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Dec 17, 2011 11:56 AM

Recommendations for Christmas gift card

Hi all, I'm looking for advice on a Christmas gift.

I want to give my parents a gift card ($20-30) for a Chinese (or general Asian or seafood) restaurant this year. Some background: They're the type that has cheap Chinese takeout almost on a weekly basis. Going out to eat means going to the same cheap sit-down Chinese restaurant we always go to, one that has been shut down twice in the past few years for health violations.

I was thinking PF Changs. I know, I know, many of you will scoff at that. But I'm just hoping to exposed them to a *somewhat* better dining experience than "the usual," but they're really not the fine dining type.

Any recommendations for a Chinese (or any Asian or seafood) restaurant that sells gift cards? Keeping it within the boundaries of Downtown and Santa Monica. Price-wise, after subtracting the $20-30 gift card, I'm looking for a place where the bill would come to about $30 to feed two (including tax and tip, no drinks), or a bill of $60 to feed a family of four.

Thanks for your help! Very much appreciated.

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  1. I haven't looked into the pros and cons of it, but if I were considering a restaurant gift card I'd look at one from This gives the recipient much more choice about where to use it.

    I wouldn't give a P.F. Chang gift card to anyone I didn't dislike!

    If you wanted to ensure they would use it somewhere that wasn't mediocre, one possibility would be a gift card from Houston's:

    Houston's isn't the ne-plus-ultra of dining, but it was the first place that came to mind that 1) is very good, and 2) has an online gift card. Other hounds might know about specific places that have dedicated gift cards, but you may have to go there to get one.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Peripatetic

      Thanks for the suggestions!

      I actually got them a certificate last year. I haven't looked into their offerings this year, but what I didn't like last year was that the cheaper certificates were often for strip mall joints, which isn't much of a better dining experience than what my parents are used to. Higher value certificates required higher spending minimums, which I don't think my parents would like. I'll definitely look into it again though, it seems like they add new restaurants often.

      I think my parents would enjoy the food at Hillstones, but looking at the menu, I came to a realization. I really don't think my parents would go to a nice restaurant by themselves. They're not the sit down together and talk over dinner for an hour type. (I know Hillstones isn't really formal, but it's much more upscale than what they're used to.) I think I should probably focus more on finding a restaurant that could feed four for $60, plust the gift card. (I wish I could edit my post as I'm sure I'll come to more realizations. My parents are really peculiar. I'm not exaggerating about them eating at the same cheap restaurant all the time!)

      Again, thanks for the suggestions. I should probably try Hillstones for myself since I work just a few blocks away!

      1. re: erichalias

        Cost of a $50 certificate is $20, with a minimum $100 order. That fits what I'm looking for, so I just need to look through the restaurants and find a good choice. Thanks for getting me to consider it again!

    2. A good not great restaurant but surely above that which you have described is Ghengis Cohen on 740 No. Fairfax. Really good egg rolls. Google it an check their menu but they should come within your price scheme. I also hope it fits within your loction scheme. Good luck.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Hughlipton

        What's the restaurant environment like, particularly during lunch? I think that would be the only concern for my parents. They prefer quiet, family-friendly restaurants. Even though live music is only at night, it's hard to imagine my parents at a music venue type of place.

        Other than that, the menu (and prices) looks exactly like what they'd enjoy, and location is perfect as well. Thanks for the suggestion!

      2. I was Genghis Cohen earlier this week and have been there several times to hear music. The music room is to the right when you enter and has doors. Normally the music isn't loud except the odd band. The last band that night I was there was the odd band and loud. The guy who put on the show had to tell them to lower their volume. The gal I went to see was a singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar. The dining room is to the left as you enter and it's a normal restaurant. I normally get food in the music room and it's not bad. Not the truly authentic Chinese food, but it's definitely leans towards the Chinese style of food. It looks like you found their website so you can check out the menu. You can see the double doors that lead to the music room on the second picture that shows up in the site's slide show. Not sure if they have gift cards, but you can call them up and ask. Night time parking in the area can be tough. It's metered, but the available street parking can fill up. I don't think there is a actual parking lot for the place.