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Where would you take a couple of Frenchmen?

I will be entertaining a couple Frenchmen next month and while my boss ALWAYS takes them to a rather, "Crusty" French restaurant in long Beach I think there is a better way to show them what LA is all about. These guys are youngish and very laid back so I am turning to the Hounds.....where would you take them? Price non issue and open to any area at this point...how would you show them LA?

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  1. Wow, that really depends on their personalities. We had a few Frenchmen visiting us, and we took them to Damon's in Glendale for some "Real American steaks" and they were horrified, couldn't believe that we eat that much food, don't we all have cancer from the charred crust, etc. But someone that wants to experience something very different from French food or something truly American kitsch might get a kick out of it. There is so little "American" food in LA...maybe Harold and Belle's for soul food? Our European friends (English, Spanish, and Frenchies too) all seem to looooove the taco trucks! Maybe you should take them out drinking and hit those instead, or a late night Korean BBQ!

    1. French people love the beach -- probably the Lobster or what's the place right on the Venice Boardwalk, if you can get trendy and beach together that would be perfect -- maybe Abode, Penthouse, Viceroy? They might like anywhere they could spot someone famous, maybe Koi or other hot spots du jour around Hollywood.
      I can't imagine why you'd want to take them to a French restaurant because they would just turn up their noses, but the ex-pats here do seem to like The Little Door and the Little Next Door if they're homesick. Anyplace in Malibu would be good. In my experience with the French, you will never really impress them with the food, so stick to the scene and the scenery and you'll be fine. Oh, and they don't usually care for anything very spicy or very exotic, so be careful about "real Mexican" or "real Chinese." However they might enjoy someplace like El Cholo.

      1. My mandatory to-go place for French people is Chinoise on Main.
        It never fails, they all love the place.

        1. For California cuisine, take them to Lucques. Never disappoints.
          For French, I would take them to Ortolan, and let them know the chef is from the Loire.
          For Italian, I might try La Terza.

          1 Reply
          1. re: herculesmulligan

            A chic steakhouse like BOA in Santa Monica or great sushi could be good. The new Nobu just opened on La Cienega or you could go to Katsu-ya in Brentwood or Hollywood which are very cool in decor or Koi. Italian at Giorgio Baldi on West Channel in Santa Monica has a great beach vibe that could be fun and the food is excellent. The Ivy at the Shore or the regular Ivy on Robertson are very American and different from anything in France.

            129 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

            113 N Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

            Ivy At the Shore
            1535 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

            Nobu La
            903 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

            Katsuya - Brentwood
            11777 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood, CA 90049

            Katsuya Hollywood
            6300 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

            Giorgio Baldi Ristorante
            114 W Channel Rd, Santa Monica, CA 90402

            730 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

          2. Don't take them to French (ahn zis eese Francaise?)! Don't take them to steaks (Zeese American, such simple tastes horrible)! You are in LA! Take them out for Mexican, Japanese, Viet, Thai...

            1. I took my French cousins to Duke's in Malibu, and I took my other French cousins to a hole-in-the-wall fish and chips place on the Santa Monica pier. The food at the pier was not very good (fish and chips, garden salad), but they liked the scenery. The portions here, in general, caused them to be wide-eyed, and they loved the beach. I like Duke's because the prices are reasonable, and the view of the water is beautiful.

              If you want to stay in Long Beach, a drink at the old bar in the Queen Mary at night might also be nice. The ship is lit up at night, and there's a nice view across the water of other parts of Long Beach.

              I personally would take them to a West LA Persian restaurant such as Shamshiri Grill.

              2 Replies
              1. re: katkoupai

                Here are the links:

                Shamshiri Grill
                1712 Westwood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024

                Duke's Malibu
                21150 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

                Queen Mary
                1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA 90802

                1. re: katkoupai

                  My husband is French - he loves Lucques and Osteria Mozza. Buzzy, vibe-y places. The Ivy, Spago - all the classics are great. It depends if they're from Paris, but if not the above might be quite different to what they're used to. Another bizzare one my husband LOVES is Fish Market/Top of the Market like in San Diego. I think it's the combination of water view and lobster/crab....

                1. Forget about using food as the primary criterion for taking French people out for dinner in LA. Great food is widely available in France, and it makes little sense trying to impress them with food here unless you are taking them to an extraordinary French restaurant such as Le Bernardin, or Jean-Georges in NYC. I would take them someplace with a special LA view or atmosphere; this would not be available to them at home. Brunch at the Hotel Bel-Air on the patio comes to mind, or else something with an extraordinary ocean view such as the Montage in Laguna Niguel, or perhaps something in Malibu. Even something like the nice restaurant at the Getty Museum or Patina at the LA Music Center would be good choices. With either you could share something of LA other than food with them.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: josephnl

                    Go for stuff they wont get in France, a good burger, BBQ, Mexican, something along the pacific ocean, a proper martini.

                  2. Bubbles,

                    Take them to In n' Out. That's where ALL of my out of town guests want to go first.

                    1. There's this place in Pasadena (near old town) called Maison Akira and they serve French/Japanese cuisine. It's really nice..my family goes there from time to time and we order one of the prix fixe menu items since they're more worth it than just an entree. The service there is very good too.

                      Maison Akira
                      (626) 796-9501
                      713 East Green St
                      Pasadena, CA 91101

                      Here's a review from Chowhound:

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: beautifuldiirt

                        Take them to Langers; nothing in france like a pastrami on rye.

                        1. re: dagrassroots

                          It's true but I know very few French people who had pastrami on rye and liked it. I'd take there only very good friends who are sensitive to old school atmosphere and adventurous.
                          But instead of Langers, now that I come to think of it, Chichen Itza in the same neighborhood would be a very good place for taking French people.

                      2. If they're under your wing during the weekend, take them to the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip for Sunday gospel brunch. I took several of my colleagues from Europe there a couple of years ago and they're still talking about it. The food isn't all that great, but it's quite an experience for a non-American (and even for a lot of Americans, too).

                        My other favorite place to take overseas visitors is Michael's in Santa Monica, since the food is great and the outdoor seating is so fabulous there. There aren't fine restaurants in most parts of the world (especially France) where you can sit in the garden and dine; this is a uniquely California arrangement. Since money is no object for you, go for it!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: purplescout

                          Absolutely second the recommendation for Michael's in Santa Monica, but only if you can reserve in the garden. As purlplescout has said, the garden setting is truly wonderful and the food is very excellent "California" cuisine. Michael McCarty was indeed one of the early big names in "California cuisine" along of course with Alice Waters. Michael's remains a terrific restaurant with a very California slant.

                          1. re: purplescout

                            I disagree... I like Michael's and we even got married there.... but I used to work down the street at 100 Wilshire... and we would go there for lunch all the time on business..... we actually hosted some Frenchmen there once... and they were visibly displeased by the food & wine... they thought it was a travesty to French culinary tradition... and were not impressed by the lack of cohesion in the menu.

                            If you were hosting Mexican business people would you take them to Border Grill?

                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                              Was that because the food was bad, or because you had some spoiled Frenchmen? Can't tar everyone in the whole country with the same brush, you know.

                              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                I guess we will have to agree to disagree. If you read my previous post, you will see that I do not think that food should be the primary consideration in where to take visitors from France. That, I think, is a recipe for failure. I suggested Michael's (which by the way, purports to be a California cuisine restaurant, not a French restaurant) because of the beautiful ambiance. I think the food is generally very good as is the service, but I recommended it because I think it is the quintessential California restaurant and has a wonderful setting.

                                1. re: josephnl

                                  Michael's is very pleasant.... as long as the OP isn't trying to impress them with food. Is it what L.A. is all about as the OP inquired.... I am not so sure. I realize that McCarthy was an early participant in Contemporary Global Cuisine (if you travel... its clear that the menu at Michael's is not very different from what you would see in Mexico City at a Alta Cocina Contemporanea type restaurant, in Ensenada at a Baja-Med type restaurant, in Lima at a Nueva Andina type restaurant, in Vancouver B.C. at any of the localist restauants, in Washington D.C. at any New American restaurant, in South Africa, Australia, Sweden, Brazil etc., etc.,)....

                                  California cuisine isn't that uniquely Calfornian... as over the last 35 years... most major, metropolitan areas around the world have Chefs that have embraced the late 1960's New Cuisine movement out of France which adapted Japanese & Chinese influences to Classic French... and began a world wide trend that has yielded remarkably similar menus in high end restaurants all around the globe.

                                  With that point aside... I think something that is very L.A. is Hamburgers. L.A. is the biggest Per Capita & Absolute consumer of burgers in the U.S. (and I think by extension the world).... even though most people often neglect and forget that.

                                  I think a mini tour of the City's various takes on the Burger (from the Ghetto joints like Dino's which imo offer the best... to Americana Classicas like Apple Pan.... and gussied up places like Father's Office).... nothing says L.A. more to me than Burgers. As a second choice... I would with Taquerias... or Korean, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese etc.,

                                  I think it might even be a kick to take them to Phillippe's

                            2. I have a French friend who just moved back to Europe. What she missed most is ASIAN FOOD, especially Thai. I lived in France for a year and it's difficult to find really great Asian food in France, except for maybe Vietnamese. You can get Japanese, but it's usually overpriced. My BF moved to another state and he misses Thai food a lot too.

                              There are a variety of Thai restaurants in many areas. You can go to Hollywood, or do a search on this site. I don't know if there are some near the beach, someone wrote that they would love eating near the beach and it's totally true.

                              You can do something fancier, but it's possible they've never even had Thai food before, and it would be a truly memorable meal.

                              Wait- you can also do Mexican. Mexican food in Europe is HORRIBLE.

                              1. Take em for Dim Sum in the SGV.

                                Another thoughtr might be for Banh Mi sandwiches. Let tyhem see what their former Colony folk can do with a baguette.

                                Also, I bet they would like to visit Quality Seafood in Redondo beach on the pier. Drop by Jana's for a beer.

                                A few Farmer's markets might be fun. Or even the Original Farmer's Market on 3rd.

                                IF you can Cram them into Father's Office, get em a FO burger.

                                Lucky Devil's is good for burgers, beer and shakes.

                                There is also Phillip's for French Dip, the aforementioned Langer's.

                                Heck, young French guys..try Hooters. not LA, not great food, but hot chicks.

                                The counter allows them to make thier own Burger.

                                Inn Of the Seventhy Ray has the Health food Topanga canyon LA vibe. Good Brunch, lunch or dinner (brunch on Sunday only)

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Diana

                                  Do you mean Naja's for the beer in Redondo? I agree it would be perfect. I always find that European visitors are really happy just to be at the beach...it's all about the atmosphere.

                                  1. re: Rizza

                                    My cousin who lives in the South of France was hughly impressed by lunch at the Redondo Beach pier with a choice of 23 different kinds of oysters and a heap of steamed crab, butcher paper and mallets and a bucket of beer eaten right at the sea front followed by a long walk on the beach.

                                2. Bubbles4me, let us know where you end up going!

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: CookieEater

                                    Will do! I am thinking a taco crawl might be perfect but I am mulling over all the great options everyone gave...thanks all and I will post to let you know how it went.

                                  2. Being French and having French guests regularly coming to visit, I'd say you should

                                    1) take them to some really good Mexican places , and if they are laid back introduce them to the joys of tacos truck.
                                    2) The Apple Pan is a great place for introducing them to non-McDonald's burgers, and the retro atmosphere is really great
                                    3) any very good Thai, Japanese, Korean, or if you can take them to the SGV, Chinese would be awesome, Asian cuisines generally suck in Paris. Korean is a bit weird for French taste, so you may want to stick with Japanese or Thai.
                                    4) taking them to a bar to have cocktails is a good idea. For old school/fun, Musso and Frank, and maybe the Dresden Room (Marty and Elaine are always a hit with my French friends). Or something more Young Hollywood (I'll let everybody else give you hints, I'm nore an old school/dive-y scene kind of gal).
                                    5) Lastly, a wine bar may be a good idea for them to really discover US wine. Not only California, but Oregon, Hudson Valley wines, etc.

                                    And, unless they are from the boorish variety of French, don't take them to any French or French-influence places, We have enough of these at home...

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: bad nono

                                      Thank you so much....I think the reason I was thinking of avoiding Asian was the many times I have dined with visiting French guys they almost all passed on salads so I thought it may be a veggie thing. Also went to Japanese with a French couple, (their first time) um....didnt go over too well but if you have had sucess then maybe I should give it a go.

                                      1. re: bubbles4me

                                        Well, ask them first if they like sushi. If not, tell them Japanese also do Ramen, etc...
                                        I don't think it's a veggie thing with the salad, it' a dressing issue: US salad dressing are utterly strange for French people: we're used to real vinaigrette.
                                        Also, French males may see salads and sushi as girly food.

                                        I think you should start with real burgers and Mexican food, and then move on to Asian foods.
                                        We don't have Salvadoran food in France, so it's definitively very exotic for us. I think you should establish a list of various cuisines, select a few places, and then offer your guests the choice of deciding if they want Mexican, or Thai, etc.

                                        1. re: bad nono

                                          If you do Japanese, I would go with Izakaya...like Musha or Orris.

                                    2. Dim sum in the San Gabriel Valley or Vietnamese food in Orange County.

                                      1. take em to santouka or asa ramen. the ramen in paris blows =)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: rameniac

                                          totally agree, and generally speaking Asian cuisines in Paris are atrociously executed.

                                        2. Having worked 10+ years with French executives and guiding them to highlights of LA dining, here is the consensus of where they dined on every trip.

                                          1. Matsuhisa
                                          2. Ivy
                                          3. A great steak (Morton's) and a great burger.
                                          4. NO French....they can get all they want at home.

                                            1. I'd take them to Sharkeez in Manhattan Beach, order up some bad food and Shark Attacks, maybe get a pitcher of Jack and Coke. Why hide it? It's in our blood.

                                              I also agree with the taqueria/pho guy. El Super Taco would rock anyone's world.

                                              1. So where did you take the Frenchies?