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Where should I go for my birthday?

I will be dining with two mostly vegetarians. They will eat a little fish, but some dishes have to be vegetable friendly. No seafood for them either (mussels, clams, octopus uni, etc)

I. however, will eat anything. Offal, spicy it doesn't matter. I want something that will leave me in awe, something that will completely wow me and make me remember eating it forever.
Decor/service/fanciness is a complete nonissue. Food is the only factor.

Somewhere between the Westside and downtown and The Santa Monica mountains and Long Beach.

I would like it to be around 80 pp or less before tax/tip, no one drinks so that isn't an issue.

I've been to Animal and loved it, Red Medicine and been very disappointed (except for desserts), Son of a Gun and thought it was good.

What say you?

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  1. Gjelina would work for you. Great food.
    http://www.gjelina.com

    so would MB Post in Manhattan Beach.
    http://eatmbpost.com

    15 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      But know there is a strict no substitution/omission policy at Gjelina.

      I like Tasting Kitchen, which is right next to Gjelina..... They are more accommodating and have a little bit of everything on their menu. The food is fantastic and the cocktails are sublime. Gets busy & loud the later you go.

      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

        it sounds like the dietary limits of the others in Butter Fight's party are much like my own.
        gjelina is on my regular rotation and i've not had any problem with their "no modification" policy.

        1. re: westsidegal

          Right. Vegetarian is not the same as picky. Now if Butter Fight had said s/he was dining with a vegetarian who didn't eat garlic, onions, nuts, chiles, cheese, olives . . . I would steer their party away from Gjelina.

          1. re: cookie monster

            Yes, I understand that being vegetarian does not necessarily mean picky, and Gjelina would most likely be the best place as the Chef makes some of the best vegetable dishes in the city.....but thought it would be considerate to let someone know who has never been there about the omission policy.

            1. re: Dirtywextraolives

              True. Better than being surprised when one of your guests is told sorry, but no we can't leave the anchovies off your salad or serve the dressing on the side.

              1. re: cookie monster

                Exactly :)

        2. re: Dirtywextraolives

          I did my time on the westside for about a year, and I can say with the courage of my conviction that I most definitely prefer Tasting Kitchen to Gjelina for so many reasons, the first and foremost being that I just plain liked the food better. They are both pretty neck in neck with atmosphere (unless it's a beautiful day and it's brunch time, in that case Gjelina wins, if you are lucky enough to snag a patio table). I don't like the attitude at Gjelina, they make me feel as if I'm lucky to be eating there. Unfortunitely, Tasting kitchen is even harder to get into than Gjelina, at least a few years ago it was...

        3. re: wienermobile

          Another vote for Gjelina. Amazing salads and vegetables and vegetarian friendly pizzas, plus the dinner menu always has some more "adventurous" proteins (lately including lamb neck, octopus, pork belly). And great desserts. Everyone raves about the butterscotch pot de creme, and it is excellent, but my favorite is the warm date cake. Tasting Kitchen, also on Abbot KInney in Venice, would probably work for you as well.
          http://www.thetastingkitchen.com/

          1. re: wienermobile

            What are some must haves at Gjelina? Any "must avoids?"

            What about MB post?

            1. re: Butter Fight

              love MB Post but probably wouldn't take vegetarians/vegans there....dishes are very pork-friendly.

              1. re: Butter Fight

                at Gjelina I love…
                Crispy Brussel Sprouts
                Beet Burrata
                King Oyster Mushrooms
                Wood Roasted Cauliflower
                The Pizza's are great. I like the Lamb Sausage
                and The Pork Belly
                save room for the Butterscotch Pot De Cream
                Have never had a bad dish!
                http://www.gjelina.com/#/dinner

                1. re: wienermobile

                  At MB Post I love…
                  The Bacon Cheddar Biscuits
                  Roasted Brussel Sprouts
                  Ricotta Stuffed Squash Blossoms
                  Seared Diver Scallops
                  BBQ Lamb Belly
                  Carmel Pork Jowl
                  Grilled Yellowtail
                  and save room for The Elvis.
                  The only dish I didn't like was their giant fries.
                  The Menu does change frequently. Many specials including their great fried chicken and chicken pot pie.
                  http://eatmbpost.com/assets/menus/1/o...

                  1. re: wienermobile

                    Their mac & cheese is amazing too!

                2. re: Butter Fight

                  Basically at Gjelina, all of his vegetable dishes are outstanding. I don't believe I've ever come across anything or read anywhere about a "must avoid" dish there.

                  1. re: Butter Fight

                    typically, at gjelina, i will order as many things from the 'VEGETABLE" portion of the menu as i can possibly stuff into my mouth.

                    MB post's treatment of fish is sublime.

                3. They will eat a little fish but no seafood? What is the difference between fish and seafood?

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: bringiton

                    Kosher? No shellfish or bottom feeders.

                    1. re: wienermobile

                      I was thinking the same thing, wienermobile.... But if they were truly keeping kosher, they wouldn't be going out to any of these places......

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                        People are Kosher to different degrees. Some just avoid shellfish and meats (pork) and will eat everything else.

                        1. re: wienermobile

                          Yes, I understand this. Which is why I wrote "truly" keeping kosher..... But seems funny to me that you can be partially kosher..... Like being kinda pregnant?

                    2. re: bringiton

                      I think it is completely arbitrary, but for whatever reason that is where they have drawn the line. It's probably at least partially a textural thing.

                    3. AOC? http://www.aocwinebar.com/

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Servorg

                        AOC is a great recommendation

                        1. re: Servorg

                          what do you like/dislike at AOC?

                        2. Gjelina
                          Bucato
                          Tar & Roses?

                          1. Rustic Canyon
                            http://www.rusticcanyonwinebar.com

                            Lukshon in Culver City
                            http://lukshon.com/data/downloads/din...

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: wienermobile

                              Real Food Daily? Killer nachos...and all vegan. But the food is very appealing to just about everyone.

                              1. re: Miri1

                                RFD is my favorite place to eat if I am imbibing in something…say…uhh GREEN and organically grown. For some reason I cannot eat meat when I am…ummm…imbibing.

                              2. re: wienermobile

                                fwiw, lukshon is also on my regular rotation, BUT it takes WORK to avoid the pork that they seem to like incorporating into most of their dishes.

                                truly few vegetarian/pescatarian dishes to be had there.

                                1. re: westsidegal

                                  This is also somewhere I've been wanting to try. Are they around the same price?

                                  1. re: Butter Fight

                                    here's the menu.
                                    none of their portions except the whole fried fish are large enough to satisfy me by itself.
                                    normally i need to order three items to be full.
                                    (but, then again, i am a pig)
                                    my NY pal finished off the broccoli beef, which is supposed to be a serving for two people, by himself. he declared it to be "outstanding."

                                    p.s. the eggplant fries are divine, but VERY rich/oily.
                                    i highly recommend the steamed cod.

                                    http://lukshon.com/data/downloads/din...

                                    also, keep in mind their NO SUBSTITUTIONS NO MODIFICATIONS policy.
                                    objectively, it is no different than that at gjelina, but because of the pork presence, it bothers me at lukshon and not at gjelina.

                              3. Matsuhisa has a great variety and nice tempura and veg dishes.

                                1. n/naka

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    According to the website, n/naka is about $165 pp. that's a little out of my range. Can it be done for less?

                                    1. re: Butter Fight

                                      Unfortunately, no.

                                      There used to be a less expensive 9-course option, but now it's only the 13.

                                      Perhaps you can make an exception for your birthday? If not now, when?

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        Very true. But I'm being treated, and I can't justify asking them to spend that kind of money.

                                        Maybe I'll go later and pay my own way.
                                        It looks worth it.

                                  2. So Gjlenia is looking pretty good to me, but I was also looking at Trois Mec and Church and Key any thoughts on either of those?

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Butter Fight

                                      You probably want to search the board & read up on Trois Mec..... I believe they use a ticket system or you pay ahead...can't remember which. Read that to mean, hard to get into. And I believe it's a set menu, so not sure if that would be amenable to vegetarians. Just FYI.

                                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                                        UPCOMING TICKET RELEASE DATES for Trois Mec tickets

                                        December 27th at 8am for tickets from 1/6/14-1/17/14
                                        January 10th for tickets from 1/20/14-1/31/14
                                        January 24th for tickets from 2/3/14-2/14/14
                                        http://www.ludolefebvre.com/restaurants/

                                    2. Like ipse, I was thinking of n/naka (haven't gone yet, personally), but it's definitely out of your price range. How about Shunji? While he doesn't have a vegetarian menu like n/naka, if the other diners are not averse to more than a little fish, you might be able to request (ahead of time) for a more vegetarian-focused omakase (and also mention your price point) and see if they can accommodate. The agedashi tomato tofu is an amazing dish (may or may not be fully vegetarian--I believe the dashi broth that it sits in is made with fish).

                                      Tar & Roses have some veggie dishes (my favorite is the English peas) but again if not averse to more than a little fish, the fried whole snapper looks amazing (still haven't tried myself).

                                      What about Hatfield's? I think of it more as a romantic destination, but certainly good for celebrating a birthday. They have a seasonal prix fixe for $67 and a vegetarian prix fixe for $56. http://www.hatfieldsrestaurant.com/menu