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Unique/Impressive Dinner Experience in Los Angeles

I'm looking to take my husband to a truly unique dinner experience in LA. I'd prefer a place that's not just great food, but offers something else -- whatever that something else is -- that will make the occasion special.

Budget up to 300. We don't drink much, but please factor 2 drinks into that total.

One idea I had was The Magic Castle, however I'm unsure if I can find a guest access card for that yet (any tips anyone?) so I'd like to hear some other suggestions just in case I can't find access or they can't take my reservation.

Any cuisine except sushi, Thai, or seafood please.


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  1. The food at Magic Castle is not good. Bazaar at the SLS hotel is what you are looking for. Unique setting and very interesting food. See link below.


    5 Replies
    1. re: Thor123

      I was just going to suggest Bazaar, too. Both the food and the cocktails are as unique as you're going to get.

      1. re: Bert

        Bazaar looks good. My only concern is that my husband is a traditional eater. Is it picky eater safe?

        1. re: mystererae

          they have a "traditional" side and a "modern" side. Check the menu. Depends on what "picky" means.

      2. re: Thor123

        It's been a few years, but you used to get access to the Magic Castle if you stayed the night at their adjacent hotel. The food is dated, but it's definitely an experience.

        edit: found the hotel: http://magiccastlehotel.com/

        1. re: Thor123

          Instead of Bazaar I would recommend Saam

        2. Another vote for Bazaar. The liquid mozzarella in the caprese, the Philly cheeseteak with air bread, the spherical olives aren't to be missed if you want unique. And of course the liquid nitrogen caiprihinas. As a back up- Ink, Tasting Kitchen, Melisse (pushing budget)

          1. I'm not sure Bazaar is what this Op is looking for.
            Bazaar is about being entertained by the food.

            From her example of the Magic Castle I believe the OP wants good food but her entertainment to come from a show not the food.

            5 Replies
            1. re: burntwater

              If that's the case then I suggest checking out Vibrato up in the Glen. http://www.vibratogrilljazz.com/

              1. re: Servorg

                Thanks, yes a place with a show, or a lot of history, or even surrounded by something interesting. My husband is a snappy dresser, so a place with a formal/hip atmosphere would be great too. Vibrato is the right kind of place but Bel Air's a bit far from us. Anywhere closer to recommend?

                1. re: mystererae

                  Your husband do cigars by chance?

                  Maybe get a good dinner at one of the many fine establishments in LA then hit up La Descarga for some burlesque, cigars, and mojitos.

                  1. re: ns1

                    I can't be around smoke sadly. I'm going to ask him if he would appreciate Bazaar!

                1. re: estone888

                  +1 for Saddle Peak. Wonderful food in a beautiful rustic setting. Incredible game meats. One of LA's best.

                  1. re: wienermobile

                    I get the distinct impression that if The Glen in Bel Air is too far then Saddle Peak Lodge would be the equivalent of driving to Timbuktu... ;-D>

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Unless Bel Air is too far EAST? =)

                      1. re: aching

                        Since they are/were considering the Magic Castle as a venue I would bet against that scenario as being the issue.

                      2. re: Servorg

                        No way is Saddle Peak worth the drive even if you could walk it.

                  2. AOC. Nothing crazy but they have 100 bottles by the glass. Lots of tappas and a "meat bar" . It is the sister restaurant to Louques. Both by Chef Susan Goin. In my opinion she is one of the best chefs in the country. Louques is open on Sunday. I think both of these place are well within you price range and are what you are looking for.

                    Also a stop by Pinks for lunch would be a great.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: JB BANNISTER

                      "Also a stop by Pinks for lunch would be a great."

                      Just threw up in my mouth.

                      1. re: ns1

                        Best indigestion I have ever had.

                      1. How about dinner at Patina and a concert at the Disney Concert Hall? Patina's not my favorite restaurant, but it's not bad and it does have a celebratory feel to it. And Disney Concert Hall is amazing.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: aching

                          Although Patina is far from unique in any way the evening is a good choice.

                        2. Oh! La Discarga is what you want for sure then! (Don't know if they serve food, maybe it's an after dinner affair.) it's a lounge with a lot of show.


                          You can read reviews on yelp to see what the experience is like.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: sarahbeths

                            No dinner, go to taco shack next door.

                            WARNING: Spending time in the cigar room means you're taking whatever you're wearing right to the dry cleaners.

                          2. Immediately Mistral and Le Petite Chateau in North Hollywood come to mind. Mistral is most likely the greatest food in the Valley if not in Los Angeles. Le Petite Chateau is excellent old school French Food in North Hollywood with a lovely interior and a heck of an history.

                            The Magic Castle can be accessed odn the web and arrangments I believe made through their site.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Hughlipton

                              Ate at LPC exactly once. Would not call the food excellent--YMMV. Nice atmopshere, though, IIRC. Hmmm--I seem to be using lots of abbreviations today!

                              1. re: sablouwho

                                I've had LPC. It's a cute place and the location is convenient for us, but I have to agree with sablouwho, it's definitely not excellent food.

                            2. Dinner at the Getty Center.

                              Eat, then work it off by touring the museum and grounds.


                              4 Replies
                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Dinner at the Getty is avaiable only on Saturday nights, but it is really nice with good food too.

                                1. re: wienermobile

                                  Not too mention that general location having already having been nixed by the OP as being too far from home base.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    Whaaaat? You mean you actually expect us to READ the f/u posts before replying with our own suggestions? Gee Servorg, don't be suck a -stickler- ;) (Hopefully no hard feelings ipsedixit, I am just feeling punchy this morning!)

                                    1. re: sablouwho

                                      Less of an expectation and more of an (unrequited) hope...

                              2. Or maybe the Chateau Marmont!!!! feel like you're in a french chateau, dine with celebs...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: sarahbeths

                                  That's an interesting suggestion. Would you say the food is good or great?

                                2. The Magic Castle is indeed a unique experience, but food is overpriced and barely makes it to mediocre. Do something else for your special evening, and hit the Castle another time.

                                  The best thing they offer is the chile - that and a salad and a couple of beers and you can get away without breaking the bank.