I need some Chowhound help with picking a restaurant for dinner with my girlfriend this Saturday night. She and I are looking for a place in Santa Monica or Venice with some tasty food, but also a fun atmosphere.
In an ideal world, we could walk to the restaurant or take a short cab ride (we live near 15th & Montana and don't mind walking a couple of miles). Looking to spend no more than $200 after tax and tip (and including a couple of drinks). We're open to all types of food, but we've eaten a lot of sushi lately and might rather avoid it. A lively atmosphere is definitely a plus. My girlfriend has been pretty busy lately and wants a fun night out. Lastly, we're hoping to try a place that we haven't yet been.
A friend recommended Gjelina, but they're entirely booked. It looked perfect.
Chinois on Main looks interesting - but I've never eaten there. Is it outdated?
In case you find it useful, here's a list of places that we've tried lately - and thus would like to avoid:
Anisette - Awesome.
Riva - Awesome too.
R+D Kitchen - Ok.
Musha - Tasty, but the food's perhaps a little too heavy for this occassion.
Jiraffe - Pretty good. Perhaps something a little more livelier?
Chaya - Haven't eaten there in years. Food was average. Atmosphere is good.
Rustic Canyon - Nice place. But I find the menu to be a tad boring.
Border Grill - Pretty good food. Nice to have an alternative to traditional mexican food.
Really looking forward to your recommendations!