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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. The original comment has been removed
        1. 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!

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          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.
            http://www.petrosrestaurant.com/

            If looking for Italian there is a very nice il Foranio close by on Rosecrans Blvd.
            http://www.ilfornaio.com/?page=138&am...

            I really like Houston's also on Rosecrans Blvd. Good steaks, ribs and fresh fish.
            http://www.hillstone.com/?gclid=CP7Eo...

            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 .
            http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

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            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.

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                  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.

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                    Water Grill
                    544 South Grand, Los Angeles, CA 90071