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DineLA Returns January 2013

DineLA is returning for the new year January 21st-Feburary 1st 2013. List of restaurants is at this link. Long list:

May the drooling begin now

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  1. Thanks. The participants are excellent. Looking forward to seeing the menus.

    1 Reply
    1. re: maudies5

      A few menus are up (Blue PlateTaco & Oysterette this year) but most are coming soon.

    2. i was just reading the dine la list. any thoughts about the true bargains on this list? i just moved to los angeles a month ago and given the daunting size of the list, im finding it a tad bit overwhelming. i live downtown so i would sort of like to try something that isn't in my living quarters, if you will.

      1. Only ones that are interesting to me...

        Fig & Olive
        Maison Akira

        2 Replies
        1. re: ns1

          menus up for all of mine except Sotto.

          my god they look awesome.

          1. re: ns1

            sotto's menu is up now and i plan to go for lunch.

        2. Am I reading correctly that Fogo de Chao is only $25 for lunch? Heck might have to make the trek to Bev Hills for once.

          So far I'm interested in The Bazaar as well, not sure what else I may try.

          Any other good recommendations for lunch?

          1. I must say, I'm shocked at the lack of discussion on this topic. I was hoping to get some good info. Let me rephrase that, I was hoping to get a lot of good information.

            As for Bazaar...two friends of mine when during DineLA last year and they LOVED it but they ended up spending an additional $150 by the end of the night for additional dishes and of course, drinks. They felt it was money well spent.

            6 Replies
            1. re: bohemiana

              I went to Bazaar on DineLA a few years ago and had to do the same thing - the DineLA deal simply isn't enough food. We probably spent close to 200-250pp by the time the night was over.

              I got my rez for Picca, trying to make it to Fogo de Chao for lunch...ran out of money so more selections next time!

              1. re: bohemiana

                The DineLA event hasn't started yet; what were you expecting people to post?

                After a couple less-than-satsifactory DineLA experiences, I don't really find it particularly interesting. Admittedly, I went to places that weren't necessarily highly recommended (or weren't recommended at all), since I had a difficult time convincing my friends to go otherwise (we went to BLVD 16, Drago Ristorante, Le Saint Amour).

                The prices seemed good compared to the regular menu, but I sometimes wondered if they were offering an inferior "replacement" of a regular menu item (esp BLVD 16). The only place I enjoyed was Le Saint Amour, and that place has already closed down.

                I'd only go to places that I've eaten at previously and enjoyed or that are well-received on Chowhound (independent of DineLA pricing). The rest of the restaurants seem very "meh" to me....

                1. re: bohemiana

                  Sorry, no information here. I stopped going to DineLA events. I think the point of this whole thing is for people to try new restaurants that they couldn't otherwise, but whenever I went in the past, I rarely felt that their offerings were representative of the place. I would usually just go off the menu, so for me, there really wasn't any point in dealing with the DineLA crowds.

                  1. re: bohemiana

                    I also went to bazaar awhile back during dineLA. While I was impressed with the food initially, we ended up ordering a large number of items from their normal menu because portions were just too small.

                    A few other dineLA experiences were similar so I stopped going as often. i'd rather pay more for more food and less crowds. That's just me though.

                    1. re: bohemiana

                      bohemiana - I did Bazaar a few years ago (when they let you get more items) and I think it was and still is the best meal I have ever had. I added a couple of things but not too much. It worked for us.
                      This year, I have reservations at Lawry's (I need to have that delectable lobster tail again) and Red O.

                      1. re: WildSwede

                        The menu for Red O looks amazing. I've always wanted to go there. Are Hounds still giving the thumbs up to Red O?

                    2. Craft has a really nice dinner menu and at $45 it's a bargain.


                      5 Replies
                        1. re: wienermobile

                          We go to Craft just about every DineLA event and spend about 125 with drinks. I couldn't afford $200 plus bill otherwise. The service there is fantastic with attentive servers yet they don't breathe down your neck. The food certainly lives up to its well-deserved reputation.

                          1. re: wienermobile

                            Agreed, we've been to Craft a couple times for DLA and always enjoyed it.

                            1. re: wienermobile

                              Went to Craft last night. As always, the room, the service (up to a point, and I will address that in a sec), and the food was wonderful. They do dineLA well. However, I glanced at the time when we were wrapping up and only an hour had passed. With an amuse, appetizers, entrees, desserts (and we ordered some supplemental ice cream), coffee, and mignardises, I would have expected the meal to linger on a bit longer. I didn't really notice, but some of my dining companions were a bit put off by the feeling of being rushed. Having said that, it remains one of the few dineLA experiences that I feel drawn to return to year after year.

                              I really miss the dineLA lunch at Spago. Now, that was a treat.

                              1. re: wienermobile

                                Went to Craft last night for DineLA and DEFINITELY felt rushed. Also they somehow managed not to validate my parking ticket and so I spent $12 on parking. Spent $86 each (not including parking)

                              2. I spent about an hour looking at the DineLA menus compared to the regular menus and found a couple of good deals as far as economics is concerned. I only looked into the menus and specific dishes that appealed to me.

                                Craft looks like a good deal as the regular price off the menu is about $60 for those selections.

                                Also, Caulfield's looks like an awesome deal as an average of the 4 selections add up to about $69. (There's not much on Chowhound about this restaurant. Any comments?)

                                I went to Spago last year on DineLA and was very happy. I've been twice before (not with DineLA) and I felt the selections were equally as good however the portions not as large as the regular menu.

                                1. What's pretty annoying is that there are restaurants STILL without a menu available to look at. Places like Nick and Stefs, Amalfi, 3twenty wine lounge, and Della Terra have dropped the ball. We'll skip these restaurants. Pity.

                                  1. I've had good and bad experiences in the past...however, the last couple were truly poor (especially Chinois on Main). The portions were half the normal size, and many of the dishes were nothing like their regular offerings. Other restaurants basically just throw in a free desert...I don't know about everyone else on this board, but I'd rather have the freedom to choose from the entire menu and just share a desert of my choice for a few dollars more.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: manku

                                      thank you so much for warning me about chinois.
                                      just switched out that lunch in favor of Kiriko.

                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                        Three course lunch w/ sake pairings? Switching out Father's Office dinner for Kiriko lunch!

                                        1. re: willworkforcheese

                                          i'm not sure that the sake pairings would be included in the dinela price (i sort of doubt that they would).
                                          if that's what swayed you, contact the restaurant to confirm.

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            Thanks for the clarification, westsidegal. You are correct, sake is extra.

                                        2. re: westsidegal

                                          As it turns out the wifey is going to kiriko tonight for dinner...will report back.

                                          the smoked salmon w/ cavier is a supplement @ $30...66% of the dinela cost itself O_O

                                        3. re: manku

                                          We did Chinois for lunch at a recent DineLA and had a very good experience. In my opinion the portions were not downsized, though they did sub flank steak for the usual filet in the grilled beef in szechwan sauce. But if my memory is correct the lunch menu included dessert?

                                        4. My choices are Father's Office & Lukshon for great bicycle date nights w/ hubs, Fogo de Chao lunch to stuff ourselves silly, & Post & Beam which i've wanted to try.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: willworkforcheese

                                            I did Lukshon for dinner at last years DineLA and it was great.

                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                              Had a great DineLa experience at Lukshon last night. Food was great, portions were generous, service was professional & attentive. Highlights were the Chinese eggplant-such savory umami flavor for a no meat dish & the grilled squid salad-bright beautiful flavors with a perfect balance of sweetness & acidity. We ordered a supplementary black rice dish & left fully sated.

                                              Planning on going back for lunch tomorrow!

                                          2. I usually hate dineLA menus, but I really enjoyed Night+Market's the last time around, because they introduced new dishes. Looks like Lukshon is doing something similar. But usually the dineLA choice is Fogo, because it's the same for less.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: chrishei

                                              Try Libra in Culver City. I went for DineLA (lunch) last year and it was fantastic - and it is $10 less than Fogo.

                                              1. re: WildSwede

                                                I've been to Libra - it's pretty good.

                                            2. DineLA is a waste of time and effort. From my past experiences, the little savings is not worth dealing with the limited menus, bad service, often times smaller portions, and the crowds. I'd much rather visit a restaurant I like on a normal night and order from the regular menu.

                                              If getting a free dessert (usually what the savings totals up to about) is that important of a factor in trying a restaurant, then DineLA might work for you.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: TailbackU

                                                I agree...Spago was actually a terrific deal a few years back, especially at lunch (28)...and you could use the WP cards from costco for an additional 20% savings!

                                                Of course, now that Spago is now a "farm-to-table" (I guess going to Chino Farms for the past 15 years didn't count) restaurant with black and white decor and trendy art on the wall, it is no longer in Dine LA :(

                                                1. re: TailbackU

                                                  I agree. The portions seem much smaller, the dishes less work to make. You'd be much better off spending even $10 a person more to get the good stuff.