eating out in LA
We're looking for reasonable but excellent food in LA - fun for 2 teens- mexican, sushi or other ethnic food would be great. Here's what we need:
1 dinner at Universal City Walk (if no good food, then at least fun)
1 dinner downtown
1 lunch/dinner in Santa Monica or Venice Beach (not sure where we'll be)
1 meal in Santa Barbara (day trip)
1 lunch near UCLA
1 dinner near Getty Museum
The Restaurant at the Getty has gotten good buzz on this board, the view up there is great. Lots of places in SM and Venice. On Abbott Kinney (a good street to walk around for shopping etc. in Venice, but it's not on the beach) Lilly's offers a great lunch deal for $12/pp. If you want a cheap quick lunch in Westwood Village that's also healthy, grab something at Whole Foods Market. There are also tons of student hang outs, including a Falafel King which I enjoyed when I was a student visiting from Cal. Cheap, hot falafel with nice extras. It's not the best falafel in the world, but it's a good place to get the UCLA vibe, I think the kids will enjoy it. Oh, Santa Barbara Mexican? La Super Rica. You'll thank me later. Universal City Walk is chains galore, just pick your favorite. The Daily Grill outpost is the worst of the chain, but it's still better than most of the other restaurants there. You've picked some areas I'm not especially familiar with, but I'm sure others will chime in too. Have fun in LA!
Oops, sorry, I forgot
La Super Rica
622 N Milpas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103
1059 Broxton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Universal Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Lilly's French Cafe & Bar
1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291
Whole Foods Market
1050 Gayley Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024
1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Concur with La Super Rica in Santa Barbara.
Another option while in the UCLA area is to check out Shamshiri on Westwood Blvd for Persian. There's also Monte Alban for Oaxacan. There's many options for sushi; what is your budget?
And the restaurant at the Getty Center itself is excellent.
1712 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
There are so many places I could recommend, but I really want two places to make your list... La Super Rica in Santa Barbara and Monte Alban in West LA. Both are extraordinary. And both are cheap. And both serve food that is near impossible to find in most any other American city. These are probably my two favorite restaurants in their respective cities.
City Walk is tough, but for fun... Cafe Tu Tu Tango at least has belly dancers, artists, etc. and tapas so you get more plates if one ain't so good. Saddle Ranch can also be fun with its entertainment options.
Dinner downtown... Ciudad for mexican, R23 for sushi, Water Grill for seafood (but not particularly "fun" for teens)
In SM or Venice, Chaya Venice or more casual 26 Beach, or if you want to people watch at lunch in SM, the Cafe at Fred Segal
For Santa Barbara, you need to ask the California board, but if you drive up the coast, I'll recommend Malibu Seafood or Neptune's Net up along the way
Near UCLA, go to Shamshiri on Westwood for Persian
The Getty, I like the Restaurant at the Getty... Nearby in Brentwood, there's Divino, which is really good. You could also go to Zankou over the hill down Sepulveda in the valley (yeah it's a bit farther but worth it :-) You might spot a celeb or two over in the Beverly Glen Center at Beverly Glen and Mulholland, eating at Sushi House Unico or Fabrocini's (perhaps fun for teens!)
1712 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024
110 Navy Street, Venice, CA 90291
3100 Washington Blvd., Venice, CA 90292
Malibu Fish & Seafood
25653 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
Cafe Tu Tu Tango
Universal Terrace Pkwy, Los Angeles, CA 91608
Saddle Ranch Universal Restaurant
666 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505
445 S Figueroa St Ste 100, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Neptune's Net Seafood
42505 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
500 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401
5658 Sepulveda Blvd Ste 103, Van Nuys, CA 91411
11714 Barrington Ct, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Sushi House Unico
2932 1/2 Beverly Glen Circle, Bel Air, CA 90077
2960 N Beverly Glen Cir, Los Angeles, CA 90077
Sorry, Emme, but I have to disagree with your Divino rec. The service there is spotty at best and the food is just okay and way overpriced for the quality.
A little further from the Getty, but worth the extra 5 minutes are Orris (Japanese/French small plates) on Sawtelle and Nanbankan (Japanese yakatori (sp?) house) on Santa Monica just off the 405. If you're in Santa Monica for dinner, definitely try Musha as others have recommended. For lunch I'd recommend Tacos Por Favor, a real dive but their chorizo and cheese tacos are amazing, and/or Bay Cities Italian Deli for a Godmother sandwich.
Universal City Walk: If you can leave the city walk and drive to North Hollywood or studio city, your options open. Tokyo Delve's has mediocre sushi, but dancing on chairs with fun 80's music and games. Ca Del Sole has a nice patio and great food. Gungadin has nice indian food. Firefly will wow teens with the outdoor dining and chance of seeing "someone". Art's deli is a pretty OK deli.
downtown:Ciudad is OK, You might also make your way to Chinatown, Olvera Street, or Little Tokyo-quite close. In Little Tokyo, try Sushi Gen. I like Ocean Seafood in Chinatown. Olvera street has a few OK places.
lunch/dinner in Santa Monica or Venice Beach : Library Alehouse, Chaya, The Lobster, Laconda del Lago, Musha, James Beach, 3 square Cafe, Joe's
Santa Barbara: The Brewhouse, Super Rica, The Santa Barbara Shellfish Co, El Paseo, The Natural Cafe, Enterprise Fish Co., Opal, Royal Taj, Palace Cafe
near UCLA: Diddy Reese cookies, Upstairs 2, drive to fairfax and head into little ethiopia for Rahel or go to the original Farmer's market (3rd and fairfax) and let them choose form a booth
Getty Museum: Not much near the getty, OK place in the Getty. Or Drive into the SFV and go to Simon's Place for Moroccan, Alcazar for Persian, Yogurt Zone for froyo, Sassi for glatt Kosher, Sushi Mac for mediocre but fun conveyor belt sushi (like $2.50 to $3 a plate) La Frite for crepes and French