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4 hour layover on a Thursday afternoon/evening

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I have a layover in LA from 4pm to 10pm on a Thursday and would like to find the BEST place for dinner (and grab In-n-Out on the way back to the airport) that I can. Are there any places that are worth going to in that short amount of time? Willing to go as high end as necessary for the best meal I can get that will fit into that time and still get me back to LAX to catch an international flight. My bags will already have been checked and have express security check so I don't need a lot of time back at the airport. VERY much appreciated (as always).

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  1. You could easily have dinner anywhere in LA.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sushigirlie

      as a former road warrior, i respectfully disagree with sushigirl in that i would not go anywhere that involves taking a major freeway at rush hour. it the next leg, the international flight, leaves at 10, BeanTownGolfer would need to leave at least two hours to get through security.
      also, keep in mind that many restaurants don't start their dinner service until 5:30.

      that said, the nearby places i'd pick would be
      GJELINA in venice (reservations a must)
      CAFE DEL REY (not only is food and drink good and restaurant is pretty with nice views, but it also offers nice strolling opportunities among the boat docks at the marina before and after the meal)
      PETROS in manhattan beach which would allow for a stroll near the pacific ocean before/after the meal

      1. re: westsidegal

        +1 on westsidegal's suggestions. You don't want to stray too far from LAX. I love Petros upscale greek food and two other suggestions in Manhattan Beach (4 miles from LAX) are Darren's featuring savory small plates.
        http://www.darrensrestaurant.com/
        and David LeFevre's M.B. Post, the Chef's new "social house" .
        1142 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
        http://www.eatmbpost.com/

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

        Darren's Restaurant and Bar
        1141 Manhattan Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

        1. re: wienermobile

          I wouldn't go to any place in MB if the OP is looking for the "best". I'd rather be safe and just go to Gjelina where every meal I've had has been very good to excellent.

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          Gjelina
          1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

    2. I would stay fairly close to the airport. Stick to Venice or Santa Monica. Gjelina and Melisse come to mind.

      What kind of food? Italian? French? Something hip?

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      Gjelina
      1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

      1. There seems to be a discrepancy between the 4 hours you wrote in your title and the 6 hours that your stated "4PM to 10PM" time line lays out. Which one is correct?

        6 Replies
        1. re: Servorg

          I would guess OP is already taking check in wait into consideration. Something many other similar inquiries have not done. With that window, I'd also operate on a 4 hour limit for an international flight.

          1. re: Jase

            That's correct. I technically have 6 hours but would like to be back at the airport by 8:15, 8:45 at the absolute latest. I guess I'm looking for one of two things. An "in the moment" new-ish hot spot as long as the food is worth the hype (not looking for a scene) or a good example of so cal dining.

            The LA freeway/traffic does scare me a bit (visited a few times years ago and I'm guessing that hasn't improved).

            1. re: BeanTownGolfer

              Are you cabbing it or renting a car or?

              1. re: Servorg

                Hoping to get away with cabbing it, but would rent a car if the destination is worth it.

                1. re: BeanTownGolfer

                  There is a shuttle that runs from one of the near by hotels on Century Blvd. (either I'll remember which one or someone will chime in with it) that runs into Manhattan Beach. That might be a nice and easy destination for your dinner. It also would give you some really great shops and beach area to walk around in if you're still trying to kill time before you head back to LAX.

                  Take a look at this prior thread for other suggestions beyond Darren's. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/759023

                  Shuttle information for the Ocean Express Trolley here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/ocean-express... and schedule and pick up points for the Trolley here: http://www.gatewaytola.org/index.cfm/...

              2. re: BeanTownGolfer

                Unfortunately you'll be hitting rush hour right at it's peak with that window. Yes, traffic is that bad. I don't think there's really a newish hot spot with great food nearby that fits your time window. Would you be willing to settle for a good to very good meal to minimize the amount of airline food you have to eat? If so, that would open up a lot more possibilities.

                Some good suggestions above already if that's the case.

          2. Hopefully the volume of suggestions won't short-circuit you, but there have been several posts on this or similar subjects in the last year:

            5 hour layover at LAX (February 2011)
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/765760

            6 hours in L.A. (August 2010 - 70 replies
            )http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/728096

            Lunch near LAX on Saturday (July 2010
            )http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/719016

            Looking for good dinner near LAX (not impossible I hope!) (June 2010 - 56 replies
            )http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/713782

            Or you can listen to me and everyone else and just go to Gjelina ;)

            2 Replies
            1. re: maxzook

              Thanks. I think Gjelina wins out. Looks like a good menu, open at 4:30 and will let me spin by In-n-Out burger on my way back to the airport for a late night snack on the plane. Thanks all.

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              Gjelina
              1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

              1. re: BeanTownGolfer

                Just make sure to make reservations, they are an absolute must. And let us know how it turns out!

            2. Gjelina has been hot since the word GO - they're still hot, so if you plan on going, make your reservation now or risk being put on the waiting list. There's almost always at least some sort of line/crowd forming in front. If you're by yourself, a seat at the communal table will probably come pretty easily (depending on your arrival time there). They also have a small but nice patio in back so you might consider this spot as the weather has been quite nice.

              If Gjelina looks like a no-go, you can also consider The Tasting Kitchen just a couple of blocks south of Gjelina. They're sort of the sleeper on the street because other than the Cal-modernish front of the building, the only signage is the name hand-painted on their mailbox. They only do dinner during the week so most of the foot traffic which occurs during the day never see any action going on here. Like Gjelina, they're serious about sourcing, prep and execution. They also make a lot of their own breads and pastas, have an intriguing wine list and offer a well-stocked and capable bar.

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              Tasting Kitchen
              1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

              Gjelina
              1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

              1. i think you made a great choice with Gjelina. even though you'll be traveling during rush hour, you won't need to get on the freeway and shouldn't run into much traffic. i just wanted to give you a heads-up on the cab fare...be prepared to shell out somewhere between $50 and $60 round-trip.

                have a terrific meal, and travel safely!

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                Gjelina
                1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

                1 Reply
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Much appreciated. I plan on making a reservation tomorrow morning my time for a few weeks down the road. Thanks for the tip on the cab fare. Either way comes out to less than a rental car, so that sounds like the winner.

                2. I ended up eating at Gjelina which was a great choice. I was there a bit early and didn't end up staying for the dinner menu unfortunately. We had a few pizzas and salads (I wanted to keep some room for my yearly In-N-Out burger fix). The winning pizza was the zucchini flower and burrata pizza. Great crust, that was crispy but with a bit of chew to it. The ingredients seemed top notch as well. The winning salad was the chopped kale. I've been on a bit of a kale kick lately (kale chips are at least a once a week item). It was the first salad I've had in a while where I didn't have to "fight" it to eat it. The pieces were cut nice and small which made it a lot easier to get a bit of everything in the salad at once. Wish I was able to try a few dinner options, but had a good experience that I'd recommend it or go back if I get back.

                  Good basic wine by the glass options. Nothing too out there (which I actually like), but at least good quality wines by the glass.

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                  Gjelina
                  1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291