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Picky Dinner on Westside: Please Help!

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Girlfriends mother is coming into town tomorrow and I am in charge of choosing a restaurant. Here are the requirements:

-Cost: about 60pp not including alcohol/tax/tip.
-Location: Westside.
-Ambiance: nothing too loud with good service.
-Comfortable Chairs: She has a bad back.
-Full bar: She likes a cocktail with dinner.
-Cuisine: nohing too exotic, ethnic, or spicy: she's about one step above meat and potatoes.
-No italian: they are eating Italian on Friday (Dan Tanas).

Some places I am strongly considersing:
-Rustic Canyon
-Wilshire
-FIG
-Tasting Kitchen

Some places we have been in the past: Lucques, Gjelina, Joe's, Anisette, Hatfields, Tavern, Fraiche, AOC. Nook, Upstairs 2, Mozza, Westside Tavern, Animal, Bazaar.

Any other suggestions? I'm trying not to compromise too much on my own standards while meeting hers. Thanks!

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  1. I think Rustic Canyon is probably too loud for what you're after so I would cross that off. I've only been to Tasting Kitchen once and I really enjoyed it, but I do think the menu could be challenging for unadventurous eaters and I would cross it off for that reason. I think Wilshire and FIG would both be very good options for your needs and I also think Josie is right about at the correct price point, although maybe a little over if everyone gets app, entree and dessert.

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    Wilshire Restaurant
    2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404

    2 Replies
    1. re: mollyomormon

      Your thoughts all are sound on this - I would only add Jiraffe as a consideration.

      -----
      Jiraffe Restaurant
      502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

      1. re: Bria Silbert

        +1 on Jiraffe. Maybe dine in the loft area?

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        Jiraffe Restaurant
        502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

    2. I would add Josie to your list too. I call it "grown up" dining. Understated decor along with excellent, fresh, non-frightening food.

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      Josie
      2424 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

      1 Reply
      1. re: Servorg

        agreed on josie. quiet dining, with comfortable seating with very good food/service.

      2. Josie is a good recommendation. Napa Valley Grille in Westwood would also be a good choice for this meal. If you are considering Tavern, I think this is a strong contender too -- the service is so gracious and the decor is beautiful.

        I think Jiraffe's seating is uncomfortable and my experience with its food has been less than stellar. Wilshire is a good option, but the lighting can be dark; so it might be a bit romantic for you.

        -----
        Jiraffe Restaurant
        502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

        Wilshire Restaurant
        2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404

        Napa Valley Grille
        1100 Glendon Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024

        1. Thanks for the feedback! I totally forgot about Josie and Jiraffe. Its definately between those two.
          I went to Josie many years ago which seemed a little rigid and the food was pretty average but im willing to give it another shot.
          I have always wanted to try Jiraffe but it seems like Josie might be a better bargain for similar quality food especially considering that Josie has a pretty good pre-fixe, does that seem accurate? I think the tiebreaker might be ambience. Any thoughts?

          -----
          Jiraffe Restaurant
          502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

          4 Replies
          1. re: toonoble

            I would lean towards Josie given that my last couple of meals at Jiraffe were only okay and because I think it can be on the loud side, but I know many people really like Jiraffe.

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            Jiraffe Restaurant
            502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

            1. re: mollyomormon

              If someone would like to swing by Josie's and then come over to my house and bring me an order of their Tagine of Beef Short Ribs (braised Moroccan-style and served with curried cous cous and a side of spicy almond yogurt) and an order of the chocolate bread pudding I would be ever so grateful... ;-D>

            2. re: toonoble

              Josie and Jiraffe are both solid choices, but Josie is quieter and has more comfortable seating. Josie's ambience feels more formal, Jiraffe feels more casual. If you go with Jiraffe, request to be seated upstairs where it is quieter.

              -----
              Jiraffe Restaurant
              502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

              1. re: toonoble

                Go with Josie

              2. I made reservation at Josie for tonight. I will report back. Are there any cant-miss menu recommendations??

                4 Replies
                1. re: toonoble

                  tagine short ribs!

                  1. re: wilafur

                    +1 on those ribs. Just saw this thread - Agree on Josie. Solid.

                  2. re: toonoble

                    Venison!!!

                    1. re: toonoble

                      The buffalo burger with foie gras and truffle fries is another great choice.

                    2. Uggh, after all that work we couldnt make our reservation because her flight was delayed arriving at LAX. We ended up at Westside Tavern which she really enjoyed. It was her first time there so it worked out well. Safe menu, great cocktails, comfortable setting, good service. We started with a flatbread and veal bone marrow special. I had the skewers, gf had the ahi tuna, and mum had the scallops. We left very pleased and full.
                      Next time she comes into town its Josie all the way.
                      Thanks to everyone for the help.

                      -----
                      Westside Tavern
                      10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: toonoble

                        Thanks for reporting back. I was following this thread and wondering how it went. We to Westside tavern during the winter with my in-laws. Unfortunately, they had just read an article in NY Times about all the things a server/restaurant should never do and kept pointing out Westside Tavern's various violations of these "rules." I didn't find the food to be anyting special, but people here seem to like it. Maybe I should try again.

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                        Westside Tavern
                        10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                        1. re: Snoopy

                          i, too, didn't find the food to be at all special, AND the service we had was very poor to boot.
                          it amazed us how even with an ARMY of servers in a practically empty restaurant the basic service required for a simple lunch was out of their reach.

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            I have to say in a half dozen visits we have had nothing but very good service at Westside Tavern. And when I'm in the mood for dessert it's near the top of my list. Great sweets and some of the biggest size desserts I have ever seen. Great to eat as much as you want and STILL have leftovers to take home...

                            -----
                            Westside Tavern
                            10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                            1. re: Servorg

                              Totally agree, SO. Have had nothing but good - excellent service, and delicious food and wine, at Westide Tavern. In fact, taking my MIL to lunch there this week.

                              1. re: Phurstluv

                                I also have had only good service at Westside Tavern. I love their flatbreads and the lamb dip, that's a good sandwich.

                                -----
                                Westside Tavern
                                10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                            2. re: westsidegal

                              i've been to westside tavern 2x (1x at bar, 1x in dining room) and received very good service both times.

                        2. How about the Foundry on Melrose? Yum.