HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Places you like but would never spend your own money at?

You know, the perfect "expense account restaurant"?

For me the list would be something like this (probably a few I'm forgetting):

- Pacific Dining Car
- Valentino
- Nick & Stef's
- Bottega Louie
- Craft
- Bestia

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. re: ns1

      My problem with Bazaar is I don't like it.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        I was fine with Bazaar until I got the bill and went home.

    2. Why did Bestia make your list Ipse?

      4 Replies
      1. re: JAB

        Overall I like Bestia, although the food can sometimes be uneven (tasteless pizzas and mushy pastas) but when it hit it's high notes it sparkles.

        With all of that said, if I were spending my owns money, I'd much rather go to Sotto, for arguably the same kind of food but just a wee little better.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Oddly enough, that's kind of how I feel about Sotto except - mushy pizza and tasteless pasta.

          Haven't been to Bestia, (been IN, but haven't tried the food) but I was looking forward to it. Now, not so much.

        2. re: JAB

          Darn, I was really looking forward to Bestia in a couple weeks for a birthday (I'm paying).

          1. re: granadafan

            Doubt that it is that expensive. Have friends who go there once a week. They are not super-rich, but love the food

        3. Mastro's
          The Ivys

          I'm noticing a steakhouse theme here.

            1. re: la2tokyo

              Farmshop? They're not exactly pricey.

              1. re: foodiemahoodie

                Strictly in response to the OP's question, there are places that I like but I can't justify spending the prices they are asking because the dining experience doesn't justify the price. I would rather spend $400 at Melisse than $150 on dinner at Farmshop. At Melisse I feel like the price is justified. $40pp brunch (when you add coffee, pastry, tax and tip) served at a communal picnic table at Farmshop is not something that I really feel satisfied treating myself to if money is tight. That said, I still like the food.

            2. Mastro's, Nobu Malibu

                    1. Curious about your including Bottega Louie, as it's like a third of the price of most others on the list.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JeMange

                        i suspect anyone i took to bottega louie would not speak to me again regardless of whether or not i picked up the check.

                        1. re: JeMange

                          It's good for breakfast, esp. in the DTLA area, if you need a more formal setting and don't want to hit up a hotel. That's what I like about it.

                          It's either them or PDC, which is also on the list for some of the same reasons.

                          1. Room service at a bungalow at the Bel Air Hotel.

                            Fireplace lit, Hors d’oeuvres,delivered along with a magnum of Cristal champagne.

                            Yes, it really happened to me on my birthday a while ago.

                            Tomorrow, I will probably buy a Filet-of-Fish meal from McD's;

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: Gypsy Jan

                              Who's paying for the Filet-O-Fish?

                              I'm happy to pick up the tab on that, if you can't find a buyer.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Sounds like a shameless, plaintive wail groveling for cheap fringe benefits.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  I thought they just rolled out doubles on the FOF!!!

                                2. re: Gypsy Jan

                                  Oh, but *so* memorable :).
                                  Happy Birthday.

                                3. How do you know you like it if you've never spent your own money on it? Those of us not fortunate enough to have company dinners that is... ;)

                                  Places I would probably not spend my own money on again due to poor QPR but would no doubt go to if someone else was paying:


                                  There are probably rules against expensing a place like Urasawa though.

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    There are probably rules against expensing a place like Urasawa though.


                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Companies watching their bottom line? My friends who take out clients usually have a cap on per person food cost and also alcohol cost.

                                      Wouldn't everyone pick Urasawa for an expense account dinner then if there are no rules?

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        Well, no.

                                        There are lots of decisions that go behind picking a business or client dinner (or meal).

                                        Sometimes, it's about cuisine (not everyone likes Japanese, kaiseiki or even sushi -- amazing, but true).

                                        Other times it's about time (some people don't want to spend 2-3 hours on a meal).

                                        Then there are those who have to dine at a "name" place like Spago or CUT.

                                        There's also those who demand an extensive wine list.

                                        Plus, you factor in that it's not always dinner -- sometimes it's lunch.

                                        So, no, it really isn't about always picking the most expensive restaurant.

                                        (As an aside, we have no cap, but that doesn't mean we can just willy-nilly expense everything.)

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          to add to your list:
                                          taking out a low-probability prospect, is different than taking out a newly landed client who just plunked down a few million dollars with your firm.
                                          taking out a very well-known, well-respected, client who is happy with your firm and who has recommended your firm to others is very different than taking out a group of prospects who will be trying to steal the cutlery/napkins during the meal.

                                          also, for some prospects/clients the relationship would be strengthened by a long leisurely meal, for others it would be weakened

                                          also, some prospects/clients have never experienced a high-end restaurant and would be embarrassed because they wouldn't know how to conduct themselves. you don't take prospects or clients who have never traveled nor consumed fine wine to a restaurant that revolves around the wine list and then subject them to stories about the Loire Valley

                                    2. re: Porthos

                                      Every single one of my 7+ visits to Urasawa has been on a company account. Technically, I've never spent a cent there.

                                      1. re: J.L.

                                        That just means you're a whale JL :)

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          wouldn't it be lovely to be a whale?

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            Not a whale, just blessed... :-)

                                    3. Capo
                                      Geoffreys (I love the view, would never pay for the food)

                                        1. Urasawa. Been a few times, but next time - it's on someone else's dime.

                                          Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas. Never again!

                                          Unless I ain't payin'.

                                          1. And possibly Mori's.

                                            The last six times I swore I wouldn't go back. Love the food, just a bit stymied by the ever-fluctuating pricing structure.

                                            But if someone else is picking up the bill? Great!

                                            1. Totoraku and any high-end sushi place

                                                  1. re: granadafan

                                                    Was just coming to post this. I like it, but not enough to pay.