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m
mary99 May 10, 2007 03:45 PM

Staying a couple of days:

recommendations for quality food not too expensive....

best mexican?

what other unique dining experience for an "out of country er"

  1. b
    Burger Boy May 10, 2007 04:18 PM

    Best Burger's & Frech Toast in the City! They make their own hamburger buns and use challa bread & croissants for the different french toasts...........Yuuuuummmmmmmyyyyyyyy!

    26 Beach Restaurant
    3100 Washington west of Lincoln
    310-823-7526

    11 Replies
    1. re: Burger Boy
      l
      LisaStitch May 10, 2007 04:29 PM

      I wouldn't say best burgers in the city. And I actually love burgers yet really don't like their burgers at all. But I love pretty much everything else on their menu (and it's a long menu).

      For Mexican, probably go to Tito's Tacos, a taco stand east of Venice, on Washington place and the 405 freeway. Very busy place (has quite the cult following) with great, hard, fried, cheap tacos. I also really like their burritos.

      1. re: LisaStitch
        b
        Burger Boy May 10, 2007 04:38 PM

        Lisa, who do you feel has the best? I am curious? They make their own buns & patties, their ingredients are always fresh. Do tell. And yes, it is a huge menu and they always have 5 or 6 specials.

        1. re: Burger Boy
          l
          LisaStitch May 10, 2007 04:48 PM

          I just don't see anything special about them and don't care to repeat - I think I can get a better-tasting burger elsewhere. Maybe it's something about their meat (90% of the time I order burgers with no toppings, just the meat and the bun). I liken it to The Counter - decent burger, but just nothing special.

          Best burgers in my book so far are Rustic Canyon, 25 Degrees, The Hotel Bel Air, The Arsenal (though it's been a while), and honestly Fatburger. Though I have quite a list of others I still need to try - Father's Office, Polo Lounge, Houston's...

          1. re: LisaStitch
            b
            Burger Boy May 10, 2007 05:05 PM

            I know they just switched to Angus, maybe give them another try. I have never been to Rustic Canyon, 25 Degrees, The Hotel Bel Air, The Arsenal. I do remember going to the Arsenal 20 years ago for great reasonable steaks, it was such a dive. Have you tried Cassell's on 6th near Vemont or check out these 2 blogs, http://www.ahamburgertoday.com/ & http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.... I got a million of them, I got a place on Valley Blvd in El Monte called Yanakis, it is da bomb, for a burger stand.

            1. re: Burger Boy
              l
              LisaStitch May 10, 2007 05:08 PM

              Thanks, I will plan on re-trying them at some point. And thanks for those links and other suggestions, I haven't been to those.

              I think The Arsenal is all cleaned up since you were there. It's very hip and loungey now. They have good little sliders too.

              1. re: LisaStitch
                b
                Burger Boy May 10, 2007 05:13 PM

                Me likey sliders, just read about a place in Palm Springs that looks to have da bomb sliders, Tylers i believe is the name.

                1. re: Burger Boy
                  l
                  LisaStitch May 10, 2007 05:40 PM

                  Forgot to mention Beacon in Culver City as one of my top burgers too...

        2. re: LisaStitch
          k
          ktm May 10, 2007 08:04 PM

          Hmmm. I wouldn't describe Tito's tacos as Mexican. It's more "Mexican American" or something I can't even describe. I think it's the kind of place you need to have gone to as a child to love. I would recommend Tortilla Grill on Abbott Kinney for good burritos, tacos & tortas. Try the watermelon or cantaloupe agua fresca. The Figtree Cafe on Ocean Front Walk is good for a healthy / organic breakfast, brunch or lunch and it's nice to sit outside and people watch. Also I haven't been, but I hear Piccolo Ristorante on Dudley right at the beach is great Italian food (dinner), but tiny and doesn't take reservations so get there early or prepare to wait. For pizza you have to go to Abbott's Pizza on Abott Kinney. Great stuff by the slice.

          1. re: ktm
            c
            chaussonauxpommes May 13, 2007 11:40 AM

            I strongly second the rec for the Figtree Cafe. It's the only place I've found with really good healthy-ish food right on Venice beach. Great people watching and seats in the sun or shade. Their "nuclear pancakes" (multi grain pancakes with seasonal berries) are so good. When LA has that rare sunny morning I love to head to Venice for nuclear pancakes on the beach.

          2. re: LisaStitch
            westsidegal May 11, 2007 12:16 AM

            26 beach IS great.
            however, tito's tacos, despite it's cult following, just doesn't cut it imho unless you're very drunk and need a bland grease-bomb to settle your stomach.

            1. re: westsidegal
              l
              LisaStitch May 11, 2007 09:07 AM

              I think Tito's is at least worth a try. People seem to either love it or don't think it's any big deal - I would suggest one form their own opinion, and it's cheap enough taht it won't break the bank or anything. I went there for the first time - completely sober - a couple months ago and I absolutely love their beef tacos and burritos and think they are really flavorful, not bland at all. Especially for an out-of-towner, it's a great LA stop to make.

        3. dshm May 10, 2007 04:52 PM

          Hal's Bar and Grill on Abbot Kinney and California - Jazz nights are Sunday and Monday. My favorite meal there is either the penne pasta, grilled half chicken with the yummiest fries, and the flat iron steak. Save room for dessert especially the bread pudding, I'm not a big fan of bread puddings, but Hal's pudding is delicious. Prices are reasonable.
          Then walk over to Brigs for late night cap and just chill, also on Abbot Kinney

          For Mexican cuisine - La Cabana is decent although I have not been there in years and from what I remember, strong but delicious margaritas, super friendly staff and the tastiest empanadas . La Cabana is on Rose and Lincoln, I used to walk there since I lived in Venice, but parking is one of the cons, do not park across at the grocery parking lot - they will tow!

          Other nearby venues to also check out:
          If you're into people watching, have a drink and not care about the food try:
          James Beach on Venice and Pacific
          World Cafe on Main Street

          Bar sights on Main; Finn McCool's, Library Alehouse, O'Brien's, Rick's Tavern

          2 Replies
          1. re: dshm
            l
            LisaStitch May 10, 2007 04:58 PM

            Hal's has a really great burger too! :) Perfect for hangovers.

            1. re: LisaStitch
              b
              Burger Boy May 10, 2007 05:07 PM

              I agree.

          2. b
            Burger Boy May 10, 2007 05:09 PM

            Try Wacky Wok on Washington at Abbot Kinney. Go for the TEA SMOKED DUCK, the rest of menu just average.

            1. cookie monster May 10, 2007 05:34 PM

              welcome to my hood! a random sampling, all within walking distance from the beach:

              jodi maroni's on the venice boardwalk for fancy sausage sandwiches

              gaby's mediterranean on washington blvd just inland from the beach for hummus, dolmas, kebobs

              the firehouse on main street and rose one block in from beach for a protein-packed if somewhat bland breakfast or lunch with the body builders from gold's gym (you said you wanted unique local experiences)

              in addition to the aforementioned hal's these are all on abbot kinney blvd, north of venice blvd a couple blocks in from the beach:

              abbot's pizza for fantastic pizza by the slice, with both traditional and non-traditional
              toppings

              stroh's gourmet market for fancy sandwiches

              jin patisserie for tea and lovely pastries

              joe's restaurant for higher end - california cuisine - lunch / brunch is really reasonably
              priced for what you get; dinner is more expensive but still worth it in my book

              primitivo for ok tapas and wines by the glass with a fun crowd

              axe for tasty organic-leaning california cuisine in really uncomfortable chairs with a
              totally venice crowd

              abbot's habit - a venice institution for not particularly good coffee and pastries but
              interesting only-in-venice character

              9 Replies
              1. re: cookie monster
                b
                Burger Boy May 10, 2007 05:59 PM

                Hey Cookie, Have you been to Santinos/Santinis on Lincoln north of Rose and how is it?

                1. re: Burger Boy
                  cookie monster May 10, 2007 06:03 PM

                  no, i haven't been there yet. not that i'm a mindless follower or anything . . . but i've never seen more than one or two tables occupied in there and i tend to be reluctant to try perpetually empty places (unless of course someone else on chowhound has recommended them) . . .

                2. re: cookie monster
                  hrhboo May 10, 2007 06:06 PM

                  It's my hood too! Faves are Joe's, Primitivo, Meditirina, 3 Square, Piccolo and Beechwood.

                  1. re: hrhboo
                    mollyomormon May 10, 2007 06:13 PM

                    A couple of questions for you: Where's Meditrina and what to order there? and what do you like at Primitivo? I really like the atmosphere, but the food seemed to have gone downhill last time I was there a few months ago. Or should I just stick to wine:)? thanks!

                    1. re: mollyomormon
                      hrhboo May 11, 2007 11:25 AM

                      Meditirina is lovely for breakfast on a sunny day. The service can be sketchy (hey, it's Venice!) but the food is great. I particularly like Penny's Poached Eggs (perfect hangover food) and the breakfast burrito.

                      I haven't noticed that Primitivo has gone downhill, I eat there pretty regularly. Sure, it's no AOC but it's local and it's consistently good. I like pretty much everything on the menu, but you can't go wrong with a platter of meats and cheeses, with copious amounts of wine of course!

                      1. re: hrhboo
                        n
                        navystreet May 11, 2007 08:31 PM

                        I agree, Meditrina is a nice breakfast spot. They have a good breakfast burrito that doesn't get soggy, and I really like their hash browns.

                        1. re: navystreet
                          b
                          bulavinaka May 11, 2007 08:57 PM

                          Something to consider at Meditrina... They have a glass display case that holds both sweet and savory items. As much as they try to segregate and cover these items, some of the baked goods that shouldn't taste like garlic and onions do... :{

                  2. re: cookie monster
                    Emme May 10, 2007 07:35 PM

                    Love the Firehouse for healthy breakfasts and 26 Beach

                    Lilly's French Cafe
                    Rose Cafe
                    Chaya Venice is fun

                    For Mexican, Tacomiendo in Culver City or Tacos Por Favor or La Serenata di Garibaldi in Santa Monica

                    Joe's and Primitivo are more expensive but certainly good

                    1. re: cookie monster
                      b
                      bulavinaka May 10, 2007 09:48 PM

                      C'mon, Cookie Monster - you're forgetting 3 Square at 1121 Abbot Kinney... Oh, Hrhboo beat me to it...

                      And Joe's is higher end but a great bargain nonetheless - especially their lunch menu...

                    2. Marianna215 May 10, 2007 07:51 PM

                      One of my favorite places for a budget breakfast/brunch is Maxwell's on Washington Blvd.
                      It's a homey diner - I usually sit at the counter. And Everything I've had there is delicious, though my favorite is the "garbage" an omlette with ham and avocado -- they have great pancakes too.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Marianna215
                        k
                        kevin May 10, 2007 10:35 PM

                        maxwell's is not actually not cheap though, a veggie omelet with veggie sausage will set you back 14 bucks not including tax, tip, or any drinks. so that would be 20 per right there.

                      2. hrhboo May 11, 2007 11:43 AM

                        Best inexpensive Mexican food in Venice can be found at the taco truck La Oaxaquena that parks on Lincoln by Brooks (evening), the truck on Rose by 4th (daytime) and La Playita on Lincoln near Rose. Much much better food than Tito's, Tortilla Grill or La Cabana.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: hrhboo
                          westsidegal May 11, 2007 12:18 PM

                          AMEN!!!!

                          1. re: westsidegal
                            kellydeez May 11, 2007 05:41 PM

                            Definitely second the recs for Joe's- Best quality higher end meal in Venice. I hear they have a great brunch as well that is very reasonable.

                            Rose Cafe. Love this place. Great patio, not expensive, and even healthy! The fish tacos are YUM.

                            1. re: kellydeez
                              p
                              purediva May 11, 2007 06:18 PM

                              Tito's is terrible. Drive past it everyday to my office in CC. It's one of those places that has a big following despite the fact that the food's not good.

                              I also live right by 26 Beach, pass by it everyday and have been several times. Food's good but overpriced. Also, the french toasts are dry and the burger are just ok. If you like gourmet burgers, you must try Father's Office in Santa Monica. Burgers and sweet potato fries with aioli to die for. If you're a ketchup lover (like my BF), take some w/you since they don't have any.

                              And yes, there will be detractors here that find the lines and every man for himself seating annoying, but FO is a place wiith food that actually lives up to the hype.

                              1. re: purediva
                                mollyomormon May 11, 2007 06:25 PM

                                I agree with everything you said. I want to love 26 Beach because so many of the things on the menu sound good, but they never live up to the description. Two exceptions for me were the granola plate (but that's so easy and cheap to make at home) and their Cajun pasta.

                                And I also looove Father's Office burger. And now that they're open for lunch on the weekends it's actually possible to have a somewhat relaxed eating experience there.

                        2. h
                          Henry2054 May 11, 2007 07:14 PM

                          I'd suggest brunch at Joe's on Abbot Kinney. It feels upscale, but it's really quite cheap. The have a selection of about 6 or eight entrees priced at about 12 to 15 bucks including a salad/soup. It's an amazing deal.

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