1st visit to LA

Old Apr 9th, 2006, 01:13 PM
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1st visit to LA

My husband & I will be visiting LA for business the first weekend in June, staying in the Manhatten Beach area. I was thinking of trying to visit the Getty Center Friday afternoon (he'll be finished with work at noon) and wondering if it would make sense to have dinner close to the center, or drive back towards the hotel.
I've heard all the horror stories of LA traffic (we live in Dallas, so I have some idea of how Friday afternoon traffic can be!).
Any tips on restaurants would be greatly appreciated! We're real "foodies".
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 02:13 PM
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The Getty Center has a pretty good restaurant with a wonderful view, especially at sunset-many people go to the Getty just to go to the restaurant (particularly for brunch on Sunday). Reservations are usually necessary.
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 03:54 PM
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The resturant at the Getty is good.

But it would be an easy drive from the Getty, along Sunset Boulevard, to Beverly Hills. You could go to Spago (make a reservation NOW), but I'd pick the dining room of the Bel Air Hotel (which is closer). I'm less a "foodie" and like the atmosphere at the Bel Air. Very romantic.
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 09:04 PM
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I was in LA last Summer and a childhood friend who now lives out there strongly recommended the Norton Simon museum in Pasadena over the Getty. We went to the Norton Simon and I loved it and Pasadena was cool too! I have NOT been to the Getty so am only repeating her preference. We had a great Japanese meal in downtown Pasadena. Any other Californians have a bias?? Have fun either way!!
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Old Apr 9th, 2006, 10:33 PM
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I love the Norton Simon and its collection, and if someone has time to go to both I would highly recommend it. I actually don't really like much of the art at the Getty, but it is an incredible structure in an incredible location and apparently the poster has already decided to go there.
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 06:23 AM
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I lived in Manhattan Beach and I can assure you will surely encounter tons of traffic if you try to head back there on a Friday afternoon. Why don't you take the opportunity to eat somewhere near the Getty or even in Santa Monica? Michael's restaurant in Santa Monica has a lovely outdoor dining area and the food is delicious. You could walk around the Santa Monica Promenade and then head back to Manhattan Beach later in the evening.
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 02:04 PM
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Agree that Michael's is a great spot. There are tons of great places in Beverly Hills too, but I would really avoid the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade. Was just there a couple of weeks ago and it was FULL of homeless people and really quite unpleasant. I used to live in Santa Monica and was surprised at how much worse the problem seems to be. We ate at Robert Deniro's restaurant, Ago, in Beverly Hills and it was very good. Also, Montana Ave. in Santa Monica has a couple of cute cafes and great shopping. By the way, believe all the horror stories about LA traffic.
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 06:35 PM
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The Norton Simon Museum and the Getty Center really can't be compared to each other, and enjoying one over the other is simply personal preference.

The Getty actually has very little exhibit space, and a visit there should be measured in terms of a total experience (i.e., the amazing views, the interesting and unique gardens, the "gathering space" outside the exhibit buildings). The Norton Simon has more of a "traditional museum" feel and, to me, is only worth a visit if you also visit the nearby Huntington Gardens and Museum or want to shop, stroll and dine in Pasadena.

The best encyclopedic art museum in Los Angeles (and largest in the Western U.S.) is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the mid-Wilshire area.
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Old Apr 10th, 2006, 09:31 PM
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I live in LA and Friday night traffic is bad. Most specfically the 405 FWY that you would take is the worst. Plan to spend the evening in the area. If your staying near the beach in Manhatten you'll be getting your fill of beachside rest. I would go into Beverly Hills (8-10 miles) and get a taste of that. Have dinner at Il Fornio (resonable italian) then after dinner cocktails on the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills hotel just to say you did.
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 08:03 AM
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Just so you know, it's Il Fornaio in Beverly Hills (corner of Dayton and Beverly). It's a chain restaurant but pretty good. For better food, try Prego on Camden. For possible celebrity sighting (but only average food), go to La Scala on Canon. All of these Italian restaurants are within a couple of blocks of each other. On a Friday night, reservations required.

I live in M.B. and work in B.H., and I have more than 30 years' experience making the drive back and forth. On a Friday, you're going to have to deal with traffic no matter where you go; even after dinner; just accept it.

I would stay at the Getty for dinner or go the Bel Air Hotel off Sunset. Beverly Hills is something to experience, but it is far from any freeway. Under the best of circumstances, it will take a person unfamiliar with traffic patterns and shortcuts about an hour to drive B.H. to M.B. on a Friday night.
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 08:14 AM
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I stood in line at Il Fornaio one Saturday morning in Beverly Hills right behind Jay Leno who was buying breakfast rolls. We sort of chatted while he made jokes about his addiction to the place.
 
Old Apr 12th, 2006, 08:31 AM
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The tasting menu at Spago BH is well-loved by LA foodies (note that Wolfgang Puck is no longer the executive chef there, which explains why the food is so much better now). JAR and Lucques are other foodies' darlings. Capo in Santa Monica is stellar, if you can afford it. Seafood picks would be Providence (Melrose at highland, Hollywood), Water Grill (downtown LA) and Ocean Ave. Seafood (Santa Monica, part of the King's Seafood empire). Urasawa is world-famous for its staggeringly expensive ($250 a person, before drinks and gratuity), skillfully-rendered sushi-- but since I still think sushi is Japan's culinary joke on credulous Americans ("Hey Yoshi-san!! Stop cleaning that tuna! Sweep up the fins and fish lips off the floor, wrap it in seaweed and slap it on some leftover rice! The roundeyes won't know the difference!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!"), I won't ever dine there myself.

Michael's was among the first in the world offering real California cuisine, so it's still worthy of a visit. Mélisse is one of the best for French cuisine on the Westside, as is La Cachette.
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