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Real food around Hollywood and Highland?

I'm wondering if there's any Chow-worthy food with walking distance of Hollywood and Highland. The only places I can recall from the board are Vert and Musso and Frank. I don't remember many from staying there 2 years ago either.

I'm planning to stay there for 3 days without a car and would like to be able to walk to good food, as well as take the subway or bus to it. I'm interested in places where food is more important than scene (if there's scene, fine, but I'm here for the food). Pretty much any cuisine except Indian, all price brackets below the most expensive. Breakfast is the most important meal--I'm likeliest to be around for that, followed by dinner, then lunch. I'm thinking roughly the area bounded by Gardner on the west, Vine on the east, Franklin on the north, Santa Monica on the south.

There are motels near the Hollywood & Western subway station, which has got to be better chow-wise, but I wonder about safety on foot at night. Similarly with Vermont/Sunset, which is also getting to be a bit far east of theatres, museums, and such.

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  1. Here are a few suggestions:

    Skooby's - great hot dog stand right across from Musso and Frank; amazing fries
    Lucky Devils - high end burgers and frozed custard shakes just east of M&F
    Hungry Cat -seafood, great drinks, in the Borders comples at Sunset and Vine

    2 Replies
    1. re: sku

      All I can say about The Hungry Cat, without going into a diatribe, is: meh, completely overrated with a small, poorly executed menu, and servers who know nothing about food and/or wine.

      1. re: yinyangdi

        I respectfully disagree as I have yet to have a bad meal at Hungry Cat. I haven't ever had wine because their cocktails are so awesome. My only complaint is how pricey it can get if you let it.

    2. In the Kodak theater complex on that corner, there are several good restaurants like Spago's, another excellent Italian place, and another favorite of mine is the Daily grill for excellent calves liver or meatloaf, as well as, several more places. All serve lunch and dinner. I usually rotate among the three I mentioned, but can not pass up the liver, since it is on so few menues these days. I suspect a good breakfast can be had at the Daily Grill, but not sure, since I don't eat breakfast unless it is included with the stay at the Renaissance Hotel, which is part of that entertainment complex. Great buffett breakfast with a lot of fresh fruit, made to order omelets, pastries, etc. Good portions and Attentive service at all the places mentioned. I was not very impressed with the Japanese place, since the portions were small! But very busy.
      Hope this helps you get fed a decent meal. I hope this helps you get a good meal.
      There is a Hambuger Hamlet on the south side of Hollywood east of Highland.

      The area you outline is not the liveliest and there is not a whole lot places. You have to go down Highland or LaBrea a ways to get to some better places. When I stay at the hotel, the places I mentioned above are my favorites and VERY conveninent, so there is no need to go driving around to find other places, and parking spots.
      Can you believe, that 40 years ago Hollywood Blvd and Highland was the center of LA activity before it moved to Westwood and then the westside beach communities? I lived further down Hollywoood Blvd past Western Ave. There are a lot of Thai restaurants around there now. One is suppose to be outstanding.
      I would not recommend walking around late at nite.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nutrition

        It's actually not a Daily Grill, it's owned by Grill Concepts (they own Daily Grill and The Grill in on the Alley in Beverly Hills), and it's called The Grill in Hollywood. It's on the expensive side and they don't serve breakfast.

        There is no Spago there, but a Wolfgang Puck owned place called Vert. We happen to love Vert but there are a reasonable amount of detractors here.

        There is a new crepe place in the H&H complex (more like fast food) but really good and fresh stuff. Savory and sweet crepes, big menu. I like Lucky Devils, which someone else mentioned too.

        BTW, the Hamburger Hamlet is now closed.

      2. Well, you could always take the Red Line to Koreatown... or to Langer's (which is practically atop the Westlake/MacArthur Park station). Bear in mind that in deference to the neighbourhood (MacArthur Park is frightening in the dark...) Langer's closes quite early.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Correction... bloody MTA... take the Red Line to the Purple Line for Koreatown. It used all to be the Red Line, then they decided part of it was purple.

        2. Dessert treat: Beard Papa's in the H&H complex. Fresh cream puffs that will blow your mind.
          Nice dining: Dakota in the Roosevelt Hotel across from the Chinese Theater.
          Decent chinese: Kung Pao Kitty
          Sloppy BBQ: Huston's Pit BBQ

          1. If you're willing to take the bus, I'd go east down Hollywood to Thai Town for some fun Thai places (Red Corner Asia and Ruen Pair are two favorites in the same strip mall complex near Hollywood/Hobart). I live in the area and don't find it sketchy at night, as long as you're smart. You could also take the red line to Sunset/Vermont and walk up a block or so to Los Feliz. This area is not sketchy either. I like Cobras and Matadors (spanish tapas) on Hollywood at Vermont, and there's a great taco place across the street (Casa Diaz), with excellent carnitas. There's a fun bookstore and movie theater on Vermont as well, so it's a great area at night.

            Closer to your hotel, I second the Hungry Cat recommendation, especially if you're in the mood for a decadent brunch. And if you're in town over Sunday morning, you should swing by the Hollywood Farmers' Market.

            1 Reply
            1. re: eriny

              Actually, the Red Line stops at Hollywood and Western -- it's just a two-block walk to Ruen Pair from there.

            2. I'm sure you know Pink's.!!! Too far ?? I'd think that be your forte - near the intersection of Melrose Avenue and N. La Brea - 709 N. La Brea Blvd., What about: "Uzbekistan" 7077 Sunset Blvd. 323-464-3663 - I've never been however, it sounds good. Any one know?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Kitchen Queen

                I was at Uzbekistan about 10 years ago. It was good and I remember the Borscht was wonderful.

                1. re: rantsnravesnreviews

                  I was there a couple of years ago and the dumplings were fantastic. Gotta go back.

              2. I really like 25 Degrees in the Roosevelt Hotel across the street from Hollywood and Highland. It's an upscale burger place like Lucky Devil's but the food is completely different (I like Lucky Devil's too but I think that the fries are better at 25 Degrees.)

                I'm one of those people who really like Hungry Cat. It's great for solo diners because they have a counter/bar.

                Besides Ruen Pair, there is Sapp Coffee Shop (opens at around 7-7:30 am if you want a Thai breakfast) and Sanamlaung further east on Hollywood (about a block and a half from Ruen Pair). I was in that area Thurs night and I was walking alone to and from my car and didn't see any potential problems. It's quite busy around the center that contains Ruen Pair and Red Corner Asia so there are lots of people around seeking out good eats.


                1 Reply
                1. re: Bon Vivant

                  I've had a fair amount of Thai food, but never a Thai breakfast--what would that be?

                2. This is helpful, chowhounds. You've accumulated more good places than I feared. I've wanted to go to Uzbekistan (the restaurant)--I've never had Uzbek food. On the other hand, Eriny, your reply makes me think I should stay over by Thai Town, though the motels there aren't as nice. It's good to hear you don't think that area (or Vermont/Sunset) is too sketchy at night, presumably Thai Town brings people onto the street until late.

                  I do expect to be in town over Sunday morning, actually Friday noontime-Monday morning.

                  I'm perfectly willing to take the bus, but not all buses are created equal, especially at night The Sunset and Fairfax buses are pretty frequent, though the Fairfax bus is mighty slow. Pink's might work during the day, but at night the La Brea bus pretty much turns into a pumpkin.

                  1. My 2 cents (sorry, the Pink's rec pushed me over the edge : )

                    There are many choices for eating in that 'hood, with great food for all budgets w/in walking or train distance of H'wood/Highland - just walk east along Hollywood into Thai Town. Sounds like you know the deal w/ L.A. buses; of course, with the Red Line there, the world's your, er, oyster. Do searches on the Red Line threads, as well as Hollywood threads.

                    [In response to your other concerns (briefly): I would not book a motel around there sight-unseen in that area, unless it's an expensive chain. As for safety, it's a "big city" like any other, so just be smart, as someone pointed out. Don't look like a rich, clueless tourist, don't frequent alleys or dark areas, etc.]

                    1. I also think that Magnolia's is a good choice. Good solid food. Nice people. Nice patio in the back. It can become a "scene" a bit later in the evening, but it's one of the better places in the area.

                      1. I also recommend Los Balcones de Peru on Vine 1 block south of Sunset. Great Peruvian food. You can also take the Red line to Hollywood and Western and be close to Thai town.

                        25 degrees and Lucky Devil's are both really good. The pecan milkshake at Lucky Devil's is amazing. Can't think of any great breakfast places around there. We'd go to Mel's Diner sometimes. It's decent.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Slackerchick

                          Thanks for this. I'm interested in all the recommendations except Mel's--LA's got way too much good food to settle for Mel's.

                        2. Yeah, Mel's isn't great, but weirdly, there aren't that many breakfast places around H&H, and it was the only one I could think of that was walking distance. But if that new crepe place is open for breakfast, that could be worth a shot.

                          1. I live a couple blocks from there, and due to my touristy address always have friends stopping by who then want to wander around for a bite before hitting the sites or clubs. I've pretty much tried it all, and would say most of the recs are good ones, but that's pretty much to be expected from any Chowhound thread. My choices to single out, however...

                            25 Degrees at the Roosevelt, consistently great, and open till 2am, get your burgers and split the fries/onion rings. If you just want fries, Skooby's is my pick. Sometimes I saunter down just for that. And I'm not usually a saunterer...

                            Mussels at Vert, Fantastic Cocktails at Hungry Cat, decent affordable sushi at Shintaro's on Franklin and Highland, Fish and Chips and draft ales at the Cat and Fiddle, a pub with nice outdoor patio just south on Sunset, and Bella on las palmas and Hollywood for great Calamari and a more than decent Osso Bucco. Good southern, if a bit higher end at Memphis. For breakfast I would say flannel cakes at Mussio & Frank's and huevos rancheros, etc at Dos Burritos.

                            And if you're drinking, and want no attitude or bouncer issues, go to the Beauty Bar, Boardner's, the divey Powerhouse and The Well (near the Magnolia and Bowery joints)


                            1. For breakfast, you might try the 101 Cafe. It's a coffee shop in the Best Western located on Franklin between Gower & Argyle. It would be less than a 10-minute walk from the Red Line stop at Hollywood & Vine.

                              1. Vert and Musso & Frank's are both good. Loggia is OK (Wolfgang's Tapas place) & I think the Shabu-Shabu place at H&H is good, too -- and healthy. I've heard good things about Twist in the Renaissance but have not been. I think Off Vine is also within the area you specified... as is a Hamlet which is always safe for breakfast or lunch and Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles is in the hood, too (a true experience - especially in the wee hours). Actually there is a lot of food in the area you define...Just beware - busses in LA are nothing like busses in most other major cities and I would rather stick to the Metroline or my own two feet in Hollywood personally...