I've been living in Hollywood for 7 months, and working in Santa Monica/LAX area for 4 months. My best friend just moved to North Hollywood a few weeks ago.
I've never been much for dining out until I made it to LA, and now I'm curious about what's good and where, both for a single diner (myself), a pair of friends, a small social group of friends, or date night. Yes, I know this is a broad request, but mostly I'm interested in places to go that are good for a single diner.
I enjoy sitting at bartops where the bartender doesn't impose conversation upon you, but is available to chat if you wish to engage. I like patios that overlook something that can be watched, be it traffic, people on the street, the ocean, or really anything so long as it's not staring at a brick wall. Sitting at a table is nice, but it feel awkward in highly family oriented restaurants if you're not with a large group or your family. I don't mind a drive, though finding places close to work (Santa Monica/LAX), or near home (Hollywood/WeHo) would be nice. I'm completely unfamiliar with NoHo/Studio City/Van Nuys and I'd love to find more places around there to try out so that I can take my friend there.
Now for cuisine.. I'm open to anything for the most part. I don't lean toward Asian dining often, though when I do I'm looking for sushi, sushi, and sometimes a wok/table fired meal. Wine or cocktails must be available no matter where I end up. A good salad is hard to find, so anyone who can point me the direction of a nice leafy dish that doesn't taste like bark or isn't filled with ornamentation will be my new best friend. :) I'm not vegetarian or vegan, but I do enjoy both. I love good Mexican food (both the Americanized version, and the true greasy taco-truck style), good American cuisine, Italian, Caribbean, Indian, and sushi.
Ideally, I'd like not to spend more than $20 on myself, though for a good dinner, less than $50 is alright.
Please help, for I know that there are many of you out there who eat alone when you and your significants can't manage to pair up schedules. And, thank you!