updated ultimate list to a lot of different types of cuisine
okay guys, i had to stop adding. its late...and dammit none of my underlines came though.
i know some of you dont appreciate the all lower case aesthetic but tough luck.
*'s indicate favorites
because the LA visitor season is just starting and because everyone i meet always asks me, i made a list of good joints to chow at. i thought i'd put my phd in applied and theoretical culinary anthropology to good use.
still a work in progress, just started and is by no means exhaustive:
david's los angeles restaurant list:
dont know where these spots are?
google maps and the la public health sites are your friends:
*gaja - torrance - okonomiyaki/monjayaki restaurant (postwar japanese cabbage pancake osaka style/ monjayaki: tokyo style - more watery) you make it on a grill on your table. the monjayaki is like cabbage burm containing a flour flood! nice small dishes too. and parfaits.
*sushi-gen - jtown - high quality - good value. i used to eat here 2-3 times a week. sashimi lunch (10.50 - note prices have gone up a bit) and dinner specials are unbeatable except by
*kasen - orange county - sushi: best sushi in socal. very japanese. only salariman eating there. chirashi sushi lunch is amazing! multiple grades of toro, uni, abalone, mirugai, hamachi and more all for $18 in a crappy minimall in fountain valley. this place totally rocks (better than shibucho imho
)*izayoi - izakaya - jtown - my favorite izakaya in LA. good quality sushi and frequent specials. matsutake mushroom soup, great grilled fish. nice sesame custard (?) dessert. beautiful minimal modernist space at prices just slightly higher than an average izakaya like, say haru ulala which i really didnt like at all (salmon sitting out unrefrigerated - scary!)
*musha - santa monica and torrance. the torrance spot is much better. slightly fusiony tapas izakaya style. the mackerel thats grilled at your table is pretty rockin. beef tongue grilled on a mini hibachi.
yabu - santa monica and westhollywood. west hollywood location is cuter and has a bamboo garden. good home made zaru soba. good lunch specials too.
matsuhisa: good but overrated/priced. i ate next to marky mark last time. black cod and foie gras, exclusive tempura bar, sucky decor. nobu just hangs out and shakes hands. nobu in london sucks royally!!!! theyre taking over the l'orangerie spot
*daikokuya - jtown - ramen - pork bone tonkotsu ramen only. sweet japanese 60's movie poster decor. i heard the signless glass brick spot across the street is a high end hostess bar!
orochan ramen - 3rd floor weller court. many levels of spiciness. eating the top levels gets your pic on the wall. kinda gimmicky
*hakata ramen - gardena, excellent hakata style ramen. noodles are thinner than the ones youre likely used to. and the worlds smallest gyoza
*santouka ramen in mitsuwa market in torrance food court - delicious and perhaps my favorite of all the ramen joints. a japanese girl who works at tortoise on abbot kinney told me the stock is frozen and mailed over but this seems doubtful.
shinsengumi - torrance - robatayaki - screaming waiters and rock star gloved grill masters
*furaibo - sawtelle - izakaya: teba saki specialist, great rare duck breast (no longer as great), fried halibut with ponzu dipping sauce, hanpen cheese
2117 - sawtelle - euro with japanese twist - affordable gourmet, although slightly on the salty side. good prix fixe lunch. better than:
sawtelle kitchen - sawtelle - fusiony: where white guys take their asian girlfriends for "cute dinner". salmon with wasabi mashed potatoes (but who would want to order salmon?) meatloaf. sit outside cuz the inside room smells like kitchen.
*urusawa - old ginza sushi co spot in b hills - for the rarified dining journey. 250/head. before drinks tax or tip. go during fugu season.
blue marlin - sawtelle- good curries and pastas done al dente. uni and spinach spaghetti is kind of unique. have lunch specials. tastier than hurry curry.
kiriko - good westside sushi on sawtelle. has good home made ice cream. black sesame, ginger, red bean. yum! chef/owner can get stressed (maybe hes settled down?) the presentation of sushi is a little precious for my taste (this is blah blah blah from blah blah blah topped with blah blah blah)
sushi tenn - sushi - sawtelle - high quality ramen. can get pricey if ordering at the bar but the omakase set gets you premium stuff at a more reasonable price.
yokohama shokutsu - next to yokohama ramen in westside on gateway - konnyaku and beef tendon soup. feels like you're in someones living room. homestyle dishes you dont often find in LA. for some reason no one knows this place. (heard its downhill with the new owners). next to tlapazola grill which is reasonably priced mexican fine dining. good selection of mezcal and tequila
Umenohana - beverly hills - artisinal high end tofu tasting menu for foodies.(sadly now defunct)
1000 cranes - in the new otani in jtown - high end tempura bar. pricey but worth it! overlooks roof garden. i heard they serve a pricey but lovely breakfast
kokekokko: little tokyo: grilled chicken in all its glory. no longer serves chicken sashimi which i had in tokyo last year at an awesome futura designed spot underneath a train.
r-23 - little tokyo near sci arc - designer sushi on nice ceramics. sit on cardboard chairs in a brick loft space. started by people who did nishimura (expensive!) and hump (expensive!). cooked dishes better than sushi
Wakasan izakaya in the westside: omakase only izakaya on westwood below santa monica. very cute and tasty. (go to the rose market after for persian ice cream)
kappo honda izakaya in fountain valley also super good.
kotohira - gardena - very good udon
otafuku - soba and they also have soba made of sarashina flour (white color). flavor honestly didnt wow me after watching a special on JAL inflight entertainment.
ichimi - an honten - soba - torrance - havent tried yet but soon! heard its one of the best
komatsu tempura bar - torrance - have yet to try this place but soon!
high end designer sushi - great fish but high price: mori sushi - modernist interior is very loud - nishimura - next to pacific design center.
*el taurino - hoover and olympic - tacos! al pastor! lengua! come here at 3am to see authentic tacos being eaten by drunk koreans.
*tacos baja ensenada - east la - best fried baja style fish tacos, shrimp too. 99cent wednesday taco special. this place rules hands down. painted a tantalizing neon green. whats up with that abandoned crazy warehouse with the church facade?
ciros - east la - flautas or taquitos (overrated) free fresh guac and old mexican american history. across the street from mexican american institution el tepayac, home of the hollenbeck burrito.
*la china poblana- cemitas sandwiches (lighter bread than a torta) milanesa with avocado, great hot chile and panela cheese. from a truck in a parking lot. (update: they've moved locations and have a whole restaurant now on whittier a couple blocks east of lorena)
theres a daytime cemitas truck on venice blvd in front smart and final by sony studios - they use quesillo cheese instead of panela, and theres a truck that rocks cemitas on sunset in echo park one block east of the echo near alvarado south of sunset and another pretty good night time cemitas truck on 3rd near normandie on the south side
la serenata de garibaldi - east la - where many people go for high end gourmet mexican. fish with delicate sauces. too fancy pants for me.
babita - san gabriel - the other gourmet mexican joint. many regions, shrimp tampolobampo - spicy! chiles en nogada. i'd rather go to:
*la casita mexicana - affordable gourmet mexican in the city of bell, i had a nice chiles en nogada here, and they drizzle the chips with three of their signature sauces. this place really rocks.
*la huasteca - another gourmet option (soon to be openening also, in pasadena. update: now open, but have yet to try) awesome steak with huitlacoche sauce. so good! aesthetically, plaza mexico, where la huasteca is located is like the mexican grove. a pretty awesome simulacra urban development with lots of good dining options. although i havent tried malverde by rick bayless alum.
*el mercadito- east la - first and lorena. mariachi mariachi mariachi! upstairs, dueling mariachi compete for your attention in this mexican dim sum sized restaurant. near evergreen cemetery on 1st street and lorena. food upstairs soso, just snack on corn with chile and mayonaise, and other vendor snacks. can also get cactus fruits (nopalitos), the green ones are juicier. crazy shaved ice drinks (one called el diabolito its totally wild with chili and tamardindo sticks) tasty churros downstairs too. i hear the tamale shop across the street is good. this place in conjunction with a visit to tacos baja ensenada is a must stop for your los angeles visitors
*la flor de yucatan - hoover north of 10 - yucatecan -best cochinita pibil in town, cooked food is only on weekends, otherwise its a bakery. cuisine has moroccan influence so the cooking style is very different from most other regional mexican cuisines). kibi meatballs (think kibbeh), salbutos, morcilla etc. try the hojaldra, its a pizza sized pastry filled with ham and cheese with sugar on the outside. like many mexican pastries its quite heavy. tell them the young bearded chinese kid sent you. i usually just stand and eat the food there as they make it and chat.
chichen itza at the mercado la paloma near usc - also good for yucatecan. many more dishes than are available at la flor de yucatan
la parilla - silverlake and east la - grilled meats - stone bowl of meat, cactus and cheese and beer deal is awesome and enough food for three. good homemade guac made table side.
birrieria chalio - east la - birria - get your goat on. roasted meat with drippings, eaten with raw onions and cilantro. the fat typically starts to harden before you can finish
*el parian - sweet sweet birria near downtown la on pico next to a 99 cent joint. i hear they have good carne asada but i always stick to goat.(update: the carne asada is pretty good - oh yeah if you like ribs like i do, ask for the costillas cut)
guelaguetza - ktown and westside - everybodys favorite oaxacan joint. moles. personally not too into it. lots of moles, they have this huge empanada with huitlacoche (corn fungus - but its more bland than you had hoped). clayuda's (giant pizza sized tortilla with beans, quesillo string cheese, meat(s) of your choice. they also have a kind of unique horchata although i find it a bit too syrupy.
la oaxaqueno - oaxacan taco truck on lincoln south of rose on west side. there after 7pm-ish. they rock tlayudas and memelas and have that custard in an ice cream cone pastry thing.
jalisco style, sinaloan, de efe style, etc still looking.
mamas hot tamales cafe - pico union - tamale collective! right next to langers deli where you must try the pastrami. see below! one stop shop for pastrami, tamales, and fake green cards.
*juanito's - east la - great carefully crafted tamales. they sell out of certain ones. call ahead.
la fonda - macarthur park - only for margaritas and mariachi. food is whatever.
mariscos sinaloa in highland park for ceviche.
cruise the taco trucks in east la and look for a pineapple stuck on top of the spit! and look for live charcoal fires. there are trucks, restaurants, stands even backyard and driveway restaurants if you can find them... whitter blvd is good to cruise...
tacomiendo - on the westside on culver and inglewood. good taco spot, better than overhyped taqueria sanchez (although still good!). they call the pastor something else but its so good. the tacos are huge and the tortillas are thick
from dommy!: pastor joints on central between jefferson and washington. quest for fire baby! and the spot on vermont south of venice blvd on east side. where they cook meat on a dome and the juices drip into a reservoir on the side where they have meats and onions stewing. i've eaten these in east la but have yet to try this spot.(note: just tried it tonight and its fuckin rad, great home made horchata too)
pupusas - salvadorean - all over town, try texis, or in the grand central market or anywhere on olympic near downtown and in ktown.
glorias - westside on venice. fresh food and friendly service
the place on venice near hoover on the south side that has all the tropical shit. that place is cool too.
*el pajonal on vermont and santa monica
la fonda atioquena - columbian - huge plate of mixed meats, chicharron! and a nice toasty arepa for next to nothing.
cubano sandwiches at cafe tropical in silverlake (fresh juices and overbrewed strong coffee),
*portos in glendale (great baked goods, awesome potato balls, coffee and cheap)
floral bakery in atwater (homemade ice cream with exotic fruit flavors and simple pressed sandwiches)
versailles is overrated, if in the westside go to rincon criollo instead, which in all honestly isnt that much better.
*el colmao on pico between vermont and hoover is the most og cuban place in LA that i've found. oxtail soup and gallicean bean soup, try the tocino de ceilo instead of the flan for dessert (strangely named as: bacon from heaven!)
all 10 minutes east of downtown in either san gabriel, monterey park or rosemead
important note: when eating chinese food - make sure health rating is b or lower. if it has A, they're not "keepring it reer"
a rating = for americans (whitey)
b rating = best
c rating = chinese people only
*sea harbor seafood - best fancy dim sum in town - fancier than most old school joints. no carts. the advantage is the food comes paced instead of that rushed panic ebb and flow eating style of push cart dimsum
capital seafood - my new favorite push cart dimsum place. check out the decor and the sweet lighting that would make christopher doyle jizz his pants.
embasssy seafood (good cantonese seafood)
newport seafood (viet chinese seafood) everyone gets the lobster, pepper beef
*bifengtang (seafood village - chiu chow style- awesome fried crab with friend minced garlic for 5 bucks a pound. lunch specials too) chiu chow food is so good! like cantonese food but with more complex flavorings. the specials on the wall are good value.
888 – chiu chow/Cantonese – embarrassed to say I have never eaten here
dai ho - taiwanese style beef noodle soup, cold appetizers, not as spicy as i want it to be however.
*chung king - authentic sichuanese. prepare to shit lava!
*best szechuan - just up the street. - good shrimp, cumin-y lamb- "water cooked" dishes, frog dishes, owner's kind of an asshole but the waiters are great.
ma lan - hand pulled noodles. get the chicken and leeks with fat tagliatelle style noodles - like a uyghur dish. (only location now in rowland heights as of 8/22/05)
heavy noodling - dao shao mian (knife cut noodles) and mao er duo (cats ears noodles) hearty!
din tai fung - taiwanese style xiao long bao (soup dumplings - a bit pricey and more delicate, some say less flavorful than mainland xlb. prepare to wait a long ass time, or stock up on sanrio car air fresheners next door) (the bar underneath the bowling alley next door is good for hot rich hongkies)
simbala - taiwanese snack shop in arcadia (right behind din tai fung). famous for its sausages and other taiwanese street foods
bin bin conjac - next door to simbala- chinese desserts.
*focus plaza - aka: the great mall of china. eat anywhere in here. del mar and valley. shanghainese on second floor, islamic chinese, ay-chung second floor for taiwanese snacks
*hui lau shan (healthy dessert) near focus plaza for mango permutation desserts. mango pudding with fresh mango with coconut sorbet and harsmar and conjac. sweet shit, particularly when mangos are ripe and juicy.
savoy - hong kong cafe style - everyone gets the hainan chicken rice. not to singapore standards but good. young scene (check out marias fashion next door for discount designer jeans and phoenix bakery is next door too.
*phoenix bakery - chinese desserts - puddings, warm porrigey desserts, melon delight soy milk drink.
*tung lai shun - islamic chinese. baked sesame bread. lamb! zua bing (grab bread) yum. for those craving the hardcore lamb skewers (yang rou chuar) the closest I’ve found to china is in flushing in new york where they rock street style yang rou chuan). why don’t we have this in la?!!!
*green village in the focus plaza. shanghainese. xiao long bao, san jian bao, braised fish, sweet savory brown sauces. lions head meatballs.
giang nan – garfield north of garvey, east side - very good shanghainese dishes. duck with taro was pretty interesting.
*yung ho tou chiang - dou jiang (soy milk soup for breakfast) -i like salty but can get sweet too. good you tiao (oil stick-fried cruellers that you dip)
shau may - chinese food. shaved ice dessert with 50 toppings. korean bing su eat your heart out. the pan chinese menu is gigantic but so so.
luscious dumplings or dumpling master and dumplings 10053 many forms of jiao zi, i never go here cuz i always got dumplings in the freezer from mom.
yung gui garden- yunnanese food. guo qiao mi xian - crossing bridge noodles and other dishes. soups are a little heavy on the msg (ask them to cook with less msg). fried dried beef is kinda interesting.
i just found a woman behind the hong kong market that sells xiao long bao and san jian bao and lions head meatballs out of her living room. shes my dumpling dealer/speakeasy. email me for her number...
eight café – for guilin mifen (rice vermicelli) have not tried this spot yet.
little sheep - the hot pot soup here is a little too msg-tasting for me, but they have the worlds coolest wall paper. even beats olympic kalgooksu
*bei fang "northern chinese restaurant" snowflake dumplings - like gyoza fried in a circle and the starch from skin drips down and fries into a snowflake. fried pork bones. awesome hearty northern food. good for winter time. crazy mushroom dish was on special featuring many forms of fungus i've never seen before.
*101 noodle express - shandong food - their niu rou duan (beef roll) is so fucking good. their touted pa gi (stewed chicken - wasnt really to my taste. sort of salty stewed chicken)
nanjing kitchen : take home the cold chopped duck. the rest is average. there are duck bits in the cooler (neck parts, wings, but not as good a value compared to the duck itself)
wanna drink after your dinner in monterey park? check out du rose club near main and Garfield behind the black angus. young chinese gangsters and awesomely bad karaoke.
golden deli - vietnamese snack foods - pho, bun, good cha gio (fried spring rolls)
phong dinh - home of the famous baked cat fish (enough for three). lots of crazy game meats too. goat ribs. fox! venison!
banh mi alley is on valley between del mar and rosemead. there are so many banh mi joints there.
lee's baguette - grand progenitor of the banh mi wars.
mr. baguette- no longer my favorite of the banh mi joints (getting pricey though: a little big for their britches if you ask me)
also see che cali and ba le
*nga trang - formery brodard two of orange county fame - good goi cuon - summer rolls with little crispy cruellers in the middle. i like the bun cha hanoi, different types of grilled pork with vietnamese herbs to wrap
pho 79 - not the best but not bad. downtown la. check the large george nelson lamps. i tried to buy them once but they said they were rare japanese antiques, i didnt want to burst their bubble.
the pho place around the corner from 79 is actually better.
for real good vietnamese go to bolsa/westminster in the OC
*thuan kieu - for broken rice combo dishes. its enough for two people,
*ha noi magnolia and bolsa - good banh tom, shrimp and sweet potato fritters. specialty dish: catfish on iron plate with onions and dill, served with lots of fresh herbs. good bun cha (grilled pork and pork meatballs)
*huong an - westminster and brookhurst - eight courses of beef. about 12.99 per person
*quan hy - bolsa and brookhurst - central vietnamese specialties hue style: banh beo - steamed rice cakes with shredded shrimp with fish sauce. and some hue style noodle soups.
and last but not least. vietnamese coffeshops!
*cafe di vang2 et al. vietnamese hooters! so fucking awesome! smoke filled, silicone filled. caffeine infused...
boiling crab - crustacean mayhem. beer, plastic bags full of spicy crawfish, shrimp and crab and a whole roll of paper towels.
i heard about a vietnamese musician who is a pho enthusiast and will cook "artisinally crafted pho" in his kitchen for you but i havent been able to track him down.
golden triangle - whittier - mohinga (fish stew) onokowswe (coconut chicken noodle soup) lepet thoke (tea leaf salad) very well done!
simpang asia - i rock it here for lunch when im working on the westside. i wouldnt say the food is excellent, buts lots of indonesians eating here and the vibe is good. i find the fried chicken dry. but i like the banana leaf wrapped rice medleys. and the eis desserts with jackfruit and fresh coconut.
indo cafe: right across the street from simpang. i heard you can do a rijstaffel if you call in advance but have not tried it.
ramayani in westwood - never tried it despite living waling distance for nearly 8 years.
*udupi palace - artesia - southern indian. veggie. my second favorite place in little india. good dosas the size of garbage can lids, good everything actually
woodlands - artesia - similar to above
shan - artesia - muslim indian - meat (weekend buffet)
*surati farsan - my favorite place in little india - large selection of chaat, around the corner from udupi. just ask anyone. pani puri (like a dorito 3d that you crack and stuff with yoghurty potatoes and veggies then dunk into a tangy cold soup. crunchy, soft, creamy,sour all at once!)
bombay cafe - westside gourmet style indian. tasty but pricey!
india sweets and spices: westside and atwater village. veggie indian fast food that is completely passable although not particularly fine. westside joint is next to museum of jurassic technology and center for land use interpretation which is defintely worth a visit! curator/creator won the macarthur prize a few years back. represent!
hare krishna temple in the westside - food by the pound with good fresh fruit juices. very affordable. and who can beat lunch with earnest hippies? (perhaps getting to watch them choke on organic cous cous) (right around the corner from india sweets and spices)
Ambala Dhaba on westwood blvd. authentic non veg indian food. home made kulfi ice cream
al noor and al watan near lax - pakistani rockin tandoori meats and good biryani and naan.
there are also a few bangladeshi markets that serve food in ktown near 3rd and hobart.
*shahrzad restaurant - good home made breads fired in a large egg shaped oven, meze, lamb chops. i also like the tadig
*attari sandwich shop - on westwood in a little courtyard. great sandwiches and awesome daily specials that dont often see on persian restaurant menu. home cookin!
lots of persian on westwood blvd. canary, shamshiri, javan on santa monica
rose market - on westwood blvd south of santa monica- homemade persian ice cream - rose water, pistachio, served on little wafers and those little white noodle things and red sweet syrup if you want it.
mashti malones - similar to above but in hollywood.
*caroussel - glendale and little armenia - lebenese armenian. very tasty meze. stick to these. glendale spot is more elegant and tastier.
mandaloun - elegant lebanese armenian. weekends have set menu dinner with live band.
*marouch - also very very tasty. lebenese armenian
*nairi - normandie and hollywood. market and restaurant: i come here for the russian armenian prepared salads. the restaurant rocks out on weekends with live music and dj's.
*wishbone meats - good for lamb ribs, pork ribs, and sturgeon that they will marinate for you.
*sahags basturma - ask sahag or his wife for a taste of his basturma. like a super powerful beef prosciutto cold cut. also make good homemade veal sausages with pinenuts and armenian beef spicy sausage called soujouk. he can make these into sandwiches. buy a bottle of pomegranate juice too! tell him the bearded chinese kid sent you! (note: i think its been sold. i never see sahag anymore. so sad)
if you like sausage check out the merguez sausage at Hadar Orthodox Kosher Meat on fairfax they make a good merguez sandwich and jeffs gourmet too.
arax bakery - taste the lahmajune and maenesh (sort of mini pizza like things) fresh out of the oven. can toast in a toaster oven too. good snacks.
sassoun bakery - same as above
an armenian foodie told me there is a great armenian place with amazing lahmajune in st. vincents alley in the jewelry district downtown but have yet to confirm this
*arax falafel - good falafel, shawerma sandwiches
zankou - good but rotisserie chicken is not my cup of tea.
theres an armenian country dish with all the leftover animal bits cooked into a stewy porrige. you'll see signs in glendale at mom and pop shops with three armenian letters. thats it.
*wat thai - thai temple north hollywood - weekend food stalls just like bangkok! best som tum in town (papaya salad), grilled meats, griddled coconut cream desserts (khanom krok). steamed fish curry in banana leaf. some spicier southern curries, and lots of desserts. they celebrate songkran here too. btn the 170 and 5 freeways on roscoe. you can also buy mini thai eggplants from the lady outside in the truck.
ruen pair - open to 3am. pretty good food all around. poo dong (raw marinated crab with garlic, lime and chili) noodles. lots of thai chinese dishes and porrige.
palm thai - only go for thai elvis. food is fairly okay.
thailand plaza second floor restaurant - large place good for big groups. thai singers on stage and good food. have that spicy sour and salty soup with omlette. forgot its name but its not easily found in other restaurants that i've found. famous thai singers sing here
kruang tedd - go after 11pm on friday night and drink beers and rock out to thai indie rock with college kids. can also stop into jumbos clown room next door (ghetto strip club suicide girls style where courtney love used to dance) good khao soi here available at lunch.
*taste of thai - food here is pretty good. this is where the party continues after kruang tedd closes at 2am. if you are with thai folks you might get a little extra in the drinks department after 2am... on weeknights the party is less thai pop and leans towards the look toong and maw lam country style music.
*odd noodle across the street from KT is now one of my favorite noodle joints, next to the massage joint on the south side of hollywood. best place for good tom yum noodles. (nothing compared to my joint on sukhumvit soi 26 but good for la) (note: this place is called "odd noodle" and it moved to 5401 hollywood blvd. dont remember if theres an english sign. they also have your typical yen ta fo, sukiyaki, duck, and meatball noodles.. crispy pork with chinese broccoli on rice.
*sapp coffeeshop - closes early and on wednesdays but it feels a lot like bangkok. similar dishes to odd noodles but the feel is good especially with the sweet waiter(ess). i like the green colored jade noodles dry (heng) with crab.
renu nakorn - norwalk - supposed to be good, particularly for esarn food (laos) never went cuz its so close to artesia indian restaurants.
ganda in the ruen pair mall for more southern thai dishes
yai - in the 7-11 mall is good too.
pattaya - thai seafood
my two favorite dessert places are in the ruen pair strip mall (they have khanom krok, thai tacos, shaved ice, heavy custard desserts) and the one right next to sapp coffee house...
marios: hollywood - the joint that eveyone knows about. fried with fried. heavy but tasty...run by chinese peruvians. decent ambiance... good ceviche
inti: if marios is too packed. zero ambience...
pollos a la brasa: ktown - rotisserie chicken grilled with wood. best taken away. awesome and cheap paired with oily ass fries
*los balcones by the arclight. gotta try it still. (tried it, liked it. had a skewer of large chuncks of grilled beef heart and a nice ceviche.
don felix on virgil and fountain - i hear from my peruvian insider connectoin that breakfast here is the bomb, with lots of peruvians going there before church or something, but it ends early (9am?)
el rocoto: another peruvian expat friend says this place is good but i have yet to try.
*cafe brazil: westside - byob laid back joint with grilled meats and tasty apps near. (note tried out the new cafe brazil on washington. i hadnt been to either in a while but the executive lunch chicken didnt taste all that great. also serve a nice breakfast with guava juice. the new spot has big flat screens good for watching world cup or international soccer.
zabumba: live samba band and turns into dancing after dinner. cant attest to the food unfortunately
i know a woman that makes fuckin awesome cheese bread (pao de quiejo) and will sell you a big bag and deliver to your house. call me for more info. theyre like a dense cheese mochi with a cruchy shell slightly larger than a golfball. yes!
*papa christos (aka c+k) on normandie and pico. go on a sunday when people from the orthodox church across the street pile in. good market for mediterranean goods too. really good souvlaki, cheap lamb chops, the only place to make my "frappe metrio me rala" coffee drink like on the islands. in the speakeasy district of south korea town. check out the club down the street "catch 22" wonder what goes on in there...
dinos chicken - a couple blocks east of papa christos. not really greek, but again, pretty awesome greasy half bird and fries being consumed by mexican teenagers.
have yet to check out the cambodian scene in little phnom phen in long beach. (note: have begun to check it out - i actually called some cambodian travel agents to recommend dishes from particular restaurants!)
chhom nimol, the classically trained singer who also sings with dengue fever sings at dragon house. hear the food isnt good though.
i hear new paradise and hak heang are good. (update: new paradise rocks, food is very good and the weekend live band entertainment is priceless. they have a large menu with pictures. including amok)
went to sophy's it was awesome. no amok though. had great cocunut soup, and bahok (grilled meat with green mango salad and fermented fish paste - a bit funky but good). the kids who work there at night are really sweet.
*in n out - everywhere - double double animal style protein style. fries well done animal style.
*apple pan - westside- old school burgers. water in paper cones (no more?), guys pour ketchup for you with a seasoned flip of the wrist
*cassells - old school foodie burger favorite in the heart of ktown across the street from tang song sah. home made mayo. crazy homemade grill contraption. garlicy potato salad. now owned by koreans but still og. i actually dont like the burgers as much as i want to. i saw a guy plop a half peach on his burger once. respect!
*pie n burger in pasadena. pies and burgers. old school!
fathers office: santa monica - sang yoon, old executive chef from michaels opened this joint. decent tapas but a rockin gourmet burger if you can stand the frat boys and noise and lack of seating. (note:i officially can no longer stand the frat boys nor the wait)
tommy's - go to the original on rampart at 2:15 am. kinda gross but kinda awesome
*jays jayburger - i hope they will resurface. chili cheese burger with bacon and a fried egg. who needs flexbile arteries?
lucky devils - hipster interior design (think beechwood or mood) with gourmet burgers and beers on tap. havent tried it yet but its a matter of time.
see taylors steakhouse below. under old la
see mccormick and schmicks and nick and stefs under happy hour below
*soot bul jeep - bbq ghetto style - but tasty. mesquite wood bbq. bring disposable clothes. and the fire gets really hot! its the single korean restaurant where i see the most white people besides chosun galbi.
chosun kalbi - fancy designer bbq. cool architecuture with inside*inside/outside*outside organization. good place to bring first timers and experts alike.
*sa rit gol - good pan chan get the black cod and daikon stew! dol sut bibimbap good too. one of my favorites.
beverly soon tofu, sokongdong soontofu - you decide which one you like better. beverly has better atmosphere. but sokongdong has the raw spicy crab panchan. bcd gives you the fried fish but their soondubu aint all that but good for late night 2am cravings.
olympic kalgooksu - kalgooksu (knife cut noodles in garlic chicken broth) and mandoo, awesome wall paper
*tang song sah - 6th and berendo - cool po jang ma cha (korean pub) like a war bunker feel. get the spicy pork ribs, grilled squid, fried battered dumbell things with the japchae noodles inside called . grilled skewers of meat and ginko nuts. tofu kimchi and spicy salad. lots of kids fucked up on soju (my liquid nemesis).kinda feels like sake decibel in new york. good deep fried chicken wings too. kim jung the illmatic representing on the movie billboard overhead too.
my secret recipe - grilled octopus and onions in gochujang sauce. fry leftovers with rice and nori and sesame oil later. lots of cool bangladeshi markets around the corner
mandarin house - im a chinese snob, but i actually dont mind korean style ja jang myun. the other korean style chinese food can just disappear for all i care.
han bat - sullongtang. beef bone soup: hangover rememdy. best at two am. i really like the blood cake with lots of mountain veggie stew here too
mool naeng myung place western & third
yong susan - fancy set course kaesang korean. avoid the cheapest set course. in korea this is sort of considered a touristy restaurant, sort of like a fancy planet hollywood.
odae san - korean style sushi restaurant. lots of side dishes. quantity over quality. heavy on the white fish like halibut - koreans like it chewy... chili vinegar dipping sauces. try sea squirt. freaky looking and tastes like the ocean! looks like an alien.
arado - live octopus and shrimp. korean sushi, but i think im done with korean sushi
chin ko gae - 8th and berendo. black goat stew with lots of veggies! funky like maceo (the goat is sort of a substitution for dog meat dishes, which is a pretty tasty meat by the way)
*san - 8th + berendo - chinese character for mountain. abalone porrige that tastes like a wonderful risotto and cornish game hen stuffed with sticky rice made into a soup with ginseng and garlic. good for colds.
bok - (alvarado and james m wood) blowfish soup. they make the leftovers into jook at the end. lots of food! not as tasty as one would hope (note: theres another location at western between 5th and 6th on west side) theres also a korean blood sausage restaurant (sun dae) that i have yet to try.
prince hotel - walking distance from soot bul jeep. a piece of old la. red banquettes, oil paintings, beefeater lamps done up ajashi style! booze and bar snacks. way cooler than hms bounty. (their prices have gone up along with their popularity, not gonna go as much - they also have a pretty big private room you can get in the back)
*chapman market - sixth and alexandria - for 6 dollar cups of instant powder "viennese coffee", booze and a procession of leased bmw's and the hot ktown girls that love the guys that drive those cars. the crux of the ktown bar capital
the corner place restaurant : famous for korean white somen noodles with the sour mool kimchi soup base. inexpensive bbq too.
*ham ji park - 6th and berendo next to tang song sah across from cassells burgers. best damn daegi galbi in town. (bbq pork ribs) they used to be on pico, but the new location is nicer and less gritty. they also have a pretty good gamja tang (pork bone and potato stew)
no english name: korean mudfish stew place on pico and 4th ave. hardcore!
*no english name: in the big mall on 8th and Serrano - really tasty crispy bin dae duk (mung bean pancake)and hye mul kal gook su (seafood knife cut noodle soup). you enter the first entrance of the mall while heading east, its directly in front of you if you keep driving straight into parking lot.
*no english name: amazing gamja tang spot on 7th and shatto (korean name: no da ji) its pork neck bone spicey soup with potatoes. i think theres a picture of a pig on the sign.
shikdorak - olympic and hoover - bbq - started the rice paper wrap craze that my friends from korea want to try when they come here, after going to lakers games.
a.o.c - suzanne goins newest. wines by the glass, charcuterie, cheeses. brought the small plates craze to LA. mediterranean. good but overhyped. personally i'd just go to la espanola meats, beverly hills cheese shop and a nice wine store and do it myself at home with
friends for 1/5 the price.(ok i know theres other good stuff here too. i admit it!). when is the jamon iberico gonna be available???
*luques - solid good california mediterranean food. see prix fixe below
campanile - not what it once was, and grilled cheese night is annoying.
sona - david and michelle myers. high concept. very high. tastes good? you decide. seared scallop in tomato water drizzled with argon oil. that kind of shit. I haven’t been back since the first month of opening so I cant comment.
*angelini osteria – my favorite modern italian in town. a bit cramped. good pasta primi's and sea salt encrusted baked branzini(not a favorite dish of mine however). Love the blood sausage and mashed potatoes and chicken liver (fegatini) gino angelini just won a james beard award this year. good italian wines. barolo!
have yet to try la terza but they do a small plates night on tuesday with nancy silverton. her next restaurant with mario battali is coming soon! i hear on melrose and highland.
*spago beverly hills - wolfgang knows how to work a room, very nice tasting menu, although the main room feels a little touristy.
providence - overhyped asian inflected seafood, in the old patina spot. my recent meal here was disappointing. a little over fussy and trendy for my taste.
*water grill – kind of vegas-y feeling interior, but solid albeit more traditional preparations of seafood. slow poached fish courses are winners.
patina - heard its gone downhill since the move to the disney concert hall. but you get to eat inside a gehry bldg! last time i had the ocean menu in the old spot it was great.
bastide: french food with california experimentalism. deconstructed foods. frozen shit. crazy combinations. love it or hate it. (note: reworking the menu with new chef)
capo: santa monica - small italian restuarant with woodgrilled meats. last time i ate here i saw steven spielberg, tom hanks,larry david, albert brooks, dustin hoffman and wives. and this joints got maybe 20 tables. food honestly isnt all that exciting unless youre really into steak.
*joe's - venice - i used to eat here once a week when i worked on abbot kinney. good lunch deals. the sand dabs are awesome.
*melisse - good french. awesome cheese selection.
il grano - bollito misto night on wednesday (have not tried it yet) one of the better italian spots in town
*grace - pork tenderloin!
*hatfields – total winner and new to the scene. serving modern jean georges v. inflected cuisine. small but focused menu. great desserts. last time they hooked us up with tastes of some nice dessert wines.
normans - eclectic fusion - itching to try the pig and paella on friday.
jiraffe - santa monica - monday prix fixe dinner. french. good chocolate souffle.
*lucques - west hollywood - suzanne goins original spot, 35 dollar 3 course prix fixe on sunday. (update: its now 40 dollars) i have never had a bad sunday supper here.
josie - wednesday market dinner prix fixe. 30 dollar 3 course. only until they sell out.
campanile – monday night family style prix fixe (have not tried it yet)
project by project annual summer food and wine event
jin patisserie - abbot kinney
boule - west hollywood
frances - jtown
picholine - silverlake (sells by the pound
bread bar - weho
susina - weho
chantilly - lomita in south bay
angel maid - culver city (cream puffs)
fosselmans in alhambra!
scoop in north ktown
nick and stefs - joachim splichals steak house downtown. good burger and aged steaks. braised beef cubes are tasty
ciudad - mojitos and finger foods downtown. mary sue milliken and susan feniger of border grill fame. dinner isnt that great here though.
mccormick and schmicks - not a bad burger for 2 bucks! the beverly hills spot feels like and is lit like vegas.
pacific dining car has free finger foods.
philippes or coles pe buffet. both claim to have invented the french dip at the same time. old school! you decide. at phillippes, ask to get the sandwiches double dipped. lamb sandwich is good but sometimes is really fatty.
cliftons cafeteria - decent cafeteria food (think mac and cheese and jello) mixed with mexican food. check the upstairs, the chapel. way too much kitsch to take in!
uncle johns ham and eggs - think blade runner noir. chinese guys cooking diner food in a shotgun cafeteria. next to golden gopher. pork chop rice or ham and eggs or omlette with chinese chilis. inadvertant ghetto fusion.
the pantry - dick riordans family restaurant. never closed. so so diner food.
grand central market downtown. wander and nibble. good juice bar and tasty pupusas.
hanks bar in the hotel stillwell near staples. good dive bar with mirrors and mannequins. 'nuff said.
langers deli - do yourself a favor and have a pastrami here. best in the world. pay attention to the bread. ask for hand carved pastrami. stick to the pastrami. i ate here and flew to new york the next day and ate at katz's and second avenue deli (now defunct). this place is the best. al langer rocks! oh yeah, good noodle kuegel too.
taylors steak house - ktown - steaks, chopped steak burger, molly salad. old school la stuck in a time warp in current ktown and little central america. hear the culotte isnt very good. doesnt that mean panties in french? still has old ladies with blue hair eating here. reasonably priced too.
soda jerks - pasadena - old fashioned soda fountain and they serve fosselmans ice cream!
whats that crazy truck stop diner across the river from frog town above chinatown. was it north hill? that place is kinda weird too.
interesting CULTURAL EXPERIENCES one must check out:
lowenbrau keller - silverlake adjacent - craziest visual feast of a restaurant in town. good german food too! opened by billy wilders prop master and it shows. if not for food, just come and have a beer and wander around the restaurant. would take weeks to soak in the stuff in here. run by the wife and the waitress whos been there for decades. I heard huell howser has been wanting to do a piece on them for years but they are afraid business well get too hectic. theres never more than 4 or 5 tables occupied at any given time.
babe and rickys inn - leimert park. 5 dollars gets you a show with micky champion the best 70 year old mike-less blues singer in the world and a soul food dinner. trick is the food isnt served till 11pm. mondays. she also sings downtown at little pedros. (update: its now 8 dollars)
prayer assembly of god - weekend bbq at a black church on el segundo and avalon. smokey but sometimes dry bbq. also try phillips bbq on crenshaw. take away. drive by at like7pm and its like a bomb just went off on creshaw its so smokey.
quality seafood - redondo pier - benches, cheap pitchers, 20 types of oysters in salt water tanks. crab and live uni etc.
st vincents court in the jewerly district of downtown just off broadway.
Wow, I'm dizzy from just skimming that list. Thank you so much! I can't wait to try a few places (and report back, of course).
Thanks Modernist!!! I love the list... the only Mexican issue I take is with La China Poblana. I never had tried Cemitas before because my cousin from DF once said that Cemitas weren't any better than Tortas. Still you guys raved and my cousin has been known to be a bit too "Chilanga" so, I went to La China last year and ended up agreeing with her. I thought I was off Cemitas for life. Then last month, SO made me try the Cemitas at the Taco Truck on Venice near Overland infront of the Smart and Final. I had a Cemitas REVELATION there. SOOO much better than La China, and this Cemita would make my COUSIN begrudgely admit that the Pueblanos do have a superior sandwich... :) They are set up in the afternoons on weekdays and weekends. Be sure to give it a try! :)
interesting... i've been going to la china poblana for a while, and started going to smart and final truck once every couple of weeks in the past few months since i've been working this gig on the westside. i found the bread not as toasty, the milanesa not quite as fresh and a bit less avocado, although i like the quesillo cheese and its a bit spicier at the smart and final truck.
Wow! This is going to be a popular bookmark.
Glad to see you've managed to chow on Cambodian since the original post. New Paradise is still my fave, but I still can't find anything remotely as good as the amok in Siem Reap. Boooo! Love their sour fish soup with banana blossoms. Rosemanee, on Anaheim, has some good dishes, too.