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Looking for special birthday restaurant in westside/santa monica

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It's my husband's birthday and I'd love to take him somewhere new for his birthday! I was thinking Gjelina, but am wondering if there are any other suggestions? In Santa Monica/Venice, we love Jiraffe, Joes and Musha -- but I'd really love to try something new. Don't want something too pricey (around $100 for 2), and we love all kind of food -- mexican, italian, california, etc. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

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  1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/692527

    2 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      That post Servorg shared has great suggestions (especially mine ;)), but I really think you would enjoy Gjelina if you've never been and I do think you'd be right on target budgetwise.

      1. re: mollyomormon

        Gjelina is really worth the difficulty getting in. Be sure to share a pizza to start, and the butterscotch dessert had us licking the spoons (and cup).

    2. What does he love to eat? Steak? Sushi? Italian? Any favorites? Any type of atmosphere?

      Wilshire has a nice patio and decent steak and other food.
      I love the patio at Whist at the Viceroy, and have heard good things re: new chef.
      I loved the pasta at La Botte, when we celebrated an anniversary there.

      There's also some great Italian choices in Brentwood, if willing to go there: Toscana, Vicenti, and Pecorino are all delicious.

      Also Westside Tavern, in the Westside Pavilion, is more like a gastropub, than fine dining, but the chef is great and pulls off delicious food. Casual but cool vibe. Right near the theaters but with a street entrance as well. No reservations.

      1. Tavern in Brentwood is good.

        1. I second the Wilshire recommendation. If the weather is nice, it's hard to beat the patio. Also, the food is pretty good. The Tasting Kitchen in Venice should be on your list as well, but the budget may be tight.

          1. Thanks for all the great advice! Unfortunately, we couldn't get into Gjelina since I waited too long to make a reservation. But, it's on the top of our list for next time! We ended up going to Fig based on the thread posted and previous reviews, and we really, really enjoyed it! The ambience was great -- we had a view of the pool and beautiful grounds, and the food was incredible. Just perfect for what we were looking for. Our favorites were the gnocchi and beet risotto -- mmmmmmmm. We also really enjoyed the cheese plate to start.

            Thanks again!