First of all this is my first post to Chowhound. I've tried to look for a similar topic to this, but so far haven't found anything.
I am a recent MBA and finally am back working (and making money). I want to try and visit new, must visit restaurants on the Westside (I live in Santa Monica), but really I'm open to any suggestions in LA. Seeing as I am yet to be rolling in a ton of cash, I'd love to hit up all the places that fall within the category of great food, great atmosphere, but not necessarily $$$$. I am looking for everything from traditional American to all types of ethnic. I've heard good things about a Persian place called Darya (yet to try), Brazilian Bosso Nova, and Peruvian Qosqo. I really like Rustic Canyon, but I'd say it probably falls within the expensive group that sadly I must reserve for a special occasion (aka not all the time).
Sorry for the jumbled message, but in short I'm looking for any restaurant that has great food, great atmosphere, and/or great history to it. I appreciate the help.