I have a friend flying in from Portland, OR and we just have the one night, Saturday, to catch up after not seeing each other for a year. So I'm looking for somewhere easy driving from LAX (Venice, Santa Monica...) where we can have some great food (does not need to be fancy) and where it's relaxed enough that we can have a drink and talk for a while without feeling rushed. If it's in an area good for walking after dinner or near a mellower bar (safe, people watching) even better.
Type of food doesn't matter too much. Portland has such good food (seriously!) but may be light on Mexican, Latin American/Cuban, if that helps. We are not picky but love good food.
Thanks in advance!