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Feb 12, 2008 06:51 AM

Please help me love the westside!

I'm a Northeast L.A. kind of girl, but am *thisclose* to accepting a job in Santa Monica at 20th and Colorado. Generally I do not venture west of La Brea, so I'm pretty clueless about the wide world of food out there on the far-western frontier.

I'd like to start compiling a list of new places to try, and am open to suggestions that fit the following:

No Italian, sushi, vegetarian, or sandwiches. I'm diabetic and have to limit carbs; I also have an aversion to tomatoes or anything raw. And I'm an unrepentant carnivore :)

Low-key, not pretentious, not a scene. I prefer hole-in-the-wall, ethnic-dive types of places.

Bonus points for good Thai or Mexican, my two favorites.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Port Royal Cafe 1412 Broadway, Santa Monica

    1. West LA Mexi has been well covered in lots of other posts but my favorites
      are Tacomiendo (Pico/Gateway), Monte Alban (SM Blvd), Lares (Pico), La Playita (stand on Lincoln), La Isla Bonita (truck on Rose) and La Oaxaquena (truck that parks on Lincoln by Rose after 7pm).

      Japanese Non-Sushi/Low carb
      Yakitori -- Nanbankan (SM Blvd/Corinth), Yakitori-Ya (Sawtelle), Sakura House (Washington near Lincoln)
      Musha (Wilshire/second)
      Manpuku (Sawtelle) - Yakiniku
      Korean BBQ - Wharo (Lincoln)

      1. Unfortunately, the strongest offerings on the Westside are those you have excluded. The westside is not known for its ethnic dives, and there *are* a number of great sushi, italian, and sandwhich places. Also, Santa Monica has what some consider to be the the best farmers market in town -- the Wednesday market is where a lot of top chefs shop, but since you have excluded "raw," I'm guessing farmers markets are not your bag either.

        In the carnivore vein, you might like The Galley, which is an old-school steak and seafood place. It's got a divey vibe, and the food is good, although pricewise it certainly won't fall in the "hole-in-the-wall" range. Chez Jay is more of a bar, but they also do steaks, and it's definitely divey.

        Westside Mexican choices have gotten a little better of late. A few places to check out would be Tacos Por Favor, on Olympic between 14th and 15th, and Monte Alban or Guelaguetza for Oaxacan. I seem to recall there's a newish taco stand on Lincoln that got good reviews on this board, but I can't remember the name.

        Tacos Por Favor
        (310) 392-5768
        1406 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

        11127 Palms Blvd
        Los Angeles, CA 90034-6502
        Phone: (310) 837-1153

        Monte Alban
        11927 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

        1. Try Paco's Tacos on Centinela just south of Washington. Great, authentic mexican!

          1. Thanks for all of your suggestions so far. I'm feeling a lot less hopeless about my Mexican food prospects - was afraid I was doomed to a future of La Salsa lunches!

            2 Replies
            1. re: garvanza girl

              Heck no, gg!
              Colorado/20th to Tacomiendo is 10 mins and worth every ounce of gas. Tacos por favor is even closer (but not as good).

              I work near there too. We love to oder Bay Cites Italian sandies for lunch.

              1. re: Ciao Bob

                Bay Cities Deli on Lincoln is not just good for sandwiches, where the long lines are. The hot side on the right, closer to the entrance, rarely has a wait. Some of the items have carbs, like the lasagna, but they do a fine pot roast, or eggplant parm, and their meatballs are great (though you have to buy a certain amount before they come down in price).

                I like Tacos Por Favor (on Olympic at 14th) better than Tacomiendo, because their tacos come with hefty quantities of meat and I prefer their salsa roja. My favorite is Taquieria Sanchez on Centinela south of Washington, in Culver City, mostly for their superlative shrimp tacos and carnitas at good prices. El Super Taco, on Santa Monica Blvd. at Brockton in the same minimall as Monte Alban, has good cheap tacos served with grilled onions, and they offer a fantastic habanero salsa.

                My favorite westside Thai is Thai Boom on Venice between Overland and Sepulveda in Culver City -- very friendly service, and they will spice things up if you ask. Siam Chan on Santa Monica Blvd. at Colby is good for delivery. There have been some recent posts on Emporium Thai on Westwood saying it is excellent and has some connections to Jitlada in Thai Town.

                Nook Bistro on Santa Monica Blvd. at Barry is my go-to nice restaurant in W.L.A. Others like Literati 2, Josie, Violet, or others, but Nook has generous portions, good service, a fun vibe and better food for much more reasonable prices.