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Aug 3, 2006 06:54 PM

West Side Recs For SF Transplant (per SF board)

Just to fill the LA board in, hubby & I recently took a trip to SF & Wine Country and received excellent recs from the SF board so I'm repaying the favor (see recap of trip on SF board) to someone who has just moved to the west side from SF.

Okay, where do I start? Keep in mind, these recs may be a little dated (I used to live in SM but now live on the East Side). I'm including SM, West LA and a little Venice....

Good upscale meals:
JIRAFFE (like a Zunni)
LITERATI 2 (haven't been yet, suppose to be terrific Italian -- go to main restaurant, hear mixed things about cafe)
CHINOIS ON MAIN -- W Puck's famous restaurant, you gotta do it though more of an older scene now, me thinks

Btw, there's a ton of newish Italian restaurants in Brentwood, much discussed on the boards.

The rest:
VITO's on Ocean Park -- ol' fashion Italian, I use to see Mel Brooks & Ann Bancroft here all the time
ROSE CAFE -- see young Hollywood eat breakfast and schmooze
COUNTER-- upscale hamburgers, haven't been yet, good reviews
FATHER'S OFFICE-- bar w food. Always a wait. Terrific hamburgers.
LARES & GILBERTS for Mex. Oh and LA CABANA (I'm not a big fan, but it's open late).
CAFE BIZOU -- well priced French fare (sorta Americanized)
BAY CITY-- Italian deli. Excellent subs. A must!
NOOK -- haven't been yet, suppose to be great comfort food (much discussed)
17th STREET CAFE on trendy Montana -- see TV stars eat breakfast!
SUSHI KING -- terrific sushi, see an art film next door at the cinema.
CHUNG KING-- hole in the wall, Chinese (on Pico, West L.A.). This place use to be solid, who knows now?
BORDER GRILL - well known lady Chefs, not my fav place in the world, but you gotta go once for the scene and overpriced food
FRITTO MISTO -- frankly, I don't get this place but everyone seems to like it. Casual Italian.
APPLE BAN-- burgers & fries, ol' fashion diner. My husband's fav restaurant in the world.
Breakfast at SHUTTERS on the beach
Drinks at CASA DEL MAR (hotel)
ABBOTS PIZZA in venice
JACK SPRATS -- healthy fare, terrific air baked fries
JOHN O' GROATS -- breakfast
PACIFIC DINING CAR -- open 24 hours, seafood & steak. Ol fashion, sorta upscalish, meat & potato place.
HAMA SUSHI -- I've never been a big fan, go for the scene.
HAL's -- good bar in Venice (though I'm married now so who knows if it's still viable, haven't been in a few years).

NOTE: There's a terrific trattoria in a mini-mall on Montana Blvd, haven't been in a year or two and can't recall the name -- movie stars who live nearby go here because it's so unassuming. Very nice inside and excellent food. What is the name!!!!???

GRACE (upscale, terrific, pricy)
ANGELINI OSTERIA (best Italian in City, even better than A16 which I adored)
COBRAS & MATADORS (mid-city, Los Feliz) fun tapas
TOAST -- see young Hollywood try not to look hung-over.
LOCANDA VENEDA -- practically a Hollywood commissary and the food is good too!
NEWSROOM -- Across from legendary Ivy. Healthy fare w bar.
IVY on Doheny -- yes, you gotta do it at least once in your life
SWEET LADY JANE -- designer bakery, after you live here awhile, you will eat a lot of their berrry cakes at friend's showers.

Btw, we have a LUNA PARK here too -- mid city.

Enjoy, I'm sure others with add to these recs -- !

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  1. Thanks, that was a big long list! So far on your list I've been to:

    Father's Office: beer only, wish I'd gotten to try the burger. Thought their selection was better than most but not downright impressive. Liked an ale I had, but liked the sage beer less. I do give them kudos for some really interesting flavors.

    Fritto Misto: don't get the hype either.

    Apple Pan: really don't get the hype. Burgers are nice, juicy, and smokey, but really expensive for the size you're getting, and a $2 In n' Out burger tastes better to me. I know the meat at Apple Pan is supposed to be all natural, never frozen, etc. but I'm only willing to pay for quality if it carries through into the flavor of the burger and if I'm allowed to tell them to cook it medium rare. I was impressed by the giant dome of an apple pie, however.

    Really want to try Sweet Lady Jane and some of the higher end restaurants, but am finding it's very difficult to eat out in LA in the $20-30/pp range. Everything seems to be $10 and under (casual Asian food, taco trucks, etc.) or over $40/pp (any of the higher end restaurants on your list). I love the variety of lower end dining which was somewhat more lacking in SF, but I miss the ability I had in SF to eat incredibly well for just under $30 a person (before wine and tip, but after tax).

    1. For the SF'ers who are now on the west side:

      I don't want to get into the controversial issue of LA vs. SF restaurants. I'll just say that the ethnic non-European restaurants in Los Angeles are *generally* superior to those in San Francisco. I'm thinking specifically about Thai, Korean, Japanese and Mexican food. Chowhound is a great resource for finding the best examples of these restaurants.

      You won't find anything like Zuni or Chez Panisse, Oliveto or Pizzaiolo here. Angelini Osteria on Beverly Blvd. comes close.

      Signing off. Don't want to start a chow-riot.

      1 Reply
      1. re: tritip

        That's actually exactly how I feel, but I always feel like I should at least pipe up and ask here, just in case some mid-range European/Cal cuisine places start popping up down here. Plus, if I didn't keep asking, how would I now know that Angelini Osteria comes close? Thanks for that tip!

      2. For good value and good food try:

        Jiraffe offers a terrific pre-fix weekly deal
        Angelini Osteria (you can easily eat here $30 pp and I love it more than A16 which I thought was fab)
        Luna Park (I'm not the biggest fan, but many on the board are -- if you like the one in SF, try here -- mid-city)

        When you dare to cross La Cienega, try:
        Blair's (Silverlake)

        If you didn't like Apple Pan, then try The Counter --

        I think you'll find that there's plenty of mid-range options, obviously it depends what you order -- have fun.

        1. The place on Montana you're talking about is Locanda Portofino. It's between 10th and 11th St--it's very small. I also had heard that stars go there...(I confess to never having eaten there).

          By the way, Literati II is not really Italian. It's more eclectic California/New American. The food's good, altho the menu is pretty limited.

          I don't think you mentioned Mako on Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills--Asian fusion. It's a terrific restaurant, not to be missed IMO.

          1. Coupla thoughts on your list -
            Strike Cafe Bizou, as it was sold and is now called Bizou Garden Bistro and is not the same operator as the one in Sherman Oaks, which to me is not all that good in the first place.
            Secondly, go to the Ivy on Robertson, not Doheny.
            Loved your spelling of Apple Ban - perfectly said!
            Also don't get fritto misto whatsoever.
            As ThatPat says, definitely add Mako on S. Beverly Dr., BH. At least as good or most think better than Chinois, and definitely more affordable, yet Mako is the former head chef at Chinois.
            For Nook-type quality and price points, add Violet across from TJs on Pico in S/M to your list.
            Many additions to the list after Sweet Lady Jane - Susina on Beverly just west of La Brea, Amadine at 12225 Wilshire, Clementine on S/M Blvd across from Century City Mall, Joan's On Third on 3rd just east of Beverly Center.
            Mexican can include Lares, Guelaguetza, The Talpa, Monte Alban or Tlapazola Grill or ...
            And definitely add Joe's in Venice, just down the street from Hal's - still one of the best after 12 years!