In LA for a few days -- suggestions?
I'll be in LA for about a week and am looking for simple, good food. I'm not interested in sighting celebrities or going to exclusive places. Tacos, pizza, burgers, casual French -- I'm up for anything.
Looking forward to your suggestions.
THANK YOU for all the rec's -- I wound up going to: Monte Albán (twice), Lotería, Honey Pig, Amandine, La Paella, The Counter, Pizzeria Mozza, Luna Park, Trattoria Amici, a Thai place whose name I don't remember, and a hot dog cart in downtown. I wish I could've eaten more! Loved Honey Pig and Monte Albán and Lotería, but I have to say that my bacon-wrapped hot dog with pico de gallo and avocado, etc.etc., was the highlight of my trip.
re: High Heels and Frijoles
Let's see now -
At Honey Pig I had pork belly and thinly sliced beef -- make sure you request rice to go along with the beef. The waitress recommended it and she was absolutely right - it was much more delicious that way. The rice is mixed with the beef and whatever else is left on your grill, be it kimchi-coated cabbage and bean sprouts, bits of pork belly, or octopus. The portions are EXTREMELY generous -- I had two orders of pork belly and one of beef and that was more than enough for myself and three men.
At Mozza I had several appetizers: bone marrow (excellent - but DO ask for more bread; you'll need it to sop up the marrow and garlic oil, besides which it is absolutely delicious); meatballs (only so-so); and stuffed zucchini blossoms (by far my favorite. The blossoms were delicate and fried perfectly, the crispness giving way to warm ricotta).
Of course, several pizzas were ordered: funghi misti with taleggio, prosciutto with rucola, and my favorite, egg with guanciale and bagna cauda. The crusts were crispy and chewy, the ingredients straightforward and perfectly seasoned. All in all, a great meal that lived up to the hype.
Monte Albán: For breakfast you can't go wrong with the enfrijoladas. Believe me, I KNOW beans, and these were sensational. Enfrijoladas are strips of corn tortilla smothered in a bean sauce that's somewhere between soup and refried bean - not too thick or too thin, just dense enough to bring piles of tortilla together. Top these with two eggs, sunny-side up, and it is the breakfast of champions. Coffee is served black and already sweetened and has a very subtle hint of cinnamon that is everything Starbucks is not. For a real treat, order the hot chocolate.
At dinner (yes, I went twice) I sampled a variety of appetizers, including tamal with mole negro, zucchini blossom quesadillas, molotes (a tortilla turnover of sorts, deep-fried and filled with potatoes and chorizo), and fried chicken tacos. The mole was true to it Oaxacan roots. If you've never tried mole or have had a bad experience with it before, this is where you should eat it.
I had Mexican once again at ¡Lotería! at the Farmer's Market on W. 3rd St. I had a sampler platter that had a miniature version of every taco on the menu, ranging from nopalitos to pollo en pipián rojo (chicken in a peanut and pumpkin-seed sauce). It's tough to decide what to get here, so the sampler platter is a good choice. It's not terribly filling which is actually a good thing because you can choose your favorite and order the normal-sized version. My dad had enchiladas rojas (in a guajilo sauce) that were arguably the best dish we ordered - spicy, but in an earthy, pleasant way - and my husband ordered chilaquiles with eggs - ideal for breakfast or lunch...or dinner. I like eggs anytime. Oh! The aguas are refreshing and varied -- try the jamaica (hibiscus) which is delicate, fruity, and floral.
The Counter: Burger lovers rejoice! Top your burger with WHATEVER your heart and tummy desires. There are almost TOO many choices on the menu -- I had grilled pineapple, caramelized onions, cheese, and bacon.
La Paella: Great appetizers, especially if you're a garlic lover. Try the escargots and octopus. The actual paella was really well seasoned, but it was lacking in crunch. The restaurant is cute and cozy and wait staff very friendly. I'd pay a second visit.
Luna Park -- hmm. Fun, but food only OK.
Amandine: Go for the danish. I liked the croissants, but the ones at Clear Flour Bakery here in Boston are far, far superior.
Finally, as I mentioned before, th bacon-wrapped hot dog. EVERYONE needs to have one. I'm going to try to replicated it at home. Wish me luck!
Hands down few of my favorite restaurants in LA
King Taco - you can look it up for different locations
Korean - you should try to all you can eat BBQ places, around $17 - can't beat that, in Koreantown - Ma Dang Sae, Manna, etc
Japanese - Midoria in the Valley - all you can eat Sushi
French: Chez Mimi, La Cachette
Burgers: the Stand, Father's Office, Lucky Devil's
Pizza: Casa Bianca, Red Ballz, Mozza
Tacos: Sabor A Mexico
Dim Sum: hit the San Gabriel Valley or go to Chiatown and hit Yum Cha
Korean BBQ :Park's BBQ
Upsacele wonderful: Providence, Grace, Spago, Luques
Hot Dogs: The Stand, NOT Pink's, Oki Dog
Sushi $$$: Asanebo, 4 on 6
Sushi$$: Sushi go 55, House of Taka,
Sushi $: Midori All You Can Eat.
Breakfast: 3Square, John O Groats, The Griddle, Joe's on Abbot Kinney
Non Sushi Japanese small plates: Musha
Japanese Mochi : Fugetsudo
A great place with lots of differnt options: The original Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax
Ethiopian: Rahel, Messob
Uzbeck : Uzbekistan
Moroccan with bellydancers: Mou of Tunis
Falafel: Shamshiri Grill
Pho: Pho 999
Cheese Shop: Artisan Cheese Gallery, Cheese Store of Silverlake/Beverly Hills
Coffee boutique: LA Mill
Treats: Leda's Cupcakes, MAshti alone's Ice Cream, Scoops Ice Cream, Boule, Jin Patisserie, Comparte's Chocolates
A Fun Morning: Wednesday or Saturday Santa Monica Farmer's Market on Arizona. Sunday Hollywood Farmer's Market
By the Sea: Neptune's Net in Malibu. Quality Seafood Redondo Beach
Beer: Lucky Baldwin's, Naja's Place, Lucky Devil's, 3rd Stop, Father's office
Wine bar/small paltes: Upstairs 2
Steak: Cut, West, Musso and Frank's
Sandiwiches: The Godmother at Bay CIties Deli
re: High Heels and Frijoles
I don't know, your view might change once you realize how hard it is to get from the Westside to SGV in the peak of rush hour traffic. Having a recommendations close to where you plan on being will help out, at the very least, to help form a plan.
Staying near Hollywood? Have some Thai. Westwood? Persian. South Bay? Japanese. And so on...
It might also help to look at other people's "visiting LA for a week" threads. The most recent gold mine came from a SF Bay 'hound, and while Boston and SF are two different cities in terms of availability of cuisine, it'll help provide insight into where you might want to go. Because even if you eat out every single meal for a week, that's still only 21 restaurants. You wouldn't be able to escape the Farmer's Market area at that count, let alone all of LA.
I'm staying in Beverly Hills but have friends in West Hollywood and a sibling that lives around LAX. I really am willing to drive -- or rather, my husband is, as I'm a horrible, horrible driver. We picked out a few restaurants based on 'hound suggestions (thank you all!) and friends' recommendations, and we've done research and jotted down a few extra places. Spots I'm really interested in going to: Lotería, Monte Alban, AOC, Father's Office, Pizzeria Mozza, and Let's Be Frank Dogs. I think we're leaning towards more casual food at this point, trying to avoid reservations and over-scheduling.
re: High Heels and Frijoles
Seven lunch spots:
Father's Office, Vito's Pizza, Loteria, Monte Alban, Kiriko, BLD, The Hungry Cat
Seven dinner spots:
AOC, Mozza, Musha, Shamshiri, Joe's on Abbot Kinney, Fraiche, Melisse
Boy, talk about just scratching the surface.
Here's the Ultimate LA Restaurant 2007 poll:
Mexican: Monte Alban
Breakfast: Primo's or Amandine for a quick buttermilk bar or chocolate or almond croissant, respectively
Casual French: Lilly's French Cafe in Venice
Homey Fare: Nook Bistro
Thai: Jitlada, Sanam Luang
Small Plates: Tasca
Italian: Angeli Caffe, Pecorino, Palmeri,
Treats: Nata's Pastries, Chocolatt, Vanilla Bake Shop
Beer/Pub: Ye Olde King's Head
Great list, Diana... one thing might need a little clarification.. Joe's on Abbot Kinney is lunch and dinner service during the week... brunch is on weekends...
Rameniac's recent post on Yakitori Bincho might be added between your, "By the Sea" and "Beer" categories. If I were in Redondo Beach, I could easily see doing a mini-crawl to Quality, Bincho, and Naja's...
Again, great list, Beer Goddess...
Well for "simple, good food" that's excellent in L.A., there are a ton of places. Do a search on this board for Langer's Deli for great sandwiches, great Chinese food in the San Gabriel Valley, and awesome Taco Trucks throughout Highland Park and East L.A., and Ethiopian food off of Fairfax.
Some quick suggestions / links:
* Amazing Al Pastor Tacos (my favorite) off El Pique Taco Truck in Highland Park:
* Great Handmade Dumplings at 101 Noodle Express (Alhambra, CA)
* Sea Harbour for Great Dim Sum (Rosemead, CA)
101 Noodle Express
1408 E Valley Blvd, Alhambra, CA 91801
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
3939 N. Rosemead Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770, USA