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Dec 14, 2013 03:59 PM

Please help me choose a restaurant gift card in Santa Monica

I could send money, but I'm thinking I want to force him to "treat" himself and his girlfriend. They live in Santa Monica, can drive, but prefer not to. (I know....but it seems feasible in their neighborhood. He lives near 7th and Montana.) They are into food, but probably nothing too esoteric, expensive or fancy. My brother is becoming quite the cook lately, and sends me pictures of what he makes! Some of the options on Opentable that look good online are


Upper West

Hostaria Del Piccolo

Any thoughts?

I found this thread.

I will see if any of those offer gift cards.


and Tar and Roses do!

Tar and Roses

R&D has one via the Hillstone web site.

Didn't show up under places with gift card on opentable. Glad I checked!

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    1. re: jessejames

      Thanks! "On Main"? Still good? I remember wishing I could afford to eat there when I lived in LA 20 plus years ago.

        1. re: jessejames

          Still a great restaurant -- Chinois has great food, bold flavors. You can keep prices from exorbitant by sticking with the smaller dishes (they have lots of microgreens and herbs to bulk them up) and sharing one entree. Service is topnotch. Still one of my very favorites.

      1. re: jessejames

        I haven't had a good meal at Chinois since the mid 1990s.

      2. Depends on how much you want to spend and/or if you plan to cover an entire meal.
        I have no comment on Tar&Roses as I've not yet been. Even so I'd bet it trumps Upper west and R&D.
        Melisse is great, fancy and very expensive. Cost aside, it is one of the very best places in L.A.. Chinois is IMO not as good, but good and more vibey, while being a tad less expensive. I really like Jiraffe. It is very solid and a yet a tad less tah Chinois. If they opted for prix fixe night (Mon?) they can get a very nice meal for around $40 each plus,plus. Hostaria Piccolo has some good stuff but it is more casual and not really a "treat" night if you ask me.

        1. I see and agree with the reasoning of not wanting to drive: You want to celebrate -- both of you. You might want cocktails or champagne or a bottle of wine. So you want a place within walking distance.

          Not only reasonable, but commendable.

          I spent the better part of two decades working as a criminal defense attorney. Not many know more about body weight and number of drinks and time periods to stay under .08% bac. But the first change in my behavior? I don't drive even with alcohol on my breath, even if I'm well under. It just isn't worth it. The hassle for an arrest is huge, and for a conviction is immense.

          Isn't R & D in that area near 7th and Montana? What about the coastal Hungry Cat?

          9 Replies
            1. re: jessejames

              I know you are referring to the relatively new, smartphone ride service that may be less expensive than a cab. Are they really doable without notice? They would still need to walk the one way, or deal with the inconvenience of leaving their vehicle there.

              1. re: nosh

                You can't reserve Uber in advance. I frequently use it and think it's a great service. Download app. When you want to order car, app will guide you. My husband sometimes uses it downtown and wait is about 8 minutes. I use it from Brentwood and car is here within about 5 minutes. UberX is most reasonable. Fixed prices to and from LAX. I think it's a fantastic service. I recently had surgery and was unable to drive. Uber was a lifesaver. If you know someone who uses the service ask for a code and you will get $10.00 off of first ride and your referral will get a $10.00 credit. As soon as your ride is confirmed, a name of the driver with photo and license and make of car will appear on your phone.

                1. re: maudies5

                  U don't need to reserve uber in advance. That's why it's so great.

              2. re: jessejames


                "Yes, Uber has created a higher-priced, higher-class service for people who can afford it—but it has also broadened the market to people who formerly couldn’t get cabs at all. "


                  1. re: maudies5

                    Okay, thanks! Probably a subject for another thread, and perhaps another forum.

                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                      I do like the idea of a gift cert from Santa Monica Seafood. Opportunity to have nice lunch in cafe as well as bringing home good seafood

              3. re: nosh

                Thanks all!

                We are originally from NYC, albeit born and raised in Bklyn and Queens. When I first moved to LA I lived in Westwood, because the idea of driving was too much of a change. My brother moved to Santa Monica from midtown Manhattan.

              4. As they don't want to drive and live at 7th and Montana, consider R+D Kitchen at 14th and Montana or Rustic Canyon at 12th and Wilshire. Both have good food, although Rustic Canyon is far more creative and accepts reservations. I think of R+D as a good bar with good casual food.Rustic Canyon would be a very nice gift and is walking distance for them.

                1 Reply
                1. Walking distance:

                  R+D (always a great night out)
                  Father's Office
                  PEnthouse (food is so-so, room and views romantic)
                  Locanda Portofino (my personal favorite neighborhood restaurant)

                  Short drive:
                  Hungry Cat
                  Rustic Canyon
                  Water Grill

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: yogachik

                    Locando Portofino might be perfect!


                    I am curious about purchasing through "Treatful", and ending up on Opentable! Ahhh!


                    Found Stefan's LA Farm...


                    I could not find gift certificate's for Father's Office; did you? I can't remember why, and I've never been (maybe that's why), but I seem to remember being a little annoyed by that place. Do they not take reservations or something? I don't think it was just the ketchup issue.

                    From their website; I understand, sort of, but from out of town, I just haven't been able to make it happen;

                    "We do not accept reservations. For private party information, contact us at or call 310 736 2224.

                    We do not provide table service. All orders must be placed at the bar including take out orders.

                    Please be aware of our menu policy. We do not permit any substitutions or modifications to any of our menu items."

                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                        I'm very close to a person who lives 2 blocks from your friend on Montana.
                        There is no question, when dining out, Locando Portofino is our preference above all others in the area. It has a neighborhood vibe, wonderful service, great food and an intimate ambience. Rustic Canyon is okay and the noise level sometimes can be an issue for some…The walk to Rustic Canyon is further for them.

                        1. re: Shrinkrap


                          I tink this depends in part on your budget, whether a walk spot is essential, and how far they might walk.
                          Father's Office would fit if one wanted to go low-middle on budget and walk no farther than five blocks. But it is a glorified burger bar. Crowded, noisy, nor ressie, no service, and god help you if you like ketchup. Places like Melisse, Jiraffe, Chinois are toatlly different, and much finer dining.
                          Fwiw there are cabs all over in Samo will arrive quickly when called. Places like Tar & Roses, Jiraffe, Melisse are actually walkable from 7th & Montana if one likes to walk. All are probably just under a mile. Otherwise it's painless to spring $6 for a cab.