Favorite Spots to Walk In or sit at the Bar/Counter/Communal Table
SF Hound here. I'll be visiting LA in a few days (22-26) and I completely failed to prepare reservations. I'm looking for a few spots where I can walk in and eat a great dinner (table optional). I tend to dine on the early side, so I don't mind showing up right at opening.
I'm particularly fond of California influenced Italian and French food. I also love upscale versions of American comfort food (burgers, fried chicken, pizza, etc.) I'd like to max prices at $50 pp (I don't drink wine), though anything in the $25-$35 range is most welcome. I really enjoyed Lucques, and I adore Clementine. I'll be staying on the West Side, but I don't mind a drive for great food. I'm already planning on snagging a counter seat at Mozza.
Thanks in advance!
Nook Bistro in West LA sounds perfect for you. In the right price range, sort of refined American comfort food, it has both bar seating and a communal table and it usually has spots open at either/or if you dine early. Lots of threads about it on this board, if you want specific dish recommendations.
Nook Neighborhood Bistro
11628 Santa Monica Blvd (hidden away in the back corner of the shopping center)
Hi Morton! Welcome to LA (again).
I agree with igj that Nook sounds like the place for you.
Have you tried Musha in Santa Monica? Japanese Izakaya, kind of hard to find up in Berkeley. Gochi and Tengu in the South Bay come close but I find Musha superior.
And, not that you can't get pizza in the Bay Area, but Mozza is Mario Batali's new place and it's worth a try just to see how you think it compares to pizza up north. When I went a few weeks ago, it seemed easy to walk in within the first 45 minutes of lunch (they open at noon) and get a bar seat. I can only assume the same for dinner.
I would definitely encourage you to eat at the bar at Mozza. I've been several times since it opened and have enjoyed every meal so far! Another spot good for eating at the bar is Hungry Cat in Hollywood, especially since you like the whole California/American cuisine scene. Enjoy your stay!
I'd recommend Opus, it shouldn't be difficult to get a seat at the bar and the food is fantastic.
you should try wilson in culver city. perfect to sit at the bar and let them take care of you. the scallop dish they usually have (with shaved truffles) is heavenly.
For upscale burgers you should try 25 Degrees at the Rosevelt Hotel. IMO they are the best burgers in LA and you can choose from a well selected variety of gourmet cheeses and toppings. They're fries and onion rings are also delish.
If you want to stay closer to home, you can also go to Father's Office in Santa Monica, which is another contender for best burger. There's always a huge wait though for FO, so get there early. Also, they only serve one variety of burger, but it's quite good.