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Aug 17, 2006 04:52 AM

Where to take Japanese tourists?

Dilemma: I have some Japanese friends (ages: mid-30s to 40s) coming to town who want to have something they can't otherwise get in Japan. The problem is, we'll be eating with my Japanese American grandparents who can't eat spicy, can't eat a lot, nor enjoy anything too out of the ordinary from their typical Japanese diet (though they're fine with "American" food).

Is there a place that can satisfy both sides? Oh and preferrably on the Westside. Help!

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  1. You could try this place: Guelaguetza, 11127 Palms Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90034

    It's very well made Oaxacan food (Mexico). It's not particularly spicy, but very flavorful with lots of mole, a thick sauce that comes in different versions, some of which include cocoa. Not likely to be available in Japan.

    1. Junior's Deli ?
      Mashti Malone's?
      Shamshiri Grill?
      Lucilles' BBQ?
      Farmer's Market?

      2 Replies
      1. re: ChinoWayne

        The Farmer's Market is always a safe choice, and there's usually something for everyone there. I also like the Shamshiri (or other Persian) suggestion. I've taken Japanese visitors there and they were very pleased with the food. Get one of the polo rice dishes, as Japanese can get excited about a novel rice preparations. I've also taken Japanese visitors to Carousel in Hollywood and had similarly good reactions.

        Also, a place like Pann's would also be good too. Something retro-LA, yet serving good homey American fare. I would also add something like Angelini Osteria to the list too.

        1. re: E Eto

          Ah, Pann's, Eric good call. I think you and I are both tuned in to the fact that the key is that the goal is to give them an experience that they cannot find in Japan.

      2. Difficult quest - but speaking of Guelaguetza -- how about Tlapazola Grill?

        11676 Gateway, Los Angeles, CA
        "Hints of California cuisine influence traditional Oaxacan flavors at this affordable foodie spot."

        Have a look at the "Japanese Visitor" thread too, maybe you'll find something that fit the bill.

        Jer-ne in MDR has Pan-Asian food but strong Japanese slant, I think. Take a look at their menu online..expensive though.

        1. Take them to Orris. Here is the Zagat website and it is on Sawtelle and they will love walking the street. Go early-no reservations

          1. A couple of my favorites that I have taken my elderly parents (and visiting Japanese friends) with great success (usually I try to get earlier reservations - that will ensure the noise levels are down and the elderly can hear and join in the discussion. They also like the attention they get when they are the first to arrive)

            It's American Bistro Food in Santa Monica but not close to the beach - more in the neighborhoods.

            2424 Pico Blvd. (on the corner of 25th and Pico


            One of my favorites in the Beverly Hills area - Japanese with California/French/Italian overtones. At dinner, its small plates format which might fit your grand parents style of eating. Folks who have come here with me love the wok-fried whole crispy fish with the black bean truffle sauce and ponzu sauce... good quality rice, white and fried rice. So most of the dishes will be familiar to grand parents BUT different enough for your guests. Chef Mako Tanaka was former executive chef of Spago, Chinois on Main, China Grill in New York, etc.

            225 South Beverly - South of Wilshire Blvd.
            Beverly Hills, CA 90212


            For Italian, I like Vincenti in Brentwood. It is not inexpensive but the food quality is really good and fresh. I have met a lot of Japanese golf-pros, rock and movie types that have come here to eat. This chef is from Italy but he has a an light - almost asian approach in his cooking.

            11930 San Vicente Blvd.
            Los Angeles, CA 90042
            (310) 207 0127