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Aug 27, 2001 06:00 PM

Your neighborhood place?

  • m

We seem to be pretty wide spread geographically, so I thought I'd ask about your favorite neighborhood place. The kind of place you can always fall back on when you can't think of anywhere to go.

Our place is Overland Cafe. It's on Overland, south of Palms Blvd. Good for an uncrowded weekend breakfast spot. Our other place is Spitfire Grill, which is off of Bundy, inside the Santa Monica Airport. We go there for dinner and sit out on the patio. It's always decent fare (steaks, salads, pasta, fish) and not too expensive.

Care to share your neighborhood place or do you fear overcrowding from your post here?

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  1. I think I have posted ours over the course of the last few months, but for outside dining and a nice relaxed atmosphere we go to Il Forno on Ocean Park Blvd. across from the Santa Monica Airport. My wife's favorite is Sawtell Kitchen on Sawtell Blvd. just South of La Grange between Olympic and Santa Monica Blvd. for Japanese home style food.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Mike Kilgore

      Are either of these places open for Saturday lunch?

      1. re: Larry

        When I lived in the LaBrea-Beverly area I spent a lot of time at Authentic Cafe and Ita-cho (and still return to both as frequently as I can); now that I'm downtown there are a lot of evenings at or taking away from TOT.

        1. re: Larry

          Good question. I coach my son's roller hockey team on Saturday, or watch UCLA football when not coaching, so I never have tried either of them then. I would guess yes for Il Forno and no for Sawtell Kitchen. If I find out more I will let the board know.

          1. re: Mike Kilgore

            At least I thought it was open when I ate across the street a few Saturday's back at Asahi Ramen. Which, by the way, has the best ramen on the westside.

            1. re: Bob Brooks

              Is it actually better than the Ramen at Tampopo in the food court at Mitsuwa? To me that is perfection.

      2. Excellent question!

        I have three (in Glendale/Eagle Rock) :

        POLKA : This is the main stand-by. It is a wonderful little polish restaurant at Verdugo and York (in a mini-mall) that has fresh, tasty food, served in massive portions for less than 10 dollars (less than 7 at lunch). And they have the best soup in the city to boot - it comes free with every meal. I highly recommend it.

        CAFE BEAUJOLAIS - This is a quaint, low key, surprisingly romantic French restaurant on Colorado in Eagle Rock, just a block west of CASA BIANCA (#3 below). Good solid French fare and steaks, at around 25 dollars a person, if you have appetizer along with your meal. I am really coming to like it very much.

        CASA BIANCA - Great pizza, with wonderful homemade Italian Sausage. MMMMM. I know some people don't like it, but I agree with those who think it is the Best Pizza in LA.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Tom P

          I drove by this place for the first time last night and was interested. Can you expand on your recommendation, Tom? Menu (food, drink), atmosphere, hours?

          1. re: Deborah


            The decor is, to be polite, rather kitschy. It is not high style :) Just a small, family run place. But they often have a good mix of Sinatra and Ella type music playing. And for the price, I think the food is just great. With every meal you get a large cup of fresh homemade soup (it varies from day to day and I have never had a soup there that is not terrific; you are sometimes served the soup even before you order ) and a small, strange but tasty polish salad, consisting of onions, beets, carrots, lettuce and a kind of poppy-seed dressing. Then you get a massive plate of food consisting of whichever entree you have chosen, fresh vegetables, buttered noodles with mushrooms, and sometimes potatoes. I eat ALOT and I always bring food home. A few of the entree choices are grilled or boiled Kielbasa (the grilled is excellent); various regional dishes such as stuffed cabbage rolls (there is a good mixed plate where you get a variety selection, if you want to try a number of the items); lamb and roast beef, both well done, but both tasty; salmon which I have never had as I am allergic, but a friend of mine enjoys very much; and a vegetarian plate. At lunch the meals are from 5 to 8 dollars, at dinner from 7-11. If you try it, let me know if you like it or not. I hope you do. They are very nice people and seem to work very hard.

        2. I'm in Pasadena and lots of time end up at Wolfe Burger (I have a two-year old). Good burgers, beef or turkey, great fries and onion rings, and my very favorite junky day-glo chili. When we're in the city without child we'll default to the Authentic Cafe.

          1. m
            Michele Fuchs

            (I haven't had the time to post in a long time but I had the time tonight (very late) and I want to mention a few places we have come to consider our "neighborhood" places...places we go to when we want to just go casual and know we will have a good meal, warm greeting and good service and not spend a ton of money...or maybe we will depending on the wine...but have the option for very good wine or other beverages at reasonable prices.

            La Vecchia on Main Street (off Hill) in Santa Monica- very good Italian from thin crust pizzas, great salads and pastas, not to mention very good main dishes such as chicken, veal and steak...all reasonably priced and very well prepared. Always crowded yet never overwhelming or loud.

            I had posted a more detailed overview when we first moved to LA from NYC and were so excited to finally find a decent/good Italian that is local, dependable and moderately priced...

            We also like Sushi Roku on Ocean Avenue, though I know they get mixed reviews. I do like the one in West Hollywood better (nice garden) but for good sushi, interesting non-sushi dishes (great special appetizers)
            and good service (better when they get to know you) Sushi Roku is a great standby. We always have a good time...they do have a good sake list.

            A few last honorable mentions, on Abbott Kinney in Venice, there is Hal's, decent if you know what to order and a nice atmosphere (mixed reviews as well), Joe's- which everyone has heard enough about and just for fun...and atmosphere...The Lobster on Ocean, right off the pier.

            Just my limited list of standby's...but always we have a positive experience.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Michele Fuchs

              Michele: Believe it or not, I was thinking about you very recently! Every now and then I do this mental exercise that I call "chowhounds I miss"! Welcome back! These are great tips for the LA crowd. Anyway, I hope there's not quite so long an interval before we hear from you again!

            2. Excellent question. I eat at one of the following places at least once/week. My Chowhound-ness may be mitigated by convenience, granted, but all are great:

              Puran's on La Brea. Small Italian spot, intimate, nicely priced; service ain't always so great and wine only by bottle.

              Mario's Peruvian Seafood on Rossmore @ Melrose. Oh, you can feel yourself gaining weight just by smelling it. But it's worth it.

              The Pig on La Brea. Great bbq right around the corner. If only they'd deliver.

              Anarkali on Melrose. Fabulous Indian, really nice service even with delivery; many good value coupons with their menus.

              Mandarette on Beverly. My favorite Chinese delivery.

              Chao Krung on Fairfax. Very good Thai, with great salads.

              Damianos on Fairfax for pizza. Never as good delivered as when you're hunched over the greasy counter, but what can you do?


              (My not-so-CH sig other loves California Pizza Kitchen @ the Bev Center and California Chicken Cafe. I'm not proud but I'll be honest: we eat at one or the other once every week or so.)

              2 Replies
              1. re: Lisa Bee
                Mike Kilgore

                Lisa, how is the California Chicken Cafe? We too eat at CPK on a very regular basis, I have taken a liking to their Jambalaya and my wife likes their Alfredo with mushrooms. But I have driven by the CCC on numerous occasions and wondered if I should be stopping in? Thanks for any further info.

                1. re: Mike Kilgore

                  Hi, Mike! I'm not a huge chicken fan, but after Zankou CCC is my favorite LA rotisserie chicken. It's very simple and light; their salads are excellent and their wraps are the best I've ever had. I think of CCC as more of a "lunch place" - I live and work close by - but a rostisserie chicken with a couple good sides (squash and their pesto spaghetti salad are both tasty) is a healthy, fast, inexpensive dinner for two. Try it and let me know what you think!