New Yorker spending a week in LA-needs help
I have a week in LA and would love to sample good cheap food in LA- no fancy restaurants. So what are the best Mexican places, burger joints, dim-sum restaurants, etc? Any and all suggestions are appreciated.
Empress Pavillion downtown is the best dim sum I've ever had. Mexico City in Hollywood has really interesting "updated" Mexican food that I love, but the LA Classic is El Cholo for green corn tamales.
Monterey Park is a huge neighborhood dominated by Oriental restaurants of all kinds. Go there for dim sum or noodles or anything Chinese, Japanese or Korean. I used to frequent the strip of Atlantic Avenue off of I-10. There's Ocean Star, which is a huge place with great dim sum, and next to it is another fine dim sum place whose name I forget (Harbor something?). There is also a superb noodle and dumpling restaurant in a little shopping center on Atlantic just south of I-10. It's in back of a big Oriental grocery store and next to a car wash.
Burgers: Cassell's (6th St), Tommy's (only the original on Beverly)
Mexican: A sampling stroll thru Grand Central Mkt (downtown) or El Mercado (1st St in ELA). If you really need a seat & utensils, any of the Guelaguetzals.
Korean: Kang Nam (Olympic nr Crenshaw)
Q: Lighthouse (Western nr Venice), Woody's (Slauson)
Chicken: Pollo a la Brasas (Western/8th)
Gyros: Papa Cristo's (Pico/Normandie)
Thai: Chao Krug (Fairfax nr Beverly)
Chinese: See below*
*For adventure, drive to the intersection of Garvey & Atlantic or of Valley & Del Mar & eat at, say, the 12th restaurant you see after driving in any direction. One nite, Grubsan & I didn't want to wait for a table at NBC Seafood on Atlantic (also a great dim sum place), so ventured across the parking lot for dinner at a place with some neo-Chinese name like Stan or Leo's Bar-B-Q. Turned out to be a Korean-style, all-you-can-eat, shabu-shabu-like buffet thing. Strange & wonderful animal & vegetable parts heaped on plates from "buffet" then self-cooked on a brazier with a water moat into which stuff is dropped until edible. An amazing experience, particularly for the dollar-three-ninety-five it cost. Other such San Gabriel Valley adventures lurk around every corner, up every stair, and nestled in every strip mall.