- 1newyorkguy Jul 3, 2007 03:50 PM
Hi there, I'm another new yorker who moved out here. I am looking for what chowhound is best for. Fairly priced, authentic foods.
Any must haves I need to know about? My friends took me to El Cholo (sp?) already, great mexican food there for sure.
This is just my opinion, but if you thought El Cholo was great, you will die from ecstasy once you dig beneath the surface of L.A.'s best Mexican restaurants. El Cholo is popular, but sort of overrated IMO.
There could (literally) be 100s of answers to your query. There are many, ,many fairly priced, authentic restaurants here. There might be 100s of such Mexican places alone.
My current favorite -- though I could do a dozen others off the top of my head -- is Sabor a Mexico. It's on National Boulevard just off Venice across from the banner factory. It's a whole in the wall, almost literally, but on Friday and Saturday nights they put out a taco table that is really outstanding. Their other tacos and quesadillas are also excellent. One of my very best friends hails from Pegueros and believes that SaM is the best and most authentic home cooking he's ever had in a restaurant in Los Angeles.
I'm sure this thread will grow. I'll just add that you shouldn't be afraid to hit the local taquerias in your new neighborhood. They often have great, authentic chow.
Look also for Japanese/sushi joints, Thai places, Korean BBQ and other Asian cuisine. I've not done NY in a long time, but reading this board has led me to believe that our local Mexican and Asian restaurants represent the best of what we have to offer compared to NY. Which is not to say we don't have top notch places of every ilk, but it's in those cuisines that we might fair most favorably when compared to NY.
Good luck and welcome ...
So true about El Cholo, unless the OP had the green corn tamales which really are great!
Here's some fairly priced authentics for ya..
Soot Bull Jeep
Los Balcones de Peru
Sanamluang or Jitlada Thai
Rahel or Meals by Genet
Sushi Zo/ Azami/ Asanebo/ Sushi Ike
Blue Marlin, Sawtelle Kitchen, 2117
Gilbert's El Indio
Roscoe's (it's an institution)
Zankou (some naysayers here)
to get you going...
Hello fellow New Yorker.
First off... forget New York. It's all high and low in Los Angeles. All those great middle ground restaurants don't realy exist here. Here are a few of my favorites.
Sushi. The one thing that really trumps NYC food is the Japanese food in LA.
Ike Sushi. Hollywood
Sasabune. West LA. Incredible
Asanebo. Studio City $$ but great
Itacho on beverly in hollywood. Not sushi but great and neighborhoody japanese
Nanbankan in west LA for Japanese barbecue
Corner Place. Have the cold noodles Vermont and James woods in Koreatown
Tacos guylain (mariscos) in Venice on Lincoln
Yucca Cafe in Silverlake
Bagels. You're screwed here. they all suck compared to NYC
Bagel Broker on Beverly
Sams on Larchmont in Larchmont Village
Sandwiches. Like bagels. it's a burger town.
Bay Cities in Santa Monica
Langers in west LA.
That said, for great burgers
In and Out. make sure you get grilled onions. best fast food burger ever
Apple pan in culver city
Osteria Angelini on Beverly. best italian in LA
Best outside of bangkok.
Sanamluang Cafe Hollywood bl in thai town. Down and dirty cheap. great just like thailand.
Indias grill right at the lacienega/san vicente split. better than 6th street
Parus on sunset/western. Vegetarian. 6th st atmosphere with better food.
The only place like home is Vito's on La cienega. when you need a slice.
Google any of those for more info. They are all pretty neighborhoody and great places that remnd me of home (NYC)
good luck and welcome
Good suggestions, but dude, get a Thomas Guide! ;-) Apple Pan isn't in Culver City, it's smack in West LA, while Langer's is nowhere near West LA (anything with a 213 area code isn't West LA.) I'm saying (writing) this all in good fun. I'll have to try Vito's, that's a new one for me and La Cienega is close.
Langers is near downtown, McCarthur Park area. There are lots of good sandwiches, do a search, there was one recent post with over 100 responses. I think he means Yuca's, it is a stand. Check out this Blog for great tacos. http://www.tacohunt.blogspot.com/ For an interesting take on the taco, a burger taco. try this http://www.calendarlive.com/dining/10...
I honestly can't remember, but I could swear it was in Pasadena... The pizza place was bought by a couple - I believe they were from New York - and had a "pizza consultant" from NYC come and give them the lowdown as to what a real New York pizza is like, how to make it, and what the place should look like right down to the red&white checkerboard tableclothes...
Okay, I think you may be getting warm here... The guy who sold his restaurant swore up and down that he had the most authentic NY-style pizza in town, which turned out to be not even close; thus, the new owners bringing in the "ringer" from NYC. I believe this change in ownership happened recently... the "new" Momma's pizza (dripping of olive oil and requiring the obligatory bend in order to eat the huge slice) is supposed to not only impress some friends of ours from New York, but they also make a mean stromboli. I can't confirm the name but I do think it was Momma's or Mamma's...and it was in Pasadena...
It depends on where you live and how far you are willing to drive. For example, some of the best Chinese food in North America can be found in the San Gabriel Valley, which is just east of Los Angeles. There's some awesome Vietnamese food in Orange County, etc. There's great Mexican food in many places. Here are some mini-reviews I've compiled about San Gabriel Valley restaurants in particular: http://www.geocities.com/raytamsgv
El Cholo is just "eh" to me. Tastes a lot better after a few margaritas.
With a few exceptions, you are not going to find authentic, cheap, great ethnic food on the Westside. Japanese is an exception, and there are a few bright spots, but you're going to need to go where the recent arrivals live.
For Mexican, this means East LA or the Valley. This ranges from taco trucks (our answer to dirty-water hot dogs), the best of which in my oh-so-humble opinion is Tacos La Fonda outside the carwash on the corner of Vanowen St. and Vineland Ave. in North Hollywood, to Babita Mexicuisine, which is an astonishingly good Mexican sit-down restaurant (try the chiles en nogada!!) in San Gabriel. The best fish tacos (yes, I said fish tacos) are from either Tacos Baja Ensenada (Whittier Blvd. near Atlantic Blvd. in ELA), or Senor Baja (many locations sprinkled throughout the 323, 562, 626 with one in the 714), or my favourite, El Taco Nazo, also with many locations. Another good option is La Huasteca in Lynwood, or La Serenata de Garibaldi on 1st St. in Boyle Heights (the Westside branches just don't measure up). Also try regional Mexican -- La Flor de Yucatan for tropical Yucatan cuisine, including cochinita pibil, and places like Monte Alban or Guelaguetza for Oaxacan cuisine like moles and quezadillas de chapulines.
Chinese: New Yorkers have the #7 train. We have the 10 freeway. Make your way to the San Gabriel Valley and start eating Chinese food from every part of China. It makes Flushing look like a piker. Green Village on Valley Blvd. for Shanghainese -- get the pork pump and the pork with bean curd. Seafood Village for their inimitable Chiu Chow crab. 888 or NBC for cart-style dim sum, or Mission 261 for menu-style dim sum. SinBaLa in Arcadia or Rowland Heights for Taiwanese food. Lu Din Gee for Beijing-style duck. Regent Cafe for Western food filtered through Hong Kong (very interesting menu they've got there). Little Sheep (Xiao Fei Yang) for hot pot. Shau Mei for Taiwanese slush. It goes on, and on, and on, and on. Ignore Chinatown, there's precious little there.
Vietnamese: Hie thee to Little Saigon, in Westminster and Garden Grove, or to Rosemead in the San Gabriel Valley. Banh Mi Che Cali for $1.75 sandwiches and $1 che (pudding) that are also buy-2-get-1-free. Com Tam Thuan Kieu for "broken rice" plates -- get the cha (egg pie) as one of your toppings. Pho Thanh Lich for pho. Vien Dong for bun cha Hanoi and cha ca Thanh Long (grilled fish with dill). Pagolac for 7 courses of beef.
Korean: Koreatown is right in the middle of LA. New York has nothing like it -- picture the East 30s, and now make it fifty times larger. Soot Bull Jeep for charcoal barbecue (you will reek of smoke afterwards, just so you know), Corner Place for noodle dishes (you won't be allowed to take them out), Sokongdong or Beverly for spicy soft tofu stew, the place I always forget the name of next to BCD on Western and 8th for mandoo (dumplings). Then go to Ice Kiss and get a big serving of bing su (Korean sweet ice) served in a dog bowl.
Thai: It's debated whether LA is the centre of the Thai-American universe or if we're just preternaturally lucky that so many good Thai cooks live here and run restaurants. Besides what I consider the king of Thai food (Thai Nakorn in Stanton, Orange County), there are two general heavily-Thai locations: Thai Town, in East Hollywood along Hollywood Blvd., and along Sherman Way in North Hollywood west of the 170. Yai, Sapp Coffee Shop and Sanamluang in Thai Town, Krua, Bua Siam, Swan, Sunshine, Sri Siam, and Sanamluang in NoHo. The must-do is the Wat Thai, which is a Thai temple (you can't miss it, trust me) on the corner of Coldwater Canyon and Cantara in North Hollywood. Every weekend from 11 to 4, rain or shine, people come and set up booths and sell food. You purchase plastic tokens at a booth, then queue up for various foods. A serving of the best som tum (papaya salad) you'll ever eat, nearly a quart of the stuff pounded in front of your eyes, is $3. Satay is $1 a stick. Kanom krok (coconut-rice balls, addictive) are 19 halves for $3. Mango and sticky rice is $3 for a mango and a pint of rice or $5 for two mangoes and a quart of rice. Country curry steamed in banana leaves. Noodles. Fried taro. Soups. Custards baked in sweet squash. Spend $20 and you'll have enough food to feed four hungry people. The profits go straight to the temple, but you might want to increase your karma by giving alms to the orange-robed monks. (If you do go in the temple itself, remove your shoes and behave respectfully -- no photos!!)
Arabic, Armenian and Persian -- Westwood and Glendale. My favourite, Skaf's Lebanese Grill, is at Laurel Canyon and Oxnard in NoHo, get anything written on the whiteboard above the soda fountain. Other great options: Raffi's in Glendale (best bean salad, best rice you'll ever eat), Javan in Westwood, Shamshiri in Glendale, Carnival in Sherman Oaks, Mandaloun in Glendale, Darya in Orange, Carousel in Glendale.
Peruvian -- some in Hollywood, more in Van Nuys and North Hollywood. My favourite is Las Quenas, on Sherman Way and Bellaire in NoHo, but there's also El Hatuchay, Los Balcones del Peru, and Mario's, and for rotisserie chicken there's Juan Pollo (OK, run by Mexicans, but still) in OC and the IE (one in ELA) and Super Pollo on Van Nuys Blvd.
There's more -- a lot more, Filipino and Laotian and Indian and Salvadorean and Colombian and Japanese and English and soul food and drunk food and... and... but my fingers hurt so I'm stopping for now.
re: Das Ubergeek
Hey Das... Thanks for the recent fish taco showdown, btw. Is it just me or have the fish tacos at tacos baja ensenada not been as superb as they used to be?
I first started going there about 5 or 6 years ago I think. I now live in the East, but when I go home each year, my first place to visit is tacos baja ensenada (I swear it's worth the trip on its own. But when I was there again in April, they weren't up to snuff in my opinion. Still great and better than any others I get (never been to el taco nazo). But the batter seemed a little breadier than usual. not as light and crisp as before... was this just a bad day or how they are now?
and to the original poster. As someone from So Cal who now lives in the NY Metro area, definitely check out the regional mexican food that Das Ubergeek outlined above. It's something you just can't find out in NYC area. Baja style included.
Tacos Baja Ensenada
5385 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90022
re: Das Ubergeek
Thx for the chow-worthy service, DU. Your post is now safely ensconced in the Grubs' glove box w the Ultimate LA Chowhound Restaurants & Jonathan Gold's Essentiall 99.
Only one rec addition to your notes: Pollo ala Brasa's Peruvian chicken is, imho, best-in-class for rotisserie chix.
You will drive everywhere for good Chinese food and you will not find any you like...After about two years, you will start to get used to it, then you will like Kung Pao Bistro. Driving an hour to Monterey Park will not do it for you, driving 6 hours to San Fransisco will be your only hope - or just have your friends freeze and ship direct from NY.
Focus on Japanese food. Azami on Melrose is excellent. For non sushi items, Mishima is a small chain that has some very good prices and comfort food.
Find Versailles for Cuban food. Find Rosco's House of Chicken and Waffles. For Mexican, I like Antonio's on Melrose better than El Cholo. Although the same owners as El Cholo have a great Southwest place called Sonora Cafe on La Brea (pricier).
Some other moderate/cheap priced consistent food choices, California Chicken Cafe, Urth Cafe, Rosti, Baja Fresh, Pink's hotdogs, The Counter in Santa Monica for burgers.
Susina Bakery if you're homesick.
re: Food Good
Why do you think that just because he's a New Yorker he won't like authentic Chinese food?
(And while on Chinese food. Try Din Tai Fung for Shanghai soup dumplings in Arcadia, and Chungking for spicy Sichuan greatness, in San Gabriel).
There are plenty of great suggestions listed here. But absolutely try some taco trucks/stands (try the Al Pastor at some of the more recommended places); the Chinese food in the San Gabriel Valley; great Pho and other Vietnamese wonders; In-N-Out Burgers; and Langer's pastrami sandwiches, which are indeed awesome and easily appreciated by New Yorkers. But please forget about the pizza out here.
And a good list of places is Jonathan Gold's 99 essential restaurants, which was in last week's edition of the L.A. weekly. I don't think he's always right, but he sure is right a lot, especially when it comes to Asian and Mexican/Latin American food.
Mcmal is right on the money about Din Tai Fung (or is it Ding Tai Fung?). The best dumplings I've ever had.
Although why people love In-N-Out so much will always be a mystery to me. Maybe it's because I'm from the Midwest. Much better burgers are to be had at Father's Office and The Counter, both in Santa Monica. Make sure to order them medium rare or rare.
TRY SUSHI ZO!
The San Gabriel Valley (SGV) is blessed with many Shanghainese-style restaurants. If you enjoyed Din Tai Fung, go deeper into the SGV to places like Mei Long Village, J&J (next to each other in the same shopping center), a couple among many eateries that serve up their own interpretations of these sublime mouthfuls of dreams... As I would rarely decline a steamer of xiao long bao from Din Tai Fung, I find that they lack a certain soul compared to the other places that are known for their xlb's. I think Din Tai Fung is a great starting point for those who have yet to be introduced to these dumplings, with the process taking place before you as viewed through the large picture windows. But take the effort in seeking out other xlb's and you will be rewarded with a wider appreciation for this dish, as well as the incredible cuisine from which it was born.
Here's a recent thread started by Ipsedixit - one of our well-knowledged Chowhounds on various Chinese cuisines - as a starter:
Same reason you said "forget about the pizza." Some things are so different that it's just too painful to compare. After 12 years here - I still can't find Chinese food that matches my personal tastes. When I go back to NY, I go on a Chinese food bender. As for pizza, as long as I think of the stuff here as lovely cooked bread with interesting ingredients, I get by.
re: Food Good
I'm a native NYer, and what comes closest to NY-type big, thin, foldable slices IMO, is Mulberry Street. The one on South Beverly (the only one I've been to) has the New York Post on tables to read while your pizza cooks.
347 North Canon Drive,Beverly Hills 310-247-8998
240 South Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills 310-248-4455
17040 Ventura Blvd, Encino
re: Das Ubergeek
See, that's funny, because when I lived in New York, I ate great authentic Sichuan and great Shanghaiese. NOT New Moon style. There isn't the type of Cantonese we get here, though I think the Shanghai may replicate. What I haven't found in LA is the same type of great Sichuan.
No, I haven't, but I'll have to try them. Granted, my standard home delivery place in NYC was one of the best Sichuan places there (Grand Sichuan -- their Mapo Tofu and Dan Dan Noodles were to die for) and I haven't heard a lot of CH discussion on Sichuan food. We only moved here a couple of years ago -- didn't get a chance to eat at Oriental Pearl, but I'll have to give Chung King a try some winter night when I have a yen for mapo tofu.
Depending where you live, there is a train... Koreatown, for example, is on the Purple Line (shut up, yes, we have subways and light rail). In about a month, Buena Park (huge Korean population) will have its own Metrolink rail station.
New York it isn't, but you'll get used to the driving.
Try the Highland Park area. Rents are a lot cheaper here than the west / central LA, there's a train to downtown, Hollywood and Pasadena (and it's close to downtown, Pasadena, Glendale, etc.) and there is a lot of good eating around here. I think the best tacos are in HP. La Estrella taco truck anyone?
For Mexico City Mexican food - I like Antonio's on Melrose. The chicken papachanga and the queso fundido are some of the things my daughter misses the most. (She attends NYU.) I have a huge "tres de Mayo" party their every year in the back room. For Tamales - Gallegos in Venice is my favorite. I order about 80 - 90 dozen every Xmas to have delivered to my clients. It's traditional.
La Parilla in EastLA - finally ate there last Friday. Homemade guacamole and tortillias that'll make you cry they are so darn good.
Thai food - Palm Thai on Hollywood Bl. Great food and the show that Kevin the Thai Elvis impersonator performs is worth it. They have an incredible ground catfish salad. Sounds totally bizarre - but trust me on this one. totally refreshing especially in this weather. A client who is a native of Thailand brought me there.
Indian food - Take a freeway ride to Little India in Artesia. The 91 freeway south on Pioneer. Udupi Palace is a vegetarian restaurant that even a self avowed carnivore like me craves. The chana batura (chick pea stew with a puffy fried bread) is sublime. Wash it down with a mago lassi. Then go down the block to Ambala sweet shop and just get experimental. I don't know what any of the stuff is called. I just point and try something new.
Japanese - Go to Torrance or Gardena. Great authentic Japanese food. Torrance is HQ to Toyota, Honda and formerly Nissan so there are great places that cater to the "company men". I like for ramen noodles, Shisen Ramen on Sepulveda. Had dinner there tonight. Make sure you order the gyoza and the chicken karaage. The gyoza is so delicate and the chicken is perfectly crispy. I like thw Paiko Ramen (katsu pork chop). The Spoon House in Gardena is definitely worth seeking out. Skip the $1 salad. I crave the spinach and bacon noodles. The bread is great too. It reminds me on Bay. They have very interesting combinations that I see other people eating but never get up the nerve to try. Natto, shiso, hotdog and marinara - yes that is a very Japanese dish!
Lebanese - Gabby's in Venice
Filipino - Drive to Carson. I like Manilla Lechon. Some of the best Chicken adobo I've ever had. Also try to go when they serve Kare Kare - oxtail stew in a peanut sauce with eggplant and bokchoy. Make sure you get the bagoong (salted fish paste) on the side. You have to buy the lechon separate from the steam table items by the pound.
Cuban - Versaille locations on La Cienga, Manhattan Beach, Culver City
All these suggestions are good. I've tried most of them.
Here's a tip for LA area dining; whenever someone suggests a restaurant, use theLA County Health Department web site to look it up. I believe any ethnic restaurant that gets an "A" rating has probably lost the faith and gone commercial; in other words I don't care about the rating. BUT...the search engine by street or by just a part of their name is invaluable. Then there's the mapping function.
A few faves....
Mexican: Loteria Grill at the Farmer's Market at 3rd & Fairfax
Malaysian/Singapore: Banana Leaf, also at the Farmer's Market at 3rd & Fairfax
Japanese Noodles: Chabuya on Sawtelle
Good Neighborhood Thai: Tuk Tuk on Pico near Robertson
Prepared Foods/Take Out/Sandwiches: Joan's On Third in W. Hollywood (expensive!) and Clementine in Century City
Go ahead and try In N Out. A lot of people love it, but I think they have the thinnest saddest little average-tasting beef patties. Great bread and fresh produce, but what's a good burger without a good patty?
The best fast food burger out here in my opinion is Fatburger.
You'll find a lot of excellent high-end (~$10+) burgers - Father's Office, Arnie Morton's, Rustic Canyon, Beacon, Spago, etc... They are all worth the money.
As a native New Yorker who grew up in the City, 3 suggestions:
If you're looking for a decent, no-frills, reasonbly-priced pasta place try Vivoli on Sunset (by the Virgin Megastore). Solid pasta.
Bay Cities on Lincoln is a NY-style salumeria. Good sandwiches and hot dishes.
The only place I've seen that has NY-style chinese food (a la what you'll find on the menu at Ollie's, or any place with Szechuan in the name) is Mandarette on Beverly. It's not bad.
Though I haven't tried Vito's, all the pizza here (including Mulberry Street) sucks, except Mozza, which is Italian-style individual pies. No one here makes good pizza by the slice.
It's possible the best pizza by the slice is Pizza Mayven, a kosher pizza place on La Brea akin to the kosher pizza places in Queens. Not great, but edible. And no meat.
I'll also be moving to LA soon, so this post has been extremely helpful. I'll be living in the Miracle Mile area, so if there are any additional restaurants that have not been mentioned in that area, please post! (i will have a car, but will have to do some more "research" to see if the restaurants listed here are actual destination places)
Plenty of great suggestions here. You can start chowing in any neighborhood and be amazed.
Just ONE suggestion: Do NOT attempt to find your favorite NY foods here in L.A.. This is not NYC. This is not a city that was ever born of NY emigres. The cuisine here reflects the large populations of West Coast immigrants: Asians, Latin Americans and Middle-Easterners. So please do not complain that you can't find familiar favorites like NY-style Italian, Greek, etc. here. You can fill up on that food when you visit home.
Other than that, enjoy your new explorations! And don't forget that our street food here is taco trucks, not hot dogs. Go eat at a taco truck....and then tell us what you think of El Cholo!