Over the past few months, my husband has taken me to some awesome restaurants. Some new, some old, but all worthy of exploring. Whether you are looking for a place that is sure to impress or one that will go easier on the wallet, it’s hard to go wrong with any of these:
FIRST & HOPE-Like something out of Mad Men, this gorgeous supper club will transport you to another era as you cozy into a booth and choose from a slew of artisanal cocktails that actually live up to the creative wording on the menu. The Blackberry Cobbler was the best drink I think I’ve ever had. Follow that up with the Mac & Cheese (I recommend the Cahill Farm Porter Beer Cheese perfectly paired with a shot of dark ale). Or if you are feeling indulgent…their Mac & Cheese Flight (!!!). The entrees are a play on old school dishes with an elegant twist. Live music beckons you from next door…it’s going to be a good night people.
WATERLOO AND CITY-Just a little warning…if you are expecting a low key, quiet spot where you can sip a cocktail as your date whispers sweet nothings in your ear, this gastropub is not your spot. On a Friday night, it was booming. Luckily, our reservations ensured us a patio seat. I became very skeptical when it was oh too obvious that our waiter was a high on a little more than his job. But, the food made up for his fried brain cells. Make this a double date, so you can share their creative and indulgent appetizers before your main course.
PROVIDENCE-Known for their elaborate tasting menus, seafood and Michelin stars, Michael Cimarusti’s LA “dining destination” is the place to go when you have cause for celebration or reason to woo. Though each course was exceptional, my favorite part was the unparalleled cheese cart, one of the many courses on their full tasting menu. Bit of advice… come with a very large appetite. It will make this splurge a lot easier to swallow.
RAPHAEL-A newly opened, simplistic spot in Studio City that focuses on “world cuisine” as interpreted by Chef Steven Barkulis (formerly of the Water Grill). We were drawn to the great reviews and reasonable prices (at least for a special occasion). Just don’t be afraid to ask the price of the specials. Though my scallops served over greens and sweet potato puree were an exceptional nod to the season, at a surprisingly $40 (most entrees are under $32), it bit a little damper on an otherwise lovely evening.