Can you recommend good restaurant for a 40th Bday on Westside?
what is your definition of 'not too much money?"
there are a number of places that have a happy hour menu at 5pm, but whether your guests would want to limit themselves to ordering happy hour specials when the regular stuff can also be ordered at 5 pm is the question. . .
La Cachette Bistro has French-Mediterranean tapas, not too much money and they do a deal if you're doing a party. Not sure what time they open but 5pm seems pretty standard. Here's a review of their tapas: http://bit.ly/fbRFqu
How many ppl are you looking to fit into the outdoor area?
Primitivo has covered patio areas but they are also adjacent to a somewhat whimsical garden - most of the diners end up in these areas as opposed to the inside dining area. With LA weather finally warming up, it's a nice casual place to take in small plates and wine.
Lilly's is next door and has a very nice patio as well - similar view to garden as Primitivo. Their menu is primarily French, and I think the majority of dishes would work as either small plates or for sharing. They don't open for dinner until 6PM though...
A-Frame in Mar Vista/Del Rey/Culver city (take your pick) opens at 5PM, has outdoor seating (grab the table by the fire pit). The innovative menu is Roy Choi-approved, as are the drinks. I always like their beer and wine choices.
1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
Lilly's French Cafe & Bar
1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
12565 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066