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Returning to LA after 4 years away-need AOC-like dinner recommendation

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My husband are coming to LA from DC for a long weekend--our first return visit since moving away nearly 4 years ago. We have most of our meals plannned (tacos! Sushi!) but we're in need of suggestions for Saturday night. AOC was one of our favorites before we left--both the food and the light, bustling atmosphere. We're considering going back, but are open to trying a new spot that has a similar sensibility-doesn't have to be small plates though--we want someplace that showcases CA's bounty, excellent wine, not too stuffy, etc. Preferably midtown or Westside, price doesn't matter. And of course, a place we couldn't find in dc or NYC.

thanks!

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

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  1. Osteria Mozza or Gjelina?

    Unfortunately, AOC is not as 'bustling' as it was 4 years ago

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

    Osteria Mozza
    6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    3 Replies
    1. re: LATrapp

      AOC is starting brunch service this weekend. I saw the menu and it looks phenomenal

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

        1. re: LATrapp

          AOC is not as HOT as it was 4 years ago - but it's still quite bustling.

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

        2. Have you looked at either Animal or their new offering, Son of a Gun? If not they both deserve some serious consideration.

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          Animal
          435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

          Son of a Gun
          8370 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

          1. Not midtown or Westside, but I recommend the Lazy Ox Canteen. Gjelina is also a very good recommendation.

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            Lazy Ox Canteen
            241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

            1. Have you looked into either Playa or Eveleigh?

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              Eveleigh
              8752 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

              1 Reply
              1. re: Phurstluv

                I just tried Playa and loved it. And would add a recommendation for Rivera.

              2. Gjelina for sure. Try to sit on the patio.

                1. Rivera.

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                  Rivera Restaurant
                  1050 S. Flower Street, #102, Los Angeles, CA 90015

                  1. Animal
                    Gjelina
                    Lazy Ox Canteen
                    Church & State
                    Pizzeria Mozza

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: honkman

                      Thanks everyone! Gjelina looks great-we are staying in Santa Monica. Maybe we will try to hit animal Sunday night before the red eye. I assume we need reservations at both?

                      1. re: eriny

                        "I assume we need reservations at both?"

                        Normally, yes. But if you are going to be at Animal on the early side and eat at the bar then you can probably just walk in.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Also if you go very late >9.30 you might get there without reservation. For Gjelina you will need a reservation.