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Anniversary dinner OC or LA

Can you recommend a good restaurant for our 25 years wedding anniversary. We are in OC but do not mind one hour drive to LA. A nice place and good food, No needs to be too fancy. We plan to spend less than $60 for each person. Any kind of food is OK but not Chinese or fatty food. Thank you.

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  1. Marche Moderne in South Coast Plaza.

    2 Replies
    1. re: JAB

      +1...and do make sure that you ask them to do a special dessert to celebrate with. Amelia (the co-owner, her husband Florent is the chef) is really a wonderful pastry chef. Only thing, with alcohol, tax and tip it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to stay at $60pp. Recommend that you consider splurging for a really special time...otherwise consider lunch.

      1. re: JAB

        +1, it is fabulous! One of our favorite places to celebrate a special occasion.

        Our other favorite place is Napa Rose, at the Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland. Make a reservation in advance and call them directly if you want a space at the chef's counter. Another great place for a special occasion.

      2. I really liked this place in Marina del Rey; they have a really good head chef. http://www.yelp.com/biz/beachside-res...

          1. It's most likely going to end up costing more than your stated budget, but my wife and I love Napa Rose (in the Grand Californian hotel / Downtown Disney complex, believe it or not) and have been for quite a few special occasions. Worth the splurge, IMO.

            Marche Moderne is also an excellent choice for a special occasion. ALTHOUGH, don't expect them to make a fuss about your anniversary. They pretty much refused to acknowledge it during a birthday I had there, and my wife is still bitter. I'm not talking about a Farrell's or Claim Jumper thing here, not expecting the waitstaff to gather around, not a free dessert, but some acknowledgement. At Napa Rose, they'll pipe "Happy ____" on the dessert plate, for example. Here, nada.
            Maybe this has changed, it's been a few years.

            For LA, it's been some time now but my wife and I have celebrated at Lucques, on Melrose, and loved that. Budgetwise, it could work for you or come close, depending on alcohol etc.

            6 Replies
            1. re: mikester

              Interesting…Marche Moderne has done the most spectular celebrations for us…for birthdays! They can do anything from presenting a very special dessert, or doing a "special no holds barred feast" (at a price!) for any occasion. You must let them know in advance that you'd like this…and if it's a special dessert you'd like, Amelia (the co-owner dessert chef) should be telephoned in advance and will create whatever dessert you'd like!

              I far prefer MM to the enormous, corporate dining room of Napa Rose which being in Disneyland, is often over-run with children…some wonderfully mannered, others not so much.

              1. re: josephnl

                Well, our experiences clearly differ. My wife specifically mentioned that we were celebrating a birthday, ahead of time - and again once we were seated. I've heard others mention the same issue, as well - but again, this may have changed.

                Re Napa Rose, we've never found it to be "overrun with children" and we've been there quite a few times. And corporate, it just ain't*.

                On Yelp there are over 1,300 photos of Napa Rose, many are of the beautiful dishes but also a few show the room. IMO, It's a beautiful room.

                We just disagree about Napa Rose, but I guess that's why there are so many restaurant choices out there. Diff'rent strokes etc.

                Happy New Year and Happy Dining.

                * Those Disney nametags aside... :-)

                1. re: mikester

                  I agree with you about Napa Rose. We have been there many times, and also do not find it "overrun with children" or "corporate". In fact, it is a nice oasis from the rest of the Disney atmosphere, as it is quiet, elegant, and refined.

                  1. re: Michelle

                    Had you been there when we were there last ~3years ago, you would not say so. There were 3 totally undisciplined children running around the restaurant screaming and if the atmosphere had ever been "quiet, elegant and refined", it was certainly not that evening. But thinking back to the only other time we ate there, I can't imagine referring to the restaurant as quiet, elegant and/or refined. I think of NR as an unrefined, corporate restaurant serving mediocre food in an unpleasant space. But what else should one expect in Disneyland!

                    1. re: josephnl

                      I'm sorry you had such an experience, but we will have to agree to disagree on this one! We have had a lovely experience every time we have been there.

                      1. re: Michelle

                        Thanks for your comments. Perhaps I was too harsh in my words, but that's what we experienced. Maybe we should give it another try?

            2. How about the Terranea Resort on Palos Verde? It's a beautiful setting and special occasion type place.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                Beautiful setting, very expensive, mediocre food...NO!

                1. re: josephnl

                  Then my next recommendation would be the Montage in Dana Point. Or the restaurant at the ritz Carlton Laguna niguel.....

                  1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                    We did anniversary at montage which is in laguna. Beautiful property with coves and lookouts over the water and a few falcons to keep the avian riffraff out. Champagne and light room service worked well for us. Fantastic breakfast in room too. Ok a bit more expensive but a nice stacation with good food. Restaurant is a cool venue there but we didn't make it.

                    1. re: jessejames

                      Yes, I'm sure this is probably well over OP's budget

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                        But a good indicator to try it there for dinner and great atmosphere and stroll on coast path.

                  2. re: josephnl

                    Yup. They lost Michael Fiorelli signed out. Sous chef now at the helm.

                2. If you like pasta, Bestia is a great place with delicious, unique pasta dishes and more. We had a great dinner there this past Sat.

                      1. re: jblee

                        For a 25th wedding anniversary? I'd want something more special, and romantic than Taco Rosa. To me, I'd even prefer Houston's, although if the op can stretch their budget Marché Moderne is definitely my pick.

                            1. re: Searching4Dunny

                              My comment still applies. For me, not a place for a very special celebration.

                          1. re: jblee

                            Agree with Taco Maria. Great food and ambiance and meets the pricepoint.

                            1. re: Porthos

                              Now I think I've confused Taco Maria with Taco Rosa! I thought you guys were talking about the Taco Rosa on Jamboree, not the Taco Maria at SOCO! TacoM is really good, is it?? Good margueritas and food? I've never been and was confusing it with TR which is just ok.

                              1. re: josephnl

                                Taco Maria isn't that kind if Mexican food. It is fine dining Mexican food in a intimate restaurant setting. It's successful nouveau Mexican with wine pairings. Very unique and I doubt most people have experienced this level of Mexican cuisine.

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  Taco Maria is actually quite romantic. No margaritas. It's not that kind of a place.

                                  I think Chef Carlos needs to do something about the name. It doesn't fit with what he's doing at all.

                                  1. re: revets2

                                    What do you mean, not that kind of place? I don't believe I ever been to a Mexican or Mexican style restaurant that doesn't serve margaritas...from very upscale places like Red O to little holes in the wall in Santa Ana or the Coyote Grill in Laguna.

                                    1. re: josephnl

                                      That's exactly the point josephnl. This place transcendes all that. Truly in a different class. Maybe even more French than Mexican in some ways. Try it! :)

                                      And regarding "I don't believe I ever been to a Mexican or Mexican style restaurant that doesn't serve margaritas"...you need to go more hole in the wall then :)

                                      Try El Cabrito for stewed goat and consommé of goat or El Toro Carniceria (supermarket with great butcher shop and a kitchen serving food next door) for soft tacos, tamales, or combination plate. A different level of Mexican food on the low but oh so good end of Mexican food.

                                      1. re: josephnl

                                        The food at TM reflects the new culinary scene coming out of Mexico (i.e. Baja Med cuisine) more than what we typically see in CA. Combine that with the technique at work by Chef Carlos in that Commis modernist style and it makes for a very unique restaurant.

                                        1. re: josephnl

                                          Here is a link to the discussion. Check out the photos. Unlike anything we've seen for sure:


                                          1. re: Porthos

                                            Wow…were you ever right Porthos. Really about confusing it with Taco Rosa…or for that matter with any "taco" place. Had dinner at Taco Maria on Friday night and although there was not a taco in sight (nor margaritas), we were really stunned by how good this place is. Thanks for straightening me out! I'll comment further at the link above!