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Dinner in Westwood/West LA with baby

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DanielleW Oct 25, 2012 03:59 PM

Looking for a place in Westwood or West LA (east of the 405) to have an early casual dinner with my husband and baby (8 mos. old). I want a place that has decent food, is reasonably priced, and casual, for our Friday evening dinners. We like to eat around 6pm since our daughter goes to bed at 7:30pm.

We've been going to Pitfire Pizza for a couple months, but we're both sick of it. We also go to Poquito Mas a fair amount. Any other suggestions for places that are kid friendly? Not interested in Persian food, but all other types are fine as long as the food is decent.

Thanks!

  1. J.L. Oct 25, 2012 04:50 PM

    We frequent all the following places, with Chowpup in tow...

    Westside Tavern (at Westside Pavilion) - Great fries, flatbread
    Soleil (corner of Wilkins & Westwood Bl.) - Beef Bourgignon, warm spinach salad, poutine, tarte tatin
    Jinya Ramen (on Sawtelle, just south of Olympic) - Ramen! (of course)
    Plan Check (on Sawtelle, south of Santa Monica) - Fried chicken!
    Emporium Thai (on Westwood Bl., just south of Wilshire) - Morning glory salad

    5 Replies
    1. re: J.L.
      wienermobile Oct 25, 2012 04:51 PM

      Early dinner at Plan Check would be perfect. Don't miss the fried chicken or pastrami nosh.
      http://www.plancheckbar.com

      I am also a fan of Fundamental LA. Wonderful food.
      http://www.fundamental-la.com

      1. re: wienermobile
        J.L. Oct 25, 2012 04:57 PM

        Love the pork belly bahn mi at Fundamental, but where do you park the stroller?

        1. re: wienermobile
          d
          DanielleW Oct 25, 2012 07:36 PM

          We used to go to Fundamental for lunch all the time (before the baby). Never tried it for dinner.

        2. re: J.L.
          d
          DanielleW Oct 25, 2012 07:37 PM

          I really like Westside Tavern, but I think it's more expensive than we're looking for.

          I was just reading about Emporium Thai in the other Westwood thread. We'll definitely give that a try. We used to go to Jitlada all the time.

          1. re: J.L.
            d
            DanielleW Oct 29, 2012 12:46 PM

            We tried Emporium Thai on Friday and it was great. Hardly anyone there...easy parking. They were fine with me walking my baby around (when she got fussy). Very friendly waitress. Now...to find the best dishes to order. One dish was awesome (morning glory salad), one was ok (southern chicken curry), and one was not-so-good (honey duck).

          2. westsidegal Oct 25, 2012 05:17 PM

            budget?

            2 Replies
            1. re: westsidegal
              d
              DanielleW Oct 25, 2012 07:35 PM

              ~$30 for the two of us.

              1. re: DanielleW
                b
                Betcom Oct 25, 2012 08:22 PM

                For casual sandwich/salad/soup and small but kid friendly, Green Peas on Sepulveda just south of Braddock in Culver City.

            2. J.L. Oct 25, 2012 08:35 PM

              Just had another thought. Metro Cafe in Culver City. Nice Serbian fare. Kid-friendly. Reasonable prices.

              2 Replies
              1. re: J.L.
                westsidegal Oct 25, 2012 08:50 PM

                re: metro
                not $30 for 2 people.
                love the place.
                normally, for me, the check runs about $50 for two people without alcohol.

                maybe gloria's on venice blvd would work ?
                for vegetarian indian food, bawarchi or samosa house.

                1. re: J.L.
                  d
                  DanielleW Oct 25, 2012 08:50 PM

                  I have been wanting to go there. Good to know it is kid friendly.

                2. PeterCC Oct 25, 2012 10:29 PM

                  I find most places are pretty kid-friendly that early in the evening.

                  If you're sick of Pitfire, this may not be the best suggestion, but how about 800 Degrees?

                  Santouka or one of the other places in Mitsuwa?

                  The new ROC Star / ROC Kitchen / whatever name they'll settle on, on Sawtelle at Mississippi?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: PeterCC
                    westsidegal Oct 25, 2012 11:13 PM

                    in my experience, 800 degrees can only be said to be kid-friendly at 11:30 am on most days and at about 3pm on the weekdays.
                    the rest of the time it can be a hellish experience for the stroller brigade.

                    1. re: westsidegal
                      J.L. Oct 25, 2012 11:25 PM

                      Disagree. Been at 800 Degrees at peak hours with the Chowpup & stroller. Not a problem. Everyone is too happy munching down to make a fuss.

                      1. re: J.L.
                        westsidegal Oct 25, 2012 11:33 PM

                        i believe the poster's name was noshie (not nosh) who complained bitterly about how difficult it was to negotiate 800 degrees with kids in tow.
                        there have been a few threads about this.
                        complaints about high chair availability.
                        complaints that they aren't allowed to take up a table for the kids while one of the adults does the waiting in line(i.e. the WHOLE FAMILY needs to wait in line or one of the parents needs to take the kids out of the restaurant until the line-waiting parent gets to the front of the line).
                        complaints about the difficulty of negotiating the movement of food from the counter to the table while trying to keep the kids from shrieking.
                        complaints about waiting at the soda machine while some other person's kid uses the machine as a neat toy and everyone else in the restaurant is waiting behind him.
                        complaints about the food not being "kid-friendly" (i.e not much finger food. the pizza, having a soft center needs to be eaten with a knife and fork).

                        lotsa complaints.

                        thankfully my kid is grown, so this whole problem doesn't relate to me.
                        still, i saw a very happy contingent of the stroller set on a sunday morning at 11:30AM when they had the whole restaurant to themselves and i normally try to time my visits during the week at 3pm and the restaurant is practically empty then also.

                        1. re: westsidegal
                          d
                          DanielleW Oct 26, 2012 12:06 PM

                          Yeah, I went to 800 degrees a couple times when I was pregnant and I can't imagine going back with a baby. I could barely maneuver myself with my big belly.

                    2. re: PeterCC
                      J.L. Oct 25, 2012 11:26 PM

                      That whole food court is fair game. In that food court, I'd recommend also Tendon Hannosuke.

                    3. i
                      ilysla Oct 25, 2012 11:36 PM

                      If you're fine w/ Poquito Mas, you might want to give Eduardo's (in the strip mall just south of Santa Monica Blvd on Westwood) a try. It's a bit hole-in-the-wall, but the prices are reasonable, it's not crowded, and the I think the place should be pretty stroller friendly. Another place that might be worth trying is California Fresh (right next to Pitfire). It doesn't look like much from the outside (or even the inside, actually), but I actually think their salmon combo is perfectly respectable, as is the pizza. The BBQ chicken salad would be more interesting if used a different green, but it's still better than decent. I don't think I've ever tried their pastas.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: ilysla
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                        nosh Oct 26, 2012 10:21 AM

                        A door or two to the north of Eduardo's in the same strip mall is Mandarin Kitchen. Comments on this board over the past year or two seem to agree with me that it stands at or near the top of the westside Chinese restaurants. Certainly kid-friendly in atmosphere, and very inexpensive, especially at lunch.

                        1. re: nosh
                          i
                          ilysla Oct 26, 2012 12:09 PM

                          The board agrees w/ you, or you agree w/ the board??? ;) ::snort::

                          I've not tried it myself, but my recollection is that the threads on Mandarin Kitchen indicate it's a totally decent place to eat (which would meet the OP's criteria).

                          To westsidegal below, WeHo might be hard to get to on a Friday evening (the traffic can be terrifying), esp w/ a baby in-tow. The Brentwood Lemonade also seems very family-friendly, though, so I can't see why the WeHo one would be much different (I haven't been myself....).

                          I think the Century City mall is a good idea, though, since there's plenty of space (although also plenty of patrons) and a wide selection of decent (and sometimes even good) food. Didn't realize they had a Counter there; is that new? (it's been a couple of months since I've been.... I was always partial to Coral Tree Cafe).

                          1. re: ilysla
                            westsidegal Oct 26, 2012 12:27 PM

                            i didn't even know that there was a lemonade in brentwood. thanks for the 411!

                            the Counter's website says that they have a century city location, so i presume they do.

                            actually, your recommendation of the Coral Tree Cafe is a good idea!

                            1. re: westsidegal
                              d
                              DanielleW Oct 26, 2012 01:05 PM

                              I've been to the Counter in Century City a couple times when my baby was a newborn. I've been to the Coral Tree in the mall, but the one in Brentwood is not ideal as it is west of the 405.

                              1. re: westsidegal
                                i
                                ilysla Oct 26, 2012 04:18 PM

                                Yup, a Lemonade (albeit w/ a much smaller seating area than the Venice one) in Brentwood Village. Easy parking (2 nearby lots), although I can't remember what the rate was....

                                To the OP, there's also O Sushi in the same strip mall near Hole in the Wall. It's decently stroller friendly, I think, and the food is fine.

                        2. westsidegal Oct 25, 2012 11:51 PM

                          how about lemonade?
                          the one in venice seems to be pretty kid friendly.
                          i know they have one in west hollywood, but have not been there myself.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: westsidegal
                            d
                            DanielleW Oct 26, 2012 12:07 PM

                            That's definitely too far. I don't want to leave Westwood or West LA. I do love that place though.

                          2. westsidegal Oct 25, 2012 11:54 PM

                            how about the counter (build your own burger) restaurant in the century city mall?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: westsidegal
                              d
                              DanielleW Oct 26, 2012 12:08 PM

                              This is a good idea. I am sad that Hole in the Wall is leaving, but this is almost as good (in my opinion).

                              1. re: DanielleW
                                e
                                eatsfood Oct 27, 2012 03:19 PM

                                I heard secondhand that they may no longer be leaving the space. Here's hoping.

                                1. re: eatsfood
                                  d
                                  DanielleW Oct 29, 2012 12:42 PM

                                  I hope that is true!

                            2. e
                              Eliorr Oct 26, 2012 09:58 PM

                              If you are willing to travel to Brentwood you can get a really good meal at Pizzicato, that said not if you do a full 3 course meal, then might be pricy. Entrees are around 10-15. Food is really good. Kid friendly and all in all a real great experience.

                              1. aching Oct 27, 2012 07:15 AM

                                How about Chego? I sat next to a couple with a baby the last time I was there and all three looked very happy.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: aching
                                  westsidegal Oct 27, 2012 08:07 AM

                                  respectfully disagree with the recommendation of chego as reliably baby-friendly place.

                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                    aching Oct 27, 2012 10:30 AM

                                    Oh, why? Because it's loud?

                                    1. re: aching
                                      westsidegal Oct 27, 2012 10:35 AM

                                      start with the terrible parking situation. (nothing quite like driving in circles and then having to lug baby AND all the baby equipment for blocks up/down a hill just to get into the restaurant)
                                      go on to standing in line for unpredictable and seemingly interminable lengths of time.
                                      actual seating is very often difficult to come by. when it is available, it is communal seating--not ideal for baby-lugging folks.
                                      (not unusual to have the triple whammy: bad parking, long line, and no seating all at the same visit)
                                      eating with the weird disposable utensils when, with a baby in tow, you often only have one hand to work with.
                                      and on and on and on

                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                        aching Oct 27, 2012 10:58 AM

                                        At 6:00, I've always found the parking, line, and seating situations to be fine (later I would agree with you). But I'll defer to those more experienced than me about the utensils logistics!

                                        1. re: aching
                                          westsidegal Oct 27, 2012 11:38 AM

                                          i've only been there about 4 times around 6pm, and every one of those times there has been some sort of logistical unpleasantness (parking, seating, wrong food delivered, waiting, etc).
                                          thankfully, because of this, my chego-loving friend is no longer as eager to go there, so i am not dragged to the place anymore. now and again, my friend goes by himself, but no longer tries to get anyone else to accompany him in this quest.

                                          1. re: westsidegal
                                            d
                                            DanielleW Oct 27, 2012 01:16 PM

                                            I've been there a couple times before the baby and it was too much of a nightmare to park and wait, so I agree with Westsidegal that I wouldn't consider bringing the baby.

                                            1. re: DanielleW
                                              PeterCC Oct 27, 2012 03:24 PM

                                              Are you only looking for Friday evening suggestions, because I definitely agree that Chego would be too busy on Friday at 6 PM. On weeknights at 6 PM it hasn't been too bad in my experience, but I haven't been in a while.

                                              1. re: PeterCC
                                                d
                                                DanielleW Oct 29, 2012 12:40 PM

                                                I guess anytime would be fine. My husband didn't like Chego that much when we tried it a year or so ago.

                                2. b
                                  bulavinaka Oct 27, 2012 09:00 AM

                                  Little Osaka is crazy busy right now so I wouldn't typically make a rec in this area, especially considering the OP's baby situation, but Curry House on Sawtelle in Little Osaka is pretty easy on families and their budgets. Park in the sublevel parking, take the elevator up to the second floor, and roll in with the stroller. Most entree items are in the $11-13 range with a few around $20, so it should fit within the OP's parameters. It's not fancy, but the dining room is nice enough given the price range and is very clean. They serve beer, wine and sake as well. Beard Papa is downstairs - not the best of the best cream puffs but worth considering - so a few more bucks get dessert. Balconi coffee is around the corner on Olympic for a really nice cup of coffee.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                    m
                                    maudies5 Oct 27, 2012 10:07 AM

                                    Friends of ours with a baby frequently dine at Fresh Corn Grill. They love it.
                                    http://www.freshcorngrill.com

                                  2. d
                                    DanielleW Oct 29, 2012 12:42 PM

                                    For anyone reading this with the same question, we learned that Sawtelle is really easy go to on Saturday at 11:30am. We parked easily and we were able to go to our restaurant of choice without a problem (Gottsui). The super-popular restaurants already had lines, but the others did not. Anyway, it was a great experience and very baby friendly.

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