Ethnic food shops in LA
I'm going to spend several days in LA next week and would love to buy ingredients for ethnic cuisines that aren't well-represented in Seattle, where I live. I can easily find most Asian ingredients here, but I cook food from all over and hate to substitute ingredients for what's called for in the cookbooks!
I'll be staying in Santa Monica so any place within 45 min. driving distance would be great. Neighborhoods with great, moderately-priced restaurants are a bonus, and I'll drive longer if the whole neighborhood is interesting!
I'm also likely heading to Westwood for a Persian restaurant TBD - any great Persian (or other) grocers in that area?
Any and all suggestions are helpful - the more exotic and hard-to-find the cuisine, the better!
J & T European Gourmet Food - a Polish (& other Eastern European) Deli
1128 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica (310) 394-7227
Ukrania Deli - 1207 Wilshire (across the street from above).
Monte Alban - Oaxacan - in a small mini mall with a Mexican market right next door.
11927 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A. (310) 444-7736
El Super Taco - $1 Tacos in same mini-mall as above.
Aroma Cafe - A restaurant with a small selction of Balkan Products - West L.A.
Jordan Market - Middle Eastern (Persian?) Market
1149 Westwood Blvd., Westwood (310) 478-1706
Eastern Mediterreanan Cuisine along Westwood Blvd. from Wilshire to Pico Blvds.
Persian - 6
Lebanese - 2
Turkish - 1
Greek - 1
Eqyptian - 1
Bulgarian - 1
All (*) of the above serve kabobs but your looking for the best sit-down Persian which could be either of:
Sharerzad - 1422 Westwood Blvd., (310) 470-9131
Shamshiri Grill - 1712 Westwood Blvd., (310) 474-1410
I like the people and the general atmoshere better here; however, their Appetizer Combo platter (one of my favorite thngs to order) was lousy.
Flame & Baran have been opened less than 2 years and I haven't been, so? Canary is too divish and un-special & Attari's menu is very limited.
(*) The GM of Attari told me they were going to begin serving kabobs san rice, but I don't know if they have.
The guide below might be of help to you. It has a number of Middle Eastern markets on it. It also has a good Thai market - I'm from Seattle too and I totally understand about the Asian ingredients, but LA does have a much bigger Thai population. You might find some new stuff here!
There is a Little Ethiopia on Fairfax south of Wilshire- I'm not an expert on the cuisine but have had good meals at Rosalinds (on the east side of the street). It's probably just under 45 minutes considering traffic. I don't remember offhand but I'm pretty sure there is some kind of market there specializing in north African goods. There are also some bakeries and other restaurants on that street.
One other thought. You might want to pay a visit to Market Gourmet in Venice. It doesn't specialize in one type of cuisine, but it is a very interesting place and you could combine a visit to it with breakfast or lunch at 3 Square Cafe. Excellent food.
I bet the cheese selection at the Cheese Store of Beverly Hills will have a bunch of cheeses that you cannot get easily in Seattle. (Though, I'm sure the vice versa is true, too.)
For more ethnic options, you have tons of options. I went to a nice Ukranian grocery store called Tashkent in North Hollywood on Saturday.
Closer to Santa Monica, you could try the Elat Market for a good kosher grocery store.
On Venice Blvd in Culver City, you could check out Camaguey for Central and South American foods, especially Colombian items.
In Artesia, you can find many Indian grocery stores.
Are there any specific ethnicities that interest you? We've got just about everything here...