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Feb 9, 2001 01:33 PM

Dining Options Near UCLA

  • e

I'm planning to attend a show at UCLA's Royce Hall, which is on-campus, and would be curious to know what pre-theatre dining options exist nearby.

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  1. Just across the 405, on San Vicente Blvd., there is an area with a lot of medium-scale chain restaurants. Of those, the Daily Grill and Cheesecake Factory are probably good choices.

    1. m
      Michael Robertson Moore

      Tanino in Westwood Village is a very fine Italian restaurant with a charming proprietor.

      1. Also on San Vincinte and more upscale is Zax (formerly Woodside so with new owners, can't really vouch for it.) Pizzacotto, a bit further west on San Vincinte is a nice place.

        If you like Mid-Eastern food, Sham-Shiri on Westwood Ave. (Blvd?) is tasty.

        This is my 2 cents.
        Good luck.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Dan

          Pizzicotto, 11758 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood. We knew we were in trouble when we couldn't find a single parking spot after driving around the block 3 times. We also knew we were in trouble when we finally walked in and got a "Buona sera signore, do you have a reservation?" And this is at one o'clock in the afternoon. After a suitably snooty pause while the maitre d' scanned his table assignment list, we were seated. Upon ordering soft drinks, a Caesar salad and a pizza, we got another condescending "Is that IT???" from the waiter. Oh-oh! Our apetites started fading after this treatment, especially so after we ate their totally tasteless Caesar salad. The pie finally arrived and we both looked at each other knowingly. The crust consisted of nothing more than a matzo- or tortilla-like slab with cheese and tomato topping and no, absolutely no, spice or olive oil. So much for nuova cuccina with angry Latino cooks loudly slapping the pickup bell every few seconds. I'll give them a rating of zero on a scale of 0 to 10! Good luck to them. Apparently the Brentwood and Bel Air folks seem to like it because it was crowded.

        2. What are you looking for?

          Casual: Don Antonio's ( is fast, cheap, and great student-style Italian grub. As a Bruin, their calzone & eggplant parmasean has a dear place in my heart.

          1136 Westwood Blvd
          Los Angeles, CA 90024
          (310) 209-1422

          Mid-level: Delphi Greek Restaurant does a terrific job at the ol' standby's. Moderate prices, amazing starters - I've had an entire meal just on appetizers.

          1383 Westwood Blvd
          Los Angeles, CA 90024
          (310) 478-2900

          Mid-level: Shaherzad

          Wonderful Persian restaurant. Mmm, rice crust.

          High-end: Eurochow, Palomino, etc.

          There's plenty of "chi-chi" new restaurants in Westwood, including some brand-new "Napa Valley Restaurant" at the bottom of one office tower. So far, nothing impressive.

          1422 Westwood Blvd
          Los Angeles, CA 90024
          (310) 474-1700

          Beyond these suggestions, there's really a ton of restaurants in Westwood, including BJ's, California Pizza Kitchen, and a local brewpub called Westwood Brewing Company. If these suggestions don't sound good, just park, walk, and discover. Do note, however, that Westwood is not a chowhound paradise; most restaurants are either cheap and mediocre or expensive and, well, medicore.

          (With all due respect to the post from Hoc, I would sincerely advise against going to Brentwood solely on the basis of traffic reasons. Unless you are catching a Sunday matinee - and even if you ARE - traveling between Royce & Brentwood can take 20 minutes easily.)

          1. California Pizza Kitchen in the village is busy but pleasant with prompt service. Jerry's Famous Deli, also in the village, is acceptable with a range of foods on the menu. Both of these are just off-campus and only a few minutes drive to the venue.
            Il Pomodoro, a tiny good-quality Italian restaurant on Westwood Blvd, a few blocks south of Wilshire, has a lovely, quiet atmosphere and is great value for money (from memory, entrées were $9-$11). Advisable to make reservations. This is only a few minutes further away than village dining options.
            And I've read praise from more than one source for Mojo, in the W Hotel, 930 Hilgard Ave, Westwood, (310) 208-8766, tho' I've not been there myself. Meredith Brody, in her year-end wrap-up "best of 2000" (link below) made special mention of several dishes: their foie gras, their seviche tasting, beer-roasted clams, and barbecue lamb chops with a pineapple-mint jus.
            If any chowhounds have been, I'd be interested to hear of their experiences ...


            11 Replies
            1. re: Andie

              IMHO, Jerry's Deli has gone way downhill. I'd opt for any other choice in the village over that. There's an Asian café, Noodle Palace, with inexpensive and interesing Thai dishes. It's on Westwood Blvd., just north of Kinross.

              1. re: LBJQT

                To be quite honest, I don't personally like Jerry's Deli, it's not my kind of place, but many do, there is a wide range of options on the menu, it's middle-of-the-road-ish and thus can handily cater to a situation where a group wants to "grab a bite" of casual food before a show. It's also about as convenient for heading up to Royce afterwards as you can get. So, when I described it as "acceptable," I was trying to be accurate. I have to say I think there are far riskier choices one could make in the village than Jerry's. There was one place that had a "C" health rating, as I recall. :)
                I do heartily agree with many of Jeff's points: there is no shortage of options in the village or on Westwood Blvd but probably none of them particularly fabulous. If the Daily Grill were in the village, I'd agree with Hoc (and other recs from the San Vicente Blvd strip), but as Jeff pointed out, to add potential traffic hassles to the mix is unwarranted when there are so many options closer to the venue than Brentwood. Maybe it's just me, but one of my main criteria for pre-show eating is that I just want to relax and eat, knowing I cannot possibly be late. I guess this explains why I've ended up at Otto's so many times when I'm going to something at the Music Center.
                Btw, Cindy, when you said "Noodle Palace," did you mean "Noodle Planet," which is in the location you describe? That's a good rec, reasonably priced, high turnover, but punters shld watch out for the MSG. If the originator of the query does have more specific criteria (cuisine prefs, $/formality level), it wld enable more specific suggestions perhaps. I'd completely blanked out Eurochow's existence, for instance, just because if I were going to pay those sort of prices, there are so many restaurants elsewhere in L.A. I'd go to before going there.

                1. re: Andie

                  Thanks Andie. My face is red. It is Noodle Planet. I agree with your assessment of Jerry's Deli. I always think of traditional deli food whenever I hear "Jerry's Deli", and that portion of their menu is mediocre. I tend to forget the diner aspect of the rest of the menu.

              2. re: Andie

                Jerry's Deli makes a good Pastrami Reuben, and their chocolate cake is OK, as well. For the most part I find their other deli foods to be fairly lacking. Don't get me wrong -- I will go there over many of the other Delis in the LA area, but I have really never been "blown away" by their fare. Daily Grill, on the other hand, makes a killer Chicken Hash. . .

                1. re: Hoc

                  Jerry's Deli serves not only the worst deli food but quite possibly - since the demise of Larry Parkers - the worst food in LA.

                  For deli, you want to try Nate & Al, Factor's, Canter's or even the Stage Deli. All vastly preferable to Jerry's.

                  I would literally rather eat at McDonald's than Jerry's.

                  1. re: Jeff

                    I second your opinion of Jerry's, but I'd lump the Stage Deli in with it. Nate'n'Al's is still the best. Junior's on Westwood near Pico is so-so, but much better than Jerry's. I think Canter's has gone way downhill over the years (there's a Canter's thread above on this board).

                    1. re: Jeff

                      Wow! I can't believe how many folks on this board know their food . . .iow, they agree with me :)

                      Jerry's does indeed suck . . . altho I've gotten some good takeout nova . . . .

                      1. re: Jeff

                        While, as I said, I don't like Jerry's Deli's food all that much, I cannot honestly say that I find the food at Canter's or Nate 'N Al's to be any better. I thought the Stage Deli in NY was OK, but again, not great (I assume that the Stage Deli out here is affiliated). I was extremely disappointed when Carnegie Deli in Beverly Hills shut down. IMO, that was as good as the NY version and the best deli in LA.

                        Nowadays, I stick with Langer's for Pastrami, with the Katella Deli for almost everything else. But when I am at Jerry's, I stick with the Pastrami Reuben and the Chocolate Cake and I am fine. My mother likes their kishka, but I couldn't stomach the disgusting stuff.

                        1. re: Hoc

                          I haven't had good kishka in years!! Katella's is passable, but very greasy. Katella deli is fine overall, but I don't think it's as good as Art's or Brent's in the SF Valley. I still crave Art's chopped liver from time to time.

                          Katella's bakery, though, is about the best one I've come across in the LB-West OC area.

                          1. re: LBJQT

                            I absolutely agree about their bakery. I always tell myself that I'm just gonna get a couple of things. But then, I can't pass up the strudel (I like the apple and the cherry cheese), and, of course, how can you say no to some of those Pogens and pastries. . . and then comes the little cakes and the Linzer and Sacher Tortes. And, of course, you can't leave without those bagel chips -- one of each type. Now I'm hungry.

                        2. re: Jeff

                          I think people are unduly harsh to Jerry's. Granted, it's not a great deli and it is certainly too expensive. But it does have the virtue of being open 24 hours and here in Orange County that's almost cause for celebration.

                          Personally, I think that Nate & Al's has never been as good as its reputation. Still, it's nice to have it around and I do like to go there every now and then.

                          I'm a big fan of the Pico Deli and Label's Table. I know that people object to how modest and understated they are, but I genuinely like the food and find the prices agreeable. I just wish I could keep the hours that the Pico Deli is open straight.

                          You people in the Valley, though, you're the lucky ones. Brent's and Art's are fantastic. I just don't get out there much.