Visiting LA with 6 year old who loves sushi
Hi, we're visiting LA from NY during our upcoming spring break in the middle of April. We're traveling with our six year old daughter who loves sushi. We (the parents) love good Mexican and Thai. Any suggestions for a very budget conscious family? Many thanks.
What neighborhood are you staying in? We wouldn't want to send you on a 40-minute crosstown trek with a six year old since you can get good sushi, Thai and Mexican nearly everywhere in L.A.
Farmer's Market (3rd and Fairfax), next to the Grove, however, is fairly central and has lots of stalls that are fun for kids and adults, like Loteria Grill for Mexican, Bob's Doughnuts, Bennett's Ice Cream, the crepe place, etc. There is also a sushi stand and a full-service Japanese restaurant there.
LA is a big place, with a rather large amount of sushi spots. What part of town are you staying in? Does she love REAL sushi, or those themey roll things?
Not a budget place, but I like Asanebo in Studio City. house of Taka in Sherman Oaks is more affordable, but still good. A 6 year old may do well at Midori, where for around $25 a person, you can get all you can eat nigiri, sushi and sashimi. pretty good quality for AYCE. Perhaps the lunch combo at Sushi Gen in Little Tokyo would satisfy? Be prepared for a wait, though, it's a popular place.
Good mexican can be had near little Tokyo, at Senior fish, great fish and scallop tacos and plates and burritos. In Culver City, you can get real Mexico city style food at Sabor A Mexico, more of a stand with a few outdoor tables, but the huraches and real hoe stye quesadillas satisfy. I like the veggie burrito.
Thai I can't help you with, I avoid it out of fear of accidental peanut poisoning.
I heartily second the Original Farmer's Market next to the Grove at Fairfax and Third! Good for a child, too, since it is hustly and bustley and she can be louder and more energetic there than at a resteraunt.
For Thai, you can't go wrong with Sanamluang, Yai or Sapp Coffee Shop in Hollywood. But be aware: These are not upscale places--just great food.
You and your daughter might enjoy strolling down Sawtelle Ave. in West LA where there are an assortment of Japanese and other Asian restaurants and stores. Some are quite inexpensive, and there are stores like the Giant Robot store that have lots of Japanese books, comics, toys, cartoon figures and stuff I don't even know what they are! There are also Japanese bookstores, groceries, and nurseries. There are stores where you can buy trendy Japanese clothes and T shirts that young people like - even though your daughter is young, a T shirt would be fun.
The Asahi Ramen shop is quite good, and super inexpensive. It would be a nice and fun way to expand your daughter's knowledge of Japanese culture. I admit I'm not as familiar with individual sushi places on Sawtelle, but there are several. I think Hide Sushi is one good established one. A bit more updated and westernized - but fantastic - is Orris.
Another interesting and fun place - although a little pricier - is to go to the Santa Monica Airport where two Asian restaurants operate out of the main Airport building. One is The Hump - an excellent serious (and expensive!) sushi restaurant. But on the second floor is Typhoon, which is a bit more inexpensive and sort of Pan-Asian. the big attraction here, though, is that both restaurants have patios that overlook the runway, and you can sit outside and watch the small planes and corporate jets take off and land. A very fun and economical thing to do would be to get drinks (or sodas!) and appetizers and watch the planes land from the patio!
West LA also has an assortment of wonderful Mexican places - search the board - particularly Oaxacan food. I enjoy Guelaguetza on Sepulveda and Monte Alban on Santa Monica. Guelaguetza has a small assortment of Oaxacan crafts they sell that are amazingly cheap - carved wooden animal figures, ceramic Day-of-the-Dead skulls - that would be lovely and inexpensive souvenirs a little girl would treasure.
Sawtelle Blvd. is a great suggestion, as Beard Papa has a branch on Sawtelle , and you can pick up a dozen cream puffs for dessert!. I think the best sushi on Sawtelle is Kiriko in the Olympic Collection, but that can run you some money. Kiriko serves some of the best sushi in the city. The lunch special is $29.50 or so, which is actually a deal as it includes miso soup, salad, their amazing housemade icecream and ten or more pieces of nigiri sushi and I believe, also a roll.
Hide on Sawtelle is a cash-only, reliable place that has been around for years and may well suffice.
If your 6 year old is like my 7 year old, she'll love Happy Six, a vastly overpriced but super trendy clothing store in the mini mall on the west side of Sawtelle, just north of the Olympic Collection. Super soft tshirts with cartoon characters on them and some of Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. line as well.
Depending upon where you're staying, these recs may or may not help you but anyway...
If you're in Hollywood, I find Sushi Ike to be a good deal. In West LA, Sushi Masu on Westwood. Hide Sushi on Sawtelle. Hirozen is more expensive, but worth the price. How adventurous is your little one? Enough to do an omakase at say Zo or Echigo or Kiriko?
For southern Thai, hit up Jitlada, and also second the rec for Sanamluang.
Certainly, for Mexican, Tacomiendo is affordable. For Oaxacan, definitely try Monte Alban. I'm also one who likes Gilbert's El Indio, as well as Guelaguetza.
And be sure to treat the little one to a decadent breakfast at The Griddle Cafe on Sunset.
Sushi Gen is not cheap if you order ala carte, but the sashimi combo can easily feed 2 ($35). Plus if you go to Little Tokyo it may be interesting to check out the shops/supermarkets there. It's like another world. Go to Sushi Gen when they first open for dinner (closed Sundays, I believe) and I think you should be fine.
If you wound up in Pasadena there's Afloat (sushi) that's decent (not foodie great), and it's not expensive. My kid used to like it for the novelty of watching the sushi boats go by with the goodies.
Most Mexican and Thai joints are inexpensive. Not sure where you are staying, but a chain of fish tacos places called Taco Nazo is one of the better ones, and it's cheap ($3.5 for a kiddie meal, $2? for fish/shrimp tacos). You should try one of the many San Gabriel Valley Chinese or Vietnamese restaurants. They are cheap, good and filling. http://www.taconazo.com/
Farmer's Market is fun, and there's the nearby Grove with the trolley that's a novelty for kids. There are lots of restaurants at the Grove, but they tend to be chains. One that is still pretty good is Wood Ranch BBQ. If you go there M-F before 4PM for the lunch menu the prices can be pretty reasonable. We liked the chicken, tri-tip and BBQ pork ribs. Again not gourmet fare but my kid likes it. http://www.woodranch.com/index2.html
Fat Fish in Koreatown.
We are there every week w/ my 5 yr. old.
It's conveyor belt sushi, but very fresh & very affordable.
Also, they have other menu items, oysters, etc.
I think there is a parking lot in the building.
There is also a West Hollywood one, haven't been there, I think it might be a bit different & not sure if hey have a conveyor belt at that one.
Fat Fish 2
3300 W 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90020
Here in Long Beach we actually have a restaurant that is 2 restaurants in one. One side is a sushi restaurant (Aki Sushi) and the other is Thai (Bai Plau-sp?). I was very skeptical, but my friends took me and it was actually quite good. Plus we do have several good choices for Mexican dining/food as well, just check the board.
If you're staying around LAX, there's this great lil all you can eat Mongolian BBQ place in Manhattan Beach.
If you're going to Pasadena, I'd say skip A'float and head to either Fuji or Sushiya instead. I've heard better things about them and it's all you can eat for $26 (dinner price). Sushiya boasts a 1hr time limit but they've never said anything to me and I usually eat for 1 1/2 - 2hrs. Personally, I like Fuji better because it's less crowded and they have more hot plates (fried oysters included =d). Last time, Sushiya kept on telling me that half of their hot items weren't available =((( but their sushi is a lil fresher.