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When guests come in from out of town...

which restaurants are in your "must show out of towners" repertoire? Favorite local neighborhood spots? Typical L.A. scene places? Places known for amazing food? Great wine? Great ambience? I realize there will probably be a huge range of responses, but I am just curious to see the places people bring their guests for the ultimate LA experiences. We have guests coming in in a few weeks so would love to hear what everyone says.

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  1. For me, the answer to this question depends solely on where the guests are coming from.

    For example, if they are coming from SF, I don't try and compete with food and go for maximum scene (Koi, Geisha, etc.) Or the ultimate combo place, Spago.

    If they don't have good Mexican, it's taco time.

    No fine or new school dining, then it's off to AOC or Lucques.

    You get the idea. So where are your guests coming from?

    2 Replies
    1. re: sfglutton

      Good point. Two guests (my brother and his wife) are coming from Portland, so they have access to a lot of great restaurants, but not really as much of a "scene" and the other guest (my other brother) is coming from Tokyo, so has amazing restaurants- but will be thankful to be back home in America where he always craves Mexican (which obviously there is not much of in Tokyo.) I agree on the AOC rec, that will definitely be on the schedule for one night!

      1. re: chowpug

        As a frequent visitor to Portland:

        MEXICAN. That's the only thing I miss while up there (well, aside from the sun). Things are improving (foodwise)as more migrant workers are staying year-round, but they don't have the variety or the quality of Mexican you can find in LA.

        The king & queen of Mexican restaurants (IMO) are La Casita Mexicana & Babita. If you want one shot to impress them take them to either one.

        La Casita Mexicana
        4030 Gage Ave
        Bell, CA 90201
        (323) 773-1898

        Babita Restaurant
        1823 S San Gabriel Blvd
        San Gabriel, CA 91776
        (626) 288-7265

        I would also suggest that you take them to dim sum in the San Gabriel Valley.

    2. Hi... I and others here often direct out-of-towners toward the weekend Wat Thai experience in North Hollywood. Solid thai street-food fare, prepared and sold by local thai community vendors in support of the Wat (temple) there on the premises. Saturday and Sunday morning/afternoon. Inexpensive and diverse offerings, and an excellent yet modest opportunity to interact and people-watch. Low key festivities of a chowish nature, and at this time of year, a merciful and temperate respite from the Valley's usual solar onslaught...

      1. Guests always enjoy The Restaurant at the Getty for Fri or Sat night dinners overlooking the city.

        1. I always go for Mexican because we get just about the best Mexican food here outside of mexico. I will hit up Monte Alban, La Playita, and other places like that.

          1. First, GREAT idea for a thread...

            This topic is confronting me as I type this. I have 4 relatives visiting from Greece right now. 2 of them are in their 60's and are less daring food wise. The other 2 are in their early 30's, have traveled extensivly in Europe, and are more adventurous.

            BUT, the food culture is so different there that it's a huge barrier. Case in point: spicy food. Spiciness in Greek food is basically nonexistant. We ate at an incredibly mediocre Mexican restaurant my Dad picked (in Old Town SD) and the salsa, which was at most mild, was hot for all my relatives. One of the younger ones said it made "a fire is in my mouth." Most Americans would have barely noticed.

            Being so sensitive to spicy food, I am questioning the wisdom of taking them to Thai Town for some thai food. We will see, I think I'll just order everything non spciy. (BTW, when is Ruen Pair going to open up again... I really want to take them there.)

            We took them to Zankou for a quick bight (shawermas) and they enjoyed it (especially the garlic paste). I'm just going to take them to a taco shop, Mashti Malones for ice cream, maybe for some indian ordered not spicy (Al-Noor), and probably El Pollo Inka.

            Now my when my family comes from Ohio, that's a whole different story! They are big food people and like to eat and eat a lot. Over the years we have basically been to most of my local south bay favorites (El Polla Inka, Azuma, Valentino's pizza, etc) and general LA places (Ruen Pair, Zankou, etc). They are addicted to El Polla Inka. It's a must stop for them every time they come. What's fun is that everytime they come I have new restaurants to try with them.

            1 Reply
            1. re: young_chower

              Young chower, this was discussed on a thread a few days ago, but since Ruen Pair still seems to be closed, I would recommend taking your relatives to Thai Patio or Red Corner Asia in the same minimall. Both cater more to people who don't like spicy food, but both have good seasonings and preparations nonetheless so you won't be bored by the food.