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What places have NEVER disappointed?

ipsedixit Nov 20, 2006 05:40 PM

What places have never disappointed you? Minimum of say, 3 or 4 trips, but probably should be more like 5 to 10.

Even the most reputed and respected establishments have at one time or another come up a bit short. I've been going to SPAGO since it was at its former life in WeHo and have experienced more than one "below average" meal. Same goes for PATINA, which I've been going to since it occupied the new Providence spot.

I simply adore the pizza at ZELO, but even they have not been perfect each time (one time the crust was a bit soggy, oh well ...)

I've come to accept these little bumps in the road, as no one can really expect perfection day-in and day-out. Even the most beautiful person in the world has an off-day where they look, shall we say, less than stunning.

That being said, there are a handful of places that have NEVER disappointed me. In no particular order:


And what about you?

  1. p
    pinkshch Nov 20, 2006 05:43 PM

    Daikokuya, kotteri style. My old ramen favorite, Shin Sen Gumi, has been inconsistant one too many times. The soup seems to be so different every other time I go. Daikokuya, on the other hand, is consistently delicious each time. Noodles are firm and chewy, soup is flavorful and hot. It never disappoints.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pinkshch
      Dommy Nov 20, 2006 07:25 PM

      BIG second this... For YEARS always the same... just perfect... :)


      1. re: Dommy
        Mr Taster Nov 27, 2006 11:40 PM

        I will third this... this is a regular stop for my LTA (Lovely Tasting Assistant) and I.

        Here's a tip.... 10% off coupons on their website. I keep a stack in my glovebox. Website is not working right now, but here is a direct link for when it does.


        Mr Taster

        1. re: Mr Taster
          pinkshch Dec 4, 2006 06:11 PM

          I never knew about those coupons! Thanks! :)

    2. wilafur Nov 20, 2006 05:56 PM

      yung ho tou jiang for taiwanese breakfast foods
      china islamic for lamb hot pot and thick scallion pancakes
      888 for dim sum
      full house for dim sum
      mpv for seafood and geoduck sashimi

      as you can see, i have chinese on my mind. =)

      1 Reply
      1. re: wilafur
        Alice Nov 20, 2006 06:42 PM

        we have similar tastes in chinese food.

        i will add newport seafood to this list - they have, in my opinion, the best geoduck (elephant clam) sashimi, and then they batter and fry the other half. delicious!

        i love full house for dim sum as well - they have my favorite shrimp balls rolled in rice. so cheap too!

        spago, as well =)

        cho dang tofu in torrance on sepulveda - great soon tofu and kalbi, and spicy cucumber side dish

      2. p
        pmcdonald Nov 20, 2006 06:01 PM

        When I'm in the mood for Mexican but not in the mood to "explore" I go to Poquito Mas! they have never disappointed me and are always consistent.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pmcdonald
          westsidegal Nov 20, 2006 07:02 PM

          i feel the same way about taqueria sanchez on centinela.

        2. w
          wakko11 Nov 20, 2006 06:22 PM

          Sushi Iki in Tarzana has never disappointed.

          The best live uni.
          Sweet live sea scallop.
          Meltingly rich bluefin toro and Kobe beef.
          Lobster and king crab sashimi.
          Kegani crab handroll.

          Just some examples of what I've had there. Been there over 10 times and have always had the best sushi.

          1. d
            donnival Nov 20, 2006 06:32 PM

            Sokongdong Soon Tofu
            Chosun Galbee (really!)
            Nook Bistro (except for one time the soup was a tad watery but I figured I'd mention them here because I've gone to Nook too many times to count!)
            Hungry Cat
            Sushi Bei (in Gardena)

            1 Reply
            1. re: donnival
              xica14 Nov 20, 2006 07:44 PM

              I agree with you about Nook. I have never been disappointed there.
              Same with Ruen Pair (when do they reopen?)

            2. Pei Nov 20, 2006 07:17 PM

              I haven't lived in LA long enough to have been anywhere 10 times, but I have been to these places 3-5 times already:

              Sa Rit Gol
              Seafood Harbor for dim sum

              I've been trying to explore new places and only in LA for a few months, so you can see how much I've enjoyed them!

              1. m
                Mel Gee Nov 20, 2006 07:27 PM

                Funny you should ask. I was recently thinking about the fact that Downey's in Santa Barbara, which I've been going to since 1986, has never disappointed me. The food -- "California style," emphasizing high-quality local ingredients -- is exceptional. Service is both informal and friendly, but correct, and the surroundings, away from SB crowds, are quietly attractive and comfortable. The drive back can be a bit of a chore, but Downey's is worth it.

                1. b
                  Bria Silbert Nov 20, 2006 07:27 PM

                  El Pollo Inka on Hawthorne Blvd. in Lawndale

                  Arg, based on all the Chowhounds' raves, we drove down to Taqueria Sanchez last night - Sunday - only to find out they close at 5PM on Sunday. We HAVE to get to that place!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bria Silbert
                    westsidegal Nov 21, 2006 02:55 AM

                    and they close at 7pm during the week.

                  2. m
                    Mr. Cookie Nov 20, 2006 07:49 PM

                    Loteria, for their potato and chicken tinga tacos, and their crunchy chicken taquitos.

                    Nozawa and Sushi Gen, for their tender, first-rate fish.

                    Table 8, for consistently tasty food layered with subtly interesting textures.

                    1. Tom P Nov 20, 2006 08:01 PM

                      This is an interesting question, because the places that tend to never disappoint are the places where you tend not to have high expectations. Or, you simply know what you are going to get. For instance, old stalwarts like Taylor's Steaks, Musso and Franks, or even The Pantry never disappoint, because I know what I am going to get, I like it, and they always deliver, even if they may not have the most stunning food I have ever tasted. Magnolia on Sunset near the Arclight is a newer place that is like that for me. It may not be the most amazing restaurant in the world, but it is very solid, reasonable, the food is good and the service very amicable. Lucques is probably the main high-end restaurant I can say never disappoints me. I just love that place.

                      1. cookie monster Nov 20, 2006 08:21 PM

                        Saddle Peak Lodge
                        Abbott Kinney Pizza

                        I was going to add Joe's, which i've probably eaten at more often than any other high-end restaurant, but then i remembered a meal there a couple years ago where my food was very good but a couple of my friends didn't fare so well.

                        1. DanaB Nov 20, 2006 08:38 PM

                          For me, the places are places I've been going for years and years, where the service and quality of food has remained consistent and good. My list includes:

                          Apple Pan
                          Tia Juana
                          and a newer addition, AOC

                          1. jcwla Nov 20, 2006 08:41 PM

                            The Grill!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: jcwla
                              russkar Nov 20, 2006 08:54 PM


                              1. re: jcwla
                                Mel Gee Nov 21, 2006 06:12 AM

                                I haven't been to the original in a couple of years and need to go back. After eating with their diaspora around the state and country, I'm not happy with the concept implementation.

                              2. tatertots Nov 20, 2006 09:06 PM

                                Thai Boom
                                Baby Blue's BBQ
                                El Rincon Criollo
                                Gilbert's El Indio (Breakfast)

                                1. y
                                  yogachik Nov 20, 2006 09:16 PM

                                  Chaya never disappoints.
                                  Via Venetto.
                                  Le Marmiton on Montana.
                                  Bay Cities sandwiches
                                  Tacos Por Favor

                                  1. SauceSupreme Nov 20, 2006 09:16 PM

                                    Saladang Song
                                    Pho So 1

                                    Most recent disappointment:


                                    1. Clare K Nov 20, 2006 09:17 PM


                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Clare K
                                        ipsedixit Nov 20, 2006 09:49 PM

                                        Ya'know, lately I've found YUCA'S to be overly greasy ... maybe it's just me, though.

                                        Really, really liked this place in the past.

                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                          webb Nov 20, 2006 11:48 PM

                                          Yuca's gave my girlfriend a taco with cheese once. The cheese was velveeta (yuck) and we decided never to go back.

                                      2. martyR Nov 20, 2006 09:27 PM

                                        Casa Bianca
                                        Eat at Joes, Redondo Beach for breakfast
                                        Colombos (2 drinks and NOTHING will disappoint you!)

                                        1. s
                                          socal boy Nov 20, 2006 10:23 PM

                                          Santoka Ramen
                                          Depot Restaurant
                                          El Tepeyac- the one on evergreen.

                                          1. m
                                            Michelle Nov 20, 2006 10:41 PM

                                            Bake & Broil in Long Beach...

                                            1. n
                                              nimo Nov 21, 2006 01:40 AM

                                              Angelini Osteria. Never anything less than an excellent meal.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: nimo
                                                globalgourmet Nov 21, 2006 02:27 AM

                                                I agree, but they're off my list. Always overcrowded and noisy, patrons and staff always bumping your chair, hard-to-get reservations. I was one of their first clients, while they were still setting up when only a few even knew they were there. I joyfully introduced it to friends as a real "find." Now, it's just too uncomfortable and too much trouble.

                                              2. b
                                                BabyLitigator Nov 21, 2006 02:28 AM

                                                Been going to Kiriko since '02 irregularly, probably up to about 20 trips. Consistently good.

                                                Up to 4 trips to Sushi Zo, no disappointments.

                                                Pizzicotto, while not incredible, has been consistently above average over about 15 trips.

                                                Enoteca Drago - the carbonara never disappoints, and I regret it when I get somthing else.

                                                Il Pastaio - always a fan of the bucatini con polpette.

                                                1. a
                                                  AquaW Nov 21, 2006 04:06 AM

                                                  O-Bar ~ I can always count on the drinks, though the food has never been straight out bad.

                                                  Marston's ~ there may be a wait now and then, but breakfast lunch & dinner here have never disappointed me.

                                                  Azami Sushi ~ great and affordable omakase every time!


                                                  1. a
                                                    Alex250 Nov 21, 2006 04:33 AM

                                                    Echigo Sushi - I go once a week, and it is always amazing

                                                    1. f
                                                      Frank_Santa_Monica Nov 21, 2006 04:55 AM

                                                      Wow, no mention of Josie?
                                                      I'm still cracking up at the Poquito Mas response. I love this place!

                                                      But, my official response has to be Josie and Jiraffe.

                                                      1. chica Nov 21, 2006 04:58 AM

                                                        Oceanstar Seafood
                                                        Full House Seafood
                                                        Desserts at Grand Lux Cafe
                                                        Hotel Bel-Air
                                                        Compartes Chocolatier
                                                        Shaved ice at Sinbala
                                                        Din Tai Fung

                                                        1. amandine Nov 22, 2006 04:24 AM

                                                          Saladang in Pasadena... I've probably been there over a dozen times and have NEVER been disappointed. They are right on consistently very good in all aspects IMO.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: amandine
                                                            caitybirdie Nov 22, 2006 05:17 AM

                                                            i 2nd saladangs. always consistent.

                                                          2. c
                                                            calabasas_trafalgar Nov 22, 2006 06:09 AM

                                                            La Paz

                                                            1. sku Nov 22, 2006 09:29 PM

                                                              La Fonda Anteoqueno on Melorse, Shanghai Kitchen in San Gabriel, Mastro's Steakhouse.

                                                              1. d
                                                                Diana Nov 23, 2006 01:19 PM

                                                                Il Tiramisu on Ventura.

                                                                Asanebo and Sushi 4 on 6

                                                                Angeli Caffe

                                                                Woodlands Pure Veggie

                                                                Rahel Veggie Ethiopian

                                                                Robin Hood English Pub

                                                                ALexis Greek Cafe

                                                                Cafe Bizou

                                                                Marmalade Cafe in Sherman Oaks nearly killed me with secret nuts in the scones, but made up for it with a $100 gift certificate, and I love thier non-nut food.

                                                                Follow your Heart in Canoga Park

                                                                I find I'm never disappointed if I'm realiatic about what a place is capable of doing.

                                                                1. b
                                                                  bohemiana Nov 24, 2006 04:55 PM

                                                                  Grace?? I review this board fairly often and I don't recall having heard of Grace Restaurant when people recommend a place for a special dinner. I was at a dinner party last night and this very topic of consistency came up. We had all experienced dissapointments like Spago and Patina. I never really thought about it much but especially when you go out to spend significant bucks for a special meal, consistency is the MOST important issue. Thanks for posting this question!!!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: bohemiana
                                                                    cfylong Nov 27, 2006 04:11 PM

                                                                    I just ate dimsum at NBC restaurant in Monterey Park yesterday and thought about your post. I think throughout the years that NBC has had the most consistently good dimsum in Los Angeles. I've never had a bad dimsum experience here, and the crowd after 12 attests to that!

                                                                  2. e
                                                                    ElissaInPlaya Nov 27, 2006 08:21 PM

                                                                    Second City Bistro in El Segundo, Singapore Express and Cafe del Rey in Marina del Rey, La Provence Patissirie in Beverly Hills and Fritto Misto in Santa Monica.

                                                                    1. a
                                                                      Adsvino Nov 27, 2006 11:46 PM

                                                                      Mozza. Been great for decades. Best pizza in this solar system.

                                                                      1. Das Ubergeek Nov 29, 2006 11:32 PM

                                                                        Let's see. If we're talking about places where I haven't been disappointed (because my expectations have always been met), we can talk about the Cheesecake Factory. I've never been disappointed at the Cheesecake Factory, because I always have to be dragged there and it's always exactly as crappy as I remember, or Versailles because I expect warmed-over food and that's exactly what I always get.

                                                                        If we're talking about places I actually LIKE to eat and have never been disappointed at:

                                                                        Skaf's Grill (North Hollywood)
                                                                        The Great Grill (Glendale)
                                                                        El Taconazo (South El Monte)
                                                                        NBC Seafood (Monterey Park)
                                                                        Pho So 1 (Van Nuys)
                                                                        Thai Nakorn (Garden Grove)
                                                                        Carolina's (Garden Grove)
                                                                        Las Quenas (North Hollywood)
                                                                        Fish King (Glendale)
                                                                        Daichan (Studio City)
                                                                        Beverly Soon Tofu (Koreatown)

                                                                        Fritto Misto in the People's Republic would have made the list, except that the wait is always ridiculous, the tables are so close I'm practically eating my neighbour's pasta, and the noise level has to be suffered to be believed.

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                          kevin Nov 30, 2006 05:52 AM

                                                                          people's republic? what?

                                                                          and on versailles that joint is the most overrated place i've ever been to, once is more than enough.

                                                                          1. re: kevin
                                                                            Das Ubergeek Nov 30, 2006 03:34 PM

                                                                            The People's Republic of Santa Monica, where Fritto Misto is.

                                                                          2. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                            westsidegal Nov 30, 2006 05:57 AM

                                                                            gotta agree with you about versailles.
                                                                            versailles where everything tastes similar--of grease.
                                                                            i've come to believe that they take the grease from the grease pans and recycle it into the beans, rice, etc.

                                                                          3. j
                                                                            jamielauren Nov 30, 2006 05:56 AM

                                                                            This is an interesting thread. Being in the industry, it's amazing to see that you you can cook 10 great dinners for someone, and one mediocre, and they'll still remember that one.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: jamielauren
                                                                              Mel Gee Dec 2, 2006 09:44 PM

                                                                              Many people are also irrational about banks. Ten perfect transactions in a row, but shortchange us just once, and we go nuts!

                                                                              Chowhound is an extraordinary source of market information for the savvy restaurateur. I congratulate you for being involved and hope you will learn to understand and to use the information to improve your work.

                                                                              Incidentally, as this thread shows, most of us are realists and do not expect perfection. If you can deliver greatness 10 times out of 11, I'll be a loyal customer.

                                                                            2. p
                                                                              pjsace Nov 30, 2006 03:53 PM

                                                                              IKE, CAMPAGNILE, LUCQUES, MATSUHISA, BAJA TACOS ENSENADA, ZANKOU, CHUM SOOT GOL, LA SUPERICA, HITCHING POST

                                                                              1. c
                                                                                cpanagakis Nov 30, 2006 04:16 PM

                                                                                Ajisai (West Hollywood) & Netty's (Silverlake) are the only two restaurants in town which, over countless lunches and dinners during the past seven years, have never once disappointed. Meals are always cooked from fresh with the best ingredients, service is unwaveringly amazing (I've eaten in parties of 1 to 20 at these places and never has the wait staff missed a beat), and they are both fantastic values for the quality of the food. There are plenty of other places I adore (Swingers, East India Grill, Fred62, Electric Lotus, La Boheme, Barefoot, Millie's, Ocean Seafood, Hugo's) and frequent at least twice yearly, but each of them has either served me unapologetically crap food, made me wait more than 20 minutes over a reservation time, or foisted wait staff from hell upon me (usually when I've gone to the trouble to bring newbies to the place to prove what a gem it is...).

                                                                                1. c
                                                                                  calabasas_trafalgar Dec 3, 2006 04:00 AM

                                                                                  One more - New Kingswood in San Gabriel - best teppan yaki under the sun!

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