in Sherman Oaks. I haven't been there since she passed away 10 years ago. Is it still as wonderful as it was, and would you consider it a viable restaurant for the same purpose as above?

        Thanks, Jeff

        1. re: jwrites4u

          for what you are planning to order, i'd say that the total tab will run you in the low 2's.
          to me, enterprise fish is like a chain restaurant without the chain.
          it is ok food, fair value, but nothing special.

          i have no personal experience with cafe bijou.
          (when i go to the valley to eat, more often than not i end up at Itzak hagadol, an israeli restaurant that serves skewered meats/poultry/fish and an array of 'salad assortments' with consist of 10 or more small plates of salads that are refilled as you finish each plate. with alcohol, though, i fear that this place, too, will exceed budget )

          there is no sit-down/nice restaurant, that imho, provides more bang for the buck than does shamshiri grill.

          if you are coming west, and would consider italien food, then c & o cucina on washington (not c&o trattoria, which doesn't take reservations) is another choice that makes sense. the c&o portions are very large, so you could easily split some of the courses to bring the meal in at budget.

          1. re: westsidegal

            Thank you westsidegal. I'm beginning to wonder if I should have married a woman who had money, rather than one who was the best thing that ever happened to me.

      2. >>(Being an ex-Bostonian, I drool over Maine lobster, clams, crab, shrimp, etc.)

        Well, if I had a choice between the lower end lobster joints in Boston vs. Fish Co (or similar) out here... I'd advise not to get hopes up.

        That said, I recently took my Mom out for the 24.95 maine lobster and she was happy with it. It was close to 1 1/2 lb. and lots of meat, 2 sides, etc.

        As far as coming in at your $150 limit, it's doable but difficult. They have happy hour pricing on drinks and we've taken advantage of that over the years. Technically, you can get the Lobster dinner special (we were there on a Thursday evening) in the bar, and then pay happy hour drink prices. Champagne might be the deal breaker price-wise. And if you get a table in the dining room, drink prices nearly double. Sounds like you're looking to do a table rather than eat in the bar.

        Service is OK, ambiance is that "made-over warehouse" look, and you can dress casual. As for the "special night" consideration, we usually stop in for the happy hour menu so it's hardly "memorable." Parking is metered lot across the street. Bring lots of quarters.

        1 Reply
        1. re: cagey

          Thanks for your detailed response, Cagey. I'll give it much thought.


        2. Average and Expensive. I think Ocean Ave. Sea Food is better if you don't want to travel.

          Ocean Avenue Seafood
          1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          2 Replies
          1. re: wienermobile

            Thank you, weinermobile. I'll log onto the web site you just gave me.

            1. re: jwrites4u

              ocean avenue seafood serves better food at higher prices than does enterprise.

          2. If I were you, I would goto Blue Plate Oysterette instead of Enterprise Fish Company. Enterprise has a great happy hour and is worth going to for that, but I wouldn't go there for a celebratory dinner.

            I went to Blue Plate Oysterette this past weekend and found it to be very good, I had their lobster roll (requested it warm with drawn butter) and a Caesar salad. My gf had their lobster mac and cheese which was very generous with the lobster but not exceptional mac and cheese (my all time favorite is from The Federalist). They had a good selection of shellfish (raw oysters, rockefeller, grilled oysters & clams, steamed mussels). Our bill was appx $50 for the two of us and we were very full.

            The ambiance was nice and while the level of the seafood will never rival that in Boston it was quite good. If I want great seafood I goto the Redondo Pier, but that of course lacks ambiance, or to Mori sushi - which will break the budget.

            3 Replies
            1. re: joshekg

              Thank you, joshekg. Since no one has yet said that the Enterprise is anything other than average, it's no longer in contention. Again, much thanks for your response.

              1. re: jwrites4u

                I'm glad you took Enterprise out of contention. It really is very ordinary and not a place I would want to go for a celebration. Are you set on Santa Monica and fish? Also in SM is Musha, a Japanese izakaya. It's very reasonable, the food is delicious (especially the table-side seared mackerel) and it's fun. If you're willing to go to Silverlake, Barbrix (small plates, reasonably priced wines) is fantastic and within your budget.

                1. re: whatsfordinner

                  Thanks for your response, whatsfordinner. I have suddenly remembered a restaurant that was my wife's and my favorit. Until she passed away ten years ago, it was always on our very short list for special occasions. It's Cafe Bizou in Sherman Oaks. All the response on that inquiry have been glowingly positive, so that's where we will go. Thanks again for your kindness in responding to me.

            2. if you wish to share some dishes family style for appetizers--the menu is set up for that--four can eat well at W.Puck's Chinois on Main (Asian/Continental fusion--including a Chinese influenced lobster main course that's quite good) within your budget, but drinking would take it higher. We brought our own champagne when we dined there and the corkage was reasonable. Quality of the ingredients is outstanding, service was excellent, and the atmosphere is very festive, though a bit crowded.

              4 Replies
              1. re: moto

                I would say that four people at Chinois for $150 (including gratuity and parking) would be nearly an impossibility. And that would be 4 main courses without any starters or dessert or drinks of any kind. Their corkage is $25 per bottle. Not "the" most expensive, but hardly on the less expensive end of the corkage spectrum in LA.

                1. re: Servorg

                  o.k., forgot about the request on parking--we walked. didn't mind the corkage because their selection of bubbly was pretty limited, with a high mark-up. i felt there were no compromises made with the quality of the food and preparation, and was pleasantly surprised how everyone in the crowded room seem to really enjoy the food and place--we enjoyed it for a special occasion splurge.

                  1. re: moto

                    We like the restaurant and the food. But two of us can't seem to get out of there for under $100 and we aren't big drinkers. My only other gripe with Chinois is that the hard interior surfaces seem to take the noise factor up and a bit over the top.

                2. re: moto

                  chinois on main costs way more than $150 for four people with appetizer, mains, desserts, alcohol, tip, and parking.
                  the last time i was at chinois on main, corkage was $25.
                  add tip and tax to that and there is very little money left to feed 4 people.
                  normally, even with bringing our own wine, even with splitting dishes, even with forgoing coffee and dessert, chinois runs OVER $50/pp.
                  if you do the calculation correctly and add in the cost of the bottle of wine you bring, you are WELL OVER budget.

                3. Think I just saw an ad the other day for a 2 pound Maine Lobster dinner for $29.95.

                  Maybe check out their menu and pricing.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: monku

                    Saw the ad again today in the LA Times. The offer is only good Monday-Thursday.

                  2. Another thought for the shell fish lover in you could be Chinese seafood at Hop Li in WLA.
                    You could easily have all the shell fish you're drooling over and come out at the $150 mark.
                    Check out their menu

                    1. If you are a brilliant technician of menu analysis/ordering and bill management 60% of the time Enteriprise will work 100% of the time.

                      If you don't eat much and can get by on just apps and drinks for 4 for $150, go to Ocean Ave or The Lobster.

                      But that is all a lot of work.

                      Instead, run, do not walk, to BP Oysterette.