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Santa Monica Saturday Night Dinner for a Jet-Lagged Friend

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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