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Anniversary/Bday/Reunion Romantic Dinner.... where haven't I been? Help!

My birthday is also our 9 year anniversary PLUS he's coming home from a 6 week gig out of town. I want it to be very romantic and have that whole ambiance and not too loud/crowded/sceney, however I am also a (surprise) food snob and want great food and to try a new place. A tasting menu, maybe. No sushi. Willing to drive up to 2 hours away... Are there amazing romantic restaurants in the OC I should consider?

Here's the kind of places that would be great but I've been:

Melisse
Spago
Bazaar
Giorgio Baldi (too cramped)
Riva Bella
Madeo (love)
La Botte (love)
Valentino (love)
Red Medicine (not romantic enough)
Gordon Ramsay (so pretty)
Cut (not a fan)
Tar and Roses (love)
Drago Centro
MB Post
Scarpetta
Littlefork
Piccolo in Venice
Bestia (didn't love may need to retry)
Sotto (not romantic enough)
Craft (meh)
Asia De Cuba (love the patio for romance)

Places that seem too silly: Il Cielo, Ivy, One Pico, Little Door ???

Should I be considering: Wolfgang Puck at the Bel Air? Ink. ? Maison Akira? Montage Laguna Beach?

Not interested in: Providence, Steakhouses

Have a reservation for Saddle Peak Lodge but am concerned about the deer heads on the wall and the likelihood of rabbit or venison on the tasting menu which I don't eat....

Feel like I am overlooking something, and my silly google searches for romantic LA restaurants aren't very helpful.

Thanks chows!!!

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  1. WP at Hotel Bel Air is your huckleberry.

    Saddle Peak Lodge is non-game-eater friendly as well (though true food snobs eat game - Hehehe).

    Little Door is a not silly choice.

    Consider also the Restaurant at the Getty Center.

    I bemoan the loss of L'Orangerie, Ortolan and Bastide (a la Ludo Lefebvre's era), cuz they would have been a great fit.

    Congrats.

    12 Replies
    1. re: J.L.

      Huckleberry a good thing, right?

      I know, I know about the game. I eat foie though!

      1. re: sarahbeths

        Huckleberry a good thing, right?
        ================
        It's a reference from the movie Tombstone.

        http://www.urbandictionary.com/define...

        I'll log a vote for Hatfield's. Request a booth overlooking the kitchen.

        1. re: Porthos

          Classic line and performance by Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yDgkv...

          Almost on par with "Can I move? Im better when I move"
          "Who are those guys?" and
          "You keep on thinking Butch, thats what your good at"

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IbStI...

          Best thing about both flicks is the great food they feature. Ofter overlooked.

          1. re: Thor123

            Two of the best culinary westerns ever made! Great clips!!

            1. re: BSW6490

              i wonder if you fine people could help me out.

              i've seen both of those movies about 11,300 times, and i don't remember any standout food scenes in either of them.

              could you please refresh my memory?

              or is this some sort of terrifically ironic joke i'm not getting?

              1. re: linus

                Yes! Need to keep Big Brother from wiping the great clips clean. Although I do recall Butch and Sundance cooking over a camp fire while on the run.

        2. re: J.L.

          Could not agree more..... On all counts.

          Hotel Bel Air is THE most romantic spot in LA, IMHO.

          RIP L'Orangerie, Ortolan & Bastide. Wonder when we get a new place that comes even close to their romantic vibes did.

          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

            thanks! Interested in Bel Air, but thinking that might be $400 plus with tip and booze? I wonder if that's nice to do to my bf! :P

          2. re: J.L.

            Restaurant at the Getty is a wonderful choice, isolated, elegant and good food, but I think they're only open Saturday nights for dinner, no?

              1. re: TripleAxel

                very interesting!! we do love us some Getty

            1. Hmmm...

              Some that might fit your criteria:

              Alma
              Angelini Osteria
              Hatfield's
              Le Comptoir
              Lucques
              Osteria Mozza
              Patina
              The Tasting Kitchen
              Trois Mec
              Vincenti

              6 Replies
              1. re: chrishei

                Thanks!!
                Angelini is my fav restuarant period, but I wanted somewhere new. I will investigate the other suggestions! :) (Been to Vincenti, don't think I can get into Trois Mec )

                1. re: sarahbeths

                  +1 on Hatfield's being a romantic venue that should also satisfy the food snob in you. :-)

                2. re: chrishei

                  Tasting Kitchen is NOT romantic at all. Cramped and noisy as hell. Might as well go over to Joe's Restaurant or Gjelina.

                  1. re: TripleAxel

                    Yeah I know it's not romantic, but it's closer to the OPs criteria than most places IMO. There's probably something wrong with all the choices anyways (Alma too casual, Angelini too cramped, Osteria Mozza too loud, etc).

                    1. re: chrishei

                      Except for Hatfield's. ;-). It's pretty darn romantic (hey, wanna go sometime? j/k!), not loud, has a nice tasting menu, etc.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    Capo and patio at AOC definitely.

                  2. Hatfield's
                    Lucques
                    Tavern
                    JiRaffe
                    FIG
                    Rustic Canyon
                    Hungry Cat Santa Monica (or not, since you rule out Providence)

                    The Little Door and Saddle Peak Lodge are lovely spaces that definitely fill your romance request. If you have a lot of food restrictions, you should probably just order a la carte instead of a tasting menu - btw the elk at SPL is the best!

                    While ink. has very interesting food, I would not call it romantic at all - the restaurant is painted black, sparse, and what I'd call industrial.

                    1 Reply
                    1. Upstairs dining room at Fig & Olive? FIG Restaurant inside the Fairmont Hotel in SM? Rustic Canyon in SM? The 22-mini course tasting menu in the Saam private dining room inside Jose Andres' The Bazaar (seats 40 and is completely isolated from the noise outside in The Bazaar)? Maison Akira is nice and bistro like, traditional French with a Japanese twist. Wolfgang Puck's WP24 for high end Chinese on the 24th floor of the Ritz Carlton in downtown LA (wonderful views and elegant dining room)?

                      If you don't like steak, you should avoid Saddle Peak Lodge as beef, lamb, venison, rabbit are all on the menu, and yes, you will be staring at dear heads and such hanging from the walls (unless you ask for an outdoor table).

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: TripleAxel

                        Would not eat at Fig & Olive for free.

                        1. re: Thor123

                          I was underwhelmed at Fig & Olive... what a waste of money! It IS a pretty space, though!

                          1. re: The Oracle

                            It is a pretty space, but probably the most f--cked up service anywhere.

                            1. re: The Oracle

                              I didn't like Fig & Olive either when I went... it fell into "scene over food" for me.