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Seeking recs for mid-priced yet "LAish" places for out-of-towners

AquaW Oct 9, 2007 12:08 PM

I have a few out of town friends swinging by this weekend, they really want to see (and taste) LA, but within a budget (I'm guesstimating $25-30/pp tops, no alchy). Geography-wise, anything from Santa Monica to Hollywood to Downtown even into SG Valley/Pasadena will do, though I doubt there are many trendy options in the last one.

Most of the places I frequent are not particularly touristy, so looking for some recs from the hipper & trendier 'hounds here. But here are some places that come to my mind:

Hungry Cat (might be a bit of a pinch moneywise)
the Bowery
25 Degrees
Lucky Devil's
Fat Fish
Border Grill/Ciudad (I'm sure there are cheaper Latin-American options that's as hip, but eludes my mind at the moment.)

I am also considering some less scene-y places like Ugo & Coral Tree Cafe too, suggestions along these lines are appreciated too.

Thanks in advance for your recs!


  1. Emme Oct 9, 2007 05:26 PM

    Will add Doughboys, Toast, and Quality in WeHo. Second Griddle Cafe.

    Barney Greengrass

    Newsroom Cafe on Robertson.

    If you want sceney sushi, I'd do Blowfish instead of Fat Fish, for I fear Katana is way more than they'll want to spend.

    Geisha House

    Palms Thai

    Farmer's Market - many many options in here

    For ethnic, try Musha, Soot Bull Jeep, Los Balcones de Peru, Shamshiri, Sanam Luang or Jitlada Thai, Carnival

    1. Das Ubergeek Oct 9, 2007 04:37 PM

      Lola's is trendy-ish, and they make fantastic martinis, but I swear they ran out of salt in the kitchen... I can count on two hands the number of restaurant meals I've salted in the last 15 years, and Lola's was one of them -- the sunchoke soup was insipid and needed salt, and while the much-vaunted halibut was actually quite tasty, the potatoes that accompanied them tasted like... nothing. Even with salt it wasn't much help.

      1. flavasista Oct 9, 2007 01:52 PM

        What about Malibu? Driving down PCH with the windows down, checking out the surfers, Mexican for dinner & drinks...that is quintessential LA in my opinion.

        I'm not too familiar with the Mexican food in that area but I have eaten good affordable Italian at Allegria on PCH - then you can stop Moonshadows for drinks, great djs from KCRW, and crashing waves. DO NOT EAT AT MOONSHADOWS. only for drinks and ambience.

        Also agree with recs for Bar Marmont / Chateau Marmont / The Standard / Venice Beach. You can have a great bruch at Joe's on Abbot Kinney for $20/person. It's a great deal for what you get. Walk around the boardwalk - check out the crazies.

        5 Replies
        1. re: flavasista
          AquaW Oct 9, 2007 02:57 PM

          All good suggestions! I was thinking about Malibu/Venice too


          1. re: AquaW
            whatsfordinner Oct 9, 2007 03:08 PM

            In Malibu I'd recommend Malibu Seafood. Bring your own wine (don't forget corkscrew and glasses) or beer.

            1. re: whatsfordinner
              AquaW Oct 9, 2007 03:20 PM

              Ha! That was my last blog entry but thanks nonetheless... catching the sunset @ the patio would be killer!!


            2. re: AquaW
              bulavinaka Oct 9, 2007 05:56 PM

              Joe's and Axe on Abbot Kinney are usually solid choices in Venice, and should work within that price range.

              1. re: bulavinaka
                Suebee Oct 9, 2007 06:08 PM

                Love Joe's. Also classic LA. Brunch at Joe's with the sunlight filtering through. Here's a link to a review from Mother's Day:


          2. d
            Diana Oct 9, 2007 01:25 PM

            You could always suck it in and wiat in line for a mediocre chili dog at Pink's

            Don't forget the apple pan

            1 Reply
            1. re: Diana
              whatsfordinner Oct 9, 2007 03:07 PM

              I agree with Apple Pan for hickory cheese burgers and fries. I also love and would recommend Father's Office for great burgers, fries and beer, and Pink's chili dogs!

            2. SauceSupreme Oct 9, 2007 01:01 PM

              I think Hungry Cat and Bowery can definitely be done under that budget without alcohol, and both serve as great barometers of trendiness along Sunset Blvd. In fact, it's possible to do both in one night as they are catty-corner from each other.

              Other places to consider are Cobras & Matador and BLD on 3rd Street. Both offer a great atmosphere and aren't expensive. You can afterwards then go to Milk for dessert.

              The Hungry Cat
              1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

              The Bowery
              6268 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

              BLD Restaurant
              7450 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

              Cobras and Matadors
              7615 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

              7290 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

              1. Servorg Oct 9, 2007 12:32 PM

                Pack a lunch and take them up to the Getty in Brentwood. Even if you only walk through the garden and take in the view it's well worth the trip, (if you really want to do it up right order bento boxes from Mako on Beverly in B. Hills 24 hrs in advance. $60 each but they feed two people and are fantastic).

                Go to Carney's on the Sunset Strip for a chili cheese dog.

                Go to Guelaguetza on 8th Street or to Taylor's Steakhouse (also on 8th Street). Both are very near to one another.

                After eating at either of the two places on 8th Street take them to the Prince for a drink or over to the Dresden to see Elayne and Marty: http://martyandelayne.com/dresden_roo...

                or to Thai Town on Hollywood Blvd. to see the Thai Elvis at Palms Thai
                5900 Hollywood Blvd
                Los Angeles, CA 90028-5410
                Phone: (323) 462-5073

                1. ipsedixit Oct 9, 2007 12:27 PM

                  In the SGV/Pasadena area, while not trendy or touristy, your guests might enjoy ...

                  Sea Harbour - Jackie Chan visits every time he's in town.

                  Pie N Burger - Mathew Broderick is a regular.

                  1. d
                    Diana Oct 9, 2007 12:27 PM

                    Don't forget John O Groats or the Griddle for breakfast.

                    Father's Office (meh) for beer and Burgers. Scoops for ice cream.

                    Sushi gen for the lunch special sashimi

                    1. d
                      Diana Oct 9, 2007 12:18 PM

                      I love Lucky Devil's. Definitely take them there.

                      Go ethnic and Ethiopian with Rahel or Messob on Fairfax.

                      Also on Fairfax, as you know, is the Original Farmer's market, right next to the evil grove. Lotsa good stuff in the OFM!

                      What about Urth Cafe for lunch or breakfast?

                      Also, in venice, there's 3 Square for all three meals, sort of cafe like and affordable.

                      Try the SGV for a dim sum lunch. affordable and good!

                      Culver City is really hot right now. think Bottle Rock, Fraiche and such.

                      Visit Melrose Blvd for an afternoon of people watching and dine at Angeli Caffe. Mozza is hipper, and more $$$, but hard to get into.

                      Come to the SFV and Visit Senior Fred's for Mexican/spanish food, or stop in the morning or afternoon at Leda's bake shop next door for cookies and cupcakes galore!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Diana
                        wutzizname Oct 9, 2007 12:22 PM

                        BLD on Beverly might be a good stop. Though I think they do B & L better than D.

                        Also the new FOOD COURT LA on 3rd St. And THE 3RD STOP a little further west.

                        1. re: wutzizname
                          wutzizname Oct 9, 2007 12:24 PM

                          Oh, duh, and BAR MARMONT. It's perfect for your reqs.

                          1. re: wutzizname
                            Suebee Oct 9, 2007 06:05 PM

                            Totally, or even breakfast at the Chateau. Lovely and good chance you'll see a celeb.

                        2. re: Diana
                          Suebee Oct 9, 2007 06:03 PM

                          Absolutely take them to the Farmer's Market. I always feel that it's a side of LA that's hard to find. Beef tacos at Loteria are super cheap and delicious.

                          You may also want to try Pizzeria Mozza. Reservations are still hard to come by, but we usually go at off hours 3-5pm and never wait very long if at all.

                          Had their Meatballs al Forno last night and thought I died and went to heaven. Also the pumpkin gelato pie was so the season.

                          I also second the Apple Pan for a classic LA experience.

                          Have fun!

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