SPSS training holds its LA classes near LAX in el Segundo. It is not really near anything. A visitor to this area can not really claim to have visited the area that everyone thinks of as LA. You will find to your dismay that traveling south after class is NOT fun. (I have confirmed the North/South thing with friends as well. Avoid southbound!) Traffic can be remarkably bad in any direction, but I would try going north instead. If you head North on the 405, and then head W on the 10 you are going to end up at the coast. Traffic will be spotty, but hang in there! Take a right on 1 North - the Pacific Coast Highway.
You now have several options. You could try Gladstone's. I think the food is average, but it is close, and the scenary is great. On the way back you could try to figure out where the promenade is in Santa Monica (you passed through this city on the way to the water). If you have more time, or you are up for more of a drive, try heading further North on the PCH to Paradise Cove Cafe, about 16-20 miles north of 10. (I have seen documents that say 16, but my odometer read more like 18 or 19 since it is unclear when they start counting). It is worth the extra miles for the atmosphere even if it is a bit touristy. Both restaurants are over priced for what you get, but I still recommend them. The view of the pacific more than makes up for the good, but ordinary food.