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Dine in Movie Theaters. Specifically the AMC in the Marina

http://dinein.amctheatres.com/

I stumbled into this theater a few weeks back - to discover a whole new movie experience - motorized, Lazy-Boy like seat, plenty of legroom (like first class on a plane) and arm rests that fold up for snuggling.

And you can order cocktails, beer and wine! Push a button and someone comes, takes your order, punches it in on a pad device and 15 later you're being served. It's pretty great. Even if the food isn't great, under the circumstances it's a lot of fun.

And you can order food. There is an extensive, illustrated menu (see it on the link) which brings me to Chowhound. It would be nice to figure out what to order there. What is downright awful, what is passable. Is anything actually good? My experience so far...

The seafood sampler. Comes with "Thai Bang Shrimp", "Lobster Carbonara Pizzetta" and a "Crab Cake."

First off the food came as I was watching the world being taken over by crazed killer zombies. Not exactly the ideal atmosphere for a proper dining experience, but it was certainly novel. And it came in relative darkness so I couldn't really tell you much about how it looked or was presented, but the portions were fairly generous. - the shrimp is fried crispy with some kind of sweet-ish sauce. I'd say it was Jack in the Box fast food quality. (Lower thy expectations immediately - this isn't Melisse, it's an effing movie theater!). The "Pizzetta carbonara" - lobster, alfredo sauce, bacon, tomato, cheeses and fresh arugula. Again, fast-food satisfying. A bit gloppy. Sounded good on paper, but was that lobster? Really? Didn't really taste that.

The crabcake just sucked. Fishy-tasting.

We also got a wedge salad - blue cheese, bacon, etc. Which was Denny's quality, but generous portions and satisfying. Not easy to eat in those circumstances, but my GF and it traded it back and forth. When you're hungry and in the dark and the world is coming to an end, this is a good dish.

The mojito I had was serviceable. Good enough to get another. Could've been a touch sweeter (I would have expected it to come too sweet).

Popcorn comes in a large bowl - but isn't freshly popped. Not stale, but not fresh. Reeses pieces were as advertised!

My advice when eating during a movie and laying back? Tuck that napkin right under your chin or you're certain to get food on yah.

Just wonder what other Hounders experiences are like in finding gems on that menu.

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  1. Question. Ticket, food & drinks what did the evening end up costing you?

    2 Replies
      1. re: wienermobile

        Well, 2 tickets to WWZ online was around 48. Plus, 4 drinks, 1 seafood sample, 1 wedge salad, 1 Diet Coke, 1 bowl of popcorn. Reeses Pieces. That's all I remember, with around 96 bucks.

      2. Not the one in the Marina, but have been to other ones (Phoenix and Pasadena) and just did not enjoy the experience.

        Bad food, uncomfortable seating positions, and poor acoustics and lighting (for both dining and movie).

        Lesson? Go to the movies to watch movies. Go to restaurants to eat.

        6 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          100% agree. Went to Alamo Draft House in Austin Tx and it was a much better deal (they are coming to downtown LA sometime next year). The food was surprisingly ok. Cost with ticket was around $35.

          1. re: wienermobile

            I was at the Alamo 15 years ago - and the experience in the Marina was heads, shoulders and torso above the experience in Austin. (which I liked)

          2. re: ipsedixit

            Bad food? No argument there, but all things considered - it is what it is.

            But uncomfortable seating position? It was - without question - the best seating in any movie theater (or any theater) I've ever been in - including any screening room at any studio.

            But to have a lux experience and someone serving drinks? Pretty great.

            1. re: foodiemahoodie

              Maybe I'll just pay the premium for the comfy seats, grab a beer, and skip the food.

              1. re: kevin

                Seats are comfortable in a sort of first generation La-Z-Boy kind of way.

                The pitch and incline is not right for moving watching and the headrest never seems to be the right height. I've had better seats in lower-class Boeing business class flights.

            2. re: ipsedixit

              Agreed. While I am a huge fan of bars in theaters, I'm not so much into food (popcorn and candy don't count). Last time I saw a movie at The Grove (never again), some guy had brought in a big 'ol sloppy burger, so I had pay $14 to sit there and smell onions for two hours. Movie theaters are like airplanes, you are in close quarters with a bunch of strangers. Don't stink up the place.

            3. Thanks for the report.

              It's much appreciated considering that I have not been yet.

              1. when i lived in winter park fla about 1986, there was a movie theatre up the road (maitland?) that had small tables and service, chairs not quite that comfy but ok as i remember; the major thing was beer pitchers and pub type food; i think it was an independant theatre, in fact, if i remember correctly the flicks were sort of art house (not "adult") but like foreign, independant films. always thought this was a great business model but never saw another like it...

                1. Back when Demi Moore was still married to Bruce Willis (1994) they were living in Ketchum, Idaho, and they opened a dine-in-and-drinks-served movie theater.

                  Never figured out if it was a business model or just a semi-private club for family and friends with the public allowed access.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Gypsy Jan

                    Is it still around in Idaho ????

                    1. re: kevin

                      I don't know for sure. And by the way, I misremembered the town - It was Hailey, Idaho, which is a few miles south of Ketchum.

                      Here is a link to a story detailing the whole craziness that occurred:

                      http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-ent...

                      P.S. They also bought a Victorian two-story house in downtown Hailey just to showcase Demi's doll collection - it was featured in an Architectural Digest issue.

                  2. I quit going to the Alamo movie theaters about 3 years ago. After several years of fried foods, hamburgers with onions, etc, the place just stinks!
                    There is another theater in Austin, Violet Crown, that has a nice bar with fairly good food. It has a nice area to eat in that you can use before or after the movie. You can take food into the theater, but the food doesn't stink! More pizza, cheese plates, things like that. It's a really good concept!

                    1. Went to Cineopolis in Thousand Oaks some time back. Not a good experience. Very expensive, food was meh (I'm being generous) but it was a sloppy, distracting, and annoying event. The movie? Missed a lot of it due to the ordering of food and people commenting about the service (both good and bad).

                      My opinion: food and movies work at home, not in the theatre.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Golem

                        I agree. When watching a movie, especially in a movie theater where I am paying good money, I want to actually watch, hear, and focus on the film without interruptions or distractions. Easy-to-eat food (e.g. popcorn, candy, hotdog, drink) should be in hand before the film starts. Save the crab cakes, pasta, salad, etc. for either pre- or post-movie. If lingering smells are an issue, and it sounds like they are, then eat outside of the theater.

                      2. We don't go to the AMC Marina because it's only a 21 and up theater. Here is a link to their menu with prices.
                        http://dinein.amctheatres.com/menu

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: wienermobile

                          I was confused about that.

                          So it's always 21 and up for each and every screening ?

                        2. Personally, I think this is an awful idea. We go to movies to watch the movie. It's annoying enough when someone stands and moves across the seats to get more food or hit the restroom. Combine that high ticket price with the annoyance of a server and people talking about their order or having sloppy food eating in the dark. No thanks. I'd be super annoyed with all the distractions and the servers going back and forth blocking views. I don't mind the drinks though. How do you order? Is there lit up menu, further distracting other people?

                          Looking at the pictures, you can see people laughing and chatting. People who talk in theaters or text/talk on cell phones deserve a bucket of popcorn poured on them.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: granadafan

                            People who talk/text on cell phones deserve the hot popcorn butter poured on them.

                          2. I stopped going to movie theaters two decades ago,

                            The loud chewing, the talking back to the screen just ruined it for me.

                            And I used to love the communal experience.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Gypsy Jan

                              You need to find better movie theaters.

                              1. re: Gypsy Jan

                                Agreed, I stopped going to communal movie theaters (except now on the rare occasion my kids drag me to a show) once we invested in a super large, hi def flat screen TV, cable with DVR, rental subscription and my husband's super expensive surround sound system. There is just no equalling it in my own den, on my own comfy couch or club chairs, with my own liquor, delicious chow, pause button and my own bathroom ;-)