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2007 Marina Del Ray, surroundings

My husband and I are visiting my ma in MDR in August. She just moved there from the east coast and knows zip. We live in Alaska and when we travel we always seek out the local, the weird, the wonderful- foodies through and through. She is usually vegan but will eat fish. There are a slew of restaurants in MDR, any of them any good? In particular, looking for:

1: Nice place for Friday night dinner (my birthday): this can be Santa Monica, Venice, anywhere near MDR. Hubby and I love tasting menus and good wine lists, we all love an emphasis on fresh local ingredients.
2: Any hippie breakfast joints in MDR? We love the big hearty inexpensive b'fasts with vegetarian options, like Snow City Cafe in Anchorage- fru fru breakfasts always disappoint.
3: Cheap eats: we are always in search of the perfect fish taco, the best Thai, the Indian lunch buffet- what's the best bang for one's buck?
4: Any good bars with Belgians on tap?

Thanks in advance, LA foodies!

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  1. Friday night - dinner at Abode or Chaya Venice. Beechwood is another idea.

    Breakfast - Mercedes Grill on Washington at the end where it meets the beach

    Cheap - Holy Guacamole on Main St in Venice for tacos, Cafe del Rey for lunch, no great Indian or Thai in that area, to my mind. But lots of great tacos.

    Beer - Otheroom on Abbot Kinney

    3 Replies
    1. re: yogachik

      Good recommendations, but I have to disagree on one thing. Holy Guacomole isn't that cheap when you compare it to the taco trucks in the area. And the food isn't as good as those taco trucks.

      1. re: yogachik

        cafe del rey for weekend brunch will run about $40/per person BEFORE tax and tip.

        1. re: yogachik

          IMHO Nawab does a great Indian lunch buffet in Santa Monica, though its strength is on the meat side of things. Shershah, which is right in Marina Del Rey, has a very nice (well above average) lunch buffet.

        2. 1) Ritz Carlton's Jer-ne on Admiralty - A hit w/ my mom. Nice all-around menu.
          Cafe Del Rey on Admiralty in MdR - Nice all-around menu and nice big dining room
          Joe's on Abbot Kinney in Venice - xlnt Cal-French, tasting, wine, patio dining
          Axe on Abbot Kinney just north of Joe's - Venice's version of Alice Waters - casual
          Chaya on Main & Navy Streets in Venice - nice Asian-Cal and nice dining room

          2) Brickhouse Cafe on Hampton/Brooks in Venice. Locals eat here - good portions.

          3) In-and-Out burgers on Washington in Costco shopping center
          Abbot's Pizza on Abbot Kinney - great selection of pizza slices
          Groundwork Coffee on Rose & 7th Ave. Organic coffees, teas
          Taco trucks - Rose & 3rd Ave, also on Lincoln & Rose at night - both popular
          La Playita on Lincoln in Santa Monica - very good Mexican taco stand
          Tacos Por Favor on Lincoln & 14th St. again very good Mexican - Chorizo/queso tacos are to die for and will tilt your daily cholesterol allotment
          The Shack on Culver in Playa del Rey. Knarly burgers and beers, beechy mood.
          Hinano's by the pier on Washington in MdR/Venice. Divey bar but popular with many locals

          4) Library Ale House on Main St in Santa Monica - lots on tap including Belgians
          Father's Office on Montana in Santa Monica - Bar more known for their gourmet burgers but great beer selection as well
          Naja's on the Pier in Redondo Beach - opposite direction but prob the best selection of beers on tap within a 15-mile radius. Aprox 100 beers on tap.

          4 Replies
          1. re: bulavinaka

            Tacos Por Favor is really good for very inexpensive Mexican tacos, burritos, tostadas, etc. It is up in Santa Monica, on Olympic at 14th, not Lincoln. The chorizo and cheese is indeed a specialty and very good but quite rich -- I like their al pastor, carnitas, and the excellent salsa roja from their salsa bar.

            1. re: nosh

              Thanks for catching that - I didn't poofread it...!

            2. re: bulavinaka

              I was gonna say The Brickhouse, too.

              It's a locals place, like you said, as opposed to Mercedes Grill, which is very touristy.

              1. re: bulavinaka

                imho, for the pescatarian mom, the best bet for mexican tacos would be tacqueria sanchez on centinela. all the other taco/mexican food suggestions are truly focused on meat/poultry.

                in and out burgers really has virtually nothing to speak of for the pescatarian mom.

                i really like 26 beach at 3100 washington. their salads are great and they are willing to substitute grilled tofu the meat. i'm told that their breakfasts are also terrific.

                for indian food, great vegetarian indian food can be found at SAMOSA HOUSE on washington. the food is great, but it is served on styrofoam plates, and you serve yourself. very reasonably priced for such high quality food. you will need to ask which of their dishes are vegan as opposed to vegetarian, but you can be confident that there will be several excellent vegan choices.

              2. 1. Josie, Melisse, Abode, Joe's, Rustic Canyon, Jer-Ne, Cafe del Rey

                2. Pann's, Figtree's Cafe, The Firehouse, 26 Beach (not really inexpensive but I like it), Nichol's, Rutt's Hawaiian Cafe

                3. Taco Truck at Lincoln and Rose, Thai Boom, Nawab of India (on Wilshire--great lunch buffet), Tacomiendo or Tacos Por Favor, Uncle Darrow's, Aunt Kizzy's, Gaby's Mediterranean (a little pricier)

                5 Replies
                1. re: Emme

                  26 Beach has a range of $10-15 for breakfast, great big portions, french toasts, scrambles start at $10 and ny steak & eggs $15. Regular Menu, huge entree salads $11-$15 and Burgers & fries or salad on homemade buns $10-14 all angus, they also do a kobe for a few $ more. Entrees pastas & salad to rack of lamb $17-$29. To me this is reasonable for the great food, huge portions & beautiful garden environment! It is a different environment than the others you mentioned, IMHO.

                  1. re: Burger Boy

                    PLUS they'll substitute grilled tofu for the meat and poultry in many of their dishes for the pescatarian mom

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      I guess I could look it up, what is a pescatarian mom? TIA

                      1. re: Burger Boy

                        OP said that her mom generally eats vegan but will eat fish, making her a pescatarian (someone who eats fish but not other kinds of animal protein).

                        1. re: mollyomormon

                          thank you for giving BB the definition.
                          i have great empathy for pescatarian moms because i am a pescatarian mom myself!

                2. for Indian lunch buffet--

                  Shershah Cuisine Of India
                  13444 Maxella Ave, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
                  310 301-2477

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fdb

                    I'll second that. Shershah is in a large, busy shopping mall on the south side of Maxella near Glencoe. Look for the big Barnes & Noble on the corner; you can see Shershah from there. There are plenty of vegetarian choices on the buffet, and you can easily look first.

                  2. I can't say enough about the the taco truck on Lincoln (south of Rose) at night, the daytime taco truck on Rose (west of Lincoln), and the all-day/all-night taco stand called La Playita. Get the ceviche at La Playita. You'll get a feast for $6 at each.

                    For a good South Indian buffet, check out Annapurna on Venice Blvd (near Motor) in Culver City.

                    26 Beach is hardly exotic, but they've got a good, professional kitchen that has a lot of range and turns out good food consistently. They're a reliable option for brunch, lunch, and the like. Salads, burgers, sandwiches, etc.

                    Gaby's Mediterranean has its main location on Venice (near Motor) in Culver City, but they also just opened a takeout location on Washington Blvd, west of Lincoln.

                    The Hinano is a great dive bar, but if you want Belgians, then you might try The Otherroom on Abbot Kinney.

                    The Shack in Playa del Rey is a good dive bar. Fridays are especially entertaining with some of the more spirited drunk karaoke performers on the planet.

                    Baby Blues BBQ on Lincoln in Venice is a decent option for BBQ (by LA standards -- we're not exactly Memphis when it comes to BBQ).

                    Monte Alban in Santa Monica is a great Oaxacan place. It's on Santa Monica and Brockton. Perhaps my favorite restaurant in LA.

                    If you love fish tacos, then I suggest getting in your car and driving to Tacos Baja Ensenada in East LA. You won't regret it.