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Birthday dinner recommendations

HELP! I offered to take my neighbors to dinner for their birthdays and they are big-time foodies. They're casual folks that love, love, love good and creative food (both meat and fish). I'm not too concerned with price (within reason though). I would love your suggestions...thanks!

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  1. "I'm not too concerned with price (within reason though)."

    Those are two nebulous and maybe conflicting statements. What are you looking to spend as a dollar range? $100 per person? More? Less?

    1 Reply
      1. Sorry...I would say somewhere between $50-$100 person excluding wine/cocktails. As for location, we live in Pasadena so anywhere from downtown LA west to Beverly Hills would work.

        4 Replies
          1. re: Servorg

            Nice menu...I agree. A great option.

            1. re: MPW425

              I have heard great things about Bestia. Hard reservation though. Sotto would be a good choice. Some common ownership and while not the same a great menu and dining experience.

              1. re: Thor123

                Thanks and you're right. I tried reserving for Bestia and they were booked solid. Another time though...definitely!

        1. Some of my favorites:

          Son Of A Gun
          Connie & Ted's
          Park's BBQ

          1. Red Medicine?
            Connie & Ted's?

            1. You have any idea what kind of food you would like?

              Alma downtown would impress "big-time foodies". Will be at least $100 per person though.

              14 Replies
              1. re: Stravinsky

                Only one of won't eat fish/seafood. As for type of food, we are open however I was thinking of something more California or just plain unique and cutting edge.

                1. re: MPW425

                  What is your idea of California (cuisine)?

                  Unique, and cutting edge certainly describes Alma.

                  You might also consider Bäco Mercat, a different thing from Alma certainly, but equally amazing in it's own way. From the same chef, I would also possibly recommend Orsa and Winston, though it might be outside of the pice range. I think there's a 5 course tasting for $65 though. It is one of the most exciting recent openings.

                  If you want to travel more West, then you might try out Red Medicine, Scratch Bar, Animal, or the Bazaar (all around Mid-Wilshire/Beverly Hills area).

                  If you want to go into Venice, Willie Jane does refined Low Country, California cuisine that is "cutting edge" in a certain sense (The Hart and the Hunter does similar cuisine in the Mid-Wilshire area; it's somewhat trendy to elevate southern/country cooking these days).

                  You could also try Superba Snack Bar in Venice, or, of course, Gjelina, the ultimate California cuisine restaurant haha

                  If you want to do Culver City, you could try Lukshon for pretty unique asian fusion, or Bucato for some of the best pastas and breads in LA.

                  And if you would be cool venturing into Echo Park, there is the semi-recently opened Allumette.

                  1. re: Stravinsky

                    I would add Tasting Kitchen in Venice to that list.....

                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                      I purposefully left it off the list. I don't like it. I find it to be massively overhyped.

                      Given that it's so close to Gjelina, I have no idea why anyone bothers to go there.

                      1. re: Stravinsky

                        Because it's awesome, and Casey Lane is a talented chef.

                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                          Something impossible to discover by dining there.

                          1. re: Stravinsky

                            Tasting Kitchen is at least the equal of, if not its superior, in food and has better ambiance.

                            1. re: Servorg

                              You must dine there frequently, what do you order there?

                              1. re: Stravinsky

                                Usually a pasta. The branzino with chanterelles is a winner.

                    2. re: Stravinsky

                      Thank you for the detailed response. I GREATLY appreciate it! Alma and Bestia are booked up. I'm waiting to hear back from Baco Mercat. It seems Scratch Bar has availability and the menu looks really interesting and different which is what I'm looking for (something very flavorful but a little different).

                      1. re: MPW425

                        "...Scratch Bar has availability and the menu looks really interesting and different which is what I'm looking for (something very flavorful but a little different)."

                        In that case look into Red Medicine http://redmedicinela.com/ too

                        1. re: MPW425

                          You will probably have a lot of fun at Scratch Bar. It is the newest of the bunch. Certainly fits the "different" bill.

                          I think Bäco does all of it's reservations for parties under 6/7 on it's website, so you might want to check there. http://bacomercat.com/reserve.html

                          They have reservation for 9:15 for 3, but not sure what time you are hoping to dine at (I myself usually dine late).

                          1. re: Stravinsky

                            Good to know about Scratch Bar! I'm looking forward to trying it. Alma and Bestia will stay on my list for sure though. I was hoping for a reservation sometime between 7:00 and 8:00 (preferably 7:30-8:00). If it was just the 2 of us, I would snap up the 9:15 but our neighbors don't dine that late.

                            1. re: MPW425

                              That's understandable.

                              I would say keep Bäco on your radar as well. If it's just you, it's very easy to pop in and grab a seat at the bar and order one of their signature Bäco's and a craft beer (or glass of wine, or awesome cocktail, or a house-made soda).

                              But, full disclosure, I am somewhat biased as Bäco is one of my favorite restaurants.