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BEST Kid-Friendly, Picky Eaters, Large Party/Group (~10 People) Dining Options in LA

All,

I'm planning a trip to LA for a party of 10 (9 adults and 1 3 year old). I've scoured the boards in the past to find great dining recommendations. I have a tough task though - planning multiple lunch and dinners for a large group with picky eaters (a vegetarian, a pescatarian, etc).

For the most part, I can probably wing-it for lunch but would appreciate any suggestions.

My bigger concern is dinner. I don't have a price limit per se, but am not looking for anything too expensive (under $100 pp preferably). The most difficult part is finding somewhere kid friendly for the 3 year old. Private rooms are an option.

Any suggestions come to mind? I have no specific cuisine requirements, but probably something varied like New American, Italian, or Japanese would be best. We would be ok with 1 chinese restaurant or so but most folks are coming from Taiwan so something different might be better.

All suggestions are appreciated! Thank!!

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  1. Try Bollini's Pizzeria--Italian food, cheap, friendly, can accomodate vegetarians, etceteras, kid friendly . . .

    1. I'd also recommend checking out Indian food because it meets all your requirements generally, from what I understand Indian food in Taiwan is not generally good. I will leave it to other chowhounds to make specific Indian food recs

      1. Thank you for the prompt reply. Bollini's looks like a good option.

        Unfortunately, the group does not love indian food (we'll be in the Bay Area prior to arriving in LA and I tried soliciting the idea of going to Amber India).

        Can you all please recommend more upscale recommendations? Pizza would be good for lunch but for dinner we are looking for a more upscale restaurant, that might be casual enough for a 3 year old. For example, although not upscale in the fine dining sense, Balthazar in NYC comes to me as a good example of what we are looking for. We are also eating at Alexander's Steakhouse in Cupertino, CA in the private room prior to coming to LA.

        Not kid friendly on the surface but what about the likes of..
        Matsuhisa?? Pizzeria Mozza? Providence? Campanile?? CUT?? Spago?

        -----
        Spago
        176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

        Matsuhisa
        129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

        Pizzeria Mozza
        641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

        7 Replies
        1. re: pacific2atlantic

          Strong yes to Pizzeria Mozza. Matsuhisa would work as well. Spago (if you go on the early side) would probably be fine too.

          -----
          Spago
          176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

          Matsuhisa
          129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

          Pizzeria Mozza
          641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

          1. re: Servorg

            Not sure I would consider Matsuhisa "kid friendly"?

            Campanile is much more kid friendly, I took my son there when he was about three. For more upscale, try any Italian in Beverly Hills, or Downtown. Not exactly sure what part of the city you are staying in and where you want to dine, but here are a couple of suggestions:

            Culina, four seasons, bh
            Cecconi's, bh
            Drago Centro, downtown la

            -----
            Drago Centro
            525 S. Flower St., Suite 120, Los Angeles, CA 90071

            Cecconi's
            8764 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, CA 90069

            Culina
            300 S Doheny Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90048

            1. re: Phurstluv

              Do you know if these places allow for reservations for a party of my size? Not sure if a group of 10 is reasonable at pizzeria mozza but that would definitely be of interest. Thanks – keep the recommendation coming, casual is fine too as long as they can accommodate our party size!

              1. re: pacific2atlantic

                You may be able to reserve a private room - the max size table at Pizzeria Mozza is 6.

                Other options: Comme Ca, Angeli Caffe, BLD, BLT Steak, Il Pastaio, Playa, Street.

                -----
                BLD Restaurant
                7450 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                Il Pastaio Restaurant
                400 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                Pizzeria Mozza
                641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

            2. re: Servorg

              Agree that Pizzeria Mozza would work. I don't think I'd do Matsuhisa, even though a child would be tolerated--not much for a vegetarian or the child to eat there, and I think picky eaters may have a hard time as well. Agree that Spago would be okay if you ate early. Would not bring a small child to Providence, even early. Another option is the private room at Hatfield's--I don't know if I'd bring a 3-year-old to the main dining room, but if you had a private space it would probably be fine.

              -----
              Spago
              176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

              Matsuhisa
              129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

              Pizzeria Mozza
              641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

              1. re: Nicole

                I was thinking of the private "Kaiseki / Omakase" room that they have at Matsuhisa. And I am sure that they chefs there could accommodate even picky eaters. They really are pretty cooperative with special requests.

                -----
                Matsuhisa
                129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

            3. re: pacific2atlantic

              Sorry I was kind of leaving dinner rec's for others. Pizzeria Mozza and Campanille are both great.

              -----
              Pizzeria Mozza
              641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

            4. I would like to respectfully recommend Border Grill.

              My own children are grown now (teenagers) but when they were younger the Border Grill was always more than welcoming. For example, they would bring out a dish of rice or beans or both right away if we asked so our kids could start eating something while the rest of our party was ordering.

              Also, Border Grill is naturally loud. I think it's loud on purpose. Anyway, the room is noisy in a fun way so a child being a child and making a little noise goes unnoticed. The room is also colorful and bright and friendly.

              As for the food, well, I'm not sure what other reviewers feel but I've always liked eating there.

              I'm not sure if Border Grill would be considered upscale or not. I guess not, but on the other hand, it's no hole in the wall. It's upscale-casual or something.

              -----
              Border Grill
              1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

              1 Reply
              1. re: PaulF

                Border Grill is a good suggestion for a large party with kids. It's upscale for Mexican, but not upscale overall--very casual. But since it's a celebrity chef owned restaurant maybe that would appeal to your group.

                -----
                Border Grill
                1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

              2. Lawry's the Prime Rib Beverly Hills is very kid friendly and great for large parties (plus seafood options and can put together a nice plate for vegetarian)
                http://www.lawrysonline.com/theprimer...

                -----
                Lawry's the Prime Rib
                10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067

                5 Replies
                1. re: wienermobile

                  what would they use as the protein source for a vegetarian?
                  would the plate just be a collection of vegetable side orders?(i.e. baked potato, etc)

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    You are correct it is a plate of sides like their Sizzling Skillet of
                    Mushrooms with Shitake, oyster, button and crimini mushrooms, Baked Idaho Potato, Fresh Asparagus, Creamed Corn, Buttered Peas and salad. (their creamed spinach has bacon in it).

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      fwiw, although i am not a vegetarian, when taking a vegetarian out to dinner, i try to be accommodating enough to select a restaurant that offers a vegetarian protein source.

                      (since any upscale Italian restaurant would have several main course options that use cheese as a source of protein, usually this is the option that i choose)

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        By looking at the online menu I noticed this: "Chef's Daily Vegetarian Special served with the famous original spinning bowl salad"

                        So, vegetarians will be able to eat at Lawry's without any fear of being forced to eat "only" side dishes.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          I'd say westsidegal is right--this is probably a place where vegetarians are forced to go because of others. Like a single special or salads or only vegetables is kind of lame . . . especially if the group has more than one vegetarian.

                2. Thank you for all the suggestions.

                  Lawry's would not be appealing for a few reasons. Although in the Bay Area we are going to a steakhouse, it offers many non-steak options while Lawry's does not. Most importantly, the sides are somewhat forgettable (except for the creamed corn/spinich!). But more importantly, there is actually a Lawry's in Taiwan so they eat there from time to time.

                  A few updates. Osteria Mozza has a private room but has a $3000 minimum. I'm not a strict budget but that is difficult for a party of 10!! Pizzeria Mozza has a $1500 minimum, but that is ridiculous in my opinion too for casual fare.

                  I will look into the other suggestions. As for more casual, I came across Jatlada. Is that a must visit?

                  After reviewing the options above and doing some self filtering, I plan to look into:

                  Bollini, Campanile, Spago (early), Border Grill, BLD, il pastaio, Angeli Caffé

                  Matsuhisa does not work because the private room seats only 8 people. I have been there before and love it...unfortunately it's not an option probably since it's a relatively quiet restaurant

                  -----
                  Border Grill
                  1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                  Spago
                  176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                  Matsuhisa
                  129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                  BLD Restaurant
                  7450 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                  Pizzeria Mozza
                  641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                  Osteria Mozza
                  6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: pacific2atlantic

                    Assuming you mean Jitlada. It's worth a visit. Nothing fancy, but great Thai food and a very welcoming owner Jazz.

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

                    1. re: Obessed

                      Please consider Toscana in Brentwood. They have a "family table" which seats 10 pretty comfortably. The menu has a lot of variety and good vegetarian options. I am well acquainted with the family table as we are a family of 10 and that table has been great on so many occasions. The staff are very welcoming and the service is good. Call and ask to speak to Francisco.

                      -----
                      Toscana Restaurant
                      11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                      1. re: maudies5

                        this place looks great ! is it kid friendly though?

                        1. re: pacific2atlantic

                          Toscana is very very kid friendly. They treat all kids beautifully. My 2-1/2 year old grandson loves the staff and they love him. My suggestion is to ask for as early a reservation as possible.. Everyone will be happy there. I would love feedback.

                          -----
                          Toscana Restaurant
                          11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                          1. re: maudies5

                            maudie5 - I noticed you recommend Toscana a lot. Any particular recommendations? I confirmed the family table there for our nicer meal. Looking forward to it. Thanks.

                            -----
                            Toscana Restaurant
                            11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                            1. re: pacific2atlantic

                              I know you will be pleased. I would start with a couple of pizzas for the table. Everyone will then be happy when they are seated. All of the pastas are excellent. I particularly like the one with fresh artichokes (not sure it is on the menu). Also, if one is a light eater or wants a beautiful appetizer, there is a grilled shrimp salad, served over arugala which is also a great favorite. In my opinion, the best pastas are vegetable-based, as I find the Bolognese or Brisket sauce a little too heavy and salty for my palate. Toscana makes a lovely marinara sauce
                              The chicken dishes are excellent as are the fish dishes. If ordering fish off of the menu, ask the price!! Swordfish always comes out beautifully and that is on the menu. Also, the large Santa Barbara Prawns are amazing, so if you like that, ask if they are available. IMHO, Toscana makes one of the best steaks in town. Be sure to share as it is big. They start it on the grill and it is finished in the wood burning pizza oven. As with most dishes, the sides will include roasted potatoes and sauteed spinach. Knowing that you will have a toddler along, rest assured that Francesco the Manager, or your waiter will make anything the little one desires. I know, because I have an almost 3-year old grandson and this is his favorite restaurant. Pasta with just butter and noodles, no problem (and no rip-off). If spaghetti and meatballs is a special that night, lucky you.
                              I would avoid the Veal Milanese, as I find it is dry and way too expensive. Lamb c hops, are fabulous.
                              Remember, the servers will do their best to please you. If you want lots of fresh tomatoes on/with something, you will get it. Little things like that are nice.
                              Would love an update.

                              -----
                              Toscana Restaurant
                              11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                              1. re: maudies5

                                I will report back in June! Thanks. More than anything, the family table sounds great.

                                1. re: maudies5

                                  I know that others have continued to weigh-in. I hope that you do go to Toscana and keep your reservation at the "family table."
                                  I am so confident in my recommendation.

                                  -----
                                  Toscana Restaurant
                                  11633 San Vicente Blvd Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90049

                      2. re: pacific2atlantic

                        My folks from Taiwan love Korean BBQ when they come here. ChoSun Galbee has private rooms which you can reserve. You can order chapchae, pancake, bibimbap without meat for vegetarian friend; fish hot pot, grilled fish, shrimp or scallop for pescatarian.

                        Asanebo is a wonderful Japanese restaurant not too far from where you will stay. You can do omakase or order off the menu.

                        Scarpetta in Beverly Hills offers some incredible pasta (veggie options available), and delicious fish and meat dishes. They seem to have a private space upstairs you can request.

                        Good luck!

                        -----
                        Asanebo
                        11941 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                        Scarpetta
                        225 N Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                      3. I know you are having steak in SF, but Taylors in Koreatown, has a nice private dining room downstairs that you can reserve, and is very kid friendly. They have lots of things that are not meat. There is something for everyone. It is on 8th street.
                        How about some Middle eastern, there is Cayenne on Beverly Blvd that you make reservations, casual, but has lots of vegetarial items. Also, Carnival on Woodman.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: paprkutr

                          Both seem like viable options. Would you recommend one over the other? My favorite 'modern' middle eastern restaurants in the east coast are Zahav in Philadelphia and Ilili in NYC. Thanks!

                          1. re: pacific2atlantic

                            They are both good. Cayenne has a more varied menu, steak, kabobs couscous, and where your kid could even get pizza. I know I have said it a million times but love their chicken breast with pomegrante walnut sauce. It is just straight down Cahuenga which turns into Highland, make a right for about a mile and you are there. You can then go to MILK, or Susina for dessert. They are both within walking distance. Carnival is more strictly middle eastern.

                        2. what parts of town are you considering?
                          a couple middle eastern suggestions:
                          if you are going to be anywhere near encino, you might consider the Israeli restaurant Itzak Hagadol.

                          in westwood, although it probably is not quite as upscale as you like, i'd see if i could reserve the entire patio area at the persian restaurant, Shamshiri Grill on westwood blvd. it is more upscale than carnival on woodman. shamshiri has a beer/wine license, but i have never tried any of their wine.

                          -----
                          Shamshiri Grill
                          1712 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: westsidegal

                            Thanks. We'll be staying in the Hilton Universal Studios. That being said, we realize LA will require a lot of driving so distance is not that big of an issue.

                            Are there any chinese restaurants that take reservations? We have a big gathering in addition to what I'm planning for a party of 17 or so guests......I don't mind driving to SGV

                            1. re: pacific2atlantic

                              If you're staying at the Uni Hilton, consider Mantee for Armenian/Mediterranean. Call first to see if they can accommodate a group of 10 at your selected time. westsidegal mentioned Itzak Hagadol which is excellent Israeli - also consider Hummus Bar & Grill. The Uni Hilton is in an area that is surrounded by a lot of great Middle East/Mediterranean/Armenian food. As you probably know, there are tons of dishes that will satisfy meatatarians, pescas, veges, and even vegans. The mezze dishes are your friend, and I think even the kid will find certain dishes appealing. You know your group the best as to whether their tastes will mesh. My only concern is when you mention, "from Taiwan," that in my experience, Chinese folks are THE most challenged when it comes to eating outside of their comfort zone (my wife is Chinese - read very very picky father-in-law as are Chinese/Taiwanese parents of friends).

                              China Town is much closer for you, but San Gabriel Valley is bigger, broader, and will offer you the most selection and quality. For a group of 17, the obvious choice is the Cantonese-style seafood houses. Not so much a palace, but a very worthy choice, I'd make the reservations at Sea Harbour in Rosemead. Elite has excellent food as well, but I personally find their dining area lacking. 888 is much larger then either previous mentions, and they do very good in the kitchen as well. All three also have very good to excellent dim sum - the first two mentions being top two on this board.

                              For reasonable but quality steakhouse fare with other non-steak options, you might consider a couple of chains like Houston's, Fleming's, or Ruth's Chris - plenty of options for everybody. The only question for me would be if there is one conveniently located for you. But maybe you should consider bistro-like places as an alternative? I tend to eat more in the Westside and South Bay, and two places come immediately to mind. Second City Bistro and Paul Martin's in El Segundo. I'm not making recs of these places specifically, but more as examples. The food selection is even broader and the focus on quality and preparation is high.

                              One cuisine that I'm finding warm reception to by my Chinese relatives is Peruvian. The San Fernando Valley has lots of places, but the one I'm familiar with is Puro Sabor in Van Nuys. Very quaint, solid traditional Peruvian style. Mario's is loved on this board (I'm luke-warm) and so is Los Balcones del Peru in Hollywood. For Peruvian with Japanese inflection, try Kotosh at Kamiyama in Lomita (my Chinese bro-in-law's favorite LA resto), and for Peruvian/Chinese, try El Rocoto in Gardena.

                              -----
                              Second City Bistro
                              223 Richmond St, El Segundo, CA 90245

                              Kotosh at Kamiyama
                              2408 Lomita Blvd, Lomita, CA 90717

                              Puro Sabor
                              6366 Van Nuys Blvd, Van Nuys, CA 91401

                              El Rocoto
                              1356 W Artesia Blvd, Gardena, CA 90248

                              Mantee
                              10962 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                          2. Tavern in Brentwood actually has a kids' menu, so that might be an option for upscale but kid-friendly.

                            1. Bottega Louie downtown is fun... reminds me of New York and has an open air to it like Balthazar.

                              Casual lunch Aroma Cafe on Tujunga in Studio City.

                              The Farmer's Market is very casual and a fun experience with the Grove shopping and movie theatre next door. So much variety to choose from there and everyone can eat from different places yet sit together.

                              Little Next door is delicious and french fare.

                              'Public' restaurant in the Hollywood Roosevelt and
                              Cleo's in The Redbury Hotel are also close to the Balthazar atmosphere.

                              -----
                              Bottega Louie
                              700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: priatno

                                respectfully disagree with the rec. for bottega louie.
                                really loud environment, and, at best, inconsistent food: ( i.e. 3 out 5 dishes bad, with the remaining 2 dishes being just OK.)

                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  I had a very different experience from you. Always consistently excellent food . . .

                                  1. re: apple7blue

                                    Ditto, always a great experience for me and my company intimate and large group. And for the sound in the environment... it's exactly what makes it welcoming for kids too. The hustle and bustle is lively and depending on seating arrangement ie. maybe opt for rectangle table not the big round.