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

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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  1. 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

      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.

      http://www.samsbythebeach.com/

      1. re: uncommonindustries

        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. 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

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

          1. re: BSW6490

            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

            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

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

            1. 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. Ostereia Mozza. Boy do I love anything from their amazing mozzarella bar and of course their Ricotta & Egg Raviolo with browned butter
                http://www.osteriamozza.com/LA/home.cfm

                4 Replies
                1. re: wienermobile

                  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: ns1

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

                      1. re: wienermobile

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