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Feb 2, 2008 08:08 PM

Venice/MDR Cheap &/Or Unique Eats

My family is visiting this coming weekend (Thur through Tue). We'll probably grill out a few nights, but I'm looking for recommendations. Here are some of the parameters we're looking to have accomplished. Don't need to address all the points, but the more the better.

1. Venice, MDR and Santa Monica

2. Cheap eats

3. Ethnice (Mexican to French to Indian and Korean - and everything else)

4. Great food (of course)

My partner and I just moved from Chicago - so we're trying to build up a stable of restaurants to go by ourselves and also take friends and family.

In the last few weeks, we've eaten at:
- Lilly's
- Abbot Kinney Pizza Company
- Alejo's Trattoria
- Hana Sushi
- La Cabana
- Capri's
- In and Out (by Costco in Culver City)
- Primitivo

We're living on the walk streets in Venice and so would definitely prefer places that we can walk to or a short drive (don't want to drink and drive!)

Any thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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  1. I think the reality is that there's no food around here that's anything special. I think my favorite place is China Beach Bistro. That doesn't sound like a very Chowhoundish thing to say, but it works for me--like the five spiced chicken, the veggie fried rice, the satay. There are at least two decent Thai restaurants: Siam Best and Wirin. Mao's Kitchen has some good items. Asakuma offers good sushi delivery. I like to walk to La Fiesta on Pacific for a burrito.

    On the Boardwalk Delizia is tasty but expensive.

    3 Replies
    1. re: aventinus

      I beg to differ. There is plenty of fabulous food in the vicinity, and certainly much better Mexican than La Fiesta! I live a block away and would never eat there again.

      I'm a big fan of China Beach too. Considering the dearth of Vietnamese cuisine on the westside, they do a very good job. The food is always fresh and well-prepared.

      1. re: aventinus

        Stay away from Delizia. We had a terrible meal there last night. The pizza is disgusting. The plates were dirty. It's looks really cute from the outside and the servers are nice, but yuck!

        1. re: grubtrotters

          I like Delizia a lot. The pizza isn't any good but the panini and salads are fantastic. Much much better than any of the other casual eateries on the boardwalk or Main St.

      2. If you liked Alejo's for Italian you might want to try C & O for big portions and good value.

        I've heard good things about the burger at Hinano's, also close to the ocean on Washington.

        You didn't mention Rose Cafe, which has a classic Venice vibe, parking (a huge plus), and good breakfasts, bakery items, and salad combos for lunch.

        Baby Blues BBQ on Lincoln has some good items (the pulled pork, the ribs) and sides and a pleasant, bohemian atmosphere that fits the neighborhood.

        Also near that Costco is one of the few remaining Togo's, whose made-to-order subs are much bigger and better than the ubiquitous Subways or Quizno's. Get the hot pastrami or the roast beef, turkey and cheese.

        1. - Best Indian: Akbar on Washington near Lincoln.

          - For a very neighborhoody French experience, check out French Market and Cafe on "lower" Abbot Kinney.

          - Baby Blues BBQ on Lincoln is my favorite BBQ in the city. Search the board for lots of discussion on them. (Don't listen to the naysayers. :)

          3 Replies
          1. re: QualityMart

            You're right, Baby Blues in fantastic.

            Akbar is really not very good at all. A few yards away on Lincoln, Agra is much better and far more reasonably priced.

            1. re: hrhboo

              Another thumbs up for Agra!!


              1. re: Dommy

                I tried Agra last nite. While spicy, the chicken "tomato masala" was ketchupy. the balthi was spicy but uninteresting. the nan was good tho. much worse than those two wonders, al noor and al watan. if there's any super dishes there, i would try it again, but barring that, im not impressed.

          2. Uncle Darrow's for Po Boys!

            3nd the Baby Blues. I love their pulled pork, mac and cheese, lasker burger, creamed spinich..hell, almost everything there (chicken was dry the one time I got it though).

            Uncle Darrow's
            2560 Lincoln Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

            1. Some other places that might be worth a mention and are close to each other are Axe and Joe's on Abbot Kinney - both are very good but are closed mondays. Both take great care in sourcing their ingredients - much of it from local farmers.

              Two other places that are in located close to each other and worthy of a trip are Gallego's for great Mexican food - especially the barbacoa (Venice Blvd, one block west of Centinela) and Mitsuwa food court (northeast corner of Venice and Centinela) for shoyo ramen, sanuki udon, and Yoshoku cuisine (get the "hamburg" plate with gyoza).

              Something that might be fun is having an izakaya-style (Japanese style pub food) meal at Musha in Santa Monica (Wilshire and 4th Ave). I'm not sure where your family is visiting from, but izakaya isn't that common except in cities where Japanese communities tend to form, and Musha is in a subset on to itself.


              424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

              1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

              Gallegos Mexican Deli
              12470 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066

              Mitsuwa Marketplace
              3760 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA