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!8 year old goddaughter for "cool" LA dinner

My goddaughter will be in LA for her 18th birthday and wants to have dinner at the "coolest" place there. Suggestions please.

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  1. price range? what's her favorite band or musician?

    1. Price range? What sort of food does she like? What defines, "cool"? People-watching? Cutting-edge food? Sleek, modern decor? Don't know about places that play loud music, but I agree with raizans that favorite music might be an indicator of taste... if cool = Justin Bieber we're dealing with a completely different animal than if cool = The Rolling Stones.

      1. The "coolest" place in LA changes on a weekly basis. If she's into Justin Bieber cool, watch TMZ tomorrow and note which restaurant he just assaulted a photographer outside of.

        If price is no object, she's sophisticated and loves food, and she wants a once in a lifetime thang when she's only 18, well, go straight to Urusawa.

        Otherwise, and I'm thinking back to being 18, when atmosphere mattered more than recipes...I'd go with something like Musso and Frank, the Rainbow, the Dresden, El Coyote, or the like, so you can say, "this rock star/director/actress ate here, died right over there, and this scene of that movie was filmed here and there..."

        I think that'll have more lasting, memorable cool cachet than the gastropub of the week that'll be closed next year. Or, if she's shallow, Katsu-ya on H'wood/Vine. There will be a celeb there.

        1. They want to see celebrities and people not too far from their own age. (but older, fashionable). You know, 40 something is okay, Kirk Douglas? Prolly not.

          Katusuya in Brentwood? Haven't been there in a year or so and that's plenty of time for a place to change.

          They might find the Chateau Marmont to be fun.

          Or Madeo - find all manners of celebs there. And Giorgios in Santa Monica Canyon. I see a lot of young, hip (and usually Asian) at Providence. And almost anything downtown is cool, but not a celebrity in sight.

          1 Reply
          1. re: foodiemahoodie

            Yeah, my first instinct was to focus on vibe more than anything and suggest a downtown place like Umamicatessan or The Gorbals. Maybe Bar Ama.

          2. Gjelina Venice. "Cool" with actually affordable great food. Make sure to make a reservation.

            1. Probably Mr Chow or Nobu in Malibu.

              1. Check out Eveleigh on Sunset.

                1. Gjelina, definitely Gjelina.

                  1. Kind of a tough one. Do you really try to find the coolest spot? Or do you try to find a compromise of decent food, possible cool people sighting?

                    1. Gjelina and a stroll along Abbott Kinney should be pretty cool.

                      1. THanks for all the help. She is a rather sophisiticated 18 year old; elite school; older sibs in SF and Portland; international travel; not sure about the music but I would guess JT, Maroon5, fun, some indie stuff - definitely NOT Bieber. Food is probably less important than attitude. I am in FL and haven't been to LA in five years so no clue. Gjelina looks like a good bet.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: cwmcm54

                          Gjelina is a great idea, assuming she's not a super picky eater, since they have a strict no modifications / deletions / substitutions policy. My friend has teenaged nieces who love going there when they come to visit. You may see a celebrity or two, but there will definitely be lots of hip, attractive LA types (patrons and staff). And strolling Abbot Kinney beforehand would also be fun for her.

                          1. re: cwmcm54

                            Gjelina *might* be a good idea in the direction of "cool". But, personally, I'm not that impressed with Gjelina -- neither the food nor the "coolness" factor -- but I'm also from SF and my standards may be very different.

                            In another direction, I agree with the poster who suggested Bazaar would be wonderful (though expensive).

                            Agreed that Katsuya on Hollywood/Vine will have a celeb.

                            But, all that said, my #1 choice would be: ink. Wonderful, creative-but-rustic food, young crowd, minimalist design. While there is no guarantee of a young celeb sighting, it wouldn't be surprising. (Susan Sarandon's daughter Eva loves it.)

                            1. re: whiner

                              i'd argue that there's nothing cool about gjelina unless you're a hipster. i love the food there. never my first thought when i'm thinking cool.

                            2. re: cwmcm54

                              Gjelina wouldn't be cool to an 18 year old. It's loud, they get you in and out as quickly as possible, and there are locals there, but no celebs. It's a cool place for 40 year olds.

                              1. re: yogachik

                                I go to Gjelina strictly for the food.

                                But I did see Luke Wilson dining at the communal table just 2 seats from me one Sunday brunch.

                                I also read somewhere a few celebs are moving into that area thus making them "locals".

                              2. re: cwmcm54

                                i imagine she'd like something nyt magazine-ish, like l & e oyster bar (stick to the oysters) or bestia.

                                  1. re: Servorg

                                    IMO, many of the "cool" kids in LA don't view downtown as cool, so it might not make the cut for an 18yo.
                                    Since the OP thinks Gelina has the right vibe, I also agree with the recs for Nobu on La Cienega or the Chateau Marmont (too bad Lindsay Lohan is banned, but there's some guaranteed atmosphere regardless.)
                                    Mr. Chow is guaranteed for celebrities, but might fall flat on coolness.
                                    Osteria Mozza, Fig and Olive, or Ink might do as well.

                                    Personally I would take an 18yo to the Chateau. Exclusive, celebrities, famous / notorious, relaxing, and there's nothing else quite like it in LA.

                                    1. re: cls

                                      My standard reply to those "young people need ultra cool restaurant" was always Koi http://www.koirestaurant.com/los_ange... on La Cienega. But I have no idea if that would still be a good recommendation or not?

                                      1. re: cls

                                        cool can mean a lot of things. i get the impression that her preferences are different from the stereotypical celebrity, wealth, and glamour obsessed teenager, though i'm not sure about maroon 5 and timberlake....

                                1. bazaar.

                                  one of the coolest looking rooms in the city. you'll get different opinions on the food but i can't imagine that she'd be disappointed.

                                  1. If she's 18 years old I doubt she'll find Gjelina very "cool" (unless she's a hipster type), meaning she wants music in the background, the "typical LA experience", young people eating and partying and the chance to end up on TMZ.

                                    So yeah, Katsuya or the Bazaar. I'm thinking the Bazaar would be best for the interesting molecular type of things they do with the food, the nightlife aspect of it since its young and hot beverly hills, the crazy decorations, monitors, statues and that store they have for browsing.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Xericx

                                      Katsuya Hollywood would probably be the "coolest".

                                      I don't know if anyone has noticed but the crowd at Bazaar and the bar is mid 30's to 50's. Don't know if that is "cool" or "young" for a 18 year old.

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        the food is "cool looking" and something she can instagram to her friends as is the atmosphere...all crazy weird spanish style modern art, bentleys and aston martins out front, etc.

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          As I've thought more about it, I'm more and more inclined to side with Bazaar. I've seen lots of people there my age (mid twenties to early thirties).

                                          Also, still would consider Katsuya as a second choice for the people-watching aspect.

                                      2. Another choice - the food truck night on Abott Kinney. I think it's the first Friday of every month.

                                        1. How about Coachella? It hardly gets any cooler.
                                          April 12-14, 19-21.



                                          1. Book the entire room at Red Medicine and have Justin Timberlake perform.