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Which LA Restaurants are UNDERrated?

SauceSupreme Mar 1, 2007 08:48 AM

It's been a while since we've had such a list, and plus I think trying to compile a list of which restaurants are overrated will just result in a giant cat fight on the board, with me chirping Matsuhisa at the top of the list. So how about a current thread of underrated restaurants? Which places are you surprised gets nary a mention?

And who knows, maybe it'll result in the same cat fight.

1. JJ's Steakhouse (Pasadena) - I think steakhouses not named Cut or Mastros are going to be a tough sell regardless, especially in a neighborhood that has ACH and Parkway Grill, not to mention other culinary destinations.

2. Cha Cha Cha (Silver Lake) - Maybe it's too passe, maybe it's not in the right neighborhood, maybe it's actually achieved the middle ground somewhere between over and underrated.

  1. DJ NUTCASE Nov 18, 2007 03:58 PM

    Capri's Italian on Eagle Rock Blvd. I know it's been dissed on Chowhound before. For some reason, I'm a big fan of their baked manicotti (weekends only).

    1. h
      herculesmulligan Sep 3, 2007 04:39 PM

      Metro Diner on Washington Place (near Sepulveda) in Culver City: fantastic special Serbian inspired menu. Great taste and great prices.

      Village Idiot on Melrose: exellent pub food, well executed and well priced. Well priced bar. Very good wine selection and only part that is slightly mispriced (bottles, though, not single servings). Terrific place.

      1. m
        malisa Jul 26, 2007 05:18 PM

        Hey people, a lot of these restaurants you're mentioning are rated pretty well actually! Let me tell you about underrated. On these boards people bash Louise's Trattoria, Gaucho Grill, CPK, Hamburger Hamlet, because they're chains.... but I love these places, and I love food and I eat out a lot, frequently at expensive top-notch restaurants! Maybe you just gotta know what to order--the pasta at Louise's, the hamburgers at Hamlet, the salads and certain pasta dishes at CPK, and just order anything at Gaucho Grill. At least the ones in PASADENA are good....it's where I frequent.

        4 Replies
        1. re: malisa
          salutlemonde Jul 26, 2007 06:38 PM

          You're right about Hamburger Hamlet - one of the best burgers around IMHO. Consistently good, too.

          The restaurant near Magic Mountain (Valencia) is good too - I've stopped in there on the way back from Carrizo Plain - OK, I was starving - but I thought the food and service were excellent. Usually starving people have a tendency to say the service sucks but the food is good. (Normally I go to Pasadena, too)

          1. re: salutlemonde
            c
            carter Nov 19, 2007 02:39 PM

            The hamlet in Valencia closed 3 years ago, fwiw!

          2. re: malisa
            j
            jenii Dec 4, 2007 04:56 PM

            Sadly, Hamburger Hamlet's changed management or something. I went there last month, and the food was terrible.

            1. re: jenii
              westsidegal Dec 4, 2007 05:48 PM

              i went there last week and the food was worse than terrible.

          3. m
            Mark Sarvas Jul 26, 2007 03:20 PM

            Violet's on Pico - especially the Sunday night prix fixe. Three great courses for $25! For an extra $10 you get the "bottomless" glass of wine of the evening. Brilliant spot.

            1. s
              smfoodie Jul 26, 2007 02:54 PM

              Tasca on Third Street at Crescent Heights. Don't know why this place isn't more crowded.

              1 Reply
              1. re: smfoodie
                h
                herculesmulligan Sep 3, 2007 04:41 PM

                Agree. Slightly expensive for some of the dishes, but the food is always well prepared and diverse enough that one doesn't get bored going many times.

              2. salutlemonde Jul 25, 2007 06:53 PM

                I'd add Wahib's Lebanese on Main Street in Alhambra.

                1 Reply
                1. re: salutlemonde
                  s
                  So Ho La Nov 19, 2007 02:48 PM

                  Second Wahib's!

                2. SauceSupreme Jul 25, 2007 06:27 PM

                  Re-reading the discussion on this thread, and it pretty much still holds true. I'll add Los Balcones del Peru as my update.

                  1. t
                    TailbackU Mar 29, 2007 04:41 PM

                    Teru Sushi in Studio City - Katsuya down the street gets all the attention but Teru has been consistantly better for me.
                    Doughboy on 3rd - Everyone flocks to Toast for brunch/lunch, but Doughboy dishes out some great salads and paninis.
                    il Capriccio in Los Feliz - great owner operated italian joint.

                    1. w
                      will_forfood Mar 17, 2007 06:21 PM

                      i don't know if these are underrated--maybe it's more like they're not on the radar:
                      -hal's bar and grill in venice (great atmoshere and bar scene; amazing fries)
                      -la paella on san vicente (amazing tapas and paella)
                      -michelangelo's in silver lake (great neighborhood restaurant)
                      -bossa nova in weho (overall yummy!)
                      -classic thai in eagle rock (solid, good food across the board)
                      -stoney point in eagle rock
                      -camilo's in eagle rock (good, casual atmosphere, good food)
                      -mexico city in los feliz/silver lake
                      -la vecchia in santa monica (pasta that's good and is actually al dente!)
                      -harold and belle's (great southern food in a slightly upscale setting)

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: will_forfood
                        g
                        Griller141 Mar 19, 2007 07:42 PM

                        Amazing! You are the first person to say anything good about Stony Point in years on this board. I was impressed by their treatment of my party a few weeks ago (review posted).

                        1. re: Griller141
                          h
                          holybull Mar 19, 2007 08:01 PM

                          JJ Steakhouse in Pasadena is one of the most disappointing places I've ever been to. I still want my money back, wish I never heard of it.

                          I love value:
                          Taylor's Steakhouse
                          Luna Park

                          1. re: holybull
                            h
                            howard81 Mar 20, 2007 03:53 PM

                            Simon's Cafe in Sherman Oaks, just south of Sepulveda is wonderful, but never busy. Great Mediterranean fare ... loved their tagine dish. Excellent service, too!

                            1. re: holybull
                              f
                              FoodaholicinLA Mar 29, 2007 04:12 PM

                              Taylor's Steakhouse in LA is hands down has the best steak in town!

                            2. re: Griller141
                              c
                              calabasas_trafalgar Jul 25, 2007 11:34 PM

                              where's the review? I want to try this place!

                              1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                                ElsieDee Jul 26, 2007 12:06 AM

                                Is this what you're looking for: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/380362 ? (One of these days I'll make it there.)

                            3. re: will_forfood
                              m
                              Mr. Cookie Mar 20, 2007 05:59 PM

                              It would be impossible to underrate Mexico City.

                              1. re: Mr. Cookie
                                s
                                sallybean Mar 29, 2007 05:35 PM

                                Highly agreeeee!!!

                                1. re: sallybean
                                  katkoupai Mar 29, 2007 05:43 PM

                                  I seriously dislike the food at Mexico City. I think El Torito is better. :)

                                  1. re: katkoupai
                                    j
                                    jungle_gym Nov 19, 2007 12:33 PM

                                    El Torito! That's really scrapping the bottom of the barrel! Grab a drink and catch the free shuttle to the pond, that's the only time you're going to catch me at an El Torito!

                              2. re: will_forfood
                                s
                                sallybean Mar 29, 2007 05:30 PM

                                Underrated:
                                Cafe midi (on la brea)
                                KoZY Korner in Glendale
                                Tangier in Los feliz
                                Cafe los feliz for their homemade soups-- they are soo good!

                                1. re: sallybean
                                  l
                                  lafisch Nov 18, 2007 03:44 PM

                                  Does Café Midi still have bad service? Used to go there for lunch when I worked in the area and the food was great but it always took forever and was delivered with continental attitude.

                                2. re: will_forfood
                                  m
                                  malisa Jul 26, 2007 05:20 PM

                                  disagree with La Paella. not authentic, and everything was overpriced and way too salty to eat!!

                                3. r
                                  risottoman Mar 15, 2007 01:32 AM

                                  wow, thanks for the note on paradise bakery. i love good bakeries and I work only a few block away from here. thank you!

                                  as for underrated, I really wonder why Chaya Brasserie doesn't get laud after laud. It's on of the best meals I've had in LA.
                                  I love everything in Eagle Rock. Underrated as a food destination (examples, Oinkster, Camilo's California Bistro)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: risottoman
                                    katkoupai Mar 15, 2007 06:17 PM

                                    risottoman, I'm so glad you liked Paradise. My family and I love that place. Yay! :)

                                  2. bernardo Mar 14, 2007 08:24 PM

                                    La Seranata di G & Gourmet for Mex
                                    Il Buco & Da Pasquale for Italiano
                                    Addi's Tandoor for Goan Indian
                                    Maggiano's for breads, steaks & salads only
                                    Ferdussi for Persian
                                    California Fish Grill for simple but value priced fresh fish

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: bernardo
                                      b
                                      bad nono Mar 14, 2007 08:42 PM

                                      Second Da Pasquale, my favorite Italian in LA.

                                      1. re: bernardo
                                        s
                                        So Ho La Nov 19, 2007 02:47 PM

                                        Second Calif Fish Grill - but the one in Cypress, not the Gardena one - I am not a fan of loud sports on TV in any restaurant.

                                      2. d
                                        di4cats Mar 14, 2007 02:40 PM

                                        Agree about Roy's, with one exception: Don't order anything off the sushi menu. We went once on a Sunday night and the ahi was dark brown - need I say more? Everything else is wonderful, but alas, it's much better in Hawaii, even the sushi. I miss their original shrimp sticks. The appetizer sampler rocks.

                                        1. j
                                          Jwsel Mar 14, 2007 01:39 AM

                                          Roy's. I've only been to the downtown branch, but the pre-theater dinner we had tonight was fantastic. I know it is mentioned on the board from time to time, but if tonight was any indication, it deserves more credit. I so want to go back for more butterfish and more martini glasses of the ahi "poketini."

                                          1. c
                                            chowpug Mar 12, 2007 10:55 AM

                                            Dakota (Roosevelt Hotel) seems to get little love here. Everytime I have gone, my steak has been done to perfection, and I have had great meals. The tuna tartar, the burrata salad, the truffle french fries- all great. I also love the rich, dark old Hollywood feeling inside. I know people complain about the service, but I really have never had a problem. The people watching is always fun too.

                                            1. r
                                              roastingjoe Mar 12, 2007 10:39 AM

                                              Lily's (next to Joe's on Abbot Kinney) $10 lunch is a great value, always solid, and never mentioned anywhere. The patio is a great place on nice days.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: roastingjoe
                                                e
                                                esculent Mar 14, 2007 10:59 AM

                                                i love the moules frites at Lilly's. every time i order them, the mussels are stunningly fresh

                                              2. modernist Mar 12, 2007 10:05 AM

                                                my most recent discovery:

                                                sushi sushi on beverly dr just north of olympic

                                                i've been coming here once a week for lunch since starting my new gig. the sushi is really good and the lunch prices are really reasonable. 22 for premium chirashi, 20 for premium sushi gets you a lot of the good shit. they have pretty beautiful looking omakase as well.

                                                it would rank up there with some of the top sushi joints in town for me, but no one seems to talk about it.

                                                1. eezerik Mar 3, 2007 03:23 PM

                                                  I don't think Matsuhisa's Rock Shrimp, or Miso Cod are overrated at all. Flank Steak was delicious. DELISH. and Kobe beef(ridiculously expensive, though...go to Tsuruhashi for Kobe)

                                                  Nobu practically invented that miso recipe. Maybe the other items are overrated. But you should be getting the specialty dishes anyway, and sushi as a complement. Cooked dishes>sushi there.

                                                  EEZ

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: eezerik
                                                    p
                                                    phant0omx Mar 14, 2007 03:37 PM

                                                    i thought matsuhisa's kobe wasn't good. although it was my first time eating kobe beef, my friends that have eaten it before that it was subpar as well. i felt i could have made better meat at home with a ralph's cut.

                                                  2. b
                                                    bite bite Mar 3, 2007 01:46 PM

                                                    I guess this is a bit of a chain, but Mishima on 3rd gives a pretty good bang for the buck. Can easily have lunch for under $10. Like their Tori Nan Ban with Udon. Also their chirashi sushi. Their box lunches are also a pretty great value. Nothing fancy. But the earthenware plates and bowls are a nice touch. Service fast, efficient and friendly and generally pretty easy to get a seat.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: bite bite
                                                      j
                                                      Jwsel Mar 3, 2007 03:12 PM

                                                      Is Mishima still a chain? The one on in the Olympic Collection closed. But I agree that the noodles are pretty dependable.

                                                      On my underrated list, I would definitely include:

                                                      Alcazar in Encino. Excellent Lebanese food, but I think it's off the radar because it is not in Westwood. I prefer their food to Carnival.

                                                      Max in Sherman Oaks. It tends to come up on this board when people are looking for a restaurant in the SFV, but I think the food would be a standout anywhere.

                                                      La Talpa on Pico near Barrington. This is an old-school, greasy Mexican restaurant, but the food is great and well-priced for what you get. The carne asada in the tacos is some of the best meat you can find.

                                                      Chulada Grill on San Vicente and Hauser. Not much more than a taqueria, but with some Oaxacan dishes. Another in the greasy, but very good category.

                                                      Simon's Cafe in Sherman Oaks (on Sepulveda south of Ventura). Great Moroccan. I think that block is like a black hole for restaurants, but Simon's is excellent. The tagine and Merguez sausages are stand-out dishes.

                                                      Sprazzo on Westwood Boulevard south of Wilshire is a good neighborhood Italian restaurant. The quality of the food is very good for the price. It's also upscale enough to double as a date restaurant. The gnocchis are good. I also love the goat cheese wrapped in eggplant appetizer.

                                                      Spumoni in Sherman Oaks is a family-run Italian place that also has great gnocchi (and the best bolognese sauce I've ever tasted). Spumoni once shared owners with Sprazzo, so the menus have some similarities. It is mentioned from time to time on this board, but not often enough.

                                                    2. r
                                                      robertpasadena Mar 3, 2007 10:10 AM

                                                      JJ in Pasadena was "Da Bom" back when. As of late it has bombed. I have no problem spending a hundred a head if the food is good, when the food is mediocre it just pisses me off.

                                                      1. Gohantabeyoka Mar 2, 2007 09:01 PM

                                                        Yama in Alhambra.
                                                        King Mandoo in K-Town's Galleria Market
                                                        Ramenya in West L.A.
                                                        Kuishimbo, the new location on 6th
                                                        Johnnie's on Adams Blvd.
                                                        Paradise Pastries & Cafe, Glendale
                                                        Costco (the hotdog combo and the roasted chicken)
                                                        Thrifty's ice cream (Rite Aid)
                                                        Super Udon, Gardena

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: Gohantabeyoka
                                                          katkoupai Mar 2, 2007 09:21 PM

                                                          I love Paradise too. Everyone always talks about Porto's. I went there once and regretted it. Paradise is it for me. :) Fresh, cheap, awesome.

                                                          1. re: katkoupai
                                                            g
                                                            Griller141 Mar 3, 2007 02:01 PM

                                                            Where in Glendale is Paradise?

                                                            1. re: Griller141
                                                              katkoupai Mar 3, 2007 02:27 PM

                                                              It's on Glenoaks Blvd., between Alameda and Western. :)
                                                              (You can exit either Alameda or Western from the 5 freeway to get there)

                                                              www.paradisepastry.com

                                                              I love it there. Try the mini-cream puffs or the fruit tarts, or just pick whatever looks good to you. They have so many individual options, for $1-$3 per pastry, plus cookies, bread, etc.

                                                          2. re: Gohantabeyoka
                                                            h
                                                            hungrygirl106 Mar 3, 2007 12:36 PM

                                                            I totally agree with your mentioning Thrifty's ice cream. It is my favorite ice cream in the world -- especially the chocolate-based flavors (chocolate malted crunch, rocky road, chocolate brownie). And their rainbow sherbet is the best.
                                                            www.infinitefress.blogspot.com

                                                            1. re: Gohantabeyoka
                                                              f
                                                              FoodaholicinLA Mar 29, 2007 04:09 PM

                                                              Johnnies is great but the service is terrible, what is the point of putting the money in the tray instead of in the cashier's hands when they still have to put the money in the registar! I called in my order and still had to wait 20 min for my turkeyburger!

                                                              1. re: Gohantabeyoka
                                                                c
                                                                calabasas_trafalgar Jul 25, 2007 11:33 PM

                                                                Yama is the bomb - as long as the air conditioning is working. And try their sushi - definitely underrated!

                                                                1. re: Gohantabeyoka
                                                                  r
                                                                  rancherostyl Dec 4, 2007 05:08 PM

                                                                  Yup, Paradise rules, as does Kuishimbo (esp their salad dressing).

                                                                2. s
                                                                  Spiff Mar 3, 2007 09:03 AM

                                                                  Really? I didn't like it at all...granted I've only been there once. Maybe it was on off day??

                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Spiff
                                                                    g
                                                                    glutton Mar 3, 2007 10:02 AM

                                                                    We must have eaten there on the same day because it was pretty "off" for me, as well.

                                                                    1. re: glutton
                                                                      k
                                                                      kajtf Mar 12, 2007 10:12 AM

                                                                      I guess I was there that same day too! ;-) They served my salad on a warm plate. But I decided to give the place 2 more chances, and my salad got served the same way....those 2 other times!

                                                                      1. re: kajtf
                                                                        b
                                                                        B Minus Mar 12, 2007 11:08 AM

                                                                        I'd say I must have been there on the same day too, but when I went I was the only person there. How do you get bad service when you're the only person in a restaurant?

                                                                        1. re: B Minus
                                                                          ElsieDee Mar 12, 2007 10:26 PM

                                                                          Hmmmm ... our service was decent but the food was mediocre, at best. Only truly excellent item was an app. of brussel sprouts (roasted with shallots, I believe). Tried again for brunch and were so let down that we decided to move on to other options.

                                                                          1. re: ElsieDee
                                                                            salutlemonde Jul 25, 2007 06:54 PM

                                                                            I must have been there that day, too. Guess if I ever go again, I'll wave just in case the rest of the room is full of disappointed CHs.

                                                                  2. q
                                                                    Quesera Mar 2, 2007 03:06 PM

                                                                    What about Chaya Brasserie? It's rarely discussed on the boards, but it's one of the few consistently great restaurants in LA and one that has actually managed to stick around for more than a year or two. Plus, the atmosphere is wonderful, and it can be casual or nice and romantic, depending on where you sit, what you want and what you order. I';ve been to excellent places, but Chaya is still my fave.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Quesera
                                                                      g
                                                                      goldangl95 Mar 2, 2007 03:18 PM

                                                                      I second Chaya. It may not be very innovative, but everything on the menu (esp. the seafood) is something I'd want to order. The entrees were proprotioned well (not too big or small), well flavored. The service is not pretentious. Atmosphere nice.

                                                                      1. re: goldangl95
                                                                        renaissance Mar 3, 2007 12:18 AM

                                                                        Yes, Chaya! I wholeheartedly agree.

                                                                    2. jcwla Mar 2, 2007 10:02 AM

                                                                      Koi -- half a dozen super dishes
                                                                      Ivy and Ivy at the Shore -- everybody pans them, but the food is simple, wholesome and delicious, best tarte tatin around, great drinks
                                                                      Henry's Tacos -- OK Mary-Kate and Ashley may like them but so do we, awesome soft tacos
                                                                      Jacopo's -- consistently reliable pizza, very generous hand with toppings, great salads
                                                                      A couple of chains: Ruth's Chris, where the butter makes it better and it's the best steak in town, and Cheesecake Factory, which doesn't do its land-office business because the food is of poor quality or tastes bad despite the pans it gets on here
                                                                      R-23 -- one of the few truly cool restaurants in town
                                                                      Peppone -- where they'll make you anything you want how you want it, it'll be yummy and the portions will be huge, and the dark rooms and faux-Tiffany lighting make it one of a kind
                                                                      Pizzicotto -- where they offer four or five truly special specials every day at lunch, priced from $10-$15, that not only taste great but look unlike anything you'll see at any of the generic BW Italians
                                                                      The Grill -- most reliable upper-echelon restaurant, best service in town
                                                                      Sasabune -- it's become hip to pooh-pooh Sasabune but they turn out a great product with such vastly improved service from the Nebraska dump it's like night and day
                                                                      John O'Groat's -- despite all the precious newcomers with all the local-magazine hype (Bloom anyone?), the original best breakfast in town with the Bit O'Scotland faves
                                                                      Brass Cap and Capo -- I'm amazed there's not more appreciation for the Bruce Marder approach of letting the food speak for itself, with freshly grown vegetables and simply grilled meats -- to quote sheila e. "if you have to ask you can't afford it [lingerie]"

                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                      1. re: jcwla
                                                                        s
                                                                        Spiff Mar 2, 2007 01:05 PM

                                                                        R-23 is really good...can be hard to find if you don't know your way around. The menu often is fun to read--entree descriptions sometimes read "cute"...and somehow they actually are!

                                                                        1. re: jcwla
                                                                          ipsedixit Mar 2, 2007 04:11 PM

                                                                          I don't think R23 is underrated.

                                                                          Still don't understand Ruth's Chris and their fascination with butter.

                                                                          Agree that Sasabune gets too much undeserved grief.

                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                            m
                                                                            mc michael Mar 2, 2007 09:18 PM

                                                                            R-23 is underrated--just occasionally overpriced.

                                                                            1. re: mc michael
                                                                              e
                                                                              epop Mar 12, 2007 06:29 PM

                                                                              my last meal there was nowhere near as good as the previous 3 meals there; there's been talk on the board of a serious drop in quality. + dinner for 2 was about 500 dollars, just for food.

                                                                              1. re: epop
                                                                                g
                                                                                glutton Mar 13, 2007 07:46 AM

                                                                                $500?!? What did you order? Last time I went there, which was a couple years ago, it was nowhere near that price.

                                                                                1. re: epop
                                                                                  s
                                                                                  Spiff Mar 13, 2007 01:20 PM

                                                                                  Wow...I agree, it has never even been close to $500 when I've been there.

                                                                                  1. re: Spiff
                                                                                    e
                                                                                    epop Mar 13, 2007 11:48 PM

                                                                                    lots and lots of specials. i think the meal ended up being more than that, actually, but in fairness i chose a conservative number. but i tend to
                                                                                    feast when with the right company.

                                                                                    the same person and i had a 1000 dollar meal minus drinks at Hump.

                                                                                    both are places i no longer have full admiration for.

                                                                                    1. re: epop
                                                                                      g
                                                                                      glutton Mar 14, 2007 08:07 AM

                                                                                      And I thought I was a glutton?!? I am going to print this post and show it to my wife so that she will see that I show remarkable constraint when dining on sushi because she has accused me of the contrary.

                                                                                      For the record, I did a bit of research and my very-filling dinner for two at R23 cost $126 in 2005. The sushi was good, but I did not think it was remarkably better than a lot of other sushi I eat that costs about thirty percent less.

                                                                              2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                m
                                                                                miffy Mar 19, 2007 10:04 PM

                                                                                oh, Ithink R-23 is a GREAT place-

                                                                              3. re: jcwla
                                                                                b
                                                                                BHAppeal Mar 3, 2007 04:00 PM

                                                                                Great point on The Grill. Everyone knows it as a power lunch spot, but go at dinner and find terrific all-American standards and great service. This is one of those places that is really under the radar in terms of the fine dining. Nothing very fancy, but the food is virtually always perfectly executed. Good place to take a mixed bunch of fish and meat lovers for a top rate dinner -- they do both very well. The vibe at dinner is very different than the lunch scene. Thanks for reminding me of a spot that I have let slip out of the rotation in favor of various steak houses that shall go nameless. (Okay, Arnie Morton's in Beverly Hills, but then it does have great steaks and is one of the best run places in the LA area hospitality wise -- can't say the same for other branches.)

                                                                                1. re: BHAppeal
                                                                                  j
                                                                                  jenii Dec 4, 2007 04:54 PM

                                                                                  I love The Grill. When I was a kid, and my dad's office was about a block away, we'd go to The Grill In The Alley for dinner a lot. Astounding.

                                                                                  We also loved Monty's (which was in Westwood), and Emilio's. Both are gone now, sadly.

                                                                                2. re: jcwla
                                                                                  a
                                                                                  anothernotch Mar 29, 2007 05:19 PM

                                                                                  Agree with you on Pizzicotto. Consistently good Italian food. I'd also throw Cafe Carrera into the mix as an underrated/valued Italian restaurant.

                                                                                  1. re: jcwla
                                                                                    p
                                                                                    powerharp Nov 26, 2007 01:10 PM

                                                                                    Took a large party to R-23 for dinner and was embarrassed. Sushi was barely average and much of the rice on the cut rolls and other sushi was falling off. Service was very slow. Cute does not taste good. BTW, this was with the senior executive sales staff of a very high profile fashion house.

                                                                                  2. g
                                                                                    glutton Mar 2, 2007 08:29 AM

                                                                                    I think the brunch at James Beach in Venice is underrated, Sunnin is underrated (given how many people tear it to pieces on this board whenever its name comes up), U-Zen for sushi is underrated, Swingers is underrated for late-night eats, and East LA in general is underrated.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: glutton
                                                                                      hrhboo Mar 2, 2007 08:34 AM

                                                                                      I agree with you about James Beach. While I've never had brunch there, the dinner menu is solid if a little boring. I had some really great fried chicken there last night and they do a very good lobster special on Friday nights. I probably wouldn't make it a destination but I'm glad it's in my neighborhood.

                                                                                    2. westsidegal Mar 2, 2007 06:30 AM

                                                                                      to me, the falafal sandwich at Hungry Pocket in santa monica is underrated.
                                                                                      the bread (your choice of white pita or whole wheat pita) is warmed on the grill as the falafals are cooking.
                                                                                      the whole thing is assembled within a moment of the falafals coming out of the fryer and is handed to you warm with the falafals crispy.
                                                                                      the price is about $3 for the sandwich and on mondays and wednesdays, i believe, they offer an all-you-can-eat special on these for about $7.
                                                                                      also, their homemade picante sauce is fantastic.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                        g
                                                                                        GreenEyeStan Mar 12, 2007 04:58 PM

                                                                                        I completely agree with you about The Hungry Pocket! I go to school at Santa Monica College(which is directly across the street) and I'm always stunned to see this place is nearly empty. My question is why!? The falafal sandwiches there are hot, crispy, and absolutely delicious!

                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                          Dommy Mar 20, 2007 10:41 AM

                                                                                          Yeah! We went to Hungry Pocket this past weekend because I've been on a Falafel kick! I really like theirs, well spiced, not too creamy but not to dry and crumbly, instead with great texture... I was really impressed by theirs, wonderful. Their Hummus is nice, but their Eggplant made my stomach turn for some reason! :P Also their Gyro meat is way TOO salty. :P Love the fresh juice though!!! Falafel is def. the way to go here! :)

                                                                                          --Dommy!

                                                                                        2. SauceSupreme Mar 1, 2007 10:28 PM

                                                                                          One might walk away from this thread thinking that in Los Angeles, ALL OF IT is overrated.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: SauceSupreme
                                                                                            katkoupai Mar 2, 2007 12:41 PM

                                                                                            Good point. :)

                                                                                          2. g
                                                                                            Griller141 Mar 1, 2007 06:57 PM

                                                                                            I find it fascinating that the responses are not only few and lukewarm, but they veer into a discussion of overrated places despite the thread topic. Maybe that says something about the restaurant scene in this area - or maybe just human nature.
                                                                                            My personal underrated list includes Bistro 45, because of the continuous dissing despite its producing reliably good California cuisine and a breathtaking wine list; Arroyo Chophouse, firmly panned by S. Irene but the most reliably good overall experience in this part of the City; Spago because not enough people get the best-in-City dining experience (OK, except Urasawa) by ordering the tasting menu.
                                                                                            Now, the list of the most overrated is unabashedly more passionate and much more fun.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Griller141
                                                                                              b
                                                                                              bite bite Mar 2, 2007 11:44 AM

                                                                                              Good point. So, to support the thread -- because it is a worthy one -- I'm going to throw out Pain Quotidien (esp. the one on Melrose). Yes it is a chain and yes it is a bit yuppy-ish and certainly not the best deal in town -- but the almost all organic food is really tasty. The egg salad sandwich (open-faced like all their sandwiches unless you order take-out) with salty capers and anchovies is hands down the best I've ever had. Their salads are a good size and v. good. Their brownie is sinfully rich and slightly gooey in a good way. They also let you buy bread by the half-loaf which is really cool. Good coffee, lovely baked goods and the nice big patio at the Melrose location another major plus.

                                                                                              1. re: bite bite
                                                                                                Amuse Bouches Mar 2, 2007 04:23 PM

                                                                                                I will ditto this. I've never had a bad experience at a LPQ. In addition to the stellar egg salad I highly recommend the Tuscan plate (creamy ricotta, delicious tapenade/pesto, olives, prosciutto, parmesan and some of their great bread) and save a piece of bread for their addictive hazelnut spread.

                                                                                                I also adore the Third Stop, but it's getting more and more crowded, so I won't go into how great some of the food is.

                                                                                                1. re: bite bite
                                                                                                  d
                                                                                                  di4cats Mar 3, 2007 01:03 PM

                                                                                                  LPQ is even better for breakfast. We go to the one in Manhattan Beach. Great lattes, wonderful egg white omlette: they make mine to order with wild mushrooms and gruyere cheese. I agree the hazelnut butter is to die for, along with the homemade jams. I'm hoping they'll start serving dinner soon. The French cream donut is decadent and wonderful. At lunch, I love all their salads, except I wish they would toss them with the dressing instead of making you do it yourself. But I guess that keeps it light and healthy. I will have to try their egg salad.

                                                                                              2. b
                                                                                                bite bite Mar 1, 2007 11:53 AM

                                                                                                Agreed on Matsuhisa. Didn't help that last time I was there weird ceiling fluid dripped into my food. They were slow to move us to a table that wasn't getting dripped on -- but finally did. Comped dessert -- but the taint of ceiling fluid hung over the meal.

                                                                                                1. t
                                                                                                  thegrifter Mar 1, 2007 11:44 AM

                                                                                                  Completely agree that Matsuhisa is absurdly ovverrated, first of all...as to underrated:

                                                                                                  1. La Buca - great Italian place, many people know of it but it still never gets mentioned along with the best Italian restaurants in L.A. The handmade pastas are the best around. This place makes Vivoli look like The Olive Garden.

                                                                                                  2. Ro-Ro's Chicken - Hollywood counter-service Lebanese food a la Zankou, but IMO better than Zankou. Get the #4 Chicken Shawerma Plate.

                                                                                                  3. Nozawa - OK, it's not underrated at all - but every time someone mentions other sushi places as being better, they are in a way underrating Nozawa because he is the one true master.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: thegrifter
                                                                                                    Chowpatty Mar 1, 2007 11:59 AM

                                                                                                    Where is Ro-Ro's? I guess La Buca might be underrated among the general public, but I think on Chowhound, it risks being over-rated. I like it a lot, but sometimes it seems over-adored on the board.

                                                                                                    1. re: Chowpatty
                                                                                                      bodie Mar 2, 2007 07:13 PM

                                                                                                      IMO, RoRo's blows.
                                                                                                      But, to answer your question, I believe it is on Sunset btwn Highland and Wilcox.

                                                                                                      1. re: bodie
                                                                                                        therealbigtasty Mar 2, 2007 09:56 PM

                                                                                                        I love Ro ros...the guys that work there rule.

                                                                                                  2. ttriche Mar 1, 2007 11:13 AM

                                                                                                    ps. regarding "(Pasadena) ... a neighborhood that has ACH and Parkway Grill, not to mention other culinary destinations" -- it was recently determined that all food in Pasadena is slop. Tonny's, Tibet House, Lebanese Kitchen, Julienne, Bistro K -- don't bother trying any of them.

                                                                                                    See here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/373038 -- keeping the trollwork going

                                                                                                    It's theoretically possible that one or more of the above is under-rated somehow by someone.

                                                                                                    1. ttriche Mar 1, 2007 11:09 AM

                                                                                                      Carousel in Hollywood. Unclear why people do not mob the place from opening to closing every night. We went last night and there were open seatings -- maybe the cold was to blame.

                                                                                                      Before Sahag went back to Lebanon, I was always amazed that some people had not been there. (Sahag's Basturma, now owned by a nice Persian-looking fellow, but it's just not quite the same)

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: ttriche
                                                                                                        k
                                                                                                        kevin Mar 20, 2007 10:47 AM

                                                                                                        how long ago did sahag go back to lebanon? just curious if it was him or the new owner there when i visited the last time about 4 years ago. and yes, it's a gem.

                                                                                                        1. re: kevin
                                                                                                          modernist Mar 20, 2007 04:02 PM

                                                                                                          that would have been sahag. i think he sold it to a relative about a year ago.
                                                                                                          he was a friendly and sort of small man with his wife...

                                                                                                          1. re: modernist
                                                                                                            k
                                                                                                            kevin Mar 20, 2007 04:07 PM

                                                                                                            is the food the same or has it changed? oh, and it goes without saying is the basturma (the precursor to pastrami) with the garlic paste still on the menu? thanks.

                                                                                                        2. re: ttriche
                                                                                                          lil mikey Sep 3, 2007 05:08 PM

                                                                                                          I'm not going to enumerate the many reasons I don't go back to the Hollywood Carousel, but suffice to say I've been there repeatedly and have always been disappointed. And it's all food-related.

                                                                                                          The Glendale Carousel is good, as is Marouch, which is a half mile from the Hollywood Carousel. Golden Fish is also good. It's on Hollywood, several blocks from the Hollywood Carousel.

                                                                                                          The Hollywood Carousel is NOT an UNDERated restaurant.

                                                                                                        3. c
                                                                                                          carter Mar 1, 2007 09:11 AM

                                                                                                          Max in Sherman Oaks,
                                                                                                          Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks,
                                                                                                          Pastis on Beverly Blvd. near Crescent Hts.,
                                                                                                          Hatfields,
                                                                                                          Tagine and Chameau for Moroccan food - a cuisine that should be tried by everyone at least once, and
                                                                                                          Carlito's Gardel for great wines from Argentina with steaks, chops, or seafood.

                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: carter
                                                                                                            Bon Vivant Mar 3, 2007 12:02 PM

                                                                                                            Why would Hatfield's be considered underated? I've read nothing but good things about this place plus it gets a lot of press.

                                                                                                            http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

                                                                                                            1. re: carter
                                                                                                              e
                                                                                                              esculent Mar 14, 2007 10:53 AM

                                                                                                              carter, what do you like at Pastis? it's pretty close to me but i never go in.

                                                                                                              1. re: esculent
                                                                                                                c
                                                                                                                carter Mar 20, 2007 03:48 PM

                                                                                                                Sorry, but finally returned to this post after nearly a week.
                                                                                                                http://www.lapastis.com/ for the menu and wine list.
                                                                                                                My favorites include the bouillabaisse, cassoulet(not as authentic as I might like but quite tasty nonetheless), chicken tajine, rack of lamb, steamed mussels, frisee aux lardons and their fries are all quite good, and fairly priced.
                                                                                                                Also, listen to the specials as they can also be very good.
                                                                                                                btw - this next week there is a Provence wine tasting on both Wed. and Thursday nights, with the menu on the website at $60 for everything, sans tax and tip. Will probably go one of the two nights.
                                                                                                                Corkage on regular nights is also a good option if you collect, or really enjoy a certain wine that is not on their list. Believe it is $20 corkage.
                                                                                                                Waitstaff all very nice, all French speaking, and an all-around comfortable place done in modern French bistro decor, as opposed to the traditional look, a la Mimosa.

                                                                                                              2. re: carter
                                                                                                                w
                                                                                                                westwood Sep 3, 2007 02:23 PM

                                                                                                                I had a _terrible_ experience at Boneyard. We had reservations and they gave away our booth to walk ins in front of us, leaving us at a 4-top in the center. We waited over 20 minutes for a drink, the membranes were left on the ribs, the rib were stringy and undercooked, the waitress brought the bill instead of the dessert menu, and the place was only half full!! Never going back. Will never recommend.

                                                                                                                1. re: westwood
                                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                                  carter Nov 19, 2007 02:34 PM

                                                                                                                  Just noticed your comments regarding Boneyard. Cannot address the seating issue, yet the ribs are now being purchased from a new supplier, and they are much better and moister than previously, and since they have no sauce, just smoked flavor, you can dunk, or not, into either one of the two sauces available on the side.
                                                                                                                  ps - going tonight for fried chicken night, as Aaron adds it to the menu on Mondays only. I know people who come here strictly for the chicken and do not even look at the menu on Monday.

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