Well, it's obvious from my username and blogs that I love martinis, and imbibing in general with my food. Thus I thought I'd list my favorite places to grab a casual drink and bite to eat. My memories of these places typically began with someone suggesting – "hey, let's grab a drink" – and later turning into 5 or 6 drinks and lots and lots of food. Good times!
Fraiche. See general faves list above.
Ford's Filling Station (9531 Culver Blvd)(Culver City)(Average/Expensive). I seem to have a strange relationship with this place. I love eating and drinking at the bar, and generally have fond memories of my time here. Then, there are times when the service, particularly in the dining area, is so poor that I "break up" with the place and don't come back for a few months. After a hiatus, I'll try it again and it'll be fabulous again. Sort of a vicious cycle. If this were a romantic relationship, I would tell myself to get the heck out; but since this is a food relationship, I will forgive and get right back into the cycle! Recommendations: fish and chips (best in town!), flat bread pizzas, steak, cheese plates, nice selection of wines.
Nick & Stef's (330 S. Hope Street)(Downtown LA)(Average/Expensive). This place is right next to my office so I come here A LOT – for lunches and happy hours. I tend to stick with the burger or short ribs for lunch, but they sometimes have really yummy specials, like crab ravioli, lobster salad, etc. I think my favorite thing about this place is the immense and yummy bar menu – short rib skewers, garlic fries, sweet potato fries, flat bread pizzas, olives, mini burgers, mini sloppy joes, etc. I've had almost everything and it's all pretty darn tasty and, during happy hour, cheap! The steak for dinner is quite good too, but since I work around here, I tend not to want to stick around for dinner.
I also like the following places to drink and lounge at. (Note – I don't like to go to trendy/crowded bars. I prefer not waiting in line and paying for the privilege of buying drinks. I just want to enjoy my drinks while sitting in a comfy and/or fun place. I don't ask for much.
Edison (108 W. 2nd St)(Downtown LA)(Average/Expensive) great speakeasy vibe and cocktails, decent food. It's gotten a bit more crowded, but for weekday happy hours, it's still calm enough for me. They also have a 35 cent martini special on wed or thurs nights – not good, but hey, it's 35 cents.
Chaya Brasserie (8741 Alden Drive)(Beverly Hills/WeHo). I come here for one thing – the Slingchi (lychee martini).
Takami/Elevate Lounge (811 Wilshire)(Downtown LA). I come here for the lychee mojitos and the great views. Food is mediocre.
Musso & Frank (6667 Hollywood Blvd.)(Hollywood). The best martini in town.
Q's (Brentwood). I only come here because my friend loves watching sports here. But the service is nice and there are 3 things on the menu I eat: chicken tenders, veggie platter, peppered steak cubes. As long as I'm happily eating food, I can "watch" sports for hours. J