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Santa Monica Saturday Night Dinner for a Jet-Lagged Friend

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  • Zoe19 Sep 29, 2011 06:32 PM

My boyfriend and I are spending a couple days in Santa Monica staying at Cal Mar hotel for a few nights. We're coming from San Jose so no biggie but my best friend is flying in from NY and has already warned me that she will be cranky because she hates flying. I'd like to get some recommendations for a dinner that will be California fun for her without being overwhelming, i.e. super-crowded, loud music. I'm thinking 8/9pm-ish time frame. Thanks!

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  1. Capo would work. but be aware that the food is wonderful, the ambiance is serene, and the service is great. Be aware, also, that Capo is one of the most expensive restaurants in town. I wouldn't call it a "fun" restaurant, but it will not be overwhelming and I believe it would be a great place to unwind and recover from jet lag.

    1. Ok....I know I'm probably going to be reprimanded by some 'hounds for this....but how about the Lobster. When I want to chill...ocean waves do the trick. I mean...the view won't be as wonderful at night....but you'll smell and hear and see some of the ocean. Some of their seafood choices are actually pretty good. I know it's a real foodie destination...but sometimes, it's all about the ocean. A New Yorker might like that....

      1. Try Gjelina if you can get a reservation. Great food.

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        Gjelina
        1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

        1 Reply
        1. re: wienermobile

          i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the food at Gjelina.
          still, i would not want to go there when jet-lagged.
          the wait, the crowded conditions, the noise.
          not what i want after getting off a plane.

          one time when i went with a party of three people, they set us up in a doorway with a tiny, unbalaced table. . . . . .

          also, if any luggage is in the car, would not want to deal with the gjelina parking situation.

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          Gjelina
          1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

        2. No, go to Josie.

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          Josie
          2424 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405

          1. Perhaps the Hungry Cat or Fig would appeal. Not too far from your hotel (Fig is walkable) and both are quite good.

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            The Hungry Cat
            100 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402

            Fig
            100 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            1. Rustic Canyon for great farm to table California Cuisine.

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              Rustic Canyon Wine Bar
              1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

              1 Reply
              1. re: wienermobile

                I would plus one you but we would run the risk of looking like Abbott and Costello doing "Who's on First" with this particular "ping-pong" recommendation... ;-D>

              2. It's a no-brainer, eat in your hotel at Catch. Gorgeous views, great food, beautiful and serene room, fantastic service. If you decide you want more of a scene, just step out to the lobby and partake in the bar scene.

                3 Replies
                1. re: yogachik

                  Thank you all for your suggestions! I'm still undecided. Just fyi -I'm staying at Cal Mar Hotel Suites (not Hotel Casa Del Mar) so I can save $ to spend on dining out! :-)

                  I certainly welcome any other suggestions or tips. Thanks again.

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                  Casa Del Mar
                  4552 Riverside Dr, Chino, CA 91710

                  1. re: Zoe19

                    Sorry, read it as Casa del Mar. I still say to go to Catch. If you want somewhere to walk to, I would go to Fraiche. Fig closes too early for you to consider it as an option. Another idea would be Bar Pintxo, if you want something fantastic, but less expensive.

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                    Bar Pintxo
                    109 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                    1. re: yogachik

                      Catch is a very good choice - not too loud, but not dead either. Food is pretty good too. And there's the lounge nearby which has a comfortable feel to it.

                2. Capo is great. Whist at the Viceroy would be fun and relaxing. Food is very good; at least the last time I was there.

                  1. Capo looks amazing! I might do that for another of the nights when it can be fully appreciated.
                    I didn't know about Bar Pintxo - that might be the way to go - just small plates and drinks in an upbeat atmosphere. Will the place be packed on a Saturday night?

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                    Bar Pintxo
                    109 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Zoe19

                      after being squeezed in like a sardine when on the plane, you will be taking your friend to a land version of that experience, except the seating on the plane will have been more comfortable and the food at Bar Pintxo will be somewhat better. . . .

                      1. re: Zoe19

                        Pinxto will likely be full, but not particularly crowded or noisy. But it's not the most comfortable place to hand in - you sit on bar stools at high tables. Not particularly comfy.

                        Tasting kitchen might be good too - short drive or cab to Venice.

                      2. Perhaps Fig or JiRaffe?

                        If you want to splurge a bit, then maybe Valentino?