I am an avid reader of (but not a poster) this board - and follow many of your recommendations happily, and with much success and great eating. For some reason, I am stuck. I need a place for dinner for this Friday night. An old friend that we haven't seen in many years is coming to town with his boyfriend - they do not know LA very well. A few other friends will join us -- making us a group of 8. I want that "neighborhood" spot, that's a little bit "LA" but not overwhelmingly so, and that has good food. We need to hear each other talk, and be able to linger over dinner. Price point should be not more than $50 per person. I see that you all are the most helpful when there are lots of specifics - so I'm giving you lots of specific requirements. Don't hate me for my difficulty level please - I appreciate your help in advance!!
For more help on what I'm looking for - I'd like something a bit nicer than Angelli Caffe (which I dearly love), but not quite the price point of The Foundry (which I also really like). Jar would be good, but it's a little pricier than I'd like it to be (we're probably picking up dinner for the group). Ammo is great but too quiet. Bazaar seems a little too over-the-top for this reunion. Pane y Vino seems like the right atmosphere and ambience and price - but I haven't loved the food itself (could sacrifice if need be). Magnolia is good - but is often a go-to for us. Am I missing something perfect??
Here are the specific criteria:
1. Neighborhood: West Hollywood or Hollywood, Melrose/La Brea etc.
2. Lively but not crazy loud (do not even think Comme Ca unless there's a table I don't know about!)
3. Good food (ambience is important, food quality is more important)
4. Any ethnicity is in
5. A "nice" ambience - see above for an attempt to narrow this down
6. Not more than $50 per person, all in (i.e. drinks included)
Thank you SO SO much!