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Jun 23, 2007 08:44 AM

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

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.?

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  1. Stonefire Grill (small chain)
    Corner Bakery (chain)

    2 Replies
    1. re: WHills

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

      1. re: WHills

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

      2. 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

          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

            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

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

            2. re: bulavinaka

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

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

            1. 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

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

                1. re: amandine

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

                      1. re: ipsedixit

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

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