HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Ethnic Food Tour 07

My fiancee is a huge foodie. As part of her birthday celebration (I love coming up with creative multi day celebrations) I want to take her on a tour of great, delicious ethnic LA restaurants. Like every night do a different location - these can be nice restaurants but hole in the walls are just as good for us....the only thing we don't really like is Korean BBQ otherwise we are adventuresome...

anyone have any out of the way great places to add to our food travels??

any part of town will do....

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. She's a lucky, lucky girl!
    How about Ethiopian one of the nights? Little Ethiopia is on Fairfax just south of Pico. My favorite is Merkato - the vegetarian combo, beef with jalapenos & whole fried fish. Also, don't forget to try some of the Honey Wine. End it with the coffee service. A great evening!

    1. Jitlada...the curried soft-shelled crab and the mussels.

      1. Din Tai Fung for xiao long bao

        Monte Alban for Oaxacan

        Skaf's for Lebanese

        Kiriko or Sushi Zo for sushi

        Uzbekistan for, well, Uzbekistani food

        Woodlands for South Indian

        Renu Nakorn for Isaan Thai

        Tacos Baja Ensenada for fish tacos

        Shamshiri or Javan for Persian

        Messob for Ethiopian

        Tagine for Moroccan

        Danube for Bulgarian

        La Espanola Meats/Deli for paella (Saturday lunch only)

        La Fonda Antioquena for Colombian

        Los Balcones de Peru for Peruvian

        Mashti Malone's for Persian ice cream

        Dream Bakery for Georgian

        There are a million more... I'm barely doing this justice.

        11 Replies
        1. re: glutton

          If you had to choose among Shamshiri, Javan & Messob, which would you choose (we love meat, if that helps)? We'll be visiting L.A. soon & hopefully you can help us decide! We are a family of 4 plus my parents.

          1. re: ceekskat

            Well, the first two are Persian and the latter is Ethiopian, so the food is really different. Here are some pros and cons...

            If you're looking at kids, parents, and grandparents sharing a meal, then they'll each get their own plate at the Persian places, but they won't at Messob -- everyone will share a communal platter and eat with their hands.

            For finicky eaters, there is a greater chance they'll find something plain and basic to eat at Persian restaurants, where simple grilled meat, plain rice, and plain breads are typically offered somewhere on the menu. Ethiopian tends to require a greater sense of adventure for many people.

            If there are vegetarians, then Ethiopian probably has better options than Persian.

            If there are beer drinkers, then they'll get to enjoy really good Ethiopian beer at Messob (or whichever Ethiopian place you try).

            Ethiopian probably ends up being a bit cheaper than Persian.

            Service will be faster and more attentive at Persian, but the atmosphere can be a little less exotic and fun than Ethiopian.

            If you love meat, then I'd go with Persian.

            1. re: glutton

              And with those pros/cons, I'll put it up to vote. Thanks!

              1. re: ceekskat

                Just to clarify - with Ethiopian your utensil is the thin, sourdough based "pancake" which you tear into pieces and scoop the food up with. My trick is to order a Samosa right when we sit down, eat some of it and order another - then you get 2 plates!! So your hands really do not get dirty. And the food is absolutely delicious and the prices really reasonable.

                1. re: ceekskat

                  re: vegetarians and persian restaurants

                  shamshiri grill, unlike most persian restaurants, does have an extensive 'vegetarian' section of their menu.

              1. re: glutton


                I'd vote for:

                Meals by Genet for Ethiopian, (I'm getting the sense that EVERY Ethiopian place on Fairfax has its supporters!)
                Moun of Tunis or Chameau for Moroccan,
                Chichen Itza (the 6th St. location) on a Friday or Saturday night when they've got music, for Yucatecan,
                Al Noor for Northern Indian/Pakistani, and
                Shinsengumi (Gardena) or Kokokeko downtown for yakitori and sake or beer.

                1. re: silverlakebodhisattva


                  Harold & Belle's or La Lousisianne for Creole.

                2. re: glutton

                  Well worth linking ...

                  Tacos Baja Ensenada
                  5385 Whittier Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90022

                  Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                  1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                  Shamshiri Grill
                  1712 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                  Los Balcones Del Peru
                  1360 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                  Sushi Zo
                  9824 National Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034

                  11301 W Olympic Blvd Ste 102, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                  Monte Alban
                  11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                  7077 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                  132 N Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

                  Mashti Malone's Ice Cream
                  1525 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                  La Espanola Meats
                  25020 Doble Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90710

                  11500 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                  Messob Ethiopian Restaurant
                  1041 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019

                  Skaf's Grill
                  6008 Laurel Canyon Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91606

                  La Fonda Antioquena
                  4903 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

                  Woodlands Indian Cuisine
                  11833 Artesia Blvd, Artesia, CA 90701

                  Renu Nakorn Restaurant
                  13019 Rosecrans Ave, Norwalk, CA 90650

                  Danube Restaurant
                  1303 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                  Dream Bakery
                  12908 Sherman Way North, Hollywood, CA

                  1. re: glutton

                    You've got a fantastic list there, except that Renu Nakorn is still closed the last time I passed by... so swap that out for Swan or Thai Nakorn.

                    1. re: glutton

                      These are all my favorites. A definite thumbs up!!!!

                    2. The Breed St. Mexican street food "puestos" next to the Big Buy Foods parking lot on Saturdays and Sundays from 7PM to around 10PM.They set up in smaller numbers starting on Thursdays but the weekend is the ticket.A variety of authentic Mexican street food and ambience on Breed St. at Cesar Chavez.

                      Atlacatl for El Salvadorean
                      Mercado Buenos Aires for Agentinean
                      Brasa Brazil Grill for excellent and affordable Brazilian churrasco.

                      1. How about something Korean that's not BBQ? There's fantastic soondubu (tofu stew) at Sokongdong or Beverly Tofu House, there's a mandoo (dumpling) shop at Western and 8th, there's a place here in Garden Grove (Kaesung) that does great Northern-style black pork stew...

                        If you're into other things besides dinner, how about breakfast at a turo-turo type Filipino cafeteria? I'm thinking of Manila Good-Ha (in Panorama City, on Woodman just south of Roscoe) or something like it, where you order tapsilog or longsilog, and champorado (which is like chocolate rice pudding), and daing (fried fish)...

                        Or maybe for breakfast you could go to Porto's, the Cuban bakery in Burbank or Glendale, and sit and have a cup of FANTASTIC coffee and a pastry (or four, or six...) or a papa rellena (or fifty...)

                        Or you could have some truly fantastic dim sum (Elite, Sea Harbour, etc.), or you could have a good Hong Kong breakfast like you get in a cha chaan teng, where you drink junjong, a blend of coffee and tea (which is sweetened and has milk and is very, very good) and have porridge with a fried savoury bread, or else maybe noodles in broth...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          FYI, the mandoo shop you mentioned above is located in 7th & western. The shop is called as " You and Me restaurants". I love their mandoo.

                        2. Catching up, link-wise (not sure if the Mandoo place at 450 S. Western is the place das Ubergeek had in mind, and I couldn't find a Kaesung in Garden Grove)

                          Moun Of Tunis Restaurant
                          7445 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046

                          Meals By Genet
                          1053 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019

                          Swan Restaurant
                          12728 Sherman Way, North Hollywood, CA 91605

                          Elite Restaurant
                          700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754

                          Harold & Belle's Restaurant
                          2920 W Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018

                          Warszawa Restaurant
                          1414 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                          Chameau Restaurant
                          339 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                          Thai Nakorn
                          11951 Beach Blvd, Stanton, CA 90680

                          Chichen Itza
                          2501 W 6th St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

                          Beverly Soon Tofu Restaurant
                          2717 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                          So Kong Dong
                          2716 W Olympic Blvd Ste 104, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                          Porto's Bakery
                          315 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203

                          Brasa Brasil Grill
                          10022 Venice Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                          Manila Good-Ha
                          8205 Woodman Ave, Van Nuys, CA 91402

                          Mercado Buenos Aires
                          7540 Sepulveda Blvd, Van Nuys, CA

                          Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori
                          18517 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90248

                          360 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

                          La Louisianne Express
                          1854 Cochran St, Simi Valley, CA 93065

                          Big Buy Foods
                          2233 E Cesar E Chavez Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90063

                          301 N Berendo St, Los Angeles, CA 90004

                          Man Doo Chon Restaurant
                          450 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                          Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
                          3939 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

                          1. second jitlada, ethiopian, chameau, shamshiri, monte alban, warszawa, los balcones de peru...


                            nata's pastries in sherman oaks
                            carnival in sherman oaks
                            qusqo in west LA
                            pho 79 or pho 999
                            courtyard for spanish tapas
                            dim sum
                            lou on vine or cube for small plates
                            aunt kizzy's
                            drive out to donut man one late night/early morn
                            tea at the tudor house
                            mario's peruvian
                            tigeorge's chicken
                            dessert crawl? mashti malone's, MILK, scoops, bulgarini gelato, simonLA, fritelli's
                            bakery crawl? portos (tres leches), doughboys or auntie ems (red velvet), nata's for natas, susina (berry cream cake), leda's (almost every cupcake is great),

                            1. CHINESE STOP in SAN GABRIEL VALLEY (one day tour):
                              9:00 a.m.: dim sum at Sea Harbour on Rosemead Blvd. in Rosemead, but don't stuff yourselves
                              1:00 p.m.: Din Tai Fung in Arcadia for some soup dumplings, pastries at JJ's for dessert or Phoenix Bakery (next door to Din Tai Fung)
                              7:00 p.m.: House special crab at Seafood Village in Monterey Park on Las Tunas Drive; if you like hot pot, go to Litlte Fat Sheep down the street, or Elite for more dinner items

                              lunch: BCD Tofu or Beverly Soon Tofu
                              dinner: Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo

                              1. Vietnamese:
                                Nem Nuong Kanh Hoa for Bun Bo Hue and amazing Nem Nuong Spring Rolls. The owners are really sweet and everything I've had is good.

                                Mr. Baguette or Banh Mi Che Cali for Banh Mi sandwiches. If you go to BMCC, the Che (Vietnamese desserts) are very good. I like the sandwiches better at Mr. Baguette.

                                Boiling Crab - the Vietnamese version of New Orleans food. I've had better Crawfish in NO, but these are really good for Monterey Park. It also has a young friendly staff and a fun atmosphere.

                                Dim Sum? Just went to Elite today and it is always good, but crowded. I also really like Seafood Harbor, which is also always crowded.

                                It is great to see all the restaurants mentioned. Some of my all-time favorites. Mashti Malones was mentioned, but Fosselman's also has some good ethnic flavors. I like their Taro ice cream.

                                1. Great great idea!

                                  Ethiopian - Rahel has the most flavor, but I adore the fish (Asa Tibs) at Nyala.

                                  Japanese - Musha or Izakaya Kan Yuzen if you want to dine in a room full of Japanese.

                                  Indian - Surati Farsan Mart is incredible. Everything we've had there is excellent. However, it is mostly fried snack food and service when they are busy can be very very slow.

                                  Malaysian - Our favorite is Little Malaysia, but hounds give Belacan Grill good reviews.

                                  I have to second La Espanola. It's very charming. Make sure you get some of their homemade olives and be prepared to spend money if you like Spanish cheeses and cured meats.

                                  When you go to Thai Town, don't forget Banh Kanom Thai. It's a great little store.

                                  Don't forget to post a report after all the eating is over.

                                  1. I third Los Balcones de Peru. I'll also mention Marouch for Lebanese/Armenian. www.marouchrestaurant.com/

                                    1. I have counted specific cuisine restuarants from 75 different countries in the tri-county L.A. area ( = L.A., Orange, & Ventura) and a few more just outside. Maybe one place you ought to try is "Magic Carpet", not one of the 75, as you can build a country specific meal with several dishes from:

                                      Morocco, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Israel, Turkey, Iraq (& a few more that have only one):