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Jul 26, 2013 01:41 PM

recommendations for birthday dinner for 19 yo son in LA area

My wife and I will be in LA (Westwood area) with our 19 year old son on his birthday next month. I'm looking for recommendations for restaurants to take him to for a birthday dinner - could be fun, could be relaxed, dressy is out, we won't have those types of clothes with us. Will have a car and GPS, so we're not limited to the Westwood area. Suggestions please?! Thanks.

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  1. Plan Check on Sawtelle.

    My 21-year old and my 17-year-old both love Plan Check. I personally crave the fried chicken. Love the burgers as well.

    He won't be able to drink, but the beer selection is good. Fun vibe, relaxed atmosphere, diverse crowd.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PaulF

      +1 for Plan Check. Great recommendation

    2. Plan Check was my immediate reaction before seeing the concurring replies. R&D Kitchen or Rustic Canyon may be suitable options as well.

      1. Agree on Plan Check. For something more adventurous, how about Animal?

        1. Red Medicine or Sotto are both potential hits for this. Someone mentioned Animal below and check out its sister restaurant, Son of a Gun in the same general area. All of these are easily reachable from westwood. Finally, don't overlook Mozza Pizzeria which would be fun and delicious.

          1. What does he like? What kind of atmosphere, what's his favorite food?

            Personally, I'm not a Plan Check fan, is he an adventurous eater? Is he a pizza kid? Is he a sushi lover? Would he like something different like Korean Barbeque?

            10 Replies
            1. re: yogachik

              Good questions.

              If he likes pizza, I think Stella Rossa in Santa Monica or 800 Degrees in Westwood would be great for a 19-yr old, esp if the the family is looking for a casual atmosphere (although I actually really like Plan Check, too).

              Wonder if Animal might be too "adult" for a 19 yr old? Plenty of early 20-somethings at 800 Degrees and Plan Check (can't really remember the age of the clientele at Stella Rossa is like....).

              1. re: ilysla

                Thanks to everyone for their suggestions, they're great, keep them coming, we're not into LA until about August 13th. We're from the NYC suburbs, so he's had exposure to all types of foods. Plancheck sounds up his alley, but we may talk about the pizzerias. Korean barbecue is a possibility (since it has beef - you know 19 yo boys!). He's had sushi there already but if there's a suggested restaurant, he loves sushi. We'll look at websites for all restaurants suggested. As for the more adult restaurants, my wife and I appreciate those suggestions!!

                1. re: bruceb28

                  Can't go wrong with Park's BBQ. In my opinion the best Korean BBQ in LA with great service and wonderful meats. Make sure you order their Gal-Bi (Prime Beef Short Rib)생갈비 one of the best dishes in town. Depending on traffic about 30 minutes from Westwood to Koreatown and you won't come out smelling like smoke & charcoal either.

                  For a taste of California he might like Gjelina in Venice Beach. Great food, pizzas and veggies dishes. Always busy so get a reservation if you can or go early.

                  1. re: bruceb28

                    What about Kang Hodong Baekjeong? Lively, fun, and full on young people. And the quality of the meat will make everyone happy. The moat of eggs, the cheese corn, and the shaking of the "lunchboxes" make for a very uniqure experience.

                  2. re: ilysla

                    I don't think Animal is too adult. It's always been a young crowd when I've gone.

                    1. re: PeterCC

                      19 yr old young??? Or are we just so old that people in their mid-/late 20's look like they're 19? ;) and ::sigh::

                      I think the other question (not so much related to the chow) is how un-dressy the OP + family will be. LA is certainly a pretty casual place, but I'd feel a little out-of-place dressed in t-shirt and shorts going into Gjelina or Animal for dinner (well, maybe not so much in the summer). Of course, I'm also very self conscious. Maybe the OP + family don't worry about this stuff as much as I do. ;)

                      And, finally, maybe it's b/c I'm a bit of a cheapskate, but Gjelina, Animal, and maybe even Park's are a little on the pricey side (moderately expensive) for a 19 yr old's b-day, IMO. Of course, that's a purely personal decision on the OP's part....

                      1. re: ilysla

                        I assume the younger clientele are in their mid-to-late twenties, but I think that's more of a factor that even younger people probably don't have the disposable income.

                        I think that's actually a great reason to go there for a birthday where the parents are paying, the ability to try a place that one may not be able to afford normally for a special occasion.

                        1. re: PeterCC

                          PeterCC - good point, isn't that why parents were created?!

                  3. re: yogachik

                    I'd also consider Fogo de Chao. It's a little more high end of the spectrum pricewise but I'd think it would be more impressive for a 19 year olds birthday dinner vs burgers at plan check which is more like an everyday type of place