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Specific search for Friday night dinner for 8 - WeHo or Hllywd

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I am an avid reader of (but not a poster) this board - and follow many of your recommendations happily, and with much success and great eating. For some reason, I am stuck. I need a place for dinner for this Friday night. An old friend that we haven't seen in many years is coming to town with his boyfriend - they do not know LA very well. A few other friends will join us -- making us a group of 8. I want that "neighborhood" spot, that's a little bit "LA" but not overwhelmingly so, and that has good food. We need to hear each other talk, and be able to linger over dinner. Price point should be not more than $50 per person. I see that you all are the most helpful when there are lots of specifics - so I'm giving you lots of specific requirements. Don't hate me for my difficulty level please - I appreciate your help in advance!!

For more help on what I'm looking for - I'd like something a bit nicer than Angelli Caffe (which I dearly love), but not quite the price point of The Foundry (which I also really like). Jar would be good, but it's a little pricier than I'd like it to be (we're probably picking up dinner for the group). Ammo is great but too quiet. Bazaar seems a little too over-the-top for this reunion. Pane y Vino seems like the right atmosphere and ambience and price - but I haven't loved the food itself (could sacrifice if need be). Magnolia is good - but is often a go-to for us. Am I missing something perfect??

Here are the specific criteria:

1. Neighborhood: West Hollywood or Hollywood, Melrose/La Brea etc.
2. Lively but not crazy loud (do not even think Comme Ca unless there's a table I don't know about!)
3. Good food (ambience is important, food quality is more important)
4. Any ethnicity is in
5. A "nice" ambience - see above for an attempt to narrow this down
6. Not more than $50 per person, all in (i.e. drinks included)

Thank you SO SO much!

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  1. my initial thoughts are BLD and Chateau Marmont. either one appeal to you?

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    Chateau Marmont
    8221 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

    BLD Restaurant
    7450 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    4 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Lucques would be my first choice. I was at a dinner party there recently and we were 8 people. Had a lovely table in the garden.Food was excellent and we could really converse as it wasn't too loud. Suzanne Goin, chef/owner is a finalist as the James Beard Chef of the Year. Winner to be announced tonight. If she wins, I suspect that Lucques will be a tough reservation.

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      Lucques
      8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

      1. re: maudies5

        Lucques is great, but I spent more than $50 pp there without alcohol, and OP wants under $50 pp with drinks. Maybe Lucques' sibling AOC? Hesitant suggestion, as I haven't been there in a long time.

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

        Lucques
        8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Yes, they do appeal - and thank you for your response. I have been to both restaurants, but they are not frequent "haunts" of mine. I am never sure if Chateau Marmont and Bar Marmont are one and the same place? Are they? If not, does it matter which one? I was also wondering about noise there?

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        Chateau Marmont
        8221 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

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

        1. re: ANori

          it's been a while since my last Marmont visit, but unless they've renovated, yes, they're under the same roof. pretty standard setup - bar is situated at the front by the entrance, and the dining tables are set farther back. it can be pretty loud up front, tables away from the bar are usually tolerable. there's also a private room (or two ?) for large parties, but i think your best bet would be to see if you can score a garden table - you shouldn't have noise issues out there.

      3. Bastide at Melrose Place has been completely redone, the garden is beautiful and there is a cool bookstore inside also.

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        Bastide Restaurant
        8475 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, CA 90069

        2 Replies
        1. re: alex1989

          op requested
          <<Price point should be not more than $50 per person>>
          does bastide fit that?

        2. I'd think Eva or even Marino, maybe. Stefano Ongaro is over there now and the pastas are excellent. Tasca and Cube might also fit the bill, though the latter has much less in the way of ambience.

          2 Replies
          1. re: neobite

            I don't know Marino - where is that one? And thanks for your suggestions!!

            1. re: ANori

              http://www.marinorestaurant.net/

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              Marino Ristorante
              6001 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

          2. Lou on Vine or Yatai
            Amarone Kitchen and Wine is another thought, but maybe quieter than you want.

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            Lou on Vine
            724 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ciao Bob

              Thank you so much for your suggestions. I love Lou on Vine - I only didn't choose it because it has a limited food menu. I had never heard of Yatai - but after reading lots of reviews (based on your suggestion) - I made a reservation there for Friday night! I am excited to go - and I will most certainly have to report back, as I am going only thanks to your suggestion. Amarone Kitchen and Wine for another night for sure....

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              Lou on Vine
              724 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038

              1. re: ANori

                Enjoy!
                Some dishes I would suggest:
                Pumpkin Tempura w/ Curry Salt
                Steamed Cabbage w/ garlic plum sauce
                Age-dashi Tofu
                Indian Style Beef Curry (you will have to trust me on that, it is something I never would have thought to order at a Japanese place had Indian friends not ordered it for me).
                Grilled Eel w/ sansho pepper

            2. What about District on Sunset? Although I think you'd probably go over budget with drinks.

              http://www.districtonsunset.com/