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Apr 20, 2013 08:25 AM

Quiet but not boring restaurants in Westside - Help on dining with my mother-in-law

I need some lunch or dinner recommendations with my mother-in-law. She is 97 years old living at an assisted living in Santa Monica. She is in remarkable health but having difficulty with hearing.

We like to take her out once a week or two weeks, but it is always a challenge to find quiet restaurants. Born and raised in Washington D.C., she likes Americanized Chinese, Italian, steak, crab cakes, McD, In-n-Out, and, of course, general American food. I once made an error by taking her to a dim sum in Chinatown (too noisy and too foreign) and Fig at Fairmont (too weird). A restaurant at Shutters, Pacific Dining Car and Wokcano (lunch only) are the successful ones so far, but they would be too expensive to keep up (Shutters, PDC) or too boring (Wokcano – bore me to tears...).

We'd like to stay close to Santa Monica and as far East as FWY 405. I appreciate any help on this challenging situation. Thank you!

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  1. Hillstone, Catch, Vito, R+D Kitchen, Galley, Il Moro, Tavern, to start.

    1. tavern/larder, or have you been there too many times already?

      1. As much as I didn't like Il Moro when I went one time (overpriced and a little boring), I actually think it would work really well for your mother-in-law since it's quite spacious, the food is fairly bland and quite accessible, and it was pretty quiet.

        Disagree w/ all the Tavern recs for a few reasons. I know other people have had a different experience, but I found both the atrium and bar area deafening when I went. Does your mother-in-law have limited mobility? If so, she might have difficult entering the atrium, which requires her to walk down a few (literally 3-4) steps. My friend's mother uses a walker, and she was able to make her way down, but it took a little bit of time (and she's considerably younger than your mother-in-law). Having said that, the food is MUCH better at Tavern and should please your mother-in-law, as well....

        La Bottega might prove to be difficult in terms of mobility (you can sit at one of the front tables), but the food is decently priced and, again, very accessible. It's basically a deli w/ tables, though....

        7 Replies
        1. re: ilysla

          We have not taken mom to Tavern - Good suggestions NS1. Although she still walks without any aid (amazing!), thanks for the heads up on the steps, ilysla.

          1. re: Ashibi

            Tavern is a wonderful choice. You Mom will be very happy there.

          2. re: ilysla

            Tavern can get quite, quite loud. Food's pretty good, though...

            1. re: J.L.

              Food is excellent at Tavern and ambiance is lovely. If Ashibi takes her Mom to dinner in the Atrium around 6:00-6:30, they will have a superb, quiet experience with good service. I suggest explaining the situation when calling for a reservation.

              1. re: maudies5

                Tavern: Only if seated in the Atrium will it be quiet, not the bar. However, I ate there on Thursday this week and it was so salty - absolutely awful. Every bite of every dish was loaded with salt.

                1. re: yogachik

                  Two things. 1. Tavern is a good call, but the O.P. should realize there are steps into the Atrium - often a problem for the senior-seniors.

                  2. Did you send back the food? Restaurants are very appreciative when they catch something going wrong (but almost everytime they suspect the customer is wrong because, well, they usually are wrong) so they can correct it. So either some knucklehead in the back was over-salting, or possibly two people were salting and unaware of the other. And no one was tasting.

                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                    The Atrium at Tavern can be accessed via the back entrance (normally closed to the public). We took a friend to Tavern who was in a wheelchair and had the same concerns about the 2 steps into the atrium. We were asked to call when we arrived and someone very nicely opened the back door and took us to a table where the wheelchair could fit comfortably.

          3. What was formerly the 17th Street Cafe, (now Jack's on Montana from the original owner of the 17th Street Cafe) would be a good place to check out with your mom-n-law.

            1. I saw you posted on your experience at Furaibo. :( We were around the corner in the same building at Tapenade. You and your hubby might give it a try to see if it will work for your dear mother-in-law. I justed posted this AM about our dinner last night.

              While I don't consider the food there boring, I think there will be enough menu items that your dear MIL will find approachable, yet you folks will find delicious as well.

              The underground parking's elevator should be close enough for her needs, and we found Tapenade's music and its volume to be in the background - not loud and obnoxious. And we were surprised at how light the place was on a friday night as well. I guess my concern for a 97 year-old is if the concept of sharing dishes is okay.