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One dinner in LA + never been before = please help

Hi all,

I'll be out in LA for a wedding this January, and will be staying on Beverly Blvd in LA, at the Hotel Sofitel. I've never been there before and since we're committed to wedding food on Saturday night, I'd like Friday dinner to be a uniquely LA experience. I don't know the area, don't know what's around us, so don't know how to hone down choices. The LA board can be overwhelming without a GPS guide!

I'd welcome suggestions for a moderately priced (less than $200 for 2?) dinner that will give us a taste of LA and isn't too much of a hike from where we're staying. Although, truth be told, I'll hike for good food...

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    1. re: ipsedixit

      Haha! Just read about Animal and Hatfield's, both featured in Food & Wine this month...I usually run from restaurants after they get a big shout out like that (mob scenes, most) but Hatfield's really sounds quite nice. Is it still lovely in a bigger space? The menu is making me drool...

      1. re: nycreba

        Yes, the food is still good, although I prefer it's previous locale.

        Animal has been (mostly) a mob scene even prior to the F&W expose.

      2. re: ipsedixit

        Can't go wrong with either Mozza but reservations are still hard to come by. Be warned they start taking reservations 30 days out so if you want to go call soon. Great Food at both the Pizzeria and the Osteria.
        http://www.mozza-la.com/

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        Pizzeria Mozza
        6602 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

        Osteria Mozza
        6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

      3. I'm thinking A.O.C. might suit your purposes.

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

        1. Bistro LQ just down the street (less than 5 minutes by car) fits your description and has some of the best and creative food in LA. For the best experience go with the full tasting menu

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          Bistro LQ
          8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

          1 Reply
          1. re: honkman

            I second Bistro LQ & the full tasting menu. Definitely one of my tops this year!

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            Bistro LQ
            8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

          2. AOC is a great choice. Lucques may be a good one as well. I think that's even walking distance from the Hotel, just go North on La Cienega and turn right on Melrose. It's only a few blocks away. Also, you are just down the road from Madeo if you like Italian. Also, if you are looking for a more casual spot, Angeli Caffe on Melrose is one of my favorites. All of these suggestions are very close to your hotel. Less than 5 min in the car. A good sushi place is also walking distance from the hotel- Hirozen. It's in a strip mall and I have never had a bad sushi meal there. Jar is also down the street from the hotel. I used to live in the area...

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

            Hirozen
            8385 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

            Madeo Restaurant
            8897 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

            Lucques
            8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

            1. Ok! I'm narrowing it down.
              So if I had to choose (remember: one meal!) between Hatfields and AOC for a truly memorable meal in LA, thinking of service, of presentation, of actual taste & so on...

              Which one??

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

              6 Replies
              1. re: nycreba

                Did you look at Bazaar? Without drinks it should meet your price point and it is the most memorable nearby. A ten to fifteen minute walk and you're there.

                1. re: Ciao Bob

                  bazaar is a really good suggestion! hard to get reservations though, at least it was for me a month ago but i was trying for a specific day. I haven't been to the new hatfields location, but was not in love with it when i went a few years ago. I would pick AOC out of those two, but if you throw in Bazaar, that's the one i'd personally pick.

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

                2. re: nycreba

                  I like AOC but Hatfields is in a different league regarding creativity and taste etc.

                  1. re: nycreba

                    Ok! I'm narrowing it down.
                    So if I had to choose (remember: one meal!) between Hatfields and AOC for a truly memorable meal in LA, thinking of service, of presentation, of actual taste & so on...

                    Which one??
                    ____________________________________________________

                    Hatfield's ... and it's not even close.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Yes, Hatfield's definitely. Doesn't seem fair to compare the two.

                      1. re: baloney

                        Indeed, and it is not slam on AOC to say that Hatfield's is in a different league.

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

                  2. Done! Hatfields it is. Thanks, all for the suggestions, and I'll be sure to report back on our experience. Very excited!

                    1. Reporting back on Hatfield's, as promised.
                      What a wonderful spot, and what a joyous meal, start to finish. We really had a lovely dinner.

                      Arrived early for an 8 PM reservation and were greeted graciously, and offered the chance to sit immediately or have a drink at the bar. Still recovering from jet lag, we opted to sit at once, and were given another choice: sit in the bustling main room with a view of the open kitchen, or in the front annex, alongside a window.

                      Due to the noise level and bustle in the main room, we chose the window seat and while the room lacks the polish of the larger dining room, it was intimate and quiet - perfect for us.

                      Service was efficient without too much hovering. Our server checked in regularly and was readily available but not overbearingly attentive. We told him about my husband's nut allergy and he was very good about making recommendations, checking with the chef when unsure about ingredients/preparation and so on.

                      The cocktails sounded wonderful - my husband started our dinner with a cocktail which sounded intriguing but was just ok (weak, he said, and a little too citrus-y) and their wine list by the glass was not extensive but had a variety of offerings. The list available by the bottle is far longer and wider reaching - many good options there.

                      My husband had the prix fixe tasting menu (the current one on their website now) - he started with the chilled poached maine scallop (toasted bulgur salad, horseradish crème fraiche, muddled citrus), followed it with the charred octopus (caramelized fennel, saffron vanilla braised hearts of palm, red wine olive purée) and finished with the slow cooked beef short rib (blue lake beans, braised radish, horseradish potato purée). Each dish was wonderfully distinct: the scallop was clean and light, the octopus a bit more deep in flavor and the short rib over the most luscious potato puree was perfectly cooked.

                      I couldn't NOT order the croque madame (yellowtail sashimi, prosciutto, sunny side up quail egg, grilled brioche) and chased it with the Wagyu flat iron steak (creamy Swiss chard, pickled red onion, hon shimeji mushrooms) both from the regular menu. Everything that's been said about the croque already is spot on. It is a visually stunning work of art, so much so that I hesitated to pierce that delicate quail egg and just, well, stared at it for a while before my husband pleaded with me to just EAT, already. It was a wonderful balance of all the flavors muddled together between that heavenly brioche. What a great start! The steak was a masterpiece, requiring a plate swap mid meal with the hubster who was making eyes at my dinner up until that point. Melt in your mouth, beautifully cooked and prepared beef not overshadowed by its accompaniments.

                      Dessert was the sugar & spice beignets (venezuelan chocolate fondue, Mexican chocolate milkshake shot) and the gelato/sorbet sampler: we chose stout chocolate, pineapple pear, and blood orange. Each came served in its own little dish, which I much appreciated. Stout chocolate although outstanding on its own is no match for pineapple pear. The beignets were airy and the milkshake unbelievably decadent. Bigtime yums.

                      I would absolutely recommend everything we ordered - each dish was a success from the beautiful plating to the flavor profiles. We were thrilled with our orders, the service, and the overall ambiance which was warm and welcoming without being pretentious or too of the moment. We'll look forward to returning.

                      Thanks so much for the positive recommendations - we most certainly were NOT disappointed!!

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: nycreba

                        About how much did this run you? I'm looking for a nice dinner when I visit in 10 days but don't want to break the bank.

                        1. re: Joanie

                          I believe the total was in the ballpark of $180 for two people (one prix fixe, one app & entree, one cocktail, 3 glasses of wine - likely a bit less $$ to order a bottle - and a dessert). If you each had a single glass of wine, the tab would probably work out to $150 for two people, ish.

                          1. re: nycreba

                            Thanks so much for the report back!!!