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Nice dinner in Santa Monica

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. 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. 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

        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. 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

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

          respectfully disagree with the recommendation of Fraiche.

        2. 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

            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. 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

              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

                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

                  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