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Nice restaurant in LA for thursday date night

Price range around $30 a person or less, I'd really like to go to a place that is actually good and not just hyped. I have plenty of places like misfit, plan check, the golden state, a-frame, bookmarked but I can't tell which ones are hyped and which are actually good based on yelp reviews, help! (cuisine preferably american, modern, or sushi)

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  1. The new Superba Food and Bread in Venice is a wonderful date spot with really good food.

      1. re: budlit

        bucato? at $30/pp or less? maybe i'm just a pig, but i don't see it.

        1. re: westsidegal

          I thought the same thing about Tar & Roses….

      2. Some of the places you've mentioned are gastropubs. I still have a special place in my heart for Father's Office. Superba is Chow-worthy, and Freddy Smalls as well.

        Good sushi for $30 a person in L.A.? Ain't gonna happen.

        1 Reply
        1. re: J.L.

          Re: sushi - not for dinner at least.

        2. It will really depend on your taste. For example, I haven't liked what I've had at Plan Check across three visits, but many many people here do. I don't think it's just hyped, just not for me. On the flip side, I really liked A-Frame but I know many who think it, and all of Roy Choi's places, are just hype.

          7 Replies
            1. re: jennayly

              At Plan Check I've had the pastrami burger, the butter lettuce salad, and the fried chicken, both in sandwich form and entree. None of the food was bad, but none were anything I'd go out of my way to get again.

              At A-Frame (I edited my original reply to add the counterpoint), I had the fried chicken, which was better than Plan Check's, and I had this shell-on shrimp with kaffir lime salt on it that was just delicious. I'd go back for that.

              1. re: TheOffalo

                only thing I like at plan check and I like them a lot are the burgers. esp the bleu print burger. always cooked to order and a good size for me. but in the end, it's just a burger too, so I hear ya.

                For fried chicken, all this gourmet fried chicken is complete bullshit. popeyes, cjs, roscos, 99cent soulfood shops, hell even KFC xtra crispy and ralphs are better than the expensive stuff. not just cheaper and as good, better....

                a lot of this trend for gourmet food is to take simple shit like burgers and chicken and charge a fortune for them, but lose the simplicity of the dish. if I go to a place like bouchon I'm not looking for fried chicken or a burger.

                Aframe sounds worth a visit tho.

                1. re: TheOffalo

                  I'm a big fan of Plan Check, specifically the chicken sandwich (spicy or no) and the kale caesar.

                  1. re: Tyus4pt8

                    Wendy's fried chicken sandwich is better if you ask me.

                    1. re: Tyus4pt8

                      I think the Plan Check Chicken Sandwich is one of the best in LA and maybe even better than Son of A Gun's.

                      1. re: wienermobile

                        But it's just a chicken sandwich. I'll still take Wendy's. Make it 3.

              2. folks love the little door and little door next door

                16 Replies
                1. re: jessejames

                  Nice for a date, but not in the OPs budget.

                  ps: rumor has it that Little Door is taking the Villetta space.

                  A-Frame can be loud, but it has a full bar and great food. Plan Check - I am one of those here who doesn't get it at all, but the drinks are great. Misfit is loud, and I don't think in your budget.

                  Consider Bar Pintxo, Sunny Spot, Chaya Venice Bar (in the bar it's happy hour all night).

                  $30/person is almost impossible anywhere.

                  1. re: yogachik

                    >> $30/person is almost impossible anywhere. <<

                    ... except in the SGV.

                    1. re: J.L.

                      Here is a creative story from Zagat, which ran in January of this year, about this very problem - and how to solve it: http://www.zagat.com/b/los-angeles/ho...

                      1. re: Servorg

                        that article seems to recommend these strategies:

                        1) extremely careful ordering
                        (which may or may not make for a good "date". may be necessary to plan the whole meal before you even leave the house. might take some of the festivity out of it, though.)

                        2) sticking to bar/lounge menu items WITHOUT ordering any booze while at the bar/lounge--just ordering water. (dunno, maybe it's just me, but using a bar/lounge as a stand in for an early bird special provider==cheap food, no drinks, totally gaming the restaurant--would be an unappealing date night)
                        a favorite restaurant of mine shortened their happy hour times because too many people were gaming them in a similar fashion. it turned out to be better for their bottom line to have the happy hour customers OUT of the restaurant by the time the regular customers, the ones who expected to pay regular price, walked in the door.
                        another favorite shortened the time they offered validated parking in order to prevent these happy hour people from lingering/camping out over the food and drink they ordered at a discount.

                        if enough customers game restaurants in this fashion, it will end up ruining it for the rest of us.

                        3) SHARING miniscule-portioned small plates as though anyone would feel satisfied with such a small amount of food. (maybe my piggishness is showing here, but even WITHOUT sharing, i spend over $30 for LUNCH at Gjelina without booze. can't imagine how anyone would be satisfied ordering $30 worth of food at gjelina for a "date night."

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          Just looked at the current Gjelina online menu -- prices seem to have gone up a buck a dish since I was recently there:

                          Lamb sausage pizza -- $15
                          One of three salads -- $11
                          Two vegetable dishes -- $9 x 2 = $18.
                          Gnocchi or another small plate -- $15.
                          Butterscotch budino for dessert -- $8.

                          $67 before tax, tip, beverages for two. Certainly a satisfying meal, though not huge. We did a light meal for three with one fewer vegetables six weeks ago and were satisfied.

                          1. re: nosh

                            nosh: if that is your idea of a light meal for two , now i know that i'm really a pig.
                            the idea that you would order even less for a meal for THREE has me speechless.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              If we ever "break bread" together, I think I'll treat you to Souplantation.

                                  1. re: wienermobile

                                    Two "date killers" in one. Souplantation and coupons! Love will never bloom from that combo...(g)

                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                      Did you know ... they accept expired coupons.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        What?! That's like OpenTable points all over again!

                            2. re: westsidegal

                              Different strokes for different folks. And ordering water, or a soda or sparkling water or a cup of coffee, if you are eating at the bar and don't happen to drink alcohol for whatever reason, seems fine to me.

                        2. re: yogachik

                          the Chaya venice happy hour deal:
                          1) the terms and restrictions keep changing so absolutely confirm before you start driving.
                          2) the popularity of the place make it somewhat risky to go there with the anticipation of actually getting a seat in the bar/lounge area.

                          concur about the unlikelihood of getting out of there anywhere near $30/pp

                          1. re: yogachik

                            Little Door did indeed buy the Villetta lease and liquor license and will be moving in to that space. Should be great in the Former Chez Mimi/Villetta space. Little Door got a very very good deal

                            1. re: yogachik

                              I think LDND is in budget, or close.


                              but 30pp all in is tough

                          2. I love the food at A-Frame but I think it's just too loud for a date. POT could work.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: wienermobile

                              POT is a great idea if OP likes Korean food. It's within the price range. It's very "accessible".

                            2. Tsujita has started doing ramen and tsukemen at dinner, so that might be worth a look if you're not too worried about eating noodle soup on the date.

                              1. Could you define what you mean by "nice?" I like Plan Check, but it (and The Misfit) are so phenomenally loud inside that I wouldn't consider either one of them a "nice" place for a date.

                                And nice + only $30 pp (does that include tip + drinks) really isn't going to get you all that far (including Superba Snack Bar, which I think is great) unless you don't mind something relatively casual....

                                1. Since you're not looking for atmosphere, but more good food at a good price point, with a fun vibe, how about Clusi Batusi? Or, in DTLA, Maccheroni Republic? I haven't been, but how about Barnyard?

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Wayno

                                    barnyard, very delicious,
                                    but in my experience not even nearly a $30//pp experience. . . .

                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                      Thanks. I wasn't sure. I think it's only listed as $$ on OT, but that doesn't mean all that much. Seems like a cool spot; I'd like to squeeze it in before my SoCal exit.

                                      1. re: Wayno

                                        if it were less expensive, it would absolutely be on my regular rotation. extremely good food.

                                  2. If DTLA is suitable geographically, how about Le Ka?

                                    Reserve a patio seat by the longitudinal fireplace and you can have a nice cozy atmosphere without feeling claustrophobic and yet still avoid the somewhat chatty din of the dining room.

                                    (As an aside, what is "modern" cuisine?)

                                    1. I really like Nook Bistro for something like this. Ambiance, service and food all better than one might expect for the price. Entrees, which include sides, run either side of $20 -- I really enjoy their chicken paillard ($19), and selections go from a very good burger ($14) to a wagyu steak or korobuto pork chop ($25). You could split their excellent mac'n'cheese or a savory bread pudding or a salad to start ($9) and share a dessert -- I like their key lime pie. So we have a very filling dinner at just over $30 pp, admittedly without tax, tip or beverages. Free parking in the minimal on the S/E corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and Barry in W.L.A., a block east of Barrington. Nook is tucked in the back corner.

                                      1. Not sure what time you'd like to go out, but happy hour at The Corner Door is between 5-7pm. The food is good, but not great. But you can get a steak and fries (and small arugula salad) for just $15. Plus, the drinks are fantastic.

                                        The Corner Door HH menu:


                                        You might be able to do Fig @ 5 for $30pp or less, if you're willing to go out that early. Fig Restaurant takes 50% off your check - drinks included - if you order between 5-6pm.

                                        Fig Restaurant:


                                        Neither of these places (at these hours) have a romantic/ intimate atmosphere; but they fall in line with the places the OP were considering.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: phamschottler

                                          iirc, happy hour at the corner door is only served at the bar on fridays. OP is looking for thursday dinner.
                                          maybe OP can switch days?

                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                            I thought it was everyday 5-7pm. Maybe it's changed? The website still says daily... I suppose if the OP considers this as an option, she could call to be sure.

                                            1. re: phamschottler

                                              i made a mistake.
                                              on fridays they limit it to the bar only.
                                              on the other days (like THURSDAYS) it is not limited.
                                              my bad