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Looking for hole in the wall, shacks, or just funky stange joints

Mexican, American, Asian, whatever please give me the strangest fooderie you have been to.Strange food, strange ambiance, strange people, unexpected locations, phenominal food,just give me the nittygritty, a real wild place! I like places like Pollo a la brasas, or the alameda swap meet. help me find some more.thanks

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  1. What do you mean by strange?

    And what's strange about pollo a la brasa? It's just rotisserie chicken.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ozzygee

      Pollo a la Brasa may fall into the "hole in the wall" category. It's just rotisserie chicken, but many people might be scared away by the exterior and interior.

      Dino's fits the bill, but you're likely familiar with the place if you've been to Pollo a la Brasa?

      Dino's Burgers
      2575 W Pico Blvd - Los Angeles, CA

    2. Funky Strange Joints:
      The Tonga Hut - An Old Dive Tiki Bar
      12808 Victory Blvd., No. Hollywood
      (818) 769-0708

      Tiki Ti - L.A.'s Best Tiki Bar - Hollywood/L.A.

      Lowenbrau Keller - A Unique Teutonic Experience
      3211 Beverly Blvd., L.A.
      (213) 382-5723

      Chez Jays - Funky Beach Dive Bar/Restaurant - Santa Monica
      Food - San Dabs only

      The Galley - Old Nautical Ambiance - Santa Monica
      Food - 2lb. Bucket of Calms in broth $15.50 ($7.75 happy hour) and Adult Bevs

      1 Reply
      1. re: JBC

        You know, I live down the street from the Tonga Hut and I've never managed to go in -- it looks a little scary, to be honest.

      2. The SHACK in Playa Del Rey is by difinition "A SHACK"

        1. Red Lion Pub (and Grill) in Silverlake

          alpine village in Torrance....german food again..gotta go when they have line dancing....its quite enthralling.

          1. prince in koreatown is pretty funky, and i like the korean bar food that they serve there. goes great with soju.

            1 Reply
            1. old place on mullholland, it's either agoura or calabasas.....wacky little place

              6 Replies
                1. re: okie

                  no, I mean Old Place, I do know the Rock Store, but that is not the place I'm talking about.

                  1. re: budlit

                    See this thread for more on The Old Place (steak and clams only, open when they feel like it, etc.):


                    1. re: PayOrPlay

                      What is the price range for The Old Place? Is it real upscale? Its sounds extremely intriguing

                      1. re: Carnivore

                        They charge between $16-20 for a bowl of clams or steak, price is not in concrete, it's different everytime we go and whether the owner takes a liking to you ;-) Estimate is pretty accurate, go for the steak, it's incredible.

                        1. re: davinagr

                          ... and take a jacket. Last time I was there about two years ago the Old Place was quite cold out. The only heating was provided by a old wood-burning Franklin stove.

                          Also be aware that even though they open 7pm-7:30pm, they may not start cooking until 8:00-8:30pm when enough patrons arrive to justify firing up the grill.

                          And they are only open Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon.

              1. yes pollo a la brasas is not strange. Maybe i should clarify. i am just looking for offbeat and or small little places with a different atmosphere and even better food. thank you for all of the suggestions so far

                  1. I think Soot Bull Jeep is a bit of a dive with an unusual and smokey atmosphere and really good food.

                    1. La Playita on Lincoln near the SM/Venice border. It is also a shack - no tables, just order at the window and enjoy the scenic and lovely view (ahem). OK, so the food is the only reason to come here, unless exhaust is your idea of a perfect condiment--but the food is very good.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: igj

                        yup....eat at the counters on the side of the building with those big bottles of Tapatio! Kinda smells though!

                        1. re: igj

                          The strangest things about La Playita are the folks eating there.

                          Including me.

                          1. re: PaulF

                            I oft. come in from work, all dressed up and corporate looking....its quite the site. hah.

                        2. Hmmm... I think the most "hole-in-the-wall / greasy spoon" place I was ever taken to was Prospector in Long Beach. But back in the day, I didn't cotton to the food -- dunno if its any better these days.

                          1. It's totally random, but there is a great little Salvadorean restaurant on the corner of Rampart and 3rd street. It looks like a little house/shack. They make great pupusas and a rockin' chicken soup. Lots of fresh mint and lime. It's packed on the weekend with locals.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: kproq323

                              SOUNDS FABULOUS, man I will go soon.Thank you so much

                            2. Cozy Cafe, PCH near Torrance Bl., RB - very good breakfast & lunch in a 'shack' on pricey beach real estate.
                              Mom's BBQ, 1050 W. Imperial Hwy, LA - good Q on an amazingly grim looking block. Stucco version of something from the Maginot Line.
                              Americana Restaurant, Atlantic at Broadway, LB. - run down coffee shop with a notable chicken fried steak.
                              St. Vincent Court, downtown LA - certainly unexpected!

                              1. If you a want a real hole-in-the-wall, you need to go somewhere you may not feel safe.

                                Like this taco joint. Has the best carne asada, carnitas and al pastor tacos in LA. Located in South-Central.

                                La Carreta
                                1471 E Vernon Ave
                                Los Angeles, CA 90011
                                (323) 232-7133

                                If you're feeling a little less adventurous, try this place for the best pupusas and Salvadorean food. It's no longer a hole-in-the-wall (it used to be when it was just down the street) but it's damn good. In the 'fashion' district of downtown.

                                El Salvador Cafe
                                575 E Pico Blvd
                                Los Angeles, CA 90015
                                (213) 741-2370

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: ozzygee

                                  Perfect. I am looking for just the kind of place where you don't feel safe,like maybe you belong, or that you understand.What freeway gets you closest to this joint? where do i exit?

                                  1. re: Carnivore

                                    For the first, you can take the Vernon Street exit of the 110 South and go east.


                                    For the second.

                                    You can take the Maple Street exit of the 10west and go north (left) to Pico.


                                  2. re: ozzygee

                                    I checked out La Carreta for lunch today. I was more impressed with the quantity / value than the quality.

                                    Nearby, check out El Taco Mexicana right up the street on the opposite side of Vernon. I like the chile verde combo burrito. Strangely, made with beef and not pork. Also strange is the fact that the clientel of this place is 99% African American.

                                    Tacos El Gavilan on Central & Washington.

                                    A long time fav of mine: El Cihualteco Taqueria 2325 1/2 S. San Pedro in LA. A great blue shack.

                                  3. Hinano in Venice right by the beach on Washington Blvd. IIRC, the burgers aren't too shabby.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Xericx

                                      Check out the Bucket in Eagle Rock. It's definitely a shack with a small indoor counter area and outdoor seating. They have amazing Bucket burgers that come with ham, bacon, mushrooms, cheese and the special Bucket sauce. The Bucket fries are also delicious.

                                      1. re: burgerfiend

                                        Oh oh oh! I have been trying to remember this good burger place in Eagle Rock that had a crazy mustardy mystery sauce. And the guy who ran it could get pretty rude to people who asked for him not to put the sauce on. Once I saw him wipe the counter crumbs onto the lap of a guy. Is this the place? I've not been for 10 years.

                                        1. re: coconutz

                                          That's the place. The guy behind the counter, Julio, who was a crazy (in a good way) Basque guy sold th place long ago. I once went with my best friends then very pregnant wife and Julio had a lot to say about that! When someone ordered fries but declined his suggestion of his special sauce he pulled a machete out from under the counter and slapped the side of the blade on the counter while encouraging them to go and get their fried at McDonalds!!!

                                          The Bucket
                                          4541 Eagle Rock Bl.
                                          Los Angeles, CA 90041

                                    2. Some seafood shacks to consider:

                                      Malibu Seafood

                                      Neptune's Nest

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: chica

                                        That reminds me of another seafood shack.

                                        Fisherman's Seafood Outlet
                                        529 S Central Ave
                                        Los Angeles, CA 90013
                                        (213) 627-7231

                                        This one's in downtown (at 5th and Central Ave). No frills just fresh, cheap seafood and and attached seafood market.

                                        I know the name sounds suspect, but it's basically located next to the fish freezing warehouses in downtown, so their selection is just as fresh as any other restaurant in LA.

                                        The only caveat is to give yourself some time for lunch since this place is always crowded. And I mean "30 minutes to an hour wait to order" crowded.

                                        1. re: ozzygee

                                          For the true, hard core, seafood shack experience, I like Berth 55 in Long Beach. It's a pain in the ass to find, even if you know where you're going... but it's worth it.

                                          The only thing on the standard menu that runs more than $11 is the lobster (though, the catch of the day board can run as high as $15 depending on quality and availability)...

                                          You get to watch your fish coming off the boat if you get there early enough. Everything comes with reasonably good crinkle cut fries sprinkled with Old Bay seasoning. And you eat off paper plates, along with the gulls, out on the berth itself.

                                          Don't try to go when it's raining.


                                      2. The Saturday and Sunday fish markets down by the San Pedro Harbor is quite an interesting experience. Mainly a lot of mexican families having a leisurely sunday lunch.

                                        They get fresh seafood, deep fry or cook with a lot of potatoes and everyone eats on wooden tables outside on the harbor family style while mexican mariachi music is playing. Its kinda fun.

                                        Quality seafood in redondo is similar, but the one in san pedro is a lot bigger...

                                        1. Two weird joints I have NOT been to, but they're on my list, are Bahooka in Rosemead (Rosemead Blvd. at Lower Azusa Rd.) and Clearman's North Woods Inn at Rosemead and Huntington. Mrs. O has eaten at Clearman's and says it's VERY middle-American and good old-fashioned fun, and we sort of expect the same from Bahooka - like the kind of places our parents would have gone to for drinks, laughs and "safe" food. They're like theme parks with a kitchen.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                            I have been to both and both were sub par and will not return. Bahooka is dirty and food is cheap but almost unedible (had the pork sandwich) and Clearmans is waaaaaaaaaaaayyyy overpriced and low quality meats (as in more fat than meat and hard to cut with a chainsaw). Other than that they are fun......

                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                              Bahooka is evil. The food's just this side of inedible.

                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                I accept your warning, and will persist in my original intention to give these guys a whirl only if Mrs. O absolutely insists. How are the drinks?

                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                  Fruity and sweet... I hate them, but then realise that the perfect drink to me is a dirty martini and that I went off Jack and Coke because it was so sweet.

                                            2. Clearman's Northwoods Inn is fun and we have been going for years, an institution. However, I only order the cabbage slaw and the garlic bread which are addicting.

                                              1. My favorite hole-in-the-wall is Pho 87 at the east end of Chinatown. On Broadway, east of Bernard (near Empress Pavillion.) What a dive, but the Vietnamese food is cheap and delicious.