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South Bay Favorites (VERY LONG)

I live in south redondo beach and it always seems like people write it off as a place with horrible food. The south bay gets knocked more than the Valley :(. Anyhow, I wanted to list some of the restaurants that I like in the area.

Michis (excellent upscale pan-asian)

Petros (excellent upscale mediterranean)

Gina Lees China Bistro (Expertly prepared pan-asian)

Kanzen, Tomi (Superb sushi!! Nuff said)

Addi's Tandoori (excellent indian)

Papadakis Taverna (Excellent Greek)

Rae's, Buona Sera, frascati, aliotta, "maybe" il boccaccio, neils, raffealo's (All of these places have very good italian. Sometimes inconsistent, but when their on, ITS on!)

Reed's and Aimees (reasonable french alternaitve, good but not great. Aimees has a good desserts and you can get a delectable dessert sampler)

Shisen, Hakata, and Santouka @ Mitsuwa (best ramen in LA, and possibly anywhere?!)

redondo beach brewing company, manhattan beach brewing company and san pedro brewing company (Good beers and appetizers)

Catalina Coffee Company (good coffee, good scene.)

CJ's pantry, Uncle Bills pancake house, North End Cafe, Original Pancake house (Although none of them are gourmet, many offer great food for breakfast and north end cafe has good lunch food)

New Orleans (best cajun in LA. Extra spicy blackened catfish, delicous mac N cheese, usually EXCELLENT gumbo, amongst other great items)

CAfe Boogaloo (very solid jambaliyah and at least twice a week, excellent blues to go with it)

BCD Tofu House, Cho Dang Tofu, Pho Hana ( Good spicy soon tofu soup)

The spot and the green temple (Pretty good vegetarian food)

Petit Casino, Lido Bakery in Manhattan Beach, Patisserie Chantilly (Lido bakery is not hip, is in a horrible location and has bad hours, BUT it has the best chocolate croissant in the area. Petit Casino is quite good and has a wide selection. Patissieri Chantilly is an excellent Japanese themed European Bakery in Lomita. Stop by, you will be surprised!)

Saigon Garden (Best Pho I could find w/o having to go to Gardena to often)

Manhattan Beach Creamery, Paradise Gelato, Crema Dolci (very good ice cream and sorbets)
There is the Hawaiin place at the end of Hermosa's pier plaza that has excellent kona coffee.

THere are a few more, but I think that is enough for now.

If someone knows of the best burger joint, pizza joint, mexican restaurant, or korean restaurant, or dim sum restaurant(other than sea empress in Gardena), please let me know.

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  1. I agree with all of your comments about Michi's, Reed's, Neil's, Uncle Bill's, and Original Pancake House. Haven't been to the others. Cafe Pierre in MB has been excellent on occasion, but service has also been poor at times.

    I also like Polly's on the Pier (breakfast), Kappo Seafood (superb but expensive), Tashiro and Taxco (the last two are in the little plaza at Western and Capitol in San Pedro).

    There's a pretty decent Korean place on Western, just South of PCH on the East side of the street. Sorry I don't remember the name.

    Can anybody suggest a good Szechuan or Hunan place in the South Bay?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Tony Miller

      Sea Empress in Gardena on Redondo Beach Blvd. Even better dim sum at lunch!

        1. re: Moreforyou

          I went there once for dim sum during lunch and while it wasn't horrible, it wasn't great and the selection was very limited.

          1. re: mstinawu

            There are more selections on Sunday lunch past 12 noon.

        2. re: Tony Miller

          Regal Palace on PCH @ Narbonne. Excellent dim sum. The salty spicy fried shrimp and salty spicy pork chops are worth the spike in your LDL.

          1. re: russkar

            I'm not a fan of this place. Have been there several times over the years and nothing memorable, even their house specialty meatloaf. It also reminds me of a converted Tiny Naylors but with an expensive menu.

            1. re: Ernie

              I have never tried the Meatloaf but have had many other dishes at Chez Melange and liked them all. Maybe it's time to re-try it?

              1. re: Ernie

                I've only been to Chez Melange once (Thanksgiving, as it happened) and I had no clue why anyone thought it was noteworthy. Our food was completely uninspired.

                1. re: Tony Miller

                  I'm also not a huge fan of Chez Melange. It was only okay, and I didn't like the atmosphere. Definitely decent, but there are much better picks in the area.

                  1. re: Nicole

                    Chez Melange is one of those places that does one thing really well and only one thing - Sunday brunch. It is unbelievable. But rumors are they will be closing down as they are losing the location.

            2. Not South Bay proper, but I love the hamburgers at Bake & Broil in Long Beach.

              In San Pedro, there is a divey BBQ shack called Big Mikes that make an excellent and enormous burger with a hot link.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Ernie

                Bake & Broil also serves great red velvet cake. Bonus!

                1. re: Ernie

                  Overheard Big Mike talking at his Bellflower location:
                  Appatently, someone bought his San Pedro location, screwed it up, and now it's scheduled to close. At least the Bellflower location is still open and run by Big Mike.

                2. You gotta throw in Aunt Kizzy's and Flossie's into the mix as well.

                  There was a really great shabu shabu place I went to in Gardena a while back but I don't have the faintest details.

                  San Gabriel Valley gets a lot of pub, and rightfully so, but I'm always beyond shocked when the Westside and the South Bay are so readily dismissed.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                    Not to be picky, but Aunt Kizzy's in Marina Del Rey is the Westside, unless they have opened up a second location in the South Bay. Love their smothered pork chops!

                    1. re: EliseT

                      Someone said Aunt Kizzy's moved from MDR, but I don't know where to.

                      1. re: Cinnamon

                        They're still in the Marina - just barely. They moved into the space formerly occupied by KIller Shrimp - that upstairs unit in the mini-mall on the northeast corner of Washington and Ocean.

                    2. re: SauceSupreme

                      Second Flossie's, which s South Bay. Best Fried Chicken in LA -- better than Kizzy's. Flossie was Kizzy's original chef. Also Mac n Cheese to weaken yo' knees.

                    3. Hi everybody -

                      I just want to thank jlrobe, tony miller, russkar, sauce supreme et al. for keeping the south bay posts alive!

                      I am a new chowhounder and I just moved from claremont to redondo, so I have to find all of the good restaurants all over again. I have learned so much on these boards already. Keep up the good work!

                      For my money, I like Saigon Taste (on Hawthorne blvd in lawndale) for Pho, we eat at La Cocina for mexican (more like health-mex) and Rice Things. We really need to branch out.

                      I just tried Coyote Cantina on Saturday night and I was not surprised to find that the food was completely un-special. The salsa was bland, not even spicy at all and blended and kind of creamy looking. I ordered the turkey enchiladas which I thought were okay. They taste like something that I would make at home - a gringo/healthy/experimental version of mexican food.

                      Their "Silver" house margarita is AMAZING. I have to give them props for having over 60 kinds of tequila at the bar. The vibe of the place is pretty cool - low lighting, intimate. I am NOT into the southwestern "art" they have everywhere, but you can't blame people for bad taste in art.

                      Verdict: a good place to take your gringo grandma for tex mex.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Big Eatin Lil Girl

                        If you want a bit of SE Asia you don't have far to go. Give Belacan Grill a try for Malaysian food. They are located in Redondo Beach at 2701 190th St. and their phone is 310 370 1831.

                        They have wonderful crab dishes, chile stews and curry's and if you really want to be wowed try their shaved ice dessert, Ais Kacang.

                        1. re: tony michaels

                          I actually ate at Belacan Grill with a friend of mine for dinner recently, and I thought it was pretty bad.
                          The service was so slow and the food we ordered tasted off.
                          Maybe I will have to give it another try.

                          1. re: Big Eatin Lil Girl

                            That's really dissapointing to hear. We last ate there about a year ago, and 2 or 3 times before that and the food was always very nice and so unique. Post again if you go. Thanks.

                          2. re: tony michaels

                            I love Belacan Grill. Especially the deep-fried crab and Randang beef. Service can be slow when it is busy, but it's a mom and pop place.

                          3. re: Big Eatin Lil Girl

                            you are being too kind to coyote cantina. the food i was served there was absolutely vile.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              all i know is i wouldn't wan to get on westside gal's bad side.

                              but then again if you serve great food you have gots a booster of the highest order.

                              1. re: kevin

                                you've got me pegged!

                                i think there ought to be a law against serving stinky rotty fish. someone needs to tell coyote cantina that putting said stinky fish (salmon) on a bed of lettuce that came straight from a plastic bag and covering it with salad dressing does NOT turn back the hands of time to make the fish acceptable.

                          4. I like Lee's Tofu in Gardena (Tozai Plaza - corner of Redondo Beach & Western) for their soon tofu.

                            1. Avenue. Il Chianti. Riviera Mexican Grill.

                              I love this post. It's making me hungry for lunch. Maybe we need a south bay chowhound night out.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: Rizza

                                Il Chianti is an amazing place, for those who aren't aware of it. It's an Italian restaurant run by Japanese for Japanese. They have most of the expected Italian dishes on the menu, and then some Japanese-spun specialties: Pizza with egg and caviar, for example. Pretty good, I thought.

                                1. re: Tony Miller

                                  I'll see your Il Chianti and raise you Spoon House.

                                  1. re: Joe Blowe

                                    That is true if you're talking about the pasta dishes, but other than that, Il Chianti and Spoon House serve up very different flavors.

                                  2. re: Tony Miller

                                    ok everyone, i just went to the il chiante website and there looks like there is something that might be a 50%off coupon--but it's in japanese.

                                    can a japanese-speaker tell me what they are offering?

                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                      You can try pasting the Web page link into babelfish at http://babelfish.yahoo.com - it would still be good to have a Japanese speaker weigh in, but here's what the procedure I mentioned showed in English from that coupon:

                                      50% off pizza and beer (obviously) ... and then:

                                      Monday of the [irukiyantei] Kitiziyouzi store it is service of the dinner time.
                                      * There is no notice and there are times when it modifies & ends. Please inquire details to each store.

                                      Translations with that thing are always a little rough.

                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                        Hi westsidegal,

                                        Sure: Unfortunately this is a coupon for their Kichijoji Branch in the Musashino area of Tokyo, Japan. :(

                                        50% Off Pizza and Draft Beer on Mondays.

                                    2. Living in S Redondo and being part Mexican, I have tried all of the places mentioned, and never have any of them been much. I laugh everytime I drive by the line at LBJ's because never once have I had anything better than not so good.

                                      My personal favorites (sorry nothing secret) Red Onion is Palos Verdes, and El Tarasco on PCH. Both really pretty darn good, and I have tried everything in the Beach cities. Late night we will occassionally go tho the El Tarasco in Manhattan Beach which is usually better than the R.B. one and always quite good, if not pretty heavy.

                                      Pho Hana is pretty good on Hawthorne.

                                      Is Saigon Taste right next to Lawndale City hall? If so they are very good.

                                      Anyone got any ramen places they recommend? Even outside the South Bay?

                                      Pacific Cafe in San Pedro is excellent for a cafe Breakfast experience. Like Joe's but better IMO.

                                      If you like Korean Tofu stew( sorry I dont know the real name, but the hot stuff) The Korean place next to Gablehouse bowl on Hawthorne is quite good.

                                      Pizza? New York style - Pedone's in the village.
                                      Lot's of toppings- Lamppost on Rolling Hills Road. Try Pepporoni, Red Onion, and Canadian Bacon, I get one of those once a week. excellent.
                                      More South BAy! =)

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Bones25

                                        Shisen Ramen on Sepulveda and Western rocks my world. My babgirl craves it when she is back @ NYU. the paiko ramen is perfectly spicy while the paiko (pork cutlet) remains crisp on the outside and moist tender on the inside. The gyoza is perfect and not oversized and sloppy. Sublime bites of ground pork, garlic with the faint essence of ginger. You MUST order the chicken karaage. They come out perfectly crisp skinned boneless chunks of thigh meat that are succulent and tasty.

                                        Otafuku in Gardena has excellent ramen. My daughter and I sadly mourn the loss of Takefuku on Hawthorne Bl. in Torrance. They served cold udon perfectly and there tempura wa incomparable. It has been replaced by something called the Udon Bowl or something like that. Has anyone tried it?

                                        1. re: gaylenwaydelich

                                          I mourn Takefuku as well. Super Udon is in their old space. Nice people, cheap, but not that great. Had an udon (wiener) hot dog tempura combo with my son. Broth is super sweet and just not on par with other southbay udon outposts. i would call it the "burger king" udon..

                                      2. Hmm, I don't agree with much of what the OP recomends, but I live in MB and have gone to these restaurants so often that they rarely excite me. I do love Addis Tandoor. I would add Bora Bora for great ribs with a polynesian kick and wonderfully island prepared fish along with very rich sides...but yummy. A bit overpriced and no full bar but a family favorite. Mangiamo has never disappointed, a solid choice with a limited menu. Petros is good but very over priced and crowded. We always order from Valentino's Pizza.

                                        To be honest, I'm ready for some new South Bay restaurants!

                                        1. Gaja in Lomita (Eboshi in the same plaza has decent ramen and excellent fried rice and stir fries)

                                          Musha in Torrance

                                          Big Mike's in El Segundo (philly cheesesteaks)

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ristretto

                                            Thanks for mentioning Eboshi, we took a look at it durring our trip to Gaja and was curious about it! :)


                                          2. Kotohira on Western and Redondo Beach Blvd in Gardena has great hotpot, but you need a party of at least two or more. They make their udon noodles in-house, fresh daily.

                                            The Pho restaurant in that same plaza was replaced with a new Pho restaurant recently. It's the best pho I've had in the South Bay.

                                            1. I call the South Bay home when not at school in SD. I don't go to a lot of the fancier places listed above, but nevertheless here's what's in my rotation:

                                              Al Noor: It's my favorita restaurant. It's amazing, cheap, colorful, and delicious. The flavors are powerful. The tikka masalla panner and the palak paneer are a must! It's on Inglewood blvd in lawndale across from the in-n-out.

                                              Valentino's: Mentioned above. Very good NYC style pizza. Coupons in the beach reporter and easy reader (not that they even check to make sure you have one). I like the spinich whitestone, mushroom and pepperoni, sausage, and so much more. A trick: instead of getting an overcooked pie via delivery, go pick it up at the store, and on the way home, leave the box open a crack. This will make the pizza perfect. 2 locations, but we only go to the one in Manhattan Beach.

                                              El Pollo Inka: Landale location (hermosa location waters down the flavors. I like the saltados and the mariscos picado (i think that's what its called). A solid choice.

                                              La Cueva: $1 tacos. Delicious carne asada and chorizo. Burritos there are great too. Cheap and tasty. It's on Artesia across from the Galleria.

                                              Pullet de Jour is pretty good rotissery chicken. It's on sepulveda in Hermosa by that dart store. They deliver for free. great hummus and cole slaw.

                                              Good terriyaki at Azuma Izakaya on Western in Gardena. Packed at night.

                                              Some places I have only tried once but liked:

                                              Pupuseria Arcese on El Segundo blvd right off the 405. Need to go back and explore more.

                                              I still need to explore a lot more, especially the various ramen and other japanese restaurants in Gardena/Torrance. I also want to try some of the taco trucks that are parked on hawthorne north of the 105 at night. Also interested in finding a korean tofu house in the area.

                                              Point is there is a lot of great food in this part of town!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: young_chower

                                                i concur with this list.
                                                -Never had Valentino's tho, but i will now!
                                                -La Cueva is cheap, but take forever to get their food together.
                                                -Azuma's serves humongous portions @ awesome prices. They dont do sushi rolls, but have yum yum sashimi. This place is what i call a serious 'hole in da wall'.

                                                Add'l info:
                                                - Cho Dang Soon Tofu in Torrance is the reigning favorite in spicy tofu stew, however i prefer BCD tofu because 1) excellent service (never had to wait for a table) 2) clean, elegant spacious interior 3) they give u like a bazillion side dishes (including a whole small fish (kingfish?), for each person 4) you can order the stew w/out MSG (soon tofu is a brew pot of MSG) 5) it tastes yummy too mee
                                                - Kotosh in Lomita (Originally Kamiyama Sushi)- this HAS to be on someones list- Sushi & Peruvian food, omg soo good! dont forget to order your saltado's, loco moco style (topped w/ fried egg)
                                                - El Burrito, Jr on PCH & Hawthorne, South Torrance- when i need my protein fix, im there. Carne Asada Burrito, sub the beans for rice.. ummm!
                                                - Saigon Flavor in Torrance- Good clean vietnamese food. & guess what? i can drink the broth in my bowl of pho. NO MSG!!!

                                              2. Ditto on Avenue, Michi, Gina Lee's, and others. But Christine has not been mentioned yet--excellent restaurant in Torrance.

                                                1. Restaurant Christine
                                                  Sammy's Woodfired Pizza

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: Francesca

                                                    Christine, yesss! I need to go back there!

                                                    1. re: Tony Miller

                                                      Finally got back to Christine's in July. The food was excellent as always, but we had a novice server who was slow, inattentive, and clueless. Pretty much spoiled the evening. Too bad.

                                                    2. re: Francesca

                                                      I second Restaurant Christine! Hands down the best upscale (yet casual) restaurant in the South Bay.

                                                    3. South Bay local and LOVE this thread!

                                                      Agree with:

                                                      Addi's - Indian
                                                      Christine's - California cuisine
                                                      Valentino's (MB locale-delivery only) - Pizza
                                                      Boogaloo - New O'leans style & music (great wine/beer list)
                                                      Bora Bora - ribs & sides
                                                      North End Cafe - gourmet breakfast/lunch & Illy Espresso!
                                                      Rock'n'Fish - Overpriced but good food & GREAT wine list, lively atmosphere.

                                                      And a few others we love:

                                                      Octupus Sushi - MB (heard negative reviews but we love it)

                                                      Eat at Joe's - RB/HB - Breakfast that is sloppy and comforting

                                                      Thalia - MB - Upscale American/Med.- Try this place! Very small and intimate, the food and service is amazing.

                                                      La Sosta - HB - Tuscan Italian (pricey)

                                                      Cafe Pierre - MB - consistant, good meats (boar, veal, beef cheeks

                                                      Papa Jake's - MB - Philly cheesesteaks

                                                      Katsu - MB - sushi, funky surfer atmosphere, reasonable $

                                                      Rice Things - RB - "fast food" Japanese/Sushi - sounds strange but everything is fresh and good.

                                                      Would love to hear other suggestions and opinions!

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: chef rauls

                                                        Good call on eat at joes. John Wayne is great, as is the club.

                                                        1. re: chef rauls

                                                          is eat at joes half of what the backburner was? i haven't been since the "name" change. ( relocation + fear )

                                                          1. re: mrpink

                                                            I don't think they changed their name. It's always been joes, but they have a sign that says eat at joes. According to google maps it's offical name is Joe's Diner. The have opened a new location in Hermosa as well. I haven't been to that one... still loyal to the original.

                                                            1. re: mrpink

                                                              The location in Redondo has been Eat at Joes for a long time.

                                                              The Backburner in Hermosa is now the new Eat at Joe's there.

                                                          2. Chef Melba's on Hermosa Ave, N of Pier. She used to be the executive chef at McKormick and Schmick's.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: lcoyote

                                                              Just came back from lunch at Chef Melba's. It was really good!

                                                            2. what's good at chef melba's?

                                                              also, good stuff is pretty good, a few locations in the south bay, for diner food.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                I think part of why I thought Chef Melba's was so good was that it was a surprise. We originally wanted to go to Martha's and enjoy the day so close to the Ocean but noisy road work eliminated that. We had fresh spinach dip which was served with garlic bread (yum) and I think fried plantain chips. My son had the kobe burger which was good, not great. I shared the barbeque chicken sandwich with my dh. Oh so good with the strange addition of pesto sauce that was really delicious and put the sandwhich to the top of my must-have list. Other entrees looked good and we will be returning.

                                                              2. Tomi's sushi is really good for lunch especially if you like tempura.

                                                                Alberta's in Wilmington/Lomita. It's on PCH next to the 110 freeway. (Best Mexican food)

                                                                Anything in Mitshwa.

                                                                Shal Tandori - really good indian food, (go for the lunch buffet $7.99 can't beat that) It's on PCH near Torrance airport.

                                                                Original Pancake house -just went there today. Awesome.

                                                                Inaba in the rolling hills plaza has really good japanese food but they only open for dinner.

                                                                Hank's in Hawthorne - has good persian food but it is also an Italian restaurant.

                                                                1. "Santouka @ Mitsuwa (best ramen in LA, and possibly anywhere?!)"

                                                                  close. best ramen... in north america as far as i can tell =P

                                                                  1. We live in Hollyglen (Hawthorne), El Segundo has become our convienient choice for dining out.
                                                                    Chef Hannes always has excellent Salmon, Sea Bass or Halibut on his menu,at very reasonable prices.
                                                                    Stuft Pizza is a great indulgence. Pizzas have a soft chewy crust and super fresh toppings. I love the wings, and Monday nights have $1.00 slices & $1.25 frosty (32oz.) tap beers!
                                                                    Stuft Pizza
                                                                    El Segundo
                                                                    400 Main St.
                                                                    Hana Haru has average/good sushi, not bad & not outstanding.
                                                                    Hana Haru
                                                                    409 Main Street
                                                                    El Segundo

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: MahiMahiFish

                                                                      update on chef hannes:
                                                                      the last time i went there was with a party of seven (about six months ago).
                                                                      the only people who could eat the food were the folks who ordered the scallops. everything else was VILE.

                                                                      hana haru, imho, has below average sushi--far below taiko on rosecrans, for instance, which actually has somewhat decent sushi.
                                                                      basically, if you're interested in good sushi, go to gardena and stay out of el segundo.

                                                                    2. I miss living in the south bay! But I can't believe that no one mentioned my favorite place-- Japonica in South Redondo! Its on PCH and Ave F I believe, its AMAZING, like dining in a hip Tokyo Sake bar, great atmosphere and great food!

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                      1. re: tinyeater

                                                                        Thank you for mentioning Japonica - drive by every day and was wondering if it was good!

                                                                        Anyone tried Second City Bistro in El Segundo? We've been curious to try but haven't yet.


                                                                        1. re: chef rauls

                                                                          I have enjoyed Second City Bistro several times. They have a nice wine selection and, although I have not been in several months, they have had wine tastings on Monday nights. Great place for warm evenings as they have a nice patio in the front of the restaurant. Food is good.

                                                                          And while we are talking about El Segundo - MAIN STREET CAFE for BREAKFAST. This place is great and there is not a huge line because no one goes to El Segundo.

                                                                          1. re: Moreforyou

                                                                            Furthermore to El Segundo: breakfast at Wendy's is always good, although sometimes busy. Jose's Special omelette (tomatoes, onions, bacon, other stuff; excellent runny salsa on the top) is addictive for me.

                                                                            I also enjoy the funky service: several waitresses with different shifts, all apparently friends, who serve one another's tables, plus regular patrons who pitch in and bus dishes.

                                                                            1. re: Moreforyou

                                                                              Moreforyou: I'd love to know your thoughts on my experience at Second City Bistro: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/428226

                                                                            2. re: chef rauls

                                                                              I ws getting ready to dive in here on the Second City topic. I'd been by there several times shooting appraisal photos, and then one day I was sent to shoot THEIR building, so I figured I ought to at least have lunch. Glad I did - it was very pleasant. So good that when Mrs. O and I had an afternoon appointment in Santa Monica a week or so later, I worked out our itinerary to include lunch at Second City, and she was equally enthralled. Okay, if you live in Pasadena you aren't going to El Segundo a lot, but when you do it's nice to know there's a really good place to eat.

                                                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                Nice atmosphere and people, and the food, I'd say, is good quality. But there's something amateur-bistro about them to me, like they are trying to put together ingredients that sound fancy on a menu or like they'd taste good together, but it's a home effort or something. The flavors just don't quite...go. The execution is often quite nice, though. Someone please go outfit them with fabulous recipes for whatever fusion or variation they're trying. They almost have it, but not quite. Would love to want to eat there more.

                                                                                1. re: Cinnamon

                                                                                  i think there is a law that truly great food cannot be served in downtown el segundo upon pain of death. good food can be served there, fair food can be served there, lousy food can be served there, but nothing really excellent can be served there. dunno why this is the case.

                                                                                  (in the 'good' category, i'd put rinaldi's sandwich shop along with second city)

                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                    Ha, no kidding. Although the greasy-spoon drive-through (I think it's Burger's Etc.) on Main has some chili and gyros just barely shy of excellent.

                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                      Can't agree with you. Go to Wendy's Cafe for breakfast and order the Jose's Special. It is so much better than good that I can't bring myself to order anything else.

                                                                                      1. re: Tony Miller

                                                                                        when my daughter used to go to el segundo middle school, i ate at wendy's a number of times: never had the jose's special.

                                                                                        all their stuff, to me, was ok to good. nothing approached excellent.
                                                                                        although i believe you have great conviction about this dish, sadly, my experience with this place is not enough to cause me to make another trip back there.
                                                                                        to me, their stuff was just not good enough to warrant making a special trip.

                                                                            3. great suggestions everyone! i agree. south bay gets short shrift. even *I* don't think of it as a culinary landscape to explore and i grew up there!

                                                                              1. Sakae sushi on Denker and Redondo Beach Blvd. Limited selection but lots of cheap sushi, good for parties etc.

                                                                                Rice Things, as has been mentioned.

                                                                                B and J burger in the strip mall located at Cerise and Rosecrans. $5 hamburger that is superior all those hotie-toite shrumplings that cost $14 and made by Foxwood Muck or whomever.

                                                                                Pollo ala Brasa on Vermont/165th. The better of the locations by that name. Dip you way to heaven with those tortillas, beans and ahi in between bites of roasted chicken.

                                                                                Marukai Market. Best store-bought sushi, great deals on Bento boxes especially toward closing hours when they're discounted.

                                                                                1. Reed's in MB Shopping Center is nice for a leisurely & tasty lunch on the patio

                                                                                  Second Addi's for Goan chow

                                                                                  Havana Mania for toned down but adequate Cubano, corner Inglewood & MB Blvd

                                                                                  Pancho's on Highland for gringo but otherwise tasty Mex

                                                                                  Deliboys (near Petros) is a disgrace, middling to lousy NY style deli at unjustifiably high prices

                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: bernardo

                                                                                    i second your comment on juniors deli boys. it's atrocious and yes, incredibly overpriced.

                                                                                    1. re: wowimadog

                                                                                      At least Billy's a few miles away at 190th & Anza has pretty decent chow, a tad weak on the bread & sides, but nice meats & soups, generous portions.

                                                                                    2. re: bernardo

                                                                                      I second Havana Mania. Try the oxtails, sounds kind of nasty but it is truly delicious. The owner likes to refer to them as Cuban beef ribs. The meat just falls off the bone and all covered in a savory sauce. Add a side of tostones (crunchy fried bananas) and you are good to go!

                                                                                      1. re: iraida

                                                                                        I ALWAYS order the oxtail there. Mmm..

                                                                                    3. wow. Great Responses to this post!

                                                                                      Also, I second Japonica. It is a nice place and hopefully it stays open. I dont think it is as popular as it really should be.

                                                                                      FANTASTIC Suggestions everyone! Thanks for the great stuff. I will have to try some of these places out especially the places in the western and redondo beach blvd plaza. When i first moved here, I drove EVERYWHERE for about 3 hours looking for hotspots and I found this plaza, but for some reason, never ventured back to it. Now I have 3 reasons to go. THANKS

                                                                                      Has anyone tried PCH Chinese, Harbor Place, Regal Palace, or Shanghai Palace? I was talking with a friend that said those were very legit chinese restaurants.

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: jlrobe

                                                                                        PCH Chinese is a local favorite. located in a run-down shopping strip, it's not the most elegant ambience, but the food has consistently been good.

                                                                                        1. re: jlrobe

                                                                                          we tried regal palace over the weekend for dim sum and it was adequate, though a little on the oily side. it seemed the prices were high to me, too.

                                                                                          1. re: jlrobe

                                                                                            We go to PCH Chinese pretty regularly and really like their shrimp dishes in particular. But yes, it is kind of run-down...lacking in the ambiance department.

                                                                                            1. re: jlrobe

                                                                                              PCH Chinese in Lomita was great when we used to go back in the 90s - early 2000s... But I heard their chef jumped ship recently and went to the Kitchen? Is this possible?

                                                                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                yah, they've gone downhill since the 90s, i stick to harbor palace for cantonese

                                                                                              2. re: jlrobe

                                                                                                to me japonica is ok, but not as good as musha
                                                                                                also, it's more expensive than musha.

                                                                                              3. New chowhound member here... just found the site and I love it!

                                                                                                Since someone mentioned El Segundo, I have to recommend The Hummus Factory on Grand and Standard in the Rite Aid shopping center. Mediterranean/Lebanese food, and the hummus is incredible (duh). The lamb and rice is fantastic. It's family-run and the owners are super friendly. They are only open M-F.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Dav

                                                                                                  the hummus factory is good by south bay standards, i guess, but it doesn't come near any of the persian restaurants that are located in westwood either in terms of their food nor in terms of the quantity/price relationship.

                                                                                                2. Tried a very good burger last week at Kona Crisp, 40 Pennisula Center, Rolling Hills. Added the Crisp Buttermilk Onion Strings to the burger and a side of sweet potato fries and it was heaven.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Neta

                                                                                                    Kona Crisp has one of the best chili cheese fries in LA. I think the chili was made from scratch, topped with real cheese, and a little bit of sour cream. I also liked the teriyaki avocado burger (reminds me of Magos in West LA). Pulled pork sandwich was just ok.

                                                                                                    1. re: Chookalish

                                                                                                      wow, so0unds awesome, where's Kona crisp, teriyaki avo and chili fries from scratch in the vein of mago's, i'm so there.

                                                                                                      also, does mago's (in culver city????) still exist? thanks.

                                                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                                                        Magos is long, long, long gone, (probably 3 years? or so).

                                                                                                  2. Great post!
                                                                                                    I've grown up in the south bay and lived here all my life. Definitely like the suggestions of:
                                                                                                    Hakata ramen/Japanese - best ramen EVER.period.
                                                                                                    Rock n Fish/Everything - Very good and consistent
                                                                                                    Azuma Izakaya/Japanese - Teriyaki
                                                                                                    El Pollo Inka/Peruvian - great saltado de pollo

                                                                                                    Id also really recommend Phanny's Burgers on PCH and Ave C. in Redondo Beach. They are legendary for their breakfast burritos. Please try it and ask for Steve!!!

                                                                                                    1. In Gardena, the Marukai Pacific Market (on Redondo Beach Blvd.) has a bunch of take out options. They have a bunch of stalls for take out- among them include Sea Empress, Back Home in Lahaina, Beard Papa cream puffs, and Shin Sen Gumi yakitori. There are a few tables inside the market for eating in.

                                                                                                      I also like the shave ice at Teri Hawaii on Artesia, and the supernachos at Josie's Place on Normandie (a true hole in the wall). I haven't been to the Gardena Bowl Coffee shop in several years, but Chris Cognac featured it recently on Culinary Detective.

                                                                                                      The Loft in Torrance has a good Sunday brunch for about $10. Nothing fancy, but they have Island Fried Chicken, Portuguese Sausage, teriyaki chicken and beef, spam, fried rice, pancakes, kalua pork lumpia, etc.

                                                                                                      Anyone have any favorite pizza places?

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: Chookalish

                                                                                                        I go to the Loft in Cerritos and yes it's yummy.

                                                                                                      2. Hmm, most of the best ones are already mentioned, but if I had to make a "top" list...

                                                                                                        Bestie's Pub off of Pier and PCH for fish and chips

                                                                                                        Good Stuff on the Strand - good for lunch

                                                                                                        Ocean Diner on Aviation - amazing desserts

                                                                                                        Bellacon Grill - on 190th crab and beef rendang

                                                                                                        El Pollo Inka for Saltado de Mariscos and Aji de Gallina, as well as the addictive salsa criolla

                                                                                                        Aimee's for steaks

                                                                                                        The Spot for vegetarian - especially the enchilada sauce

                                                                                                        Eat at Joe's for breakfast

                                                                                                        Bill's Pancake House in Manhattan Bch

                                                                                                        El Indio on Artesia for vegetarian burritos. A good place for fresh tortillas and masa.

                                                                                                        Rosa's on PCH used to be criticixed as "Americanized" Mexican, but now it is an old favorite for wet burritos. Plus, Manuel has worked there for over 30 years.

                                                                                                        Recommended with some Reservations:

                                                                                                        Tony's on the pier - watery clam chowder and dull fish dishes, but it's all about the ambiance and nostalgia. The hard-core mai tais and fire chiefs don't hurt either.

                                                                                                        Brogino's for Italian on Artesia, only because I haven't been there in 10 years.

                                                                                                        Captain Kidds is one of the few places you can get messy with crabs and a hammer, but I find their seafood to be kind of "fishy" as well as the unappetizing, umm, "realness" of the fish market.

                                                                                                        Chez Melange - Sunday brunch only

                                                                                                        Rajin Cajun - great authentic fried seafood, but limited menu and a cranky owner who hassles waitresses in front of customers.

                                                                                                        Unfortunately I have a habit of frequenting places and never getting the name...

                                                                                                        there is a teensy tiny breakfast place on the West side of PCH just north of Torrance Blvd, across from Smart and Final. It is a little converted house.

                                                                                                        Then there is good Chinese on PCH in Manhattan Beach on the East side of the road South of Manhattan Bch Blvd

                                                                                                        Anyone know the names of these places?

                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: EliseT

                                                                                                          I believe the teensy tiny breakfast place you mention is Cozy Cafe?

                                                                                                          1. re: baloney

                                                                                                            Yes! Thank you! I nursed many a high school broken heart over pancakes in their little back porch.

                                                                                                          2. re: EliseT

                                                                                                            The Chinese place is called Szechuan.

                                                                                                            1. re: S DAG

                                                                                                              So simple...yet so easy to forget.

                                                                                                              1. re: EliseT

                                                                                                                The turkey and bacon club sandwich at Becker's is delicious. It's not stacked like a traditional club. I've had it on their wheat bread and french roll.

                                                                                                            2. re: EliseT

                                                                                                              Tony's on the Pier? Really? Go straight up to the "crow's nest" and stay there. Tony's was one of the least satisfying meals I've had in recent memory. To put it lightly, its "old people food." Tasteless, colorless, saltless...

                                                                                                              My mate and I did, however, get a good hearty laugh out of the experience as he watched me with this look of concentration and, "What can I possibly do to this meal to make it taste good???" all over my face.

                                                                                                              Yeah, so get your souvenir Mai Tai glass upstairs, take in the view and call it a night after that. I'd sooner go across the way to El Torito for Taco Tuesday.

                                                                                                            3. Kamiyama (on Lomita) -- Peruvian Japanese
                                                                                                              Shinsengumi (on Western) -- Yakitori
                                                                                                              Musha -- Eclectic Japanese Country Food

                                                                                                              These three stack up against anything in LA in my book...that said, the South Bay is still a culinary wasteland for top end dining...Chez Melange is no Melisse; Christine is no Lucques; the Depot is not even Nick & Stef's...in a way geography and population density works against us, but hey, I'm glad I don't have to deal with "3rd street type traffic" in my little corner of the world.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Libbytgb

                                                                                                                YESS! finally! someone mentioned Kamiyama, although they are now KOTOSH.

                                                                                                              2. I have to second the recs of Kamiyama and Shinsengumi - both are the best!

                                                                                                                For dim sum, I recommend Regal Palace Seafood Restaurant on PCH in Lomita. A million times better than Sea Empress.

                                                                                                                1. for ice cream, there is no better than DELICIEUSE

                                                                                                                  they are only open three days a week.
                                                                                                                  they also serve french food, but i haven't tried the food--just the amazing ice cream

                                                                                                                  2503 Artesia Boulevard (cross street Phelan Ave.)
                                                                                                                  Redondo Beach, California 90278
                                                                                                                  Tel: 310.793.7979
                                                                                                                  Fax: 310.793.2062

                                                                                                                  Hours of Operation:

                                                                                                                  Friday - 5 pm to 9 pm (last dinner service at 8 pm)
                                                                                                                  Saturday - 12 noon to 9 pm (last dinner service at 8 pm)
                                                                                                                  Sunday - 12 noon to 4 pm (last lunch service at 3 pm)

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                    French food and ice cream, eh? What exactly is it? French deli? Dessert bar?

                                                                                                                    1. re: mstinawu

                                                                                                                      french restaurant with a little ice cream case in the front.
                                                                                                                      since i'm not a fan of french cuisine, i can't tell you what type of french restaurant.

                                                                                                                      i am, though, a fan of fabulous desserts, and i can tell you that their ice cream is incredible.

                                                                                                                  2. Chinese:
                                                                                                                    Harbor Palace for Cantonese - try the fatty pork (same cut as american bacon but in thick slabs braised so it melts in your mouth)
                                                                                                                    Shanghai Palace: get the xiao lum bao dumplings, the noodle soups are delicious, the whole stuffed duck with sticky rice is SOOO shanghainese but you have to order it in advance, the shi zhi to (lion's head) is only so so though

                                                                                                                    Iccho (on Crenshaw at the Rolling Hills Plaza with the AMC theaters)

                                                                                                                    Redondo Beach Brewing Co: gotta love the blueberry beer!

                                                                                                                    1. I agree about Cho Dang soontofu place. Better than any soontofu place in Ktown, in my opinion. Love their soup and banchan (side dishes).

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: spicychow

                                                                                                                        I second that emotion. Cho Dang Tofu on Hawthorne/Sepulveda. Consistent, quick, filling and dirt cheap for the "food baby" you'll be able to birth once you're finally done. AMEN!

                                                                                                                      2. RESTAURANT CHRISTINE AND THE THE DEPOT
                                                                                                                        GOOD PLACES , LOVE ADDIS TANDOORI

                                                                                                                        CHEZ MELANGE STILL IN THE 80's NO GOOD

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: petangerie

                                                                                                                          I've now been to the Depot three times, and it has become my go-to place for good and innovative food in the South Bay. Every dish I've tried has been excellent, and each time there have been new and novel combinations of ingredients. Enthusiastically recommended!

                                                                                                                          There is some stylistic connection between Christine's and The Depot. I think they're run by ex-spouses, so there is a similar emphasis on novel combinations. I like them both.

                                                                                                                        2. Normally for good food we drive to west LA but when we are eating locally:

                                                                                                                          Il Bocaccio - lasagna and fagiole soup are both worth the trip
                                                                                                                          Jacksons (inconsistent)
                                                                                                                          El Pollo Inka
                                                                                                                          Addi's Tandoor
                                                                                                                          Phannies (for bfast burritos)
                                                                                                                          Lisa's Bona-Petit (mediocre, but where does one eat lunch around here anyway?)
                                                                                                                          Bora Bora - if you like island fare + meat

                                                                                                                          probably more that I'm forgetting... btw, these places are ALL up to par.. i am picky.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: AGENT FOODIE

                                                                                                                              On Highland one block south of Rosecrans on the westside of the street in Manhattan Beach

                                                                                                                          1. For Vietnamese, I'd have to add Thai Lai in Hawthorne near the corner of Rosecrans and Prairie. It's a hole in the wall but the Vietnamese show up here for both lunch and early on the weekends...good signs for me.

                                                                                                                            An alternative I have found to be very good is down the street at Pho Hoa.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: must...eat

                                                                                                                              Is Thai Lai actually Vietnamese? From the name I'd have guessed otherwise.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Tony Miller

                                                                                                                                I have a lot of Vietnamese co workers and we used to all work at our Hawthorne offices near Thai Lai. I've been there a few times and it's not very good. It's supposed to be a mix between Vietnamese and Chinese-Vietnamese style food. My co workers only went because we're so limited in good Vietnamese food in Hawthorne and will normally go to Houng Vi on Hawthorne Blvd. in Hawthorne for pho. But they tire of eating the same ol' place every time so will occasionally go to Thai lai to "mix it up."

                                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                I second that! They've got the best wasabi too--it almost makes their sashimi and sushi!

                                                                                                                                1. I love the old school places-
                                                                                                                                  Mr G's on PCH near western-dive coffee shop
                                                                                                                                  El Burrito Jr-Cheap mexican wlak up window-call ahead-SLow..
                                                                                                                                  Red Onion-Grew up going there -mexican -sit in bar area -locals
                                                                                                                                  Misto-nice menu-great salads-outside patio-nice folks-off Hawthorne up Hill-

                                                                                                                                  I miss The PARASOL---it is a crime they leveled the place--and now a Walgreens is there-
                                                                                                                                  Torrance should be Ashamed-
                                                                                                                                  It was an amazing classic Googo Building-We had many Birthday dinners there as kids!!

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: kandykane

                                                                                                                                    Oh the Parasol! This was the only place my frugal immigrant parents would take us. Classic architecture and menu- the daily specials! - my mom was really fond of the liver & onions day. I ended up at a Spires on Wilmington & 223rd in Carson the other day- it was round! and full of hearty guys eating big plates of food- we only had coffee so I can't comment but when a trucker lookin guy is attacking a big salad I'm thinking it might be worth a try. Can't bring myself to enter that Walgreens.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: torty

                                                                                                                                      man i totally forgot the parasol was there until you guys brought it up. i remember seeing it for the first time when we first moved to the south bay area. i passby the spires near the 405 sometimes, always wanted to go check it out.

                                                                                                                                    1. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Seaside Palace in Torrance...they have great Persian (Iranian) food and it is family owned too. If you Fri and Sat you can catch a cheesey bellydancing show...still entertaining though!

                                                                                                                                      The food is definitely comparable in quality and value to Persian food in Westwood!
                                                                                                                                      (hungry just thinking about their kabob)

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: baharflower

                                                                                                                                        I live right next door to that place. I'm not a huge kebob fan, but theirs are delicious!

                                                                                                                                      2. Happa's in the Gardena Hotel on Redondo Beach Blvd. is pretty good for their short ribs and Hawaii style fried chicken. Cherrystone on Vermont next to the Hustler Casino serves excellent prime rib on weekends and even serves decent poke (Hawaii marinated raw fish). Azuma and Gardena Bowl Coffee shop have excellent Japanese plate combos reasonably priced. Lomeli's on RB Blvd has consistently good Italian food (and even serve up a free glass of wine with dinner combos). Seafood Town (not Seafood Port) has probably the best Chinese food in Torrance. Even better than PCH Restaurant in my opinion. Use to be that Seafood Port was one of the best but lately the quality went downhill.
                                                                                                                                        Ever since the original owner Jimmy of the Sea Empress left, the food quality decreased. Prices are generally high but it's better than traveling to Chinatown for good dim sum.

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Clinton

                                                                                                                                          Another recommend for Lomeli's. Either would get thier decadent lasagna or their pizza. It was always a tough call. Can't say I had much else. Couldn't get past these two items. Always finished off my meal with spumoni ice cream.

                                                                                                                                          Also would recommend: Hawaiian Bakery's bakery
                                                                                                                                          Torrance Bakery.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: tlegray

                                                                                                                                            Forgot to mention Guiliano's for sandwiches

                                                                                                                                            Ruby's for the cinnamon french toast.

                                                                                                                                            I'm sure I'll think of more.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: tlegray

                                                                                                                                              Sandwiches? The new mega Whole Foods Market at the Plaza El Segundo on PCH/Rosecrans. Premade, custom made, hot, cold - anything you could want!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: djwahine

                                                                                                                                                if we're going to go into Plaza El Segundo, then the sweet potato fries at the veggie grill must be mentioned.

                                                                                                                                        2. New take out favorite! Thai Express in Redondo Beach..


                                                                                                                                          1. Comments on some of the establishments mentioned above...

                                                                                                                                            Addi's Tandoor - Very good (although a bit pricey and heavy) Indian food. There are plenty of mediocre India restaurants out there and mediocre Indian food is REALLY MEDIOCRE, so this worth the price for a very satisfying meal. Plus they give you these really great reusable take-out containers, and Indian food is one of the few cuisines that actually lends itself to great left-overs, so it helps justify the price when you can stretch your meal out over several meals.

                                                                                                                                            Le Petit Casino - I ran in just the other night to pick up a last-minute birthday cake and was pleasantly surprised at how good the Bavarian Cream Cake was. The texture of the cake was very fine, the whipped cream frosting tasted like whipped cream instead of stabilizer and didn't put that nasty waxy coating on the roof of my mouth, strawberries were flavorful and the orange liqueur used on the cake wasn't over-powering, nor did it make the cake soggy. Light and flavorful. Well done!

                                                                                                                                            Uncle Bill's Pancake House - LOVE the Pecan Waffles. Its amazing how generous they are with the pecans. Each waffle is chock-full. Uncle Bill's is great for a really casual, satisfying traditional breakfast and then a stroll down to the Manhattan Beach Pier on a sunny Sunday morning. I haven't been brave enough to try the bacon/cheese waffle. Sometimes it sounds strangely appetizing... Why not? Chicken and waffles work, right?

                                                                                                                                            Il Bocaccio - I was totally UNDERWHELMED by this place. 'Authentic' was NOT the word to use for this place. The antipasto salad was one of the scariest looking I've ever ordered. The portion was a ridiculously huge bowl of iceberg (yuck!) lettuce with giant size strings of grated mozzarella. Too much lettuce and cheese and not enough of anything else. I can't even remember what pasta I ordered because it was really forgettable.

                                                                                                                                            Shinsen Gumi/Hakata Ramen - Is an eternal favorite. This spot puts ramen in a whole other class of noodles. Bast darn little gyoza! (Well, not better than my Mom's, but darn close!) Order the 'D Set' - Its the perfect meal. Made-to-order ramen (firmness of noodles, amount of oil, strength of broth, green onions? pickled ginger?) with the side order of your choice (stick with the Agedashi Tofu, Yams with Butter or Chicken Wings) plus draft beer or plum wine. They are pretty much always slammed, but its worth the wait. Best darn ramen you ever had. I PROMISE.

                                                                                                                                            And a few additions to the South Bay List...
                                                                                                                                            Naka Sushi (South Redondo on PCH) - This is old school style sushi at its very, very best. Its just Naka and his wife Junko running the show, so be patient. Come for the food, stay for the show. Someone should video-tape Naka in action - He would be a YouTube sensation! You will quickly see that the locals seem to get the favored treatment, but don't dispair. Just buy the man a well-deserved drink and watch him go. Leave the kids at home. This show is not for everyone. Bring your loudest, most obnoxious sake-drinking friends for a really fun time and some of the best sushi I've ever had (and I'm Japanese). Order the white tuna if they have it. Also get the seaweed salad as an appetizer and special request it with octopus on top - yum! Naka makes the best sushi rice I've ever tasted. It is just the right temperature and the texture is so velvety that I can almost guarantee that you've had nothing that compares. Just the right amount of rice vinegar makes it just the right amount of sweet for all of that rich, wonderful, hand-picked fresh fish. Naka is a talented sushi chef, as well as a comedian.

                                                                                                                                            Blue 32 (Hermosa Ave, Hermosa Beach) - The Blue Cheese Burger on Pretzel Bun is not just another gimmicky slider; its really a good burger. The Macaroni & Cheese with toast is gooood. Very satisfying bar food.

                                                                                                                                            Louie Lou-e's (Redondo Beach Pier) - This little gem reminds me of my friend's restaurant in Jamaica... Relaxed, unpretentious, with good food. It has a very "Margaritaville" vibe with a lot of the over 40 set and reggae on constant play. The waitresses are absolutely adorable and give some of the best/friendliest service I've ever experienced. Mondays are great for the taco specials. Sundays they have the best champagne brunch in the South Bay. Mexican-influenced seafood dishes done right. I just wish they would bring the Salmon Hash back on Sundays!

                                                                                                                                            Mediterraneo (Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach) - They took a few of my favorites off the menu (Prosciutto wrapped dates & the fingerling potatoes), but they really do Spanish tapas right. Its one of the few places I've ever encountered that does so. Servers are very knowledgeable. Be sure to try the White Sangria. Outstanding! Tuesdays are the night to go as many of the tapas are half price. Pastas are also quite good, although they've overcooked the seafood on some occasions. Pretty consistent, otherwise. And the waiter was kind enough to remove an item from my bill that he noticed I hadn't touched because I wasn't into it (the smoked duck).

                                                                                                                                            On another subject... Does anyone remember Van's Belgian Waffle House on Catalina Ave. in Redondo? They have since gone the mainstream route and you can now find their frozen waffles in the cases at Trader Joe's. They're pretty darn good for toaster waffles if you're jones-ing for that Belgian waffle flavor, but does anyone know of a Belgian Waffle house in the area? (There was one in San Pedro, but it closed its doors years ago and I haven't been able to find one since). :(

                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: djwahine

                                                                                                                                              Hey djwahine! Incredible review, enjoyed reading it! I "digested" what you wrote about Naka Sushi, but I was wondering if you had tried Japonica a few doors north? I've consistently had high caliber, incredibly fresh, Nobu-like sushi at Japonica, but I've never tried Naka. I, also, am (at least part) Japanese.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: kealoha

                                                                                                                                                Hey, thanks for reading, my fellow wahine! :)

                                                                                                                                                Yes, I've been to Japonica once, but being the "purist" that I am about sushi, I am not really one to order spicy-fill-in-the-blank or any kind of roll with cream cheese in it. Really, I prefer fish raw on really good rice and Naka has the best sushi rice I've ever experienced, hands-down. People underestimate how important the rice is. (Naka and I had a philosophical discussion about it a few nights ago, actually).

                                                                                                                                                Japonica is a really nice little space and I had some great sake there the time I visited. A good spot to take people who are visiting from out of town, I think.

                                                                                                                                                But for the more experienced sushi connoisseur that wants a no-frills, just quality food, I would suggest Naka.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: djwahine

                                                                                                                                                I think you're confusing Il Boccaccio's with Buona Vita's or maybe the Bottle Inn? (It must be all of those "B's"? Or Mama D's??) Correct me if I'm wrong, but Il Boccaccio's is the upscale (and quite authentic) place on Lower Pier Ave (the walk street/promenade) across from the Lighthouse. BTW, I know the chef/owner (who also happens to grow most of his own organic produce and still rolls out his pasta by hand) would have a stroke if he saw your post! We go to Il Boccaccio's all the time and it's definitely not the kind of place that would have a pseudo-Italian item like an "antipasto salad" (especially one with iceberg lettuce as you described!) on their menu. In fact, I'm sure they don't. http://www.ilboccaccio.com/menu.html

                                                                                                                                                Buona Vita's, on the other hand, is a regrettable, low end, pseudo-Italian restaurant on Upper Pier Ave. The only good thing I have to say about it is that it is cheap. Their menu does feature a iceberg lettuce antipasto salad with mozzarella (the non-fresh type) with the frightening "attributes" you described. http://www.buonavita.com/hermosa/ensa... .

                                                                                                                                                The Bottle Inn is further north on 22nd St. and is a more old fashioned Italian restaurant. Although they do have an antipasto-type "House Salad" on their menu, it's at least made with romaine, not iceberg. Having dined there several times, I am confident it would at least be decent. While I'm at it, and although they're not as good as Boccaccio's, they are definitely better than Buona Vita's. www.thebottleinn.com/

                                                                                                                                                Regarding Van's, I remember it well and miss it. They had great crepes, too! I think one of the things that contributed to the closing of their Redondo restaurant was the sulfur smell that used to come from the Edison plant in the mornings.

                                                                                                                                                p.s. Japonica rocks. I hope they'll be around for a long time.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: djwahine

                                                                                                                                                  OMG- the one at Ports of Call? They shattered as you cut in and then were fluffy. Minimal toppings needed. Have never had any close since oh my- 40 years ago...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: djwahine

                                                                                                                                                    Wait no longer. Run -- don't walk, to Uncle Bill's for the bacon-cheddar waffle. It's my favorite. I didn't have the bravery until I went in early one morning still inebriated from the prior night. I haven't looked back.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gph2os

                                                                                                                                                      in my youth i was addicted to those bacon-cheddar waffles. i dare not try them now. if i were to become addicted again i could become a candidate for gastric bypass surgery. it took a lot of years to 'forget' their deliciousness.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: djwahine

                                                                                                                                                      We ate at Mediterraneo yesterday. The service is excellent, very friendly wait staff, always checking the table to clear the small plates you have finished. The food was excellent, except the anchovies, too fishey for everyones taste!!! The calamari (Tapa Valencia) was excellent stewed with red peppers, tomatoes, onions, red wine, & served with focacia. The Chorizo al Vino was also delicious. The Polpette are good, not great. The sauce was nice with the focacia and olive oil. The Bistec was delicious served med. rare w/ tomatoes, onions and blue cheese. The Baba Ghanouch is excellent, nice lemony flavor. The roasted beet salad was good, needed more beets. The Chefs Meat Plate is delicious, nice variety sopprasata, saucisson, & chorizo soria. We usually get the roasted dates, but at this point we were stuffed. If you like Tapas this is a must try place.

                                                                                                                                                      73 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

                                                                                                                                                    3. Nancy's 1550 S Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo breakfast,lunch or dinner 24-7

                                                                                                                                                      1. Darren's in Manhattan Beach, really adventurous and well executed menu. I have to second Cafe Boogaloo. Try the short ribs, whih melt in your mouth, and they have the best bartenders in the South Bay so order a drink and enjoy.

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gph2os

                                                                                                                                                          I wholeheartedly agree with your suggestions, only I might add if your at Cafe Boogaloo and feeling adventurous, try one their jalapeno vodka infusion. I also love Darren's, their bartender is amazing.

                                                                                                                                                          In regards to past suggestions I also love Lido Bakery, and Ocean Diner both for baked goodies and Ocean Diner for breakfast.

                                                                                                                                                          I would only add for "nicer dinner's":
                                                                                                                                                          Brix in Hermosa (New American)
                                                                                                                                                          Catalina Ristorante- In Redondo Beach (New American)
                                                                                                                                                          La Sosta- In hermosa Beach (Italian)

                                                                                                                                                          Supposedly Chez Malange found a new location in Redondo Beach and is going to give their menu a face lift along with the new location.

                                                                                                                                                        2. Reed's is out of bsns, to be replaced by Open Sesame, conceivably an offshoot of the Belmont Shores Middle Eastern

                                                                                                                                                          1. New location for the Chez: http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_10423959

                                                                                                                                                            We are in dire need of good new restaurants here in the SB, but until anything exciting opens, my standbys are:

                                                                                                                                                            Gina Lee's Bistro - perfect in every way for the $$.
                                                                                                                                                            Christine's - very good.
                                                                                                                                                            Musha - crowded izakaya but awesome dishes including the cheesy baguette, torched-at-table mackerel, kimchi pork, and the udon vongole is to die for.
                                                                                                                                                            Tofu House (by the Gable House Bowl) - excellent soontubu.
                                                                                                                                                            CJ's Pantry -the best eggs benedict ever for the 15 years I've been going there for breakfast.
                                                                                                                                                            Bottle Inn - comfortable like your favorite sweater - and they treat you nice.
                                                                                                                                                            El Torito Grill - so sue me, it's a chain but the food is exceptional.
                                                                                                                                                            Szechwan on Sepulveda in MB - old and stereotypical but reliable and they make good cocktails.
                                                                                                                                                            El Rocoto on Artesia next to 99-Ranch market - Peruvian with an emphasis on seafood, huge portions, and a Chinese section on the menu!
                                                                                                                                                            Punta Sal - Peruvian hole-in-the-wall on PCH in Torrance with good food.
                                                                                                                                                            Both El Rocoto and Punta Sal are head and shoulders above the icky El Pollo Inkas.
                                                                                                                                                            Pho Hana on Hawthorne Blvd in Torrance - another dingy hole-in-the-wall but way-tasty pho.
                                                                                                                                                            Annapurna Garden on Hawthorne in Lawndale - not your typical tandoori/Northern Indian. It's Southern Indian. Quirky but great buffet and fabulous fresh dosas - free with the buffet.
                                                                                                                                                            Next to Annapurna in the same strip mall is a Peruvian place with a $10 weekday buffet - pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                            I haven't found a dim sum place to replace the Regal Palace in its heyday.
                                                                                                                                                            Korean food in the SB is dead, unfortunately.

                                                                                                                                                            1. Agree with above posters re. Addi's Tandoor and Mediterraneo. Yum. I also like Riviera Grill, especially their salsa, margaritas & chile rellenos.
                                                                                                                                                              Unlike folks above, I would not recommend:
                                                                                                                                                              Szechuan -- I had been there many times, but maybe 2 years ago they must have come under new management b/c we had bad food there twice & never went back.
                                                                                                                                                              Coyote Cantina -- Went there twice after it was recommended to me. All I can figure is it's the tequilas & bar scene that people like, because the salsa was awful & the food just mediocre.
                                                                                                                                                              LBJ's (wasn't actually recommended above) -- Always, always has a line. However, the unobvious explanation must be that the service is just so slow.
                                                                                                                                                              Petros -- Husband & I must be the only people who don't like it, based on rave reviews by both press & foodie boards. Found it pretentious...a second tier resto trying hard to pass itself off as first tier. Way overpriced for the food & service received. Too bad, because they have a great location.

                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: WeightWatchersNot

                                                                                                                                                                Have you tried Arturo's on Western and PCH? They serve up some really good Mexican. It has been around for a LONG time, since I was a kid. They have some great spicy salsa, I'm hooked on the chicken tamales right now. My husband loves the chili verde.

                                                                                                                                                                25720 Western Ave, Harbor City, CA 90710

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Joe Blowe

                                                                                                                                                                    Well, that post was 4 years ago. You ought to give it a try, their sauces are GREAT. I never order the tacos or combo's, always the specialties. Never been disappointed in those. Yes the decor is truly bizarre very authentic 70's. To each his own!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: WeightWatchersNot

                                                                                                                                                                  went to coyote cantina a few weeks ago.
                                                                                                                                                                  food was beyond awful.
                                                                                                                                                                  stick to the drinks if you must set foot in the place.

                                                                                                                                                                2. WOW! Thanks jlrobe for the list of your favorites in South Bay!
                                                                                                                                                                  I'm always in the South Bay area and never know what to get.
                                                                                                                                                                  It's always the same old thing. CPK, Red Robin or Chili's.
                                                                                                                                                                  This is a big help. Thanks a bunch! :~)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Only 1 rec for tacos in the South Bay? really?

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggietales

                                                                                                                                                                      I like the tacos at Luna y Sol in Torrance/Gardena. The sign in front says Tacos Mexicali, which is kind of confusing the first time I found it. They make their own flour and corn tortillas. They are located in a strip mall on the southeast corner of artesia blvd and van ness ave.

                                                                                                                                                                      Luna y Sol
                                                                                                                                                                      2140 Artesia Blvd, N
                                                                                                                                                                      Torrance, 90504

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: vec

                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks! I really judge a taco joint by their salsa and meat options.

                                                                                                                                                                        I'll check it out tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Veggietales

                                                                                                                                                                        Los Paisas on Western has been very good. If they still have their outdoor grill running weekends I'll report back (have an excuse to visit tomorrow).
                                                                                                                                                                        Second La Cueva near the Artesia/Hawthorne/RB Blvd Triangle of Gridlock, very small parking lot in back. The GC lot is much bigger.

                                                                                                                                                                        Los Paisas
                                                                                                                                                                        21168 S Western Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

                                                                                                                                                                      3. Guilliano's for deli sammiches.

                                                                                                                                                                        I fancy Gaetano's on PCH and Crenshaw in Torrance for a filling Italian meal. Free corkage with Winestyles wine. Friendly waitstaff too, and I love their spumoni.

                                                                                                                                                                        Mitsuwa for Ramen, or Matsui(almost next door) in Torrance, for a quick bowl of Udon.

                                                                                                                                                                        TNT Hotwings in San Pedro for a flavorful but hot, wing. And a tender brisket.
                                                                                                                                                                        Baubouch next door for belly dancing, and Morrocan dinner. Sometimes there's some coupons in ....oh i don't know the name of the flyer that make it really affordable.
                                                                                                                                                                        I've not lived here long so I haven't found a great mexican restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                        El Pollo Inka...it's a small chain and doesn't compare to Mario' but to each their own.

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pezzy

                                                                                                                                                                          I'll second Gaetanos. It's standard italian fare, good portions, fair pricing, and decent service. I don't know what it is about their marinara sauce, but it's addicting. And, I'm a sucker for spaghetti with garlic and oil too, and they serve it as a side dish (called spaghetti stefano) with many other dishes... yum yum. And, it doesn't surprise me that you like Guillanos (Hawthorne and Carson?) because they're owned by the same family.

                                                                                                                                                                          I personally didn't Babouch wias worth the money, even with the coupon. I'd rather drive to LA and do some of the Moroccan restaurants up there. And, the belly dancing, was more like saggy gut dancing (which does not stimulate my appetite at all).

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DrBruin

                                                                                                                                                                            Babouch, totally agree with your opinion, yucky.
                                                                                                                                                                            Valentino's in M.B. has excellent Italian sandwiches, partly due to the homemade rolls. Their pizzas are really tasty but best eaten asap. Also, Portside Deli (used to be Dino's) in Rancho Palos Verdes (really it's still San Pedro to me) has tasty sandwiches like prosciutto/fontina, turkey, meatball.

                                                                                                                                                                            Valentino's Pizza
                                                                                                                                                                            975 N Aviation Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DrBruin

                                                                                                                                                                              Haha, yeah the belly dancing is gut dancing which is sorta funny.

                                                                                                                                                                              A few more that have already been mentioned but I'll throw my hat in the ring with more recommendations for:

                                                                                                                                                                              Kotosh in Lomita on Lomita. It's Japanese/Peruvian food. The ceviche is excellent and has garlic in it which makes it different from of the other Peruvian ceviche's I've tried. The house roll looks plain but is sooo flavorful and the fish is very fresh, and good cuts. Also, this roll is quite large so even though you only get 4 it is quite filling.

                                                                                                                                                                              Il Chianti, which is also in Lomita is a Japanese Italian chain from Japan. It's an interesting take on Italian and the seafood was quite fresh when I went. I had the potatoes agratin and tuna tartare for an appetizer. Yum.

                                                                                                                                                                              Seafood Kappo, is a little bit on the pricier side but the sushi is extremely fresh, authentic and they actually have real wasabi (not horse radish) which I've not seen outside of Beverly Hills.

                                                                                                                                                                              Tapas Mezza was also superb, I had lunch on the weekend and ordered a bunch of tapas and immensely enjoyed a majority of them. The restaurant also is nicely decorated and is supposed to have a fantastic happy hour (which I've not tried).

                                                                                                                                                                          2. For healthy eating, I recomend Fitness Grill in Brea. They serve pizza on whole wheat crust.

                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dinestar1

                                                                                                                                                                              Brea's not a part of the South Bay... is it?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttermarblepopcorn

                                                                                                                                                                                Burnt Tortilla..all 3 of them
                                                                                                                                                                                Kawafuku / Kotohira
                                                                                                                                                                                Fukugawa...japanese breakfast
                                                                                                                                                                                El Ricoto
                                                                                                                                                                                etc.....as all the other mentioned and have not been mentioned repeatedly in th above posts. My family and I have sat in our car trying to decide where to go many a saturady and sunday as most of these places and many more not mentioned are within a 5 mile radius of my house...

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: flylice2x

                                                                                                                                                                                  Everytime I go to Rascals, they seem to be closed. Do you go for the teriyaki bowls or the chinese chicken salad?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DrBruin

                                                                                                                                                                                    Dr. BruinThe Rascals at Western and Redondo Beach Blvd is the ONLY one to go to. The one on Torrance Blvd is not even as 1/2 as good. Also you HAVE to go at Lunch time only when its busy. You can smell the meat grilling in the parking lot ( seriously )The combo with meat/rice/ chinese chcken salad it my way to go.. Big plate served in a stroyfoam box.. Yumm..

                                                                                                                                                                                    Rascals Eat In-Take Out
                                                                                                                                                                                    15482 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90249

                                                                                                                                                                            2. This topic seems to still be going, so I'll add a few that I don't think I saw in this mega-thread.

                                                                                                                                                                              Naja's Place on Redondo Beach Pier for their completely awesome beer selection.

                                                                                                                                                                              New York Deli 2 on Sepulveda Blvd in Torrance -- Everyone talks up Guiliano's but this place is waaaay better IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                              Tapioca Express on Artesia in Gardena/Harbor Gateway area -- I think recently they changed their name to Tapioca & Pho, but these guys make probably the best Banh Mi in the South Bay, and have a great selection of other dishes too.

                                                                                                                                                                              TapaMeze on Manhattan Beach Blvd in Manhattan Beach -- Excellent selection of tapas, and good regular menu. I haven't been to their happy hour yet, but have heard good things about it.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: weirdboy

                                                                                                                                                                                Tapa Meze - truly a nightmare. Granted we haven't returned since just after they opened. Was that because it took 45 minutes to serve 4 wine flights? Or because THE OWNER TOLD US HE WAS FIRING OUR SERVER. No apology, nothing comped, just that she'll be gone, please come back. BTW - the wine flights took so long because the owner insisted that they use an idiotic tree that holds glasses all on different angles, then didn't have the right fitted glasses, so they tipped and spilled, and the poor ditzy waitress was trying and trying to make it work (stupid, yes, but stupid hired stupid...), and the bartender was too busy chatting up the TWO - countem TWO barflys - so he couldn't pour our wine.

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, on to the food. Really mediocre. Nothing fresh, nothing special. EH! For tapas, spend the money, sit on the patio at Petros, and relax. Just don't go for dinner unless you like tight, loud spaces with minimal service.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: SB foodie

                                                                                                                                                                                  Tapa Meze is no longer. Really too bad since the Happy Hour, esp. $5 martinis on Fridays was fabulous. Granted....food wasn't chowhound worthy but still...what a deal!

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I'd like to add a few:

                                                                                                                                                                                *La Capilla in Old Torrance. Amazing, old fashioned mexican food. The tortilla soup is to die for

                                                                                                                                                                                *Mexican Riviera- in Torrance, on PCH and Anza. Really good mexican food to take out. Giant wet Burritos that you can have made with chicken breast and steak (instead of shredded chicken or beef)

                                                                                                                                                                                *Chaba Thai- S. Redondo Beach on PCH

                                                                                                                                                                                *Marcy's Ice Cream- Torrance, old fashioned ice cream parlor, near Hawthorne & PCH intersection

                                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gotmlk135

                                                                                                                                                                                  La Capilla is amazing? No. Good? Yes. Almost all of the sit down Mexican restaurants in the South Bay taste the same. Just pick a location nearby, become a regular, and don't worry that you may be missing something special on the other side of town. However, there are a few taco trucks and muy authentico joints scattered about...

                                                                                                                                                                                  Marcy's is out of business.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Joe Blowe

                                                                                                                                                                                    There's a very good take out place, just a few tables, at a place in Hermosa Beach, Brother's Burritos. There's a menu of items and they will customize your burritos(two to an order), bowls or salads. Their "hot" salsa is and it's so tasty. Nice, nice people who own and work the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Brother's Burritos
                                                                                                                                                                                    24 11th St, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Joe Blowe

                                                                                                                                                                                      One can argue that most sit down Mexican restaurants taste the same. In any case, the tortilla soup at La Capilla is a cut above the rest.

                                                                                                                                                                                      And I can't believe that Marcys finally went out of biz. How sad!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mstinawu

                                                                                                                                                                                        I wish i could find someplace that has cake batter ice cream that is as good as theirs was.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Years of talk and no mention of Glacier? They have outstanding ice cream (with lots of elaborate flavors, but I like the simpler ones the best) and gelato and very tasty house-made waffle bowls. They also usually have sugar-cane sodas -- Mexican Coca-Cola, for example -- in the cooler.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Glacier Ice Cream & Gelato
                                                                                                                                                                                      1605 N Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. all this talk with no mention of the very best ayce deal in the entire LA basin? BOMBAY GROCERY on pch near oak. terrific indian food for (iirc) $6.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                          il chianti
                                                                                                                                                                                          sue's kitchen

                                                                                                                                                                                          my favorites!

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. havana mania on inglewood and manhattan
                                                                                                                                                                                          mon night happy hour till 9- 1/2 off apps and $3 mojitos( REAL MOjitoS)

                                                                                                                                                                                          not sure the name but sushi on cabrillo in old torrance across the street from La Capilla
                                                                                                                                                                                          they have a little fish tank with live sweet shrimp- this is where grandma and grandpa eat!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KurlyFry

                                                                                                                                                                                            i'd like to add ramen california to my list of my favorites in this area. when it isnt hot, we probably go there 1-2 times a week. and as of right now, ortega 120 has the best mexican in this area even if it is more "modern" and such. though i agree there are other good ones in the area. i also like sue's kitchen and pho hong long next to el camino college,