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

Carnivore Oct 12, 2006 10:40 PM

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

  1. ozzygee Oct 12, 2006 10:47 PM

    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
      Devourer Oct 13, 2006 01:12 AM

      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. j
      JBC Oct 12, 2006 11:13 PM

      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
        Das Ubergeek Oct 13, 2006 12:37 AM

        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. w
        Wes Oct 12, 2006 11:14 PM

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

        1. Xericx Oct 13, 2006 12:42 AM

          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. g
            go_bears Oct 13, 2006 02:54 AM

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

            1 Reply
            1. re: go_bears
              dollallama Oct 15, 2006 01:13 AM

              the fried chicken here is choice

            2. b
              budlit Oct 13, 2006 02:18 PM

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

              6 Replies
              1. re: budlit
                okie Oct 13, 2006 05:45 PM

                I believe you mean:


                1. re: okie
                  budlit Oct 13, 2006 09:31 PM

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

                  1. re: budlit
                    PayOrPlay Oct 14, 2006 02:35 AM

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


                    1. re: PayOrPlay
                      Carnivore Oct 16, 2006 03:44 AM

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

                      1. re: Carnivore
                        davinagr Oct 17, 2006 04:17 PM

                        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
                          Westlake Jake Dec 10, 2006 12:59 AM

                          ... 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.

              2. c
                Carnivore Oct 13, 2006 05:36 PM

                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. Curt the Soi Hound Oct 13, 2006 06:09 PM

                  Clifton's might qualify:

                  1. m
                    Mateo R Oct 13, 2006 08:10 PM

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

                    1. i
                      igj Oct 13, 2006 09:05 PM

                      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
                        Xericx Oct 13, 2006 09:59 PM

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

                        1. re: igj
                          PaulF Oct 13, 2006 10:09 PM

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

                          Including me.

                          1. re: PaulF
                            Xericx Oct 14, 2006 12:25 AM

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

                        2. s
                          S U Oct 14, 2006 12:30 AM

                          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. k
                            kproq323 Oct 14, 2006 12:33 AM

                            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
                              Carnivore Oct 16, 2006 03:34 AM

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

                            2. DiveFan Oct 14, 2006 12:50 AM

                              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. ozzygee Oct 14, 2006 02:29 AM

                                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
                                  Carnivore Oct 16, 2006 03:38 AM

                                  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
                                    ozzygee Oct 16, 2006 04:10 AM

                                    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
                                    JAB Oct 16, 2006 07:18 PM

                                    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. Xericx Oct 16, 2006 06:19 AM

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

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Xericx
                                      burgerfiend Oct 16, 2006 06:40 AM

                                      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
                                        coconutz Oct 16, 2006 07:55 AM

                                        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
                                          sel Oct 16, 2006 06:45 PM

                                          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. chica Oct 16, 2006 07:02 AM

                                      Some seafood shacks to consider:

                                      Malibu Seafood

                                      Neptune's Nest

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: chica
                                        ozzygee Oct 16, 2006 05:59 PM

                                        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
                                          Moomin Oct 16, 2006 08:53 PM

                                          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. Xericx Oct 16, 2006 06:06 PM

                                        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. Will Owen Oct 16, 2006 06:57 PM

                                          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
                                            monkey Oct 16, 2006 07:16 PM

                                            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
                                              Das Ubergeek Oct 16, 2006 09:05 PM

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

                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                Will Owen Oct 16, 2006 11:30 PM

                                                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
                                                  Das Ubergeek Oct 16, 2006 11:34 PM

                                                  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. j
                                              jsl Oct 16, 2006 08:37 PM

                                              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. c
                                                chowmominLA Dec 10, 2006 02:53 AM

                                                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.

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