Mel Gibson Returns to the Scene of the Crime

10/31/2011 6:25 AM PDT

Mel Gibson
made a bold move last night -- returning to the restaurant that triggered an anti-Semiticly fueled DUI arrest that changed his life ... but this time he made all the right moves.

Gibson and a blonde lady friend hung out together at Moonshadows in Malibu ... the last place Mel drank on July 28, 2006 before he got into his car and hit PCH ... got a DUI ... and said all sorts of horrible things to the arresting officer.

This time around was MUCH different ... witnesses say Mel was only having dinner with a mystery blonde lady -- not boozing -- and he had a DRIVER take him home.