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Dinner near the Marina

professor shorthair Aug 1, 2013 07:25 PM

We wil be visiting a friend who lives near the Marina. Last time she took us to a chain restaurant. Looking for suggestions in the general area of the Marina (Manhattan Beach to Venice maybe).

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  1. Baron RE: professor shorthair Aug 1, 2013 07:30 PM

    Cafe del Rey is my go to place in the Marina. Reliably good. Valet parking, good food and service, attractive and comfortable. Always had a good experience.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Baron
      westsidegal RE: Baron Aug 1, 2013 07:41 PM

      and good by-the-glass wine list

      1. re: westsidegal
        kevin RE: westsidegal Aug 2, 2013 07:18 PM

        is there happy hour a scene at all ?

        or just good food a reasonable prices ?

        also, you mentioned that the desserts are no long great, and they don't serve the cherry blackforrest cake any more, right ?

        1. re: kevin
          westsidegal RE: kevin Aug 3, 2013 12:04 AM

          i haven't tried their desserts since shortly after carlos (the phenomenal pastry chef) left.
          the change was so terrible that there was no incentive to "spend" calories nor money on what was being served as dessert.

          for a little while i stuck around for the food, but jason also left at about the same time that carlos left, and although they still used the recipes he developed, the execution started to decline.

          a good bar and a good wine list is not enough to hold me as a regular. i like having a regular restaurant rotation.

          that said,
          of the restaurants in the marina, i'd still vote for Cafe del Rey.
          the marina is not full of terrific restaurants and the food there, when i last went, was better than acceptable and the service and the beautiful environment still has a pull.

          kevin: Cafe del Rey is, imho, not a "reasonable price" kind of place.
          it IS a "beautiful environment," civilized, white tablecloth place that is great for romantic dates.
          every table has a lovely view of the boats and, if you request it, they will seat you so that you can actually have physical contact with your date during dinner. most restaurants that provide this much ambiance will limit you to a two top that has you sitting on the other side of the world from your date.
          even the lounge area has a great fireplace and COUCHES.

          1. re: westsidegal
            kevin RE: westsidegal Aug 3, 2013 01:12 AM


            In that case, there's no reason to visit Cafe Del Rey anymore.

            Thanks for the update WG. I can always count on you for the harsh truth of the matter.

    2. wienermobile RE: professor shorthair Aug 1, 2013 07:47 PM

      Gjelina in Venice. Always busy. Worth the wait. Great California cusine.

      Superba Snack Bar Venice Wonderful house made pastas.

      Manhattan Beach. MB Post for great small plates or Fishing with Dynamite for tasty seafood & a wonderful raw bar.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wienermobile
        westsidegal RE: wienermobile Aug 1, 2013 09:00 PM

        i LOVE LOVE LOVE gjelina, but be aware that:

        1) it uses a "small plate" format that may be alien to some
        chain restaurant patrons.
        2) they have a "no modification" and "no substitution" policy about their food.
        3) if your friend likes vegetables, imho, their vegetables are incredibly good. i didn't know that vegetables could actually be that good before going to gjelina.,

      2. f
        flowergirl RE: professor shorthair Aug 2, 2013 10:11 AM

        M B Post in Manhattan Beach has fantastic food but it can be difficult to get a reservation.
        26 Beach is consistently delicious and the menu is varied. Fantastic salads, ribs, meatloaf, stir fry. Known for their burgers but I prefer their other dishes.
        Café del Rey is on the water and the food is good. It's usually quiet.
        Recently enjoyed two good dinners at Larry's in Venice.
        NOT a fan of Gjelina. I understand a restaurant not wanting to compromise a dish and not making changes to the menu but I requested to have my salad dressing on the side and they would not do that. The attitude of everyone in there is absolutely horrible. I am always schocked it gets mostly good reviews on this site. Of course the quality of food is important but so is being treated fairly. They act as if they are doing you a big favor

        7 Replies
        1. re: flowergirl
          linus RE: flowergirl Aug 2, 2013 11:26 AM

          i'm a little confused by this.

          if they let others have their dressing on the side, but not you, that would be unfair.

          how is gjelina not treating you fairly?

          1. re: flowergirl
            schrutefarms RE: flowergirl Aug 2, 2013 12:08 PM

            I can see Gjelina pulling that sh*t. I used to live near there, and would take friends there a lot, but have never really forgiven them for (extremely obviously) short pouring my glass of wine, and insisting I was wrong and it was a full pour. But what do I know, I only tended bar for 13 years. (and it was a Sunday between lunch and dinner, there were hardly any people there, and no reason for the attitude). And believe me, it took ALOT for me to even say anything-since I am a service industry vet, I take careful pains to try and never complain...My guess is that it was probably the last of the bottle, and maybe they didn't have another. Or didn't want to open one, since it was probably the lunch to dinner shift switch.

            1. re: schrutefarms
              kevin RE: schrutefarms Aug 2, 2013 07:20 PM

              weel, i was never a fan of the food at gjelina anyway, way too pretentious and the vibe sucked but then again i hated milo and olives too. and they seem to be working in the same genre, if it could be called that.

              1. re: kevin
                yogachik RE: kevin Aug 3, 2013 06:47 PM

                Absolutely not a fan of Milo and Olive, we seem to be in the minority, kevin.

                Gjelina is the best restaurant near the Marina, but it's not a fun restaurant at all (too loud and close together) - not a good place to visit with friends you don't see often. I always feel they want to move me out of my table for the next sitting. For something completely different, try Sunny Spot.

                1. re: yogachik
                  kevin RE: yogachik Aug 3, 2013 10:09 PM

                  Yoga. You are one tough cookie.

                  But you are alright by me.

                  Next time at Vitos on Ocean Park drinks are on me. :)

                  No fucking joke. !!!!!!

                  1. re: kevin
                    yogachik RE: kevin Aug 4, 2013 01:31 PM

                    sure kevin - name the day - happy hour!

            2. re: flowergirl
              westsidegal RE: flowergirl Aug 3, 2013 12:28 AM

              flowergirl: gjelina is on my regular rotation.
              i have never been treated badly there.
              the food has been consistently stellar.
              if you've been on this board more than a couple of months, you must have known going in that they don't make any modifications or substitutions, so i'm a bit confused about why you went there in the first place, and why, after you went there this was so off-putting to you. also, iirc, this policy is on their menu and they are located in a place where they are surrounded by other restaurants who WILL modify their food for you, so once you saw the policy on the menu, why didn't you just leave?

              you write that you were not <<being treated fairly>>. how were you treated unfairly?

              i do agree with you, though, that MB Post serves an excellent meal.

              26 beach is great for what it is, but it is not nearly in the same league as gjelina or MB post. it provides excellent ratios of price to quantity/quality/ambiance, and the food is superior to most chains.
              still, imho, it is not "fantastic" food. i would never plan my day around a meal at 26 beach.

            3. j
              Juji RE: professor shorthair Aug 2, 2013 10:27 AM

              Besides all the good recommendations already provided, you might want to consider Paiche. I've enjoyed my meals there although some dishes much more than others. Setebello is now open and even though it is a chain, it sounds like it is getting positive early reviews. Tripel in Playa is good but very small and gets super crowded. But if you like the communal table thing it can be fun.

              73 Replies
              1. re: Juji
                flowergirl RE: Juji Aug 2, 2013 11:57 AM

                Why would a restaurant not allow you to have your dressing on the side? I eat dinner out at least five nights a week. I have never ever been told I cannot have this slight modification anyplace else.

                1. re: flowergirl
                  linus RE: flowergirl Aug 2, 2013 04:39 PM

                  well, that's an interesting question. i suppose a glib answer could be, "because they sell salads with dressing on them."
                  while that's good enough for me, maybe it's not for other people.

                  what i don't understand is why anyone thinks it's "not fair" to not serve dressing on the side.

                  1. re: linus
                    Will Owen RE: linus Aug 3, 2013 12:34 PM

                    Linus, many of us have had it drilled into us that anyone serious about losing weight MUST insist that the dressing be on the side. We are also told in cookbooks that most salads should either be dressed at the very last moment before serving or, better yet, be served with the dressing passed separately. Perhaps this restaurant sees their dressing as an integral part of the salad, and thus serving it undressed is a "modification." My opinion is that it's no more a modification than salting one's vegetables or adding sugar to one's coffee. Gjelina begs to differ, and since they've done so well without the Owen kids so far, we'll just let them keep doing it.

                    1. re: Will Owen
                      westsidegal RE: Will Owen Aug 3, 2013 07:03 PM

                      i may want to buy my next toyota with a non-standard, combination of interior and exterior colors.
                      toyota, in my view, is well within their rights to refuse.

                      i could argue that they are already making seats in the color that i want and that they are already painting cars in the color that i want and, therefore, it's not really a modification.

                      i don't think that the argument holds water.
                      it most certainly is a modification of THEIR PROCESS.

                      most restaurants are striving for consistency and palatability in their dishes. having an "assembly line" type of operation in the kitchen contributes to this.

                      <<many of us have had it drilled into us that anyone serious about losing weight MUST insist that the dressing be on the side>>
                      so what?
                      offering dietetic salads is certainly not the responsibility of restaurants like gjelina and lukshon.

                      you want a dietetic salad? go to the monster salad place or go to any chain restaurant and tell them how you want them to assemble your food.
                      cheesecake factory and 26 beach will serve dressing on the side all day long. Hell, if you go to souplantation you can control a lot more than the dressing: there, you can control EVERY calorie on the salad

                      1. re: westsidegal
                        kevin RE: westsidegal Aug 3, 2013 10:11 PM

                        WG, I really would not want to face you as a restaurteur if my joint were slightly subpar.

                        You are one utterly harsh and demanding and meticulous critic.

                        And yet I love you for it. :)

                        1. re: kevin
                          westsidegal RE: kevin Aug 3, 2013 10:29 PM


                    2. re: linus
                      Wayno RE: linus Aug 4, 2013 08:49 AM

                      Maybe it's not unfair. It just means that the chef and managers/proprietors are pretentious douchebags.

                      1. re: Wayno
                        westsidegal RE: Wayno Aug 4, 2013 11:25 PM

                        Wayno: whatever discrediting tactic you may choose to use, one cannot deny that:
                        1) they have run several successful restaurants in this fickle town FOR YEARS. this doesn't happen accidentally, it is a matter of extreme skill.
                        2) if food is of primary importance, the names you hurl at them are without import. knock yourself out.

                        1. re: westsidegal
                          Wayno RE: westsidegal Aug 5, 2013 11:07 AM

                          Well, I'm admittedly hypocritical. I agree that the food is the key, and Gjelina is one of the first places I recommend. And I wish it wasn't so hard to get in because I'd like to eat there often without a hassle. But, I can still think that they are over the top and unjustified (probably overly pretentious or self-righteous) for not even allowing dressing on the side. I can accept restaurants who don't put salt on the table, but not if they then refuse a request for the waiter to bring some salt when asked. I can accept that some requested changes/substitutions/omissions are more than the chef is willing to allow; but some requests are not. Such as dressing on the side. I still think restaurant management that refuses a request like that, regardless of how good their food is, is subject to the criticism that they think a bit too highly of themselves and are insufficiently accomodating.

                          1. re: Wayno
                            westsidegal RE: Wayno Aug 5, 2013 02:34 PM

                            everybody is "subject to criticism" all the time, regardless of what they do.
                            even restaurant patrons are subject to criticism for having certain strongly held opinions about how a restaurant should change its operations while the patron has absolutely no personal financial skin in the game.

                            you will get no argument from me that it is well within a patron's right/control to choose to go to a different restaurant.
                            we all vote with our dollars for goods and services.
                            whenever i recommend gjelina or lukshon i always include a heads-up about the "no substitution" policy so that people can make their own decision on the matter.

                            1. re: westsidegal
                              latindancer RE: westsidegal Aug 5, 2013 03:47 PM

                              You make a very good point, westsidegal.

                              Over and over again, on several threads, I've seen Gjelina being mentioned in all sorts of circumstances for people, coming from out of town, who're asking for great restaurants in LA.
                              Inevitably, Gjelina is mentioned without any mention of the 'no substitution' policy.
                              I've often wondered how the people feel once they've been seated and figure it out. Many of the requests are from families, with children, traveling.

                              1. re: latindancer
                                linus RE: latindancer Aug 5, 2013 03:51 PM

                                i'm saddened by a culture which thinks recommending a restaurant for its good food is not enough, and a warning about a "no substitutions" policy must be issued.

                                with the ubiquity of the interwebs, it's easy enough to see a menu for most restaurants.
                                look at the menu, decide if you like the food, and go, or not go.
                                why must it be, "well, this will be good, if they leave out this,".or "i'd love to order that, if they can use x instead of y."?

                                maybe i'm an old fart, but i remember when people ordered off the menu.

                                1. re: linus
                                  PeterCC RE: linus Aug 5, 2013 03:56 PM

                                  There are also allergy considerations to, well, consider. :-)

                                  I like that WSG gives disclaimers for those who may not be diligent enough (or may be traveling and/or have spotty access to the internet) to check the menu beforehand.

                                  On the other hand, I also like Servorg's (and others') mission to provide relevant web links in a thread.

                                  We've all been here to give/take advice, I think more information is generally better.

                                  1. re: PeterCC
                                    linus RE: PeterCC Aug 5, 2013 04:00 PM

                                    i didn't mean to imply information is a bad thing.

                                    as far as allergy considerations, don't get me started.

                                    i dunno, call me crazy, call me irresponsible, but as far as reading a menu, i take that responsibility on myself.

                                    1. re: linus
                                      PeterCC RE: linus Aug 5, 2013 04:04 PM

                                      > call me irresponsible, but as far as reading a menu, i take that responsibility on myself.

                                      I don't think I can call you irresponsible in that case...

                                      1. re: linus
                                        latindancer RE: linus Aug 5, 2013 04:06 PM

                                        Not everyone checks menus online before they're given recommendations from this sight.
                                        Many travel without the use of a computer and they're relying on complete strangers to gain advice. Enough people agree with a recommendation and they'll go just off the many thumbs up.
                                        Is there anything really wrong with mentioning 'no subsitutions' when recommending a restaurant like Gjelina or Father's Office, etc.?

                                        1. re: latindancer
                                          linus RE: latindancer Aug 5, 2013 04:09 PM

                                          no, and, for the second time, i didn't mean to imply information was a bad thing.

                                          you can look up the menu before you travel. you can go to the restaurant, look at the menu, and decide if it's what you want to eat. you can call the restaurant and ask questions.

                                          what i did say, and i'll say it again, is i am sad this is even an issue. so what if they're no substitutions? be wacky, be irresponsible, and order off the freakin' menu.

                                          1. re: linus
                                            latindancer RE: linus Aug 5, 2013 04:13 PM


                                            I guess I can conjure up a few things to be sad about but...

                                            1. re: latindancer
                                              linus RE: latindancer Aug 5, 2013 04:17 PM

                                              well, if you want to play the perspective card, nothing on this thread or the very large majority of chowhound has anything to do with anything important.

                                              whoop de fucking do. thanks for coming, please tip your waitresses.

                                              i'll cop to being overly sensitive to a number of things. entitled assholes in restaurants is obviously one of them.

                                              1. re: latindancer
                                                Wayno RE: latindancer Aug 5, 2013 04:21 PM

                                                I agree, if the menu looks good and you know the food is prepared well, go for it. And, if your distaste for a no-sub policy prevails over your desire for that food, don't go there. And I will go to Gjelina and Father's Office despite my distaste for the rigid policies in effect there, because the food trumps. But I still may not be able to resist, at Father's Office, e.g., when the server asks how I want my burger prepared, asking sarcastically, "you mean you're going to let me choose?"

                                                1. re: Wayno
                                                  westsidegal RE: Wayno Aug 5, 2013 05:09 PM

                                                  i'd bet that Gordon Ramsay feels similarly.
                                                  the difference is that he made a big public stink before coming to his senses.
                                                  maybe that's what famous people do. . . . .

                                              2. re: linus
                                                Servorg RE: linus Aug 5, 2013 04:20 PM

                                                I'm in the "trust but verify" school. But I do appreciate a little "local knowledge" when it's available and offered; whether it's a heads up that the place is cash only, or it's very strict about no substitutions, or that the surrounding neighborhood is permit parking only.

                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                  linus RE: Servorg Aug 5, 2013 04:25 PM

                                                  information is good, no doubt.
                                                  it would just never occur to me to give two shits whether or not a restaurant had a "substitution policy" or not.
                                                  like i said, i'm sad when a grownup can't handle being told they can't get their dressing on the side or have ketchup on their burger.
                                                  but, yes, you all are correct. it's better knowing before you go in.

                          2. re: flowergirl
                            westsidegal RE: flowergirl Aug 3, 2013 12:34 AM

                            i eat dinner out at least 5 nights a week too, that doesn't mean that i expect EVERY restaurant to allow modifications.

                            this policy doesn't seem to be at all rare to me.
                            two of the restaurants on my regular rotation have it: lukshon and gjelina. i LOVE eating at both of them.

                            i look at the situation like this:
                            am buying a menu item.
                            i am not buying the services of a private chef,

                            i do know that the majority of restaurants will accommodate modifications. if some restaurants have a different policy, so what? it is not a crime against the nation.

                            even after gordon ramsay had his infamous public rant against gjelina and it's "no-modification" policy, he's been spotted holding up the wall there at dinnertime waiting for his table like everyone else.

                            for folks like me, it's the food.

                            1. re: flowergirl
                              latindancer RE: flowergirl Aug 4, 2013 11:31 AM

                              It's pretty well established, at this point after months of discussion, that Gjelina isn't one of those restaurants that allows the customer to deviate from their menu. They've got their reasons and there will certainly be enough tourists and locals who'll continue to stand by the wall and wait and wait...

                              Having had this discussion with many friends who've lived in the Venice area and know the many different restaurants well, there is a fairly large population who've become bored with the whole Gjelina controversy and are now eating at some of the old mainstays like Hal's etc. Where the bartender knows your name, pretty much all the staff knows your name and the chef will make whatever you want and how you want it.

                              1. re: latindancer
                                kevin RE: latindancer Aug 4, 2013 11:58 AM

                                I've never actually been to Hal's.

                                Now how did that happen ?

                                1. re: kevin
                                  latindancer RE: kevin Aug 4, 2013 12:40 PM

                                  I don't know, Kevin, it seems like Hal's would be 'right up your alley'.
                                  The bar is long and you could sit there for hours and sit and talk to the very accommodating and friendly bartender. So many local regulars.
                                  You should seriously check it out.

                                  1. re: latindancer
                                    kevin RE: latindancer Aug 4, 2013 02:05 PM

                                    I will do.

                                    If I'm not mistaken, they also have be serving a somewhat gourmet cheeseburgers for years before the burger craze hit, right ?

                                    1. re: kevin
                                      Thor123 RE: kevin Aug 5, 2013 01:47 PM

                                      Absolutely agree. Love Hal's and it has Kevin written all over it. They do a very good burger.

                                      1. re: Thor123
                                        kevin RE: Thor123 Aug 5, 2013 01:49 PM

                                        Just hit up Tana's again, and it was pretty good.

                                        But it's easy to get carried away with the drinks.

                                        I really liked the disgustingly delicious shrimp parmigiana and the house capp.

                                        1. re: kevin
                                          Thor123 RE: kevin Aug 5, 2013 02:04 PM

                                          I am going tomorrow. Looking forward to it. May try to force myself to something other than the Dark Chicken Beckerman, but the parms are a bit too rich for my delicate constitution. You should try Hal's though. I think you will really like the vibe.

                                          1. re: Thor123
                                            kevin RE: Thor123 Aug 5, 2013 04:46 PM

                                            Try the shrimp parm, it's a tadbit more delicate than the standard, de rigeur veal parm.

                                            And get that house capp while you are at it too.

                                            And of course, a few drinks to wash it all down.

                                        2. re: Thor123
                                          latindancer RE: Thor123 Aug 5, 2013 03:42 PM

                                          Yes, the hamburger's great.

                                          I happen to love the turkey burger.

                                          1. re: latindancer
                                            kevin RE: latindancer Aug 5, 2013 04:47 PM

                                            weird question:

                                            But do they also have any decent fish or seafood dishes on the menu at Hal's ?

                                            1. re: kevin
                                              cookie monster RE: kevin Aug 5, 2013 06:01 PM

                                              There are always a couple seafood dishes on the menu but I can't vouch for their decency. I do want to put in another vote for Hal's as a place one should try when in Venice. While my Gjelina love rivals westsidegal's, sometimes one just wants a comfy booth, a burger (turkey or beef) and fries, and a full bar. I'm also very fond of the grilled baby artichokes and Manuel's salad. Live jazz on (I think) Sunday and Monday nights. And while it's not a place that I would have picked as particularly child friendly, I went there recently with friends and their two kids and it turns out Hal's is indeed great with kids. No children's menu, but our server was super accomodating in terms of engaging directly with them, modifying menu items and even making off-menu suggestions.

                                              1. re: cookie monster
                                                Wayno RE: cookie monster Aug 5, 2013 06:17 PM

                                                Agreed on Hal's being a great place to chill with a good drink and the type of food mentioned. If you want to go to AK early and beat the rush to First Friday, it's a good place to park yourself in the late afternoon for a few pre-chaos/food truck cocktails before the street opens for business. Last month we did that very thing, and the folks at Hal's were very accomodating to the one member of our group who wasn't of (legal) drinking age.

                                                1. re: cookie monster
                                                  westsidegal RE: cookie monster Aug 5, 2013 06:43 PM

                                                  have to try Hal's now.
                                                  there are times when it's not ALL about the food.
                                                  sometimes a person wants a nice, friendly, place that serves a good drink especially when meeting up with friends.
                                                  gjelina is certainly NOT that.

                                                  what hours are the best (most civilized) to go to Hal's? i'd like to avoid having to struggle to get a bar stool.

                                                2. re: kevin
                                                  latindancer RE: kevin Aug 5, 2013 07:02 PM

                                                  They do. In fact, I don't think I've ever had a bad or even mediocre meal at Hal's all the years I've been going there.
                                                  They offer a seasonal menu, everything's very fresh and the fish has always been very good. They offer a weekly fish special...I've had everything from Dover Sole to King Salmon, Trout.
                                                  If you like Dan Tana's you'll like Hal's. It's just a neighborhood bar and restaurant with no pretention and good, simple, basic food where everyone will, in short time, get to know you.
                                                  I would say, on any given night, the majority of the people there are locals and regulars.

                                                  1. re: latindancer
                                                    kevin RE: latindancer Aug 5, 2013 07:15 PM

                                                    "if you like tana's you'll like hal's"


                                          2. re: latindancer
                                            westsidegal RE: latindancer Aug 7, 2013 01:21 AM

                                            latindancer: i tried Hal's bar tonight.
                                            walked in at around 7 and was easily able to find a seat.
                                            lovely environment.
                                            the martini was fine.
                                            THANK YOU so much for prodding me to try the place.

                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                              kevin RE: westsidegal Aug 7, 2013 06:56 AM

                                              Did you have any food to go with the martini ?

                                              Or just martinis ?

                                              1. re: kevin
                                                Servorg RE: kevin Aug 7, 2013 07:10 AM

                                                Sounds like Hal's has a new gal...

                                                One other good chow tip on Hal's...excellent eggs Benedict...

                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                  kevin RE: Servorg Aug 7, 2013 11:08 AM

                                                  And we may have to call her, Hal's Gal, from now on. :)

                                                2. re: kevin
                                                  westsidegal RE: kevin Aug 7, 2013 02:50 PM

                                                  just a martini.

                                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                                    kevin RE: westsidegal Aug 7, 2013 03:22 PM

                                                    ok, i'll give it a shot.

                                                3. re: westsidegal
                                                  latindancer RE: westsidegal Aug 7, 2013 10:05 AM

                                                  My absolute pleasure, westsidegal.

                                                  Knowing you're a person with very high standards, when it comes to food, I hope you've found another nice place to go when the desire for a comfortable, neighborhood place with good food and drink arises.
                                                  No doubt you'll find another home where 'everyone knows your name'.

                                                  1. re: latindancer
                                                    kevin RE: latindancer Aug 7, 2013 11:08 AM

                                                    It's a good thing she liked it at least somewhat or else we'd be in big trouble.

                                                  2. re: westsidegal
                                                    Thor123 RE: westsidegal Aug 7, 2013 10:51 AM

                                                    Great. Love Hals. Been going there for a long time. Great for brunch/lunch or dinner.

                                                    1. re: Thor123
                                                      kevin RE: Thor123 Aug 7, 2013 11:09 AM

                                                      How was Tana's the other night ?

                                                      What you have ?

                                                      And what's your drink of choice there ?

                                              2. re: latindancer
                                                schrutefarms RE: latindancer Aug 4, 2013 12:01 PM

                                                Agreed. When I lived there, I seemed to go there a lot, but that was mostly at the request of friends visiting from OC and even different parts of LA who didn't get to Venice often. I did like their brunch, but was never too crazy about dinner. I would definitely recommend Gjelina to anyone visiting, as it is an impressive space and menu. But there were other places I, personally, would go in a minute before Gjelina.

                                                1. re: schrutefarms
                                                  latindancer RE: schrutefarms Aug 4, 2013 12:45 PM

                                                  I like Gjelina, if the truth be told. I like the vegetable offerings.
                                                  There are times, though, where a little more intimate and quiet environment, where I can sit and talk to friends without the hoopla, is in order.
                                                  Sometimes Gjelina, even though I like the food, is 'a bit much'.

                                                  1. re: latindancer
                                                    westsidegal RE: latindancer Aug 5, 2013 12:05 AM

                                                    i agree with you, latindance, that gjelina is not the place i take friends.
                                                    it is a place i go by myself with a particular mission:
                                                    the mission is to work my way through the vegetable portion of the menu and to be able to concentrate on every morsel.
                                                    it's a FOOD thing, that's it;
                                                    i don't even order booze there.

                                                    i time my visits there so that i'm long gone by the time it gets intense.

                                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                                      kevin RE: westsidegal Aug 6, 2013 11:07 AM

                                                      Westside, I'm not sure if it was on this thread, but anyhow The Yardhouse is like a slightly upscale version of a BJ's or TGIF with supposedly more "gourmet" food and over a 100 beers on tap which is supposedly their real claim to fame (the majority of which is beyond pedestrian, how is it that they have over a 100 beers on taps and none of them are quaff-worthy - btw, it's mostly various budweisers, pedestrian hefwiezens, and the like). But i did hear at this particular location that they will be serving an extensive selection of mixology type drinks (since it's seemingly the continuing craze/fad these days).

                                                      hope that helps.

                                                      btw, did you hit up the srhimp burrito at eduardo's yet ?

                                                      please don't beat me up if you don't like it.

                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                        schrutefarms RE: kevin Aug 6, 2013 11:13 AM

                                                        Are we talking The Yardhouse as in the chain? There's one in LA Live and I think Pasadena. Is it the same one?

                                                        1. re: schrutefarms
                                                          kevin RE: schrutefarms Aug 6, 2013 11:15 AM

                                                          Yes, this location just opened in the Marina. It has close to a dozen locations if my lapsing memory serves me correctly.

                                                        2. re: kevin
                                                          JAB RE: kevin Aug 6, 2013 11:24 AM

                                                          I've never eaten in one but, I think your not being fair as to their beer selection.

                                                          1. re: JAB
                                                            kevin RE: JAB Aug 6, 2013 11:27 AM

                                                            Ok, I'm somewhat of a beer snob, so I may be on the minority on that one.

                                                            For instance, you won't find any of even the barely artisanal IPAs on tap, or more out there hers, or barley wines, etc.

                                                            With roughly the same number of taps, Smithhouse has a much better beer list on tap.

                                                            1. re: kevin
                                                              JAB RE: kevin Aug 6, 2013 11:32 AM

                                                              From one beer snob to another, we'll have to agree to disagree. I'll let others be the judge by leaving this here (click on view entire list): https://www.yardhouse.com/mobile/sear...

                                                              1. re: JAB
                                                                kevin RE: JAB Aug 6, 2013 11:33 AM

                                                                ok, fair enough.

                                                          2. re: kevin
                                                            westsidegal RE: kevin Aug 6, 2013 01:39 PM

                                                            kevin: thanks so much for the info!
                                                            haven't tried the Eduardo's shrimp burrito yet.
                                                            always seem to get sidetracked.
                                                            when i'm in westwood i favor my "old favorites":
                                                            800 degrees
                                                            shamshiri grill

                                                            1st on my list of westwood restaurants to try for the first time is the Emporium Thai place.
                                                            Eduardo's is beneath Emporium on the list.

                                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                                              kevin RE: westsidegal Aug 6, 2013 01:43 PM

                                                              One more thing. Have them leave off the rice. So you just get the sautéed shrimp. the guac, the cheese, and the salsa.

                                                              1. re: kevin
                                                                westsidegal RE: kevin Aug 6, 2013 06:31 PM

                                                                thanks for the warning.
                                                                i always have a restaurant either leave off the rice or serve the rice separately.
                                                                at restaurants i don't eat greasy/oily rice because it is such a wild card calorically. (i.e. did they use 1 Tbl of oil or did they use 3/4cup of oil? exactly how much oil can 1/2 cup rice absorb? am i eating 450 calories or 1500 calories in this one meal?)

                                                                1. re: westsidegal
                                                                  kevin RE: westsidegal Aug 6, 2013 06:44 PM

                                                                  though i do it for taste reasons, i've had there rice in other items and it's pretty crappy to my taste and it would not serve any purpose expect for detracting from the full flavor in the shrimp burrito.

                                                              2. re: westsidegal
                                                                Thor123 RE: westsidegal Aug 6, 2013 03:48 PM

                                                                Anxious to hear what you think of Emporium. They do some very good vegie dishes.

                                                      2. re: latindancer
                                                        westsidegal RE: latindancer Aug 4, 2013 11:33 PM

                                                        << there is a fairly large population who've become bored with the whole Gjelina controversy and are now eating at some of the old mainstays like Hal's>>

                                                        apparently this "large population" is not large enough so that one can expect to walk into gjelina at 5:30 and get a table without making a committemtn to vacate the table by 7 or 7:30.

                                                        hell, just a couple of weeks ago, i went in there at 9pm on a weekday hoping to get a spot at the communal table BEFORE their abbreviated menu went into effect, only to find out that my hope was just a pipe dream. there would be no spots opening up in time.. . .

                                                        please keep me updated as to when that "large" population turns into a "very large" population . . . .

                                                        1. re: westsidegal
                                                          latindancer RE: westsidegal Aug 5, 2013 10:08 AM

                                                          It's no different than other neighborhoods where a high visibility hotspot opens and the residents jump on the bandwagon and support the opening for many months afterward.
                                                          The residents, as an example, of Beverly Hills will spend many days/nights a week going to the newest, most widely acclaimed restaurant and then their interest will fizzle out and they're back to the old, tried and true favorites. Visitors stay in hotels Beverly Hills and the first thing they ask the concierge is "where are the best places to eat". Tourists fill these widely acclaimed restaurants quickly, not necessarily the local residents. Venice, and certainly Abbott Kinney, I would say are certainly tourist destinations.

                                                          The friends I know have grown up in Venice following every 'emperors new clothes' restaurants, great restaurants & not-so-good restaurants, along Abbott Kinney and surrounding area. The people I talk to, yes, do like Gjelina. It's just not on their radar as 'the' place to go anymore.

                                                          1. re: latindancer
                                                            westsidegal RE: latindancer Aug 5, 2013 10:49 AM

                                                            i've been waiting for several years for people to remove gjelina from their radar.
                                                            so far, i STILL have to plan my whole day in order to be seated during the hours when they serve their entire menu, so clearly the demand for their food has remained high.

                                                            maybe when your friends left the fold, others, have taken their places?
                                                            also, when i go, i still see the gelina to go operation with lines in front of it.

                                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                                              latindancer RE: westsidegal Aug 5, 2013 12:05 PM

                                                              ...and I hope Gjelina's support and complete and total demand, as you've described, remains the status quo for years to come.

                                                              For people, like you, who'll appear to fight tooth and nail, plan your entire day to get in and eat there...
                                                              Let's all hope they're around for a long, long time.

                                                          2. re: westsidegal
                                                            Ogawak RE: westsidegal Aug 7, 2013 12:52 PM

                                                            Sounds like that Yogi Berra-ism:

                                                            "It's so crowded, no one goes there anymore"

                                                      3. re: Juji
                                                        westsidegal RE: Juji Aug 3, 2013 12:50 AM

                                                        juji: i went to the Tripel last night after six PM.
                                                        there was not a seat to be had and there was a guy with a clipboard making a list of names of people wanting seats.
                                                        people were standing on the sidewalk waiting for a seat because there was NO room in the restaurant.

                                                        with a guest, i can't imagine that this would be fun.

                                                        1. re: westsidegal
                                                          kevin RE: westsidegal Aug 3, 2013 01:15 AM

                                                          I checked out the Trioel menu and it sounds quite good.

                                                          That is if I don'take a trip to the Shack for the 4 pound K-burger.

                                                          1. re: kevin
                                                            westsidegal RE: kevin Aug 3, 2013 02:14 AM

                                                            word has it that the people from the Tripel are going to take over the much larger space that used to be La Marina then Tower 42.
                                                            the anticipation is KILLING me.

                                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                                              Dirtywextraolives RE: westsidegal Aug 5, 2013 06:22 PM

                                                              Oh, do keep us posted. I like her cooking.

                                                      4. s
                                                        schrutefarms RE: professor shorthair Aug 2, 2013 11:47 AM

                                                        What kind of place? Lots of amazing places in Venice (Gjelina, Tasting Kitchen, Oscars, Joes) but if you are looking for something a bit more casual, I really like Pasta Factory on Washington. It looks kind of cheesy (no pun intended) but the food is actually very solid. They have a butternut squash ravioli on the menu that is delicious, and give you this super-garlicky oil to dip your bread in that is totally addicting!

                                                        20 Replies
                                                        1. re: schrutefarms
                                                          Servorg RE: schrutefarms Aug 2, 2013 12:14 PM

                                                          Didn't the Pasta Factory turn into Macchi's Bistro?

                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                            schrutefarms RE: Servorg Aug 2, 2013 12:30 PM

                                                            Ahh, crap! Did it? I haven't been in that area since I moved out, about a year and a half ago, but I've thought many times about making a trip there. That's a bummer :(

                                                            1. re: schrutefarms
                                                              New Trial RE: schrutefarms Aug 2, 2013 12:43 PM

                                                              Same owner, different name:


                                                              1. re: New Trial
                                                                schrutefarms RE: New Trial Aug 2, 2013 12:51 PM

                                                                Whew! Hope they still have that bread and garlic oil!!

                                                                1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                  kevin RE: schrutefarms Aug 2, 2013 07:21 PM

                                                                  is the eggplant parm and tiramisu there good ?

                                                                  so the menu has remained the same, in the same way that alego's went a change of ownership but has the same food when it was recrhistened as Eddie's Bistro ?????

                                                                  1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                    westsidegal RE: schrutefarms Aug 3, 2013 12:55 AM

                                                                    trying to understand,
                                                                    what about chopped fresh garlic in oil is so special to you?
                                                                    you are clearly not alone.
                                                                    the alejo's in westchester serves that stuff too and people seem to feel that if you pour oily chopped garlic on otherwise meh food the food magically becomes good.
                                                                    every time i'm dragged there i try to believe (think tinker bell),
                                                                    but my mouth just says: "oily, garlicky, nothing food."
                                                                    i'm sure i'll be dragged there again.
                                                                    i'll keep trying.

                                                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                                                      kevin RE: westsidegal Aug 3, 2013 01:16 AM

                                                                      You are correct.

                                                                      I don't really like the good at either location.

                                                                      But the worst part is that I feel like fucking shit afterwards to quote an eminent hound.

                                                                      'Nuff Said.

                                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                                        westsidegal RE: kevin Aug 3, 2013 02:22 AM

                                                                        i think that both of us are being kind in our descriptions of the food at both these places.

                                                                      2. re: westsidegal
                                                                        schrutefarms RE: westsidegal Aug 3, 2013 12:00 PM

                                                                        When I used to live down the street, Pasta Factory was my go-to for a neighborhood restaurant, because I liked the food better than the other choices (26 Beach, C&O, Cheesecake Factory) that I could walk to. It's not so wonderful that I've made a trip there since I moved out of the Marina, but I remember it fondly and would recommend it to anyone looking for a solid, casual meal in the neighborhood. As for the bread and garlic oil, that stuff was DAMN good!

                                                                2. re: Servorg
                                                                  flowergirl RE: Servorg Aug 2, 2013 01:42 PM

                                                                  Yes, similar menu and the food is a little better since it became Macchi's. The food is better at Eddie's -used to be Alejo's on Lincoln and Washington. A bit divey though. Absolutely no atmosphere but solid New York Italian. Good red sauce and basic Italian dishes.

                                                                  1. re: flowergirl
                                                                    Servorg RE: flowergirl Aug 2, 2013 02:05 PM

                                                                    Macchi's vs C&O Cucina?

                                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                                      schrutefarms RE: Servorg Aug 2, 2013 02:35 PM

                                                                      I never liked C&O. I don't know why, just really wasn't crazy about anything I had there. It's not bad, I just don't crave it. Pasta Factory, for whatever reason, I really like/liked.

                                                                      1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                        flowergirl RE: schrutefarms Aug 2, 2013 04:03 PM

                                                                        I know why you didn't like C&O - the food is bad! Other than the delicious little garlic knots, the food is just not good. It's always packed which leads me to believe either people go because they give you a lot of food or they assume it's good because it's so crowded. I have even tried C&O for breakfast and it wasn't any better than at dinner.

                                                                        1. re: flowergirl
                                                                          westsidegal RE: flowergirl Aug 3, 2013 01:00 AM

                                                                          what C&O provides for me:
                                                                          1) a salad that is truly entree-sized
                                                                          2) a place for which a reservation is rarely needed (but they WILL take reservations),
                                                                          3) that has a parking lot,
                                                                          4)that can accommodate a group that includes:
                                                                          a) a vegetarian
                                                                          b) a couple of vegans
                                                                          c) a person who will only eat heart-healthy food (which he has deemed to be chicken and fish)
                                                                          d) a person who will only eat red meat (actually this person eats red meat three times a day)
                                                                          e) a gluten intolerant person
                                                                          f) a calorie counter
                                                                          g) a couple of very frugal people

                                                                          1. re: westsidegal
                                                                            kevin RE: westsidegal Aug 3, 2013 01:17 AM

                                                                            What do you think about the glasses of wine by the jug ???????

                                                                            1. re: kevin
                                                                              westsidegal RE: kevin Aug 3, 2013 02:24 AM

                                                                              i never drink their wine.
                                                                              not a fan of cheap italian wine to start with.
                                                                              paying restaurant prices for cheap italian wine is not gonna happen.

                                                                        2. re: schrutefarms
                                                                          kevin RE: schrutefarms Aug 2, 2013 07:22 PM

                                                                          What about those kithcsy jugs of wine on the table straight out of a Steinbeck novella if my memory serves me correctly.

                                                                      2. re: flowergirl
                                                                        bulavinaka RE: flowergirl Aug 2, 2013 02:13 PM

                                                                        Eddie's is the former Alejo's which also has a place further south on Lincoln in Westchester. Strange enough, I heard The Pasta Factory was started up by the late husband who co-owned Alejo's with his former wife. Word had it that they divorced, and the husband started the Pasta Factory. And I think the bread and garlic olive oil at the Pasta Factory are probably are the telltale signs that there is at least some truth to this story.

                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                          kevin RE: bulavinaka Aug 2, 2013 07:23 PM

                                                                          What do you think of hte new macchi's bistro ?????

                                                                          1. re: kevin
                                                                            bulavinaka RE: kevin Aug 2, 2013 07:54 PM

                                                                            Haven't been since the it was Pasta Factory, and that was back in 2000?

                                                                  2. carln RE: professor shorthair Aug 2, 2013 11:49 AM

                                                                    Waterloo and City is pretty close by and they do a very nice job with their food.

                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                    1. re: carln
                                                                      westsidegal RE: carln Aug 3, 2013 01:12 AM

                                                                      Waterloo and City is very meat-centric.
                                                                      one of the diners is a vegetarian.

                                                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                                                        New Trial RE: westsidegal Aug 3, 2013 01:37 AM

                                                                        There are usually a few non-meat options on the menu and W&C will, to the extent possible, modify dishes to remove the meat component (obviously not an option for the Beef Wellington but easy enough on, for example, the pastas).

                                                                        1. re: New Trial
                                                                          westsidegal RE: New Trial Aug 3, 2013 02:32 AM

                                                                          a friend of mine with a very good palate, but who is extremely meat-focused loves the place.
                                                                          i'm a pescatarian, and i tried it a couple of times because i respect my friend's opinion so much.
                                                                          can't say that there was anything especially good about the fish i was served.
                                                                          in my experience, going to a restaurant that is not at all geared to vegetarian cooking usually does not result in a good meal for vegetarians.

                                                                          trying to "help" the kitchen concoct something that works for a vegetarian is usually terrible for such a kitchen and results in a not-so-good dish coming to the table.

                                                                          they offer only one vegetarian appetizer
                                                                          and one vegetarian pizza.
                                                                          not even one vegetarian entree.

                                                                          iirc, there was no reason to believe that there was a legume in the kitchen.
                                                                          very slim pickings

                                                                          1. re: westsidegal
                                                                            New Trial RE: westsidegal Aug 3, 2013 12:22 PM

                                                                            On this week's menu, there were four seafood entrees on the regular menu (not including the salads, pastas and pizzas, on some of which the only "help" needed would be to ask them to hold the prosciutto) and, on the specials, a vegetarian entree of stuffed and baked 8 Ball Squash, as well as a vegetarian pasta. Periodically, they also offer an all vegetable pot pie. While they are indeed particularly noted for their house-made charcuterie and meats but the fish I have had there has been quite good, including a delicious monk fish during DineLA.

                                                                            1. re: New Trial
                                                                              westsidegal RE: New Trial Aug 3, 2013 06:27 PM

                                                                              let's agree to disagree.
                                                                              1)i will never have the fish there again, it was just not that good: not bad, just not that good (sort of like chaya venice on a sunday).

                                                                              2) the OP has a VEGETARIAN in his/her group, not a pescatarian, so the seafood entrees don't help.

                                                                              3) removing a primary, flavorful ingredient from a dish in order to to make the dish vegetarian, in my experience,normally results in a dish that is nothing with nothing.
                                                                              there is a reason the chef chose to incorporate a relatively costly ingredient like prosciutto in the first place;
                                                                              the reason is that the ingredient fundamentally improves the flavor of the dish-- so much so that it justifies the extra expense to the restaurant.
                                                                              if it didn't make much of a difference, there is plenty of financial incentive for the restaurant to have excluded it from the get go.

                                                                    2. p
                                                                      professor shorthair RE: professor shorthair Aug 2, 2013 01:42 PM

                                                                      Gjelina's it is. I failed to mention that one person is a vegetarian so Gjelina seems to be a great match.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: professor shorthair
                                                                        wienermobile RE: professor shorthair Aug 2, 2013 02:08 PM

                                                                        You won't be sorry. Try to get a reservation if you can or just go early. Enjoy

                                                                        1. re: wienermobile
                                                                          kevin RE: wienermobile Aug 2, 2013 07:23 PM

                                                                          be careful if you are going tonight as it is first fridays.

                                                                        2. re: professor shorthair
                                                                          nosh RE: professor shorthair Aug 3, 2013 05:40 PM

                                                                          When you go to Gjelina be sure to order the butterscotch pot de creme for dessert. In my experience it is even better than Mozza's famous butterscotch budino.

                                                                          1. re: nosh
                                                                            kevin RE: nosh Aug 3, 2013 10:13 PM

                                                                            And so I'd the version and Giorgios.

                                                                            When we grabbing lunch ?????

                                                                        3. Baron RE: professor shorthair Aug 4, 2013 12:23 PM

                                                                          I'm surprised that no hounds have mentioned Joe's. I havn't been in a while but it's always been good. Their pre fixe lunch has been quite good for the price. Love the San dabs!

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Baron
                                                                            latindancer RE: Baron Aug 4, 2013 12:42 PM

                                                                            You're right.

                                                                            I should have mentioned Joe's along with Hal's.
                                                                            I love their offerings of prepared fish and the polenta is always wonderful.

                                                                            1. re: Baron
                                                                              bulavinaka RE: Baron Aug 4, 2013 12:48 PM

                                                                              I think Joe's had a fair amount continuity issues in the kitchen for a while. Guys like Bryan and Chris (Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, Hart and Hunter) rolled through Joe's but the boss and manager were often at odds with the other chefs/cooks. I haven't been in a while but hear back house issues have finally settled down. This hopefully means the level of cuisine is back to normal. I don't question that Joe Miller is very talented.

                                                                            2. PeterCC RE: professor shorthair Aug 5, 2013 04:07 PM

                                                                              Before things get too heated, anyone else chuckle at the name "professor shorthair"? Just missing an "s" at the end...

                                                                              No offense OP. :-)

                                                                              1. d
                                                                                Dirtywextraolives RE: professor shorthair Aug 5, 2013 06:27 PM

                                                                                Paiche is the new Peruvian izakaya in the Maxella complex in the marina.

                                                                                You may want to check out Willie Jane on Abbott Kinney. They have a vegetable garden next door and have some beautiful vegetable dishes.

                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                                  westsidegal RE: Dirtywextraolives Aug 5, 2013 06:47 PM

                                                                                  Dirtywextraolives: be aware that there are NO olives available for martinis at the Paiche bar.

                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                    latindancer RE: westsidegal Aug 5, 2013 07:03 PM

                                                                                    Now wait a minute....

                                                                                    No olives for martinis?

                                                                                    1. re: latindancer
                                                                                      westsidegal RE: latindancer Aug 5, 2013 07:06 PM

                                                                                      none when i was there.
                                                                                      twist only.

                                                                                      when i heard that, i quickly ran to the galley in santa monica for a gin martini WITH OLIVES.

                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                        kevin RE: westsidegal Aug 5, 2013 07:16 PM

                                                                                        no olives for a martini ?

                                                                                        Then at least do they have pearl onions so that one may obtain a gibson at the very least ??????

                                                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                                                          westsidegal RE: kevin Aug 5, 2013 07:19 PM

                                                                                          i'm sorry, in my haste to get to the galley, i didn't ask about onions. . . . .

                                                                                    2. re: westsidegal
                                                                                      bulavinaka RE: westsidegal Aug 5, 2013 07:16 PM

                                                                                      I can't imagine Dirty leaving the house without at least a jar of stuffed olives tucked away in her purse. :)

                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                        kevin RE: bulavinaka Aug 5, 2013 07:22 PM

                                                                                        It is after all her nom de plum, or is it nom de internet ????

                                                                                        1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                          Dirtywextraolives RE: bulavinaka Aug 5, 2013 07:29 PM

                                                                                          Lmao, thanks for the heads up, I've been forewarned ;)

                                                                                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                                            schrutefarms RE: Dirtywextraolives Aug 5, 2013 07:55 PM

                                                                                            Hey Dirty, have you ever tried tomolives in your martini? Waterloo and City turned me on to that. Now I always keep a jar on hand :)

                                                                                            1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                                              Dirtywextraolives RE: schrutefarms Aug 5, 2013 08:49 PM

                                                                                              No, what are they?

                                                                                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                                                schrutefarms RE: Dirtywextraolives Aug 5, 2013 09:19 PM

                                                                                                Little pickled green tomatoes. Really nice "twist" (haha) on an olive. Hard to find, though. I think I found them at Von's, and it was surprising that they had them.

                                                                                                1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                                                  Dirtywextraolives RE: schrutefarms Aug 5, 2013 09:29 PM

                                                                                                  I will have to search those out, thanks!

                                                                                            2. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                                                                              bulavinaka RE: Dirtywextraolives Aug 5, 2013 07:56 PM

                                                                                              "What's that 55-gallon drum of olives doing in your trunk, Dirty?"

                                                                                              Dirty: "What - there's only one now?"

                                                                                              1. re: bulavinaka
                                                                                                Dirtywextraolives RE: bulavinaka Aug 5, 2013 08:49 PM

                                                                                                I've been known to carry a bit of a stash...

                                                                                      2. a
                                                                                        amsdesign RE: professor shorthair Aug 7, 2013 11:55 AM

                                                                                        I love Gjlena in Venice, haven't been to Tasting Kitchen but all my foodie friends love it. Cafe Piccolo is a hole in the wall gem for Italian Food near the Venice Boardwalk and for MB (I live here) - Fishing with Dynamite is GREAT (same owners as Post), Darren's, and a new place called Little Sister. If you want big and Flashy - Strand House is great and has the best ocean views.

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