ISO: Group of 12-14, close to Metro (Red/Purple), talkable, under $20 per person
I've been charged with getting a group together for brunch or lunch on Sunday, April 14. Ages 25-35, WeHo/Silverlake/DTLA crowd. I have been trying to figure this out, but it's proving harder than I thought.
Here is the task:
1. Somewhere b/n West Hollywood and Downtown LA. People are coming from both locations.
2. Easily walkable from the Red or Purple Metro lines. There are a couple LA newbies, and I don't want anyone to have to hoof it if they're taking public transit.
3. Can comfortably accommodate 12-14 people without splitting up tables or causing the waitstaff to hate me.
4. $-$$. Affordable is great -- around $20 per person (incl tip) would be fantastic.
5. Takes reservations. Otherwise I'll have to show up an hour early.
6. Diner or New American would be good. Next time, I'm sending the group to dim sum. I want to do something more accessible for the first time out.
7. Nothing too loud -- we're getting together to talk. Sorry Wurstküche.
8. Vegetarian options. Doesn't have to be half the menu, but I don't want the veg folks to starve. Sorry Phillipe's.
HOUNDS -- ONLY YOU CAN SAVE ME! I have faith in your wisdom. Fire away.
Just enjoyed lunch @ Ray's and while it's a delightful place, particularly if visiting the museum, it is in fact a splurge for lunch. Unless diners are having either pizza, pasta or a single appetizer and nothing but water to drink, it will come in well above OP's budget of $20 a person all in. (Pastas are around 18, pizza which can be shared is 15, but all entrees are over 20).
Guelaguetza isn't diner or New American, but the food is distinctive and Oaxacan is unusual, but also not too out-there for people unfamiliar with it.
Location generally fits, though it is a little walk (.8 mile) from the Wilshire/Normandie station. It is easily accessible by bus from downtown (the bus stops right across Olympic from LA Live). The price works as well. Plenty of vegetarian options.
They can set up a large table in the middle of the main room. I did a lunch there for out-of-towners staying mainly downtown and it went over great.
The only possible issue is that they may have mariachi music on Sunday, so it could be noisier than on other days.
try reserving the patio at Desert Rose on Hillhurst in Los Feliz. The food is Cal-Med, staid but perfectly fine. I was going to suggest Korean bbq but under $20 will only get you grisly meat & unappetizing banchan.
I might also consider Wood Spoon, but I fear their menu is too meat-oriented for the veg folks even though are some interesting non-vegetarian side dishes at Wood Spoon.