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Graduation dinner for 13 near Manhattan Beach

I've seen several of these types of posts on here, but here's my story:

I am graduating from USC this May and my family (13 people) from Massachusetts will be joining me to celebrate. Most have never been to LA before. I need to find a post-graduation dinner location. Something comfortable, reasonably classy but not super-pricey, and maybe even family style, would suit us well. They are staying on the Strand in Manhattan Beach and I don't really know that area too well. Any ideas in SM would be welcome as well. No one is really picky in terms of cuisine, but I want to make sure that everyone will find something that they like.

Thanks for any help!

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  1. Cafe Pierre in Redondo Beach -- they may be able to put together a table of that size. Haven't been in a while, but always found the food to be upscale and current without being too obviously trendy (i.e. they were doing beets long before everyone but In and Out was doing them).

    Maybe Wilshire on 26th and Wilshire -- it is a bit pricey but when we want out of towners to get a real LA feel from a good restaurant, that's one of the places we go. They end up liking Los Angeles a good deal more than they thought they would.

    1. What do you consider to be super pricey? How much per person are you looking to spend?

      3 Replies
      1. re: DrBruin

        I didn't really have a number in mind but maybe around $20 per person before drinks?

        1. re: ekm413

          well within your budget, C & O cucina, 3016 washington blvd, in marina del rey .
          this is a neighborhood italian restaurant that has an extensive menu and has a more-than-acceptable environment for a celebratory dinner.
          about 4 years ago we held our nephew's graduation dinner there. the group included picky-eaters, vegetarians, etc., and everyone found something they liked.
          the portions are huge.
          they serve a complimentary never-ending stream of terrific hot garlic rolls so that there is always something on the table to eat.

      2. If you can adjust your budget to $25/person, there's Paul Martin's American Bistro (on Rosecrans). The entrees range from $15 (tacos) to $25 (ribs). (High end: NY steak $30, filet $28.) The price of the side dishes is included, and they will switch out the sides if you want. Their Friday/ Saturday prime rib special ($30, three courses) is very nice.

        There's also a Daily Grill (zagat $30/ meal + drink + tip) & a Salt Creek Grille (zagat $37/ meal + drink + tip). All of these places have a broad American menu. Nothing exotic, nothing highly spiced.

        Congratulations to a fellow alum!

        Paul Martin's American Bistro
        2361 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 180, El Segundo, CA 90245

        1 Reply
        1. re: vickie2172

          The Daily Grill on Rosecrans Blvd. has closed.

        2. In my opinion Petros is the best restaurant in Manhattan Beach. Very good upscale greek food, great out door patio, very good deserts and good service.

          If looking for Italian there is a very nice il Foranio close by on Rosecrans Blvd.

          I really like Houston's also on Rosecrans Blvd. Good steaks, ribs and fresh fish.

          And opening very soon in Manhattan Beach is M B Post, a brand new restaurant being opened by the former chef of downtown's Water Grill David LeFevre. I can't wait. Should be very good .

          Petros Restaurant
          451 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

          Il Fornaio
          1800 Rosecrans Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

          Houston's Restaurant
          1550 Rosecrans Ave Ste A, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

          9 Replies
          1. re: wienermobile

            Pork jowls and halibut cheeks oh my! Please keep us posted as to the opening if you can.

            1. re: JAB

              I will. I think if this restaurant does well it will change the mostly mediocre dining in Manhattan Beach forever.

            2. re: wienermobile

              i love petros, but it costs about twice the OP's budget.
              good date-night restaurant.

              1. re: westsidegal

                You're right westsidegal...sorry didn't see the $20 per person.

                1. re: wienermobile

                  Your Houston's recommendation, though, has the added benefit of the fact that Houston's charges NOTHING/ ZERO corkage for wine.
                  if there are wine-drinkers in the party, bringing your own wine will cut the total bill CONSIDERABLY even if you tip the waitperson as though corkage was charged..

                  the negative about houston's, though, is that i don't know if they will take reservations for a large party. i know they will not take reservations for parties of 4 or so.. . .

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Both the Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica (now Hillstone) locations now take reservations. In fact I now make them all the time for parties of 2 and 3 (my son loves their veggie burger). I think the change in policy was due to our economy at the moment.

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      THANK YOU so much for that info!
                      i will be showing up there much more frequently now that you told us about the change.
                      (i get grumpy sitting around hungry, waiting for a table)
                      again, thank you!

              2. re: wienermobile

                Just wanted to throw in that I went to MB Post about two weeks ago. The food was good, potions small, price not so much. Not to compare apples to oranges, but I prefer the food from Water Grill more.

                Water Grill
                544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

                1. re: mstinawu

                  Thank you! Finally, someone who at least somewhat seems to agree with me on MB Post(though I thought the food less than good, actually mediocre). Prices were ridiculous for the portions, noise was deafening. I was never that impressed with Water Grill while the chef was there, I really don't know why I expected better at MB Post.

                  Water Grill
                  544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071

              3. The party definitely knows how to enjoy a few glasses of wine so I'm actually curious about the prospect of a BYOB restaurant. does any one else have any other BYOB suggestions? Obviously, this means that you can expand the dinner budget...

                1 Reply
                1. re: ekm413

                  If your budget is $20 a person and you are thinking of C&O (and I agree with the positive comments above for C&O -- it's fun and near the beach and food is serviceable, but the jugs of red wine can add up), but you also want to BYOB, you may want to think about Pasta Factory up the street from C&O on Washington. Pasta Factory is the result of what happened when the original owners of Alejo's ended their partnership (and their marriage). Pasta Factory menu is almost identical to the original Alejo's menu. The menu is varied and the food is fine for the price.

                  When I go there with my boozy friends they bring their own in the biggest, cheapest bottle possible.

                  The "original" Alejo's still exists as well -- the larger one is near you in El Segundo. They used to have a very liberal BYOB policy as well, but I haven't eaten there in a while. The menus of the two places are very similar.

                2. I hesitate to suggest these because they are chain places but both could be fun places and would fit your budget. In Redondo--The Cheesecake Factory has private rooms or maybe you could just reserve a big portion of the patio which is a very pretty setting. Also in Redondo there is Buca de Beppo which can be fun.
                  Before anyone jumps all over me, I am well aware that these are not fine dining restaurants but I think when you factor in the atmosphere, price and proximity to Manhattan Beach they would be fine.