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Visiting LA for the First Time

I'm a 20-something New Yorker visiting LA for the first time, and looking for suggestions on (moderately-priced) places to eat. I want to avoid most of the touristy stuff (i.e. no studio tours or stalking celebrities) -- I think -- but I do want to plan a "food itinerary" that takes me to a number of different neighborhoods so I get a sense of the city. I eat all kinds of food, and I'll have a car.

I'll be on my own for a night or two, with a family member for another night or two, and then spending time with a friend from Alhambra (who hasn't actually lived in LA since high school, so we both need suggestions.)

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  1. For Thai food in the heart of Thai Town / Hollywood: Jitlada
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/414265

    For Sushi in a little out of the way area of West Los Angeles: Sushi Zo
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/414265

    For Korean BBQ Park Korean BBQ in Korea-town
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/445619

    1 Reply
    1. re: Servorg

      Sushi Zo is good but Sushi Yasuda in NYC still holds the crown. If you have time then try Zo and be surprised by how much cheaper it is. But otherwise for sheer quality, variety of fish, and attention to detail, Yasuda is still unmatched when it comes to pure nigiri and sushi rice.

      Mexican is great as is korean (Beverly Soon Tofu). Easily beats any NYC versions. Chinese goes without saying and you have more than enough suggestions.

      I'll throw in AOC which I liked better than Lucques. Spago for the quintessential LA dining experience.

      You could make an argument either way for Pizzeria Mozza. The pizza is LA style and the overall product is good, but there are plenty of NY pizzerias with better, chewier crust.

      Philippe's is a good suggestion. I like the pork or lamb better than the beef. It's a fun spot for lunch. Lots of character.

      1. Spending time with a friend in Alhambra? Geez - you've hit paydirt! You'll be in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley. Tons of posts on various Chinese cuisines as well as other Chow Honor Roll members out that way.

        Just off the top of my head - Sea Harbour, Capital, 888 for dim sum; Mei Long Village, J&J or Green Village for Shanghainese/xiao long bao; Fosselman's for ice cream. You can also search under, "San Gabriel Valley," or "Alhambra." You should get a ton of hits. Ipsedixit, Das Ubergeek, Chandavkl and Monkuboy - where are you folks? I need the real experts to step up!

        1. Alhambra is a great place to be: you will be close to tons of great Mexican and Chinese food. Also, it's centrally located, so it would be pretty easy to drive to other restaurants.

          Off the top of my head, here are my recommendations:
          Dim sum: 888 Sea Food or Sea Harbour (Rosemead)
          Cantonese dinner: Elite or Empress Harbor (Monterey Park),
          Cantonese/Chiu Chou breakfast/lunch: Kim Ky (San Gabriel)
          Cantonese/Chiu Chou dinner: Seafood Village (Temple City)
          Hong Kong: Tasty Garden (Arcadia)
          Shanghai: Jin Jian (aka J&J) (San Gabriel)
          Chinese/Vietnamese seafood: Newport Seafood Tan Cang (San Gabriel)
          Chinese/Korean: Dumpling House (Temple City)
          Chinese Dumplings: Luscious Dumpling (San Gabriel)
          Vietnamese (southern): Pho Superbowl (Alhambra), Golden Deli (San Gabriel)
          Vietnamese (central): Nem Nuong Ninh Hoa (Rosemead)
          Vietnamese (family style): Phong Dinh (Rosemead)
          Vietnamese (sandwiches): Bahn Mi Che Cali (Rosemead)
          Ice cream: Fosselmann's (Alhambra)

          Check out my restaurant reviews for more info: http://www.geocities.com/raytamsgv
          Happy eating!

          1. some other chinese in the area -
            yunnan at yun gui on Garfield, one block north ofGarvey, west side of the street
            across teh street on garfield, in the mall, giang-nan for huaiyang ("shanghai" food) and jia-wei for real good sichuan. On Garvey, 1/2 block east of Garfield, cafe eight - guilin style rice noodle dishes.
            Garfield and valley - MPV Seafood - yue-cai (canton/HK, seafood and other dishes).

            4 Replies
            1. re: Jerome

              If I'm reading the post correctly, this is a 20-something girl who's looking for quality food but I would think would also like a fun/hip atmosphere. With all due respect, the list of the posters is a terrific foodie guide, but if you're looking for more of a hip list (with cute boys), here's my picks.

              Los Feliz/Silverlake
              Cobras & Matadors (2 locations, Los Feliz and L.A.) -- tapas... tres hip
              Malo - Mexican tapas... terrific
              Dusty's (don't scream and hollar -- she's young). Pretty good food and great, hip vibe. You'll prob see a rock or movie star or 2, if you're into that.
              Stella's - SL (more expensive version of Dusty's). French Bistro
              Fred 62 - Los Feliz breakfast/brunch/lunch (food is decent, again it's about the "experience" -- featured in many tv/movies)

              Hollywood
              Hungry Cat -- very expensive seafood. i couldn't afford this place in my 20's. Maybe you can. More of a 30/40 something crowd.
              Magnolia -- tres hip.
              The Bounty -- bar with good food. reasonably priced! I'd probably go here after a movie at the Arclight (a must if you're a film buff).

              Have a great time -- I remember many a trip to NYC in my 20's!

              1. re: Silverlaker

                also, Gingergrass in Silverlake. Great spring rolls.

                  1. re: wutzizname

                    Gotta be, because The HMS Bounty in Koreatown is quite a jog from the ArcLight, and it's really nothing special. I never understood its appeal. The Brass Monkey or Taylor's in the neighborhood are both way better.