Nice, but not cringe-inducing expensive restaurant in L.A.?
May 5, 2010 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a restaurant in Los Angeles for an upcoming birthday dinner!

My lovely and generous gentleman friend has asked me to choose a place where he can take me to dinner this coming Saturday. He has stated that he would like to take me someplace "fancy," (and his idea of fancy is the fabulous Osteria Mozza) but I would really like for him to hang onto his money. Where in Los Angeles do you love to go for lunch/dinner that has wonderful food and a nice atmosphere, and will come to less (substantially less) than $200 for the two of us?

Anywhere from the San Fernando Valley to the South Bay is fine.

Food I am really not into: sushi, beef, shellfish, anything spicy. Other than that, I'm open to pretty much anything.

I've checked previous questions concerning Los Angeles restaurants and haven't found quite what I'm looking for.

posted by corey flood to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How about somewhere like Cafe Bella Roma? It's BYOB, corkage is $4, they do yummy pastas, salads, and fish and meats. Desserts are pretty tasty as well.
posted by mogget at 8:15 PM on May 5, 2010

How about Pizzeria Mozza? Not quite as fancy, but still a great night out. You could probably have dinner for two with wine for under $100.

And across the street is Hatfield's, one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles... That will probably run him closer to $150.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:20 PM on May 5, 2010

Is the splurge within his means? If so, let him!

My picks would be Melisse or Spago.

I haven't been to Osteria Mozza, but have been to and liked several Batali resturants in NYC.
posted by brujita at 9:24 PM on May 5, 2010

I went to Gjelina the other day and the food was very good. Not cheap, but not insane either. Our bill was under $100, but we had a fairly light dinner and a drink a piece.
posted by whoaali at 9:55 PM on May 5, 2010

Palate Food and Wine is excellent in all regards and reasonably priced.
Korean BBQ will give you a lot of food for about 30 bucks each. Park's BBQ is probably the best.
Lou is more wine-focused than food-focused, but the food is still quite good and the atmosphere is very cool.
posted by malhouse at 11:17 PM on May 5, 2010

I've got two great recommendations for you. I've been to a lot of the foodie-ish places around LA, and these are the ones where I've had the most memorable dinners. Neither of these should hit $200, though they're not cheap.

First is Grace Restaurant. When I went, I got a prix fixe (I think it was a DineLA promotion), so I tried both their chicken (not the same one on the menu now, they change things all the time), and a steak (again, not the same). The chicken was both delicious and special, which is not something I say about chicken very often. The steak was also very good.

Second is Fig, in the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica. A slightly more casual ambience, but the food was delicious. Oddly, the best thing I had there was when they dropped off a small plate of grapes (for free). It's weird to complement a place for something they didn't cook, but those were the best grapes I ever tasted in my life, and I admire the chef that tasted those, realized he had to serve them to people, and knew he could not improve on perfection. Seriously, I didn't know grapes could taste like that. Dessert was also amazing. A lot of places it's an afterthought, but not here. Soup was excellent, entree merely very good.

(Personally, I found Pizzeria Mozza a bit overpriced and overrated, but still delicious. Same for Spago. I've heard excellent things about Hatfield's, but never been.)
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 1:27 AM on May 6, 2010

I'm a big fan of Ca'Brea in Universal City.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:00 AM on May 6, 2010

I can't recommend Animal highly enough. Incredibly affordable for the quality of the food, but a very unpretentious location.
posted by egeanin at 12:16 PM on May 6, 2010

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