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Nov 15, 2007 07:51 AM

Vote for the best Hole-In-The-Wall (Michelin-style)

Obviously the Michelin guide has a different, more rigorous set of standards. But hole-in-the-wall restaurants are a vital part of the Los Angeles food scene, and deserve just as much recognition as their white-linen cousins. And while I'm sure we would all love to eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant every time we go out, chances are we're more likely to hit up something a bit less lofty. Plus, finding these hidden gems are what Chowhound is all about. So I propose we vote for who think are best, in the style of the Michelin guide:

3 stars - Worth making your destination
2 stars - Worth a detour
1 star - Interesting, if you're already the area

Here are my votes for the, uh, Micholein Guide. Don't be afraid to let your neighborhoood bias shine since you probably know your immediate surroundings the best.

Hungry Cat

Pie N Burger
Beverly Soon Tofu
Pho 79 (San Gabriel)
Vito's Pizza

Chili My Soul
Cactus Taqueria
Pho So 1
Las Fuentes
Village Pizzeria
Father's Office

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  1. three stars--samosa house
    two stars--hungry pocket for falafal sandwiches (across the street from santa monica college)

    don't know if they are too fancy to be considered a 'hole-in-the-wall' but rahel for ethiopian food on fairfax--three stars

    6 Replies
    1. re: westsidegal

      I second Samosa House. That place is seriously awesome.

      1. re: Slatty

        is samosa house on washington in mar vista? is there more than one?

        1. re: dtud

          there is only one
          11510 W Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA, 90066. (310) 398-6766

          1. re: westsidegal


            Samosa House East‎
            10700 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232-3314
            (310) 559-6350‎

            1. re: vicious

              You can hardly call WRONG when she was right when she wrote that in she was RIGHT at the time...

              1. re: vicious

                check the date of the original post.
                it was correct as of the time of posting: 12/2/2007.

      2. Three Stars
        Woodlands Pure Chatsworth
        Rahel Veggie Cuisine Little Ethiopia
        Leda's Bake Shop
        Artisan Cheese Gallery

        Two Stars
        El Katracho Van Nuys
        Alexis Greek Northridge
        Follow Your Heart Canoga Park

        One Star
        Chili My Soul
        Lucky Baldwin's
        Kyushu Ramen
        Studio Yogurt

        3 Replies
        1. re: Diana

          well, if we're including yogurt places, sno:la gets 3 stars from me.

          1. Michelin does acknowledge outstanding cheaper options in it's Bib Gourmand category. These are usually places you can have a full dinner for under (I think) $25.

            Mine would be:
            3 Stars - Guelaguetza, Musha, Orris, La Buca
            2 Stars - Beechwood, Father's Office, 3 Square, Meals By Genet, Sabor a Mexico
            1 Star - Abbot's Pizza, Sakura House, Hinano, Il Tramezzino, J&J, Shamshiri

            13 Replies
            1. re: hrhboo

              Bib Gourmand is still a place where you're expected to have a French-style three-course meal (entrée, plat, dessert), though.

              3 Stars - Santouka, Skaf's, La Huasteca, Porto's, Tony's Little Italy, Tsuruhashi, El Taco Nazo
              2 Stars - Raffi's, Shamshiri, Top Falafel (NH), Spumoni, Park's BBQ, Banh Mi Che Cali, Banh Mi Cho Cu
              Too many 1 Stars to count

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Not really. The Bib Gourmand restaurants for LA include Kiriko, Baran, Cholada, Lares, La Serenata, Hide, Monte Alban, Nyala and many others where 3-course meals are not necessarily the norm.

                1. re: hrhboo

                  I can't believe I forgot Monte Alban, Shamshiri and Guelaguetza. I'll give 'em all a star.

                  La Super Rica gets two stars from me. I don't know if I'd drive to Santa Barbara just for their calabacita, but I'd definitely swing by.

                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                    With you on La Super Rica. expensive, but i love their sunday pozole.

                2. re: Das Ubergeek

                  Shamshiri doesn't really strike me as a hole in the wall place though...

                  1. re: banquisha

                    It's not a hole in the wall but it's a little hidden restaurant and not exactly the height of elegance, you know?

                    1. re: banquisha

                      shamshiri is good stuff.

                      I love the beef soltani. But the best deal on the menu there is the shwarma.

                    2. re: Das Ubergeek

                      porto's? really? I disagree whole heartedly. There is nothing noteworthy about their food.

                      1. re: 1newyorkguy

                        More for me then -- their pastries, potato balls and cakes are terrific.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          I don't know of any fruit tart better than theirs.

                        2. re: 1newyorkguy

                          Wow, have you tried the pastries? The guava strudel? The meringue frosted cakes? The mango mousse?

                          1. re: NeNePie

                            And I've got to give love to their sandwiches. Their medianoche preperada is my ultimate comfort food fix.

                            1. re: NeNePie

                              I hate guava, yet somehow love their guava/cream cheese tarts. Weird.

                      2. 3 stars: Monte Alban, Mateo's Paletas, Brent's Deli, Woodlands, La Super Rica, Tacos Baja Ensenada, Sa Rit Gol, Phillippe's

                        2 stars: Mama's Hot Tamales, 3 Square, Brodard, Skaf's, Mei Long Village

                        1 star: Antica Pizzeria

                        Would taco trucks ever make the list? You'd think Michelin of all people would embrace the taco truck...

                        1. ONE STAR
                          Won Won Kitchen
                          Sin Ba La
                          Dai Ho
                          Wood Spoon
                          Seafood Village
                          Yuca's (for the burgers)
                          Golden Deli

                          TWO STARS
                          Sushi Ike
                          Luscious Dumplings
                          Chang's Garden

                          THREE STARS
                          Sea Harbour
                          Park's BBQ

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Having made numerous detours and something like three full crosstown trips to Pann's, I would give it another star at least. I do agree with your two-star choices, though Julienne qualifies IF you're in the general vicinity and IF your bank balance is healthy. Fosselman's worth a detour? Hey, that's why we patronize the Alhambra Costco!

                            As for making my own list, I just can't. Whatever place I'm eating in right now is usually my favorite...

                            1. re: Will Owen

                              "Fosselman's worth a detour? Hey, that's why we patronize the Alhambra Costco!"

                              Spoken like a true intrepid chowhound. My favorite treat? A Costco churro matched with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream from Fosselman's.

                              1. re: ipsedixit


                                ipsedixit, we do that all the time! GO to costco, pick up a churro, and then go to fosselman's

                                taro/cherry vanilla FTW

                                1. re: ns1

                                  ohhhhhh FOSSELMANS!!! :)
                                  yumyum delicious TARO :)