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Restaurant to host dinner party

We are coming down from San Francisco to host a party for 8 good friends in LA - so 10 in all. All are sophisticated albeit irreverent eaters and requirement # one is for fantastic, preferably innovative food and seamless service. Pretensions will be skewered by this group. We will all order our own meals, although a tasting menu is possible with flexibility for a shellfish allergy. A private room for our small party is preferable so we can actually hear each other talk. A boisterous place won't work for this. Expensive is fine. Several couples are coming from the valley and one from Beverly Hills and one from Orange County - so Central location would be nice.

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    1. re: adelly

      Thanks. Providence looks too shellfish heavy for one of our dinners with an extreme allergy, but Hatfield's looks perfect. Will call them to check out the private rooms.

      1. re: adelly

        Some time back you recommended Hatfields in response to my post for a place with wonderful food and a private dining room and others concurred. I took your recommendation and the party was tonight. I just wanted to tell you that the food was stellar - everyone enjoyed their selections with the date crusted lamb chops the star - altho the goat cheese pannacota hors d'ouvres were wonderful too, as was the Branzino Main Course and the Lemon Tart - well it was all great. The private room is lovely and they set it up as specified. The service was perfect - attentive but not intrusive. You did well by us with this recommendation and I am very grateful to you for responding to my post.

        1. re: jerdberg

          Thanks for reporting back, and glad you had a smooth event.

      2. Lucques would be my recommendation. Marvelous food, beautiful patio setting and excellent service. I have been to large and small dinner parties at Lucques and all have been beautifully executed.

        2 Replies
        1. re: maudies5

          This looks like a real possible. Will check it out. Thank you.

          1. re: jerdberg

            You might also want to look into Jar.
            They set up an area in the lounge for dinner parties.

              1. Melisse, n/naka or Providence.

                Melisse and Providence both received 2 Michelin stars when Michelin was rating L.A. - and both have actually improved since then.

                But any of the three with survive scrutiny by serious foodies. And you should have a great time.

                And Providence will be able to accommodate your shell-fish allergic friend handily without taking the whole table down with it. No problem. (I've been there with a date, who brought her girlfriend who was vegetarian - who said she had the best meal of her life. ). I've had a similar experience at Melisse. Haven't had that experience at n/naka - but they have a vegetarian menu - so between that and their other offerings, substituting shellfish with something shouldn't be a problem. If I had to choose, I'd choose Melisse - but generally I got to all three of those restaurants every couple months. Some other recommendations - I've only been to once (none were bad, or close to bad, but they didn't spark that "OHMYGODAREYOUKIDDING?!" party in your mouth like the three above.

                Also - I'm not sure what you would consider pretentious, but seeing you're from S.F. - though I wouldn't call COI pretentious, I would say it appeals more to a sense of creativity than all-out, bang-your-head-on-table deliciousness.

                1. Agreed with foodiemahoodie that if price is truly of no concern, then Melisse, by a mile, imo.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: whiner

                    Menu looks wonderful and they have a small private room so I've sent an e-mail and will check out availability.

                  2. There certainly are lots of other options at Providence other than shellfish.....especially if you're ordering off the menu.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: perk

                      We had the party at Hatfields this weekend. The restaurant handled everything superbly, from the food to the service to the setup of the private room (which is lovely and open yet quiet. Best of all, they treated us like kings even though we were a small group and only just made the minimum charge for the room.