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New Years Eve on the Westside - 4 women and me

Trying to choose a place for a nice NYE dinner, with good food and a pretty happening scene, but in moderation. It will be my SO and 3 of her out-of-town friends (all 4 of whom are late-30s women and Michigan State grads going to the Rose Bowl the next day) and me a late 50s male (who didn’t go to MSU and is going to pass on the game). Because they want to save themselves for the game, we are going to have an early (7:30ish) dinner and probably be home in bed or the hot tub before midnight; but, they still do want something of a trendy LA “scene,” since the guests are coming from Detroit, Denver and Austin. We (especially I) want good food, but too cutting edge or sophisticated offerings are not warranted, as these ladies likely wouldn’t know uni from unagi or burrata from bottarga. Based on reservation availability, and my unwillingness to head too far east from the Palisades, I am looking at Tasting Kitchen, Tavern, Hals and maybe Salt Air. I’ve eaten solo at all those, but would like others’ input as to which may be most appropriate. I like the AK spots because there’s a good street scene and multiple places for a drink before the night gets too late and too crazy. Thought about Il Grano, but that would be too quiet and not hipster enough to titillate the auslanders. And Toscana is more than I want to spend. Thoughts?

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  1. Cafe del Rey in the Marina for the dinner and the scene. Then you can walk around AK if you can find parking.

    1. I think AK is an excellent idea, and would add Gjelina to your list of possibilities, if the menu and no substitutions/deletions/modifications policy works for your group. If you think a more traditional menu would be better, I'd go with Hal's.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cookie monster

        Gjelina isn't available at the desired time frame; that's why I didn't include it among the restaurants between which I'm trying to decide (though I like Tasting Kitchen as much as Gjelina). Hal's is certainly a safer bet, I agree, but I like it more as a drinking spot than for its food.

        1. Chaya Venice or Chinois would be top on the list, for me.

          2 Replies
          1. re: yogachik

            May be a bit over the price point though. Both are likely Pre-fixed.

          2. The Galley might be fun. Hal's is a good choice.

            18 Replies
            1. re: Thor123

              Never been to the galley ?

              Tell me mor Thor.

              1. re: kevin

                the galley is an old time steak house.
                their bar is the very best if you're looking for a place where "everyone knows your name."

                i've been known to drive past 20 other bars in order to get their martini and it is not because of their gin, it is because of the homeyness and friendliness of the folks there.
                best description is DOWN TO EARTH.

                imho, the galley, as much as i love it, does NOT provide anything like the <<pretty happening scene>> that the OP requested. it is almost the antithesis of a happening scene with christmas lights being strung through the restaurant all year long.
                if you think that baked potatoes wrapped in tin foil are ok, maybe their food would work for you.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  WG, this place sounds beyond exceptional based on your loving description.

                  I will hit it up.

                  Update: also based on YC's description too.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    I think the Galley is a very fun lively scene. Certainly not fancy but a cool vibe, great clams and drinks. Just think it would be fun on NY.

                2. re: Thor123

                  Great happy hour at The Galley! Hot dogs for $2, Hamburgers for $4, drinks are $5. It's kind of like Chez Jay, only it attracts more the guys just off the boat in the Marina, rather than the guys just stepping away from their screenwriting.

                  1. re: yogachik

                    Yogachik, if it's kind of like Jays I will like it.

                    1. re: kevin

                      Very close to Chez Jay but the food is (marginally) better.

                      1. re: JeMange

                        Weren't they supposed to have good steamers? Or am I confusing that with another joint?

                        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                          Nope.

                          Don't order the steamers here.

                          If you do go, go for brunch on a Sat or Sun, and sluice it down with a litany of cocktails or martinis.

                          1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                            They don't have proper steamers but they do have steamed hardshell clams in a bucket, which are pretty solid IMO.

                      2. re: yogachik

                        yogachick: re The Galley

                        actually, more than anything else, it attracts the locals.
                        it attracts screenwriters (including the ones who write the soap in which one of the bartendresses has an ongoing role)
                        it attracts the retired old folk: some curmudgeons, some charming.
                        it attracts the young starving artists
                        it attracts tradesmen and mechanics
                        it attracts young folk who like the cheap drinks
                        it attracts the people who don't have a car and take the bus home at 11:30.
                        it attracts young guys who come to watch the game.
                        it attracts the people who drive there in their mercedes.
                        it's a place where young people can bring their parents on the way to the airport and BOTH the kid and the parent will be comfortable and will find age-appropriate conversation.
                        it attracts musicians.

                        i've never seen anyone from the boats in the Marina there.
                        the Marina crowd can normally be found at Cafe del Rey where they breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the bar. i'm told that the Marina boat crowd also hangs at Tony P's but have no personal experience at Tony P's to confirm.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          would you say the galley is a good enough time to drive in from parts inland?
                          say, somewhere between the 405 and the 5?

                          1. re: linus

                            not in my opinion, it's a local bar

                            1. re: linus

                              not unless you plan to be a regular.

                              1. re: westsidegal

                                That won't work...linus is as irregular a hound as we have on the LA board...

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  why servorg, i go at least once a day every day...