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Best of LA: Order-and-sit-down spots

amandine Jun 23, 2007 08:44 AM

The comfortable *non-chain* in-between that doesn't have a good name to distinguish it... far more than fast food, but a notch less than full-waitservice restaurants, perfect for a lunch with a friend. Where you order at the counter, find a table, and wait til the staff brings it.

Along the lines of Auntie Em's Kitchen, Leaf Cafe, Coral Tree, Tender Greens... What places are out there in LA.?

  1. r
    revets2 Jul 1, 2007 01:13 AM


    1. riceflour Jun 30, 2007 11:57 PM

      Susina Bakery! How could I have forgotten? That's my favorite when in Hollywood.

      1. j
        JeetJet Jun 30, 2007 09:18 PM

        Teri & Yaki Chicken House has some good soups. I like the dumpling soup, spicy chicken soup and the pot stickers. The Chinese Chicken Salad is good also and has a house made dressing that you would either really like or really dislike. The won-tons remind me of Feast from the East style. Many people like them because they taste great but to me they are heavy grease. The chicken meal with noodles is pretty good also. Good prices. I go to the Monrovia location 2 to 3 times each month. They have inside seating as well as outdoor. Sitting out front above the sidewalk is nice.

        Teri & Yaki Chicken House
        106 S Myrtle Ave
        Monrovia, CA 91016
        (626) 256-6705

        Teri & Yaki Chicken House
        319 S. Arroyo Parkway #9 (x-st. Del Mar
        )Pasadena, CA
        (626) 683-9865

        1. riceflour Jun 24, 2007 07:07 PM

          I'm a little surprised that no one has mentioned Honey's Kettle in Culver City. I guess you could call it a mini-chain, since there's one other in Compton, but it's quite tasty. It's not Amandine (LOVE that place), but it hits the spot for comfort food mid-day between meetings and traffic. The chicken is good, the biscuits are delicious, and drizzling both with honey and hot sauce is fattening perfection.

          9537 Culver Blvd.
          Culver City, CA 90232


          1. f
            foodmonster Jun 24, 2007 06:57 PM

            ALCOVE Cafe in Los Feliz.


            1 Reply
            1. re: foodmonster
              ciaoxtina Jun 30, 2007 11:44 PM

              Yes I second that. Mmmm crab cake benedicts are always excellent there.

            2. amandine Jun 24, 2007 05:36 PM

              Okay, here's our list so far for all of you order-and-sit-down fans like myself.

              Auntie Em's (Eagle Rock)
              Europane (Pasadena)
              Lovebirds Cafe (Pasadena)
              Pitfire Pizza (DTLA)
              Clearman's (San Gabriel)
              Oinkster (ER)

              Leaf Cafe (Culver City)
              Tender Greens (Culver City)
              Fresh Corn Grill (WLA)
              M Cafe de Chaya <-- my next spot to try
              Amandine (WLA)
              Clementine (Century City)
              Lemon Moon
              Joan's on Third
              Rose Cafe (Venice)
              Little Next Door
              Cafe Brasil

              Coral Tree (chain)
              Stonefire Grill (chain)
              Corner Bakery (chain)
              Famima (chain)
              u-Wink <-- never heard of this one..
              Le Pain Quotidien (chain)
              California Chicken Cafe (chain)
              Paris Baguette Cafe
              Original Rinaldi's (El Segundo)

              Awesome everyone... keep the suggestions coming and I'll update the list

              2 Replies
              1. re: amandine
                SauceSupreme Jun 24, 2007 06:43 PM

                uWink is in Woodland Hills and owned by the same guy who founded Chuck E Cheese, I believe. Oh look they've got a new website:


                I have yet to go, as the reviews haven't been very positive, to put it lightly, but I do want to check it out.

                1. re: SauceSupreme
                  WHills Jun 24, 2007 09:41 PM

                  Uwink is going downhill in the food category...

              2. chuckles Jun 24, 2007 02:06 PM

                Oinkster in Eagle Rock?

                2005 Colorado Blvd.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chuckles
                  SauceSupreme Jun 24, 2007 02:57 PM

                  Ah good call. I couldn't think of a non-chain place until now, and I'll certainly second this vote.

                2. j
                  JeetJet Jun 24, 2007 12:43 PM

                  Wow! this thread is making me understand more about the way I like to eat out. Walk in and order at the counter (no waiting for a server to ask what you want to drink). Then take your seat and settle in knowing you have done everything you can to seepd it up but not have to stress-out about "did they call my number yet?" They bring it to you pretty quickly because these kinds of places do not have the counter space to let food sit and stack-up. Good post!

                  Lunch plus DESSERT.

                  For sandwiches, salads, cake, cookies, shakes
                  7290 Beverly Boulevard (at Poinsettia)
                  Los Angeles 90036
                  (323) 939-6455
                  Mon - Closed
                  Sun, Tue – Thur 9 a.m.– 10 p.m.
                  Fri-Sat 9 a.m. - 11 p.m.

                  Fo dat ono kine grinz and da shave ice
                  Shakas (The best Bacon Fried Rice this side of the islands)
                  101 W. Main St. #C (Enter from First Street behind Starbucks Coffee)
                  Alhambra, CA
                  (626) 293-5520

                  Shakas (Sorry, no bacon fried rice at this location but plenty good grinz and shave ice)
                  2300 Garfield Ave.
                  Monterey Park CA
                  (323) 888-2695

                  Fried Chicken
                  Shakey's Pizza Restaurant (Very special fried chicken at this location).
                  1422 N Azusa Ave
                  Covina, CA 91722-1251
                  (626) 966-5819

                  Original Rinaldi's (Italian combo sub, Meat Ball sandwich, Hot Chicken sandwich, Turkey, liverwurst – on & on)
                  323 Main St.
                  El Segundo, CA 90245
                  (310) 647-2860
                  From N. Sepulveda Blvd go West on E. Grand to Main St.
                  From W. Imperial Ave. Go South on Main
                  Right across from the Fire Department

                  Salads or Chicken
                  California Chicken Café (The best Chinese Chicken Salad anyplace, great rotisserie
                  chicken, wraps) Closed Sunday.
                  7 locations

                  Burgers, fish& chips, Beer
                  Clearman's Galley (Aka, The Boat) Chili cheese burger, fish and chips, salad with great cheese toast, cold beer) Note, The Boat is being totally rebuilt but for now the menu is served at North Woods Inn M-F until 4:00 pm).
                  7247 Rosemead Blvd.
                  San Gabriel, CA
                  (626) 286-8284

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JeetJet
                    liu Jun 24, 2007 01:07 PM

                    I have been to MILK only once, and I thought it was really good and REALLY rich! We shared a tres leches cake -- although our choice was just random as we could have tried anything in the case! The portion was very generous and the three milks were very distinct. With your reminder, JeetJet (love your name!), I would love to return to try something savory...a sandwich.

                  2. j
                    jennp Jun 24, 2007 10:26 AM

                    I love Cafe Brasil! Great lunch or dinner place with really great food.

                    Two locations... one on Venice, the other on Washington.

                    1. m
                      mlgb Jun 24, 2007 10:03 AM

                      Does it have to be in WLA? Downtown LA has Pifire Pizza which uses that model.

                      1. q
                        QualityMart Jun 23, 2007 03:42 PM

                        I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking that Joan's On Third would be at or near the top of the list. And Rose Cafe too if you order at the counter. (Funny, I think of these two places as sort of east/west counterparts to each other.)

                        Also on Third Street is the relatively new The Little Next Door. (Another favorite on this board.)

                        And I'll add a vote for Amandine as well.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: QualityMart
                          amandine Jun 23, 2007 10:40 PM

                          where's rose cafe? i'm on the eastside

                          1. re: amandine
                            bulavinaka Jun 23, 2007 10:54 PM

                            Rose Cafe is on Rose Ave between Pacific Ave and Hampton Drive in Venice...

                            1. re: amandine
                              sel Jun 23, 2007 10:54 PM

                              I haven't been for a few years but:


                              1. re: amandine
                                ipsedixit Jun 23, 2007 10:54 PM

                                It's in Venice. http://www.rosecafe.com

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  barcelona Jun 23, 2007 11:06 PM

                                  Stone Fire is GREAT and so are most of the Mediterranean restaurants (like persian and Lebanese not those junky israely dumps)

                            2. m
                              maudies5 Jun 23, 2007 01:08 PM

                              Two which immediately come to mind are: Clementine and Lemon Moon

                              1. Emme Jun 23, 2007 10:49 AM

                                M Cafe de Chaya
                                Lovebirds Cafe
                                do u-Wink and Le Pain Quotidien count?
                                yeah it's a chain, but I do like California Chicken Cafe

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Emme
                                  bulavinaka Jun 23, 2007 11:08 AM

                                  I personally find Le Pain Quotidien (LPQ) a great chain that seems very modest in its identity. To me, it's the model that any chain should follow, where its food and service does the talking, and not its branding. Although it's not order-and-sit-down (in fact, the staff at the pastry counter will direct you to engage one of the waiters if you want a pastry to eat there), I also feel it deserves a good mention.

                                  In a similar vein, Amandine in West LA, while not a chain like LPQ, seems to always take great care in their food and service. While not a destination eatery in most foodies' minds, I can't help but think of this place at least once a day for the great meals and pastries that I've enjoyed here. The quiches put to rest the motto, "real men don't eat quiche," as I would think "real" men or not, most would find their versions very tasty and substantial, as well as having croissants and other pastries that would please just about any Euro-phile...

                                  1. re: bulavinaka
                                    sel Jun 23, 2007 11:26 AM

                                    Amandine IS a destination for me. Usually for pastries and coffee, rarely for breakfest only because I live far away and it's hard for me to get their early enough for breakfest. Sometimes for a sandwich and sweet for lunch. One of the top 5 bakeries in L.A.

                                    1. re: sel
                                      bulavinaka Jun 23, 2007 03:01 PM

                                      From you and having read your posts, I can take this with the utmost respect...

                                    2. re: bulavinaka
                                      liu Jun 24, 2007 10:25 AM

                                      I couldn't have said this better, bulavinaka...and you couldn't have said it better, either. Le Pain Quotidien and Amandine are two of our favorites!

                                      I will add Paris Baguette Bakery/Cafe to this list (125 N. Western Ave.). We were there yesterday (trying to get there with our Clover coffee from Groundworks downtown...gone, however, before we made it!) and Paris Baguette is now featuring several more savory items that we had not seen before along with a few choices of divine looking shave ices (with fresh fruit, red beans, condensed milk).

                                      1. re: liu
                                        mlgb Jun 24, 2007 12:10 PM

                                        There is also a Paris Baguette in Buena Park in the Super 1 Hannam center on Beach Blvd. Approximately 5300 block of Beach.

                                        1. re: mlgb
                                          liu Jun 24, 2007 12:24 PM

                                          Are they all pretty much in the same form? Is the Buena Park one beginning to feature various shave ice bowls for the summer?

                                          1. re: liu
                                            mlgb Jun 24, 2007 07:19 PM

                                            I did a quick reconaissance on my way to SuRah for dinner and didn't notice any shave ice bowls. Some nice looking pastries, desserts, and a menu board with sandwiches etc. Might have been the wrong time of day for shave ice if they did have it.

                                            1. re: mlgb
                                              liu Jun 24, 2007 10:48 PM

                                              Thanks for checking! The Paris Baguette on Western had a large poster at the entranceway "advertising" their various ice bowls -- with photos. We were there in the early afternoon on Saturday, so perhaps by dinnertime it would not still be outside.

                                  2. w
                                    WHills Jun 23, 2007 09:04 AM

                                    Stonefire Grill (small chain)
                                    Corner Bakery (chain)

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: WHills
                                      handlertaper Jun 23, 2007 10:02 AM

                                      I enjoy Fresh Corn Grill on Westwood Blvd. Good salads, grilled shrimp, chicken, veggies, pasta dishes, corn chowder, etc.

                                      1. re: WHills
                                        sel Jun 23, 2007 11:19 AM

                                        How is Stonefire Grill? What is good. I get their coupons on a regular basis but have not been.

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