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Romantic Italian Restaurants on the West Side?

itssonnic Apr 6, 2014 06:05 PM

I'm planning a weekend in LA for my boyfriend's birthday, and I'm trying to find the perfect place for dinner. Does anyone know of a nice Italian restaurant that's somewhat affordable (under $100 a person) with great tasting food and a romantic ambience (dim lighting, an outdoor patio or great view?). Maybe somewhere with a great seafood pasta?

Also, if you guys have any suggestions for romantic spots to go to before/after dinner, it'd be much appreciated!

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  1. d
    Dirtywextraolives RE: itssonnic Apr 6, 2014 06:28 PM

    Kind of a tall order.....

    Il Cielo in Beverly Hills used to be considered one of the most romantic....but I haven't been there in ages....

    PIccolo Venice is very good Italian, a block from Venice Beach, and it has a cozy room with a fireplace, but no view or patio.....

    Melisse is the best high end restaurant on the Westside, but not Italian, and not for the faint of heart or under $100per person.....

    Sorry not coming up with much, good luck!

    11 Replies
    1. re: Dirtywextraolives
      westsidegal RE: Dirtywextraolives Apr 6, 2014 06:45 PM

      respectfully disagree with the recommendation of piccolo venice

      1. re: westsidegal
        ilysla RE: westsidegal Apr 6, 2014 11:46 PM

        I know nothing of Piccolo Venice, so wondering if you disagree b/c of taste, ambiance, price?

        1. re: ilysla
          Novelli RE: ilysla Apr 7, 2014 06:10 AM

          I'm guessing because of ambiance. Piccolo Venice is a fairly cramped venue and pretty loud to boot...especially when the BOH and FOH is yelling at each other in front of everyone.

          Although, IMHO, the food and service is very good, just not the perfect romantic spot.

          1. re: Novelli
            Dirtywextraolives RE: Novelli Apr 7, 2014 10:20 AM

            I did not experience any loud diners or staff when we visited there.

          2. re: ilysla
            westsidegal RE: ilysla Apr 7, 2014 10:26 AM


            the ambiance is lovely
            price is what i would expect for this type of meal.
            should be noted that their plating was simply gorgeous.

            1. re: westsidegal
              jessejames RE: westsidegal Apr 7, 2014 11:46 AM

              Speaking of Piccolos, we had a dynamite dinner at Piccolo Paradiso on S. Beverly...grilled langoustinos, john dory with tomato/fennel broth and black truffles, bottarga, other fresh pasta, cannolis...service is impeccable and provided free samples of various wines to sample...not exactly dark and candle lit, but i'd say romantic...there's also a small patio out front...

              1. re: jessejames
                josephnl RE: jessejames Apr 7, 2014 02:00 PM

                I'd definitely 2nd Piccolo Paradiso. Food is great, it's within your budget, and if you're with that special person can certainly be romantic in a cozy Italian trattoria sort of way.

                I personally prefer Madeo for Italian food on the west side, but it's larger, has a less romantic vibe, and is likely more expensive than PP.

                1. re: jessejames
                  latindancer RE: jessejames Apr 7, 2014 09:27 PM

                  Absolutely agree with you on Piccolo Paradiso.
                  Their homemade pasta, their wonderful service, their wine list and the ambiance all come together for what could easily be romantic.
                  Highly, highly recommend.

                  1. re: latindancer
                    josephnl RE: latindancer Apr 7, 2014 09:31 PM

                    And it will easily be within budget!

                2. re: westsidegal
                  Novelli RE: westsidegal Apr 7, 2014 02:01 PM

                  Really? Didn't like? Hmm, ok.

            2. re: Dirtywextraolives
              foodiemahoodie RE: Dirtywextraolives Apr 7, 2014 01:09 AM

              Il Cielo would be my first choice.

              Viletta is also very romantic, and a few rooms to choose from.

            3. k
              kevin RE: itssonnic Apr 6, 2014 06:58 PM



              Angelini Osteria.

              Nuff said.

              1. v
                Victorxxxx RE: itssonnic Apr 6, 2014 07:01 PM

                isn't Valentino closed?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Victorxxxx
                  kevin RE: Victorxxxx Apr 6, 2014 07:02 PM

                  It's open. Though maybe not on Sundays. :)

                2. ipsedixit RE: itssonnic Apr 6, 2014 07:14 PM

                  I would do Valentino. It's your best bet.

                  You could go to someplace like Pecorino and leave feeling totally ripped off.

                  Up to you.

                  (And I refuse to consider Beverly Hills as "west side" otherwise Scarpetta might work)

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    latindancer RE: ipsedixit Apr 6, 2014 07:26 PM

                    <And I refuse to consider BH as "west side">

                    You do? Why?

                    1. re: latindancer
                      ipsedixit RE: latindancer Apr 6, 2014 07:44 PM

                      Just a mental block, I guess.

                      Everyone I know that works in/around BH (incl. CC) don't refer to themselves as "Westsiders".

                      Just ignore, a personal failing of mine.

                    2. re: ipsedixit
                      Dirtywextraolives RE: ipsedixit Apr 6, 2014 07:37 PM

                      I just don't get Valentino anymore.... Maybe they've updated the uber dated interior, and then I'd be willing to give them a shot...but it doesn't scream romance to me anymore with that 80s look, and obviously no view or patio, AFAIR.....

                      1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                        foodiemahoodie RE: Dirtywextraolives May 1, 2014 11:38 AM

                        Agree too. It's formal. Ish. But romantic? Could be worse, but doesn't have the charm of Viletta. Or Il Cielo (as pictured).

                        1. re: foodiemahoodie
                          maudies5 RE: foodiemahoodie May 1, 2014 01:08 PM

                          Don't even think about going to Villetta. Their bankruptcy trial starts tomorrow. They are on cash only basis for most vendors and are buying much of their wine from Fireside Market. This is not inside information. Chapter 11 bankruptcy docs are all in public domain. I had a good look at their financials and it is ugly. Checks bouncing to landlord, Board of Equalization. They are trying to get B LLC, that group which owns those mozzarella bars to assume their lease. It is a pretty, romantic venue. Too bad that crappy mismanagement led to this.

                      2. re: ipsedixit
                        a213b RE: ipsedixit Apr 7, 2014 08:31 AM

                        Agree with all of this, including the geographical/cartographical musings.

                        But if BH is in the mix, Scarpetta Chefs counter was a fun anniversary meal a few years ago.

                        Sotto and Bucato are better by a good bit, but never what I'd call romantic.

                        1. re: a213b
                          OutshinedLA RE: a213b Apr 11, 2014 12:58 PM

                          The patio at Bucato was quite romantic. They knew it was our anniversary and had prosecco waiting. It was so nice.

                        2. re: ipsedixit
                          josephnl RE: ipsedixit Apr 7, 2014 02:12 PM

                          Valentino is great, but the ambiance IMHO is very cold, the service although proper is not warm, and I guess I have a hard time considering it romantic. I'd definitely choose Madeo or even Piccolo Paradiso first.

                          Mmm...another thought..perhaps silly. It's not the westside, but it has an outdoor roof deck, very good Italian food, is romantic and is in your budget! But it's in Long Beach!! If you don't mind driving 30-40 minutes, Michael's on Naples would definitely fill the bill

                        3. m
                          maudies5 RE: itssonnic Apr 6, 2014 07:49 PM

                          Toscana always has a great seafood pasta. We love Toscana and frequently go there. Having said that, it does not have the ambiance you are looking for. No patio. No dim lighting. No view. They do have good (not great) food and great service. You might actually enjoy Bar Toscana. It is on the other side of Toscana's outdoor entrance. They will take phone reservations. It's quite small, dim lighting, great cocktails. You can order food from Toscana. You just can't go to Toscana and order drinks from Bar Toscana. Call a day or so ahead of time and ask for a table by the window. Now, that actually is romantic.
                          Too bad Villetta is in Chapter 11, on life support and I understand is serving dreadful food. Pretty, romantic setting. Wouldn't go there if my life depended on it.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: maudies5
                            ronsilverado RE: maudies5 Apr 8, 2014 12:39 PM

                            Viletta has been totally bewildering since day First of all, who in their right mind would open another Italian place in Brentwood at this point? Beyond this, the assumption seems to have been that they could coast on the appeal of the space (which really is beautiful) and pricing everything so ridiculously that all the big time bwood ballers would come out ("with prices like this, it has to be good!").

                            End rant. I just hope someone figures out something worthwhile to put in that space.

                          2. g
                            goldpackage RE: itssonnic Apr 6, 2014 11:16 PM

                            google these 4... all of which have very good Italian food. all are dark, moody, and candlelit. all are approx a block from the beach so your pre or post dinner walk should take care of the view.

                            ado venice

                            via Veneto

                            Giorgio baldi

                            piccolo venice - * note parking sucks

                            48 Replies
                            1. re: goldpackage
                              Dirtywextraolives RE: goldpackage Apr 7, 2014 10:22 AM

                              There's no way you can eat out of Giorgio Baldi for under $100 pp especially if wine is ordered and even more so if a special is ordered......

                              1. re: Dirtywextraolives
                                Ciao Bob RE: Dirtywextraolives Apr 7, 2014 10:40 AM

                                This is just not true DWO. An appetizer and a (non-truffle) pasta or (non-lobster) seafood entree and a dessert would be less than 100pp at GB. The OP said nothing about wine.

                                1. re: Ciao Bob
                                  westsidegal RE: Ciao Bob Apr 7, 2014 01:11 PM

                                  ciao Bob: are you including tax and tip and parking and a non-alcoholic beverage?

                                  also, imho, when you are taking someone out for their birthday, it is not very celebratory to tell them what they are allowed to order.

                                  "careful ordering" has its place, but i'd never tell the birthday boy which menu items are allowed and which ones aren't. . . . .

                                  ("Sorry, honey. You are not allowed to order the special or any veal dish or lobster or, or, or . . .")

                                  1. re: westsidegal
                                    kevin RE: westsidegal Apr 7, 2014 01:14 PM


                                    appetizer $19

                                    pasta $19

                                    dessert $13

                                    valet $10 (at least).

                                    add a drink in there I guess it would work out.

                                    but if you are getting meat or fish entrees as opposed to a pasta then it gets very very very expensive.

                                    1. re: kevin
                                      Ciao Bob RE: kevin Apr 7, 2014 02:00 PM

                                      @westsidegal I was NOT including many of the evening's niceties - tax, tip, parking, gas, hairspray or condoms.

                                      @kevin No way the valet is a tenner.

                                      1. re: Ciao Bob
                                        goldpackage RE: Ciao Bob Apr 7, 2014 04:09 PM

                                        agree with you bob. you can do giorgio baldi for under $200 for 2 people. i have done it.

                                        1. re: Ciao Bob
                                          Dirtywextraolives RE: Ciao Bob Apr 7, 2014 05:23 PM

                                          Niceties? They are necessities, as in you have no choice but to pay tip, tax, valet..... C'mon, I know you love the place but seriously, we all don't have champagne budgets like you apparently do.....the place is uber expensive (i dare say, overpriced, now that Giorgio himself is gone and not behind the stoves anymore) and unless you go eat beforehand so you're not hungry, it is very hard to stay on a budget there.

                                          1. re: Ciao Bob
                                            westsidegal RE: Ciao Bob Apr 7, 2014 10:36 PM

                                            if it were MY birthday dinner, i would not consider ordering an appetizer, an entree, a pasta, a dessert, AND a cappuccino (maybe two!) with dessert "niceties."

                                            also, when i'm hosting a celebratory dinner, i would NEVER tell my guest of honor that they were required to "order carefully" (that's how i got in trouble at jitlada).

                                            goldpackge, i agree with you that one CAN do GB for under $200, but it takes some careful dancing which would, imho, be so inappropriate as to be boorish/embarrassing for a celebratory birthday dinner.

                                            "careful ordering" is what i do all the time to support my chow addiction. that said, it has its time and its place.

                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                              josephnl RE: westsidegal Apr 8, 2014 08:59 AM

                                              Agree completely wsg!

                                              1. re: westsidegal
                                                Ciao Bob RE: westsidegal Apr 8, 2014 09:19 AM

                                                Like everything, I guess it really depends on one's POV and upbringing. When we were young my Father would often bring us to "adult" places (like Spago, the original on Horn and Sunset) for special occasions like our birthdays. We were told just what you say WSG - to "order carefully," not to guzzle "expensive" sodas, to skip dessert and we will have a cake with candles at home. Some of my sibs and I felt it was a great trade-off because we got to go places he would not otherwise take us kids. Some of us much preferred it to being able to get anything we wanted at the regular, more affordable, pizza/burger joint. Others preferred free reign at the local joint. Depends on what celebration means to the celebrators, not to you or me.

                                                1. re: Ciao Bob
                                                  josephnl RE: Ciao Bob Apr 8, 2014 12:11 PM

                                                  I think it's a very different story when you take a child to a restaurant. Certainly it's not only fine, but appropriate, to guide your kids in ordering at an "adult" restaurant. But…when I host an adult who is a close friend, I would like my guest to feel comfortable ordering whatever he/she really wants. That being said, both I and most of my good friends, I think, would use discretion in ordering.

                                                  1. re: josephnl
                                                    westsidegal RE: josephnl Apr 8, 2014 04:40 PM

                                                    what would that discretion include?
                                                    not ordering an entree?
                                                    not ordering wine in a restaurant like GB?
                                                    considering seafood and veal to be off-limits?
                                                    considering the special to be off-limits?
                                                    not ordering a cappuccino or two?

                                                    even when a group of my girlfriends went out to the Penthouse at the Huntley to celebrate one of our birthdays, it was not considered that any member of the group, especially the birthday girl, would be expected to skip courses or to limit her wine or, or, or.

                                                    discretion might come into play in choosing not to order the MOST expensive wine, or the MOST expensive entree, but skipping courses would be way beyond "discretion" imho

                                                    imho, if you are the host(ess), budgeting comes into play when you are selecting the venue.

                                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                                      maudies5 RE: westsidegal Apr 8, 2014 04:59 PM

                                                      Well said, westsidegal. When we host someone at a restaurant our expectation is that our guest will be comfortable enough to order what they wish off of the menu. I suppose "discretion" would be not ordering a boatload of white truffles.I

                                                      1. re: maudies5
                                                        kevin RE: maudies5 Apr 8, 2014 05:06 PM

                                                        Yeah, it's usually bad form when you order the most expensive entree on the menu, or the most expensive wine.

                                                        I guess that was why and I may get shit for this, back in the day, they served menus with prices only to the host/hostess of the table.

                                                        I don't think anywhere follows that procedure anymore though to be sure.

                                                      2. re: westsidegal
                                                        goldpackage RE: westsidegal Apr 8, 2014 05:14 PM

                                                        ok, this is becoming a little silly... some are acting like giorgio baldi would blow that $100 pp out of the water and having eaten there many times i just don't agree.

                                                        1st (split)
                                                        burrata tricolore - 20

                                                        anglolotti sweet corn white truffle sauce - 25
                                                        tortelli di zucca - 19

                                                        dover sole - 43
                                                        frittura di mare - 25

                                                        1 x dessert split - 12 (can't remember the last time my wife and i didn't split one dessert)

                                                        2 coffee's - 10

                                                        $155 + tax of about $10 = $165 before tip
                                                        assuming 20% (or just shy of 20%) = $195

                                                        i don't think it's fair to add valet parking as an automatic charge because many of us don't do it. i've parked on the street many times down there.

                                                        i also can't remember the last time i didn't bring a special bottle of wine to a restaurant for a special occasion and pay the corkage fee. i don't know what giorgio charges for this but i also don't know if these folks drink wine. nor do i know if they drink coffee. or if they would do a (split) first course, a pasta course, an entree course and a dessert. most don't do all 4. so if you were to pull out the split first course and the coffee you'd (likely) have your corkage covered anyway and still be at or under $200.

                                                        i would be more than happy with the above meal. and there isn't much compromise in it.

                                                        1. re: goldpackage
                                                          kevin RE: goldpackage Apr 8, 2014 05:49 PM

                                                          Well, I'd much rather go to Giorgio than any of the sub $100 joints.

                                                          That's for damn sure.

                                                          And you're prices sound correct.

                                                          do you have one of their menus on hand, or is that an old receipt.

                                                          i will say that some of the pastas are under 20,

                                                          1. re: kevin
                                                            goldpackage RE: kevin Apr 8, 2014 06:06 PM

                                                            i found this... seemed pretty close to what i remember the prices being last time i was there so i assume it's accurate: http://giorgio-baldi.com/the-menu2.html

                                                            i didn't pick the cheapest in any course except for one of the entrees - the frittura di mare. you could sub lamb chops for that dish and add $8 to the total.

                                                            1. re: goldpackage
                                                              kevin RE: goldpackage Apr 8, 2014 06:24 PM

                                                              Wow, thanks Goldpackage.

                                                              i didn't know that website existed.

                                                              for some reason, i thought this site was the one and only one.

                                                              http://www.giorgiobaldi.us which doesn't list prices except for the link to the E Baldi menu.

                                                              1. re: goldpackage
                                                                kevin RE: goldpackage Apr 8, 2014 06:26 PM

                                                                the prices look correct to me especially in the appetizers and pastas range.

                                                                But i could have sworn the veal chop Milanese was closer to $50 than the menu price listed at $43

                                                              2. re: kevin
                                                                Ciao Bob RE: kevin Apr 8, 2014 07:55 PM

                                                                << I'd much rather go to Giorgio than any of the sub $100 joints>>

                                                                Amen. Neither the piccolos, nor the Ado's are in the same league. Dark and romantic rules out Vincenti, and Toscana. Valentino? I really do not go enough to know. The OP wants "great seafood pasta" (lobster ravioli, penne with lagostino, spaghetti bottarga) for about $100pp in a romantic setting on the Westside. That's GB until proven otherwise in my book. Adding wine and valet is, as others have said, off the point. Any place that is 100pp will be happy to sell you a bottle at that price and leave nothing left for dinner, so I do not see how you can count it in the mix.

                                                                @goldpackage - your prices seem accurate and GB does not allow outside bottles.

                                                              3. re: goldpackage
                                                                westsidegal RE: goldpackage Apr 8, 2014 09:10 PM

                                                                goldpackage: so how will this work?
                                                                are you going to ask the birthday boy to order first and do a quick mental calculation about what YOU can order so that you don't exceed budget?
                                                                if he orders his OWN first course, will you just sit there with nothing because you can't spend the money?

                                                                you will need to be sure that YOU don't order the dover sole if he does, even if you want it. or the tbone. (more mental calculation).

                                                                what if he orders his OWN dessert and a couple of cappuccinos? again, are you going to sit there staring into space with a glass of water in front of you while he has dessert because this will take you over budget?

                                                                for a birthday dinner are you going to ask the birthday boy to drive around to look for street parking instead of using the valet? how fancy!

                                                                re: the wine, iirc, GB does not allow outside wine. Add in the cost for wine and the tax and tip for the wine.
                                                                even if they did allow you to bring in outside wine the cost of such wine and the corkage and the tip on the corkage would need to be added.
                                                                i'd guess another $50 should be added for wine alone.

                                                                should she lay it out to the boyfriend like this:
                                                                "honey, this is how it will work:
                                                                we'll drive around the block until we find parking.
                                                                probably wine with dinner is out.
                                                                we will need to split the first course.
                                                                please don't think of getting a pasta course AND an entree.
                                                                also, we will be splitting a dessert and sticking to coffee--no cappuccinos at this restaurant!"

                                                              4. re: westsidegal
                                                                josephnl RE: westsidegal Apr 8, 2014 06:42 PM

                                                                wag…you are responding to my post, so I think I should answer. I truly think we are on the same page, but for clarity: I would be shocked (and I guess upset) if my guest were to order beluga caviar ($200) with a glass of Dom Perignon (($50), foie gras ($45) with a glass of Chateau D'Yquem ($70), or a starter pasta with fresh Italian truffle ($80 or so). Yes, when I am someone's guest, I feel comfortable in ordering what I want (as though I were paying for it), and although I think I am generous, I expect the same reasonable consideration from my guest(s).

                                                                1. re: josephnl
                                                                  kevin RE: josephnl Apr 8, 2014 06:48 PM

                                                                  that's a very fair worldview. order what you want but want you want given that you would be paying for it yourself in a different, varying scenario, rather than living in an apocrphyal world where money has no meaning.

                                                                  1. re: kevin
                                                                    josephnl RE: kevin Apr 8, 2014 07:03 PM

                                                                    In an earlier life, I worked for a large company, traveled extensively, and had a very generous expense allowance. I ate well when traveling, but always used as my guideline "is this something I would order if I were paying for it". If so, I always felt comfortable charging the company for it (but, if truth be told, I often personally took care of the first $50 or even more). I never felt guilty, nor did I ever have an expense report questioned. When I'm someone's guest, I use the same guideline...is this something I would order if I were paying (but, I also make allowance if my host is someone less able to pay than am I).

                                                                    1. re: josephnl
                                                                      kevin RE: josephnl Apr 8, 2014 07:06 PM

                                                                      Good point.

                                                                      Btw, I think you're the one that still owes me a classic martini. :)

                                                                      1. re: kevin
                                                                        josephnl RE: kevin Apr 8, 2014 07:08 PM

                                                                        I'd be thrilled to buy you a round or even two! Is there some way we can communicate privately to arrange this?

                                                                        1. re: josephnl
                                                                          kevin RE: josephnl Apr 8, 2014 07:11 PM

                                                                          haha, i was joking.

                                                                          you don't have to do that.

                                                                          but my hound email is on under my screen handle if you click on my name.

                                                                      2. re: josephnl
                                                                        kevin RE: josephnl Apr 8, 2014 07:06 PM

                                                                        That's from a thread on martinis.

                                                                        1. re: josephnl
                                                                          westsidegal RE: josephnl Apr 8, 2014 09:38 PM

                                                                          josephni: that is the exact criteria i used when traveling on business.

                                                                          when i was traveling with my boss, however, he always ordered top-flight wine (about $100/bottle) and paid for it separately on his own personal credit card.

                                                                          the meals that the company paid for, though, were complete.
                                                                          i always had EVERY course from the shrimp cocktail to dessert.
                                                                          BOTH wine and a cocktail with dinner were clearly included as a normal part of the evening meal.

                                                                      3. re: josephnl
                                                                        westsidegal RE: josephnl Apr 8, 2014 09:12 PM

                                                                        josephini: we definitely are on the same page.

                                                                        the OP's budget, in this situation, is, imho very marginal for this particular restaurant ESPECIALLY for a celebratory meal that she is hosting.

                                                                        if her budget is firm, GB could be a real problem.

                                                                        not everybody can afford a $200 meal give or take an extra $100.

                                                                        i've already stipulated that, in another situation, where both parties have agreed beforehand about the budget and have agreed to "order carefully" and it is not a "hosted" meal, this is doable--especially if no alcohol will be ordered.

                                                                    2. re: josephnl
                                                                      schrutefarms RE: josephnl Apr 8, 2014 07:06 PM

                                                                      I think people have different views on whats appropriate when someone else is footing the bill. Me, I would look to the least expensive entrees and keep an eye on my booze intake. But I recently took a friend out for a bday dinner, and even knowing I'm usually on a budget, she had no problem ordering the #1 most expensive item on the menu (one word--lobster). Not that I can complain about it; after all, I offered to treat. But it did maybe surprise me a bit, since that is definitely not what I would do on someone else's dime.

                                                                      1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                        kevin RE: schrutefarms Apr 8, 2014 07:07 PM

                                                                        although at the same time, i wouldn't order the cheapest item unless that's what truly piqued my taste buds.

                                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                                          schrutefarms RE: kevin Apr 8, 2014 07:16 PM

                                                                          Definitely not, that would be silly. I recently took my Dad out to Dan Tana's, my treat. I urged him to get the steak, but he wouldn't. He got the Alfredo instead. I'm sure he would have loved a steak, but felt a little uncomfortable having his daughter buy it for him, and went with what he felt was a more finacially appropriate dish. I guess I come from the same stock.

                                                                          1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                            kevin RE: schrutefarms Apr 8, 2014 07:22 PM

                                                                            fettucine alfredo, damn, that's one of the worst dishes on the menu.


                                                                            What did you have at Tana's ???? And what is your first time there ?

                                                                            1. re: kevin
                                                                              schrutefarms RE: kevin Apr 8, 2014 08:06 PM

                                                                              We both actually liked the Alfredo! I got the eggplant parm. Not so great. We split the Ceaser salad, that was the best (and most garlicky) salad ever! The java chip ice cream was great too!

                                                                              And no, not my first time there, but it was my Dads!

                                                                              1. re: schrutefarms
                                                                                kevin RE: schrutefarms Apr 8, 2014 08:08 PM

                                                                                i like the eggplant park and the shrimp parm, but both are definitely not chow-ish.

                                                                                but you probably already knew that.

                                                                              2. re: kevin
                                                                                jessejames RE: kevin Apr 8, 2014 08:18 PM

                                                                                I like it. They will let by have that as your pasta side with the steak if you ask nicely too.

                                                                            2. re: kevin
                                                                              westsidegal RE: kevin Apr 8, 2014 09:28 PM

                                                                              kevin: i may not order the most expensive items, but i certainly wouldn't be planning on splitting courses, nor on skipping courses, nor planning on foregoing alcohol or cappuccinos.

                                                                              on my own, i may drive around the block to find street parking, but if i'm taking someone out for their birthday, we will be valeting the car.

                                                                              1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                josephnl RE: westsidegal Apr 8, 2014 09:36 PM


                                                                        2. re: Ciao Bob
                                                                          westsidegal RE: Ciao Bob Apr 8, 2014 04:26 PM

                                                                          we are not talking about a KID here.
                                                                          this is her BOYFRIEND.
                                                                          (normally, the way to your boyfriend's heart doesn't start with taking him out to celebrate and telling him the "rules of ordering."
                                                                          the surest way to lose an adult boyfriend is to start acting like his MOTHER and laying out the rules, especially on his birthday!)

                                                                          1. re: westsidegal
                                                                            jessejames RE: westsidegal Apr 8, 2014 04:27 PM

                                                                            yes. we all know the surest way to a man's heart and it's not through his stomach!

                                                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                                                              kevin RE: westsidegal Apr 8, 2014 04:28 PM


                                                                              You just cracked me up.

                                                                              1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                The Chowhound Team RE: westsidegal Apr 9, 2014 05:56 AM

                                                                                Folks, we're going to ask everyone to head back towards recommending restaurants that you think might fit the poster's criteria here, and head to the Not About Food board if you want to pursue a discussion about how careful ordering can/should fit into a hosted celebratory meal. Thanks!

                                                                            2. re: westsidegal
                                                                              lesliesue RE: westsidegal Apr 30, 2014 09:04 PM

                                                                              GB is ridiculous. If I want to sit in someone's lap, I insist on knowing them first.

                                                                              1. re: lesliesue
                                                                                Ciao Bob RE: lesliesue May 1, 2014 09:34 AM

                                                                                Then you may not enjoy a "Romantic Italian Restaurant" where more-often-than-not I HAVE found myself in the lap of someone I don't know (or vice-versa).

                                                                                1. re: Ciao Bob
                                                                                  jessejames RE: Ciao Bob May 1, 2014 09:52 AM

                                                                                  wrong kind of lap dance

                                                                                  1. re: jessejames
                                                                                    kevin RE: jessejames May 1, 2014 10:47 AM

                                                                                    SAMs haufbrau supposedly.

                                                                  2. re: goldpackage
                                                                    whatsfordinner RE: goldpackage Apr 7, 2014 11:55 AM

                                                                    + 1 on Via Veneto. Love their pasta with Santa Barbara shrimp and bottarga.

                                                                  3. Servorg RE: itssonnic Apr 7, 2014 06:41 AM

                                                                    I find Guido's http://www.guidosla.com/ to be romantic with solid food.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Servorg
                                                                      PayOrPlay RE: Servorg Apr 7, 2014 01:36 PM

                                                                      Guido's was the first place that came to mind -- romantic old school atmosphere.

                                                                      Valentino was my next choice.

                                                                      And one more: Il Moro doesn't get mentioned a lot but has been around forever, and the back patio can be nice.

                                                                      1. re: PayOrPlay
                                                                        ilysla RE: PayOrPlay Apr 7, 2014 03:05 PM

                                                                        Disagree w/ the Il Moro rec. Nice atmosphere, but it food is overpriced and not particularly tasty, IMO.

                                                                    2. y
                                                                      yogachik RE: itssonnic Apr 7, 2014 08:13 AM

                                                                      Via Veneto
                                                                      Piccolo Venice

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: yogachik
                                                                        maudies5 RE: yogachik Apr 7, 2014 09:20 AM

                                                                        You seriously can not consider Villetta. They are in serious financial trouble. Bankruptcy court is expected to make decision this week if they will be able to re-organize. This is not speculation. It is a matter of public record.
                                                                        Peppone is dark, has nice booths, but I find the food to be mediocre.

                                                                        1. re: maudies5
                                                                          jdwdeville RE: maudies5 Apr 7, 2014 05:51 PM

                                                                          Peppone does, however, have one of the city's deepest wine lists...

                                                                      2. s
                                                                        schrutefarms RE: itssonnic Apr 7, 2014 02:23 PM

                                                                        Everyones definition of "westside" seems to be different, but if the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills border isn't too east, the patio at Cafe Amici in the Beverly Terrace Hotel is really lovely. It's got little twinkly fairy lights and everything. I've liked everything I've ever gotten there, and I'm fairly certain that, even with wine, it will easily fit into your budget.

                                                                        1. w
                                                                          whiner RE: itssonnic Apr 7, 2014 02:28 PM

                                                                          Il Grano can be a bit romantic, but not in the dim lighting sort of way... Food is excellent, though and well known for its seafood. Many of the pasta dishes are fantastic, but the pasta itself is actually probably where it needs the most work.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: whiner
                                                                            josephnl RE: whiner Apr 7, 2014 02:39 PM

                                                                            We've had 2 dinners at Il Grano that were very different. The first was about a year ago when everything was perfect. We absolutely loved it! Returned about 2 months ago and had a totally different experience...from waiting 45 minutes for rolls (we arrived just as the restaurant opened), to mediocre food and service. We have not returned. Have other CH's been recently and how was it?

                                                                          2. perk RE: itssonnic Apr 7, 2014 04:17 PM

                                                                            Little Door? Drago Centro? And if you do Drago, a cocktail somewhere on a rooftop at sunset? WP24? One of the other hotels?

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: perk
                                                                              perk RE: perk Apr 7, 2014 08:08 PM

                                                                              Oops. Sorry about Drago Centro. Missed the westside part.

                                                                            2. m
                                                                              maudies5 RE: itssonnic Apr 7, 2014 06:07 PM

                                                                              The Brentwood, although not Italian, is romantic. Request table #1 or Table #19. They are isolated, quiet and farthest from the bar. Good menu, good (if not memorable) food and very good cocktails. The lighting is very dim. They have a nice wine list.

                                                                              1. J.L. RE: itssonnic Apr 7, 2014 06:11 PM

                                                                                Anyone mention Capo?

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: J.L.
                                                                                  maudies5 RE: J.L. Apr 7, 2014 06:32 PM

                                                                                  IMHO, difficult to stay within $100 pp budget. Not unlike Baldi.

                                                                                  1. re: J.L.
                                                                                    Servorg RE: J.L. Apr 7, 2014 06:32 PM

                                                                                    Wasn't it already precluded? "(under $100 a person)"

                                                                                    1. re: J.L.
                                                                                      J.L. RE: J.L. Apr 7, 2014 06:36 PM

                                                                                      Oh yeah - I missed that price point. My bad: Forget it.

                                                                                      1. re: J.L.
                                                                                        goldpackage RE: J.L. Apr 7, 2014 08:00 PM

                                                                                        for some reason I always end up spending a touch more at capo as compared to Giorgio baldi... the reason I didn't recommend it is simply that I've had inconsistent experiences. been there 5 or 6 times and although I've had a few very good dishes I've never had them land in front of me the same night. and in that price range everything should be good all the time.

                                                                                        1. re: goldpackage
                                                                                          maudies5 RE: goldpackage Apr 7, 2014 09:57 PM

                                                                                          Agree about inconsistency at Capo. Blame Bruce Marder. When he is focused on Capo, it is stellar. Unfortunately, there are times he puts Capo on auto pilot while he attends to his other business ventures. His chef, Ricky, is now trying to jump start Cafe Brentwood. BTW, many of Bruce's creations can be found at The Brentwood for a lot less money, and some of those same dishes are also at Cora's and Cafe Brentwood for even less (the ravioli dishes being one example).

                                                                                      2. t
                                                                                        Thor123 RE: itssonnic Apr 8, 2014 09:18 AM

                                                                                        Il Piccolino is perfect. Madeo is a good choice too.

                                                                                        1. t
                                                                                          Thor123 RE: itssonnic Apr 8, 2014 10:12 AM

                                                                                          Cappo would be another very good choice. Plus you are right at the beach.

                                                                                          1. j
                                                                                            jdwdeville RE: itssonnic Apr 8, 2014 12:20 PM

                                                                                            I haven't seen anything about Ado on here- I've always had good meals there, it's dimly light and full of candles, and the wine list is fairly priced (cru Barbaresco under $90).
                                                                                            Last time I was there I had a VERY generous seared scallop appetizer literally snowed over with truffles for $25... nothing says romance like truffles and Barbaresco if you ask me!

                                                                                            1. sarahbeths RE: itssonnic Apr 11, 2014 03:15 PM

                                                                                              So West Side is a little vague- like full out Santa Monica/Venice/Culver?

                                                                                              not west hollywood?

                                                                                              If you want the former, I'd suggest
                                                                                              -Ado in Venice (which had a michelin star when LA was getting them)
                                                                                              -Capo in Venice which can totally fit your budget if you don't order anything with truffles. Also had a michelin star.

                                                                                              IMHO Piccolo Venice isn't as tasty as it expensive. I've had two meals there that were good, but not as good as other Italian restaurants in LA, and not worth the price.

                                                                                              As delicious as Georgio Baldi was when I went for a special occasion, I didn't like the service or atmosphere. I was treated like someone who should come and go quickly, and we were crammed into this tiny little restaurant.

                                                                                              Now if west hollywood is an option- RivaBella has such a beautiful dining room, it's very romantic. It's on the Sunset Strip but on the west side of it. The restaurant is a foodie/corporate mashup- a cooperation between a big restaurant company (forgot its name) and the owner of Angelini. It might be a little bit cooperate, but it's delicious! The lemon tagliolini is a wonderful dish.

                                                                                              If mid-city is west enough, Angelini Osteria is my fav restaurant in LA. The atmosphere isn't super romantic because its very small and cozy. Wine and beer only. However I always feel super romantic when I am there because I love the food so damn much, it makes me so happy. To me, great food is romantic. We go for Valentines Day.

                                                                                              But it's always romantic to be near the beach, especially for out of towners, so the Venice ones may hit the
                                                                                              bill. There are a lot of beautiful places to have a drink before or after dinner near the ocean. The rooftop bar at the Shangri La Hotel is great, or if you make a reservation hotel erwin in Venice has great sunset ocean views at its roof bar.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: sarahbeths
                                                                                                Thor123 RE: sarahbeths Apr 11, 2014 03:18 PM

                                                                                                Disagree on Riva Bella. Food is nowhere near as good as Angelini.

                                                                                                1. re: Thor123
                                                                                                  sarahbeths RE: Thor123 Apr 11, 2014 04:52 PM

                                                                                                  It's partly an atmosphere recommendation. The food is not as good as Angelini which I admitted- but its still delicious.

                                                                                              2. j
                                                                                                josephnl RE: itssonnic Apr 11, 2014 04:42 PM

                                                                                                What about Dan Tana? True...it's not really Italian, and not really romantic, but some might consider it close enough. It's certainly a fun experience and the food can be quite good!

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