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

ipsedixit Apr 17, 2013 08:18 AM

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. g
    granadafan Apr 20, 2013 05:15 PM

    I'd add Red O to the list.

    1 Reply
    1. re: granadafan
      LuluTheMagnificent Apr 22, 2013 07:57 AM

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

    2. Ashibi Apr 20, 2013 07:47 AM


      1. e
        Ernie Apr 20, 2013 07:33 AM

        Totoraku and any high-end sushi place

        1. f
          foodiemahoodie Apr 19, 2013 01:02 AM

          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. f
            foodiemahoodie Apr 19, 2013 01:01 AM

            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. r
              rickym13 Apr 18, 2013 10:31 PM


              1. y
                yogachik Apr 18, 2013 07:17 PM

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

                1. Porthos Apr 17, 2013 10:23 PM

                  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
                    ipsedixit Apr 18, 2013 07:49 AM

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


                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      Porthos Apr 18, 2013 08:26 AM

                      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
                        ipsedixit Apr 18, 2013 08:31 AM

                        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
                          westsidegal Apr 18, 2013 09:37 AM

                          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
                      J.L. Apr 18, 2013 06:19 PM

                      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.
                        Porthos Apr 18, 2013 06:49 PM

                        That just means you're a whale JL :)

                        1. re: Porthos
                          westsidegal Apr 19, 2013 12:01 AM

                          wouldn't it be lovely to be a whale?

                          1. re: westsidegal
                            J.L. Apr 19, 2013 12:23 AM

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

                            1. re: J.L.
                              Porthos Apr 19, 2013 07:28 AM

                              Blessed whale! ;-)

                    3. Gypsy Jan Apr 17, 2013 08:57 PM

                      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
                        ipsedixit Apr 17, 2013 09:05 PM

                        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
                          Veggo Apr 18, 2013 08:19 AM

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

                          1. re: Veggo
                            ipsedixit Apr 18, 2013 08:24 AM

                            Who said I was shameful?

                          2. re: ipsedixit
                            SilverlakeGirl Apr 18, 2013 06:04 PM

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

                          3. re: Gypsy Jan
                            latindancer Apr 17, 2013 09:07 PM

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

                          4. A5 KOBE Apr 17, 2013 02:09 PM


                            1. JeMange Apr 17, 2013 02:02 PM

                              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
                                linus Apr 17, 2013 03:05 PM

                                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
                                  ipsedixit Apr 17, 2013 03:46 PM

                                  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.

                                2. westsidegal Apr 17, 2013 01:45 PM


                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                    bagel20 Apr 17, 2013 10:14 PM


                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                      Ashibi Apr 20, 2013 07:39 AM

                                      second that!

                                    2. boogiebaby Apr 17, 2013 01:11 PM

                                      Go's Mart

                                      1. w
                                        whiner Apr 17, 2013 12:47 PM

                                        Mastro's, Nobu Malibu

                                        1. l
                                          la2tokyo Apr 17, 2013 11:45 AM


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: la2tokyo
                                            foodiemahoodie Apr 19, 2013 01:01 AM

                                            Farmshop? They're not exactly pricey.

                                            1. re: foodiemahoodie
                                              la2tokyo Apr 20, 2013 10:54 AM

                                              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. cookie monster Apr 17, 2013 11:40 AM

                                            The Ivys

                                            I'm noticing a steakhouse theme here.

                                            1. JAB Apr 17, 2013 10:18 AM

                                              Why did Bestia make your list Ipse?

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: JAB
                                                ipsedixit Apr 17, 2013 10:34 AM

                                                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
                                                  foodiemahoodie Apr 19, 2013 12:58 AM

                                                  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
                                                  granadafan Apr 20, 2013 05:14 PM

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

                                                  1. re: granadafan
                                                    maudies5 Apr 20, 2013 08:44 PM

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

                                                3. n
                                                  ns1 Apr 17, 2013 09:52 AM

                                                  add bazaar to the list

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: ns1
                                                    ipsedixit Apr 17, 2013 10:08 AM

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

                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                                      ns1 Apr 17, 2013 10:10 AM

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

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