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Visiting LA from NYC

We are visiting LA from Williamsburg-Brooklyn, NY and are looking for food places to check out. We'll be there for about 4 days, staying in Hollywood, but are open to eating anywhere from Silver Lake to Santa Monica. We re artists in our thirties, don't mind a couple of splurges on things that NYC lacks, but are also into good cheap eats. Maybe a good farmers market driven dinner for one of the nights, some under-rated Asian (Japanese, thai, Vietnamese), but also a good greasy breakfast. Any suggestions are much appreciated.

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  1. 101 coffee shop is a good place for breakfast in hollywood.
    Hollywood Thai restaurant - authentic thai food - this is about the food and not the ambience but if you go on the later side like 9:00 - they may have some karoke performers.
    Yuca's on Hillhurst in Los Feliz - this is a tiny taco stand that won a James Beard award in 2005 - great for lunch.
    Hatfield's has been getting raves - have yet to go but this is your farmers market driven dinner - make reservations now.
    Campanile - this has been around for a while - but is really a fine LA restaurant.
    here is a recent thread about new restaurants in LA for your splurge:
    enjoy paradise.

    3 Replies
    1. re: howchow

      these are really good suggestions and points of reference - and the earlier posts were useful too. have you eaten at nook? it sounds great. and i can't wait for yuca's!

      1. re: igorevolution

        I have not been to Nook but if it is a burger you seek try Father's Office. Also, there is some great mexican food to be had in LA perhaps the one thing you can't get in NY, at least I could not find it in the 12 years I was there.

      2. re: howchow

        Oy! I went to 101 coffee shop once, and the gf and I both thought the food was horrible (and we are pretty much on opposite ends of the culinary spectrum). Atmosphere Ok, but the food and service (and clientele) not so great. I feel like you can do better for greasy breakfast, though I'm blanking at the moment (not really my area of expertise)... but hell - even House of Pies would probably make a better greasy breakfast. I hear good things about Square One for breakfast / eggs - maybe not quite a greasy spoon, but worth searching the board for.

        Agree with the comments below about Korean; also check out the San Gabriel Valley (SGV) for Chinese (and Vietnamese) food; not hard to find good Chinese in NY, but to me, there's a different vibe (search the board for Mei Long Village, and for good pho places - avoid the pho places in K-town unless you're looking for Korean-made pho).

        I always want to take out of town folks to Thai Palms for Thai Elvis (call to find out when he's performing). It's a unique LA experience. Not as divey and fun as at the old location, but still pretty fun.

      3. I'm from NY also, and am always searching for great little whole in the wall restaurants. It's a little offputting when you pull into a parking lot, and the restaurant is next dooe to a Kmart, but unfortunately that's just the way it goes out here. If you like sushi, go to TAKE, on the corner of Sunset and San Vicente. It's fantastic. Great fish (try the salmon), great cooked dishes, too (the stuffed halibut). Chef Master Kino is great, and will take care of you, (he does work at his own pace though, and sometimes forgets stuff, so dont be afraid to remind him.) Order a bottle of sake and beer from Ya Yoi (Kino's wife, and also the waitress), sit back and enjoy the sounds of people talking over The Beatles, Journey, or Zepplin. Oh, and sit at the bar.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Eczander

          that sounds great - not too much press about TAKE anywhere else - really into it as long as the fish is nice and fresh. and classic rock always helps a situation too,

        2. For a good greasy breakfast - 101 Coffee Shop, Griddle Cafe - both great and close to you.

          Good burger by you - 25 Degrees in the Roosevelt Hotel. All kinds of toppings you can put on them.

          Late night food - Bossa Nova is open til 4am on weekends

          1. If you do hit up the Farmer's Market, you must go to Little John's and pick up a box of their chocolate covered toffee. YUM. I moved to NY a year ago and that is always on my list of things to bring back whenever I come to LA. Oh and get a Farm Brownie (The Farm of Beverly Hills is in the Grove next to the movie theater).

            Eateries there are okay - but that is probably b/c I used to work for the Grove and ate lunch there way too often. A lot of people like the Gumbo place, Banana Leaf is good, so is the crepe place. I actually rather get a machaca breakfast burrito from Benitos (on the corner of Fairfax & Beverly - I think, next to a Mobile) for lunch. Whisper Lounge in the Grove is a good for dinner.

            Sushi, Mexican and an In-N-Out burger are the things I miss the most from LA.

            1. You're going to be close to Thai Town, which happens to have a host of cheap, late-night eats that are of great quality. My favorite is Ruen Pair but there's also Sanam Luang Cafe and Sapp's Coffee Shop (featured in the LA episode of No Reservations).

              Not much Vietnamese between Silver Lake and Santa Monica, though if you head further east and southeast, you'll be able to find plenty of options.

              I sound like a broken record, but my favorite greasy breakfast is Doughboys. If you're looking for a real greasy spoon, there's also Swingers on Beverly.

              Be sure to stop into the Hollywood Farmer's Market. You can pull double duty and duck into Amoeba while you're there.

              If you're going to splurge, make it Spago or Urasawa.

              2 Replies
              1. re: SauceSupreme

                farmers market and amoeba is right up our alley; perfect thing to do for us!

                1. re: SauceSupreme

                  Second the recs for Doughboys and Griddle Cafe, and also want to nod to Toast.

                  I sound like a broken record myself, but yes yes, splurge on Urasawa.

                  If you're at Farmer's Market on 3rd, try Loteria. You might grab a Bob's Donut, if you're interested as they get lots of praise here, though I've only had mediocre experiences here...

                2. Do some searching on the LA board for good Korean places. One of the most wonderful and unique things about LA is our large Korean culture and all of the really great places to eat, especially BBQ.

                  1. Asian - Viaenamese Pho Cafe on 2841 Sunset
                    Farmers Market - Hit up the Brazilian place at the Farmer's Market near the grove- or check out DuPar's for some killing pancakes.
                    Diner - Don't go to 101 cafe- go to Swingers in Santa Monica or West LA. Make sure you have a vegan chocolate chip cookie.
                    Vietnamese in Silverlake- hit up Lemongrass on Glendale.
                    Thai Town in Hollywood should give you enough for Thai selection.. and it is all good.
                    and of course.. while you are in CA... you must go to Pinkberry to tell everyone in NYC how great it is before it gets there.


                    1. Silverlake:
                      Breakfast: Millies on Sunset, definitely can be greasy especially if you order the chicken fried steak and eggs
                      Vietnamese: Gingergrass. More on the cal-asian side, but good, hip and very reasonable.
                      Spanish/Mexican: Malo on Sunset. Good place for tacos and very strong margaritas.

                      Korean BBQ: Soot Bul Jeep on 6th street.
                      Other Korean Restaurants: The Honey Pig on 8th at Kingsley.

                      Breakfast: Grub, Doughboys, Square One
                      Spanish: Cobras & Matadors on Beverly
                      Famer's Market at the Grove: Loteria Mexican Grill
                      The Village Idiot on Melrose at Martel: Cool little English Pub with a hip flair, reasonable prices and good food. Get the mussels and pork sausages.

                      Little Tokyo:
                      Tons of Ramen spots and Sushi off 2nd and Alameda.
                      E3rd. Just opened. Not bad and interesting vibe. Cal Asian cuisine with more of a Korean edge.

                      Bon Appetit!

                      1. you want a good breakfast joint open 24/7 where you get value and youre just as likely to see Robert Shapiro, James Dean and a wino wolfing down omlettes, bacon & pancakes try The Pantry in downtown. This place is a cross between Tiffany Diner in Bay Ridge and Peter LUgers. Or, why not try the Coffee Table in Silverlake on Rowena. For lunch try The Alcove on Hillhurst

                        1. Hello, & Welcome. First, for ambiance, great Italian and plenty of it at a fair price, you Must visit any of the Buco de Bepo's restaurants >>> go to Universal Studios, close to you and a cool place to eat. Also, the Pantry, Downtown L.A., and for famous cheap eats and a 'trip', try Pinks hot dogs on a weekend night especially, a great show, but get ready for the line. Finally, Tito's taco's on Washington Bl, and you have to order an all beef burrito (the first bite will blow you away) Ask any one where these are. Bona Fortuna, from an ex-Brooklyn bambino. = )

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: Del

                            Oh madonna, not Buca di Beppo. I can't imagine recommending that as a standout Italian place to anyone from New York. Is it edible? Yes. Is it great? Not on your A-train-riding life.

                            There isn't a single place at Universal CityWalk that I'd recommend to anyone. The chow scene there is worse than Disneyland.

                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              I knew heads would start rolling after reading that post... but hey - to each his own... I always feel a need to look over my shoulder when I'm grabbing coffee at Starbucks...

                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                The thing is, Buca's not bad. But to recommend it as something you shouldn't miss in LA? No way. It's not THAT good... and to tell someone from New York (which is pretty much the spiritual home in this country of that sort of cooking) that undermines our collective credibility.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  Yes - I agree... I was starting to duck in anticipation of the Shock & Awe... But maybe there is something about this place that connects with him somehow... I know a family from Jersey that loves this place as well... I can't relate since I've never been to Jersey...

                            2. re: Del

                              Lordy, every single place Del recommended has crappy (or mediocre at best) food! At least there is a consistency there.

                              1. re: mlgb

                                My apologies for the delay in the delivery of my post-LA trip food report. Just got so buried at work after the trip. Your suggestions were much appreciated and very much shaped our food experience. So here's the report:
                                1. Hatfield's - managed to get Saturday night reservations - it was AMAZING. One of the best and least pretentions dining experiences in a long time. Carefully composed flavors and exteremly knowledgable staff. Everything, from the charred octopus appetizer to the fragrant after-dinner tea was top notch. Recommended it already to another NYC friend, who thought it came close to the Chanterelle food here in the city.
                                2. Doughboys - went twice; the pancakes and shit-on-a-shingle both hit the spot. Also went to Square One one morning which was tasty and fortunately not as cool as we thought it may be.
                                3. Lemongrass on Glendale was an easy light dinner; not spectacular, but exactly what we needed on a night off, surrounded by young happy people snacking on fresh food.
                                4. Perhaps the most memorable food expericne to someone from the east coast was going to the Hollywood farmer's market on Sunday and splurging on all the citrus and dates. At a time of the year when the New York farmers have little more than last year's apples to sell, this was a much needed treat. Ah, the dream of the freshly picked blood oranges.
                                5. Had friends treat us to homemades sushi. We discovered our attraction to Koreatown, where our friends live, and the XL pieces of sashimi available at the Korean fish markets.
                                6. Walked by Pinkberry. Didn't understand all the fuss. Though I was walking around Chelsea yesterday here in Manhattan, and it looks like one of them just landed here as well. Seems very popular in both cities.
                                7. Finally, in the neverending quest for the perfect cup of coffee, we did follow the suggestions of some of the other discussions here and found that Urth does in fact make a damn good cup. We had the Spaninsh lattes, oh, at least, five times during our stay. good atmosphere or not, we found the baristas to be incedibly good at their jobs and the quality of coffee as high as it gets.
                                Thank you all!

                                1. re: igorevolution

                                  Thank you. I can't tell you how many times we make all these well intentioned recs for out of towners and they they either never post about what they did, or they post advising that they ignored the recs and went to some silly places they happened on or knew from home.

                                  1. re: mc michael

                                    I second that... glad you folks enjoyed the Hollywood farmers market - there are so many in LA now but the Hollywood one is a favorite of mine.

                                    Also glad you had to sense to bypass Pinkberry - if one has popped up in Manhattan, go there if you're so inclined... why use your money and time on that when there are so many other opportunities...

                                    If you're out this way again, definitely give the Mexican cuisines and the various Chinese offerings a whirl... you'll end up with so many recs it will make you silly... Thanks again! :)

                                  2. re: igorevolution

                                    Awesome. You had some wonderful LA culinary experiences. Glad to hear it. And yes, I was aghast a couple of weeks ago when I saw the Pinkberry glaring at me in Chelsea - make it stop!

                              2. Mexican and Chinese are two cuisines in Los Angeles that will blow away its counterparts in New York, unless of course you adhere to the NY standard of Cantonese American cooking. Check the threads on these two cuisines. Unfortunately, you will have to go ten miles east of Silver Lake for anything decent.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: cfylong

                                  As a LA native, I have a few spots that you can try - some sit down and others "fast food".

                                  fast food mexican: Chipolte (check listing for an outlet nearby)
                                  pleasing chinese: Yang Chow's on Broadway in Chinatown (the slippery shrimp is a must!)
                                  breakfast: Fred 62 (awesome pancakes)
                                  thai: cafe samaluang
                                  hip thai: Chan Dara
                                  good fusion: Chaya Venice
                                  best fried chicken: Pollo Campero (check listings)
                                  best roasted chicken: Zankou Chicken (Hollywood & Normandie)
                                  underrated italian: La Terza (Third & Orlando)
                                  cupcakes: Joan's on Third (I like the chocolate coconut)
                                  while shopping: Neiman Marcus Fresh Market (get the curry chicken salad)
                                  underrated french: la cachette (Century City)
                                  best chinese chicken salad: Feast from the East in Westwood (do not miss)
                                  latest surprise: Eleven in West Hollywood
                                  best meat hands down in a while: fogo de chao (good lunch deal and okay for vegetarians)

                                  Happy eating!