This is for dinner next Sunday evening for me and my parents -- no special occasion; I'm just dragging them with me (for fun!) to SM for some specific shopping errands on 4th Street. And then, dinner.
I scoured the boards for a few hours, and found that a persistent issue with 3rd Street Promenade restaurants is that they are not good (I even made the sad, awful folly last year of eating at Trastevere for the first and last time). But to balance that, there is a significant group of really really fantastic restaurants completely within walking distance (Jiraffe springs to mind as just one example).
I want to try to avoid BOTH categories. I don't want yucky food meant for tourists blinded by tourist excitement/fatigue. But I also saw Jiraffe's menu, with its prices, and decided that neither I nor my parents can handle the cost at this time. It's only temporary, but my parents and I are on a medium budget.
The only other issue is distance: we plan to park in a city garage and leave it there for the entire afternoon/evening. If we move the car out of the SM garage, we might as well just go home (to Torrance) for dinner. This means please, no suggestions on places that are just a short drive away from 3rd Street. Also, my elderly parents don't like walking a lot, so please, no suggestions for places that you honestly judge are more than just a quick walk away from the Promenade region. Although, they aren't weaklings, either, so if it's a healthy brief walk, OK...
So, to sum up: $20 per person ($30 absolute max), totally walkable from 3rd St, and not yucky tasting. A TINY bit of nice ambiance is preferred -- i.e., not a place that feels like the hole-in-the-wall Taiwanese restaurants we usually go to on the weekends in the SGV. And it does NOT have to be Italian, but please, no Asian (we're Chinese, and my parents equate Santa Monica with Western-style cuisine -- which in my opinion is spot-on, except for the multitudes of Japanese places, but they also live in Torrance -- so no Japanese, please).
Thanks so much, I love you all to death!