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Great upscale LA restaurant for a date night/birthday dinner?

crishah75 Aug 1, 2012 09:18 AM

Hi everyone,

My hubby and I are going on a date night for my birthday dinner.. Can you recommend some great restaurants anywhere in the Los Angeles area? Originally, I was thinking of going to The Bazaar, but I wanted to see what else was recommended. Definitely want more of an upscale place with a fun vibe and amazing food. We'd like to keep it under $300 for the entire dinner (food, a couple drinks, tax & tip).

Thanks in advance! :)

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    uncommonindustries RE: crishah75 Aug 1, 2012 09:38 AM

    Personally I love Gjelina in Venice for a special occasion. If you want to stay on the East Side I like Osteria La Bucca but they've changed chefs since I last went.

    2 Replies
    1. re: uncommonindustries
      BSW6490 RE: uncommonindustries Aug 1, 2012 11:45 AM

      Very disappointed in my one try at Gjelina. Also they dont have a full bar. Sam's by the Beach is a very romantic mediteranean just off the coast on West Channel in Santa Monica. Link below. Great food and service. Also, Capo in Santa Monica is outstanding.


      1. re: uncommonindustries
        westsidegal RE: uncommonindustries Aug 2, 2012 05:12 PM

        i love gjelina too, but not for a special occasion.
        don't like ending up at a teeny, tiny table situated in a doorway: so tiny that it didn't really have room for all the items that we ordered.
        don't like needing to wait even with a reservation.
        don't like that there is no place to sit down while waiting.

        i DO like going there for lunch at 2:30
        or going there for dinner at 5:30.
        i LOVE their food.

      2. PeterCC RE: crishah75 Aug 1, 2012 12:00 PM

        For places I've been, of course there's Providence for upscale, though I'm not sure it fits the "fun vibe" requirement. Somewhat less upscale, but I think more romantic, also with great food is Hatfield's. On the more fun-vibe end is Red Medicine.

        [Insert my standard rec for FIG at the Fairmont Miramar in Santa Monica for their FIG at Five (50% off nearly everything when ordered between 5 PM and 6 PM) promotion. Upscale hotel, casual atmosphere, near the beach (alas no beach view), excellent food, and affordable with and without the discount.]

        For places I haven't been but are dying to try, Melisse for upscale, and ink for fun vibe.

        4 Replies
        1. re: PeterCC
          BSW6490 RE: PeterCC Aug 1, 2012 12:19 PM

          Red Medicine is fun and very good. Would not say romantic. Sotto is also a favorite.

          1. re: BSW6490
            PeterCC RE: BSW6490 Aug 1, 2012 12:25 PM

            Agreed on RM not being traditionally romantic. Note that OP did not mention romantic, but since it's a date night/birthday dinner, I threw that adjective in with my rec for Hatfield's.

          2. re: PeterCC
            bg90027 RE: PeterCC Aug 1, 2012 02:52 PM

            I like Providence and I like Red Medicine. I agree that most people would be more likely to call Red Medicine "fun" than "Providence" but I have to confess that I'm not really sure why. Providence isn't stuffy and fun shouldn't just be a synonym for loud. I'd probably go with Providence and save Red Medicine for a night that I wasn't budgeting up to $300 for dinner. Hatfield's and Melisse are both near the top of my list of places to try though.

            The Hallucinations Tasting Menu with paired cocktails at Rivera might also be a good fit. I haven't done the full tasting menu but had some of the items that were offered during dineLA and liked them.

            1. re: bg90027
              PeterCC RE: bg90027 Aug 1, 2012 03:09 PM

              Fun and upscale are certainly not mutually exclusive, and I agree on fun not equaling loud. I just can't imagine chatting with the waitstaff or fellow diners at Providence as readily as I could at RM, but that doesn't mean that can't or doesn't happen at the former...

          3. b
            BSW6490 RE: crishah75 Aug 1, 2012 12:27 PM

            By the way, Bazaar is not a bad choice. Like the Rojo room.

            1. Baron RE: crishah75 Aug 1, 2012 01:02 PM

              Check out the Bel Air Hotel for great food served in a beautiful garden setting. You shoul be able to come within your budget. This is a special occasion kind of place. See their website.

              1. wienermobile RE: crishah75 Aug 1, 2012 01:30 PM

                Ostereia Mozza. Boy do I love anything from their amazing mozzarella bar and of course their Ricotta & Egg Raviolo with browned butter

                4 Replies
                1. re: wienermobile
                  Servorg RE: wienermobile Aug 1, 2012 02:02 PM

                  That sounded so darn good I looked around on Google and found this beautiful blog entry with one photo of this dish that just makes you want to jump into your car and go tearing down to OM to have this dish: http://foodisluv.blogspot.com/2009/06...

                  1. re: Servorg
                    ns1 RE: Servorg Aug 1, 2012 02:04 PM

                    yes, yes it does.

                    1. re: ns1
                      wienermobile RE: ns1 Aug 1, 2012 02:13 PM

                      ...and it tastes even better than it looks.

                      1. re: wienermobile
                        Servorg RE: wienermobile Aug 1, 2012 02:15 PM

                        You're killing me...but in a good way. ;-D>

                2. t
                  Thor123 RE: crishah75 Aug 1, 2012 03:13 PM

                  Personally, my favorite birthday dinner would be in the front room at Dan Tanas. Incredibly fun vibe. Great steaks, whitefish and my fav the dark meat chicken beckerman.

                  1. c
                    crishah75 RE: crishah75 Aug 2, 2012 01:43 PM

                    Thanks for the great suggestions, everyone! I was actually looking into Providence too, but I figured we would go over our $300 budget (for the mid-range tasting menu, I think).. Hatfield's and Osteria Mozza sound great also, definitely gonna look into those.. Thanks again!

                    1. n
                      nosh RE: crishah75 Aug 2, 2012 03:58 PM

                      How about Chinois on Main? Great food, check. Good vibe, check. Excellent service, check. With mostly their smaller dishes (which are almost as large as their larger) you will be well under budget. If you enjoy watching open kitchens you can sit in the back or request a table in front to see Main Street pass by. Often overlooked these days, but with Spago being renovated Chinois sort of becomes the flagship and the food is still outstanding. Be sure to order the minced stir-fried lamb in radicchio cups with onion rings. The whole deepfried catfish with ponzu is a classic dish. Great restaurant, well worthy of a BD celebration.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: nosh
                        Thor123 RE: nosh Aug 2, 2012 07:47 PM

                        Great choice.

                      2. r
                        rickym13 RE: crishah75 Aug 2, 2012 08:11 PM

                        some great choices mention already......i would say:

                        n/naka, not really a fun vibe but very serene and great food....sometime food looks too nice to eat
                        ostereia mozza
                        saddle peak lodge

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: rickym13
                          wienermobile RE: rickym13 Aug 2, 2012 10:07 PM

                          Agree with Saddle Peak Lodge. Wonderful food in their unique rustic location. Their elk tenderlion is truly amazing.

                        2. d
                          Dirtywextraolives RE: crishah75 Aug 3, 2012 11:01 AM

                          Tasting Kitchen
                          Nobu or Matsuhisa (not sure if his new beach property is ready yet)

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                            wienermobile RE: Dirtywextraolives Aug 3, 2012 11:09 AM

                            Spago is closed until September.

                            1. re: wienermobile
                              Dirtywextraolives RE: wienermobile Aug 3, 2012 11:27 AM

                              Thanks ;)

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