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Tavern or Josie for quiet dinner on the 23rd?

My cousins and I are looking for a pre-Christmas quiet dinner on Friday night. I love Josie and it's wonderful around Christmas esp. by the fireplace. They have never been. Have only been to Tavern (Brentwood) for lunch, which I don't remember as being very special. Nice room. (I do like the Larder.) Is Josie more expensive than Tavern? Is the food at Tavern as consistently good as Josie's? In looking at reviews of Tavern here and there, I am feeling less enthused--many people talk about the attitude and are not impressed with the food (but then I read a lot of negatives on CH about Bouchon Bistro in BH before I went and I really love the food there--I usually eat fish and it was perfectly prepared, subtly sauced and perfectly salted, so can't believe everything you read.)

I live in Santa Monica, they live in Westwood. We don't want too much driving--otherwise would think of Hatfield's. Any suggestions for something else comparable? For me food is #1 criterion. I also have thought of Villetta (never been there). How about Josie Next Door? Is it noisy? Is the food as good as Josie proper? Thanks all.

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  1. I would say Josie is more expensive than Tavern and quieter too. I like the food at Josie better, but Tavern has some very nice choices as well. Next Door is going to be noisy if at all full as it's just one square room with hard surfaces.

    1. Had dinner recently at Villetta. It was good....and I've always loved that space...but it was loud.
      How about Toscana in Brentwood?

      5 Replies
      1. re: perk

        We were just at Toscana for dinner a couple of weeks ago and I didn't find it quiet. The food was okay but I don't think the price to value ratio is that wonderful.

        1. re: Servorg

          The current winter menu at Tavern is brilliant: http://www.tavernla.com/dinner.html
          We had one of the best meals of the year at Tavern recently. The ambiance was lovely and service was excellent. I would hesitate to go to Villetta based on some recent reports about a decline in food since the chef, Pippa was fired. Toscana is VERY loud. We frequently head to Toscana when we want a simple bowl of pasta. The pasta dishes are alwaYS good and not insanely expensive. The OP mentioned seafood, Tavern does seafood beautifully and the accompanying sides are spot on.

          1. re: maudies5

            Maudie--Do you remember what you had at Tavern recently that was so good?

            1. re: ThatPat

              Yes. I had the Bourride, a delicious seafood dish and my husband had the braised pork cheeks (I see that has been replaced by a pork chop preparation.I'll bet the beef bourginon is great, as Chef Goin does outstanding braises.
              My husband loves the albacore crudo and I like the simple salad.
              We nearly always split the "snickers bar" at the end (if we have room). I have always had great seafood at Tavern. All of the fish dishes are beautifully prepared and the accompanying sides are well thought out.

            2. re: maudies5

              ...it's a shame about Villetta but based on my recent meal there and things I have also heard, I'd say there was a major decline in quality and value. I'm happy to report I had a great Christmastime dinner at Tavern though!

        2. I've been to Tavern 3 times now. Each time I found the food to be quite average and the service lacking. Love Josie's - consistently great food, ambiance and service.

          1. Next Door is good but much louder and much more casual than Josie--also, I am not sure if it takes reservations. Prices at Josie are only slightly higher than at Tavern but I enjoy both.

            1. Had a very nice dinner at Josie recently with excellent food and a pretty quiet room. Don't recall how the prices compare to Tavern.