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I would love to know some nice restaurants within a reasonable drive of the USC campus that do not necessitate freeway driving.

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  1. You may want to check out these two threads that may provide some options...

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/385075

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/452644

    1. Two good lunch choices: Langer's Deli for perhaps the best pastrami on rye in the nation. At the S/E corner of Alvarado and Seventh, with the validated parking lot one block east on the N/E corner. A bit more than a dozen blocks north of USC, a bit east of Hoover or Vermont, a bit longer drive west from Fig. Dino's is a burger stand that has a tasty, impossibly inexpensive, and very popular "crazy chicken" special. A half-chicken marinated in a garlicky vinegar turmeric glaze, fire-grilled, served on a bed of fries with a cup of slaw and some tortillas for under $5. They also make good burgers, huge pastrami sandwiches, and a carne asada plate, but the chicken is the standout. Not far from campus on the N/W corner of Pico and Berendo -- go up Vermont to Pico, make a left, two blocks, parking in the back.