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NY Chowhound in LA for the first time....where to eat!?

Will be in LA Mon - Thurs on business staying at The Orlando in West Hollywood (West 3rd off of La Cienega). Any good places I should know about? Type of food isn't important - I'll eat anything as long as it's good!

Only caveats:
1.) Willing to drive, but not an excessive amount.
2.) I don't want to limit myself to joints only, but I'll be dining alone most of the time so someplace I won't feel out of place would be preferable.
3.) Price range ~ 30 dollars not including alcohol.

Any ideas? My only goal so far is to hit up an In n' Out and see what all the fuss is about.

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  1. In n' Out is really no big deal. Don't know where you are visiting from but the food in LOs Angeles leaves a lot to be desired. I'm originally from NY and I find that the food here is mediocre at best. Doesn't really matter where I go. Be it Mr. Chow's which is really famous and celeb heavy or if I go to the corner rest. Good Luck

    2 Replies
    1. re: justla

      i'm from ny as well and prefer the restaurants here in LA by far, except for the extreme high end, where ny excels, by far.

      that said, i'd skip in n out or
      go with no expectations.

      some would say have the langer's pastrami instead.

      your question is too open ended though, as there are hundreds of cuisines

      1. re: justla

        God, Mr. Chow's is down there on the list of the worst restaurants in the city. If that's your gauge, no wonder you think our food sucks, and boy have you been missing out!

      2. I always LOVED chinoise on main and the ivy - the ivy's great people watching. So is the restaurant at Fred Seigel's. Have fun.

        1. If going to In-N-Out, request sauteed onions on your double-double. (it doesn't specify it on the menu). It really is the best fast-food burger. If you are an adventurous eater, LA is a magnificent chowhound city, especially as an "ethnic" food city. NYT, today, just wrote about Chinese food in LA here:
          http://travel2.nytimes.com/2006/12/03...

          Don't go for Italian, French or jewish deli or the things you are used to in NYC. In LA, go for Mexican, Persian, and Asian. I'm not too familiar with West Hollywood. East LA is more of the eating mecca of LA.

          11 Replies
          1. re: david t.

            You're kidding me, right? Beverly and Melrose all by their lonesome could carry the city. La Cienega is no slouch either. All of this is within the 323 area code.

            In-N-Out is worth the hassle, just to find out what a good fast food burger is like. Thomas Keller was so impressed with In-N-Out that he decided to open his own burger joint (although right now Ad Hoc is a family style restaurant).

            I agree with the comment, though, that Mexican, Persian and Asian flavors are dominant, although try and hit up L'Orangerie before it shuts down.

            Near WeHo, go down La Cienega and you'll find plenty of options.

            1. re: SauceSupreme

              while l'orangerie is my favorite restuarant, pls note that fascfoo noted his budget was $30 (l'orangerie will set you back at least $150/person). for $30, you'll have to settle for a 2-dollar sign resto in the fairfax district or west hollywood. some cheap spots that are good are toast on 3rd st., the cafe in fred segal, la conversation on robertson, and other casual places abundant on 3rd, beverly, melrose, la cienega, la brea (sorry, $30 won't really buy antyhing stellar now).

            2. re: david t.

              In-N-Out "secret menu":

              "3 by 3", three patties, cheese on each one
              "4 by 4", more of the same, with four of each, etc.
              "animal style" in addition to the standard lettuce, tomato and spread, grilled onions, mustard and pickles
              "protein burger", no bun

              All standard menu burgers come with lettuce, tomato, spread, and optionally raw or grilled onions.

              Some people like to order the fries well done, I don't. If you get the standard fries right out of the frier, when they are super hot they are good, but as they cool they get limp and uncrispy.

              The fries are cut from real potatoes in each store, the lettuce is always whole leafs, and the tomatoes are fresh.

              I prefer a 3 by 3 (I allow myself about two a year), a perfect melding of meat and melted cheese, good condiments, and a nice, light grease sheen on the outside of the bun.

              1. re: david t.

                Do try Langer's (7th & Alvarado) for lunch (they are not open at night). There are an awful lot of folks who think Langer's pastrami is better than any New York deli. It would be interesting if you could try it and give us your perspective.

                1. re: ChinoWayne

                  Although, you'll get the anti-LA haters on this...who'll disagree to disagree.

                  My take? LA is definitely a burger town. Although, after visiting Paul's in NY, I think Ny has a pretty stellar burger.

                  My suggestion is to have a 3 burger day, not including the In N' Out visit.

                  1. Go To Cassell's, it's over in Koreatown towards 6th and Vermont. There are naysayers who say that the burger there isn't worthwhile--they are wrong. The beef they use is wonderfully rich tasting. It's almost gamey and I love it. It's inexpensive, too.

                  2. Go a bit west and hit up the Counter on Ocean Park Drive. This is the kind of burger you build yourself and reap the rewards of being a creative burger god.

                  3. Now go to Father's Office, a place a great many dislike on this forum. It's actually wonderful and fun. You can't modify your burger, but it's fine because all the things work really well together.

                  Now, get drunk at FO...then head to In N' Out.

                  Oh, that's a four burger day.

                    1. re: therealbigtasty

                      But be warned that Father's Office gets really packed, sometimes a line out the door. When it's that packed and you can't find a seat, know that it's first come, first grab (table, that is). Another tip about their burgers: there are no substitutions so hope you like bleu cheese and bacon in your burger - I don't eat pork, but this burger is worth the trouble of slicing off half the patty and removing the lettuce and top bun to make sure I don't eat even a bit of the bacon.

                      1. re: waterisgood

                        So you don't get any of the caramelized onion either? The bacon and onion are cooked together to form the compote. The burger patty itself has such great flavor that I guess it wouldn't matter if you didn't get any of the onion!

                        1. re: waterisgood

                          Yeah, my tip is four o' clock--get there.

                          That's cool you're that flexible about the pork thing, but also I wish that they'd make just one exception--especially since there are quite a few jewish folks in town here.

                          Because, minus the bacon, that burger would still be impressive.

                          I want to be friends with someone there in the kitchen so I could try just the MEAT...on a plate and nothing else.

                          Oofah.

                          1. re: therealbigtasty

                            You're right. The burger is still phenomenal w/out the onions + bacon. I know the comparison b/c there once was a time when I did eat pork. Anyway, it's definitely worth the hassles even at such a crazy crowded bar.

                  1. The original comment has been removed
                    1. Some close restaurants:

                      You could go for lunch at Lucques. It's a bit finer dining, but their bar is fitting for solo diners.

                      Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at BLD, a neighbor to the finer dining resto, Grace.

                      Little Next Door is another good nearby option. It's a new place that shot up next to an old Italian standby known as The Little Door.

                      Urthe Caffe for coffee, tea, sandwiches, and delicious desserts.

                      I also suggest hitting up The Grove at 3rd and Fairfax. It has a trendy area, plus a farmer's market where you can get gumbo, crepes, and all other sorts of less expensive foods. The Grove has set up its Christmas decor and it's just a cool place to hang around in the evening - shopping and dining. They have a BBQ wood ranch and grill, maggiano's little italy, and one of my favorites -- Whisper Lounge. They play live piano there on some nights and have one of the best tasting menu deals in town.

                      Welcome to LA!

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: chica

                        Ai ya -- you aren't REALLY sending someone to Maggiano's Little Salt Lick, are you? I agree about the Farmer's Market, but don't eat at the Grove.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          lol. I was trying to justify going to the Grove and making it related to chow (v. shopping). :-)

                          1. re: chica

                            The Grove is fun for shopping (and no, there's nothing like that in NY, though the LA Times on Sunday made a claim that the new Times Square is based on the Grove) but the Farmer's Market is fun for eating. The Greek restaurant (Ulysses Voyage) is pretty good, but all the food stands inside are a lot of fun. If I were visiting from NY (and I used to live there) I'd hit up Loteria for tacos and follow it with ice cream from Bennett's and a walk around the Grove.

                            I'd also get some good Thai food -- the closest in that neighborhood that's decent is Natalee on Robertson and Olympic -- it's actually spicy, and even if it's only OK, it's better than any Thai in Manhattan. There are probably better thai places if you want to drive though.

                            Other good food in the neighborhood of your hotel is the 3rd Stop -- a pub with great food on 3rd Street and Hamel, I think - right by Cedars Sinai.

                            1. re: Amuse Bouches

                              Farmer's Market is a good suggestion as it is an LA institution with a huge variety of cuisine to chose from. We usually end up at the Gumbo Pot - love their fried cornmeal crusted oysters or shrimp with the salad.

                              Agree - Grove restaurants tend to be chains - they are OK, but you can find them anywhere.

                        2. re: chica

                          Little Door would more aptly be described as French Mediterranean - Moroccan influenced.

                          1. re: chica

                            The farmer's market is the single best place on earth for sitting outside with a pitcher of beer with friends and watching people.

                            Any time that I want to drink early in the day, I go there. Man, those little beer bars there have incredible selections, great views, and awesome people-watching!