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Restaurants you will defend no matter what anybody says...

calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 10:13 AM

For me it's:

La Paz in Calabasas. Yeah, so it's not "authentic" Yucatan-style (according to somebody else), so what. The food is still tremendous, and the portions are big enough to feed a small army. I just wish it was closer. The key here is to order a la carte.

Domenico's in Pasadena. Old-school italian. The thing here is consistency. The food is always hot(amazing isn't it how many places serve cold "hot food" and act like it's no big deal) and delicious. If they make something that's not to your liking, they will go out of their way to make it right and act like it's no big deal.

I'm sure many of you have places like this...

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  1. n
    nick_r RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 10:15 AM

    I don't really know the foodie culture well enough to know how much this needs defending, but I love The Stinking Rose and I think their stuff stands up to many of the better restaurants in L.A.

    6 Replies
    1. re: nick_r
      SauceSupreme RE: nick_r Aug 16, 2007 10:31 AM

      Stinking Rose definitely needs defending, though admittedly I like the bagna calda there. But then again, how hard is it to stick a bulb of garlic in a ramekin with some olive oil and shove it in the oven?

      1. re: SauceSupreme
        foodientraining RE: SauceSupreme Aug 16, 2007 01:05 PM

        I could not agree more. I'm a pretty easy-going diner. I also just love food. I ate about a 1/4 of my meal at The Stinking Rose. I love garlic and I rarely cook without it. But, the smell of the restaurant was overwhelming and made me sick. I cannot bring myself to make a return visit.

        1. re: foodientraining
          slacker RE: foodientraining Aug 16, 2007 05:26 PM

          Here's my memory of the Stinking Rose: waiter gives me a glass of what appears to be something different from the red wine I ordered. I ask the waiter about this. He sticks his entire nose into the glass, and his face touches all of the rim of the glass. He then states unequivocally that it is indeed what I ordered and puts the glass on the table for me to drink from.

          The food? Not memorable to me. Besides, I now have an electric garlic roaster that perfectly roasts three bulbs at a time.

      2. re: nick_r
        Hapafish RE: nick_r Aug 17, 2007 10:53 AM

        Don't mean to gang up on you, but I have to put my vote in there against the Stinking Rose and I love garlic. I can see how the kitchy atmosphere could be fun for some though.

        1. re: Hapafish
          nick_r RE: Hapafish Aug 17, 2007 11:03 AM

          Kitchy atmosphere or not, I think their toy box tomato salad could go mano a mano with any other like it in town. They even make great mojitos.

          But, no worries, y'all. You're just making it easier for me to get in on a weekend night.

        2. re: nick_r
          Ranchero RE: nick_r Nov 23, 2007 09:51 AM

          I loved the Stinking Rose- have been there twice...but maybe being a garlic devotee made it more like a pilgrimage to Mecca than merely "dining out." True, the prices are a bit higher than other places, but this is THE Temple of Garlic.

        3. a
          AlabasterDisaster RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 10:19 AM

          Jiraffe in Santa Monica. Consistently exceptional over the last 7 years or so that I have been going.

          1 Reply
          1. re: AlabasterDisaster
            TravelPath RE: AlabasterDisaster Aug 16, 2007 02:58 PM

            Absolutely!!...Jiraffe is one of the few consistant, better quality restaurants in the area...As someone who goes at least once a month, I have never had a bad meal...and most have been outstanding!...and a decent value as well!

          2. d
            Diana RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 10:38 AM

            Il Tiramisu in Sherman Oaks.

            I find the food there really good, and the srvice above and beyond most other places. I've only had better service at Providence and Spago. Also, their wine and beer dinners are great!

            Midori AYCE Sushi

            Okay, it isn't the best sushi in the world. But it's actually (to me) better than a lot of place. No matter what, it's better than supermarket sushi. You can really stuff yourself with pretty good sushi for around $30. Ther are other sushi bars with worse sushi and a higher price.

            Gelson's salad bar/Bakery/ Deli I just find it fresh and good, and again, great service.

            Rahel. I love her food, I love that it's BYOB.

            Mel's Diner: I like going there late for a shake and a good piece of apple pie. If Lucky Devil's did a good pie, though, i'd leave Mel's in a second.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Diana
              whatsfordinner RE: Diana Aug 16, 2007 10:52 AM

              Diana, you've posted about Rahel a lot. Maybe I'll try it this weekend. What should I order?

              1. re: whatsfordinner
                Diana RE: whatsfordinner Aug 16, 2007 10:56 AM

                The special combo or hudade combo the besso drink, the vegan cheesecake.

                If you get the hudade combo, be sure to get sambussas on the side.

                Here's a link to the site, which has a coupon on it!

                1. re: whatsfordinner
                  westsidegal RE: whatsfordinner Aug 16, 2007 11:10 AM

                  also, at rahel get the shiro and order some of their red pepper condiment, awazay, on the side.

                  1. re: westsidegal
                    whatsfordinner RE: westsidegal Aug 16, 2007 11:16 AM

                    Thanks Diana and westsidegal!

                    1. re: westsidegal
                      Diana RE: westsidegal Aug 16, 2007 11:45 AM

                      you get shiro on the combo platters.

                      1. re: Diana
                        westsidegal RE: Diana Aug 16, 2007 07:19 PM

                        it isn't on the 'lunch special' combination platter.

                        1. re: westsidegal
                          Diana RE: westsidegal Aug 16, 2007 07:28 PM

                          No, it is on two or all of the offered dinner combos-house special, hudade or vegetarian (I forget which). I always prefer to go for dinner.

                2. s
                  silence9 RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 11:01 AM

                  My Brother's BBQ, in Woodland Hills. Everybody on this board hates it, except me! I like the combo dinners, with pork and beef ribs and tri-tip, and cole slaw and baked beans and greasy texas toast, with leftovers for the next day, for under $20. Ask for the goofy re-usable I HEART BBQ bib (which I wear casually around my friends to freak them out)... But even the haters kinda like their broasted chicken (not the BBQ chicken), which is better than the fried chicken at most other valley spots. This is BBQ for the anti-purists, of which there is apparently only one on these boards: me! :-)

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: silence9
                    TravelPath RE: silence9 Aug 16, 2007 02:55 PM

                    There are a number of us that have been supporting My Brothers...I have been going since the early 60s when it was one of the only places to eat in this part of the Valley!...and you are correct about the broasted chicken...when it is on, it is the best "fried" chicken in SoCal!!...and their BBQ beans are wonderful as well!

                    1. re: silence9
                      jessisthebest11 RE: silence9 Aug 20, 2007 12:31 PM

                      I'll support it with you! Love their tri-tip and the waitress is always so nice.

                    2. monkuboy RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 11:04 AM

                      Tito's and Johnnies Pastrami. I'm inexpensive.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: monkuboy
                        culverloc RE: monkuboy Aug 17, 2007 01:46 PM

                        You're not walking out of Johnnies without dropping at least $12.

                        1. re: monkuboy
                          BeenThereAteThat RE: monkuboy Aug 17, 2007 06:46 PM

                          That's funny. I quit going there because I thought some of their price increases were out of line.

                          1. re: BeenThereAteThat
                            monkuboy RE: BeenThereAteThat Aug 19, 2007 05:22 PM

                            I guess I should correct myself... I meant Tito's when I said "inexpensive." (as slink out of the room..)

                        2. j
                          jcwla2 RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 11:05 AM

                          Jacopo's, Peppone, Pizzicotto, The Ivys, R-23, The Grill, John O'Groat's, and a certain chain that rhymes with Sneezecake Smacktory.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: jcwla2
                            Diana RE: jcwla2 Aug 16, 2007 11:06 AM

                            bless you!

                            I love John O' Groats, too. Get the pumpkin pancake, and ask for as die of the caramel to pour on.

                            1. re: Diana
                              TravelPath RE: Diana Aug 16, 2007 03:02 PM

                              I used to love John O' Groats...but the last 4-5 visits (including last Saturday) have been mediocre at best...pancakes undercooked, biscuits like hockey pucks...This is sad since I remember wonderful meals here in the past! Maybe they are a victim of their own success!

                            2. re: jcwla2
                              mc michael RE: jcwla2 Aug 16, 2007 11:18 AM

                              Nice list. I'd add Hungry Cat if it needs defending.

                              1. re: jcwla2
                                Oh Robin RE: jcwla2 Aug 16, 2007 09:48 PM

                                OMG I have not had Jacopo's since my first job in Century City. Used to love the lunch special slice of pizza with fried eggplant and fresh garlic. Do they still have this?

                                P.S. I love Sneezecake too. The absolulte BEST blue cheese dressing I've eaten in my life. Great Bellinis too!

                                1. re: Oh Robin
                                  Golem RE: Oh Robin Aug 17, 2007 12:05 PM

                                  Sneezecake makes really truly great fish tacos, too. My favorite chain of any kind, no matter who disses it.

                                2. re: jcwla2
                                  jcwla2 RE: jcwla2 Aug 17, 2007 12:56 AM

                                  forgot to add Koi and Sasabune and Henry's Tacos

                                  1. re: jcwla2
                                    goodhealthgourmet RE: jcwla2 Aug 17, 2007 12:48 PM

                                    i'll second koi.

                                3. westsidegal RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 11:14 AM

                                  sushi zo
                                  samosa house/bhraat bazaar

                                  hungry pocket
                                  happy family
                                  the spot
                                  26 beach
                                  shamshiri grill
                                  the counter

                                  all of these places have their detractors, but all of them are on my regular rotation and they keep me very happy.

                                  1. goodhealthgourmet RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 11:21 AM

                                    the ivy, but only for the grilled veggie salad.

                                    a votre sante in brentwood, and sante la brea in west hollywood. i know it's not gourmet cuisine, but they do healthy food better than most.

                                    hugo's for breakfast/brunch.

                                    1. g
                                      greengelato RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 11:27 AM

                                      al gelato and pinkberry.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: greengelato
                                        ns1 RE: greengelato Aug 16, 2007 11:40 AM

                                        Turner New Zealand
                                        Sushi Masu

                                      2. h
                                        hungrygirl106 RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 11:41 AM

                                        Hatfield's and Hirozen. Also, Twin Dragon on Pico, which was a childhood favorite and, thus, is critic-proof in my book.


                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: hungrygirl106
                                          sunnygordy RE: hungrygirl106 Aug 16, 2007 07:16 PM

                                          Besides the fact that...maybe...perhaps Hatfield's doesn't seem to change out their menu items as frequently as one might hope they would, what could one possibly find fault with? I think it's definitely one of the top spots in town!

                                          1. re: sunnygordy
                                            hungrygirl106 RE: sunnygordy Aug 16, 2007 10:05 PM

                                            Agreed! But just because we have good taste in restaurants doesn't mean everyone else does. :)

                                        2. t
                                          TastELA RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 11:48 AM

                                          Pizza Bianca and The Gumbo Pot...

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: TastELA
                                            aurora50 RE: TastELA Aug 16, 2007 11:54 AM

                                            Spago. I love most anything Wolfgang Puck does (Note: This is for Spago ONLY, not the myriad Puck's Kitchens).

                                            1. re: aurora50
                                              lotta_cox RE: aurora50 Aug 20, 2007 12:33 PM

                                              the only issue there is, does spago need defending. i don't think so. as far as i can tell it is universally loved. or maybe that's just me...oh, wait!

                                              1. re: lotta_cox
                                                thomtompkins RE: lotta_cox Nov 25, 2007 09:49 AM

                                                I agree with Aurora50: If you watch these boards closely, Spago doesnt need defending but it needs some love.....of course everyone knows about and it, it is a destination restaurant for many and they are slammed all the time but whenever anyone asks whats good about LA dining on CH, its almost never mentioned. Its not new, not trendy, the only gimmick it has is possibly a little "plastic surgery" but otherwise it serves killer food. As up to date as anything anyone else is doing and because it is what it is, it doesnt have to be that good.....but it is. Or maybe its just that I love Lilly who's behind the bar most nights.....no, thats not it. :-)

                                          2. aching RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 11:57 AM

                                            AOC, Cobras & Matadors, Joans on Third, and Father's Office. Lots of haters on this site, but I love 'em!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: aching
                                              divinesensation RE: aching Aug 23, 2007 05:54 PM

                                              dude, you have good taste...i love all 4 of the ones you defended! Just went to AOC for the first time a few weeks ago and fell in love with the wine list.

                                            2. sku RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 12:01 PM


                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: sku
                                                hungrygirl106 RE: sku Aug 16, 2007 12:03 PM

                                                I still can't get over how many people love Pink's! Is it a nostalgia thing?

                                                1. re: hungrygirl106
                                                  sku RE: hungrygirl106 Aug 16, 2007 01:48 PM

                                                  Not for me. I truly love it. They have great, snappy dogs, I love the mush buns. The onion rings always hit the spot.

                                                  1. re: sku
                                                    therealbigtasty RE: sku Aug 17, 2007 03:10 AM

                                                    I love PInk's, too! I'll defend that place to my dying breath! Thank you for being a Pink's lover!

                                                    1. re: sku
                                                      Marco Polo RE: sku Aug 24, 2007 04:53 PM

                                                      Snappy! That is exactly the word I was going to use. PINK's makes an excellent, satisfying dog. If you don't like it, Chaya M is around the corner.

                                                  2. re: sku
                                                    JAB RE: sku Aug 16, 2007 04:45 PM


                                                  3. Tom P RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 12:11 PM

                                                    Lucques, though I do not think it needs defending.

                                                    Also, the grilled salad and corn chowder at The Ivy.

                                                    Taylor's and Musso & Franks's, no matter what else anyone thinks.

                                                    Cocktails, Onion Rings and dinner at the bar at Edendale Grill

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: Tom P
                                                      aurora50 RE: Tom P Aug 16, 2007 12:44 PM

                                                      Second Taylor's and Musso & Frank's - a couple of the last of the old-fashioned eateries.

                                                      1. re: aurora50
                                                        lotta_cox RE: aurora50 Aug 20, 2007 12:34 PM

                                                        taylor's...i LOVE their prime rib. i know their veggies are below mediocre but their prime rib is just old school and lovely.

                                                      2. re: Tom P
                                                        TravelPath RE: Tom P Aug 16, 2007 03:05 PM

                                                        Musso & Franks is a treasure...from their flannel cakes at the counter to their chops and a martini...old school and wonderful!

                                                        1. re: TravelPath
                                                          therealbigtasty RE: TravelPath Aug 17, 2007 03:12 AM

                                                          Musso and Frank's rules. I can't always afford to eat there, but I try and stop in for a martini every now and again because they don't shake 'em. Shaking is very very bad for a martini...

                                                          1. re: therealbigtasty
                                                            rednyellow RE: therealbigtasty Aug 22, 2007 05:06 PM

                                                            I love them shaken. violently. hard. Brused to the point they are airiated with a thin lair of tiny ice crystals floating on top. Musso's will bruise them if you ask.

                                                            1. re: therealbigtasty
                                                              thomtompkins RE: therealbigtasty Nov 25, 2007 09:56 AM

                                                              Shaking is only bad for a martini if you dont do it correctly. You can only get that beautiful microscopic ice "float" by shaking carefully. Doesnt happen when you stir. The trick is to not shake too hard or too long so you water down the gin but you still get the float. It has to be done by a pro, not your typical barmen or it wont be as good or worse, be ruined.

                                                              1. re: thomtompkins
                                                                rednyellow RE: thomtompkins Oct 8, 2008 09:07 PM

                                                                I get the perfect ice crystal float by shaking violently but briefly. Perfect every time.

                                                          2. re: Tom P
                                                            dac_1971 RE: Tom P Aug 19, 2007 04:53 PM

                                                            I second Lucques and also Barone's. The original location was Sherman Oaks but they moved about a year ago to I believe Van Nuys though I'm not sure.

                                                            1. re: dac_1971
                                                              Diana RE: dac_1971 Aug 19, 2007 05:06 PM

                                                              The Barone's is now where Matterhorn Chef used to be.

                                                          3. j
                                                            Jwsel RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 12:36 PM

                                                            Kiriko. I know that there is a lot of praise for Kiriko, it seems like there is a rivalry between Sushi Zo and Kiriko fans that makes it impossible to praise one without some people insisting that the other is better. How hard is it to accept that there are two (and more) excellent sushi restaurants in the same area, and people may disagree on which they prefer. Kiriko also excells at cooked foods and desserts.

                                                            Al Gelato. I love the gnocchi and the gelatos. I know some people are critical of the tomato-basil sauce being overly sweet, but I love it.

                                                            A&W Seafood. Yeah, it's dim sum isn't as good as San Gabriel Valley, but when I want some good dim sum and don't feel like driving the entire length of the city, A&W does just fine. The seafood at dinner is also good and, again, a good time-saver when I want good crab in garlic sauce.

                                                            Hirosuke. Yes, it's not traditional. Yes, it's a bit of a churn-out the ubiquitous mayonnaise rolls. But it's tasty and, sometimes, I just want my baked scallop over California roll or my tamago, whitefish, ponzu, mayonnaise, and crab "volcano." Plus, it's convenient and well-priced.

                                                            Cho Cho San (Tarzana). Ditto what I said for Hirosuke. But sometimes I want my mayonnaise hand roll for $4.25.

                                                            Midori. Ditto. Sometimes I just want to gorge on AYCE mayonnaise rolls. Plus, it is a huge cost-saver for my brother who could bankrupt me at some expensive sushi bars.

                                                            El Torito. So sue me. I like the salsa and chips, and find the steak in their fajitas and nachos to be tasty when I am craving something greasy.

                                                            7 Replies
                                                            1. re: Jwsel
                                                              SIMIHOUND RE: Jwsel Aug 16, 2007 12:55 PM

                                                              Brent's, Weiner Factory, Tommy's

                                                              1. re: SIMIHOUND
                                                                aurora50 RE: SIMIHOUND Aug 16, 2007 01:02 PM

                                                                I have another one to add- El Cholo. The original one in downtown L.A. I'm addicted to their Sonoran style enchiladas (the ones with the egg on top) and their margaritas.

                                                                1. re: aurora50
                                                                  mollyomormon RE: aurora50 Aug 16, 2007 01:23 PM

                                                                  Yeah, this is mine too. I don't know if I would even say that I'd defend it or even tell anyone else to go there because I recognize that the food is not very good. But El Cholo holds a special place in my heart for Sunday night margaritas with the shared appetizer plate. Also, the fried dill pickles at Hooters.

                                                                  1. re: aurora50
                                                                    2surly RE: aurora50 Oct 8, 2008 04:20 PM

                                                                    I was just thinking about El Cholo this morning, specifically the crab enchilada and the Chicken and Blue Tortilla enchiladas. Don't know if I'd still enjoy their margaritas (I've become a little bit of a tequila snob since my last trip to EC), but they were pretty damn strong, at least the bartenders have always done right by me.

                                                                  2. re: SIMIHOUND
                                                                    Golem RE: SIMIHOUND Aug 17, 2007 12:07 PM

                                                                    Brents! Brents! Bestest (yes, bestest) deli in L.A. Hands down.

                                                                    1. re: SIMIHOUND
                                                                      lotta_cox RE: SIMIHOUND Aug 20, 2007 12:35 PM

                                                                      tommy's really, is junk food heavan. i dream of their chilli cheese fries at night...

                                                                    2. re: Jwsel
                                                                      Das Ubergeek RE: Jwsel Aug 17, 2007 07:54 AM

                                                                      Yeah, I have to admit, I'm down with the Little Bull too. As chain sit-down Mexican goes, it's probably the best -- definitely better than Acapulco's, Don Cuco's or (GAG ME WITH A METATE) Chevy's.

                                                                      And I am DEFINITELY a fan of Midori. It's better sushi than half the places in LA, it's AYCE, the service is kind. I don't go to fancy high-end sushi places very often, so this is where it's at for me.

                                                                      While we're on the subject, all of you El Farolito haters are just leaving room for me and my family. Ditto Albano's, Pinocchio's, Yang Chow and Gordon Biersch.

                                                                    3. f
                                                                      foodientraining RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 01:08 PM

                                                                      Pinkberry-although I was surprised by how offended I was
                                                                      Sweet Lady Jane
                                                                      The Coffee Company (Westchester)-my favorite breakfast/brunch spot

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: foodientraining
                                                                        cant talk...eating RE: foodientraining Aug 16, 2007 05:07 PM

                                                                        Foodie - What's The Coffee Company? Can't find much on this place (on this board at least), except a reference to Middle Eastern food (???). Is the coffee any good?

                                                                        1. re: cant talk...eating
                                                                          westsidegal RE: cant talk...eating Aug 16, 2007 07:22 PM


                                                                          1. re: cant talk...eating
                                                                            foodientraining RE: cant talk...eating Aug 17, 2007 09:01 AM

                                                                            It's a little restaurant in Westchester. It's always packed. They serve lunch and dinner, but it's known for it's breakfast. The waffles are light and delicious. The french toast is heavenly...made with Hawaiian bread. The biscuits light and fluffy. But, EVERYTHING is delish. They also have very good coffee. They have a Hawaiian Hazelnut and a few other choices that are very satisfying. If you have a chance, please visit.
                                                                            Here's the address and phone number:
                                                                            The Coffee Company
                                                                            8571 La Tijera Westchester (310) 645-7315

                                                                          2. re: foodientraining
                                                                            Zool RE: foodientraining Aug 17, 2007 02:33 PM

                                                                            The Coffee Company is wonderful!! GREAT coffee, yummy orange juice, and a breakfast that will vanquish you. Love that place.

                                                                          3. h
                                                                            hpcat RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 01:39 PM

                                                                            I haven't been there for awhile, but I always liked Masa, which was rare on this board. I also like Oinkster, despite its service issues.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: hpcat
                                                                              lotta_cox RE: hpcat Aug 20, 2007 12:37 PM

                                                                              and masa has only gotten better. they have a new menu as of this spring (i wonder if they are under new ownership) they deliver locally and their salade nicoise is just delicious, a little unorthodox because the dressing is not a vinaigrette, it's a slightly creamy herbed fluid..bright green and savory. and they deliver all their items in biodegradable containers.

                                                                              1. re: lotta_cox
                                                                                2surly RE: lotta_cox Oct 8, 2008 04:30 PM

                                                                                I've always enjoyed Masa, we used to get deliveries a lot from them. Tom, the delivery guy, always made a huge fuss over our dog. He used to tell us that he looked forward to delivering to our house,because he go to see Lily, who goes absolutely nuts when she sees him (and it's not just because he's bringing food!) He would even bring her biscuits.

                                                                            2. o
                                                                              ozhead RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 02:00 PM

                                                                              BJ's -- at least the one in Woodland HIlls. I like their thick-crust pizza (no matter how "inauthentic" it is), and their beers are terrific. Plus, how could you not defend a restaurant called "BJ's"? Better name than "Hooters!"

                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                              1. re: ozhead
                                                                                therealbigtasty RE: ozhead Aug 17, 2007 03:13 AM

                                                                                The cask beer is great!

                                                                                1. re: therealbigtasty
                                                                                  Diana RE: therealbigtasty Aug 17, 2007 08:08 AM

                                                                                  If BJ's brought the food up to the level of the beer, I'd be there all the time. I love Tatonka stout, whatever's on cask, and am even partial to the house root beer.

                                                                                  1. re: Diana
                                                                                    nick_r RE: Diana Aug 17, 2007 08:41 AM

                                                                                    I actually think they do a pretty respectable job on the calzones.

                                                                                    1. re: nick_r
                                                                                      calabasas_trafalgar RE: nick_r Aug 17, 2007 09:32 AM

                                                                                      Their calzones are just HORRIBLE, unless you prefer a crust just stuffed to the gills with ricotta! Yecchhhh!

                                                                                      1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                                                                                        nick_r RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 17, 2007 09:38 AM

                                                                                        Are you really the same person who wanted to talk about liking restaurants no matter what other people say? Is this your way of testing my devotion?

                                                                                        1. re: nick_r
                                                                                          calabasas_trafalgar RE: nick_r Aug 17, 2007 10:01 AM

                                                                                          That's me. I just think their calzones(one of my favorite foods, BTW)are really vile!

                                                                                          1. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                                                                                            nick_r RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 17, 2007 10:03 AM

                                                                                            Well, I'm a transplant from Boston and perhaps I've been here long enough to give up ANY hope of finding any decent pizza-related foods in Los Angeles. (Until I can get a table at Mozza.) Here's to lowering standards!

                                                                                            1. re: nick_r
                                                                                              calabasas_trafalgar RE: nick_r Aug 17, 2007 10:20 AM

                                                                                              Try Domenico's in Pasadena for a good calzone, and lamonica's downtown for NY and sicilian pizza-the-slice.

                                                                                        2. re: calabasas_trafalgar
                                                                                          Golem RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 17, 2007 12:09 PM

                                                                                          BJs has great beer and now fish tacos (my thing, I guess). And lots of TVs with sports. Love it.

                                                                                      2. re: Diana
                                                                                        therealbigtasty RE: Diana Aug 18, 2007 02:37 AM

                                                                                        Yeah, ain't it kinda depressing? You go, you get this wonderful beer, but the damned food tastes like Chilis...it drives me apeshit.

                                                                                  2. i
                                                                                    igj RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 02:06 PM

                                                                                    *Kiriko - the mix of sushi and excellent cooked food do it for me. And I agree with other commenters who pointed out that it is not an either/or choice for Kiriko and Sushi Zo.

                                                                                    *Thai Boom - as I did in another thread today.

                                                                                    *Tacos Baja Ensenada - not that this place really needs defending, but if anyone attacked, I'd join the 1st line of defense.

                                                                                    *Little Fat Sheep - others may have different ideas about where to go for huo guo, but this place is comfortable, occasionally capable of dealing with English-only speakers and has amazing scallion pancakes.

                                                                                    1. n
                                                                                      nd33x RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 02:11 PM

                                                                                      Casa Bianca, Oinksters, Arroyo Chophouse

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: nd33x
                                                                                        lotta_cox RE: nd33x Aug 20, 2007 12:38 PM

                                                                                        i cannot believe i have never been to casa bianca. but it gets so much love in these boards i don;t think it needs defending.

                                                                                        1. re: lotta_cox
                                                                                          nd33x RE: lotta_cox Aug 20, 2007 02:05 PM

                                                                                          Only mentioned it because it get alot of hate as well.

                                                                                          1. re: nd33x
                                                                                            lotta_cox RE: nd33x Aug 20, 2007 02:45 PM

                                                                                            i am going to have to search that out, because i have seen multiple posts singing its praises.

                                                                                      2. e
                                                                                        ElissaInPlaya RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 02:25 PM

                                                                                        Fritto Misto, Orris and Monsieur Marcel.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: ElissaInPlaya
                                                                                          ns1 RE: ElissaInPlaya Aug 16, 2007 02:52 PM

                                                                                          oh god that fritto misto from fritto misto is death (this is the one in SM right?)

                                                                                          Waiting for some wine ATM, will probably return for the glorious $2 corkage!

                                                                                          1. re: ns1
                                                                                            ElissaInPlaya RE: ns1 Aug 20, 2007 11:15 AM

                                                                                            Haha - just realized that the the "fritto misto" signature dish is one of the few I don't like here.

                                                                                          2. re: ElissaInPlaya
                                                                                            perk RE: ElissaInPlaya Nov 24, 2007 09:56 AM

                                                                                            Agree with Monsieur Marcel. I know it takes a lot of heat here, but I think it's solid casual food in a great setting. Also has a decent list of wines by the glass (although they don't always have everything they list). You can't beat the people watching.....

                                                                                          3. d
                                                                                            Dav RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 02:40 PM

                                                                                            The Kettle, Pinkberry and PF Changs... let the flaming begin.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Dav
                                                                                              ns1 RE: Dav Aug 16, 2007 02:52 PM

                                                                                              i actually like their lettuce wraps. alot. ALOT. the rest of the menu is what it is.

                                                                                              1. re: ns1
                                                                                                Local RE: ns1 Aug 16, 2007 03:25 PM

                                                                                                true confessions, ...we go to the Pasadena location, always sit at the bar, always have the vegetarian lettuce wraps and they are always good...esp. with the "secret sauce" (not that much of a secret since they make it right in front of you) with extra mustard to kick it up a bit. So there.

                                                                                                1. re: Local
                                                                                                  lotta_cox RE: Local Aug 20, 2007 12:39 PM

                                                                                                  we go to the beverly center one, sit at the bar, decent wine list and always order soothing chicken lettuce wraps, seared ahi w/mustard sauce and the spare ribs. yum. and i really am a bit of a food snob. but this is good. it is all identifiable, with no goopy sauces.

                                                                                            2. w
                                                                                              wrj100 RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 02:44 PM

                                                                                              Father's Office, Border Grill, Angelini, Casa Vega. Taylor's, Don Antonio's, Angelini

                                                                                              1. Local RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 03:26 PM


                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Local
                                                                                                  thomtompkins RE: Local Nov 25, 2007 10:11 AM

                                                                                                  Celestino Pasadena? I would challenge that one. It used to be good but somethings happened and its "off the boil" for sure. At least from my chair anyway. I had my two worst meals of 2007 there and I just cant go back One of their signature pasta's of spaghetti with fresh anchovie and wild fennel arrived on my plate with totally overcooked mush for pasta and the accompanying sauce was a mess. It was just an overly bitter tomatoe puree without a hint of fresh anchovie-fennel goodness. I also had a white bean and scallop starter which in theory could have been good but it was a flavorless combination of ingredients with no seasoning whatsoever. A year ago I would have told you that this place had some of the most interesting pastas I had ever had to date. No more.

                                                                                                2. n
                                                                                                  nick_r RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 03:41 PM

                                                                                                  I actually need to reconsider my comments now that I've read the subject line a second time.

                                                                                                  I do love Stinking Rose, but if someone gave me credible evidence that they blew up boxes of kittens with dynamite every Thursday, I in all likelihood would *not* defend them.

                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: nick_r
                                                                                                    bubbles4me RE: nick_r Aug 16, 2007 04:12 PM

                                                                                                    Apple Pan! I will defend those burgers and fries to my dying day! Just thinking about them makes me happy.

                                                                                                    1. re: bubbles4me
                                                                                                      BeenThereAteThat RE: bubbles4me Aug 17, 2007 06:50 PM

                                                                                                      The food is defensible, but the prices aren't.

                                                                                                      Small burger + small fries + small drink + pie + tip = $20

                                                                                                      I don't like the looks of that equation.

                                                                                                      1. re: BeenThereAteThat
                                                                                                        genekeats RE: BeenThereAteThat Aug 20, 2007 08:56 PM

                                                                                                        RE: Apple Pan ... the service is tantamount to instantaneous, the steakburger is a gold standard, and considering that beef should really trade for $50/pound, it's a bargain. since when should good food be given away?

                                                                                                    2. re: nick_r
                                                                                                      lotta_cox RE: nick_r Aug 20, 2007 12:41 PM

                                                                                                      i think the stinking rose is a nasty tourist trap. my apologies, but i don't think i am really tasting anything BUT the garlic when I eat there. granted, i have eaten at the north beach san francisco location several times in the early 90's and the one here on la cienega only once, but there is just no subtlty.

                                                                                                      1. re: lotta_cox
                                                                                                        Golem RE: lotta_cox Aug 20, 2007 03:39 PM

                                                                                                        We used to eat at the SR in SF every time we went there. Loved it. That was before LA opened up. Went to the SR in LA and it was lousy horrible and inedible (don't hold back...). Went to SR in SF and it was so-so. Argggh. Never went back and don't care. Wha happened?

                                                                                                    3. m
                                                                                                      msmd310 RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 04:17 PM

                                                                                                      LOVE this topic!!!

                                                                                                      For me- its Tito's, Il Pastaiao, Jiraffe
                                                                                                      and California Pizza Kitchen- my 3 year old challenges you to a duel if you criticize it!!!

                                                                                                      and I am surprised there is still someone who would defend Sweet Lady Jane....

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: msmd310
                                                                                                        nick_r RE: msmd310 Aug 16, 2007 04:23 PM

                                                                                                        Well, I know never to get a wedding cake at SLJ, but I think it would take the aforementioned weekly-kitten-detonation to get me to stop going there for the occasional slice of chocolate fudge espresso. Mmmm.

                                                                                                      2. hyacinthgirl RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 04:44 PM

                                                                                                        Cayenne on Beverly
                                                                                                        Cafe Dana on Montana
                                                                                                        and kitten carnage probably wouldn't deter me from the La Scala chopped salads

                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                                                                          westsidegal RE: hyacinthgirl Aug 16, 2007 07:24 PM

                                                                                                          ya mean the ones made with tinny-tasting canned garbanzos and sliced salami and a ton of oil?
                                                                                                          or is that another salad and another place that i'm thinking of?

                                                                                                          1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                                            hungrygirl106 RE: westsidegal Aug 16, 2007 10:06 PM

                                                                                                            Yep (tho' everyone orders their salads with dressing on the side because, duh, La Scala). Of course, the salads are totally mediocre and yet... somehow I always end up there with friends or my mom because it is the ultimate girly lunch spot. Glad I'm not the only one!

                                                                                                            1. re: hungrygirl106
                                                                                                              hyacinthgirl RE: hungrygirl106 Aug 17, 2007 02:02 PM

                                                                                                              Fair enough, I do get the dressing on the side, and I generally get grilled chicken breast instead of the salami, but, still... I love them. That's what this post is all about right, standing up for them? Damnit, I love the la scala chopped salads! Bring it!

                                                                                                              1. re: hyacinthgirl
                                                                                                                hungrygirl106 RE: hyacinthgirl Aug 17, 2007 06:36 PM

                                                                                                                Of course, the chopped salad tastes better with the salami (what doesn't?), but such is not the fashionable way to order the La Scala chopped salad. Chicken or turkey are a good default position, but lately, I've been getting it with tuna and extra olives.

                                                                                                                1. re: hungrygirl106
                                                                                                                  Servorg RE: hungrygirl106 Aug 18, 2007 08:18 AM

                                                                                                                  We order our chopped salads at La Scala with salami as we believe in taste first and fashion not at all.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                    hungrygirl106 RE: Servorg Aug 18, 2007 10:33 AM

                                                                                                                    I envy you.

                                                                                                        2. w
                                                                                                          Wonginator RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 04:52 PM

                                                                                                          Ribs on the Run. Love the beef ribs here, among the best I've found so far. Love the chili they offer as a side order, while most BBQ places don't offer chili. I've only seen one moderately positive review of this place, everyone else rips it pretty harshly.

                                                                                                          1. m
                                                                                                            Mando RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 05:19 PM

                                                                                                            Portos - To me you can't beat thier Pina Colada mousse for the price. Same with their Chorizo Sandwich,

                                                                                                            Salandang and Song - Still my #1 first date spot. Great ambiance, good food, reasonable price

                                                                                                            The Hat - I grew up on it. Nuff Said

                                                                                                            Daikokuya - It can be 100 degrees but if i get the craving...

                                                                                                            Fossilmans - Does this need explaining?

                                                                                                            1. s
                                                                                                              slacker RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 05:28 PM

                                                                                                              Tender Greens.
                                                                                                              King Taco.

                                                                                                              1. t
                                                                                                                tannazie RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 05:42 PM

                                                                                                                noodle planet. i stand by the pho, in spite of the haters.

                                                                                                                1. Foodandwine RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                  Papa Christos had a special place in my tummy..

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Foodandwine
                                                                                                                    Otius Gojius RE: Foodandwine Aug 16, 2007 09:33 PM

                                                                                                                    Dr. Hogly Wogly Tyler Texas BBQ. I order the sliced beef or links and I am happy 100% of the time. I've been going there regularly since the early '70s, and know what I like. I never understand people who say it's dry and tough. The beef might come fatty occasionally but never, ever dry or tough. If I order the pork, I know it's going to be lean and dry, but that's okay with me; I like St. Louis pork steak -- also dry and over =-cooked, it's fine with me.

                                                                                                                    Also I have strong loyalty to:
                                                                                                                    Philippe The Original [Coles? LA Times, you've got to be kidding!]
                                                                                                                    Brents [So what if the cole slaw is sweet, so don't go]
                                                                                                                    Sherman Room [NEVER, EVER a bad filet, tough? What are you smoking?]

                                                                                                                    Beside my subjective taste, objectively, I don't "get" a lot of the criticism of my faves -- a lot of the criticism sounds like somebody didn't like the ambience, neighborhood, or the service spoiled the food or something.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Otius Gojius
                                                                                                                      therealbigtasty RE: Otius Gojius Aug 17, 2007 03:15 AM

                                                                                                                      I want to go to the Sherman Room!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Otius Gojius
                                                                                                                        klaatu RE: Otius Gojius Aug 22, 2007 11:05 AM

                                                                                                                        Neither Papa Christos nor Philippe need defending. Both are perfect.

                                                                                                                    2. Emme RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 09:36 PM

                                                                                                                      i defend particular dishes at restaurants rather than the whole place :)

                                                                                                                      blackberry cobbler at cynthia's

                                                                                                                      chicken soup at mel's diner

                                                                                                                      charbroiled chicken and salsa at eduardo's

                                                                                                                      egg steamers, whole grain hotcake, bluecorn waffle, sugar free/fat free muffins at newsroom cafe

                                                                                                                      steamed lobster and head of broccoli at ruth's chris

                                                                                                                      four cheese pasta, vanilla bean, oreo, white choc rasp truffle, boston ream pie cheesecakes at cheesecake factory

                                                                                                                      green corn tamales (june-sept) at el cholo (the original location)

                                                                                                                      chopped salad w/ chicken, add eggplant and hearts of palm as well as the grilled vegetable appetizer at sisley

                                                                                                                      thick crust pizza w/ cheese and big roma tomatoes at numero uno (or is it just the thick sweet crust?)

                                                                                                                      egg white omelettes (w/ veggies (i like mushrooms, tomatoes, onions)) at jerry's

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Emme
                                                                                                                        westsidegal RE: Emme Aug 17, 2007 09:09 AM

                                                                                                                        if we're only going to defend particular dishes, then i need to add the baked apple pancake and the german pancake at dinah's family restaurant.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Emme
                                                                                                                          lotta_cox RE: Emme Aug 20, 2007 12:43 PM

                                                                                                                          i think you are on to something there, emme. i cannot disagree with one dish..

                                                                                                                        2. p
                                                                                                                          pezworld RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 09:38 PM

                                                                                                                          Tony's on the Pier in Redondo!

                                                                                                                          Also King's Fish in Calabasas.
                                                                                                                          And Duke's in Malibu, but the barefoot bar part only. (Food tastes better with sand in your toes and a killer view.)

                                                                                                                          Whoops. Almost forgot Abuelita's Topanga.

                                                                                                                          1. annalulu RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 16, 2007 10:14 PM

                                                                                                                            Wow, i'm the only one defending Malo!?? Yikes!
                                                                                                                            I have been eating there a couple of times a month since they opened. I have NEVER had a bad meal, although I have settled into always ordering the same thing, so maybe that's why. Love their spinach/shrimp/avocado salad. Love the Shrimp Diablo. Love the chips (yes, I like the few soggy ones as well as the crispy ones.) Love the corn. The fresh beans served in a little frying pan! Man, I'm going tomorrow!

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: annalulu
                                                                                                                              nick_r RE: annalulu Aug 16, 2007 10:39 PM

                                                                                                                              I'll join you in defending Malo because their drinks are spectacular and, well, the salsa flight.

                                                                                                                              I've had some spotty service there before, but after a particularly bad experience I wrote a letter to the manager and he not only refunded the entire bill but also invited me and my girlfriend to come again for dinner on the house. So it's definitely back on my good side.

                                                                                                                              1. re: annalulu
                                                                                                                                graffitipassion RE: annalulu Aug 19, 2007 04:45 PM

                                                                                                                                I'm going to back you up too. The Shrimp Diablo is awesome, and so is the salsa flight. The service has never been bad, I just take into account that the place is usually packed and waiters are rushed. I don't see a need to get upset about it.

                                                                                                                                I also want to defend Mexico City. Their service is slow, but their food has been good every time I go.

                                                                                                                                1. re: graffitipassion
                                                                                                                                  lotta_cox RE: graffitipassion Aug 20, 2007 12:43 PM

                                                                                                                                  i love the both the massive tequila selection at malo and their skirt steak salad. although the service could be more consistent.

                                                                                                                              2. f
                                                                                                                                fizzie RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 17, 2007 09:18 AM

                                                                                                                                Scarantino's Italian Inn one of Glendale's best kept secrets.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: fizzie
                                                                                                                                  nd33x RE: fizzie Aug 17, 2007 09:51 AM

                                                                                                                                  Agreed. Nothing spectacular, just good solid Italian classics.

                                                                                                                                2. w
                                                                                                                                  whatsfordinner RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 17, 2007 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                  Now that there's a parallel thread on Apple Pan, I'll play:
                                                                                                                                  Apple Pan (hickory burger with cheese, fries)
                                                                                                                                  Pinks (chile cheese dog with tomatoes)
                                                                                                                                  Campos (avocado burrito and crispy turkey taco with guacamole sauce)
                                                                                                                                  Bay Cities (Godmother)
                                                                                                                                  Yang Chow

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: whatsfordinner
                                                                                                                                    Marco Polo RE: whatsfordinner Aug 24, 2007 04:59 PM

                                                                                                                                    PINKS and APPLE PAN both came to mind for this thread. I love a Steak burger with extra cheese and a slice of Banana Cream pie. The guys behind the counter are the best.

                                                                                                                                    I don't care if anyone thinks it is too expensive, not as good as In-n-Out, etc. It has floated my boat for 25+ years.

                                                                                                                                  2. amandine RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 17, 2007 10:25 AM

                                                                                                                                    Raffi Kabob in Glendale. I still stand by that place as the best Persian chelokebab in the area.

                                                                                                                                    1. h
                                                                                                                                      Hapafish RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 17, 2007 11:03 AM

                                                                                                                                      I'm gonna name a few chains cuz they always need defending:
                                                                                                                                      Cafe Bizou

                                                                                                                                      1. r
                                                                                                                                        rockhead RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 17, 2007 11:40 AM

                                                                                                                                        Villa Italian in Culver City for their pizza only. I'm not a fan of their pastas and other menu items, but their pizza is my favorite in L.A. Been going there over twenty years - through ownership changes, fires and the like and it still is excellent. Nice compromise between a thick-crust Chicago-style pizza and a traditional thin crust. The square pizza provides lots of crunchy/cheesy edges, the peperoni nice and crisp with a spicy bite to it. Oh, man.

                                                                                                                                        Over the years, I don't believe I've read one positive comment on this site about this restaurant. All was negative. Living in the Valley, it's a good thing Villa Italian is not near me or I'd be in my cardiologists' office right now.

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: rockhead
                                                                                                                                          silence9 RE: rockhead Aug 17, 2007 12:30 PM

                                                                                                                                          As a westside alternative to Casa Bianca's pizzas and anti-pasto salads (and hardly ever a wait for a table), I've tooted Villa Italian's horn on myriad occasions here, to the point that I'm embarrased to recommend it yet again. I always ask for the pizza 'well done', and it arrives darkly golden and square/diamond cut. Add easy parking and 405 adjacency, and its a solid substitute. The poster PaulF also mentions his kid's inexplicable-yet-unwavering affection for the pasta there, from time to time. I think the place is not disliked, but rather, most everyone is simply indifferent to its 'sleeper' charms...

                                                                                                                                          1. re: rockhead
                                                                                                                                            Snoopy RE: rockhead Aug 21, 2007 10:16 AM

                                                                                                                                            Does Villa Italian have a website or do you know where I can get a menu? Looked a little on line but not seeing anything. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Snoopy
                                                                                                                                              Servorg RE: Snoopy Aug 21, 2007 10:29 AM


                                                                                                                                          2. hrhboo RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 17, 2007 02:26 PM

                                                                                                                                            I will defend to the death:

                                                                                                                                            Sushi Zo
                                                                                                                                            Ford's Filling Station

                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: hrhboo
                                                                                                                                              goodhealthgourmet RE: hrhboo Aug 18, 2007 11:44 AM

                                                                                                                                              is there any particular dish you love @ primitivo? granted, my last experience there was quite a long time ago, and i love the atmosphere and their wine selections...but iirc, when i ate there the food was barely passable on both occasions.

                                                                                                                                              i'd be happy to give it another try if i went in armed with some good suggestions!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                hrhboo RE: goodhealthgourmet Aug 20, 2007 03:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                I've never had a bad meal there. The meat and cheese platters are great and a LOT of food. Other dishes I enjoy are the tiger shrimp, bacon-wrapped dates, grilled romaine salad, steak "frites" and killer bread pudding for dessert.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: hrhboo
                                                                                                                                                  whatsfordinner RE: hrhboo Aug 20, 2007 03:36 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I love the shrimp po boy and calamari.

                                                                                                                                            2. Rodeline RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 17, 2007 06:26 PM

                                                                                                                                              These definitely need defending

                                                                                                                                              Nippon Ramen
                                                                                                                                              The Bear Pit
                                                                                                                                              Empress Pavillion

                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: Rodeline
                                                                                                                                                Otius Gojius RE: Rodeline Aug 18, 2007 07:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                Nipon ramen is always good, I like the shio (or "spicy" shio) but the hiyashi ramen, is another fave on hot night. hey it's hot tonight... gotta go to Nippon ramen.

                                                                                                                                                Tito's and Bear Pit? Nope.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Otius Gojius
                                                                                                                                                  wizardx RE: Otius Gojius Aug 22, 2007 04:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                  agree 100%

                                                                                                                                              2. f
                                                                                                                                                fdb RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 17, 2007 11:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                Looks like I'll be the only defender for Giorgio Baldi......maybe I just lucked out but I never experienced the notorious bad attitude from the waiters (and I am no big shot nor from the movie industry)....and I just love their food.....besides, I have learned to order carefully so as to not break my bank.

                                                                                                                                                1. Woolsey RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 18, 2007 08:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I've seen a few of my own guilty pleasures on here - as well as at least one of my bête noires. As for places I will defend that often get knocked, I will defend:

                                                                                                                                                  Palms Thai
                                                                                                                                                  25 Degrees
                                                                                                                                                  Mozza (Pizzeria and Osteria)
                                                                                                                                                  Honey Pig
                                                                                                                                                  El Cholo (Koreatown location)
                                                                                                                                                  Miceli's (Hollywood location)
                                                                                                                                                  Cobras & Matadors (Beverly Boulevard location)

                                                                                                                                                  And all the Intellegentsias, LA Mills, and Groundworks may come and go, and restaurants can load up on all the Clover machines they want - I still love and will defend Peet's Coffee.

                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Woolsey
                                                                                                                                                    goodhealthgourmet RE: Woolsey Aug 19, 2007 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                    i'm with you on peet's...in fact, i was so impressed with their coffee when i first tried it years ago that i bought stock in the company!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                      Golem RE: goodhealthgourmet Aug 20, 2007 03:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Peet's yes. Overall, nothing better and closer. Lots of coffee places on this globe, and many may be better, but Peet's is accessible, delicious, and who needs more? Blue Bottle in SF (Portland, actually). Raven's Brew in Alaska (Deadman's Reach is my all-time favorite). But I can't just drop by these places on a whim. I may order them on-line, but I'll drive to Peet's. Ahhh.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Golem
                                                                                                                                                        thomtompkins RE: Golem Nov 25, 2007 10:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Right on....love the Peet's. Love the Americano.....

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Woolsey
                                                                                                                                                      tijn2001 RE: Woolsey Aug 19, 2007 11:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Palms Thai lost all of its low-rent charm when they moved into their new first-floor-of-a-big-box-storage-building location. It is now completely and utterly characterless, like dining in a loud, chaotic warehouse. I miss their old location on Hollywood east of Western, with its cramped parking lot and slightly kitschy Dennys-in-Bangkok atmosphere. Alas. For really cheap and excellent Thai I go to Sanamluang or Torung now...... but their no credit card policy is really annoying!!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tijn2001
                                                                                                                                                        Woolsey RE: tijn2001 Aug 20, 2007 06:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I don't love the room at the new Palms, but I think the food is still just as good. (Yes, I think the food is good - defending it!) It's got this rap these days that when they moved, the food went seriously downhill. I see no difference in that cooking from the old place to the new one. In fact, my last visit was perhaps the best meal I've ever had at Palms, old or new. Yes, the old location was cool, but I don't think I'll ever miss driving around for thirty minutes looking for parking and standing around waiting for a seat longer than it actually took to eat my meal.

                                                                                                                                                        As for Sanamluang and Torung, the former is just okay to me, while the latter gave me one of the absolute worst Thai meals I've ever had. (Do they always seem just to ladle straight cooking oil over all the food before it comes out? Disgusting.)

                                                                                                                                                    3. Pretty Gourmet RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 19, 2007 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Killer Shrimp is sooooo overrated.

                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pretty Gourmet
                                                                                                                                                        Das Ubergeek RE: Pretty Gourmet Aug 19, 2007 08:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                        Er... this is a list of restaurants you LIKE that you stick up for when people criticise them.

                                                                                                                                                        And while KS is overPRICED, I actually really like it -- though it's certainly not worth the drive from Anaheim when I can either go to its imitator, JackShrimp, or make it at home.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                                                                                                          flyerfan182 RE: Das Ubergeek Aug 19, 2007 11:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Thai Chicken Pasta - Cheesecake Factory! (I honestly dont know why this place gets crap so much, always and I mean always have had good experiences there. I also go off peak hours like at 5-6.)

                                                                                                                                                          Ricardos El Ranchito (This place has always been my favorite Mexican in the greater LA area).
                                                                                                                                                          Gondolas Pizza - The cheese so gooey, the atmosphere so well ghetto. Gotta love this joint.
                                                                                                                                                          Aroma Cafe - Great Turkey Burgers
                                                                                                                                                          Golden Spoon - Pinkberry sucks compared to Golden Spoon IMO
                                                                                                                                                          Outback Steakhouse - the bread and steaks are very good
                                                                                                                                                          Mimi's Cafe - always consistent, always
                                                                                                                                                          Big Belly Deli - the french dip is amazing
                                                                                                                                                          Renu Nakorn - O my, since being closed I have cried everytime I drive by the place.
                                                                                                                                                          Moca Salsa - Gotsa love those Carne Asada's!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek
                                                                                                                                                            SauceSupreme RE: Das Ubergeek Aug 20, 2007 03:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                            If KS were about $3 cheaper, I think it'd be pretty decent. It's okay quality, but certainly not for the price.

                                                                                                                                                            And who recommended Killer Shrimp anyway?

                                                                                                                                                        2. i
                                                                                                                                                          italiana3 RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 20, 2007 12:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                          Where is Domenico? I live in Pasadena and I have not heard of it, but I am also new to Pasadena

                                                                                                                                                          1. i
                                                                                                                                                            italiana3 RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 20, 2007 12:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                            where is Domenico's in Pasadena?

                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: italiana3
                                                                                                                                                              lotta_cox RE: italiana3 Aug 20, 2007 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                              i think domenicos in pasadena is in the shops at el paseo.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: italiana3
                                                                                                                                                                fizzie RE: italiana3 Aug 20, 2007 02:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Domenico's Pasadena is on Washington Blvd. It is the original of the family owned and operated restaurants. Old school, been around a long time.

                                                                                                                                                              2. n
                                                                                                                                                                nick_r RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 20, 2007 12:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                I have to add El Coyote because the margaritas are lethal, the food is perfectly edible, and the whole idea of the place just brings a smile to my face.

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nick_r
                                                                                                                                                                  aurora50 RE: nick_r Aug 20, 2007 01:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  All right fellow Hounds, here's one I'm sure I'm gonna get comment on:
                                                                                                                                                                  - Pinnacle Peak.
                                                                                                                                                                  Because there's something about a simple grilled steak over their mesquite, and "those beans" to pour over your steak and let the juices mingle, a few shots of Tabasco, and that plain-Jane bread to soak it all in .....
                                                                                                                                                                  *** bliss ***

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nick_r
                                                                                                                                                                    Golem RE: nick_r Aug 20, 2007 03:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Food? They serve food? After one (or two) double Margies, my taste buds are on the floor (along with the rest of me). Not that that's a bad thing....

                                                                                                                                                                  2. r
                                                                                                                                                                    Rizza RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 20, 2007 06:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Loteria - I can never get myself to eat anywhere else at Farmer's Market when I go there. I just love those tacos and don't get to that area enough. But I've seen mixed reviews. And Lucille's BBQ, because it's a quick guilty pleasure.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Foodielicious RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 20, 2007 09:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Sword and sheild in hand, I shall defend Houston's and their fantastic selection of seasonal side dishes: the couscous salad, the white beans and sweetcorn, the maple-glazed beets, the fresh tomatoes, the buttery brussels sprouts, and one of the best house salads you'll ever taste! I don't care about the fact that it's an evil chain restaurant, that there's always a line, that the fries are cut too thin, or that the palce is lit like my mother-in-law's den. Hmpph! So there!

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Foodielicious
                                                                                                                                                                        westsidegal RE: Foodielicious Aug 20, 2007 10:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        i'm a fan of the houstons homemade veggie burger.
                                                                                                                                                                        it is a mixture of grain, beets, and who-knows-what-else, and i really like it.
                                                                                                                                                                        it is NOT a copy of a meat burger.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet RE: westsidegal Aug 20, 2007 10:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          best veggie burgers on the planet. sadly, i can no longer indulge my cravings for them since i had to give up gluten :( man i miss those burgers!

                                                                                                                                                                          fyi, if you ever have the desire to try recreating them at home, the copycat recipe floating around on the web is actually a pretty close approximation.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Foodielicious
                                                                                                                                                                          aching RE: Foodielicious Aug 22, 2007 10:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm with you! I LOVE their Thai steak salad, and I've eaten at the SM location dozens of times and always been impressed the service.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. s
                                                                                                                                                                          sasha1 RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 20, 2007 10:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Hide Sushi on Sawtelle. Although I haven't been for a year (we moved) we used to go very regularly. I've never had anything but fresh and delicious fish, the prices are unbeatable for the quality, the cooked and side dishes are great ways to round out the meal (tsunumono is delicious), and the staff is always gracious.

                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sasha1
                                                                                                                                                                            westsidegal RE: sasha1 Aug 20, 2007 10:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            not too many detractors re: hide.
                                                                                                                                                                            everything you said is true.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                                                                                                              sasha1 RE: westsidegal Aug 21, 2007 09:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              I recall last year having to jump to its rescue several times - other times I just silently bristled. There were complaints about freshness, bad service, going downhill, kiriko is so much better, etc. I'd rather eat 3 times at Hide than once at Kiriko, the prices being what they are...
                                                                                                                                                                              I wish I had a chance to go back and visit more often...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sasha1
                                                                                                                                                                                westsidegal RE: sasha1 Aug 24, 2007 04:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                for those times when financial reality sets in, hide is the best choice.
                                                                                                                                                                                second best is sushi ken in the south bay.

                                                                                                                                                                                when i am in financial denial, though, it's sushi zo all the way

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                                                                                                                  slacker RE: westsidegal Aug 27, 2007 11:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Lol! Well said.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. t
                                                                                                                                                                            torta basilica RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 21, 2007 10:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Vito's in Santa Monica (not the pizza Nito's) - some just don;t get the old-style, red sauce ambience & food. Spaghetti della Casa is to die for!

                                                                                                                                                                            Father's Office - love love love it & have never experienced attitude.

                                                                                                                                                                            Cobras & Matadors - when ordering leaning towards meat dishes... and those olives... and that wine store next door with reasonable prives - what a concept!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. n
                                                                                                                                                                              nimo RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 22, 2007 02:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Apple Pan.
                                                                                                                                                                              Casa Bianca.
                                                                                                                                                                              Dan Tana's.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. l
                                                                                                                                                                                LisaStitch RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 22, 2007 05:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Many of mine have already been mentioned, so just to add to the list:

                                                                                                                                                                                Barney's Gourmet Hamburgers
                                                                                                                                                                                La Dolce Vita
                                                                                                                                                                                Via Veneto
                                                                                                                                                                                C&O Trattoria or Cucina - for the right, casual occasion/craving
                                                                                                                                                                                El Compadre - if you go at the right time when it's not crazy crowded, it's a great deal, satisfying food, amazing margaritas, and dimly lit with comfy booths

                                                                                                                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LisaStitch
                                                                                                                                                                                  Woolsey RE: LisaStitch Aug 22, 2007 06:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm right there with you, fighting the good fight for Chipotle. The best gringo burritos ever!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Woolsey
                                                                                                                                                                                    Foodandwine RE: Woolsey Aug 23, 2007 02:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Woolsey, Okay gonna go to Mc Donalds strike that Chipolte ( same owner ) pass one every day. Which Burro should I order?? I will eat only the one you recommend.. seriously, what do I have to loose but 5 bucks or so..

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Foodandwine
                                                                                                                                                                                      mollyomormon RE: Foodandwine Aug 23, 2007 04:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      McDonald's no longer owns Chipotle. And Chipotle attempts to use free range meats when they can so I give them point for that (can you tell I'm another Chipotle defender). It's a burrito in the mission-style, complete with the huge, steamed tortilla and filled with rice and beans so if you object to that, you probably won't like Chipotle. I love the fajita veggie burrito with all the salsas, guac and cheese (and i do realize that's around 1000 calories). I'd like to hear Woolsey's rec too, though, since we seem to share a lot of the same tastes.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mollyomormon
                                                                                                                                                                                        Woolsey RE: mollyomormon Aug 23, 2007 04:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        No, no, no - Chiptole puts their tortilla on a grill. It's much better than Qdoba's soggy steamed tortillas. But they don't get too hard and crackly like Baja Fresh's. Yes, there's an art to gringo burritos. All the meats are good, as are the vegetarian ones - it just depends on my mood. But my favorites are either the carnitas (really an excellent, lightly seasoned pulled pork) or a veggie fajita burrito, both with the black beans and rice. Mild (fresh) salsa and corn salsa, lots of cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and a little lettuce - after all, this is a gringo burrito. Try a Chipotle burrito alongside Qdoba, La Salsa, and Baja Fresh, and tell me they don't do a damn good job. Their salsas are more flavorful, their ingredients are always fresh, and their crew puts together the food with much more care. Because they don't make a lot of other crap, too, they do what they do really, really well - the only guacamole I like better is at Border Grill.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Woolsey
                                                                                                                                                                                          ns1 RE: Woolsey Aug 24, 2007 05:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'd rather get the burrio bol and eat it like a really gangster carne asada nachos

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Woolsey
                                                                                                                                                                                            carter RE: Woolsey Aug 25, 2007 06:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Woolsey is right about the carnitas. You have your choices of salsas, black or pinto beans, rice or not, plus the guac, cheese, sour cream, etc. add-ons that you choose on your own. Quite satisfying and filling. I get mine without rice(why rice?!) and they add a few more beans, guac, hot red salsa, and am ready to dive in. And the lines go really fast as they are set up for action, yours included!

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: mollyomormon
                                                                                                                                                                                            Servorg RE: mollyomormon Aug 23, 2007 04:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Hi MoM. I too am another Chipotle aficionado. When you say that their burrito is filled with rice and beans and if you don't like that you probably won't like Chipotle I gotta say when I go I have them put in (or leave out) exactly what I want. I am watching them make my food every step of the way. So getting it "my way" with as little or as much of each ingredient as suits me is never a problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                                                                                              mollyomormon RE: Servorg Aug 23, 2007 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              You're very right about being able to have them take or leave on whatever you want at Chipotle, which is part of the beauty of it. But for me, I guess part of the beauty of having a mission style burrito is loading it up with rice and beans! I'm with you guys that it's far better burrito than Baja Fresh, Qdoba or La Salsa, although I am nuts about the quesadillas at La Salsa.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mollyomormon
                                                                                                                                                                                                Woolsey RE: mollyomormon Aug 23, 2007 06:46 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                How are the quesadillas at Chipotle? I've always been tempted to get one, but then I always think about how pissed I get when someone orders one in front of me, and I never want the people behind me thinking those sort of horrible things about me...

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Woolsey
                                                                                                                                                                                                  mollyomormon RE: Woolsey Aug 23, 2007 07:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I mean, melted cheese can never be too bad right? They're decent, but they don't get much of a crust on that grill press and so it's more like a folded, heated tortilla with melted cheese in the middle. They don't skimp on the cheese either.

                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: Foodandwine
                                                                                                                                                                                            LisaStitch RE: Foodandwine Aug 24, 2007 10:01 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            FYI, it's probably going to cost you more than 5 bucks! :( The burritos I usually get are about $8 I think, mostly because I include their excellent guacamole which is an extra charge of $1.50 or $2.50, but they do give you a huge scoop of it. Whatever you get, get the guacamole with it!

                                                                                                                                                                                            I always get the Barbacoa meat (marinated shredded beef) and the hot salsa. I also always specifically ask for very little beans and very little rice or no rice at all, because I like the focus to be on the meat, salsa, and guac.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Chipotle is set up like Subway, where you see it being assembled every step of the way and can specifically call out what you want or don't want and how much.


                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LisaStitch
                                                                                                                                                                                          westsidegal RE: LisaStitch Aug 24, 2007 04:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          had a terrific Mediterranean salad at c & o trattoria last night.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. p
                                                                                                                                                                                          Pancee RE: calabasas_trafalgar Aug 24, 2007 07:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          there's a few I could say; but I'll say what I think might be the most debated:
                                                                                                                                                                                          Wahoo's fish Taco

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. mermy RE: calabasas_trafalgar Sep 11, 2007 10:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            C&O and Maison Akira. Killer garlic rolls and a great spaghetti bolognese make it all worth while.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. a
                                                                                                                                                                                              AnnieMar RE: calabasas_trafalgar Oct 8, 2008 03:53 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Ruby's (I think their Rubyburger is one of the best in town)
                                                                                                                                                                                              Islands (I love their nachos, and their kilueua burger is amazing)
                                                                                                                                                                                              Houstons (their ribs are the best)
                                                                                                                                                                                              Salt Creek Grille for dinner
                                                                                                                                                                                              King Taco
                                                                                                                                                                                              Tommy's Chili Dog
                                                                                                                                                                                              In n Out
                                                                                                                                                                                              Casa Bianca Pizza Pie with Mushrooms and Eggplant, 'well done"
                                                                                                                                                                                              Romano's macaroni grille pastas

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. m
                                                                                                                                                                                                mikester RE: calabasas_trafalgar Oct 8, 2008 03:55 PM


                                                                                                                                                                                                Napa Rose


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