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last-minute trip to L.A.

howdy,
i'll be riding my wife's (business) coattails to los angeles in a few weeks. we'll be staying four or five days at the omni at california plaza.

it's been awhile since my last visit so i would appreciate thoughts/advice where to enjoy lunch (solo) and dinner. i would like to concentrate on korean, japanese, mexican food plus your famous california cuisine. other suggestions are also welcome.

we won't have a car but we're not afraid to walk, taxi, bus or train just about anywhere. can't say i have much experience with L.A. mass transit but i'm more than willing to learn.

price is not an issue. high-end, low-end makes no difference. i've had great chow in bars and dives, pathetic swill in some so-called three-star places. it's all about the food. sometimes views, character and history can overcome some culinary shortcomings so please take that into consideration. lastly, we like to drink. any good bars in town?

thanks for taking the time to read this.

--steve

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  1. The Redwood Bar & Grill is pretty close to the Omni. It's a good place to drink with plenty of character and history but the food is solid too.
    There's plenty of good Japanese that's not too far of a walk.
    Sushi Gen or Takumi for sushi.
    Daikokuya for ramen.
    Iyazoi or Haru Ulala for izakaya (small plates) of cooked food and sushi.
    For Korean, you will have to take a cab or a bus down Wilshire or Olympic -- you might start with Sa Rit Gol on Olympic.

    -----
    Redwood Bar & Grill
    316 W 2nd St Ste 202, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    Sushi-Gen
    422 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    Takumi Sushi Restaurant
    333 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    Daikokuya
    327 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    Haru Ulala
    368 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    Sa Rit Gol
    3189 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

    11 Replies
          1. re: Servorg

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/419385

            car rental in LA is really affordable...around $15-20/day. it just might be worth it for amazing food (and sites!). :)

            1. re: greengelato

              you're probably making too much sense.

              1. re: steve h.

                if you're familiar with korean food, you might want to try "dduk bo ssam"- which is actually a korean dish created in los angeles by shik do rak restaurant in koreatown. it basically consists of rice noodle wrappers with an array of dipping sauces you can eat with your korean bbq. it's extremely popular and quite good during the summer.

                if you're taking public transport into koreatown, i'm sure you can find a restaurant that services dduk bo ssam that is easily accessible from the bus/metro. a few:

                - soot bul gui rim 1 or 2
                - family restaurant
                - manna
                - mu deung san

                you sound like such a friendly and adventurous fellow. :) i hope you can return with a report.

                1. re: greengelato

                  wow. dduk bo ssam sounds mighty interesting. first i've heard. thanks.

            2. re: Servorg

              stolli,
              great recs. any alternatives to taxis?
              btw,
              let the record show that i am seriously impressed with your mastery of taxi fares. well done.

          2. re: Chowpatty

            For Koreatown, you can take the Purple Line subway. Runs down Wilshire to Western. Much nicer than the bus, plus faster.

            Nearest station to the Omni would probably be at the southwest corner of first and Hill. Both Red and Purple lines, identical, but the Red says No Hollywood and the Purple says Wilshire and Western.

            1. re: Akitist

              thanks. deb and i spent three years or so living in korea. looking forward to figuring out the subway (never been).

              1. re: Akitist

                closest station is pershing square.

            2. I'm sorry Chowpatty, but Steve H. can skip all of those places and head straight to Sushi Zo for sushi. It's amazing, some of the best sushi in the country, just check the boards! Get the live sake and the omikase (sp?). It's worth a drive/cab ride. Make reservations, and try to sit at the bar.

              You should check out Father's Office in Santa Monica if you want a mind-blowing hamburger. Order medium at most, rare is great too.

              Patina downtown is also wonderful for dinner. Not only do you get to check out the Disney Concert Hall, but you can head over to the Edison afterwards for a drink. Don't wear jeans or tennis shoes to either place!

              If you want the L.A. experience, go to the rooftop bar at the Standard downtown. During the day you can lounge by the pool; at night you can scope out the city.

              At some point you should have "live bacteria" frozen yogurt, which is a craze right now. Pinkberry is the worst of the bunch, but the most popular. Cantaloop (corner of La Brea and Hollywood) is my favorite, but I haven't been to all of them. I hear Snowberry is good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: PlatypusJ

                thanks platypusj,
                i'm an old times-mirror retread. your city is pretty special. what bars/restaurants do you feel comfotable at?

              2. it's tough if you're downtown, don't have a car, and want those types of food.
                But...Grill Lyon is a japanese/french fusion that is quite good. Reasonably priced. Kobe-style prime rib, apple foie gras, and more.
                Water Grill is excellent for seafood. Pricey.
                El Compadre (in Hollywood) has good Mexican food and a lively bar. Taxi shouldn't cost more than $35 each way.
                Soot Bull Jeep has excellent korean bbq. Charcoal grills, indoors...so bring your gas mask. Rib eye cuts w/ their salt-and-pepper-oil dipping sauce is to die for. Maybe $20 cab fare each way.
                Lunch a Philippe's is good. Lamb french dip sandwich is good.
                Blue Velvet is a new bar downtown.
                Kagaya is shabu shabu. The Kobe Beef shabu shabu costs $85.

                1 Reply
                1. re: stollingrone007

                  thanks stolli,
                  i tried to thank you earlier but for some reason my post wound up towards the top of the thread.

                2. If you are staying downtown, the metro red-line is your friend. Not that there aren't some classic places near your hotel - you are basically in Little Tokyo.

                  This is by no means a comprehensive list, just what comes to mind.

                  Near your hotel:
                  Philippe's is an LA institution as is Olvera Street, which has Mexican though I am not sure what if any of the places is good.
                  I've never been but R-23, which is downtown, is considered a very good sushi place and certainly closer than the westside or sushi row.

                  The redline gets you near such places as Providence, Hungry Cat, and Teres if you stop in Hollywood.

                  If you stop at MacArthur Park/Westlake, you can have Langer's famous pastrami sandwich.

                  There is likely a red-line stop near K-town but I can't think of what it is.

                  The Hollywood & Highland metro stop is near Musso & Frank.

                  North Hollywood stop gets you near sushi row in the SFV and reasonably close to the Thai places on Sherman Way.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: bodie

                    If price really isn't an issue, then I second PROVIDENCE. Amazing. Very pricey. Imaginative and seafood-centric.
                    I've heard people rave about Urasawa. i've never been. Even my corporate card can't handle that bill. But perhaps your wife's can.
                    Neither of these places are in downtown. But they'll be well worth the taxi fare, I'm sure.

                    1. re: bodie

                      thanks bodie,
                      the food recs are appreciated but the mass transit stuff is priceless.

                      1. re: bodie

                        No the Omni is not in Little Tokyo, it's in the Financial District, but it is not very far. Use the DASH A and B busses to get around.

                        Mexican on Olvera Street: Luz del Dia, Golondrina are both decent. The first is more casual. There are also places inside the Grand Central Market but I dont have a specific suggestion there. There's a La Salsa branch next to Ciudad, on Figueroa. Ciudad also has a bar scene.

                        Japanese: Suehiro is a favorite casual cafe on First Street, and be sure to sample the mochi at Fugetsu-do.

                        There is a Korean restaurant inside the Wilshire Grand, Seoul Jung, which is supposed to be good, if you can't get to Koreatown.

                        Mendocino Farms is I believe in the food court just outside your hotel and is supposed to be good for sandwiches.

                        The new Pitfire Pizza near City Hall is good for grilled sandwiches as well as pizza. Don't go between noon and 1pm or you won't get in.

                        There's a bit of a Patina empire downtown. Check their website, patinagroup.com for options and menus.

                        1. re: mlgb

                          thanks mlgb,
                          i used to do a little business in tokyo so spending quality time at suehiro has appeal. and yes, the dash a and b appear to be my new best friends.

                      2. If you're willing to transportation it, Soot Bull Jeep is my fave for Korean.

                        Thai, I'd reccomend Sanamluang or Jitlada Thai.

                        Babita or Guelaguetza for Mexican.

                        Can you get reservations at the new Osteria Mozza?

                        Apologize that none of my recs are foot-friendly...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Emme

                          never apologize to me, emme :-)
                          LA sprawls and sprawls so i better figure out how to deal. thanks for the recs.