SF/NYC Hounds Visiting - Recs?
Hello All - My best friend and I are meeting for a guys weekend in LA next weekend. Can I indulge you all to throw out some tips on dining? We're staying in Beverly Hills, but are willing to travel (reasonable distances) for good chow. We're particularly interested in holes in the wall generally, distinctively LA dining spots (not necesarily the fancy ones) that we can't get in SF or NYC, and have a few specific requests as well:
a) great tacos
b) best Chinese places in Monterey Park/elsewhere
c) great Mexican (what do people think of El Cholo? - someone recommended it)
d) great middle eastern food
any places in Hollywood or Silver Lake would also be welcome.
Ideally we'd like to spend under $30/person for dinner, perhaps with one splurge meal.
Also, years ago, I went to a great marketplace in San Pedro, with a fish monger next to a restaurant where we chose a fish, had it cooked, and then sat on picnic tables on the port and enjoyed. Is this still around? any specific recs on which place is now best?
For all the local taco knowledge you will ever want - or need - go here and read at your lesiure before your trip: http://tacohunt.blogspot.com/2005/11/...
For buying fresh seafood and having it cooked before you go over to a table and devouring it get down to the Redondo Beach Pier and proceed to Quality Seafood:
In Silver Lake we like Cliff's Edge for the most striking patio in the heart of the city. The food is good, not great - but this is a wonderful place to dine and relax.
Cliff's Edge Italian and Mediterranean Restaurant
3626 Sunset Blvd - Cross Street: Edgecliffe Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90026
I second all of the mentioned recs, as well as:
I don't know if you folks are up to Japanese, but there are tons of Japanese food places that may or may not have counterparts from SF and NYC but probably deserve a mention as well. Orris and Kiriko on Sawtelle Blvd in West LA for some very good Japanese-inspired tapas (Orris), and great sushi/desserts (Kiriko).
As for Mexican, you probably want to narrow down your specifics (drive time, GPS?), otherwise you'll be getting recs from East LA, to Whittier, the SF Valley, to the Pacific Ocean. There has been a recent new mention about a place in the Palms area called Sabor A Mexico taqueria and Grill. It's on a really quirky boulevard called National which can even confuse locals but it sounds like a hidden gem that is worth seeking out...
Opus may be a good choice as well. I personally haven't had the honor of trying them yet, but they have a tasting menu that is supposed to knock your socks off, and they won't break the bank...
do a search about silver lake on the boards -- the main draws are: Blairs, vermont, cliff's Edge, Dusty's (very cool hangout), malo (brad pitt sightings if you care), ginger greengrass (is that the name? -- vietnamese in SL) and Cobras & Matadors, in that order.
For two guys and a very L.A. experience, I'd go to the arclight in Hollywood for a pricy (but worth it) movie and then go to either hungry cat (which may be out of your budget -- two with drinks will run you past $100, more like $150 if you're going for a full meal), magnolia or the Bowery (more in your budget, real good pub food and fun -- if you're single, go here!) for a meal/drinks. Oh, and these are real hollywood scenes -- last time we were at Magnolia tons of stars, hollywood big wigs there.
gardens of taxco is really fun for mex in hollywood. el cholo is sorta ehh... in my opinion, use to be better. malo in SL is a real scene plus pretty decent -- but it's mex tapas. For truly authentic mex, people are gonna send you across town to boyle heights and since you're visiting, that may be really out of your way. Another place I love in the valley is casa vega -- and there will be many groans on the board, but it's one of my favorite and has a lot of non-chowhounder fans. It's also become a scene which is sorta funny since I've been going there since I was a kid and it was hardly a scene then -- it's in Sherman Oaks and there's stuff to do there.
carnival in Shermn Oaks, carrosel in Glendale (and there's one also in Hollywood which I don't like as much) and Marousch in Hollywood for middle eastern -- my fav is carrosel in Glendale, you can see a movie nearby (guess what I like to do?) and it's got a really nice atmosphere.
Have fun! We just were in NYC and had wonderful meals at Town, paninni place in village that was awesome that I forget name, and Lupa... our fav though was Molly's pub, we went twice. Awesome stews.. burgers... i'm getting hungry.
this is awesome, everyone - thank you for such thorough, thoughtful replies! we're happy to head to Boyle Heights (or anywhere else within a 20 minute drive from Beverly Hills) if the chow is that good, so I'd welcome any recs on Mexican places...though you've filled our plate very nicely already!
My current favorites for Mexican food are close to where I live - the Westside of LA, as I don't feel a great need to venture too far (yet) since my local haunts are quite satisfying.
Gallego's Mexican Deli - call first as the hours can be abbreviated. Great meats, mexican dishes, tamales, salsas - their barbacoa beef has been the recent rave! Also some of the best tasting tortilla chips I've had...
12470 Venice Blvd
LA, CA 90066
Tacomiendo (the Culver City location is located almost across the street from Sanchez Meat Market) - they do alot of things well. Great, varied menu but they are known for their freshly-made tortillas that go into some tasty tacos. Also clayudas, chicken mole, giant burritos and champurado.
4502 Inglewood Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230
11462 Gateway Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90064
Taqueria Sanchez - also has a large menu as well as off-menu items (tostada with al pastor is served with a large bed of tortilla chips that is more like a hybrid tostada/nacho dish), great tacos, burritos, tortas, gorditas, and shrimp dishes. Also has a generous salsa bar that includes guacamole - not the best, but it's included (free!) and goes well with most of their dishes.
4541 Centinela Ave
Los Angeles CA 90066
Sanchez Meat Market (they own the above taqueria) - they offer most things offered at their taqueria but they are more of a carneceria with the food offered through order windows.
4541 Inglewood Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230
Tacos Por Favor - located in a more industrial/commercial part of SM, they have great tacos in general, but their cholesterol-busting chorizo-filled items are their go-to orders.
1406 Olympic Blvd
Santa Monica CA 90404
La Playita - a very simple taco stand that usually has lines because of a very long-time loyal customer base. Again, tacos are great, but they are known for their shrimp tacos, as well as their "surf&turf" burrito - combination shrimp and carne asada with just enough pico de gallo and gaucamole to meld the two proteins together.
3306 Lincoln Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Don Felix Meat Market - a favorite haunt of a close friend of mine of Mexican desent. Because they also are primarily a carneceria that happens to have a great kitchen, Don Felix will always offer great meats in their dishes. Carne asada and al pastor are also great here. My friend who is nuts about tripas can't get them anymore with the new restrictions on certain animal parts, but they are a serious contender in the taqueria market as well. Since they serve both as a market and a taqueria, you can usually grab a beef from the cold box and enjoy that with your meal as well...
3985 1/2 Sawtelle Blvd
LA, CA 90066
Almost forgot - I don't know if Peruvian food is offered in SF or NYC, but if it isn't you might consider seeking this out as well... This emerging cuisine is considered to be the best by far according to a couple friends from Chile. There are some dishes that are known nationally, but there are alot of regional dishes, as well as ethnic dishes that you wouldn't expect that show influences from Spain, Italy, China and Japan.
I've only been to a few - El Pollo Inka, which is the "McDonald's" of Peruvian food. I've tried three of their locations, but evidently their best one is of course the one I've yet to try, which is located in Lawndale - they roast their chickens in a wood-fired oven there.
Mario's, which is probably closest to you, is located on Melrose, and almost always has lines of Peruvians and non-Peruvians alike.
My favorite is El Rocoto, located on Artesia Blvd in Gardena. They not only have the tasty salsa di Ahi which everyone can't get enough of once they've tried it, they also have a salsa (salsa di rocoto?) that is made of the chile from which the restaurant's namesake comes from. As the owner is Chinese-Peruvian, the menu reflects this, and it is pretty extensive. As is the case with Peruvian cuisine, potatoes, pasta, chicken, beef, and seafood rule menu, but don't let these simple ingredients think you will be bored here or any other Peruvian restaurant. The twists, variations, seasonings and combinations are very satisfying. They also have some nice desserts and drinks as well. If your familiar with dulce de leche or alfajores, El Rocoto has a monster cookie dessert that hasn't been duplicated anywhere else that I know of. This place is a favorite of my friend who is from a small arid coastal town in Peru.
They're are a few more around Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley, but I don't recall their names or locations. However you will find lots of entries on Chowhound.