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Nice dinner in Santa Monica

l
Lisa Lou Nov 9, 2011 09:51 AM

Hi Hounders--my husband and I are staying at The Georgian in Santa Monica for his birthday (mid January), and I'd love some recommendations for restaurants within walking distance. We like nice (but not stuffy) places that have good, fresh seafood or pork . . . something that isn't too heavy. We've done Houston's and Border Grill before, but I'd love to take him someplace that's a little different. Was thinking about Jiraffe???

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Border Grill
1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

Jiraffe Restaurant
502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

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  1. westsidegal Nov 9, 2011 10:07 AM

    for california food:
    FIG (which is located in the Fairmont Miramar hotel on wilshire where it meets the ocean)
    (i'll be dining there on Friday night)

    for french bistro food, LA CACHETTE BISTRO.
    (i'll be dining there tonight.)
    http://www.lacachettebistro.com/

    i also like the Misfit in that area, but imho, the tables are too close/crowded for it to be a great birthday celebration spot.
    for italian, i LOVE the food at Hosteria del Piccolo at 606 broadway (caveat: there is some controversy on this board about this place, especially about their pizza. since i've never ordered pizza there, i can't comment. i always get pasta and a couple of starters). I especially love their dessert dishes, but don't know if you'd find the seating comfortable' enough for a birthday celebration.

    1. n
      New Trial Nov 9, 2011 11:48 PM

      Jiraffe is a good choice overall but, for seafood, you have Ocean Avenue Seafood, The Lobster and Blue Plate Oysterette all within walking distance. The Lobster has a terrific view of the Pier and the Ocean, while BP Oysterette is much more casual and does not take reservations as I recall. Ocean Avenue Seafood is a good, solid, corporate seafooder. Fig and La Cachette Bistro (a slightly longer walk) mentioned by WSG are also worth considering but, if you are willing to walk as far as La Cachette, I might suggest Whist at the Viceroy instead--if it is a nice night, dining outside there is quite enjoyable.

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      Jiraffe Restaurant
      502 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

      La Cachette Bistro
      1733 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401

      Whist Restaurant
      1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401

      The Lobster
      1602 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      Ocean Avenue Seafood
      1401 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      Blue Plate
      1415 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

      BP Oysterette
      1355 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      Fig
      100 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

      1 Reply
      1. re: New Trial
        westsidegal Nov 10, 2011 11:56 AM

        the fish i had a La Cachette Bistro last night was absoutely supurb (i had fish both for my starter, and for my entree).
        top flight.
        the dessert was a thing of beauty both in terms of taste and appearance.
        their prices reasonable.
        their portions generous.

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        La Cachette Bistro
        1733 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90401

      2. y
        yogachik Nov 10, 2011 08:06 AM

        Fig is a great choice, as is Jiraffe. Also consider Catch at Casa del Mar, Whist at the Viceroy and Fraiche.

        1 Reply
        1. re: yogachik
          westsidegal Nov 10, 2011 12:03 PM

          if you end up going to Fig, be sure to avail yourself of a cheese flight.

          respectfully disagree with the recommendation of Fraiche.

        2. b
          BSW6490 Nov 10, 2011 12:26 PM

          Had a very good dinner at Hungry Cat on West Channel at PCH. Great seafood appatizers (best mussels I can remember), very creative menu (emphasis on seafood) and lively bar. Definitely a bit different and prices are reasonable (for the high quality).

          For a bit more formal Italian/Steak choice, Capo is fantastic.

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

          1 Reply
          1. re: BSW6490
            m
            maudies5 Nov 10, 2011 06:56 PM

            We love The Hungry Cat! Agree that the prices are quite fair, given the high quality of the seafood, I also love that the owner donated a full seafood bar to the Alex's Lemonade Charity event. Also agree that Capo has delicious food, albeit, the prices are in the stratosphere. All things considered, I love the casual/beachy ambience of the Hungry Cat Going there tomorrow night. I hope that they offer the Scallop Pot Pie. OMG. One of the best dishes I have ever had

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

          2. c
            cimero Nov 10, 2011 03:20 PM

            I've had lunch and dinner on the top floor restaurant at the Huntly Hotel (the aptly named, Penthouse). Food is seasonal and both times excellent. Last night I had the moules frite and was blown away by the quality of the dish and the portion was surprisingly huge! I had expected a few mussels in broth in a flat soup bowl, but I received a large terrine with a perfectly balanced broth (just the right creaminess), and a side of crispy, nicely browned pomme fritte (again, a heaping side plate (although served in a small fry basket). Tuna tartare was also very ample for an appetizer portion, with a hint of lime and a few button-sized home made potato chips for a light crunch. Steak tartare was also nicely done with a quail egg and very generously portioned (again for an appetizer...it was the size of what many restaurants would serve as an entree at twice the price). It would have been better if it had two quail eggs instead of one, considering hte size. Prices were $18 for moules frite, and (I believe)$14 and $15 for the tuna and steak tartare's respectively. It's a beautiful all white restaurant with dark wood floors and one of the best view restaurants in L.A. I am definately going back!

            3 Replies
            1. re: cimero
              westsidegal Nov 10, 2011 05:46 PM

              cimero:
              it's been a while, and i don't know if it's still on the menu or not, but had an absolutely perfect serving of crab cakes there.
              the next time you go, if you have the chance, i'd recommend you try the crab cakes too.

              1. re: cimero
                k
                kandykane Nov 17, 2011 10:59 AM

                Yuck--- Stay away from the Penthouse-
                The Food is horrible and the people real snobs-
                The only thing worth going for is to see the view of the ocean-
                Have a drink at the bar and move on-

                1. re: kandykane
                  westsidegal Nov 17, 2011 07:08 PM

                  the last time i was there we had a very unwieldy group of 9 people with widely differing food tastes/requirements.
                  the staff was more than gracious and flexible.
                  handled everyone in the group and all the disparate requests very gracefully.
                  not a trace of snobbery.

                  the food that i've ordered there has always been more than good, but i admit that i don't make any real effort to "cover" the menu, and i order similar dishes every time

              2. l
                Lisa Lou Nov 15, 2011 02:54 PM

                I really want to thank you all for the help. I am definitely leaning toward Catch at Casa del Mar after looking at the menus (although Fig is still really tugging at me and it is a shorter walk). My only concern with Catch is that it might feel like a hotel restaurant. Can anyone speak to this? Does it still feel like a nice restaurant without the "hotel" feel?

                2 Replies
                1. re: Lisa Lou
                  wienermobile Nov 15, 2011 03:01 PM

                  Fig is better.

                  1. re: Lisa Lou
                    y
                    yogachik Nov 16, 2011 07:30 PM

                    I doesn't feel like a hotel restaurant at all. Fig is also a good choice, though, as everyone would agree.

                  2. l
                    Lisa Lou Nov 15, 2011 04:20 PM

                    Ok, I have finally decided to just go with my gut and make reservations at Fig, and I'm really looking forward to it. Now, since you've given me such great advice, where would you go for drinks either before or after dinner. We're staying at The Georgian and will be walking to Fig for dinner. I thought about Casa del Mar but wondered if that might be a bit of a walk?

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Lisa Lou
                      j
                      Juji Nov 15, 2011 05:40 PM

                      Try the Penthouse on top of the Huntley. Great view if you are there before sunset.

                      1. re: Juji
                        k
                        kandykane Nov 17, 2011 11:31 AM

                        NO Penthouse Not Good-
                        Overpriced and filled with loud annoying people-
                        Food lame and drinks overpriced

                      2. re: Lisa Lou
                        perk Nov 15, 2011 05:56 PM

                        Or...go to the Lobster for a drink at sunset.

                        1. re: perk
                          m
                          maudies5 Nov 15, 2011 06:15 PM

                          Have a drink and stay for dinner. Lovely ambience, honest food and underrated by "Foodies."

                          1. re: maudies5
                            westsidegal Nov 16, 2011 03:26 PM

                            <<honest food>>>
                            compared to what? "dishonest food?"
                            trying to figure out what you mean here.

                            how/why do you think the food is "underrated by Foodies?"

                            the last time i was there, the table was too small and too crowded for me to feel like it was a celebratory occasion.
                            it was nice that the restaurant went along with the hosts and allowed them to decorate the table beforehand, though (scattered flower petals and the like).

                        2. re: Lisa Lou
                          m
                          MRS Nov 16, 2011 03:40 PM

                          Casa Del Mar is awfully pretty for drinks and a nibble.

                          -----
                          Casa Del Mar
                          4552 Riverside Dr, Chino, CA 91710

                        3. j
                          Just One Bite Nov 17, 2011 07:56 PM

                          If you are going to be in SM on the weekend, a really fun thing to do is the Six Taste Food Tour. I just did it last weekend and it was amazing!! Don't do it the day of his birthday dinner because you will be full after the tour, but you get to try 6-8 places. If you are foodies, you will love it! Great info about the restaurants, cool food, info about the architecture, etc. SO fun.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Just One Bite
                            l
                            Lisa Lou Nov 18, 2011 07:37 AM

                            Thanks for sharing this--what an incredible experience. We'd love to do something like the food tour.

                            1. re: Just One Bite
                              wienermobile Nov 18, 2011 08:08 AM

                              Just One Bite can you tell me what are the restaurants the Santa Monica food tour takes you to?

                              1. re: wienermobile
                                m
                                maudies5 Nov 18, 2011 04:38 PM

                                Found this on Google:Six Taste Food Tour
                                Santa Monica Food Tour
                                Est. Price/Person: $60 (+18% gratuity) Maximum Capacity: 25
                                Tastings
                                Farmer’s Market (3 tastings from vendors) Rockenwagner (Pretzel bakery tastings)
                                Tudor House (British pies)
                                Border Grill (Chef’s selection of modern Mexican cuisine) Bay Cities (Godmother sandwich)
                                Angelato (Small gelato)

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                                Border Grill
                                1445 4th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                Tudor House
                                1403 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                Angelato Cafe
                                301 Arizona Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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