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Mussina

Where to eat in LA

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We are treating a couple to dinner in LA and would love some recommendations. We would like a nice place -- great food but also fun. Many thanks.

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Mussina, Welcome to the California forum!

Here's a link I did back in Mar. 2005 on a Los Angeles Discussion Thread Index. And there's always the LA Times Food Section Digest for more up-to-date information.

How would you define "nice" & "fun"? Please help us help you by telling us more specifically what you want and/or don't want. LA is really spread out, and with this rain storm going on right now, traffic can be ... real. :blink:

Any particular section of LA? Santa Monica & the Westside? Beverly Hills? Hollywood? Downtown LA? Pasadena?

Types of cuisine? Italian? French? Seafood? New American? Chinese? Japanese? Fusion? Ethnic?

Go ahead and see if you find any of this useful.


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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We are treating a couple to dinner in LA and would love some recommendations.  We would like a nice place -- great food but also fun.  Many thanks.

It depends. You can have "Nice" for $30 per person, or you can do $200 per person. There are probably more restaurants in LA than there are kangaroos in Australia. If you narrow it down, maybe one of us who live here can help.


"Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit." -- Anthony Bourdain

Promote skepticism and critical thinking. www.randi.org

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$150 total is actually somewhat limiting for "nice" -- if you up your budget just a tad, I would recommend Joe's in Venice. Very California and the prix fixe menu guarantees three courses for everyone at just around your budget.

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Is it more important to be fun or more important to have excellent food? Also, we are still wondering about the neighborhood. One place that is always fun is The Cat & Fiddle, although the food is not memorable. Still, my dining experiences there have been memorable, even though the food was rather run of the mill. It's not bad - it's just not spectacular or anything. I met Keanu Reeves there and saw Gina Davis there on the same night. If the weather is good, the patio is very nice. Another fun place is Tommy Tangs on Melrose, and on Monday or Tuesday (I can't remember which), the waiters are in drag.

For more entertainment, consider El Cid, but don't expect great food. People go there for the Flamenco floor show, and the food is passable.

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There is Grace on Beverly (the chef Neal is going to be on Iron Chef Jan 22) or Avenue in Manhattan Beach....also Blue 32 in Hermosa Beach has great food and is young and hip


Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!

The Hungry Detective

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If you're going on a Sunday, I would suggest Lucques. It's 3 courses for (I think) $35 a person.

-Greg

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I second the family dinner at lucques on Sunday. Best food value around. Great food, chance of celebrity sighting, cool LA type atmosphere and more or less in your budget. Same deal on Mondays at Campanile's family dinner. Lucques is a bit more of a young people thing than Campanile, but only slightly.


David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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There are probably more restaurants in LA than there are kangaroos in Australia.  If you narrow it down, maybe one of us who live here can help.

Too funny. Style of food - contempory American or the like. We would like to get them in and out for around $150 total. They are in their mid-20s and would like someplace nice but not too stuffy. Someplace very "LA" and memorable. Still too vague?

Mussina, check out the discussion thread, Food in Venice. Some of the restaurants that seems to fit your categories: Joe's, Beacon, Beechwood. These are located over on the Westside (Santa Monica, Venice, LAX area, west of the 405 Freeway, yes, "the 405").

As for more LA restaurants than Aussie kangaroos, we might have to check with our eGullet mates down under, ehh?


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I think it can be done for the price in question. Below is the link to the thread on the Nook Bistro in West LA. I would definitely call first since it's in the new issue of LA Magazine as one of the top ten new LA restaurants. I don't recall if I mentioned it in my post but our post T-Day dinner there was $175 with 6 people, a bottle of wine, 2 desserts and coffee.

Nook Bistro

I also like Monsieur Marcel in the original Farmer's Market though remember you're eating outside. Certainly a lot of fun and you can walk around Farmer's Market and the Grove.

There's also Beacon Cafe in Culver City which might be within or budget. However, just across the street is Cafe Dijonaise for great French Bistro style food. This will definitely be in the budget.

I'd give them all a call.


So long and thanks for all the fish.

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Thanks for all the replies. Just to clarify - it was $150 for just the two of them so we were looking for around $75 a person. Right now they are leaning towards Joe's in Venice. Thanks again.

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Can't go wrong at Joe's. Solid food , solid service, fun atmosphere and maybe a celeb sighting or two. Well within the $150 for 2 range. Last I was there the bill was around $100 for 2. Then stroll up and down Abbot Kinney for that LA scene.


David West

A.K.A. The Mushroom Man

Founder of http://finepalatefoods.com/

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We will be in Burbank for a wedding in a few weeks. The wedding is on Saturday and we will be flying back on Monday, so it leaves us Sunday for LA. That weekend also coincides with my B-day, so we want to enjoy a nice dinner that Sunday. We care more about the food than the "hip scene" although both would be cool. Currently and going by this thread the 2 main ones that caught my attention are:

1- Joe's

2- lucques

Any other spots I shoudl consider for a nice Sunday dinner? No Tex-MEx or Mexican please, I get a lot of that good stuff here. Also no Sushi (my wife doesn't care for it) or Asian in general (I eat this on a regualr basis here as well).


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Elie, I hope you're flying in to Burbank Bob Hope Airport instead of LAX. Your life would be so much easier.

From Burbank, you have a little more accessibility to downtown LA, Pasadena, San Gabriel Valley, Hollywood, Mid-Wilshire district & Beverly Hills.

Don't discount Asian food in general. You can have a wonderful Chinese dim sum meal for Sunday brunch over in Chinatown or the San Gabriel Valley (Monterey Park, Alhambra, Rosemead, etc.). THEN, you can have your birthday dinner elsewhere ... and eat it too.

The question is: What do you want for your birthday, Elie?

Go ahead & PM me, if you wish.


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Hadn't thought about brunch! Dim Sum sounds excellent assuming we have Sunday to ourselves. What would be a good place to got to for Dim Sum, preferably close to Burbank?

We actually arrive in LAX, the tickets to fly into Burbank were way more expensive.

Susan Goin's place (how on earth do u pronounce lucques?) seems to be the favorite right now. We are a little worried about the no choice Sunday Supper though. How far in advance does she post ther menu? Does it get booked real fast? Like I said we love good food and are open to almost anything, but my wife has a few things that she will not eat or does not enjoy eating.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Elie, here are two links for your dim sum possibilities:

CBS Seafood Restaurant discussion thread

Empress Pavilion

Both of these places are located in downtown Chinatown, within a thrity-minute drive from "beautiful downtown Burbank." The best time to have dimsum is before 11:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m. is better. Any later and the crowds start coming in, big time.

Here's the link to the Lucques website (pronounced "loox", as in lux aeterna). A great alternative is Grace Restaurant with chef Neal Fraser. I've eaten at Grace a few times and I enjoyed it.

Now, if you all are into seafood, there's Michael Cimarusti's Providence restaurant. That's probably the new restaurant to go to, and it's all about the food.

If you wish to disclose, what are the "few things that she will not eat or does not enjoy eating?"


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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If you wish to disclose, what are the "few things that she will not eat or does not enjoy eating?"

oh really nothing major...olives, pickled anything, capers, spicy food (Indian or Thai for example), oily fishy fish, not too crazy about sushi. So if Sunday dinner at Lucques has a putnesca and a chicken stew with olives, then another place might be better :smile:.

Thanks for all the suggestions, Grace and Providence sound excellent as well.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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If you want something more on the conservative side, Here's the menu to the Dining Room, Ritz Carlton Huntington.

Chef Craig Strong is doing wonderful things. The hotel has given him total freedom on his menu. He does have a cutting edge to his dishes, up one notch, not two or three. LA Times gave his restaurant a 3* rating. I did post my dinner experience here somewhere. I'll get back with it later.

edited to add:

Elie, I found it. Here's the link. Enjoy!


Edited by rjwong (log)

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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(how on earth do u pronounce lucques?)

Luke (but with a French accent - haha). It's named after a variety of French olive. And I would like to reinforce my suggestion of Suzanne's restaurant. I've met her and was a guest at her Chef's School program at Blackberry Farm. She is an incredibly talented chef and a wonderful lady in general.

-Greg

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ok, I made reservations at Lucques for Sunday supper. We will chekc the menu out on Wednesday and cancel if the menu is not to our liking. Although I really want to check out Grace's as well..decisions decisions..

Now, to decide on a Dim Sum place....

Thanks for all your suggestions.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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As for dim sum places, there's CBS Seafood & Empress Pavilion.

Both are excellent. CBS is my favorite place to get dim sum. Mind you, I usually order from the deli section for take-away.

Empress Pavilion is a lot bigger with fancier decor & fancier prices. I tend to eat there when I want to entertain a large group. Check out the MOE in LA: Chinese Dinner thread for photos.


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I would like to add that one place that no one seems to ever mention is in Pasadena, on Arroyo Parkway. The Parkway Grill has been around for a long time and has excellent food and service.

It is one of the few places where venison is prepared as it should be. I love the duck.

Parkway Grill

It isn't cheap, far from it, but in my opinion is worth every penny.


"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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If you can, I'd suggest going out to Monterey Park and environs for dim sum. The places in chinatown are ok, but the ones in MP are a cut above. The place that's getting a lot of buzz now is Capital Seafood at the corner of Atlantic and Garvey in Monterey Park. And unlike most of the other higher end dim sum joints which are menu-style, this one is carts.

Jonathan Gold's review.


Edited by sheetz (log)

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I would like to add that one place that no one seems to ever mention is in Pasadena, on Arroyo Parkway.  The Parkway Grill has been around for a long time and has excellent food and service.

It is one of the few places where venison is prepared as it should be.  I love the duck.

Parkway Grill

It isn't cheap, far from it, but in my opinion is worth every penny.

Have you been there recently? I was reading in the LA Times that it has a new chef. And the place got reviewed back in June 2005.


Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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