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Date Night Recommendation

Hey Hounds,

I'll be visiting a romantic interest in LA for the better part of a week and am looking for a good date night place. We've already made plans for most of my visit but I'd like to take some time to bring her on a proper date and make her feel like a lady.

I'm looking for a restaurant where we can get a little dressy but also be comfortable and intimate. I'm looking to spend up to about $150, but that doesn't mean I have to. My first priority is for the both of us to enjoy the night and have a memorable experience. Neither of us think that great food has to come with a big price tag.

I'm looking outside Downtown LA since that's where we're staying and it'd be nice for a change of pace. A restaurant with an outdoor space/view is a big bonus. We're open to all types of foods. Last criteria is that I'll be able to reserve a table from about one week out.

Some restaurants that I've researched/was suggested were La Botte, Providence, Melisse, and The Bazaar.

Can anyone make any other suggestions or comment on the ones above? Much appreciated.

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  1. Of the ones you mentioned, Melisse and Providence would be my choices. The decor at Melisse is nicer but also more formal. Saddle Peak Lodge is also worth considering if the drive is not an issue for you.

    3 Replies
    1. re: New Trial

      Do you think that $150 will cover Melisse? That might be a tight budget for what they charge, especially if they intend ot have a before dinner drink or a glass of wine with dinner.

      Josie http://www.josierestaurant.com/ would be a good fit for this and downtown I'd be inclined to look at Cafe Pinot http://www.patinagroup.com/restaurant... or Rivera http://www.riverarestaurant.com/ or the newish Bestia http://www.bestiala.com/

      1. re: Servorg

        No, it wouldn't. It'd be more like $150 per person at Melisse. Easily, with alcohol, tax and tip.

        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

          To do Melisse right I think you should get one of the two tasting menus - either "The 10" or the Carte Blanche menu. But the 10 - the less epensive menu - runs 150 per person (or it might have gone up).

          So right there you're at 300 with no wine, tax or tip.

    2. $150 total or $150 per person? If it's the former and you plan on having any alcohol, you'll have a very difficult time sticking to your budget at any of the restaurants you've mentioned (which are all very good). And if Rivera is priced like Playa, you're going have to be fairly careful what you order to get in under budget (unless you both have a relatively small appetite.... I tend to eat a ton of food....).

      It gets mixed on the board, but my friend and I had a wonderful time at Lucques a few yrs ago. The ambiance is exactly what you're looking for (minus the view, although there is a patio), and they do Sunday night set menus that should easily fall w/i your budget....

      2 Replies
      1. re: ilysla

        I meant $150 total but I'm willing to spend more if the experience is really worth it. I would put my upper limit at $250 but we'd really have to have our minds blown.

        We're really looking to stay away from places that are stuffy or could be perceived as pretentious. Thanks for the Lucques suggestion, that looks like it could be promising - can't do much more research while at work.

        I might add that the restaurants I listed (Providence, Melisse, Bazaar) were suggested by a friend who's more into the $$$$ category than I am. I'm definitely looking for more suggestions. Thanks, guys. Appreciate the help.

        1. re: AeneasWalks

          Ah, thanks for the info. Servog's recs come up often when people ask for a Downtown rec. Don't know if a place like a place like Water Grill would be in your budget, but it gets good reviews (I've never been) and is in Downtown, as well.

          If you're looking for casual upscale (and it sounds like you might *not* be looking for that), Wood Spoon and Colori Kitchen are good and easily within your budget, but the ambiance (which is perfectly acceptable for a regular dinner) might be too casual for your purposes. Mo-Chica is tasty, upscale, in Downtown, and should be within your budget, but it's rather loud inside (and thus not particularly romantic).

          Ushuaia (sp?) is an Argentinian steakhouse in Santa Monica. Good food and service and the ambiance and should be barely within your budget. While there definitely seemed to be some people on dates there, there were also a lot of tables of guy seeming to have a boys' night out. Still, I think it's worth a look. The outdoor patio at Hostaria del Piccolo might fit your needs and is also w/i your budget (skip the pizza, stick w/ the pasta, take a romantic walk near the beach afterward).

          Lukshon (Asian fusion) in Culver City would probably also fit within the budget, if you choose carefully and aren't super hungry. I last went several yrs ago, but a few posters have been more recently and said that the quality hasn't declined.

      2. There are hardly any dressy places in LA anymore, but that shouldn't stop you from dressing up as you want. Also, intimate is really hard to find at the hottest places with the best food right now, it's just not the trend.

        Il Piccolo in Venice is small and intimate, food was great but I haven't been in a few years and don't know how it's held up. Il Cielo in Beverly Hills has a very romantic patio with lots of little white lights. Again, haven't been in years, so don't know how the food is anymore. Hotel Bel Air would be the most romantic place I can think of, but it is quite pricey. Wolfgang Puck has redone their restaurant, don't know if they did away with the intimacy it used to have.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

          I was going to recommend Il Cielo. And The Little Door in West Hollywood. Both romantic and nice.

        2. The new Riva Bella on Doheney and Sunset is a really pretty romantic restaurant. I have not eaten there but have heard good things. The Puck restaurant at the Bel Air Hotel is also very romantic. Sam's by the Beach is a very nice Mediteranian option and whle not inexpensive, less than the Bel Air for sure.

          http://www.samsbythebeach.com/239338/...

          1. Not exactly the epitome of Chow-worthy, but I think one of the most romantic spots would be the Restaurant at the Getty. Great way to experience a lot of what LA has to offer: great view, great museum, and horrible traffic.

            Your other options do have better food, but their ambiance and experience is confined to the restaurant itself. If you go to Providence, you go there, eat, and you go home. You can't really walk around outside, and you would just hop back in your car right after dinner.

            Definitely would NOT recommend Water Grill as mentioned above. The new space is cold and more appropriate for business lunches.