i am a dedicated east-sider, but i am trying to find a good place for a business dinner in the santa monica / venice area for this wk and since it's not my regular 'hood, i nd some help. there will be about 6 people. it shouldn't be too expensive -- this is not about having to make an impression with something fancy. the crowd is young, creative, not suits. it's a fashion crowd, so something with a little bit of style would be good, but not too much of a scene -- doesn't nd to be over the top. looking for good food, good drinks, relaxed atmosphere.
i usually think of border grill and i'm usually happy with the food there, but i don't like the environment. it's too loud and the tables are not really comfortable and i don't think the service is very good. i think that chan dara is pretty reliable and a little more comfortable. but i feel like i'm drawing a blank. would love to hear some other suggestions from people that know the area better than me. thx!!