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Informal Los Angeles Area "Must Order" List

Because I'm tired of waiting for the Chowhound engineers to finally release their local wiki upgrade, I decided to start a thread that I hope would contain what are considered "must orders". Cuisine, cost, availability, etc, not withstanding.

This is not a best-of each food type, meaning that it shouldn't be limited to one burger or one pizza entry (lord knows we don't have a consensus in that regard). It's more meant to be a best-of each restaurant.

Please post whatever you feel is appropriate. By the time the local wiki shows up, we can just copy and paste.

I'll start:

1. Nem nuong cuon (spring rolls) - Brodard (Garden Grove)
2. Chorizo and cheese taco - Tacos Por Favor (Santa Monica)
3. Shio ramen - Santouka (Los Angeles/Torrance)
4. Mole negro - Guelagetza (Los Angeles)
5. Mole negro - Monte Alban (Los Angeles)
6. Seasonal Strawberry/Peach Donut - Donut Man (Glendora)
7. Hand-cut pastrami - Langers (Los Angeles)

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  1. Chiles en nogado--Babita (San Gabriel)
    Boat noodles--Sapp Coffee Shop (Hollywood)

    1. Filet Mignon--Ruth Chris's
      Soy bean milk and fried Chinese donut--Yung Ho (Rosemead)
      Pastrami--Langer's (Los Angeles)
      Beef Noodle Soup & Scallion pancakes--Dumpling House (Rosemead)

      1. fried chicken wings -- Pann's
        beef soup with hand cut noodles -- Mandarin Noodle House

        1. Chicken chili verde tamale - Gallego's Mexican Deli
          Juicy pork dumplings - Din Tai Fung
          Roasted dates with bacon and parmesan - A.O.C.
          Ahi tuna, pine nuts, cucumber, toast appetizer (off menu) - Orris
          Porridge - Doughboy's
          Pan fried catfish - 5'0" (Laguna Beach)
          Homemade flour tortillas - Paco's
          Lemon hazelnut merengue torte - Rose Cafe
          Gigi salad - The Palm
          Corned beef - Magee's (3rd and Fairfax Farmer's Market)
          Mashed potatoes - Melisse
          Original Royale (char sui/portugese sausage omlette on rice)- Rutt's Hawaiian Cafe

          With some sushi from Sushi Zo those would also be my "deserted island" choices.

          1. Hudade Combo_ Rahel in Fairfax

            Chanpon- Kyushu Ramen in Van Nuys

            Fried Cauliflower thingy disn(not the name, I forget what)- Woodlands Pure in Artesia or Chatsworth

            Chocolate chip cookie- Leda's bake Shop

            Nan sampler -Gungadin

            Potent Sweet Potato- Hugo's Riverside or West Hollywood

            Special Gnocci of the day, pizza bread -Angeli Caffe in West Hollywood.

            Ginger Rosewater Ice Cream - Mashti Malone's Glendale or Hollywood

            Any pizza on Friday Pizza Night- Follow Your Heart in Caonga Park

            #13 Salad - O Dae San in Koreatown

            Stuffed Tomato or Orange (not really and orange or tomato-refers to fish color)- Sushi House of Taka in Sherman Oaks

            Biscuits and Lemon Curd Pancakes (any pancake really)- John O' Groats

            1. I guess based on earlier posts...

              French Onion Soup - Doughboys (Los Angeles)
              Xiao Long Bao - J & J (San Gabriel)

              1. Pumpkin gnocchi or ravioli at ZUCCA

                Crab cakes at WATER GRILL

                Chocolate souffle at LA CACHETTE

                The eel and grilled octopus at SUSHI IKE

                The salmon at BONEYARD BISTRO

                The xlb at J&J

                Ravioli with carbonara at LA BUCA

                Banana pancakes at BLUJAM CAFE

                The abalone at SEAFOOD HARBOUR

                The sesame and green onion bread at CHINA ISLAMIC

                The crab tempura at MAKO

                The sausage at SIN BA LA

                The dumplings at LUSCIOUS DUMPLINGS

                Crab salad at R23

                The steamed clams at CANALE

                Grilled calamari at PICCOLO

                The toro at SASABUNE

                Mac & Cheese at NOOK

                The quail eggs with fried tofu at TRIUMPHAL PALACE

                The deep-fried prawn balls w/duck egg yolk at MISSION 261

                The roasted elk at SADDLE PEAK LODGE

                The corn pizza at ZELO

                The stinky tofu at MY WAY DELI

                The fish broth soup at SEAFOOD VILLAGE

                The rotisserie chicken (for 2) at MELISSE

                The Hainan chicken rice at SAVOY KITCHEN

                The chicken enchiladas with mole at BABITA

                The brown sugar rice cake at YUM CHA CAFE

                The lamb kebab at SPITZ

                The chocolate wasabi ice cream at SCOOPS

                The rotisserie chicken at CAFE PINOT

                Tripe at SOOT BULL JEEP

                3 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  The crab cakes at Water Grill had nice big lumps of crab in there, sure, but everything else about it was pretty boring, I thought.

                    1. re: mollyomormon

                      I agree. The best crab cakes tend to be the ones that have the least amount of fuss (mostly crab and some seasoning).

                2. Tres Moles anything - La Casita Mexicana
                  Sausage AND Eggplant pie - Casa Bianca
                  Sheng Jian Bao - Kang Kang Food Court
                  Meatball Sub - Dino's Pizza
                  Torta Cubana - Dona Rosa Cafe
                  Carrot cake & PBJ cupcakes - Oinkster

                  1. Cha Gio - Golden Deli and Vietnam House (San Gabriel)
                    Egg salad sandwich - Europane Bakery (Pasadena)
                    Lemon Bars - Auntie Em's (Eagle Rock)
                    Empanadas - Empanada Gourmet and Pizza (Monrovia)
                    Petrillo's Speciality Pizza - Petrillo's (San Gabriel)
                    Hoagies - Lee's Hoagie House (Pasadena)
                    Fried chicken and Collard greens - Big Mama's Rib Shack and Soul Food (Pasadena)
                    Breakfast burrito - Lucky Boy's (Pasadena)
                    Chicken Pot Pies (recommend that they're purchased to go) - Moffett's Chicken Pie Shoppe (Arcadia)
                    Cheesesteak sandwich - Luigi Ortega's (Pasadena)

                    1. Torta cubana - El Gallo Hiro
                      Rib-eye - 555 East (Long Beach)
                      Clam chowder - Lasher's (Long Beach)
                      Mojitos - Catal (Downtown Disney - Anaheim)
                      Mole negro - Monte Alban (L.A.)
                      Cuban Roast Pork - Versailles
                      Flour-less Chocolate torte - Off Vine (Hollywood)
                      Duck in orange sauce - L'Orangerie (RIP)
                      Pulled pork (sauce is lacking, tho) - Lucille's

                      1. Ribeye - Jar
                        Filet - Ruth's Chris
                        Whole fish - Lucques
                        Tagliatelle Fume - La Buca
                        Gnocchi in gorgonzola sauce - Valentino
                        Dahi chicken - Chutney's
                        Eggplant parm sandwich - Victor Jr.'s
                        Chinese chicken salad - Feast From The East
                        Chinese chicken salad - California Chicken Cafe
                        House blend salad - 26 Beach Cafe
                        2 authentic tacos, 1 shrimp taco - Sky's Tacos
                        Open faced tuna melt - Lemon Moon
                        Rare roast beef - Clementine
                        Chicken salad melt - Bluebird
                        Prosciutto omelette - Cora's
                        Chocolate croissant - Susina
                        Cappucino gelato - Al Gelato

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ddyouandme

                          Two chinese chicken salads you should try:

                          The Diane salad from Green Street Cafe in Pasadena
                          And (believe it or not) the chinese chicken salad at Jacopo's (take-out place in Beverly Hills and, I think, the Palisades). In my opinion far better than the Feast from the East salad (though that one is still good and enormous).

                          I should have added both of these to my list.

                        2. So far, off the top of my head:

                          Mac & Cheese or the Fries Trio @ Magnolia on Lake (Pasadena)
                          Xiaolongbaos @ J&J
                          Gourmet Doughnut Plate @ Grace
                          Farmer's Market Prix-Fixe and Truffle Fries @ Josie
                          Monday Night Prix-Fixe @ Jiraffe's
                          Mojitos @ O-Bar
                          Afternoon Tea Set @ Scarlet Tea Room
                          Toasted Pecan Frozen Custard Shake @ Lucky Devil's
                          Millenium Dog @ Pink's
                          Pear Tart Tatin and Berry Blossom Cake @ Susina's Bakery
                          Butterscotch Budino with Rosemary-Pine Nut Cookies @ Mozza
                          Spring Bouquet cake and macarons @ Jin Patisserie
                          Tres Leches cake @ Perfectly Sweet (Alhambra)


                          1. Chocolate Chip Chocolate Cupcakes with White Icing - COOKIE CASA
                            White Chocolate Bread - BREADBAR
                            Habanero Salsa - MALO
                            Crab Salad - ORRIS
                            Buratta Pizza - MOZZA
                            Tomato Dip with Bread - PURAN'S
                            Shrimp and Grits - NOOK
                            Lobster Ravioli - GIORGIO BALDI
                            Smores Dessert - BOA
                            Salad Bar - MRS. WINSTONS
                            Homemade Flour Tortillas - PACOS
                            Chocolate White Chocolate Raspberry Cookie - DELUSCIOUS COOKIES

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: bruinike

                              Sounds like you'd LOVE the White Chocolate Rasberry Scone at Rockenwagner Bakery... Hmmm!!!

                              1. re: Dommy

                                Thank you for the tip! Sounds right up my alley. Will try and stop by this weekend

                            2. Any of the deserts and a french-press coffee at Providence

                              Bacon-wrapped hotdog & a watermelon juice at the Studio City Farmer's Market

                              An artisinal cocktail and french-fries at Hungry Cat

                              Sashimi at Asanebo

                              Baba Ganouj at Skaf's

                              Pad Kee Mao at Krua Thai

                              Salsa & Chips at Tony's

                              Rice Pudding at Akbar in Venice

                              Salumi du jour at Mozza

                              1. Number 19 - Langers
                                Soft Shell Crab (seasonal) - Providence
                                Slippery Shrimp - Yang Chow
                                Super Mule Burrito - Gilberts El Indio
                                Any lamb dish at Joes
                                Catfish - Chinois

                                1. Lardo Pizza - Mozza
                                  Chorizo-stuffed dates - Primitivo
                                  Burrata, tomato and speck appetizer - La Buca
                                  Passion Fruit with basil seed and soymilk dessert - Providence
                                  Chorizo and Lamb Baco - Opus
                                  Salmon croquette - Orris
                                  Amusing burger - Beechwood
                                  White choc raspberry scone and bacon cheddar scone - R Bakery/3 Square
                                  Clayuda con tres carnes - Guelaguetza
                                  Carne Asada Burrito - La Playita
                                  C + C tacos - Tacos Por Favor
                                  Al Pastor Tacos - Don Felix
                                  Spaghetti Mare (off menu)- La Vecchia
                                  Mac n' cheese - Violet (blows Nook right out of the water)
                                  Wild mushroom pizza - Abbot's
                                  Dim Sum - Empress Pavilion
                                  Roast Pork - Norman's (RIP)
                                  Fried Chicken - Musha
                                  BLT - Lucques
                                  Tater Tots - BLD
                                  Hamachi Croque Madame - Hatfield's
                                  White truffle pizza - Valentino
                                  Slow roasted pork - Wilson
                                  Polenta Cake- Ford's Filling Station
                                  Pain Au Chocolat - La Dijonaise
                                  Spanakopita/tiropita - Papa Christo
                                  Cheeseburger - Hinano
                                  Proscuitto Brie on Baguette - French Market Cafe
                                  Chicken Pesto Provelone panini - Il Tramezzino
                                  Godmother - Bay Cities Deli
                                  Another vote for Handmade Tortillas at Paco's
                                  Beet ravioli - Piccolo

                                  1. mee goreng - singapore's banana leaf
                                    saltado de camarones - mario's peruvian seafood
                                    huevos rancheros - cj's
                                    carne asada burrito, salsa verde on the side - el taurino
                                    chocolate marshmallow cupcake - joan's on third
                                    tahdig with 'half-and-half' khoresht - javan
                                    house special noodles - mei long village

                                    1. Shrimp taco at Tacos Baja Ensenada
                                      Spicy tuna handroll at Hirozen
                                      Dates w/ parmesan and bacon at AOC
                                      Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffle Cake w/ Rosemary Butterscotch Ice Cream at Hatfield's, which sounds like overkill, but is, in fact, AMAZING and not gross or heavy at all

                                      1. Updating...

                                        King crab legs with mustard butter - The Hungry Cat (Hollywood)
                                        Monkfish liver - Sushi Zo (West LA)
                                        Pork belly - Musha (Santa Monica and Torrance)
                                        Guinea fowl - Osteria Mozza (Mid-City)
                                        Bacon cheddar scone - Milk (Mid-City)
                                        Curried Lentils - Ford's Filling Station (Culver City)

                                        1. Must have been traveling the first time around --

                                          Yu Ysang Chicken at Hu's
                                          Westwood sandwich at Nate n Als
                                          Olio pasta at Axe (surprisingly simple but great)
                                          Buger at Father's Office (can't believe it's not on this list so far!)
                                          Penne Vodka at Locanda Portofino
                                          Chopped Salad at La Scala
                                          Carrot Cake at Alibi (the newly redone one)
                                          Gimlet at the Ivy at the Shore

                                          1. A few more:

                                            Biscuits and gravy - Pann's
                                            Duck - Warszawa
                                            Bread basket/apple pancake - 3 Square
                                            Fernando's burrito - Gilbert's El Indio
                                            Butterfish - Roy's
                                            Burger - Morton's (lunch only)
                                            Cornbread - Bandera
                                            Shrimp scampi - Mercedes Grille
                                            Scallop burrito - Senor Fish
                                            Grilled Romaine - Orris

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: mollyomormon

                                              So far the list quite comprehensive! Here are a few more:

                                              Braised Short Ribs - Lucques
                                              Breakfast Sandwich - BLD
                                              Cheese "plate" - A.O.C
                                              Italian Sub - "The Godmother" - Bay Cities
                                              Unauthentic Lobster Roll - Hungry Cat
                                              Dairy-Free Desserts - M Cafe de Chaya
                                              Burger - Father's Office
                                              Oysters - Quality Seafood
                                              Roasted then fried Potatoes! - Dominicks

                                              1. re: cecibean

                                                Caprese at Pizzarie Mozza
                                                Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwich at Campanile's Grilled Cheese thursdays
                                                Omakese at Ursawa or cheaper replacement
                                                The Cutting Board at La Sosta Enoteca, The Foundry, or A.O.C.
                                                sake sampler from bar hayama

                                            2. I've been reading this board forever (and btw - thanks for all the great foodie advice!), but this thread inspired me to join in the fun.

                                              1. Seared Toro - Sushi Sushi (BH)
                                              2. Albacore Sashimi w/ crispy onions - Sushi Dan (WeHo)
                                              3. Miso Eggplant - Buddha's Belly (LA)
                                              4. Tuna Burger (w/ extra spicy sauce on the side for the fries) - Buddha's Belly (LA)
                                              5. Afterschool Special - Doughboys
                                              6. Kobe Beef steak - Cut (yes, one steak for two people was $280, but sooo worth it)
                                              7. Portabello Burger - Lucky Devil's (H-wood)
                                              8. Chili Cheese Dog and Fries - Skooby's (H-wood) - okay, it's not Cincinnati's Skyline Chili, but it's pretty good.
                                              9. French Toast - Cobras Y Matadors (but order it with the churro chocolate sauce)
                                              10. Gold Shrimp - Genghis Cohen
                                              11. Turkey Minis - Genghis Cohen

                                              1. FOIE GRAS (JiRaffe)
                                                SPICY TUNA ON CRISPY RICE (Koi)
                                                COFFEE CAKE FRENCH TOAST (The Griddle)
                                                BURGER (Peninsula BH)
                                                CHOCOLATE GANACHE (Cut)
                                                LOBSTER RAVIOLI (Giorgio Baldi)
                                                ONION RINGS (The Grill)
                                                FISH QUESADILLA (La Serenata)
                                                RIBS (Houston's)
                                                BUTTER CAKE (Mastro's)

                                                1. BBQ sauce at JR BBQ on La Cienaga
                                                  Grilled Prime Rib Campanile
                                                  Butterscotch Pudding Jar
                                                  Peruvian Gnocchi Jiraffe
                                                  Mole Negro Monte Alban

                                                  1. Almost a year and the wiki still hasn't arrived. No matter, time to keep tacking onto the list:

                                                    Toro nigiri - Sushi Ike (Hollywood)
                                                    Green curry - Jitlada (Thai Town)
                                                    Pig candy - Lou (Hollywood)
                                                    Chicken thigh - Shinsengumi Yakitori (Gardena)
                                                    Banh mi - Banh Mi Cho Cu (Little Saigon)
                                                    Brown bread ice cream - Scoops (East Hollywood)

                                                    1. Fennel sausage, panna and red onion pizza, Pizzeria Mozza
                                                      Roast suckling pig, Mission 261
                                                      Saturday night porchetta, Angelini Osteria
                                                      Dry-aged porterhouse for two, Mastro's
                                                      Chicken tortilla soup, Tlapazola Grill

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: tritip

                                                        Sorry -- forgot the blue crab hand roll at Nozawa/Sasabune/Zo.

                                                      2. Only stuff eaten very recently:

                                                        35-day aged NY - Cut
                                                        Southern Slaw Dog (sub Kosher dog for regular dog) - The Stand
                                                        Whole Artichokes in Olive Oil - Bay Cities
                                                        Almond Chocolate Croissant - Breadbar
                                                        Cream Spinach - Baby Blue
                                                        35 day aged NY - Cut
                                                        Coconut Cupcake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting - Clementine
                                                        Tuna Tartar - Violet
                                                        Beef Rib - Baby Blue
                                                        Cole Slaw - Benny's BBQ
                                                        Buffalo Burger - Surfas Cafe
                                                        Sourdough roll - La Brea Bakery (as eaten at Peet's Coffee daily)
                                                        Cup of Coffee - Coffee Roaster (Ventura and Woodman-ish)
                                                        Brussels Sprouts in garlic, butter, anchovy sauce - Houston's
                                                        35 day aged NY - Cut
                                                        Cappuccino - Spago

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: la tache burger

                                                          Lemme guess, you went to Cut *a lot* recently. :D

                                                          I'd add some stuff from the Ludobites menu at Breadbar, but I'm guessing we're not going to see it for a while.

                                                        2. Sweetbreads
                                                          BASHAN (Glendale)

                                                          Braised Pork Belly
                                                          BASHAN (Glendale)

                                                          Corn Dogs
                                                          LARKINS (on the lunch menu)-(Eagle Rock)

                                                          Meat Loaf Sandwich
                                                          LARKINS (Eagle Rock)

                                                          Bento Box
                                                          IZAYOI (DTLA)

                                                          Lamb Loin Carpaccio
                                                          ORRIS (Sawtelle)

                                                          Scallops with Mushrooms
                                                          ORRIS (Sawtelle)

                                                          BASHAN (Sawtelle)

                                                          Oyster with Sea Urchin and Caviar
                                                          K-ZO (Culver City)

                                                          Pop Corn Shrimp
                                                          K-ZO (Culver City)

                                                          Shrimp Dumplins
                                                          SHIRO (South Pasadena)

                                                          Any Soup or Salad
                                                          THE POINT (Culver City)

                                                          Pork Chop Lunch Special
                                                          GINGERGRASS (Silverlake)

                                                          Chili Cheese Fries (with the chili and cheese on the side) at 2am
                                                          Tommy's (Eagle Rock or Beverly/Rampart)

                                                          Salt and Pepper Squid
                                                          GINGERGRASS (Silverlake)

                                                          Bao Sate'
                                                          GINGERGRASS (Silverlake)

                                                          Anything so far
                                                          VIET NOODLE BAR (Atwater Village)

                                                          Happy Hour Slider
                                                          BEACON (Culver City)

                                                          Any Soup
                                                          BASHAN (Glendale)

                                                          Side of Onion Rings
                                                          LARKINS (Eagle Rock)

                                                          Mussaman Curry Beef
                                                          CHADAKA THAI (Burbank)

                                                          The Duck
                                                          BASHAN (Glendale)

                                                          ...ok, I guess I eat at BASHAN waaaaay too much, but, can you blame me!?!