re: Mateo R
Lares is definitely another good option and we like Gilbert's El Indio too. These are both so close together it's easy to basically flip a coin if you can't decide between them (and with Don Antonio's and the Talpa just barely to the east) and finally even Monte Alban and Juquila for Oaxacan just a few minutes farther north there are a lot of good choices, all local to each other.
11619 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
11755 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
11751 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064
Gilbert's El Indio
2526 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
yup... thats the one. okay - so maybe not technically venice? i like it though. they are one of the only restaurants ive been to where their rice and beans were exceptionally good.
i think there was a scene from jerry maguire filmed there. though in the movie, the restaurant looks a lot bigger.
Casa Sanchez on Centinela first came to mind when I saw "Fun Mexican on the West side".
Fun - yes. Great Mariachi bands and singers.
Very nice inside with a nice back patio - should be good for a date.
Good tequila selection - shots, yes but savor the flavor.
Dark - I don't know - it can be a little muted on the lights - maybe the patio area would be darker. But since the nights have been in the low to mid 50s, huddling together may or may not set the mood.