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Casual Recs An Easy Drive From LAX?

My partner and I will be flying out of LAX on a Thursday night. Our flight leaves at 10:35pm, and we're driving in from San Luis Obispo. We plan on getting into town between 4-5pm to make sure we have time to have a good dinner before heading to the airport, and need some recs for places within a reasonable drive.

We aren't looking for anything upscale, but not completely "down scale" either (burger joints, sandwich shops, etc), just somewhere we wouldn't feel uncomfortable dressed in capris/jeans. Open to pretty much any cuisine type, though Mexican or Italian wouldn't be our first picks (too easy to get around here). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  1. Some likely suspects. Plan Check or Milo & Olive or MB Post. You need to check the opening time for MB Post (I think around 5 PM).

    http://eatmbpost.com/

    http://www.miloandolive.com/

    http://www.plancheckbar.com/

    4 Replies
    1. re: Servorg

      +1 for Servog's suggestions....

      and a big Yes Yes Yes to MB Post. Shared farm to table small plates. Veggies, meats and seafood from one of LA's best chefs. Really liked their BBQ MOROCCAN LAMB BELLY harissa caramelized onions, orange curd, japanese eggplant and their BACON CHEDDAR BUTTERMILK BISCUITS with maple butter is a must. Make reservations or communial tables are available for walk ins. Dinner service begins at 5pm. 3 miles from LAX. Valet parking in front of the resturant. One block from Manhattan Beach pier and the beach.

      1. re: Servorg

        Plan Check is phenomenal. Went again for lunch today. Tried the pastrami nosh and that right there has got to be the best pastrami sandwich out there, and I've eaten it all my life. So tender, it melted in my mouth. And their homemade crullers are not to be missed. Excellent cocktails too.

        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

          Great artisan cocktails at MB post too....really nice vegetable dishes, salads, and seafood...I love the green beans and mussels and desserts....really I have not had a bad dish!

      2. Thanks for the recs :)

        See, from what I've been looking at, MB Post is MY choice, but my partner (who'll be driving) seems to think that the 5.8 miles Google says it is from the airport is too far "in LA traffic", and thinks we should go with somewhere that's RIGHT BY the airport (-_-) Maybe if she sees the menu, she'll be better convinced.... Otherwise, it's looking like Truxton's might be where we end up.

        16 Replies
        1. re: DarkRose

          Are you parking in long term (Lot C/D or B?) parking? Really it's not going to be too far to drive from MB Post if you go down Vista Del Mar to Imperial Hwy and then cut through the Sepulveda tunnel. Maybe a 20 minute drive?

          1. re: Servorg

            15 minutes at the most (and most likely not even that, google maps says 11 minutes) and at that hour traffic runs the opposite direction.

            1. re: Servorg

              No, we're parking with LAX Park Place, which, looking at their reviews, I'm now a bit worried about. A lot of people are saying they can be very slow getting you to the airport....

              1. re: DarkRose

                MB Post is on my short list to try next time I'm in the area----if your partner is worried about timing, you could leave SLO 15 minutes earlier ;) (as far as parking---check out park n fly. they are right by the southwest terminal. i've used them on my last 2 trips and they've been great!)

                1. re: DarkRose

                  For LAX I always park at Park N' Fly which is actuallly located on the LAX property (adjacent to Terminal 1 ). I prepay on the internet and get a pretty nice discount. There is a shuttle van but I don't even bother taking it and simply walk to the terminal. It is next door to Terminal 1 -- Southwest and US Air and a 5 minute walk to United at Terminal 7. They have valet and covered parking at a higher cost if you prefer.

                  1. re: jgilbert

                    Thanks for the tip, jgilbert! I'll take a look at them and see how their rates look!

              2. re: DarkRose

                for RIGHT by the airport, i'd go with AYARA THAI CUISINE.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  You can't get any closer to LAX than The Jetson's style dining at Encounter.
                  http://www.encounterlax.com

                2. re: DarkRose

                  Take a look at Tar & Roses in Santa Monica--similar to MB Post. Also Tasting Kitchen on Abbott Kinney in Venice and Waterloo & City in Culver City might fit your needs nicely. Truxton's is ok but nothing to write home about.

                  1. re: New Trial

                    Tar & Roses is solid! But I would call ahead to make sure you can get a table, it gets busy.

                    1. re: New Trial

                      The issue for any of those (all good suggestions otherwise) may be the timing. Tar & Roses opens at 5:30 and the other two (Tasting Kitchen and Waterloo and City) don't open until 6 PM for full dinner service (and, given the fact that the OP wanted something that would serve between 4 and 5 PM, the later opening hours may not suit them).

                      1. re: Servorg

                        4-5 is when they planned on arriving in LA; however, their flight is not until 10:35 pm.

                        1. re: New Trial

                          I had the distinct impression that they wanted to be eating by 5 PM. Maybe I misunderstood. But the fact that they were worried about getting to the airport from MB Post on time, even though they open at 5 PM for dinner makes me think that they do want to begin eating by 5 at the latest.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            that was my impresson too, servorg.
                            btw, even though MB post "opens" at 5, when i was there last, they didn't actually start seating people until 5:30.

                          2. re: New Trial

                            Santa Monica is a good 20 minutes from LAX even at 2 in the morning when there's no traffic; you'd have to drive through Venice, Marina del Rey and Westchester to get to the Airport.

                    2. You will be coming from the north heading south to LAX. That opens up anywhere in Santa Monica, Venice, or W.L.A. You can probably get one of the earliest dinner seatings at Gjelina, have a delicious and leisurely dinner, and then take Lincoln to LAX -- probably no more than about 15 minutes.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: nosh

                        Do you find parking an issue there during dinner hours? I do at lunchtime.

                        1. re: nosh

                          gjelina, iirc, doesn't start serving their full dinner menu until 5:30, up until then they serve an abbreviated charcuterie and pizza menu.
                          the lincoln blvd drive can, indeed, take 15 minutes, but it can also take much longer.

                        2. Many good recommendations. One - a little more downscale - but kind of a "find", a whole in the wall with surprising interesting and tasty food -Coni' Seafood formerly known as Marisco Chentes.

                          http://www.laweekly.com/2011-12-15/ea...

                          I'm not crazy about the interior - which I find to be 80's say-it-in-cement moderne. In other words - gray and cold. But that's party of what makes it a find. It ain't fancy. But not a dump either.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                            +1
                            and a straight shot west on imperial highway to get to the airport.
                            and you can bring your own alcohol.

                          2. Another decent option in the samo/west la area is next door by Josie. Solid food, good bar. Parking lot in back, and I believe they serve a happy hour menu at five. Also close by to the 10 & 405, though personally I'd take Lincoln thru Venice & MDR to get to LAX at that time of day.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                              the last time i drove from santa monica to playa del rey at 6:45 on a weekday night, it took about 50 minutes.
                              lincoln was like a parking lot.
                              the ocean route, just a little better.

                              my neighbor, who had dined with me but arrived in her own car, took even longer to make the drive.

                              1. re: westsidegal

                                The ocean route is my standard. Did not want to try to tie a non local directions, tho.