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Mar 11, 2007 03:59 PM

The best of LA restaurants in 3 nights, 4 days

Please help this New Yorker.

I am coming to LA eating out for 3 dinners, 4 lunches/brunches. Where should I go? I'm staying near Laurel Canyon. Looking for the best in sushi and Mexican (Tia Juana???), and a cool trendy hotspot or two to try (preferably with good food!). Not Mozza. I live 2 blocks from Batali's Otto in NYC - it's the same thing. I'd like to stick to centrally located places in Santa Monica, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, West Hollywood, or Silver Lake.

If you need any dining advice about NYC, let me know - I'd be happy to trade.

many thanks,

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  1. Are you seriously looking for "the best" (this has been done on the board on a weekly basis--no kidding), or do you want good but safe high end spots (which we can surely provide)? The point is the geographic limits you place on your search tend to undercut your quest for the best. Likewise it's not often that trendy hotspots have the best food. Tell us what you really want, how much you want to spend ($50-$300 per person) and to what areas you wish to confine your survey. If you truly want THE BEST, you have to adopt a no limits approach.

    1. OK count me overwhelmed. LA is so huge! And there's so much good food there! But I have to stick to those geographic limits, or I'll be eating alone for four days. For sushi and Mexican - I just want people's favorites, whatever the cost (bargains always appreciated though). For hot spots, I consider hot spots in NYC to be places that also don't disappoint food-wise, right now: Morandi, Waverly Inn, Cafe Cluny, The Inn at LW12, etc. So what's the equivalent in LA?

      1. For "sushi", I would go to Asanebo, sit at the bar and let them do their magic. It is in Studio City on Ventura Blvd. and not too far from Laurel Cyn. Every hound has their sushi spot and you could go crazy with all of the opinions. Asanebo is pretty well thought of, even amidst the chowhound fray. It is all about high-end product served impeccably in a small and personalized setting. It is fairly traditional as they specialize in sashimi, not sushi (hence the quotation marks) or rolls.

        As for Mexican, the world is your oyster. Much like with sushi, everyone has their haunt. I love Tere's (on Melrose & Caheunga in Hollywood), Tony's (Magnolia & Coldwater in NoHo) and other neighborhood joints.

        I got nothin' when it comes to trendy hot spots but the La Cienega corridor seems like a good place to start.

        1. OK, let's consider your target area.No question many of the best high end restaurants are there. Here's the unofficial LA Board best of 2006 list: Make a copy of this. Now roll down about 20 or so names and draw a line under Josie. All the places from Josie on up are in your area EXCEPT Babita (the one Mexican in this section), Langer's (arguably the best hand cut Pastrami in the US) and Opus. If you want a Mexican in the target area, you have to go down to Monte Alban (which is Oaxacan). If you are looking for other stuff in your area, you need to consider lesser places (Border Grill, Serenata de Garibaldi, other Oaxacans, etc.) and taco trucks (of which there are a few). Sushi is not in doubt. Look up near the top of the list: Urasawa is gonna cost $300 per person but it's a meal of a lifetime. This is the heir to Masa whom you may now be acquainted with from NYC. Less expensive in your area is Sushi Zo which has been well received on this board. Not surprisingly, a lot of the better Mexican is on the East side of town (Babita, for example) and the sushi is (with the exception of a number of places on Sawtelle) in the Downtown/Little Tokyo area. As for trendy food places, I would say Providence (excellent seafood, etc.), Cut (r*e*a*l Kobe beef), Mako, Mastro's and Hungry Cat (in your area) qualify. If you want trendy bars with good food, that's another story.
          Lastly, let me again encourage you to venture into the Pico-Union area to sample (before 4 pm) the handcut Pastrami at Langer's. Just get the Pastrami, rye bread and add some brown spicy mustard.

          5 Replies
          1. re: mc michael

            Thank you so much mc michael. That list is great. Maybe I'll check out Babita on my own in addition to a west side Mexican. The taco trucks sound interesting too. OK, and I'll try the pastrami - but I remember the Second Ave Deli here before it closed - LA has some stiff competition!

            Good to know there are so many foodies there now. When I lived in LA 10 years ago, everyone's idea of excellent dining was the Cheesecake Factory.

            1. re: bellastraniera

              De nada. Sadly, if you read Zagat, Cheesecake Factory is still the choice of many (alas). I guess they like leftovers.
              The good thing about trying the pastrami at Langer's is you can't lose. Either you can find it inferior to NYC and lord it over us, or you can find it better and go back to the City and lord it over everyone there. I'm not vouching for their egg creams though.

              1. re: bellastraniera

                Langer's blows 2nd ave deli away -- even when it was good, long before it closed. I'm an ex-NY-er and there is no comparison.

                1. re: Ciao Bob

                  gotta agree with you here.
                  when i moved to ny from california, i was expecting to be blown away by the 2nd ave deli.
                  what a disappointment! cold hard bread and meh meat!
                  langers was clearly better, heck nate 'n als was clearly better!

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    As you can see feelings run high over Langer's. Nate 'n Als OTOH, eh? Well, you might run into Larry King there eating breakfast, but it's no Langer's.

            2. Speaking of trendy, there seems to be activity in Culver City: you might look at Beacon and Ford's Filling Station.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mc michael

                very sorry for stepping on your toes, but i'd strongly suggest against either of these two, especially with the rest of what la has to offer. unless you are in the neighborhood and just want to walk to lunch.

                1. re: modernist

                  No problem: I was going for trendy. Should have mentioned Wilson's as well in this area. Perhaps you could link to your latest updated list of chow finds? Oh, I see you have. Well done.