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last minute ideas for Mexican or seafood, or both near LAX, with a full bar?

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I know it has been asked many times,and I know it is last minute, but I am having a hard time coming up with the right answer: a colleague and I would like somewhere for dinner tonight that is $20 or less for a cab ride from the Westin LAX, where we can get either seafood (bonus points for oysters), or Mexican (many, many bonus points for albondigas), and a drink or three. We won't be driving after all!

price isn't a factor, indeed we'd probably prefer mid to upscale...

I'd consider Tapas as well, what I am not seeking is 'California' food...La Serenata might be a good choice if the food were good, but the reviews on the board aren't very enthusiastic. I would be interested in albondigas at El Cholo, but I think it is a bit far...

Ideas appreciated! TIA!

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  1. I like La Serenata and have had many good meals there, and for what you are looking for (upscale, Mexican, seafood, full bar), it's probably your best bet. Personally, I don't get the flak this restaurant gets on this board, but you are right in observing that whenever it is recommended on this board, there is a vocal minority that takes its opportunity to slam it.

    For old school, California-Mexican (full bar, good guac and chips, good margaritas, and very good albondigas), you might try La Cabana, on Lincoln and Rose. The food here is mostly just okay, but they have a few standouts on the menu. I like their quesadillas (the la casa quesadilla comes with machaca, and is very good), and the above mentioned albondigas soup, guac, chips and homemade tortillas). It's definitely NOT upscale, though.

    For a straight-seafood restaurant, you might try Ocean Ave. Seafood, in Santa Monica. They have a very nice selection of oysters, and a nice environment with a full bar.

    I'd check with a cab company on their average rates from Santa Monica to LAX, though, before deciding to dine in SM. While the airport is only about 10 miles from SM (a straight shot down Lincoln Blvd.), with traffic it could run you more than $20 for cab fare.

    1. I think LAX to Santa Monica runs about 30 bucks+ for cab fare BTW.

      I've heard some things about some new Mexican restaurant in El Segundo....I forget all the details, perhaps someone can fill them in.

      For Seafood, McCormick's and Schmick has a lot of oyster options on Rosecrans in Manhattan Beach. It certainly fits for seafood with oysters within a 20 dollar cabride.

      1. Panchos is a good choice for Mexican that is closer to the airport--located in Manhattan Beach. I just took a look at the online menu, and they have Sopa de Albondigas listed. The website is http://www.panchosrestaurant.com/. I wouldn't describe it as upscale, but it definitely has good quality food and a nice environment, including an indoor patio-like space. I'm pretty sure they have a full bar.

        For seafood close to LAX, there's Rock n' Fish in Manhattan Beach. I thought it was ok but not great, but I know others have enjoyed it for fish, and I had the steak when I went there. Rock n' Fish has a more casual, bar-like atmosphere. There's also Michi in Manhattan Beach...nice, swanky environment, with pretty good food. More of an upscale feel than Rock n'Fish. Full bar, with lots of creative martinis and such. I don't think they have oysters, though...just sushi and cooked fish. It's not strictly a seafood place...anyway, you can check out their menu on their website: http://www.michi.foodnow.tv/.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Nicole

          Yum - Panchos. I moved away from the South Bay about nine years ago, but we used to LOVE Panchos. The black bean soup was wonderful.

        2. i believe that tlapazola has opened in marina del rey on lincoln blvd.

          1. Thanks for all of the suggestions! Unfortunately, first my colleague bailed, and then the plane was very late....by the time I got to LAX all I could handle were those great Westin beds and room service! Too bad, because I was all set to try those albondigas at Panchos (having decided that taxi all the way to SM was too much).

            However, between the fact that my job is increasingly requiring me to travel to LA, and the fact that my daughter is about to move to LA as a UCLA transfer student, I will be spending a lot more time in LA, especially on the West side, so your recs will come in very handy.

            The good news in my road warrier day was (and this WAS a surprise!) the hamburger on the Westin room service menu was very good! As good a burger as I've had in a while, and came still hot, tasting as if it just came off a grill, with condiments on the side to apply myself, grilled onions, bacon, cheddar, and *best of all* I asked for it medium rare and got it medium rare!! pink and juicy!! A miracle from a hotel, a double miracle given that the catered lunch we had at our meeting at the hotel the next day was just plain sad...

            A good burger in those conditions (and yes, of course it was pricy, but that is what per diems are for) is something to be grateful for...

            1. next time stay at the Sheraton.....They have a Shula's 347 out there with a great selection of steaks and burgers!

              1. I'm surprised that no one suggested El Torito, Hawthorne Bl. at 118th St., Hawthorne. Hey, *I* didn't suggest Panchos! Decent margaritas.
                The rest of this list are more casual with beer or BYOB.
                - Su Casa, 403 Main St, El Segundo. Haven't been there in a while (name change?).
                - Hector's Mexican at 11942 Aviation Blvd, IIRC not open for dinner. Very casual and barely indoors. Liquor store next door.
                - Pachanga Mexican Grill, 962 Main St, El Segundo. Suburban fast food type chain with surprisingly good basic Mexican.
                - Wild Goose, 11604 Aviation Blvd. I'm sure they have Mexican.............waitresses.
                What's in the old Acapulco space (Pershing at Manchester)?
                Anyone with some Playa Del Rey options?

                1. Try Guelgaguetza on National -- just off the 405. OOps near National, but on Palms. National exit.