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3 day trip to LA - restaurant thoughts, please!

We are going to LA next week from Friday through Tuesday. I would like good lunch and dinner suggestions for the 3 days we are there. I want to go to at least 1 "California-cuisine" restaurant, 1 Mexican place, and 1 place in Chinatown. Other thoughts are also welcome --- we love food! One caveat, I am vegetarian (no fish but eat eggs/dairy), so I would prefer no seafood restaurants or restaurants that have no veggie options.

Saturday - we plan on seeing the touristy sites like Hollywood Walk of Fame and then hitting the beach
Sunday - we may go to Universal or possibly do something like the Getty Center/Tar Pits/something else
Monday - my husband has a conference for most of the day, so I'll probably head to Rodeo Drive or, if we don't do the Getty Center on Sunday, go to the Getty Center on Monday

We are going to be staying at a hotel that I believe is in Beverly Hills.

I can do one nice upscale place (i.e. $150 for both of us) but would prefer places in the $100 or less range for both of us. Thanks!

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  1. Suggest Jiraffe in Santa Monica for the "nice upscale place" www.jirafferestaurant.com

    They do beautiful things with vegetables - composed salads are exquisite!- and pasta (plus I'd guess without too much issue and some advance notice they could put something together for you from their menu)...fantastic entree selection for all types!

    from their appetizer menu...Slow Roasted Organic Tomato Tart with a Roasted Pistachio-Honey Tart Shell, Balsamic Onion Confit, Fresh Burrata Cheese, Ratatouille Sauce and Basil Pesto

    this should tempt you...

    1. Tiajuana, on Olympic near Bundy is good Mexican food with women making tortillas on a griddle right as you walk in the front door. I love the place.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lamlex

        tia juana might be tough for a vegetarian . . . i can't swear to it, but i think those tortillas may be made with lard, and there's not much in the way of meatless options on the menu.

      2. I'm an OC'er usually, but two restaurants that, for me, are quintessentially LA are Lucques and Spago for "California cuisine."

        Here's a photo report of my visit to both:



        1. For your upscale restaurant I don't think you could do much better than Campanile (http://www.campanilerestaurant.com), on La Brea north of Wilshire, four miles east of Beverly Hills and convenient to the Tar Pits and your Hollywood itinerary.

          This is Nancy Silverton and Mark Peel's masterpiece of California restaurant culture in the space of Charlie Chaplin's offices. You could get out of there at lunch under $150 easy, probably dinner as well if you're not too extravagant with the wine. But see the menu at the website.

          LA is the vegetarian capital of the universe -- outside of hot-dog stands you will find good options anywhere.

          And don't forget that the Getty Center has a fine restaurant as well ... in fact, some would say it's the best reason to go to the Getty Center!

          1. Hello... Consider the Inn of the Seventh Ray located in Topanga Canyon, just minutes from the beach in Malibu, for your Saturday afternoon/evening meal. It's a very laid back california experience (a bit new agey), but the cool location and kick-back vibe can be worth the effort. They have vegan and vegetarian options aplenty, but also serve fish and meat for non-vegetarians. Check out the website below for descriptions, menu, and directions:

            4 Replies
            1. re: silence9

              Thanks for the suggestions. I had been considering Spago but was thinking that it may be too pricey --- though it seems like the quintessential California restaurant. Campanile and Jiraffe sound great. I am thinking that Inn of the Seventh Ray may be a bit too far out for us. Keep those suggestions coming!

              Any ideas on Chinatown restaraunts?

              1. re: trappedartist

                I also figured out where we are staying: the Synxis Wilshire Plaza Hotel.

                Based on the reviews on this board, I am thinking of Sabor a' Mexico for our Mexican excursion --- probably on Saturday night when we meet up with a friend. Then on Sunday or Monday night, for our nice dinner, I am thinking Spago --- it will be a splurge but it seems like the best thought.

                And, in doing further research, it looks like Chinatown doesn't have good options. So, please give me other suggestions, for good ethnic cuisine (i.e. Chinese, Japanese, Korean) that we must try in LA.

                1. re: trappedartist

                  Hi.. For numerous japanese options ranging from ramen to sushi to small plates to cafes to dessert, be sure to hit up the "Sawtelle corridor' in the West Los Angeles area (just a bit south & west of the Westwood area). Proceed north on Sawetelle blvd (starting at the cross street of Olympic blvd, and going north on Sawtelle for several blocks) contains many options for casual yet precise alternatives of a culinary cultural nature. Park and walk and explore. Others can chime in on favorites within this corridor... For Korean, head east into koreatown to the potent bbq experience that is Soot Bull Jeep. No-nonsense korean bbq complete with smoke and flame and sweetly charred flesh (Edit: just remembered you're a vegetarian! Then perhaps not Soot Bull Jeep, but instead one of the spicy tofu soup joints...).

                  1. re: trappedartist

                    If you're looking for Chinese food I would suggest venturing into the San Gabriel Valley (Monterey Park, Alhambra, Arcadia). You'll find plenty of choices there at very reasonable prices. I've attached a link from a different thread that should give you plenty of suggestions.


              2. If you happen to be in the valley, head to Madeleine Bistro in Tarzana for great veggie food.

                Luna Park has good vegetarian options, as does Locanda del Lago in SM.

                Newsroom Cafe would be good for lunch options. Consider for lunch also venturing to Clementine or Amandine. Also, consider Doughboys, Griddle Cafe, and/or Toast. Eat Well on Santa Monica near La Cienaga also does good veggie options.

                Down on Fairfax, there's Rahel for vegetarian Ethiopian, as well as Meals by Genet and Messob.

                Go to Lucques for the Sunday Supper.

                Depending whether you plan on drinking or not, you can fit Jar into your price range, or hit up Jar for Sunday Brunch.

                For great high end veggie options, I want to suggest Grace, but you would have to be willing to spend a bit more.

                1. Yang Chow in Chinatown is fantastic and has a huge menu you'll be sure to find something on. One great specialty they have is called Slippery Shrimp (for the non-vegetarians in your group - also comes in Slippery Chicken). Pretty much everything is served to be shared. They have a small valet parking lot in the back.

                  California cuisine - I'd also go with Spago or Lucques. Spago is pricey but worth it. Campanile, on the other hand, is also pricey but not worth it in my opinion. Chaya in Beverly Hills (as well as the one in Venice) is great for California cuisine with more of an Asian twist. Also consider Asia de Cuba in the Mondrian Hotel - I love their lunch, sit outside and enjoy a nice view of LA - dinner is also good but served family style.

                  I also recommend Toast for your typical American breakfast or lunch. Really nice if you can sit outside, and all the food is really great and fresh.