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Jun 18, 2007 07:51 PM

L.A. restaurant recs for a shellfish allergic person?


I LOVE food and I love to eat out, but my niece is allergic to any kind of shellfish, which means Asian food is out. She is so allergic that any trace of shrimp in her food or on her dishes causes her to lungs to close up.

I want to take her out to a restaurant we haven't already been to, but she is afraid to try anything new. Any shrimp-safe restaurant ideas? The burger and pizza places are getting a bit old with her (she's 20).


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  1. Does she like Indian food? There are several Indian vegetarian places. If you want a casual place, Indian Sweets and Spices on Venice in Culver City is a good place for lunch. I'm pretty sure Samosa House, also in Culver City, further west on Washington, is also vegetarian. My cousin is allergic to shellfish so I understand how bad it can be. (she once had a salad where the kitchen, unbeknownst to her, took a piece of crab off the lettuce...after the ambulance crew stormed their restaurant I don't think they'll make that mistake again!)

    Also, if your niece is really so allergic that even a trace of shellfish will effect your niece, I'd be careful at pizza places. A lot of them have shrimp these days. Oh, you also might try barbecue places, I bet a lot of them are shellfish free. Kosher restaurants would be too, wouldn't they? (pardon me if I'm wrong about that.)

    1. How about Ethiopian? Meals By Genet is great and their menu is shellfish-free. You could also go to Rahel for vegetarian Ethiopian food.

      2 Replies
      1. re: hrhboo

        Ethiopian! What a perfect idea. The only Ethiopian anything I've had was at a friend's house in Berkeley about 10 years ago. Are these places on Fairfax in the Little Ethiopia district? What to order?

        1. re: blissin

          I always get the vegetarian platter which is a selection of about a dozen different veggie preparations. You can then choose a meat dish (lovely wots and tibs, but my fave is the lamb alitcha) which is placed in the center of the platter. There are so many different things to taste and enjoy.

      2. You could also take her to a vegetarian place like Real Food Daily, California Vegan, Native Foods, Madeleine Bistro (yum!) and I think Hugo's might be able to accommodate you, but I'd call first. Also, Juliano's Raw, Inn of the Seventh Ray, Leaf Cuisine, Paru's, Mrs. Winston's might be fun because you get to *make your own* yummy salad/side platters, A Votre Santa (also worth a call to make sure they can handle it), Truly Vegan, Vegan Express, M Cafe de Chaya, and HealthyCa.

        To name a few...

        1. What about a steakhouse?
          Argentinian Carlito's Gardel, Moroccan, Ethiopan, California Chicken Cafe, Zankou Chicken, Fogo de Chao. No shellfish needed in these places.

          3 Replies
          1. re: carter

            Surf and turf? The shrimp/lobster might be cooked on the same grill, I'd ask ahead.

            1. re: carter

              most steakhouses offer shrimp cocktails and other shellfish dishes.
              it is a big leap to assume that all the cooking/cutting/preparation surfaces are completely scrubbed before going on to the next food item.... .

              1. re: carter

                I understand about the shell fish concern. My problem is with crab AND with servers who really do not understand the English language but act as if they do. Me, "I cannot eat crab. I get sick if I eat crab." Then the server smiles and says, "Oh. OK." and brings me crab. I agree with the rec. for the California Chicken Café. The best Chinese Chicken Salad in the USA is at the California Chicken Café. Oh ya, "Asian food is out." Don't worry, Chinese Chicken Salad is not really Chinese, it is an L.A. invention and nobody makes it better. When I go I ask for no pasta, no wontons (I am also having a 'BIG" problem with carbs), but I do ask for extra almonds -- so good!

                Seven locations

              2. Actually the solution to your problem is so simple I'm surprised no one has mentioned it. Just go to a Kosher restaurant which will not allow any shellfish inside their restaurant. Here are a few (east of WLA):

                Shilo's - Steakhouse

                BBC Cafe - Mediterranean

                Fish Grill - Seafood

                Nate & Al's - Deli (large menu

                There is a specific Kosher Board where you can go for more info, such as:

                8 Replies
                1. re: JBC

                  Someone had mentioned it. I would suggest Pat's, which is one of the nicer kosher restaurants around. It has nice salads and a California vibe.

                  For some reason, my earlier post got lost. In addition to the kosher places and Madeleine's Bistro, I would recommend looking at Menupix for LA Menus that do not have seafood on them.

                  For instance, for more casual fare, but not at all fast-food, the Stand in Encino and Century City has salads, hot dogs, and burgers, and none of the items appear to have shellfish. More casual, there are places like Skooby's, The Weiner Factory, and Hoagies and Wings.

                  Chili My Soul in Encino has a lot of different types of chili. Surprisingly, given the wide range of chilis that they do serve, they have never done a seafood version.

                  Also in Encino, there is a kosher sushi restaurant on Ventura, just a few doors from Katsu-Ya. I've never been, but it might be a place to introduce your niece to sushi.

                  1. re: JBC

                    Oh! I didn't realize kosher included no shellfish. I am thrilled! Kosher is a great idea- sometimes it's tough to get out of the box when you grown up with particular foods (in my family- Japanese-Hawaiian and Tex Mex = meat, meat, and lots of seafood). Thanks for the great suggestions.

                    1. re: blissin

                      I had recommended Kosher restaurants in my post up top. But I'm not an expert on Kosher, so I wasn't 100 percent sure absolutely NO shellfish is Kosher. Also, were you looking for fancy or casual places? Casual may be easier to do. I would bet some of the places in the Farmer's market would qualify. The Churrascaria place for example.

                      1. re: writergirl

                        Some of the churrascaria places have shellfish. I know Ummba grill in Century City has grilled shrimp. It also is possible that the salad bar at some of the more upscale places, e.g., Fogo de Chao, may have shellfish.

                        1. re: writergirl

                          Yes, thank you! I did see you mentioned Kosher also... Upscale or casual would suffice. Our families have been stuck in a restaurant rut since her allergy manifested about a year ago.

                          1. re: blissin

                            Yes "writergirl" did mention Kosher in her last 2 lines and I missed it, my bad. There are lists of Kosher places you can view by using (i.e) google . Menupages also has one and you can see their menus....


                      2. re: JBC

                        nate 'n al's is not kosher, but i do believe that their menu doesn't contain shellfish.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          Yes your right, they don't proclaim to be Kosher and are open 7 days a week, but there's no shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops, oysters, ect. on their menu; however, IMHO I believe they lean in that direction.