Staying at the Hilton on Hollywood Drive in Universal City and need a dinner reccomendation, please!
I will be attending a conference at the Hilton on Hollywood Drive (not too far off of Ventura Blvd.) and am looking for a nice, out of the way place for 6 people to have a bite to eat for dinner. A couple of vegetarians are in the group (and will need to eat too). Price range, well, lets say about $25 per person.
Can you give me a few ideas Chowhounds? This Chicagoan thanks you in advance for the sage advice.
Outtake Cafe on Ventura, a couple of blocks East of Laurel Canyon. Nice and chill, quality American. Nothing that will blow your mind or anything -- there's not much that comes to mind immediately in that area -- but totally solid and something for vegetarians and carnivores alike.
Again, may be pricier than you're looking for but Ca Del Sol (at the bottom of the hill on Lankershim) is one of my favorite restaurants in L.A. Salads, non-meat soups are options for the vegitarians. But you're also right on top of City Walk there...and while pretty commercial...there's a Wolfgang Puck in there that won't break the bank....
There is a place called Lala's at 11935 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604 (about 3 miles from where you will be staying). They serve Argentinian food (which may not sound great, but it is fantastic). It is a small place, but very popular. Try the Chicken Al Champignon and the Melrose salad. http://www.lalasgrill.com/menu.html
If you are looking for a quick bite, head up the the Universal City Walk and try Versailles. I recommend the shrimp in garlic sauce, but ask for yellow rice. http://www.versaillescuban.com/
AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... don't, don't, DON'T go to Versailles, it can only lead to heartbreak. Versailles is a mediocre Cuban chain in Los Angeles, so it's only passable at best, and the CityWalk location is its fast-food outlet. It's completely, totally inedible. It'll be cold before you leave the restaurant to go sit (outside, of course).
No, City Walk is truly the shop of Chain Horrors. If you must, there's a Daily Grill there that isn't horrible. The Wolfgang Puck is edible... but there are so many better things within 10 minutes' drive!
Ca' del Sole, which is right at the bottom of the hill, has a beautiful patio. You could probably get two courses for $25-$30 with no wine.
Eclectic Cafe is a good place for simple California-type cuisine (salads, pizzas, pastas and sandwiches). It's on Lankershim just south of Magnolia. (Ignore Pit Fire Pizza which is cattycorner to Eclectic.)
About 15 minutes west on Ventura and a quick right into Woodman Avenue will bring you to Carnival, which is a good sit-down Middle Eastern restaurant. (Others call it "the best"... I don't know about that.)
Out Take Cafe would be a good choice; Zach's Italian, which is just up Ventura on the left side from Lankershim, isn't bad (and they have addictive garlic rolls) -- you can give Miceli's the miss, though, which is probably the Italian restaurant closest to Universal.
You'll be a hop, skip and a jump from some of the best sushi Los Angeles has to offer... Tama, Nozawa, Katsu-Ya.
If you're looking for really quiet and serene, halfway between Vineland and Tujunga on Ventura, tucked away in a non-descript minimall next to an Armenian deli and Sushi Nozawa, is Daichan. It's "homestyle" Japanese food, really actually Hawaiian-Japanese. It's excellent, and the room is a little overdecorated but really very serene.
GAHHH!! NOT ! NOT! NOT! CityWalk! I LIKE Versailles (the Culver-adjacent Venice Bl original only) and I almost cried with disapointment when I tasted the stuff they served at the CityWalk location. The food there has the relationship to the original that the Puck Cafe has to, say, Spago. Even the Daily Grill isn't as good as other locations. Citywalk in general is the about the worst example of clustered
"food-er-tainment" in LA. . .
Even if you don't have access to a car, you've got a Red Line stop which will get you either into Hollywood, (Thaitown and Little Armenia), or into downtown LA, for all of $1.25.
You can take the red-line south and go to one of the many inexpensive joints in Thai Town or even to Hollywood, where you have a short walk to Hungry Cat, Magnolia, Bowery, Cat & Fiddle, Fabioulous, Lucky Devils or the other places I am spacing on right now. or even head one stop north to North Hollywood and walk to Maximilian for some awesome food on their patio.
If you can drive, even within a few miles, you've got loads of tasty options like Caioti or Sushi 101 (which is my rec for sushi on a budget).
If you like Indian, and it caters to your vegetarians well, there's two Indian restaurants just down the street from there that I often frequent, Bollywood Cafe and Lal Mirch. Bollywood Cafe is a little past Ventura and Vineland, and has very consistently good traditional Indian food. Then just a stone's throw up the street is Lal Mirch, a newer Indian restaurant with nice ambience that has a little more modern take on Indian. Both have very enjoyable, casual atmospheres that I would recommend for a group as well as affordability.
La Loggia on Ventura Blvd. might cost approx. $30/pp if you don't order crazy apps and expensive wines.
It's a charming italian restaurant that's away from Citywalk, but not too far from your hotel.
I second Ca del Sol.
Concur w/ Ca del Sole rec per your request for "out of the way."
I'd also consider Risotto and Il Tiramisu in Sherman Oaks (though it might be off budget a bit).
As noted above you will be a short ride from what is reputedly the densest collection of sushi restaurants in the know universe on Ventura between Tujunga and Coldwater. My personal favorite is Katsu-ya, in a little strip mall just east of Colfax. Get reservations though, there is always a line. If you don't mind informal dining Poquito Mas is right across Cahuenga from your hotel (alright right across and 300 feet less in elevation). Caioti, on Tujunga between Moorpark and Riverside, has excellent California style pizza (no deep-dish) and innovative Italian dishes. They don't have a liquor license, but there is a nice wine shop across the street and corkage is free. There will be vegetarian options. Hortobagy, on Ventura between Eureka and Vineland, has good Hungarian food. Mezzomundo, Ventura almost to Whitsett, is another Italian option. I'd go with Katsu-ya as first choice.
Seems like a response to this post is going to be about a year too late. Pity. I'd have recommended Spark Woodfire Grill, myself.