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Where to take NY Foodie that's visiting?

Hi everyone. I have a friend who is a huge foodie coming to visit from NYC. I'd like to take him somewhere that has a great LA scene and does not have an outpost in NY. Therefore no Koi, Mr Chow, Prime Grill, etc. I am an extremely picky eater and do not like "frou frou" food especially lamb, rabbit, duck, etc. I know that I am making this very difficult but if you could recommend some options that fit into this narrow criteria I would greatly appreciate it. I'd like to be able to take him somewhere with great food but also a chance of being able to spot a celebrity. Thanks in advance for your help!

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    1. Consider Giorgio Baldi near the beach at the bottom of Chatauqua. First-rate Italian food, and a substantial possibility of seeing (in fact, sitting next to, since the place is tiny and the tables are on top of one another) a celebrity. The pasta is outstanding, the deep-fried shitakes with pecorino is to die for, and the spigola is one of the simplest and tastiest fish dishes in town.

      1. A.O.C. is a good option. Great wine list and menu with lots of choices both for those more and less adventurous.

        Agree with TM that Cut might be a good choice.

        If you really want celeb sightings you can go to the Ivy on Robertson. Food is good but way overpriced. I like the fried chicken.

        BTW, Giorgio Baldi is beyond expensive and the food can be hit or miss. You will be likely to see hollywood regulars - but that is do to its location more than the food...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Senor Popusa

          Agree with AOC. It's like Inoteca in NYC but with a LA feel.

          Spago for quintessential LA in terms of scene and food. It'll also fit that possible celeb citing without compromising too much on food.

          Providence for LA's answer to Le Bernardin.

          Agree with the chinese recs. I'll throw in the obligatory Din Tai Fung for dumplings.

          Philippe's for lamb or pork french dipped sandwich and Langer's so they can compare the pastrami to Katz's.

          Skip steak. NYC does steak very well.

        2. On Beverly Blvd. alone, you could choose among Angelini Osteria, Grace, Hatfield's, Jar. Moving up to Melrose, there's Lucques and Table 8. Over on La Brea, there's Campanile. Mako (on S. Beverly in Beverly Hills) and Melisse (on Wilshire and 11th in S.M.) might also work.

          1. The recently opened Gonpachi on La Cienega - New Yorkers always like the allure of a newly opened place! I slaved to it myself for years -

            1. Spago...
              Mozza (if you can)...
              The Ivy...

              For fun... Ketchup

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jennalynn

                I love Spago, but isn't it *frou-frou*?

                Definitely for Cut, or Mastro's

                I do have to admit a fond liking for the Ivy's chopped salad.

                Ketchup is perfect for trendoid, and it is comfortish food, but there are a lot of kinks, especially for being so overpriced for what it is...

                Blue Velvet's another option.

              2. Not fancy and probably no celebrities, but I would take a NY foodie to Monterey Park/SGV for Chinese food. I lived in NYC for many (10) years, and that's one thing that I could never find a comparable for in NY. It's where I usually take out-of-town friends, and it's almost always a hit.

                If not that, I'd probably try to take him somewhere with a very LA flavor, like the patio at Lucques.

                2 Replies
                1. re: sidwich

                  Chinese food in SGV is a good idea, as is Mexican food in East LA. These cuisines are not done very well in NYC, however celebrity sightings would not be part of the package (which I actually consider a bonus)

                  1. re: Ernie

                    No celebrities at chinese restaurants in SGV?

                    Well, Jackie Chan is a regular at Sea Harbour in Rosemead.

                    And Chow Yun-fat is quite a fan of Dai Ho Kitchen in Temple City. His Bentley Coupe in that little lot next to the restaurant is a dead giveaway that he's there.

                2. If you are up for the scenic drive, Geoffrey's on the Malibu cliffs. Or the Restaurant at the Getty Museum. Food is above average at either place, and the views are spectacular and certainly nothing he can get in NYC.

                  Also, Chinois on Main. Or Spago.

                  1. I would do a strolling tour through the 3rd and Fairfax Farmer's Market and the Grove before having dinner at either AOC, Grace or any of the other aforementioned neighborhood restaurants here. They're both good for the occasional celeb sighting (my favorite one being one time I saw L'il Jon -- YEEYAH! OKAAAY!). Food-wise, the Grove has nothing noteworthy to offer other than the fries at Whisper Lounge, but despite the crowds the FM still boasts an impressive array of offerings.

                    Actually, I rather like the Farmer's Market: it's the only place where you'll see Prada sunglasses and LV bags wandering the same halls as a tourist with a fannie pack and an old Russian lady kibbitzing around for vegetables, all in what is essentially an outdoor food court.

                    1. For more casual places to spot a celebrity, I recommend the 3rd Street Farmer's Market or BLD. Depending on when you go, you can run into whole casts of shows that tape at the CBS studios nearby.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sidwich

                        I was going to recommend BLD also since that's also quite reliable in celeb spotting, but it might fall under the OP's description of frou frou.