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Dinner in LA with visiting foodie friends

We recently moved to the area and will be having foodie friends visiting and need restaurant suggestions. After searching the boards, some of my thoughts are:

Hatfields, Rivera, Bistro LQ, Lucques, Animal, or Bazaar (but a bit worried about the price).

Any suggestions or other thoughts? We would like to keep the price somewhere around $100 per person give or take. Not committed to a specific area of the city.

Thanks!

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  1. If it's a Saturday night, visitors always enjoy dinner up at the Restaurant at the Getty Center. Its a dining option in a setting you won't find in many places in the country, very memorable.

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    Getty Center
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049

    1. I'm not a fan of Lucques and haven't been to Hatfields, but like all your other lineups. Another must try--Lazy Ox ! Must make reservation or go early and try your luck at the bar.

      The Bazaar is very doable for under $100 pp if you go during Dine LA Week but grab that reservation fast!

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      Lucques
      8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

      1 Reply
      1. re: fdb

        Forget Bazar - way overpriced, food ok, soso service
        Lazy Ox way to go (will be more like $50 a person) - Animal will be about $75 a per -many on board rates Animal very high -but maybe too high -I liked Lazy Ox better-

      2. Hatfield's is wonderful. Food, service, wine list & room.

        Bistro LQ is very unique with some eccentric options.

        Animal is more casual, but still unique dining, with a much more casual, minimal atmosphere.

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        Bistro LQ
        8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

        1. Bistro LQ has been building up steam recently. I haven't been but well worth reading up on this board.

          Animal has become a fave amongst some well-respected hounds (Servorg would live there if his wife would let him).

          We did Rivera's tasting menu a few weeks ago - $70 - and rolled away pretty full, sated and impressed (I think it was six courses plus amuse bouche and two desserts). The wine pairing was $35, so before tax/tip it would slightly tilt your budget, but well worth it.

          PS - $100 ceiling for your buds? I want to be one of your foodie friends... :)

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          Bistro LQ
          8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

          1. Love Suzanne Goin's AOC (and by extension, Hungry Cat) yet did not love Lucques.

            Love Animal.

            I'm hoping to make it to Bistro LQ and/or Bazaar on this trip. Let me know if you make it to either of them!

            8 Replies
            1. re: uwsister

              Looks like we may share similar palate. I also love AOC and Hungry Cat but Lucques just doesn't hit the spot for me. Also love Animal. Hope you like Bistro LQ and the Bizaar. Try Lazy Ox if you can. My favorite place of the moment!

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              The Hungry Cat
              1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

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

              Lucques
              8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

              Bistro LQ
              8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

              1. re: fdb

                Thanks for the quick replies! So, sounds like several people aren't thrilled by Lucques. I am excited to try Lazy Ox, but think we want a different atmosphere for this night out, and by the looks of the website it seems to be a more casual spot...is this correct?

                Also, someone said that Animal turns into a "nightclub" late night...is this true? Hope not.

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                Lucques
                8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                1. re: themegt

                  Animal is open late for dining (till 2am on Fridays and Saturdays) but does not turn into a night club.
                  http://www.animalrestaurant.com/

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                  Animal
                  435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                  1. re: themegt

                    Lazy Ox is indeed more casual, dim light, crowded bar and tables in a small space.

                    If you do go to Bistro LQ, here are some of the dishes that I really liked:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7582...

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                    Bistro LQ
                    8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                  2. re: fdb

                    Yes, Lazy Ox is more casual, like a jeans night, or for a late lunch, early dinner. Most people don't find themselves in that area later on at night, unless they live there.

                    1. re: fdb

                      I will keep Lazy Ox in mind! I do remember the name popping up quite a bit in that "best taste of 2010" thread. Thank you for the tip.

                      If the visitors are from NYC, Animal could really be a good choice - I can't think of any place quite like Animal back there (current NYC resident here.)

                      1. re: uwsister

                        wd-50 may be it's nearest relative, but that's almost like saying the chicken is a decendent of the t-rex.

                        1. re: AYSConsulting

                          I'd have to agree w/ your chicken and T-Rex analogy ;)

                          I actually think Montreal's venerable Au Pied du Cochon might be the closest relative. I even commented on it when I dined there for the first time (Animal) and the waiter said the chef was influenced by Martin Picard's cooking.

                          But yeah, Animal is awesome!

                  3. where are they visiting FROM? that sometimes helps determine the best options, particularly if we can suggest a place that specializes in a cuisine their hometown doesn't do well...and also avoid suggesting something that's old hat for them.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Good suggestion! They are from the east coast...we have lived in Boston, Maine, and spent time eating in NYC together. This will be their first visit since we moved to CA a few months ago.

                      1. re: themegt

                        see, that's helpful. no real point in suggesting anything NYC does really well...like Italian or French :) so in terms of atmosphere, are you looking for moderately upscale but not stuffy or over-the-top?

                          1. re: themegt

                            okay then, i was going to echo the Jitlada suggestion for terrific Southern Thai, but the atmosphere is definitely NOT what you're looking for :)

                            i think Rivera is a great idea.

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                            Jitlada
                            5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                    2. Jitlada on Sunset. Order a good amount of dishes and share.

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                      Jitlada
                      5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: foodworthy

                        Jitlada sounds delicious...what is the atmosphere like?

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                        Jitlada
                        5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                        1. re: themegt

                          Very very casual. Some would call it a "hole-in-the-wall".

                      2. If you believe Jonathan Gold(which i do) what makes la special is the myriad ethnic cuisines. San Gabriel Valley for chinese, Torrance for sushi, korea town, etc.... NYC and Boston have plenty of great new american high end cuisine type places, take them to something they can't get in NYC, great ethnic food.

                        1. I like Animal....and it's certainly gotten a lot of national buzz. Most foodies would have heard of it.
                          But I also think Rivera is a great choice. It's a very unique experience...and the food is excellent.
                          And, another good downtown choice, is Drago Centro....if you're in the mood for Italian. I went a couple of weeks ago before a concert...and thought it was lovely. A well appointed room.....
                          great service...and the food was really good. (And I'd just gotten back from two weeks in Rome.)
                          The pasta is first rate! And a nice Italian wine list.....

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                          Drago Restaurant
                          2628 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403

                          1. Def keep Animal in the running. One of the more creative kitchens. and a lot of fun and not pretentious

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: AYSConsulting

                              Not Jitlada
                              go with Animal or Lazy Ox

                              I would skip any italian places - New Yorkers have that covered

                            2. Hatfield's and Rivera are both wonderful in their own way. I think Hatfield's is more upscale, and it definitely is quieter, if being able to converse comfortably with your friends is a priority! I would also add Gjelina to your list - the food is wonderful and it is a very California-y (or specifically, Venice-y) experience, so I think it would be a nice change of pace for your guests.

                              I liked Animal but I too prefer the Lazy Ox - and both are equally casual in a hipster kind of way.

                              And I also prefer AOC to Lucques. AOC is a quite a bit longer in the tooth than a lot of these other places, so it doesn't get nearly the same amount of buzz, but it still ranks among the best in the city in my book.

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

                              Lucques
                              8474 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90069

                              Gjelina
                              1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

                              1. Thanks so much for all of the suggestions! Narrowed it down to Animal or Rivera, and will let our friends decide. Will post a follow up after our dinner out!