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Aug 23, 2010 03:45 PM

Need recommendation for special occasion

I am looking for a restaurant for a special occasion. Price is not an issue but there are some requirements:

1. No sushi
2. I would rather it not have a demanding dress-code (ie. jacket, tie, etc)
3. I would like the service to be personable and not overly snooty/stuck-up
4. I would like it to be on the quieter side (can have normal conversation) but does not have to be romantic
5. The food should be exceptional

Are there any places where you can have a great, high(er) end meal in a more relaxed atmosphere with excellent, warm, and personable service?

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  1. Take a look at Saddle Peak Lodge. I think it may what you are looking for.

    Saddle Peak Lodge
    419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA 91302

    2 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Saddle Peak Lodge:
        Our dress code is business casual.
        Blue jean friendly.
        Jacket and ties are NOT required.
        Please NO shorts, No beachwear and NO muscle shirts.
        Ok it has a little bit of a dress code but worth it for their Elk.

        Saddle Peak Lodge
        419 Cold Canyon Rd., Calabasas, CA 91302

    1. Bastide

      (in order of "fancy" degrees, though I am unaware of any place w/dress codes here in LA.)

      Bastide Restaurant
      8475 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, CA 90069

      10 Replies
      1. re: Phurstluv

        Big second for Bastide. It has a great balance of elegance and friendliness. Excellent food, and could be the best wine list in LA all things considered.
        (Phurstluv, I remember Hotel Bel Air used to have a dress code, not sure if that will continue)

        Bastide Restaurant
        8475 Melrose Place, West Hollywood, CA 90069

        1. re: cls

          Good to know Bastide is still a great option, been closed & reopened (again?) since we went. But the food was unparalleled.

          I know there are some dress codes out there, but I think the days of strict jacket & tie requirements are gone, at least in casual, sunny LA. Like that is FLA too.

        2. re: Phurstluv

          As much as I love Animal I wouldn't call it on the quieter side

          1. re: honkman

            We have never found it to be "loud" when we have dined there.

            1. re: Phurstluv

              I believe you must have eaten at animal a whole lot, phurstluv, because animal is not loud at all.....IT'S POSITIVELY DEAFENING!

              1. re: Ciao Bob

                I really don't find it deafening. And I am sensitive to that issue being pretty hard of hearing in those types of settings.

                1. re: Ciao Bob

                  WHAT'D YA SAY???

                  No really, I've been there when it was full, (when isn't it) and we never had that experience, and have always been able to carry on a conversation with our table, the waitstaff, etc. Now, would I call it Whisper Quiet? No, it's a small room, it's always full and there are no soft surfaces at all to help absorb the din. We also tend to go on the earlier side, whenever we can get a reservation, like 6, 7 or 8 ish. I bet if you walk in at 10, and with a full restaurant who is completely enjoying their wine, beer and food, then yes, I would assume it can get a bit noisy.

                  But I rec'd it because I felt it met about all of the criteria the OP was looking for: no sushi, no dresscode, personable service & EXCEPTIONAL food. In my mind, the quiet factor is a non issue when the resto meets and exceeds the rest of OP's criteria.

                  So go ahead and doubt my cred if you must, I really don't care and stand by my recommendation.

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    I HEAR you, phurstluv :)
                    I wasn't doubting any cred just having fun.
                    And your point about the time one goes to dine and the noise level is likely accurate, as well as one's own sensitivity to sound, as honkman (perfect moniker for this discussion, btw) points out. I generally eat at animal at its busiest and loudest, and it does not bother me - but I have been with many who complained (loudly).

                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      Loud? What?!! You want loud?!! Comme Ca!

                  2. re: Phurstluv

                    We never found it too loud (but perhaps we have a higher tolerance for noise than many others because we also found Pizzeria Mozza not too loud for nice dinner with great conversation even though many people complain about it) but since the OP mentioned something on the quiter side and many people also complain about the noise at Animal I think it is worth taking into consideration when making a decision for the OP.

              2. Melisse or Valentino.

                I would also suggest Hatfield's, but have no idea what their new digs are like, acoustically.

                4 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  My 2c, I find Valentino pretty stuffy by LA standards.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I was EXTREMELY pleasantly surprised that the new Hatfield's has very good acoustics and it is easy to have a conversation there. Unlike so many other places (looking at you, Louie), they put up cork paneling on the ceiling, apparently deciding that it was worth sacrificing a tiny bit of aesthetics in order to allow their clientele to actually be able to hear each other speak. Bravo.

                    1. re: aching

                      Good to know, aching, thanks. Can't wait to revisit them in their new space.

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        It was really nice - although I was fond of the old space too. But their seating capacity looks to have quadrupled, and the Croque Madame did not suffer a bit in the move!

                  2. I like Fraiche in Culver City for this. It's not the *highest* end restaurant, but it should meet your needs.

                    1. Josie

                      2424 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Servorg

                        I love Josie, always have. Doesn't scream "special occasion" to me tho. Just my 2 cents.