Seeking recs for mid-priced yet "LAish" places for out-of-towners
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)
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!
Will add Doughboys, Toast, and Quality in WeHo. Second Griddle Cafe.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
6268 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
7450 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Cobras and Matadors
7615 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
7290 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
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
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!
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.