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At what LA restaurant do you overlook horrible Food/Decor/Service for something great of theirs that you have to have?

Dave and Stuff Apr 8, 2008 10:34 AM

For me:

1) Jerry' Famous Deli: Really terrible service, but the pastrami reuben is soooo good.

2) Hungry Cat: I have never had good service there, but I crave, crave, CRAVE their cocktails

3) Genghis Cohen: I eat at Genghis at least once a week (for the last 5-6 years). I like a lot of what's on their menu, but if I get one or two certain members of the waitstaff, I know we're in for sloppy service.

4) Rainbow Room: parking is such a nightmare, and the servers all seem like they are high (me: "what borbons do you have?" waitress: "Uh, Dewar's, and I think Tanquerey.") but to me, the Rainbow Room's pizza ends the Vito's/Village debate.

  1. y
    yogachik Apr 8, 2008 11:41 AM

    Monte Alban. I'll look for parking forever, wait to be served for some time (it's always because I'll have several servers, never just one who has the table), and terrible decor. But the FOOD! Yum.

    1 Reply
    1. re: yogachik
      glutton Apr 12, 2008 07:21 AM

      I've always found it easiest to park on Santa Monica, a bit east of Monte Alban. Their parking lot is more frustration than it's worth.

    2. d
      Diana Apr 8, 2008 12:11 PM

      Jerry's, but I gotta have the Midnight madness now and again, or maybe the matzoh ball soup.

      Sabor A Mexico-lousy service and wait, great food. I like the Quesadillas and the veggie burrito.

      Yum Cha. You have to fight through all the ladies, and then the counter people look at you like you're from mars. But those sweet brown rice cakes! MMMMM!

      1. a
        AquaW Apr 8, 2008 12:20 PM

        1) Marston's - service can be lackluster and parking potentially horrific, but I love their various omelets, pancakes & chopped salads.

        2) Tokyo Table - generally not a big fan of modernized-fusion-Japanese, but I caved into their sushi pizza, mochi gratin & honey toast.

        3) Clemetine - also horrific parking and sometimes crazy crowds, but what I get is always delish.

        4) Boule - service is more miss than hit here with the staff caring less about customers and generally snooty in attitude, but I love their macarons, ice creams and caneles.


        1. n
          ns1 Apr 8, 2008 12:30 PM

          Any and every vietnamese restaurant.

          10 Replies
          1. re: ns1
            MeAndroo Apr 8, 2008 12:46 PM

            Ha, quoted for truth! How many pho places are just dingy and reeking of laziness in terms of decor, but churn out fantastic food?

            I go to Weiland's in DTLA for their 2.50 pints of microbrews and garlic fries despite some of the slowest bar service I've ever experienced.

            1. re: ns1
              petradish Apr 8, 2008 01:22 PM

              Expand on this? I've heard this one before on here...

              At times, the parking lot & lunchtime crowd hungry for Godmother sandwiches at Bay Cities feels a bit like the end of The Day of the Locust. lol. It's usually worth it tho.

              1. re: petradish
                ns1 Apr 8, 2008 01:50 PM

                It's a catch 22 in my opinion.

                Vietnamese people, as a whole, don't wanna spend on decor/ambience. They want cheap, good food. It usually comes at the expense of cleanliness and server attitude. There are a few exceptions, but in general, they suffer from the "builder's triangle" (modified), which follows

                Good, cheap, ambience, pick 2

                There are many vietnamese places with excellent food and decent decor. They all suffer from piss poor service.

                Actually, now that I think about it, most suffer from piss poor service anyway. The only restaurant that I know breaks this rule is Favori in Santa Ana.

                It's a catch 22 because if a restaurant tries to excel on service/decor, their prices will be higher than the general (vietnamese population) would pay for. Therefore, they would either "alter" the dishes to favor the "regional taste buds" *cough*, or just go out of business (which is the usual case).

                Therefore, it would seem, that the most successful vietnamese restaurants are fairly dirty, with piss poor service, that serve excellent cheap food.

                1. re: ns1
                  ExtraCheesePlease Apr 8, 2008 01:53 PM

                  Yes I whole-heartedly agree about Vietnamese restaurants. Every time I go, I either bring my own water bottle or else have to stand up and go fill the water glasses myself. It seems like once they take your order, they are pretty much done with you as you have to pay at the cash register. The food, however, is soooo worth it. Vien Dong on Brookhurst is my favorite.

                  1. re: ns1
                    Mel Gee Apr 8, 2008 03:16 PM

                    It's one thing to say that X% of all Vietnamese restaurants that you've ever been to have poor service (or, as you insist on putting it, "piss poor service") and uninspired ambiance, quite another to claim racial or cultural characteristics of the Vietnamese people as a whole. I haven't been to a lot of Vietnamese places in Southern California, but they're all over the Washington, DC, area, where I used to live, and many had not only great food and fine decor but also acceptable service, even to those whose cultural experiences are limited.

                    1. re: Mel Gee
                      ns1 Apr 8, 2008 03:47 PM

                      Well, seeing as how I am vietnamese and have been around vietnamese culture and people for the past oh i don't know, 24 years, I'm gonna say that I have a pretty good grasp of what works and what doesn't.

                      w/o having experienced vietnamese food in wash. dc, but having experienced vietnamese foods in other "low vietnamese population" cities, i'm gonna daresay it's an entirely different "experience"

                      remember, key points here are "cater to the demographic" and "what the market will bear"

                    2. re: ns1
                      petradish Apr 9, 2008 06:56 PM

                      Gotcha, makes sense.

                      Service-wise, I really like the efficiency & nononsense attitude of your typical cheapo pho place..as long as the food is good and my table is set up with utensils & condiments, I'm a happy camper. I usually get filled up on one lemonade soda or coconut water, but can see how refilling/importing your own water would be a drag, as ExtraCheesePlease said.

                  2. re: ns1
                    WBGuy Apr 8, 2008 02:08 PM

                    Any and every CHINESE restaurant.

                    Fixed that for you.

                    1. re: WBGuy
                      raytamsgv Apr 9, 2008 10:41 AM

                      Well, it actually depends on the restaurant. The higher end Chinese restaurants in the SGV tend to have better service, decor, and prices. But if you're referring to the low or moderately-priced restaurants, I would agree.

                    2. re: ns1
                      Will Owen Apr 9, 2008 10:31 AM

                      I must say that the one exception, in terms of cleanliness, decor and friendly service, is the Vietnam Restaurant in San Gabriel. Very cordial people, pleasant if not lavish decor, excellent food carefully prepared.

                      The Chinese-Vietnamese place (whose name I think we've never known) at the right rear of a small indoor mall on Alpine, in Chinatown, has very friendly staff and good cheap food, but it's a real dump. We like it anyway...

                    3. maxzook Apr 8, 2008 02:01 PM

                      Thank heavens the service at EuroPane has improved, but I will put up with the lines and with having to get up early on weekends (shudder) to make sure I'm there in time for croissants, ginger scones and rosemary currant bread.

                      1. love2eat Apr 8, 2008 02:06 PM

                        El Coyote. There is just something about El Coyote. Can't explain it.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: love2eat
                          Will Owen Apr 9, 2008 10:34 AM

                          It's fun, that's what. Said this before, will say it again: it's the Buca di Beppo of Mexican restaurants. Oh, except for the valet parking - in that regard, it's the House of Blues of Mexican restaurants...!

                        2. Frommtron Apr 8, 2008 02:28 PM

                          Every couple of months I deal with the crowds and steakheads that shoehorn themselves into Father's Office.

                          I and a group of nerdy, literate, skinny, and very physically passive friends nearly got into a brawl over a table on one occasion. Other times I've had to stand and balance a burger, a micro-shopping cart of fries (not such a cute presentation when it's held precariously under your armpit, a beet salad, a pint, and a molten-hot dish of papas bravas, all while a couple lounges luxuriously at a four-top.

                          And yet . . . the burger can be a true testament to beef. Why anyone complains about not being able to get that beautiful thing with ketchup is beyond me. He's saving you from yourselves, people! The aforementioned beet salad is nearly satisfying enough to prevent me from ordering sweet potato fries. The specials that they offer are often spectacular. Case in point, a couple of months ago they were offering Malpeque oysters with a yuzu-ginger mignonette and salsa verde. They were superb and, I'm sad to say, far better than the fresh-shucked ones I had at home from Santa Monica Seafood earlier that week. The seasonal soft shell crab sandwich is a winner, too.

                          The Culver City location can't come soon enough for me. If nothing else I'm hoping it temporarily draws the crowd away from the original location and I can sneak in a visit or two in relative peace.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Frommtron
                            yogachik Apr 8, 2008 06:20 PM

                            I gotta tell you, the burger I had last night at 3Square beats the Father's Office burger. Especially not having to deal with the crowds, noise, and staff at FO, and having it delivered to Otheroom.

                            1. re: yogachik
                              Frommtron Apr 8, 2008 06:43 PM

                              I'll be the judge of that . . . as soon as possible as a matter of fact.

                            2. re: Frommtron
                              whatsfordinner Apr 8, 2008 08:41 PM

                              Frommtron, the next time you see a couple lounging at a 4-top ask them, or ask the guy at the door to ask them, if they'd be willing to share their table. I've always shared my table and have always been welcomed to share with others.

                              1. re: whatsfordinner
                                Frommtron Apr 8, 2008 11:37 PM

                                Yeah, I know the drill. But, it's still a chore. Let's assume I'm not alone. Or I have more than one friend. Or said couple were waiting for Godot. Or I don't want to make small talk when I can barely hear what I'm thinking in the place.

                                While plenty of people have been graceful, while plenty of times I've shared a table with some friendly souls, while more often than not I've had a lovely time (so far, always due to the food and friends I'm with), the fact remains that one often needs to resort to such silly things to enjoy food. I've never come to near-fisticuffs at any other restaurant in . . . well, my life.

                                Not to mention the fact that if you reach the point when your burger is finished and your fries are less than half full, you feel like you've got half the standing bar circling around the table. The last time I was there (less than a week ago), we were approached by 4 different groups asking us if we were almost done or if we would give them our table when we were done. This was in a span of 15 minutes. Pleasant!

                                I mean, sometimes I want a great burger, an unsusual draught beer, and . . . that's it. I dont' want to have to attend a westside mixer everytime I get that craving for a burger.

                                It's particularly tough since I've been going to this place since before Sang Yoon was casing the joint and got used to enjoying the place before it was so stuffed.

                                So why deal with the crap . . . because the food is actually that good. And while the burger may be the keystone, the menu has plenty of other gems to keep me coming back.

                            3. t
                              teach Apr 8, 2008 02:38 PM

                              Fred 62. Their service is sooo laughably bad, but sometimes you want noodles with veggies at midnight. Midnight is, incidentally, a good time to hit Fred's. The dinner crowd is gone, but the drunks have yet to show up.

                              1. Emme Apr 8, 2008 03:09 PM

                                Monte Alban
                                Mario's Peruvian - zero atmosphere, but some good, cheap eats
                                El Cholo - when green corn tamale season is in
                                Jerry's - when I'm craving a good mushroom, onion, and tomato egg white omelette dry
                                Huntley - when I wznt overpriced drinks w/ a great view

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Emme
                                  goodhealthgourmet Apr 8, 2008 05:48 PM

                                  emme, i'm surprised you didn't mention hugo's. truly horrible service, but sometimes a girl's gotta have an oatmeal frittata!

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                    Emme Apr 10, 2008 09:45 PM

                                    i've never had a real service problem at hugo's... yeah, it's kind of "actor" territory, and mistakes are always met with a smile, and "can-do, can-fix" attitude...

                                    1. re: Emme
                                      goodhealthgourmet Apr 11, 2008 03:49 PM

                                      "i've never had a real service problem at hugo's"

                                      really??? i should have gone with you! my friends & i would always plan to get there before we were even hungry in the hopes that we'd actually get our food before one of us fainted from hypoglycemia. and it wasn't just weho, the studio city location was just as bad.

                                      still, i miss those frittatas!

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                        Tom P Apr 12, 2008 07:31 AM

                                        I always loved the breakfast pastas at Hugos. It's been years since I've been there, are they still on the menu? Pasta a la mama or some such?

                                        1. re: Tom P
                                          goodhealthgourmet Apr 12, 2008 11:26 AM

                                          sure are...


                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                          Emme Apr 16, 2008 12:30 AM

                                          next time you're in LA hit me up! i'll get ya treated real good. :)

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                            PPosey Apr 23, 2008 06:04 AM

                                            I stopped at Hugo's (West Hollywood) on a weekday morning last week, and ordered Strawberry Chai Spice pancakes. There wasn't a grain of spice in the pancakes, and the six little shards of strawberry on the side might have added up to one medium sized strawberry. I suspect I got an order of conventional pancakes with a garnish of strawberries, so checked and double checked with my waitress, who swore it was Strawberry Chai Spice panckaes.

                                            While my waitress was attentive, fast, and friendly, the fact that I got stuck with (and paid for) something other than I ordered doesn't speak well for the wait staff or the management. I can't recommend Hugo's.

                                            By the way, as far as conventional pancakes go, theirs were rather dry. They could have been greatly helped by a little butter on the side, or something more than the tiny squirt of whipped cream used as a garnish. But butter isn't available at the tables. I guess you have to ask.

                                    2. EatinThePizzaNaked Apr 8, 2008 04:04 PM

                                      I've heard people have died from staring at the ceiling at Canter's for too long.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: EatinThePizzaNaked
                                        maxzook Apr 8, 2008 04:42 PM

                                        I thought that smell was the stuffed cabbage ...

                                        1. re: maxzook
                                          Local Apr 8, 2008 11:08 PM

                                          ROTFLOL- post of the day!

                                          1. re: maxzook
                                            JeetJet Apr 8, 2008 11:49 PM

                                            That's what the cabbage is stuffed with....

                                        2. a
                                          aliris Apr 8, 2008 05:21 PM

                                          Cafe 50's for a milk shake. I have been in there probably 2 dozen times over the past 15 years and each and every single last one of them the service has completely sucked. Same problem over and over. The waitress ignores you -- woebetide one who isn't ready when that waitron shows up: she's gone for good if you send her away. If you ask for a shake without whipped cream, it will come with whipped cream; guaranteed. If they offer to split the shake and you say no, thank you, it will be split. If you ask for it split it won't be. The waitress is just about guaranteed to be flirting with anyone under 30 years old. And the water: the water is the worst-tasting water I have ever experienced anywhere. And it's been like this for 15 years.

                                          I still like the milk shakes. And the stuff on the walls. And for my kids, it's the definitive special-treat experience. It's all pretty, um, "special" to me, too.

                                          The brownie milkshake we had just this afternoon was pretty fab.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: aliris
                                            Skorgirl Apr 8, 2008 07:04 PM

                                            I laughed out loud at your comment about the water; friends and I have been saying the exact same thing for years, but I do love the chocolate chip cookie shake in a portion big enough for three to share. I actually have had decent server experiences while dining there except when I get the hipster guy who steps in when things get busy. Mmmm and the pumpkin shake during the holidays ....

                                            1. re: Skorgirl
                                              aliris Apr 8, 2008 11:24 PM

                                              Yup yup I looove that pumpkin shake too! My kids talked me out of it this year and I'm still regretting it. The s'more shake was a pass, BTW. I'll try to steer my choco-hounds toward the cookie one next time for "variety".

                                              I have even on occasion over the years, complained to the manager, the big guy poured into the car hop uniform. He's been pretty wacky, asking me simultaneously "so why do you come here" and "thanks for the info, we want so very much to live up to our patron's standards" blah blah....thing is, how hard is it to require a modicum of attention to diners from your staff? He actually says stuff like, "it's really hard to get good wait-staff" ... etc. But I just don't buy it. I think it has to be a work-culture thing; it's cool to flirt and ignore your tables at that place? I dunno....and get orders wrong? I have even mentioned that fabled water and the guy claims it is a problem with their soda machine. Now how gross is *that*?!?!?! If it's that old and uncleanable ... WTF? eeew. But what's wrong with the tap? Maybe I shouldn't ask that....

                                            2. re: aliris
                                              Emme Apr 10, 2008 09:47 PM

                                              Cafe 50's for me is about the nostalgia of being a kid and having to have those gum cigarettes (what idiot invented candy to glorify smoking?!?) from the back vending machine...

                                            3. westsidegal Apr 8, 2008 05:44 PM

                                              ibex ethiopian restaurant in inglewood.

                                              i LOVE the way they treat me like family and the good food they serve.
                                              i know that they have a small kitchen and if the restaurant is full, the service will suffer.
                                              still, i so like the place. .. .

                                              1. techbod Apr 8, 2008 09:13 PM

                                                New York Bagel in Brentwood.

                                                I actually have blacklisted the possibility of eating in, because even though they're nice, and the food is good, they are completely underequipped to serve a busy breakfast rush. Nice people, making enough money to keep afloat for 20 years and counting, clearly. But FEMA could probably put up a tent city in New Orleans quicker than you can get your flat bagel with Jalapeno cream cheese. That's the saving grace. Best flat bagels ever (I prefer EVERYTHING) but they're all good. And the best cream cheese ever. Big chunks of fresh chopped Jalapeno peppers mixed in with rich, soft, cream cheese (not whipped).

                                                13 Replies
                                                1. re: techbod
                                                  aliris Apr 8, 2008 11:26 PM

                                                  Wow, now there's an insult: FEMA?! Geeesh.

                                                  I love this thread....

                                                  1. re: techbod
                                                    maxzook Apr 9, 2008 09:21 AM

                                                    Question: what is a "flat bagel"? Is it, by any chance, a bialy?


                                                    1. re: maxzook
                                                      techbod Apr 9, 2008 10:31 PM

                                                      A "flat" bagel is not a bialy. It is a bagel that is 1/5th the height of a regular bagel, but made with the same amount of dough. The result is 3x more crust and 2x the toppings, but only 1/3 the gooey middle. This saves you the sorority-girl indignity of scooping out the "not worth the carbs" gooey middle, and get you a nicer level of crackly toastiness. Try it. You'll like it.

                                                      1. re: techbod
                                                        maxzook Apr 10, 2008 09:36 AM

                                                        Ummm .. if a "flat bagel" has the same amount of dough as a regular bagel, wouldn't it have the same amount of carbs? So, wouldn't scooping out the middle of a regular bagel still result in less carbs then something that has nothing it it to be scooped?

                                                        That being said, I'm enough of a crust-and-toppings fan to give it a try.

                                                        1. re: maxzook
                                                          Diana Apr 10, 2008 09:59 AM

                                                          Because flat bagels are *magic*. It's just the dieter's logic. It doesn't alwasy make sense, and doesn't always work.

                                                      2. re: maxzook
                                                        goodhealthgourmet Apr 10, 2008 06:48 AM

                                                        maxzook, a bialy is completely different.

                                                        a flagel is a flat bagel. [a place called "tasty bagel" in NY gets the credit for the creation in 1993]. it’s flattened to be twice as wide as a regular bagel, but it still has a hole in the middle.

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                          maxzook Apr 10, 2008 09:43 AM

                                                          Found this website with the history:


                                                          Guess I left NYC fiftten years too soon ... I definitely prefer the term "flagel".

                                                          1. re: maxzook
                                                            Foodandwine Apr 11, 2008 09:03 AM

                                                            thats an antibiotic

                                                            1. re: Foodandwine
                                                              goodhealthgourmet Apr 11, 2008 03:53 PM

                                                              actually, flagyl is the antibiotic, flagel is the bread product.

                                                              oh what a difference a vowel makes!

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                Midlife Apr 12, 2008 10:39 AM

                                                                or maybe it's a fliegel??? :o)

                                                                Whatever............ I've never seen or heard of one until now. Anyplace to find them in the OC?

                                                                1. re: Midlife
                                                                  goodhealthgourmet Apr 12, 2008 11:28 AM

                                                                  somehow i doubt it. then again, i know nothing about dining in OC except for a select few restos in laguna & dana point [none of which are bagel places], so i'm the wrong person to ask...

                                                              2. re: Foodandwine
                                                                maxzook Apr 11, 2008 06:03 PM

                                                                Either that, or a Jerry Lewis punchline.

                                                                1. re: maxzook
                                                                  Foodandwine Apr 12, 2008 07:20 AM

                                                                  Max, I was going with the humor, never heard that one before. In Boston they have Fanagel a Bagel.. anyway thanks for all the links you post.. they are very helpfull

                                                      3. JAB Apr 8, 2008 09:53 PM

                                                        The chicken at Dino's. Parking sucks, the area is sketchy but, I'm addicted.

                                                        Dino's Chicken and Burgers
                                                        2575 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006, USA

                                                        1. r
                                                          rachaeln Apr 8, 2008 10:49 PM

                                                          Rosalinds on Fairfax. I LOVE their yam balls and crave them, but the service is pretty erratic. It may be cultural though, so I tend to just face the facts ahead of time and make sure to order every thing we want and an entire pitcher of water on the first pass so we won't have to seem boorish later.

                                                          1. m
                                                            mar52 Apr 9, 2008 10:05 AM

                                                            Dinah's for their Apple Pancake

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: mar52
                                                              Diana Apr 9, 2008 11:44 AM

                                                              ooohhh, I wanna go there!

                                                              1. re: mar52
                                                                westsidegal Apr 9, 2008 06:34 PM

                                                                what do you need to overlook at dinah's?
                                                                the seating is easy anytime other than sunday mornings and mid-day sundays.
                                                                the service is fine.
                                                                the apple pancake, actually requires about 15 minutes in an oven for cooking, so if it arrives at your table w/in 20 minutes of ordering, that is about the best you can expect. .. .

                                                                1. re: westsidegal
                                                                  mar52 Apr 10, 2008 09:49 AM

                                                                  I frequent Dinah's. The last time I had the Swedish pancakes the lingonberry butter was both rancid and sour.

                                                                  The last time I had the chicken I found fault with the creamed spinach which I love. I don't like huge lumps of unmixed flour.

                                                                  Sometimes the service takes awhile.

                                                                  I used to get big pieces of chicken and now they're small.

                                                                  But I go back!

                                                                  Oh! I very carefully say... French Dressing to the waitress and she brings me Ranch.

                                                                  1. re: mar52
                                                                    westsidegal Apr 11, 2008 05:54 PM

                                                                    i've never had any problem with the swedish pancakes.
                                                                    the only other things i order there are:
                                                                    the german pancake
                                                                    the apple pancake
                                                                    the chile relleno omlette.

                                                                    so, maybe that explains why i still really like the place

                                                                    1. re: westsidegal
                                                                      aliris Apr 23, 2008 07:40 AM

                                                                      I agree, the food and service's not actually all that great, but like homeopathics, you get the "essence" of both and that's enough. Sometimes. They definitely try hard, want to please, serve tasty food, etc. But it falls short often for me. We gave up a few years ago; one too many icky gross greasy (small) chicken legs; one too many overly-sweet pancakes that are tastier when baked yourself. Still, just exactly (IMO) what this thread calls for; one you'd go to occasionally knowing perfectly well there's a risk of annoyance.

                                                              2. s
                                                                saucydiva Apr 9, 2008 01:44 PM

                                                                Al Noor, the excellent Pakistani place in Lawndale, has great food (particularly obsessed with their chicken tikka masala, we fight over the sauce) but it's strictly takeout for us, because the seating area is so ugly. They have this horrible strawberry-patterned wallpaper border around the top of the room and it is peeling and falling off in places. So wrong for their food.

                                                                1. Foodnerds Apr 9, 2008 06:24 PM

                                                                  Mario's Peruvian- worst service ever, this is if you actually wait the 1.5 hours it takes to get the table in the first place. They have some awesome food though, truly worth the wait, or at least some takeout.

                                                                  Skaf's Grill on Laurel Cyn-terrible parking, tiny restaurant, no atmosphere, fantastic food! I was so when happy they opened the Glendale location.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Foodnerds
                                                                    MeAndroo Apr 10, 2008 07:51 AM

                                                                    Ouch, I've never waited that long for Mario's. Of course, I've only been to the one in LA proper a couple of times, and that was usually for an early (5:30) dinner. The one in La Mirada has much more space, free refills, and excellent service. Certainly not as convenient for some, though.

                                                                  2. ozzygee Apr 9, 2008 09:51 PM

                                                                    Any Zankou except the Burbank location.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ozzygee
                                                                      Fru Apr 10, 2008 07:23 AM

                                                                      This may be an exception but after many years of not going to Zankou, I went to the one in Pasadena because of having just read the article in LA Magazine. Anyway, the gal that helped me was very accommodating as she got me mouttabal instead of hummus even after I placed my order!

                                                                      1. re: Fru
                                                                        MeAndroo Apr 10, 2008 07:52 AM

                                                                        ozzygee may be referring to the decor, which is as utilitarian as it comes in all the Zankous I've been to except that Burbank location...which kind of reminds me of a Starbucks inside.

                                                                        The service is usually pretty similar, though I think the one on Sunset may be a bit more...blunt.

                                                                        1. re: MeAndroo
                                                                          ozzygee Apr 10, 2008 10:04 AM

                                                                          I was referring to their decor, but I have had surly to indifferent service at every branch I have visited except the Burbank one, where I feel they are extra nice and friendly.

                                                                          1. re: ozzygee
                                                                            JackonCrack Apr 10, 2008 12:20 PM

                                                                            Totally agree. Not only is the decor just much more inviting (it IS newer!) but the staff is so much more accomodating.

                                                                            1. re: JackonCrack
                                                                              MeAndroo Apr 10, 2008 04:11 PM

                                                                              I've had extremely positive interactions with the staff at the Pasadena and Glendale spots. The folks at Pasadena even reopened the doors for us one night about 10 minutes past closing and let us be the last people to order. First time I ever left a tip at Zankou. Burbank probably IS the most friendly overall, though.

                                                                              The original makes me laugh because I can't even get a smile out of those ladies! A friend of mine usually manages to charm at least a free refill out of most places, but not on Sunset.

                                                                      2. re: ozzygee
                                                                        pharmnerd Apr 12, 2008 07:13 AM

                                                                        Been to all of them from Van Nuys to Anaheim & everything in-between, and yes, don't expect friendly service at any Zankou. I highly doubt "service with a smile" is on their mission statement at Zankou, but that's fine with me. Keep pumpin' out the golden chicken & garlic sauce/hummus at lightning speed and all is forgotten.

                                                                      3. d
                                                                        Diana Apr 10, 2008 08:20 AM

                                                                        It used to be Anarbagh, but they just pushed it too far when the food started sucking as much as the service.

                                                                        You can't keep me out of Woodlands, despite the fact that the decor is not a match of the amazingness of the food. Especially on Friday nights for Dosa insanity and the buffet. I rarely look up from my plate then, anyway.

                                                                        Mashti malone's in Hollywood has some rather slow and surley servers, but I'll go there for fresh scooped ginger rosewater ice cream.

                                                                        I want to try Pie N Burger, though I hear the waitresses are a challenge.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Diana
                                                                          Fru Apr 10, 2008 09:53 AM

                                                                          Never had a problem with the waitresses. As a matter of fact I have only had good experiences. My problem with Pie N Burger is the clientele. I haven't been in quite a while because we used to go early on Sunday mornings and there would be this old couple that sat at the counter, (I am not disparaging our elders) but...they were really greasy and he had this growth coming out of his ear and ewww!!! Its creeping me out just thinking about it. Anyway obviously I was and am still traumatized.

                                                                          1. re: Diana
                                                                            Cher D. Apr 23, 2008 04:49 PM

                                                                            Woodlands doesn't have the Friday buffet and dosa night any more!! I was there two weeks ago on a Friday, menu only. Buffet is only at lunch and you only get "one" dosa! The dosa from the menu was as long as the width of the table and so, so good, still worth the trip

                                                                          2. m
                                                                            mar52 Apr 10, 2008 09:51 AM

                                                                            Honey Pot (I think that's what it's called) Chicken in Culver City.

                                                                            The chicken is fantastic. The wait with no one ahead of you is awful. I don't like having to wait for the help there to finish their conversation with each other before I can place my order.

                                                                            Chicken should be ready when I order!

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: mar52
                                                                              ozzygee Apr 10, 2008 10:09 AM

                                                                              You mean Honey's Kettle. I think the problem with the wait here is the combination of their business model (small batch cooking) and their bad decisions (or maybe it's just bad luck?) in the hiring dept. But the chicken, oh, the chicken...

                                                                              1. re: mar52
                                                                                Dave and Stuff Apr 10, 2008 12:58 PM

                                                                                Actually, I should have mentioned Honey's Kettle in the OP. That pretty much defines the topic. AMAZING fried chicken, and I'm always willing to put up with terrible customer service to get some.

                                                                              2. Dommy Apr 10, 2008 11:45 AM

                                                                                Flor de Yucatan: The service is wonderful, their food excellent... but the Table out the back... I feel like I need some sorta shot after I eat there. It's hard to wait... but I always get everything to go...


                                                                                1. e
                                                                                  Ernie Apr 10, 2008 10:17 PM

                                                                                  Golden Deli and Pho 79

                                                                                  1. j
                                                                                    JeetJet Apr 11, 2008 01:44 AM

                                                                                    Sometimes slow service and no-frills ambiance is a necessary part of some foods because it arouses expectation of good food and a good time ahead. For example, for both Ono Kine Grindz (Good local Hawaiian food) and Soul food, slow service is part of the ritual that reminds you to leave LA behind and to “hang loose” and “take five.” Ono Kine Grindz is mo betta on island time, so take that slow time to calm your soul which allows you to enjoy the food and your time eating it. Shore’nuf, dat be true for soul food too. I know dat, I heared dat before.

                                                                                    Ribs, links, sliced beef and maybe Sock-it-to-me cake
                                                                                    Hungry Al's Bar B Que
                                                                                    116 N Vincent Ave.
                                                                                    West Covina, CA 91790-2205
                                                                                    (626) 967-6998

                                                                                    Bacon fried rice, fresh fish plate lunch
                                                                                    Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop
                                                                                    15707 S. Vermont Avenue.
                                                                                    Gardena, California 90247
                                                                                    (310) 532-0820

                                                                                    1. p
                                                                                      pharmnerd Apr 12, 2008 07:27 AM

                                                                                      Daikokuya: Mainly their takeout policy. Had ordered takeout there for years as I don't have time during my lunchtime to sitdown. They eventually phased it out, but only after many inconsistent responses about whether or not they accept telephone takeout orders. I even tried walking in to place a takeout order & was denied. I felt they were being snobs, too busy & too good to accept to-go orders, so I went on many months-long boycott. But, damn, I broke down and started sitting at the counter for their awesome shredded pork bowl. All's good now, but gotta eat fast.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: pharmnerd
                                                                                        ns1 Apr 12, 2008 10:23 AM

                                                                                        Oh yeah daikokuya for sure. It's the only place i'm willing to wait in line for.

                                                                                        And i did. 3 times this month. =X

                                                                                      2. f
                                                                                        frank828 Apr 12, 2008 10:49 AM

                                                                                        like others have said, mario's for sure

                                                                                        also zankou chicken

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: frank828
                                                                                          poggibonzzi Apr 23, 2008 03:20 PM

                                                                                          Sanamluang for their shrimp cake appetizer and curry beef soup noodles. Saritgol for their black cod stew. Tito's Tacos. Soot Bul Jeep for BBQ.

                                                                                        2. y
                                                                                          yummy11 May 20, 2008 08:34 PM

                                                                                          Manna Korean BBQ - the service is horrible but we continue to go there every other week!

                                                                                          1. g
                                                                                            grubtrotters May 21, 2008 12:44 PM

                                                                                            Definitely Bay Cities Italian Deli. The parking is a nightmare, and the wait can be ridiculous. We order online now, but nothing can be done about the parking situation. Last time we visited, our car got scraped in the lot.


                                                                                            1. f
                                                                                              fdb May 21, 2008 07:06 PM

                                                                                              Hu's: pathetic decor, but can't find better Chinese feef noodle soup on the westside.

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