Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Aug 10, 2010 10:50 PM

ISO Romantic South Bay Eats

My second anniversary is coming up and I'd like to take my wife somewhere for a romantic dinner.

We've been to places like the Depot, Petros, Restaurant Christine, Aimee's, Benihana (not romantic, but fun for a couple), etc. and would like to try somewhere new.

Cuisine: Anything's up for grabs
Price: Under 50-60pp (tax and alcohol not included) for maybe an app to share, 2 salads, entrees, and maybe a dessert to share.
Open on Thursdays.

I was thinking one of the Terranea restaurants (mar'sel or Catalina)... I was considering Aliotta's (but I don't know anyone who's been), Admiral Risty (never been, heard it may be okay, if not a tad old fashioned).....

Normally, we'd venture out of the South Bay but due to something important my wife has to do the next day, we have to remain local.

Just wanted your thoughts on places I didn't mention or places I did just a moment ago...

Thank you.

Petros Restaurant
451 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

Admiral Risty
31250 Palos Verdes Drive West, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

Restaurant Christine
24530 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance, CA 90505

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Darren's

    Darren's Restaurant and Bar
    1141 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

    1 Reply
    1. re: wienermobile

      Ditto on Darren's. The tables are a little close together, but it has good food and a nice vibe.

    2. I'd highly recommend dining at Terranea. I've only had lunch twice at their main restaurant, Catalina Kitchen, which has a nice view of their swimming pools but also of the shimmering (during lunchtime) ocean in the background -- and I've had lunch at the awesome gastropub Nelson's, awesome because it is right by the cliffs, a bit in the northern part of the property, near the lighthouse (it took me a few tries to find it because it's not part of the main buildings, but I'm also geographically challenged). Nelson's is casual and yet so romantic since you can hear the surf rumble below and feel and smell the sea spray.

      If that isn't enough romance for you (or if you choose to eat indoors), after your meal you can take a stroll down that easy, nearly paved path they've got that goes right to the water where you can sit on low beach chairs already provided and stare at the surf just feet in front of you as you listen to the calming sound of the rocks being raked and tumbled by the waves.

      p.s. Oh, and the food at Nelson's is solid gastropub fare. Catalina Kitchen, not so much -- reminds me of typical hotel food: bland and inoffensively offensive.

      1 Reply
      1. re: buttermarblepopcorn

        Cafe Pacific at Trump National is supposed to be quite good and quite romantic I've not been, so I'm not sure about prices, but I imagine you could do it for about the price you mentioned.

      2. Go to Spoon House/Spaghetti House in Gardena. It's a South Bay eaterie with romance. Have your own Lady and the Tramp moment . . .

        Spoon House
        1601 W Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

        4 Replies
        1. re: apple7blue

          Spoon House isn't very romantic.. It's very casual. I'd say. People will be there in flip flops and t-shirts and there aren't any little romantic candles on the table. =P

          Spoon House
          1601 W Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

          1. re: mstinawu

            That's thing about romance, you don't need to spend lots of money and go to fancy pants restaurants where the waiter will sneer at you for your choices-- If bringing a candle will make a restaurant romantic, I'd bring the romance myself--I find girls are pleased if you bring the romance yourself.

            1. re: apple7blue

              "I find girls are pleased if you bring the romance yourself."

              I find wives (after 24 years of marriage) are pleased when, for your anniversary dinner, you actually take the time to find them someplace that has both a romantic setting and that are serving something that your wife enjoys eating...

              1. re: Servorg

                Nicely said Servorg.

                BTW, if, during my dating days, someone brought "the romance" by bringing a candle to the restaurant, that'd be the last date.

        2. I hope you are not talking about Aliotta's in Torrance. Two things: 1. It's not on the same "level" as mar'sel at Terranea and 2. It's just not any good (I used to go there several years ago but it's gone down hill in terms of the quality and freshness of their ingredients).

          1. Thank you for the suggestions. I actually never had been to Aliotta's so I'm glad to hear I can pass it up.

            I actually took my wife to Catalina Kitchen at the Terranea resort.

            We ordered the following dishes: clam chowder, garden salad, arugula/goat cheese/artichoke/onion flat bread (cough pizza), fish of the day (striped bass), a ny strip, a side of sauteed brocollini, and a side of roasted fingerling potatoes. We were given a "chocolate budino" along with some sauteed peaches as an anniversary present.

            A brief review:
            Clam Chowder - one of the best New England style bowls of chowda' I've had in recent memory.
            Garden Salad - huge portion. Dressing was a tasty balsamic vinagrette. thin shavings of manchego cheese were nice.
            NY Strip - was served one temperature over what I ordered.
            Striped Bass - my wife said it was "chewy" but it tasted fine to me.
            Brocollini - Tasty, simple
            Roasted Fingerling Potatoes - Tasty, simple
            "Budino" - I don't think this was a budino. It tasted like a dense, dark chocolate flourless chocolate cake and when I "forked" my way into it, I was half expecting an oozy, molten center.

            Service - Was friendly, prompt, not overbearing, unrushed. Keely was the servers name.

            Cost of meal with tip, a glass of wine, and a soda: about $160.

            There was a beautiful sunset as we dined.
            We felt it was romantic.

            4 Replies
            1. re: DrBruin

              Thanks for reporting back. Glad to hear you enjoyed the evening. I have to say, after reading about what you ate and the price you paid, that this seems to be a bit of the old "give them a beautiful view and vacuum their wallets" places. Is that terribly unfair to think?

              1. re: Servorg

                There is probably a tad of the "location, location, location" thing going on (but, also the fact it's a hotel restaurant and I find hotel restaurants in general tend to be pricier in general).

                With that said, I would actually go back to the restaurant for a special occasion or for a "just because" romantic dinner. There are a lot of tasty restaurants in LA but I'm finding it harder to find romantic places. This place is not going into my regular rotation. I also want to point out that we had a lot of food (a lot) and ordered some of the pricier menu options... and that was with what I consider to be a generous tip. We took home half of the pizza. You could eat there for a lot less and still come out full. I don't think it would be unreasonable to go there, order 1 salad and split it (because it was huge), order a pizza and split it, and with nonalcoholic drinks and tip, walk out with a bill for around 30-35 bucks for 2 people and be just as happy... .and enjoy the sunset. Personally, I'd be happy with another bowl of their chowder and a salad. I'd probably forgo getting the steak (I've been spoiled by steakhouses like Mastros, Ruth's, etc.).

                Mastros Restaurant
                2087 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

                1. re: DrBruin

                  Thanks, Doc. All that makes it a much more likely venue for my wife and I when down that way.

              2. re: DrBruin

                I'm so glad you enjoyed your evening at Terranea! I'm so not a shill for them (even though I find myself posting positively about them quite often here), it's just that I've been there a handful of times for casual occasions with different company (e.g., family and romantic dates) and have never ceased to be taken aback by the natural splendor of their location. Romance is definitely the name of the game over there.

                But also, it's just edifying to read that others enjoy what I enjoy.