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Any affordable places where you can dress up?

The girl I'm dating wants to dress up classy for tonight, but I can't find a place to take her that isn't really expensive. I'm a college student so $50 or less for dinner would be ideal. She isn't a big fan of seafood. Pretty much anywhere in the Greater Los Angeles area I think would be fine as long as its about a 30 minute drive from Glendale.Are there any restaurants where we wouldn't be out of place being dressed up but still keep it affordable? ($10-15 per entree would be ideal, maybe a little more if necessary.)

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  1. Try Barones in the valley....there is usually music and dancing as well. Swiss Chef is another option but a little pricier. The chef comes out and sings!

    2 Replies
    1. re: chewbacca

      I happen to love the pizza at Barones. One of my all time favorites, just below La Barbaras. However, to dress up for Barones kind of seems like dressing up for Sizzler.

      1. re: chewbacca

        "The chef comes out and sings!"

        Wow, that must be a tough job. Having to cook everyone's dinner, then go out and sing. I can only imagine that the chef is very enthusiastic about this arrangement.

      2. Can't quite recall what it costs, but on Friday and Saturday nights at Carousel in Glendale - Brand Blvd. they have a set menu, all you can eat of pretty much all their greatest hits, a band, dancing and a crowd that dresses up for the occasion.

        1 Reply
        1. re: estone888

          I think Carousel is a fine idea. An older crowd in general, but not geriatric (nothing wrong with either of those things, just stating). Unique experience in LA. Though, I will say that the dressing up at Carousel seems a bit to do with cultural norms, but it certainly classes the place up.

          Note: it can be loud.

        2. This is quite a challenge and possibly an oxymoron - price and dressy usually go hand in hand.

          Trying to think of an exception - a grand venue that's not pricey. I can't. I'm following this thread to see if you've stumped the board.

          1. DineLA, find a place with $35 dinners and it'll be $70 + tax/tip. There's a few $25 options in there but I took a quick look and I think "dressy" would be overstating it...

            Probably as good as it's going to get...


            1. This is definitely a challenge. Would it be acceptable to go to a classy restaurant that allows for casual dress? I've done that in the past; dressed up with my date to go to a restaurant that doesn't necessarily require formal, but fits with it. I'm thinking specifically of Taix. You can dinner there for sub-$50 and enjoy live music and a subdued and quirky ambiance. Cafe Beaufolais in Eagle Rock is another such option, though they might be a little pricier. For your instance, the drawback of either place is that you very well might see someone at the next table in shorts and flip-flops.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lastofthepirates

                Cafe Beaujolais is pricier, and considerably more rowdy, at least the last two times we've gone there. Tables of people screaming to each other, and spotty service. The food has gone downhill, too.

                We like Taix, and the food is definitely both reasonably priced and quite good, as old-fashioned French goes. La Vie is another favorite, and we always dress up a bit for it, although we're often surrounded by folks in sweats and jeans. But this is SoCal, kids …

              2. I think you could get dressed up for La Vie and not feel out of place, esp. at night.

                And it's definitely within budget.

                La Vie
                2547 San Gabriel Blvd, Rosemead
                (626) 571-1180

                1. How about AOC? Two small plates apiece and a shared dessert would get you out the door for about $60, I'd say. Wine and tip rapidly ups the ante...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: silence9

                    two small plates and a shared dessert at AOC would have me starving at the end of the meal.
                    also, the publicity/show business crowd that feels that designer jeans is what you wear to everything except an opening or a charity event seemed to dominate the scene there a couple of years ago.

                      1. re: TonyC

                        Not quite yet (unless something has changed since this past Thursday). The move is taking a tad longer than expected so they are still open in the old location for the while.

                    1. I've seen people dressed up at Dominick's in West Hollywood. It should be pretty close to your budget.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: whatsfordinner

                        And keep Dominick's Sunday supper in mind for the future.

                        Three courses, good stuff, for $15 and discounted bottles of beer or wine. A really fun place.


                      2. Head down to Taix, an easy hop on the 2 freeway from Glendale. Get the Roast Chicken with pommes frites for $14, and $4 gets you a salad on the side and their great clam chowder.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jackattack

                          That's two for Taix, gspar93. I say check it out. Live music is great. Look for Matt VanWinkle on their calendar.

                          1. re: jackattack

                            Thanks for the suggestion i really like it. I most likely going to head here.

                          2. You do have a pretty tall order Gspar, but I do have a couple places in mind (3 actually). Top of the list for value is Luca's in Toluca Lake, particularly if you arrive before 7. Any pasta dish, salad and a glass of house wine for $14.50. A later time for dinner will cost more of course but still very affordable. It's a very cute little place, low lit in the evening and you should feel quite comfortable dressed up. Next I'm thinking of a very pretty South American restaurant on Silver Lake Blvd. called El Caserio that should fit your budget nicely. I've always enjoyed the food there as well. Lastly, and a bit (but not much) pricier is the hip and happening (for Highland Park at least) Maximiliano's on York. You won't feel in the least out of place putting on the dog dress-wise there. And M.'s pork and chicken entrees are super, and good value as well. Have a great date.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: bechamelmacho

                              I did not know of Luca's and yow! That before 7pm special looks amazing!

                              Any of the pasta's you especially rec?


                              1. re: happybaker

                                I've liked the fettucine alla funghi and the penne alla vodka
                                a lot, but everything I've sampled has been very acceptable.

                                1. re: bechamelmacho

                                  Thank you!

                                  I'm a sucker for funghi....

                            2. Thanks for all the suggestions. I will probably end up going to Taix restaurant, but I will keep the other places in mind for future dates.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: gspar93

                                Please let us know where you went and how it was!

                                1. re: happybaker

                                  I went to Taix in Glendale. It was great! Pretty romantic. It was candle lit dinner couldnt have asked for anything better. The food was good and she loved it.

                                  1. re: gspar93


                                    Glad to know the evening went well and thank you so much for letting us all know!

                                2. How about the Smoke House in Burbank? It's an old school steak house that isn't too expensive, and they have great music on Friday nights. The last time we ate there on a Friday, the lead singer of the band said he used to open for Sinatra.


                                  P.S. I think the food at the Smoke House is much better than Taix.

                                  1. I have not been myself, but based on everything I've read Dal Rae sounds like it would be a fun place to get dressed up. Taylor's too, but that might be a bit more than you want to spend.


                                    1. Check out Far Niente.

                                      The entrees are out of your price range but the pasta dishes are ok. If you go ask for the cheese when you sit down.

                                      1. I gave up all hope about 12 years ago...we went to Patina (on Melrose), and a there was a couple next to us...the guy was wearing a baseball cap and sleeveless workout shirt (like a basketball shirt, but more material)...he also, not surprisingly, sat on the wall side, facing out (call me old fashioned, but in my book the woman always sits against the wall).

                                        It was so disheartening that I almost never go to any "fine dining" restaurants in LA anymore - it really spoils the mood!

                                        I'm not expecting people to wear tuxes, or even ties when dining out, but make some kind of effort. Probably an uphill battle, though. I was a guest at Brentwood CC for their annual hanukah party last month...they have a fairly standard cc dress code (not hats indoors, no cargo pants/shorts, tucked in shirts, no jeans)...many of the men were wearing jeans, sneakers and untucked dress shirts (the uniform of the LA man)...I was really surprised that the club didn't say anything.

                                        1. If you want to dress up, just do it, and don't worry about being out of place. People will just assume you're going somewhere fancy afterwards.

                                          LA is pretty casual in general -- there are very few places where jacket and tie are required, and also very few places where you'd be out of place in blue jeans and a button down shirt with no tie. But I don't think you'll get too many weird looks if you dress up.

                                          Also, if you go dutch, maybe you can increase your budget (especially since she's the one who wants to go somewhere fancy).

                                          What about going somewhere lowbrow for dinner and then going somewhere fancy for drinks afterwards?

                                          1. I would say Bottega Louie in DTLA. Be warned, though, it's very loud.