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Sep 15, 2007 05:37 PM

Marina Del Rey & nearby faves?

Hello California- sunshine, beaches and hopefully some great food! My hubbie and I just moved into Marina Del Rey from Seattle and are looking foward to Cali cuisine. We eat most types of food, from high end to quick and cheap. Love sushi, "real italian", steakhouses, seafood... basically just really fresh, quality dining. We really liked the pacific northwest style- and I imagine California cuisine is similar- maybe better? So what does your wonderful city have to offer- "whats your must eat" list. We are here for 13 weeks and hope to enjoy the city as much as the restaurants! Also if anyone could point me in the direction of the best farmers market, fish counter, and grocery store it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks
PS we have no problem driving all over the city, just like some local haunts as well ;)

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    1. A few suggestions before you pore through the previous threads...

      3 Square for great breakfasts and pastries
      Pann's for all day fare
      Aunt Kizzy's for soul food
      Alejo's for Italian
      Cafe del Rey for finer dining
      Jer-Ne at the Ritz has a nice brunch as well as good tea time
      The Spot in Hermosa for healthy fare
      Chaya Venice
      26 Beach
      Lilly's French Cafe
      Rose Cafe
      Gaby's Mediterranean
      Come up to Bay Cities in SM

      Farmers' Markets are great in Santa Monica and the Sunday one up in Brentwood

      2 Replies
      1. re: Emme

        And a good local barbeque place, Baby Blues on Lincoln Blvd. just north of Washington Blvd.

        And for shrimp tacos and burritos try La Playita also on Lincoln just a bit north of Baby Blues.

        3306 Lincoln Blvd
        Santa Monica, CA 90405-5741
        Phone: (310) 452-0090

        1. re: Servorg

          The shrimp tacos and burritos at Taqueria Sanchez in Mar Vista/Culver City are great as well... Don't waste your time wondering if Sakura next to the TS on Centinela is worth the wait out front. But Angel Maid across the street has some very good pastries and cakes - go for the cream puffs in the box set.

      2. Grocery stores that are local to you are Gelson's in the Marina (which has Antica Pizzeria in the same mall) and if you are a member then go to Costco on Washington Blvd. just east of Lincoln Blvd.

        Also Trader Joe's
        3456 S Sepulveda Blvd
        Los Angeles, CA 90034
        Phone: (310) 836-2458
        Hours: 8:30 am - 9 pm

        For good Oaxacan food right in front of Trader Joe's is Guelaguetza on Palms Blvd. on the north side of the street just barely east of Sepulveda Blvd.

        1. Welcome to (hopefully) some mild weather and good eats... It's hard to keep something like this brief but here we go...

          Marina del Rey

          Cafe Del Rey in MdR usually has very good dishes - sitdown, nice dining room, lots of seafood options with a heavy influence from the Pacific Rim.

          26 Beach in MdR/Venice has quite a varied menu but does most things pretty good to darned good and with generous portions.

          Beechwood in MdR has a great contemporary look and good food to match - lots of classic American fare with some influences and dishes from different parts of the world (e.g., shishito peppers, buratta cheese and ribeye all under the same roof).

          Venice (along Abbot Kinney)

          French Market Cafe in Venice for breakfast or lunch. Like its namesake, the food is basically French cafe fare - it may not send you off dreaming that you're sipping lattes off the Left Bank, but lots of French expats do congregate here.

          Market Gourmet in Venice is a small but very well stocked market for the person who really likes great food.

          Shima in Venice for sushi and other Japanese fare. Brown rice sushi where the owner mills his own rice and makes his own tofu as well.

          Abbot's Pizza in Venice for great slices - they usually have at least a half dozen different pies on display or you can order a whole pie. Their salad on a pizza or salad on a slice is great as well and as long as good buttery avocados litter its top.

          Hal's Bar & Grill in Venice is a resto that has served Venice for alot of years with lots of good food, great drinks, and service to match. It's still a favorite for alot of the long-time local artists, architects, and other professionals. Their turkey burger is a very popular takeout item.

          Jin Patisserie in Venice is a little gold mine if you like fancy cakes, desserts, and chocolates. They are known for serving a somewhat eclectic Pacific Rim-influenced afternoon tea, but I personally think of them as a great little patisserie.

          Three Square Cafe and Bakery in Venice is Hans Rockenwagner's most recent reincarnation of his culinary talents. The bakery offers a fair amount of waist-expanding goodies, while the cafe offers three square meals that are solid in taste and proportions. Their pretzel rolls are great as burger buns for which they get alot of raves as well as their schnitzel, just to name a couple.

          Lilly's (more upscale French than French Market Cafe), Primativo (wines, tapas and other Spanish/Euro-Mediterranean dishes) and Joe's (probably one of the best and best deals in Venice that serves American/French with some Asian influence dishes) are all on the same block right next to each other. Any one of these will satisfy most people but to add to the mix is Axe which is another 1/2 block up - kinda minimalist in atmosphere and the food is very "Alice Waters meets Venice." Most folks really like this place as fresh ingredients (much of it locally sourced) and interesting but simple preparations are their strengthes.

          Farmers Markets

          Two come to mind right away. The Santa Monica FM located on Arizona and 3rd St on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the Hollywood FM on Sundays. Both locations have their strengthes, with the Wednesday Santa Monica FM being superior on great produce from all over Southern (even some from Central) California, particularly unusual and organic produce. If you like strawberries, a mainstay of this FM (on both days) is Harry's Berries. Organic in the real sense (they have a knit to pick with the recently enacted regulations) and truly delicious. Many of the chefs from the "better" restos around LA come early to this FM, especially on Wednesdays, to get the best produce (some say in So Cal).

          The Hollywood FM is a great experience as the produce is abundant but the added plus is the "other" stuff, mainly great food and crafts. Thai, Korean, Mexican, the Pupusa Lady, aebleskivers, Jamaican, Indian, Greek, pastries,... you get the picture - Hollywood's eclecticness is represented well here in both vendors and patrons.


          Surfas toward the east end of Culver City is probably the best known one-stop shopping experience in the general Westside for those pursuing gourmet and hard-to-find items. The floorspace is quite huge and somewhat industrial but you'd be hardpressed to find another single place around that offers even half of what Surfas has.

          Sabor a Mexico is a recent Chow-find by our beloved Dommie! (and a few others- forgive me for not mentioning your names). It's great Mexican food that reminds many of the "real" stuff from Mexico, particularly D.F. (Mexico City). I mention this place because it's a logical next stop after Surfas. The quirky location is only a few blocks from Surfas, the atmosphere is kinda strange, the ordering and serving system have some kinks to be worked out, but the end-result is fantastico.

          Downtown Culver City is a whole other category. Once a dying downtown area that was a virtual wasteland save a couple of unique shops and cafes, it's become a to-go location for good to great eateries at just about every level, all within three to four blocks of each other.

          San Gabriel Valley for the best Chinese cuisines outside of Asia. This should be a seperate category for Chowhound's "California" section. There are so so many places that one can eat great Chinese dishes at that would rate highly in just about any city in the world. If you crave dim sum, the choices are overwhelming. Shanghainese cuisine? Choose from a dozen that receive raves from so many folks. Taiwanese teahouses or breakfasts? Chinese Islamic? No sweat. And it goes on and on...

          Persian food is blessed by the fact that LA has a very large Persian community around the Westside. Most eateries are around Westwood with Shamshiri getting alot of love here.

          Korean cuisine in LA is probably second only to Korea. A very large portion of LA adjacent to the Mid-Wilshire area is known as Koreatown. I would venture to guess that you could easily spend a couple of week just here and only scratch the surface.

          Japanese food has three centers around LA: Downtown in Little Tokyo, West LA along Sawtelle, and in the South Bay around Torrance, Gardena, and Lomita. Again, spend a couple of weeks of just eating around these areas and you'll only scratch the surface.

          Mexican food is so abundant throughout So Cal that it's hard to narrow it down. Like Chinese cuisine in the San Gabriel Valley, just about every angle of Mexican cuisine is covered around here. Everyone has their own favorite taqueria or cemitas wagon, and Oaxacan cuisine is as common as sightings of Elvis.

          Thirteen weeks won't cover everything, but if you plan it out and eat out alot, you can have tons of great eating experiences around LA.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bulavinaka


            Also, these places are very near to MDR.

            Pann’s (Fried Chicken wings and waffles, pea soup, Chicken Fried steak, Hash and eggs, Burgers and shakes all in a Googie Dream)
            6710 La Tijera Blvd
            Los Angeles, CA
            (323) 776-3770
            Cross Street: La Cienega Boulevard

            California Chicken Café. IMO the best Chinese Chicken Salad in L.A. I order it without the pasta and with extra almonds. They also have a very good Chicken Caesar salad and a fresh fruit salad. The wraps are also great made with their Rotisserie chicken
            California Chicken Café
            424 Lincoln Boulevard(South of Rose, North of Venice Boulevard
            )Venice, CA 90291
            (310) 392-3500
            Open Mon thu Sat – Delivery Closed Sunday.
            California Chicken Cafe locations & menu

            Original Rinaldi's (Italian combo, Meat Ball sandwich, Hot Chicken sandwich or anything they make)
            323 Main St.
            El Segundo, CA 90245
            (310) 647-2860
            From N. Sepulveda Blvd go West on E. Grand to Main St.
            From W. Imperial Ave. Go South on Main
            Right across from the Fire Department

            Big Mike's Philly Steaks and Sub (Best Cheese steak in L.A., Get the 18" – Nuff Said!
            )507 Main St.
            El Segundo, CA 90245
            (310) 726-9638

            Culver City is very nearby also.

            Rutt’s Hawaiian Café (Breakfast / Lunch, I like the bacon FRIED RICE “Royale,” or Loco Moco, or Fried fish plates. Check da grinz on da link below)
            12114 Washington Blvd.,
            Los Angeles, CA 90066
            (310) 398-6326

            Check out this post for more about Culver City.

          2. for southern indian food (vegetarian), Samosa House on Washington Blvd just west of the 405.
            the food is EXCELLENT, but served from a steam table on styrofoam plates.
            i've brought food home from here, reheated it, and served it at a dinner party on china, and everyone at my dinner party RAVED about it.
            be sure to ask if they are serving any of their delicious mango/banana/pistachio soup when you go there. they generally serve a terrific version of curried jackfruit as well as many other wonderful offerings.

            1 Reply
            1. re: westsidegal

              Umm.. Samosa House food is actually North Indian. You are right about it being vegetarian though and yup, it is pretty tasty. I wish they hadn't started serving warmed whole wheat tortillas instead of the fresh, made-from-scratch "phulka rotis" they used to serve earlier. Regardless, it is a good deal.
              For South Indian vegetarian, there's Annapurna on Venice Blvd. near Motor.