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Apr 25, 2007 05:56 PM

Good Eatery for College Students

A group of good friends and I are having our last "semesterly" dinner together as USC students next week. We're trying to find a sit-down place that'll be somewhat memorable and not too expensive (ideally under $25/plate) for our last dinner. Location is not really a factor (within about a 20 mile radius preferrably), as long as the place is good. Some of the places we've gone to before are:

C&O (Marina Del Rey),
Sushi Mac,
Cheesecake Factory.

I remember going to some Brazilian BBQ or Argentinian BBQ place a while back in Old Town Pasadena (I think). I thought it was pretty good at the time. Anyways, we're just looking to try something new and have fun. Thanks!

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  1. How many in the group, and what night of the week?

    1 Reply
    1. re: jackattack

      There are four total in our group and we're planning to go on a Monday night.

    2. Go for Korean BBQ or Mexican -- both affordable options, and fun for college kids. Soot Bull Jeep or Park are a great call for Korean. As for Mexican, why not go to El Cholo? It's not the best Mexican food in the city, but it's good enough, close to USC, and so much fun.

      6 Replies
      1. re: hungrygirl106

        While El Cholo isn't the most cutting edge Mexican food in town it might be a good suggestion for your purposes, especially if they are still offering their famous 50% off discount for USC students (call to inquire if they are still honoring that deal if savings piques your interest).

        1. re: hungrygirl106

          I haven't been to Soot Bull Jeep, but we went to Park's Korean BBQ this past weekend. The service was beyond excellent, and the food was delicious. My favorite (although I don't think I could eat a huge portion -- good share-food!) was the seafood pancake! The side dishes (panchan) are also very good and some are different every night. I think this is perfect for four (way more food than you can consume and they will refill the side dishes) -- and they are open on Monday nights.

          1. re: hungrygirl106

            El Cholo is so much fun, right on that it may not be the most Chowish or the best, but a wonderful place for a college grad celebration, as are the Korean BBQ suggestions! Be sure to call El Cholo for a reservation, as walking in can mean a wait at certain times!

            1. re: Jesdamala

              okay so since this is a restaurant question and not a school affiliated question, i will let my love of food overcome the friendly school rivalry =) (all in good humor!!!! ;P) and i'm sure you know where i went to college now! =) but the love of food is universal =)

              anyway, el cholo doesn't get a lot of love on these boards, BUT i actually like it there. but then again, i like both the frou-frou and the typical fast food... hahaha i like getting the sonora enchilada.... and i believe it's green tamales season beginning soon.. i think they come around beginning sometime next week =) it is a fun vibe... and i'm really into the people who you are going with making the whole meal more enjoyable =)

              i also like soot bull jeep, but i understand where you are coming from. although that's another great place to go =)

              they have new tapas style places in pasadena that i haven't tried out yet (xiomara, sushi roku) but look pretty interesting. although remembering back in the day wheni was in college, i didn't have that much to spend... =) i remember el cholo and korean bbq being within my budget =)

              i'm not sure what the vibe is like on old town on a monday though.... but there are tons of restaurants =)

              good luck and happy end of the semester!!!!! =)

              1. re: kinipela

                Hey, I know El Cholo doesn't get alot of love here, but I will side with you...I am not going there for authentic or out of the world gourmet, when I go there it is for fun and drinks and meeting friends, because I am nearby maybe at a USC game (alum!)....and some food!. Sometimes I think people are so happy to be of help they don't read the original this case some college friends getting together on a somewhat budget for a last meal before scattering! I personally love Korean BBQ (husband doesn't, sides with the poster who says they don't want to pay for cooking their own dinner)! I do think a Korean BBQ experience can be lots of fun, and could be a treat for someone who has not had this experience! It doesn't have to be weird, nothing weird about beef or chicken on a BBQ! Which is why I take people who have a weirdness fear to Gyu-Kaku!

                1. re: Jesdamala

                  hahahah yup =) and the good thing is, i was just there and they are having their green tamales season which is from may through october! =) (i think the kick off is sometime now.. i forgot what date) but my understanding is that there is going to be a green tamales "festival" or kickoff celebration of sorts.... if i remember correctly, you may need to preregister.... but it sounds like fun =)

          2. i'd head over to westwood, and go to shamshiri grill on westwood blvd north of santa monica blvd.
            their kabobs are great.
            their stews are great
            they served fresh baked bread
            they have a veggie portion of the menu if anyone in your party is vegetarian.
            their portions are huge
            their prices are low.

            1. ethiopian somewhere on fairfax might be fun for a bunch of college folks.
              i would go to the olympic guelaguetza over el cholo any day of the week, although the 50% off night for sc students isn't a bad idea.
              $25 is cutting it close for the "nicer" korean bbq places. instead, $15 AYCE at manna? tahoe? guirim? they're passable.
              i think casa bianca will reserve for a group over 6. college kids + pizza + cheap wine = "memorable".

              1 Reply
              1. re: smssms

                I second ethiopian, my favorite being Nyala's on Fairfax. Your group number is perfect to share a large platter of all their delicious entrees... my fellow Trojans and I have done the same a number of times and had a lot of fun.

              2. Based on where you've gone before, I think you would like Luna Park (La Brea just north of Wilshire). Their entrees are about $12-17 and they have really good desserts. It's a very fun, loud place, really nicely decorated. Just make sure you make a reservation and request a booth - the best place to sit. The food is nostalgic comfort food - fondue, mac & cheese, spaghetti, and your usual meat dishes - chicken, lamb, steak, salmon, etc. There's also a corn dog appetizer on their menu that I've never tried but intrigues me...

                5 Replies
                1. re: LisaStitch

                  I second Luna Park. If you haven't done korean before or if someone korean isn't in your party, Korean can be a bit intimdating. By looking at the list you provided, Luna Park is a good bet. Their food is decent (a bit overpriced in my opinion but hey, its LA). Their decor is more hip then modern. Their menu is simple (in a good way) and its good vibe. Their bar is active and service is on point. We asked the waitress for a drink recommendation, my friend didn't like it and she gladley got her a differnt one on the house.

                  Corn Dog Appetizer- The sauces they come with make it worth ordering but I think if you try it once, you wont get it again.

                  1. re: kek is khmer

                    I'm liking the Korean BBQ idea since it seems like the best deal. However, no one in the group is Korean and I always make sure to have someone Korean in my group when I venture to Ktown. The times I haven't, I've noticed the service isn't very good.

                    1. re: MCMLXXXV

                      I've never been a big fan of going to a restaurant and paying THEM so I can cook my own food - I can do that at home! And most of the Korean BBQ places I've been to have been on the run-down side. Not very nice or memorable places. To each his own though I guess...

                      Chinatown has a pretty nice, and great tasting, family-style restaurant, if that's what you're leaning towards - Yang Chow. And they cook the food FOR you :) All the dishes are $9-14 and they are huge portions for sharing. I highly recommend the Slippery Shrimp or Slippery Chicken.

                      1. re: LisaStitch

                        The nice thing about K bbq is that everyone gets to cook their meat exactly the way they like it. If you want it well done you get to cook it until it turns into shoe leather. If you like it bloody rare you can just wave it over the grill and then have it as Korean steak tartare. Plus it's entertainment to do it as you drink and cook and laugh your way through dinner.

                        I recommend Tahoe for some of the best Korean beef in L.A., but there are other excellent places out there as well, such as Park.

                    2. re: kek is khmer

                      Thirded. I love Luna Park, granted I went right after a USC football game (yes, I'm a student thus I may have been a bit inebriated), but the service, drinks, and food was great. Get the goat cheese fondue as an appetizer, and I hear the mac and cheese is wonderful.