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Oct 27, 2010 08:34 PM

Escape from LA for Halloween dinner

I didn't come up with a good Halloween costume this year and can't bear being around town during the Saturday night festivities. I'd like to find an interesting restaurant about an hour away from West LA. I honestly don't have any specific needs for the restaurant. It would be nice to spend some time away from the usual LA restaurant / scene and find a nice out of the way little place.


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  1. perhaps somewhere like Ventura/Oxnard...?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Emme

      I'd drive the extra half hour to Santa Barbara and eat at Downey's ( ), my favorite restaurant in Southern California since I first stopped there in 1986 on a cross-country bicycle tour. Beautifully prepared lamb, duck, local seafood and produce, desserts, etc., in a civilized and cozy storefront that appeals to young and old grown-ups alike. Ruth Reichl's assessment in her original LA Times review still holds: "The food is so fine I'm tempted to go and talk to the cook."

      In the other direction, you're about an hour from the Sycamore Inn ( ), a classic fine-dining roadhouse set among ancient trees off old Route 66 in Rancho Cucamonga. The menu is in the same style as Gulliver's in Irvine and the Lawry's chain but it diverges in interesting ways, and the food is better. In addition to very good steaks, chops, prime rib, and rack of lamb, you'll find braised short ribs, seabass carmelized with sake and miso, and charbroiled Scottish salmon, for example. Some of the nice touches: you can order two small side dishes with your main course instead of one large; the wines by the glass include the excellent B.V. Tapestry; professional service.


      1. re: Harry Niletti

        I would stay away from Sycamore Inn on Halloween. They have a Murder Mystery Dinner that night, and people do dress up for the occasion.

        Sycamore Inn
        8318 Foothill Blvd, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

        1. re: attran99

          Oops -- thanks for the information. Then, for the needs of the OP, I'd change my second recommendation to Duane's Steakhouse at the gorgeous old Mission Inn Hotel in Riverside. Like many high-end steakhouses, they have outstanding meats and seafood -- not to mention trendy appetizers and side dishes -- but their real distinction is a very nice wine list and servings by the 1.5 oz., 3.25 oz., and 6.25 oz. glass. In Miami you can buy a bottle of Dom Perignon at a famous sandwich-shop chain, but out here it's not easy to find a glass of, say, 1998 B.V. Georges de Latour Private Reserve or 2006 Quintessa Meritage, if that sounds interesting. For a less-elaborate meal, the hotel also has a wine and tapas bar serving from a cellar of 7,000 bottles.

          P.S. Given attran99's comment, the OP should no doubt check on possible Halloween festivities wherever he goes.


    2. Go get some Chinese/Mongolian cuisine at China Islamic in Rosemead.

      China Islamic Restaurant
      7727 Garvey Ave, Rosemead, CA 91770

      1. Saddle Peak Lodge is a million miles from LA.

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

        1. Check out the website (click on the place link) for the Cellar in Fullerton for that night. They are doing a special Halloween themed dinner and it looks very interesting.

          Cellar Restaurant French Cuisine
          305 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92832

          1. How about Renu Nakorn, the Thai restaurant in Norwalk? Well-regarded on this board and by J Gold. I'm not sure what you consider out of the way...there are lots of great Japanese restaurants in Southbay if that is far enough for you (an hour from West LA in traffic, but going home will be much quicker). You could also consider Orange County. Maybe get Vietnamese in Westminster? For some reason when I think of getting away from the West LA scene I think ethnic food.

            Renu Nakorn Restaurant
            13019 Rosecrans Ave, Norwalk, CA 90650