I’m looking for an old-timey restaurant within 30-45 minute drive of Santa Monica. A close couple-friend have home cooked three or four wonderful dinners for me when my wife was on ski trips (I am saving my knees for tennis). They love the throwback type of restaurants. Have done Dan Tana’s with them, it was perfect, but need different. Thinking of Musso and Frank’s; thinking of Taix; as recent Angelenos, we have been to neither. Suggestions? Closer to SaMo, obviously, is also just fine. Planning Saturday of Labor Day weekend.
Taylor’s Steakhouse was a pretty good old-timey restaurant experience. The steak was good and very well priced for a steakhouse. It’s not going to be as high quality as Cut or Maestro but the ambiance and service are definitely old-timey feeling.
The food at these places will be hit or miss, but they definitely meet the old timey criteria and are in Santa Monica:
The Golden Bull
Pacific Dining Car
respectfully disagree with Taylors.
when i was there last, i happened to get a gander of the place in one of the more well-lit spots,
the carpet and everything else was so badly soiled that it made me lose my appetite entirely.
best to stay in the dark areas at taylors.
re: pacific dininig car
i believe that this is the best alternative for what the OP needs.
good food, nice place
re: The Galley
i love the Galley, but it is kitschy. it’s mostly a neighborhood joint.
sounded to me that the op was looking for a more upscale place.
Agreed that all my recs, aside from PDC, are non-fussy neighborhood joints. That said, they’re definitely old timey, which seemed to be the OP’s main criteria, so thought they’d be worth throwing into the ring.
Fair enough. Still think it’s a pretty good place based on the OP description. If you pretend you’re at a gentleman’s club and keep your gaze at the sternum or higher you’ll probably be ok.
Pacific Dining Car is a good call
Valentino seems like a good close option in SM
Rao’s fits the bill too but further away
Second Valentinos, didn’t think of that.
Also Lawry’s in Beverly Hills is about as old-timey as it gets.
Yes, WSG, also love The Galley, but looking more upscale. PDC is my go-to place for breakfast for dinner with stiff drinks in cut crystal up glasses. Have never found dinner food I could eat at SaMo branch.
This was my suggestion as well. Also the Polo Lounge.at the Beverly Hills hotel might work too.
if i could find reliable free parking near The Galley, i’d probably live there with their christmas tree lights that are up all year long.
that they offer happy hour all day on sunday is a perk.
I think the ambiance at Lawry’s is perfect for the OP. The food, though… I went for DineLA recently. For the price, the food was okay. At it’s normal price, I’d find it to be a VERY poor value (and not very tasty).
man, i used to love going to this place. especially for breakfast on a weekend; great star gazing and a quality
steak tartare/ramos fizz.
last time i was there at night, though, lousy drinks. interesting people watching if you like seeing well dressed
older gentlemen taking their nieces out.
I’m a sucker for the prime rib and the spinning salad. It’s not the best prime rib and salad I’ve had, but there’s just something about the old school decor and the retro food that appeals to me. I find it very comforting.
I haven’t been in a while either, but it just has that old school charm.
I think a lot of the old school/retro type places aren’t going to have amazing food. It’s more of a comfort/vintage/retro appeal, which means not the best food, and not the fanciest decor, but you get that comforting. welcoming experience that a lot of restaurants don’t have anymore.
I haven’t been in a few years. But here’s my take. I love the old-school ambience. It’s dark, with large booths for privacy. The service is maitre d’, waiter, wine steward type service - not an inexperienced server slash fill-in-the-blank. They make you feel like a V.I.P. The food is what you’d expect from an old-school American steakhouse.
I always loved Taylor’s. But if what WG writes is valid, go with the Pacific Dining Car in DTLA. I haven’t been to the Santa Monica location. It just doesn’t seem as cool.
Oh… I also 2nd Musso and Frank’s.
How about the Tam O’ Shanter in Atwater Village? This Scottish-themed restaurant has been owned and operated by the Lawry family since 1922, and Walt Disney used to dine there frequently.
Yeah, I think I might’ve felt the nostalgia more had it not been stamped out by the HUGE crowd there for DineLA. The waiting areas were seriously like the security line at the airport!
But, yes, I agree that retro can mask a multitude of other sins.
Hard to argue with WSG point of view. I wouldn’t be surprised if the carpet are older than me and I’m no spring chicken. Nostalgia and old school ambiance don’t necessarily have to mean dilapidated.