Need great cheap chow in N. Hollywood
I just moved my business out to N. Hollywood (west of 170 freeway). Now I need to know where to get the best cheap chow. I've already gotten suggestions for El Criollo and Krua, both of which are near my new place. I'm particularly interested in finding great pupusas, chile relleno burritos, panaderias, Armenian bakeries, and any food stand type places, but would love to try any other Chowhounders recommendations.
For Salvadoran style pupusas and tamales, try Izalco at the corner of Burbank and Denny. They're near us, so we frequently order para llavar and bring it home. Be prepared to sometimes need some Spanish here, as some of the staff has limited English. They have both masa and riceflour pupusas and the chicken tamale is outstanding.
That would be my neighbourhood, and my typical chow type, so forthwith, south to north and west to east (more or less, anyway):
BURBANK AND WHITSETT
Ameci Pizza & Pasta - yes, it's a Valley chain but it's really, really good and I've never spent more than $7 on lunch there.
Fish in the Village - in the corner of the same plaza on the SE corner, a kosher fish restaurant. Well, it's a kosher fish market, which smells a bit (but not like fish, which is weird). Get whatever fish you want, get it grilled, and skip the fries in favour of double Israeli salad. Then eat it elsewhere... the two tables are shaky and the guy will stare at you while you eat.
BURBANK AND FULTON
Sharky's Fresh Mexican - I honestly think Sharky's might be the best fresh-Mex chain, it's certainly the closest, and it's usually pretty fast.
OXNARD AND LAUREL CANYON
Skaf's Grill - terrific Lebanese food. I ate here four days a week for years when I worked nearby. Get whatever's on the speical menu, or get any of the "chunk"-type kabobs, like shish kabob or lamb kabob. Best hummus in the city, no matter what anyone else says.
OXNARD AND WHITSETT
Olive Marketplace - if you want something for breakfast, grab a babka from the back (it's on the shelf, naked in front of God and the masses, right across from the glassed-in bakery counter) and some butter.
VICTORY AND WOODMAN
Tequilas - can't recommend it anymore, but it is sit-down table-service Mexican. It used to be a lot cheaper and a lot better.
VICTORY AND FULTON
El Criollo - you know already about this
VICTORY AND ETHEL
Vallarta Supermarket - yes, I know, but it's really, really good, not at all like eating at Ralphs.
Que Ricos - Not as good as other taquerias but it's open all night. The tortas are worth a shot.
VICTORY AND COLDWATER CANYON
Carnitas Michoacan - my go-to taqueria. Housekeeping's a little scary, but the food that comes out is really, really good. Wet burrito, carnitas tacos and carne asada tacos especially recommended.
Talisman - if you go here, let me know, I haven't yet gone. Russian and Armenian food, but there were a couple of Georgian things on there, which means they're either Georgians masquerading as Russians, or they're pretending to make Georgian food.
Top Falafel - behind the BK and the Numero Uno is the best falafel sandwich in the East Valley. I think it's $3.85. It's insanely good. Ask him to put spicy sauce on it.
VANOWEN AND FULTON
Golden Fork, appears to be Armenian-Russian. It says "shashlichnya" in Russian, which means it's a kabobery, but it's not open yet.
VANOWEN AND COLDWATER CANYON
Carniceria Don Juan - great, great tacos and incredible salsas. Be careful of drug deals in the parking lot at night... if you act disinterested, they won't bother you
Anush Bakery - Really tasty baked goods, but a heapin' helpin' of attitude to go with it.
Mom's Place - fantastic meat pies, English-style. I don't know what the story is but it's really, really good. Totally gross when cold, though, so eat in if you can.
Sri Siam - the forgotten but beautiful sister of the restaurants up on Thai Gulch. They have Issan specialities, too.
VANOWEN AND WHITSETT
Tasty Burger - the burgers are no great shakes but the gyros are very good, the grilled pork chops are great, and it's enough to feed an army. Really, really run down.
SHERMAN WAY AND BELLAIRE
Blackjack Market - get a loaf of "chorny khleb", black bread, from the back for a dollar and a quarter or so, a little pot of mustard from the bottled selection, and whatever sausage-type product looks tastiest to you from the meat counter. It's such great bread that I sometimes just eat it with butter for lunch.
Las Quenas Peruvian - the hidden gem. The best ceviche in the Valley (try one with octopus, you'll thank me even if you don't really like the idea of octopus), very competent saltados and tallarines. They have a European-style set lunch, where you get an appetizer, an entree and a dessert (usually flan or crema volteada) for under $10.
Swan Thai - One of the doyens of Thai Gulch. Fantastic. Cheap.
Tacos Mexico - It's the kind of taco place that Valleyites take for granted and those who have moved away mourn the loss of. It's not any better or worse than any other place, but it's reliable and cheap.
SHERMAN WAY AND COLDWATER CANYON
Bua Siam - Another of the Thai Gulch spots, this one has fantastic rice noodles with pork, mint and chili, and terrific green curry with chicken (and eggplant)
El Hatuchay - Another Peruvian, not as good (in my not-so-humble opinion) as Las Quenas but still very good, and cheaper. Also does the set-menu business.
Nanay Gloria's - Filipino steam trays. I hear they serve Filipino breakfast now (haven't actually gone in a long while) but I will report back.
Pho 999 - Vietnamese, a sister to the much-vaunted one on Sepulveda and Victory. Cheap, filling, clean, tasty.
Pollo Mundial A La Lena (or whatever it's called this week) - same plaza on the NW corner, fantastic rotisserie chicken with addictive fries (they actually get better cold because they absorb the chicken juices), tortillas, rice, beans, etc. It's really takeout only.
Sanamluang - Thai noodle place, open until 3 AM (with a change of menu at 10 PM to "small plates" that are more like what you get in Thailand). Park at K-mart and do the Death Sprint across Sherman Way if you dare, parking's a bitch.
BBQ Unlimited - Surprisingly good Cantonese. Fantastic beef and asparagus, good duck and BBQ pork, good salt-and-pepper shrimp (shell on or off, up to you, you can eat the shell) or squid. Also they have bao and siu mai in a steamer which are good in a pinch. Same parking issue.
SHERMAN WAY AND ETHEL
Krua - you already know about this.
Deer - not actually a restaurant, it's really the world's most ghetto banquet hall. Apparently "restaurant" and "banquet hall" are the same word in Armenian. I didn't know that until recently.
SHERMAN WAY AND FULTON
Sunshine - Chef Jet Tila's pick on Sherman Way for Thai. Not right on the corner.
SLIGHTLY FURTHER AFIELD BUT WORTH IT
Super Pollo, on Van Nuys bet. Victory and Kittridge, next to La Opinion -- best rotisserie chicken in the East Valley.
Don Felix, on Victory and Kester - cemitas poblanas, which are the largest sandwiches you personally will ever see.
El Taco Llama, on Magnolia and Bakman - best outpost of the best taco chain.
China Lites, on Chandler and Laurel Canyon - possibly the best Chinese in the East Valley. Not that that's saying much - Monterey Park this isn't - but it's cheap, it's fast, and they deliver as far as Vanowen and Woodman.
Carnival Lebanese Restaurant, Woodman just south of Moorpark - nice sit-down Lebanese place, a little more expensive than other places but very good and very good service.
Western Bagel Too, Ventura and Coldwater Canyon - the Valley's not known for great bagels but this is the best of the selection we have.
Tony's Mexican Grill, on Magnolia and Coldwater Canyon - good Mexican food, though prices are creeping up. If you eat in, you get fruit after your meal, which is a nice touch. I really like it.
D'Amore's Pizza Connection, on Magnolia and Coldwater Canyon - good pizza, nice guys, and they'll deliver as far north as Roscoe and as far east as the Burbank Costco.
Marv's Deli, on Magnolia and Whitsett - great sandwiches, totally unassuming hole in the wall.
Philadelphia Sandwiches, on Magnolia between Vineland and Lankershim - I like it and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
I may think of more but I *think* this might hold you for a while -- welcome to our barrio!
re: Das Ubergeek
Nice list, Das Ubergeek. Absolutely agree on VALLARTA. I'd been buying all my produce there since they opened on Victory Blvd, but recently have been trying the prepared foods. There is much to be explored there.
The special item at QUE RICOS is the carne asada wet burrito. I agree that their tacos are not that great. They've become somewhat inconsistent recently, but that burrito, when it's not screwed up by some brand-new cook, is sublime. Get it with everything and salsa verde. There seems to be one crew who screws up everything they touch. I wish I could get a copy of their work schedule. Even when the terrible crew is working, the burrito is still damn good, just not transcendent.
SRI SIAM is the overlooked gem of N. Hollywood. I do not vouch for the entire menu, but they have a few amazing dishes. The Tom Yum soups and Crispy Rice Salad w/Thai Sour Sausage cannot be matched. This place has ruined me for any other Tom Kha Kai fix, since it's not only the most flavorful I've ever had, rich with plentiful lemongrass, galanga and sweet coconut milk, but it also comes in a giant portion for 7.95.
I strongly recommend avoiding PHO 999. I don't understand the appeal. Tough, grainy, unidentifiable meat in extremely salty broth.
Also strongly disagree on SHARKY's. I find them to be bland. There is much better Mexican everywhere you look in the Valley.
My lord, Ubergeek----total props on the list. I live right next to NoHo and look forward to eating my way through the suggestions. I would only add the same old place I always recommend...Casita Taco....makes me wish I hadn't turned vegetarian HAHAHAHA
This list is killer!
I've been away from LA for a full month, mostly countries where there is no authentic pho, no saltados, no ceviche and no mex - fresh or otherwise (that's right Germany & BENELUX, I am calling you out!). After LAX, my first stop was Tony's for some chips & salsa and fish tacos.
Now, I am salivating over the other joints you describe (Vallarta here I come) - oh the possibilites. Thanks DU!
Yes this list is amazing, as always; makes you want to move to the Valley.
I had a taco experience in the Valley recently that was my "best in LA." Definitely the best carnitas, but I am not really the expert. Just the best for me so far. I found it off the bandini's tacohunt blog:
Tacos La Fonda
truck located in the carwash parking lot at Vineland and Vanowen.