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Jun 5, 2007 10:05 AM

LA Area recommendations please

I'm going to be in Southern California (and the entire Los Angeles area) for a few days later this month. I will have a car, and am looking for several recommendations for both lunch and dinner (breakfast is probably out as this is a business trip). I will be in Orange County, Los Angeles, and even Thousand Oaks.

What are the Los Angeles (area) restaurants that I should absolutely NOT miss? I like most kinds of food, and recommendations of high-priced places are welcome (as are recommendations of hole-in-the-wall cash-only places).

I like regional food, food that reflects the area I'm visiting, etc. There is no type of place that I WON'T go.

Thanks so much.

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  1. While in Thousand Oaks, make sure you go to Brent's Deli in Westlake Village- 5 minute drive. www.brentsdeli.com One of THE best. South side of freeway (hwy 101) exit Westlake Blvd. and next to the Hyatt. On the other side of the Blvd and freeway is a shopping center where you'll find a gourmet market called Bristol Farms. Fun to schmooze and get take aways. I love their sushi!

    1. On the way to Thousand Oaks, stop by Shibuya in Calabasas for excellent sushi. They have really fresh and special fishes (bluefin tuna, toro, giant clam).

      Langer's famous deli by downtown area for pastrami sandwich.

      Here are the foods you should try. You might want to do a chowhound search depending on where you will be to see where to go:
      1) Mexican restaurant
      2) Chinese restaurant in San Gabriel Valley
      3) Japanese restaurant
      4) Thai restaurant
      5) Korean restaurant

      1. I think Spago is a must (I prefer it for lunch, but I've heard really amazing things about their dinner tasting menu). It's an LA mainstay, and it was a key player in really helping California cuisine and fusion take off in the mainstream. I tend to like some of the heavier Austrian dishes on the menu though, maybe because I'm a little bit Austrian...

        Father's Office is a small bar that serves the best burgers ever in my opinion. It is really really really good, and has been noted by national critics as being one of the best burgers in the country. But beware there are no substitutions or changes to anything - you just get it the way they make it, and there is no ketchup. Very interesting beer list too. Casual and often really crowded, but very worth it.

        5 Replies
        1. re: LisaStitch

          The Tower Restaurant, sits atop a skyscraper and you will have a memorable dinner there among the clouds. For a trendy spot, STEPPS closer to the bank district on Flower and if you like art deco go to Rex on Olive.

          1. re: letynjery

            Tower, maybe for drinks, but there is so much better dining in downtown these days, regardless of need for a view, e.g, Water Grill, Roys, the Palm...the list goes on and on if you search downtown for all types of dining experiences.. and btw Rex Il Ristorante closed circa 1997...same with Stepps, which ultimatey morphed into the Nick and Stefs location, (though the Stepps cafe in the atrium may still be there). Nick and Stefs for drinks - okay to good on the food, and I'd go there before the Tower.

            1. re: Local

              thx for the update, BTW I wasn't referring to Tower Bar in the Sunset Hotel, I meant the one atop the previously named Occidental Tower. I think the name is changed to Steaks and Martinis.

              1. re: letynjery

                I actually meant Windows restaurant at the the top of the SBC Tower building (1150 S. Olive) which used to be called the Transamerica Occidental bldg...yes, it has a great view but mediocre-at-best food and pedestrian service....(can't help you on Steaks and Martini's...think it was part of the original restaurant name but then became just Windows...)

                1. re: Local

                  If you are going to be in downtown LA, I recommend you try my favorite "hole-in-the-wall" sushi joint, Hama Sushi on 2nd Street between Central and Los Angeles (on the outskirts of the LIttle Tokyo mall). This is pretty much a small joint for locals. I recommend the albacore sashimi, the spicy tuna or yellowtail, and if feeling indulgent they also do a yummy deep-fried softshell crab. Ciudad is my other downtown favorite for tapas on Sunday nights. If you don't mind the hood (MacArthur Park) and you are hankering for reputedly the best pastrami in the west, try Langer's on Alvarado, but it may not be worth your while. They are only open for lunch and it's rough around there.

                  For good authentic Mexican try La Serenata di Garibaldi either in Boyle Heights (east LA) or on Pico in West LA; there's also one in Santa Monica.