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

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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
Tengu
Fat Fish
Lola's
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!

~H.C.
http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com

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  1. 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

      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

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

        1. re: wutzizname

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

      2. re: Diana

        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!

      3. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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              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

              MILK
              7290 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036