HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Foodiest Spots in L.A.

I recognize that this might be an annoying post, but I'm hoping that some people may be able to identify the real "foodie" restaurants in L.A. I live in New York and I'm visiting L.A. in a few weeks. Despite having read plenty of guidebooks, websites and Chowhound threads, I still can't tell what the best places for serious foodies are in L.A. I'm not looking for the hippest or trendiest places, but the most interesting and delicious (and possibly locavore-ish). For example, if this is of any help, if someone were to ask me for this type of recommendation in New York, I would think of places like Franny's, Momofuku, or even Blue Hill (on the high end). Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Probably nobody has responded because we aren't serious foodies. The places you mention seem much less hip and trendy than what I'm accustomed to. I recommend Ivy at the Shore.

    2 Replies
    1. re: aventinus

      OK, I cannot resist weighing in here. Let's face it, LA really doesn't hold a candle to NY when it comes to dining out so you have to seek out those experiences which you simply can't replicate back home. For that reason, in my humble opinion, you can skip Providence, Sona, Ortolan, Patina (especially Patina, so overrated). There are simply too many similar and superior choices in NYC. Sushi is the ultimate so cal cuisine (healty, tasty and pretty). For high-end, I like Mori and Nishimura. But there's no need to spend that kind of money for raw fish in LA. Try Sasabune in West LA or Tama in Studio City for great selection at fair prices. I would also trek out to Monterey Park for more exotic Asian. There are long entries on here with specific recommendations. And there really is still something that can be classified as California cuisine in LA (although the Bay Area trumps us, no doubt). Lunch at Joe's or a late night snack at The Hungry Cat will let you go home with a sense of how the locals really eat. Last but not least, despite the tour buses and the kitsch, I would go to the Farmer's market at 3rd and Fairfax. Loteria has good lonchera-style Mexican and you don't have to eat it in your car. Plus the vibe of the whole place is worth the parking hassle. Ask around for other Mexican options since we do that better too (I like Las Barcas in Huntington Beach but that is not likely to be on your itinerary).

      Happy eating.

      1. re: aventinus

        You are kidding right? Ivy at the Shore has been a joke in my family since moving here 12 years ago.....................

      2. Because I'm the type that still wants to offer something constructive, let's begin with the following: where are you staying, how long will you be staying, will you have a car, what is your budget, and how many in your party? Identifying restaurants is easy, but matching them with logistics tend to be the hard part.

        1. Well, I would say people are reluctant to answer this question because NYC "Foodies" are not the same as L.A. foodies.

          I go to NYC a lot. I have friends I've known for 30 years who consider themselves Foodies and we always have a great time eating together. BUT, the stuff they swoon over and the stuff WE swoon over are from two different worlds.

          Also, we are hesitant to suggest anything because NYC Foodies tend to want the same kind of things they eat in NYC. This isn't NYC. (duh) And I've found that ex-NYers and visitors from NYC get very upset if the food isn't what you're used to in NYC.

          So maybe we should just ask you, "WHAT is it you're interested in trying?"

          I have to warn you: In these parts, the "hottest" restaurant of the moment amongst Local foodies is likely to be a place where most of the menu isn't even in English!

          16 Replies
          1. re: Reeter1

            Perhaps I should clarify that I'm not interested in eating NYC-style -- in fact, on the contrary, I want to go to whatever the most L.A.-ish places are. That's, well, kind of the point. I'm interested in trying anything, including non-English menus, if needs be. I'm staying with a friend in Venice but we're willing to go anywhere, of course.

            1. re: eboges

              I don't think you're going to find much agreement on what is LA-ish or even what it LA. My two cents worth -- there are a few places that most people on this board will agree are true event restaurants, e.g., Providence, Melisse or Urasawa. I'd try to go to one of those regardless of whether someone deems it inferior or superior to similar NYC rests -- these places ahve been and are likely to contine to be at the top of the conversation about LAs best. Everyone's tastes and experiences are different (taco trucks are very LA, but there are a lot of other very LA things I wouldn't recommend). Its tough not to recommend two other types of restaurants -- Vietnamese and Indian, which the greater LA area does quite well -- OC is home to a large Vietnamese population. And if you happen to go to OC, you may want to try Onotria, which is something of a Wine Country/locavore destination that is fairly popular among many self described foodies.

              1. re: eboges

                There are more diverse Asian foods here in LA than any other city. Thai, Korean, Filipino, Hawaiian, Chinese, Japanese, Malay, and all the different regions within. If you're hungry and appreciate friendly owners, I suggest this awesome Korean BBQ restaurant. They offer an all-you-can-grill selection of 13 meats. No buffet here. All food is delivered straight from the kitchen to your table. Sides are delicious and continuous, just ask. They also offer other meals aside from grilled.

                Fresh Korean BBQ
                17623 Sherman Way
                Van Nuys, CA 91406

                $16.95 for the all-you-can-grill

                1. re: eboges

                  pink's hot dogs. naw just kidding. i'm being mean. don't go there.

                2. re: Reeter1

                  I feel exactly the same way. The worst thing I've come across in dealing with NYC foodies is their idea of good Chinese food.

                  Anyway, NY does fine dining better than LA, so I usually steer clear of that kind of thing for New Yorkers (and San Franciscans). I'd say Langer's, but then they usually start talking about Katz. Throw Phillippe's on the list, Daikokuya, a good taco truck (maybe El Taquito Mexicano), and dim sum (I usually go to 888). There are probably a few other ethnic foods I'd throw on the list if I knew how long you were gonna be in town.

                  1. re: andytseng

                    Most of the threads I've seen on this boards about east coast style Chinese food are from people who fully admit that they know the food they're looking for is not authentic or the best-tasting food. But sometimes, you have to scratch that nostalgic itch.

                    Personally, I'm from the East coast and much prefer "real" Chinese food, and I certainly don't crave those awful egg rolls I grew up with. However, there are some dishes that remind me a little of Americanized Chinese dishes I grew up around that do scratch that itch for me.

                    Recent thread with some good suggestions for Chinese places in the SGV to try - I would suggest making a day of it - have some Taiwanese / Northern Chinese style breakfast at Yi Mei or Dim Sum somewhere, check out the asian supermarkets, Wing Hop Fung, maybe Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, and in between, check out some of the regional suggestions from this thread:


                    To the OP: LA is a great place for ethnic food, and I think that's what you want to look for. There are a number of threads about what ethnic food visitors from out of town should check out, so you should search the "archives" for these threads and check out some of those places (definitely a good city for Mexican, Chinese, Korean, Persian, possibly Thai).

                    I would definitely check out Grace, though not sure if they emphasize local produce as much as they used to.

                    I think the /overall/ quality of food (and overall value) is better in NYC, but LA has some great options if you're willing to search for them.

                    Agreed that posting about trendy buzzwords like "foodie" and "locavore" is going to get you more snarky remarks than helpful ones, and honestly, if I could think of a few funny ones, I'd stick them right here myself.

                    1. re: will47

                      I cannot agree with you that the overall value of food is better in NYC. Look at the vast swath of cheap yet outrageously delicious Asian and Mexican foods we have here, from Koreatown to the San Gabriel Valley.

                      The cheap stuff in NY (at least in Manhattan and Brooklyn) is not terribly diverse. (By cheap I mean you can stuff yourself for $10 or less). For example, in LA consider the glory of the Shandong style beef wrap at 101 Noodle Express-- $6 buys you enough to fill one hungry dude. Or the $5 xiao long bao (soup dumplings) at JJ in San Gabriel. Or the $6 soontofu at Beverly Soon Tofu (of course you can also stuff yourself on the unlimited panchan for free as well). In NY, it's much harder to find stuff this diverse, good, and cheap. (Not to disparrage NY's cheap eats.... but generally to get something in Manhattan or Brooklyn that's cheap and filling well under the $10 mark, you're going to Chinese, pizza, hot dogs, bagels, etc. You have to go way out of your way to Bed Stuy, Brighton Beach or the outer reaches of Queens to find the cheap ethnic treasures that are so bountiful here.

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        Last time I checked beverly soontofu is around 9-10 bucks but that's still really cheap for what you get.

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            But in LA, to get to most of the places you're talking about, you typically have to go much further from wherever you are (geographically, at least; in terms of time, it might depend on the time of day). And finding the good places in LA requires some research - there are plenty of stinkers.

                            I'm vegetarian, so my views might be skewed (I think NY has better options for vegetarians and vegans overall), since I can't eat much in the way of Mexican or Korean food (though the soon Tofu on Sawtelle has done a water based one for me), or a lot of the Japanese food. And I'll further admit that since I grew up over there, it's possible that I just prefer the food around there because it's what I encountered first. Or maybe I'm pickier now.

                            But anyway, I wasn't so much saying that NY has better cheap eats, but that the *overall* value of what you get for what you pay (if you go into any place, whether high end, middle of the road, or low end) is usually pretty good in NY, unless maybe you're in some super touristy area in Midtown. In LA, it's a crapshoot - you can go somewhere middle of the road or fairly expensive and still not get good food.

                            If you want to talk cheap eats, I think there are some pretty good Thai, Eastern-European / Jewish, Italian (non-pizza), Indian, and Middle Eastern places in Manhattan, just to mention a few things beyond Chinese food, pizza, hot dogs & bagels. Both cities certainly have their strengths and weaknesses ethnic-food wise, but I think NY does better in a lot of the areas that LA is good at than vice-versa. Not only that, but restaurants in NY tend to stay open a lot later for the most part.

                            And in NY, there are some great concentrated areas - Korean in Midtown around 34th, Indian in midtown and again on E 6th st., Little Italy, etc. The mix of stuff available in NY is also mind-boggling, even if both cities have a few areas that are head and shoulders above the other.

                            There are plenty of places I love to eat in LA, and there's probably some stuff that I'd miss or have a hard time finding in NYC or another city. But overall, for me, if I were going to bet on picking a restaurant randomly and having it be good, I'd put my money on NYC.

                            1. re: will47

                              I strongly disagree. To compare midtown Manhattan Korean to the wealth of offerings in LA strikes me (and I'm Korean) as profoundly wrong. In NYC, as in LA, you have to schlep long distances to get the good stuff (e.g., Queens or NJ for Korean, Indian, Chinese, etc.). The best burrito I had the entire time I lived in NYC was at Chipotle. Since moving to LA, I haven't set foot in a Chipotle. There are three or four places, all within walking distance, that would immediately be the best burrito in NYC. And don't get me started on more authentic regional Mexican...

                              Don't get me wrong, I love chowing in NYC -- I'm actually there right now. Just had an amazing Italian dinner at Apizz -- the kind you can't easily get in LA. I miss my bagels, Israeli falafel, Sicilian slices, and roomali rolls. Ultimately, however, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and this 'hound has put on a good 15 pounds since moving to LA.

                              PS: A perfect illustration of my point is Sripraphai in Queens. One of, if not the best Thai in the greater NY area. It would be merely average by LA standards.

                        1. re: andytseng

                          if the OP is looking for ramen, i'd go with asa, gardena, or shin sen gumi over daikokuya, which has fallen off lately. there's also santouka, but they've already got one in new jersey.


                          1. re: rameniac

                            I too have been avoiding Daikokuya lately, passing it up for the consistently delicious glories of Santouka. However we found ourselves in Little Tokyo the other day during the "in between" hour of 3:30 when many places are closed, and wound up there.

                            Aside from the fact that they've got new menus (with higher prices.... the standard ramen is now the same price as tsukemen at $8.50), we were pleasantly surprised to find that the quality of the soup was rich and flavorful and the gyoza charred to a lovely deep browned crisp. It was a one-off visit, so I can't attest for consistency, but that specific meal was great (and this is coming from a guy who spent literally every day of May 2007 eating ramen from Tokyo to Kagoshima :)

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              lol where did you go in japan? imho daikokuya can't even begin to compare with an average ramen shop in kyushu. their broth is "ok" on a good day, but it's their noodles that i don't care for. they use these generic squiggly yellow noodles that are much better suited for a lighter shoyu ramen. but in their tonkotsu, they just sort of sit there and gain mass and i never wind up finishing the meal.

                              unfortunately, daikokuya's tsukemen was all sorts of wrong the one time i had it. tsukemen soup should be extra-concentrated and have a tighter tare to broth ratio; instead, daikokuya used the exact same tonkotsu as in their regular daikoku, which totally doesn't hold enough flavor if all you're doing is dipping. guess i should give it another chance at some point. but i'll have to ask for double tare!

                              1. re: rameniac

                                * Mr Taster takes out his map of Japan *

                                We ate at many random little joints, and many random "ramen streets" all over the country, so it will be hard to pinpoint any specific ones other than a few standouts. It's all sort of one big noodley blur at this point.

                                We started in Chiba (stayed with a friend) then to Tokyo, Yokohama (Ramen museum!), Nikko, Shizuoka, Nagoya, Kyoto (ramen street above the train station), Osaka, Hiroshima (a fun little gritty "ramen alley" stuck between two buildings), Fukuoka/Hakata (surprisingly, not our favorite), and Kagoshima. The one standout bowl was at a place in Kyoto called Karako... you can read about it here... fried chicken and tonkatsu ramen.... ohhhhh lawdy was that good.


                                Please reply to that thread so that we don't get bumped for going off topic.

                                Mr Taster

                      2. If you want interesting and locavore, try Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga. Probably best for lunch on a sunny day (all the good seating is outdoors), but you can do dinner there too. Great place.

                        Inn of the Seventh Ray
                        128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd, Topanga, CA 90290

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: nick_r

                          Oh my, it is not possible that you are speaking of the food at Inn of the 7th Ray. Sure it is a wonderful place to relax but unless you want Chicken Ala King over Uncle Ben's from the weekend buffet I would be embarrased to recomend it for the food.....great place to catch a buzz though!

                          1. re: Robhungry1

                            Inn of the Seventh Ray is serving very good food now under a new chef.

                        2. I don't think any of the suggestions above are very helpful, sometimes people on this board have a strange aversion to the word "foodie" that turns them snarky. The restaurants most commonly associated with the locavore movement, Slow Food and such in L.A. are Mozza, Lucques, Campanile, Josie, Hatfield's, Fraiche, Lou on Vine, Grace, jar, Providence, to name a few. That should certainly give you something to start with.

                          17 Replies
                            1. re: Chowpatty

                              Thanks for this polite response chowpatty. I have been interacting with this board for several years & lived in LA for 17 & I am shocked at the earlier responses. I have no idea why people are freaked out by the term 'foodie'? I proudly cosider myself a foodie & to me it just means someone who's into great food whether it be caviar or a hot dog! Anyway, I'd add Melisse (Santa Monica; very pricey french food & the best meals of my life) to the list & since you are staying in Venice maybe Beachwood is a fun place w/decent food to hang out. For the best sandwich in LA, check out Bay Cities Deli (also Santa Monica) & ask for the godmother if you enjoy an italian style sub. If you want some authentic Mexican (Oaxacan) try Monte Alban.

                              1. re: dotrat

                                I understand the "foodie" cold shoulder. Self-defined Chowhounds tend to go for eats a little less architectural, a little messier; less linen, more formica; and tend to distinguish themselves -- at least in their posts here -- by a certain socioeconomic accessibility.

                                That said, I agree with some suggestions, not others. No point sending a New Yorker to Mozza, as most corner pizzas in NYC are as good or better. Same with pastrami, Italian style subs, and Phillipe's. Get things you can't get in NYC: great Chinese in San Gabriel, great dim sum, great Mexican, great Korean, great California cuisine, great sushi. On the high end (again, tough competition for a New Yorker), Lucques is great but I'd recommend places with a real sense of place as well as local ingredients: how about Chinois on Main and Saddle Peak Lodge (not Inn of Seventh Ray, unless you're a seriously new agey vegan type)? I'd add Citrus at Social, which is both delicious, uniquely French-Californian, and in a classic Hollywood building. For dim sum, Empress Pavilion is still the go-to. Definitely hit a taco truck. For high-end Korean, Chosun Galbi. For hole-in-the-wall Korean, Beverly Soon Tofu. I'd also hit a classic California-style sit down Mexican: I think Lares is the best on the Westside.

                                Let us know how you do, eboges.


                                1. re: jesstifer

                                  Inn of the Seventh Ray is certainly not only for "seriously new agey vegan types." I'd look at the menu and website, at least, before making that assessment. I think it's a great place for a variety of palates, and a uniquely Californian place that's well suited to out-of-towners.


                                  I don't work for them. I just think that someone who routinely eats at the best places in NYC will probably be more interested in something more off the beaten path than in a place that offers the same kind and quality of food they can get at home.

                                  1. re: nick_r

                                    the food is not bad, and the locale is lovely, but a place that has a soup "Created by the vibrations of each day" on the menu has a new agey kick. Fortunately for tose of us not in the clouds, the Inn of the Seventh ray on the surface is a very nice eating spot with pretty good food. Service can vary.

                                  2. re: jesstifer

                                    As a New Yorker, I'd actually still suggest Mozza, it's really in line with the places the OP mentioned as far as vibe. Also the have some good things aside from pizza, and their pizza it definitely a different spin than typical NY pies.

                                    Also, I'd suggest a place like Father's Office. Sort of makes me think of Momofuku in vibe...

                                  3. re: dotrat

                                    I agree w/ Bay Cities and Monte Alban very much.

                                    Since you'll be in Venice, you might stop into 3 Square and Jin Patisserie for some pastries and sweets.

                                    For Japanese in SaMo, try Musha.

                                    I also agree about hitting ethnic fare - Thai (Northern and Southern), Mexican, Ethiopian, Korean, Dim Sum in San Gabriel, Peruvian... I'd likely skip Italian and sushi since NYC does those pretty darn well.

                                    For a gastrically trying breakfast, head over to Griddle Cafe on Sunset, but prepare for a wait unless you go early.

                                        1. re: a_and_w

                                          Looks pretty not very good tastewise. Haven't been able to find anything like Payard in LA.

                                          Tried, Jins, Boule. Any other suggestions for patiserries?

                                          1. re: Sgee

                                            It's probably not technically a patisserie, but Amandine on Wilshire is worth trying for French baked goods. My cousin is a professionally trained pastry chef, and she liked it the most out of the various bakeries and patisseries (including Jin) that we tried when she was in town.

                                            1. re: a_and_w

                                              Agreed - they do "everyday" pastries (croissants, danishes, rolls) extremely well. Nothing really gussied up but at the same time very presentable.

                                              I try not to but always give in to their banana-filled pastries. Their banana-chocolate danish is the size and shape of the bow of a battleship - wonderful stuff and nice to share. And that smallish-looking chocolate-banana tart holds the key to banana nirvana... The three-inch pastry shell is a substantial puff pastry thing that flutes up with its cut edges - when baked those cut edges form crispy little nuggets of pastry that counter well with the unctuous pastry creme, shredded coconut, mound of banana flambe, that is topped off with a garnish of chocolate chunks. That I don't share. They also have a strawberry-orange tart with pistachios is that is built in almost identical fashion. One could not put any more on to those mini pastry shells without the laws of physics being challenged... Their cakes and tarts in the case are always perfect for me - just enough sweetness, fresh flavors, and easy on the eyes. This is a bad place for dieters...

                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                Right now, I'm obsessed with their blueberry "bakery tart."

                                                1. re: a_and_w

                                                  I will definitely give that one a try next time. So you aren't on a diet either, I see... :)

                                            2. re: Sgee

                                              Amandine is good but it's not Payard - you might try Provence Patisserie and Cafe - 8950 West Olympic Blvd, Bev Hills 90211

                                              1. re: prainer

                                                Have any of you been to Porto's in Burbank (i think). Cuban food and bakery, a wealth of pastries, breads, baked goods, tarts etc. I only sampled a few items, but the overall quality looked quite good, and the few things i had were fantastic.

                                    1. re: Chowpatty

                                      I second Providence, Luques, and Mozza. I love Osteria Mozza, but seeing as how you have Babbo and all the other Batali places in New York you might skip that one. However, if you decide to go there, sit at the mozzarella bar where you can talk to Nancy Silverton if she is feeling so inclined.

                                    2. O.k... I recommend that you look at the Ultimate 2007 restaurants (ranked by CH) first. This is where we hash out where the best food is (seems like THAT is the ? to ask in LA...on this board we have a fair lot of "foodies" who recommend places like the IVY. )

                                      Then, to get your bearings and amuse yourself, read Johnathan Gold's view of L.A. (not a bad perspective) and orient your map questing:

                                      Next: peruse Modernist's take on restaurants by type of food:

                                      And Then:
                                      Make a list, with addresses and pull out a map, or google maps and start planning your intinerary.

                                      Post your intinerary, including days of the week and menus -- and ask for feedback. Trust me, you WILL get it.

                                      Enjoy your L.A. eating.

                                      My $0.02 -- see my profile for some of my favorites, and don't miss one of the local farmer's markets (Friday a.m. in Venice, or Sunday a.m. on Main St - Santa Monica). I recomend making reservations for most of the nicer places, if you can plan that far ahead.

                                      2 Replies
                                        1. re: ElissaInPlaya

                                          LOL. Great post.

                                          I'm sure the OP got a lot more than they bargained for in this thread.

                                        2. In addition to above recommendations, definitely second vote for Josie's in Santa Monica, particularly the Wed. Farmer's Market menu to explore local food. The menu's designed entirely around food bought that day @ the Santa Monica farmer's market. Reasonabley priced as well for this level of restaurant.

                                          1. I am from NYC and have owned restaurants and eaten extensively in both cities and my humble opinion is that the only things LA has to offer that will be interesting to New Yorkers food wise is low key ethnic joints, Asian restaurants such as Vim for Thai, sushi Asanebo, Katsuya, (fill in your fave here) ( any LA sushi kicks NY's butt) same for low key Mex and of course La Seranatta di garabaldi (sp?) in Boyle Heights, Chinese in SGV ( but beware NY has the same chinese in Flushing Queens every bit as good if not better than SGV). Super LA fresh like Joe's or Jar or Fraiche. Luques is pretty basic for NY palate same for most French (there's one just as good on every corner in NYC) Same for Italian except Nancy's mozz bar. ( that is good even for NYers) Another area are scene places like Cut or Nobu (malibu or WH) which is worth going for even the most jaded out of towners. Also, what about great burgers? Even IN and OUT should be tried by ever out of towner. OR Apple Pan. Anyway, just some ramblings. Oh yeah the Reel Inn is worth going to, also.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: larud9233

                                              "Most LA-ish", "foodiest" and "most interesting and delicious" don't all necessarily intertwine. The wide variety of restaurants being mentioned across all these replies is only helping to prove my original point.

                                              Identifying restaurants is easy. larud9233 mentioned 14 restaurants alone. Heck, any regular on the LA board could mention a dozen. If the OP is hoping to get as many responses as possible with the intent to research the ones that get mentioned the most, there still wouldn't be much consensus.

                                              Chowpatty's recs are spot on regarding our most locavore-ish restaurants, but others are correct in trying to steer you toward hole-in-the-walls, as well as Classic LA.

                                              To the OP, the fact that you're staying in Venice isn't a problem as long as you have transportation and a high tolerance for traffic.

                                              How long will you be staying? If you're only going to be here for a weekend, I'd do an intinerary like this:
                                              Friday Night - Father's Office
                                              Saturday - Monte Alban, Musha
                                              Sunday - Hollywood Farmer's Market, Jitlada, The Hungry Cat
                                              Monday Afternoon - Apple Pan

                                              And that itinerary doesn't even come close to the SGV, DTLA or South Bay.

                                              1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                Not sure but think that the Apple Pan is closed on Monday.

                                            2. To put it plainly, the top 10% of LA's fine cuisine would be around the top 40 percential in NYC's fine dining. I have eaten restaurants in NYC that were FAR worse than places I have been to in LA, so....all food isnt bad here. Top NYC foddies who eat the BEST NYC food will find it hard to be even mildly impressed here, but there are standouts for sure.

                                              Momofuku ko is not replicated here but Bastide is sorta close
                                              For momofuku ssam, maybe orris and mako.
                                              Kappo Ishito is good but is more like upscale bento box japanese.

                                              David Chang, Boulud, Tom Colichio, and other great chefs just arent as represented here.

                                              Off the top of my head, here are some decent choices.

                                              Blue Velvet
                                              Citrus at Social
                                              Spago, Cut, Patina, Sona
                                              Pizzeria Mozza
                                              LA MILL coffee
                                              750ml, AOC, Lou
                                              Wilshire Restaurant
                                              Sushi Zo, Asanebo, and crap load of others
                                              Anisette will be good once it opens

                                              A salad at Lucques or JAR, or a caprese at Mozza will be quite hard to beat for NYC, because CA veggies kick east coast veggies a$$.

                                              These are all decent places to eat in LA. I have eaten in manhattan. The list I gave you would be above average in manhattan, but nothing special.

                                              I would choose WD-50 over Bastide, Jean-Georges over Wolfgang puck, etc. etc. I think Pizzeria Mozza is better than Otto, our japense, chinese, and vietnamese is a level above both manhattan and SF. Our best italian, osteria mozza, all angelo are good, but not as good as babbo, lupa, and co. I think providence is niche that manhattan may not have an answer for. Our dessert tasting menus as sona, patina, and providence are probably not as good as p*ong or WD-50. LA MILL may have better coffee than many places in manhattan. Japanese bakereis like Patiesserie Chantilly and Jin Patisserie may be better than many in manhattan. AOC probably isnt as good as Ino, and Lou isnt as good as the spotted pig. Balthazar is far better than Comme Ca, but I think the up coming Anisette could be a good competitor if it ever opens. In general, LA has good food, but if you have eaten at the best in manhattan (e.g. degustation, Apizz, per se, gramercy tavern, wd-50, boulud, gordon ramsey, momofuku ko, etc), we cant offer you much except for our specialties which are asian (lthe entire range), low-end mexican, and a few stand outs like maybe bastide, hatfields, and providence. Melisse and Ortolan are not even close to the upper east side heavy weights.

                                              Maybe you should go from something funky like super high end tempura tasting

                                              Here are a few more links

                                              I have a much larger list, but it isnt organized, so these are just off the top of my head.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: jlrobe

                                                Inn of the Seventh Ray is a joke, avoid if possible
                                                its an embarrasment to LA cuisine

                                                1. re: sizzle

                                                  I haven't been to Inn of the Seventh Ray in years but I do think the setting/ambiance is cool. I am in agreement with most of what I read above except for the snarky comments. If you want to take a drive up Pacific Coast Highway, I would add Malibu Sea Food http://www.malibuseafood.com and Neptune's Net http://www.neptunesnet.com. I know people will say that Malibu Seafood is better but there is no better people watching than at NN.

                                                  1. re: sizzle

                                                    i COMPLETELY AGREE with you, sizzle.
                                                    i so wanted to like the place because i'm a vegetarian/pescatarian.
                                                    the food was just awful and expensive to boot.

                                                  2. re: choucroutegarni

                                                    Really the best equivalent to Spotted Big is Bar Marmont, for obvious reasons.

                                                    1. re: jlrobe

                                                      Ohhh yes tempura at Thousand Cranes is a great suggestion!!

                                                    2. So many good choices. I used to live in NYC and whenever our NY friends come to visit, we take them to the following, all of which have been a consistently huge hit:

                                                      - for sushi, Hirozen (our local go-to), Sasabune (for more serious sushi eaters), or Boss Sushi (for those who like kitschy rolls)

                                                      - for Mexican, we head over to La Casita Mexicana in Bell (a shlep, for sure, but worth it) or we go on an afternoon-long taco tour to Tacos Baja Ensenada (best shrimp and fish tacos ever), El Taurino, and Carnitas Michoacan; I also like Tere's a lot

                                                      - for Korean, Park's BBQ or Soot Bull Jeep

                                                      - for Chinese, Chung King in San Gabriel (Sichuan so spicy it will burn your face off)

                                                      - Campanile on Thursdays for Grilled Cheese Night

                                                      - for high end with an emphasis on local ingredients, Hatfield's, Providence, Lucques, AOC

                                                      - for people-watching and overpriced salads (in other words, NOT foodie), Polo Lounge or poolside at the BH Hotel, La Scala, or Barney Greengrass

                                                      - for ice cream, Milk

                                                      - we've also done a cupcake tour (to follow up the taco tour for a pregnant friend craving sweets); it included Sprinkles, Toast, and Joan's -- not so culinarily exciting, but fun nonetheless

                                                      - for fun food-related shopping, we take people to the Sunday Hollywood Farmers Market (nothing like it in NYC; the Union Square Greenmarket can totally suck it) and to the completely amazing Beverly Hills Cheese Shop (Murray's can suck it, too)



                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: hungrygirl106

                                                        Thanks to everyone for many helpful recommendations.

                                                        1. I live in New York...we visited LA last year and had many good meals...the place I think about most is Babita...this is serious food by a serious chef in a pleasant environment...and you can park on the street! Make a reservation, as it is fairly small.


                                                          Someone else mentioned Musha in Santa Monica...I second that-the food is good and it's a fun place.
                                                          Since you are staying in Venice-Joe's, while nothing extraordinary, is very solid and has a great lunch deal - they have a lovely garden.
                                                          I'd also point out that I liked the restaurant at the Getty Museum, if you happen to be going there.
                                                          If you are going downtown, don't miss the Grand Central Market.
                                                          Opus is another restaurant worth checking out...I enjoyed our visit and really liked the chef, who spared a few moments in his busy evening to talk with us.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: David W

                                                            The chef from Opus that you enjoyed was probably Josef Centeno, who left some months back and is in the process of opening his new place in Echo Park, Lot 1 (1533 Sunset Blvd.).

                                                            1. re: New Trial

                                                              He's still listed on their website...I haven't been keeping up with the news in LA...thanks for the info.

                                                          2. im from nyc, and you know, i posted here back in april before my recent trip to LA...and pretty much assumed the same thing about LA style dining.

                                                            after my trip, i have to totally change my view. LA is a huge and excellent foodie town. all the chowhounders were recommending ethnic joints...ethiopian, sushi, chinese...

                                                            from my trip, i can wholeheartedly recommend hatfields for an excellent nice dinner out...possibly the best meal ive had in ages...nyc or anywhere else included.

                                                            eat at much mexican as you can because it sucks in nyc and you know that. sushi as well. the most random joint is high quality and very fresh.

                                                            1. In addition to Jar on Beverly Blvd, try La Terza on 3rd Street, same part of town. As with jar, the meat is wonderful. For Mexican food, in addition to La Serenata de Garibaldi (only the one in Boyle Heights, not any of the westside spinoffs) try Tlapazola Grill on Gateway, just west of the 405 (the least expensive of these 4). Of the standard ambitious places people have mentioned above, 2 that have disappointed me are Lucques and Campanile: predictable mixes of luxury ingredients, never, for me, meeting the built-up expectations & buzz. For dim sum, go to Elite on Atlantic Blvd in Monterey Park, or Mission 261 on Mission Drive way east and north in San Gabriel. To know you are in L.A., go to Versailles and just tell the waiter you want the chicken, he'll know what to do. The new one on Pico is fine and the old one on Venice Blvd is fine too. While you are here, do not omit the Sunday farmer's market in Hollywood, or alternatively the Wednesday Santa Monica. Enjoy your visit!

                                                              1. Zankou Chicken!!!! Armenian. Garlic. Inexpensive, no atmosphere, but... freaking unbelievably delicious.


                                                                1. While we're talking ethnic or cultural groups, let's not forget the ones who used to be the majority around here: Middle-Class Middle-Americans! It was on their taste buds that the "mainstream" 20th Century local cuisine was founded, and it wasn't all burgers, either. While both Apple Pan and In-N-Out have been suggested, I think the true Old LA Experience is found in places such as Pann's (in the $ range) and Musso-Frank ($$$, though not necessarily); neither one is a "retro" place à la Johnny Rocket's, but a genuine well-preserved relic - Pann's of the '50s, M-F of Old Hollywood - that has changed little more than its prices without becoming a tired parody of itself. As for the food, it's never fabulous, but it's damned good, and the Real Deal.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                                                    imho, every corner lunchonette in new york can do better than Pann's.
                                                                    if one is interested in googie architecture and food that is not available at all the ny luncheonettes, go to dinah's family restaurant near LAX and order all of these:
                                                                    the baked german pancake
                                                                    the baked apple pancake
                                                                    the chile relleno omlette.

                                                                  2. That depends. What do you consider more "foodie" – eating on the westside at moderate to expensive places with other NY/east coast transplants and tourists, or eating like the locals do more towards the east and elsewhere? New York is better for European food, Los Angeles is better for non-European food. Take your pick

                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Ernie

                                                                      I totally disagree. And can respond with two words: 7 Train. Take it from Grand Central to Flushing, and you will get a tour of just about every country and ethnic food out there.....from mexican to chinese, and all without the hassle of 405/10 traffic.

                                                                      1. re: zdiddynyc

                                                                        Of course you disagree. However, I and (big surprise!) many other local Angelenos do not have to deal with the 405/10 interchange because we are nowhere near the westside. City Hall to ELA and Monterey Park is about 5 miles and you can have your pick of Szechuan, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Taiwanese, Chinese Islamic, Nepalese, Afghani, Lebanese, taco trucks, Mexican seafood, Yucatecan, burrito stands, etc. Expand your scope to ~5 miles west of City Hall and you have countless Korean, Thai, Oaxacan, Salvadoreño, etc.

                                                                        I'd love it if Flushing had anything beyond this. If so will check it out next time in NYC if you can give some specific recommendations

                                                                        1. re: Ernie


                                                                          Agree and would prefer if I lived further east but the commute to work in Santa monica would crush me everyday. The above link has a great post on every stop on the 7 train.

                                                                          1. re: zdiddynyc

                                                                            I live on the 7 train line, and I guess I made that post about all the places along the stations, but I have to weigh in here and still say that I find the ethnic food in LA to be of a different (better, maybe) quality than in NYC. Sure, according to the data from the 2000 census, Queens, particularly Jackson Height/Elmhurst was designated the most diverse area in the country. Living around here, yes, one is more likely to live next to someone from any of a couple dozen different countries. However, I've been witnessing a lot of watering down of the ethnic cuisine around here, maybe *because* of the diversity. The great diversity around Queens means that there isn't a concentration of a few ethnic groups to create a large economic niche that cater to its own commuinty, but the businesses (especially restaurants) have to cater to all the ethnics in the area in order to stay afloat. I've talked to several restaurant owners around here, and they tell me that they rely on attracting different customers with different tastes. On the one hand, it's exciting to see Korean restaurants trying to make food for Latino immigrants, or Thai food for south Asian tastes, but there's a sort of watering down happening around these parts that I find, on the one hand exciting as I mentioned, and on the other hand, a little disconcerting. For example, I'm finding there are more than a few Ecuadorian-Mexican restaurants. I don't know what that means, but I've tried the food at some of these places, and it's not that good. Most recently some of my favorite straightforwardly Chilean, Venezuelan, Indian places have closed and in their places there are more watered down versions, sometimes completely remodelled, or turned into Latino- or South Asian-owned diners or pizza joints that offer some traditional fare on a small portion of their menus, recognizing that there are profits to be made from the delivery business.

                                                                            How this differs from the LA experience is that while the ethnic neighborhoods in LA are more dispersed, they seem more fully formed, and in that respect, you have many businesses that cater to their own community, and preserve many aspects of the culture, and in this case, the cuisines. Whenever I get back to LA (born and raised), I tend to go for the cuisines I can't get good versions of in NYC. That could include: Armenian, Persian, Thai (I live half a block from Sripraphai and long for dishes from Thai town), regional Mexican, BBQ, or even Cajun/Creole, Korean, just to name a few.

                                                                            Also, let me just say that I find many posters here a little misinformed about both LA and NYC. Both cities are rapidly changing, and in many ways, they don't resemble the cities they were even 5 or 10 years ago (and I'm not just talking about the East Village or Hollywood/Highland). I'm looking forward to seeing the numbers from the 2010 census to see just how they've changed. LA is hugely diverse. And there are many communities in NYC not serviced by the subway system that rarely get talked about. Maybe some of you visitors to NYC should actually rent a car (it's cheaper for out-of-state residents) and get to some of those areas. Conversely, I think it's time for some LA car-addicts to try the public transit system or ride a bike and see what's in front of them. I find so many LA posts about people driving by places, but never bothering to stop to examine what's right there. Just go. Same for NYers. Get out of Manhattan and Brooklyn. There are 3 more boroughs in the city. All accessible by subway. Better yet, try taking the buses. You'll find some very unique places.

                                                                            1. re: E Eto

                                                                              I read Zdiddynyc's post last night and came up with a very similar (almost exact) conclusion - I wrote about two paragraphs, read it, and said to myself, "I'm from LA - writing this response may sound like a counter-rant and I'm just going to start a war... too many folks from the East coast on this board that I truly admire..." I decided to delete it.

                                                                              Aside from a few details, stylistic differences (yours more eloquent), I could have laid my copy next to yours and someone comparing the two would have concluded we were plotting a bi-coastal counterassault on that post about the 7...

                                                                              This whole issue about who has the most culturally diverse city, neighborhood, etc., is very subjective - many cities lay claim to this and oftentimes the info can be skewed and erroneous. I know that when I was in high school, two Westside schools were tagged with the label of, "Most diverse student bodies in America" - University and Venice (Go Gondos!) High Schools. Who decided that and where they got the info, I have no idea. What I can say with certainty is that of my homeroom of about 30 students, 11 countries (off the top of my head) were represented among us, including our teacher who was a Czech immigrant. These were fresh-off-the-boat ESL students. And the ethnic food diversity around the LA area very well reflects this as you pointed out. As to who has the best? As this argument could go on forever, reading your post brings a lot more balance to this topic.

                                                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                "....and if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with, love the one you’re with, love the one you’re with, love the one you’re with."

                                                                              2. re: E Eto

                                                                                actually i have to admit that while i drive plenty for my fav spots in LA. lately i have found the best thai spot that is walking distance - Thai Patio. one thing about LA - we are quick to jump in are cars but for those of us that live in densely saturated eating areas like East Hollywood/Thai Town - there is a world of stuff within a 5 minute walk that is at least worth trying . . .

                                                                                1. re: E Eto

                                                                                  Wise words, Mr. Eto. I actually do most of my chowing by foot and bus in LA.

                                                                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                    i do think u just defined foodie E. Eto...as i think a foodie is someone that a) loves to eat and b) is willing to go to lengths to get great food....thats my definition

                                                                            2. re: zdiddynyc

                                                                              The 7 train is pretty awesome. So much easier than dealing with the 10, even if you live east of the 405(which I do). I would suggest that the OP avoid LA's dim sum. Even in the San Gabriel(fairly overrated) there are only a handful of places worth trying and not of them are really any better than NY's. I would say the best part about the LA dining experience in comparison to NYC's is our weather. Dine outside - always an easy win for a wandering New Yorker. The fact is NY is the most ethnically diverse city in the world(possibly London as well) and to tell someone to go to the east side for an ethnic bite is kind of pointless - THEY HAVE IT ALL OVER THERE! Except for the the ultimate stand out(next to sushi) - Tacos. Get yourself to a Taco Truck ASAP. Try taco zone on Alvarado and get a suadero taco.

                                                                              1. re: blackbookali

                                                                                I have to say that yes there are restos in SGV not found in NY. Some old school Chinese as well as newer restaurant types in places like Rowland Heights. I find it curious that you say overrated given the fact some things like in SGV you still can't find in NY and that in past posts exNYers for example asked for chow mein (without noodles) rather than real chow mein(with noodles) served here; what they were looking for more likely resembled chop suey, which was not really chinese chow mein--just one example(It's like asking for Tex-Mex or Puerto Rican/Mexican instead of real Mexican). Another reason for the variety of Chinese being tops in LA is that this is the city/area with the largest Chinese immigrant and Chinese-American population in the US. San Francisco only has a higher percentage because it is a substantially smaller city overall in population, overall though the Chinese-American population is far far larger in the LA area (which shows in the 2000 census), which is why you can find more breadth, variety, and quality of regional chinese cuisines here than any other city including SF and NY.

                                                                                1. re: b0ardkn0t

                                                                                  agree with b0ardkn0t...im chinese and im from LA and i live in NY, the breadth and quality of chinese food in LA far surpasses NY (and i mean by alot)...its not even a contest that said b/c the chinese areas of LA have become so large and far from alot of people's geography (i would take a guess most of the people on this board live on the westside), I don't think that it is as easy to get it all in one area (i.e. like Flushing, Flushing is actual quite small when ure talking about where all the restaurants are), so i think alot of people in LA unless they grew up in the SGV or are chowhounder types havent the faintest clue as to the breadth and quality of chinese food in LA that is available to them

                                                                                  perfect example, i have cousins in santa monica who are chinese, but not nearly as hardcore about food as i am, who have no idea what the SGV has to offer other than a select few restaurants our relatives have taken them to

                                                                                  also, its not just chinese food, see my post at the bottom, i think there are several ethnic cuisines where there is no contest in LA vs NY, don't get my wrong NY definitely has its strong points (high end dining, european, indian etc), but the generalization that NY is better than LA is a false statement. Rather i think that you need to compare on individual cuisines rather than broad generalizations

                                                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                                                    generalizing is bad in general(hehe). I have to agree back, and will agree on the various cuisines, admittedly it's a been a couple of years since I was last on the east coast, but for the most part then, I still found the food scene exactly as you've described it.

                                                                                  2. re: b0ardkn0t

                                                                                    id love a few reccs boardknot - there is a lot of sifting to do in the SGV

                                                                            3. Hello,

                                                                              I am a NYer and was just in LA two weeks ago. I lived in LA for 3 years and went back to visit two weeks ago. We didn't eat at super high end places this visit but here is where we went:

                                                                              The Original Sanamluang on Hollywood Blvd. We also at the second one in North Hollywood, but they dumbed down the menu slightly during our visit. I love them both but The Original one was perfect at lunchtime on a weekday. It was mostly Thai clientele and the food blew Sripraphai away, and I go often. Among the dishes we had were the duck salad, minced chicken with basil and chiles. The Thai iced tea was so much better than Sripraphai's. At night, it's usually a Hollywood and night crowd. Plus both locations close at 3 or 4 am.

                                                                              Pizzeria Mozza was excellent. Four of us ordered and shared four pizzas: 1) margherita; 2) burrata and squash blossoms; 3) fennel sausage; 4) pineapple with speck, mozzarella, tomato, and jalapenos. They were all hits. Everyone loved the speck with pineapple and jalapenos. I also really loved the burrata and squash blossoms. We shared four desserts but the butterscotch budino was the standout!

                                                                              My husband and I shared a delicious burger at the Original Father's Office on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. We went around 6 pm on a weeknight, sat at the bar and avoided the lines. The beet salad and sweet potato fries in a cart were perfect!

                                                                              Daichan is an unknown local place on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. It serves Japanese Soul Food and there is usually a line. We really enjoyed the food, decor and service here with homestyle Japanese dishes. We had a toro poki bowl and some short ribs. The portions were huge and the prices were very, very reasonable.

                                                                              Vinh Loi Tofu was another great find on Sherman Way in Studio City. This is a Vietnamese vegan restaurant. The owner makes his own tofu with fake meat and his dishes are delicious. It is only open from 7 am - 7 pm for takeout or to eat at a handful of tables but his creations are innovative and delicious. We had "beef" rice rolls, pho, and some other noodle dishes that he recommended. I didn't have it this time but he also has a "chicken and fries" dish.

                                                                              Went to the Brentwood Mart and ate at Frida's. We watched them make tortillas and the tamale special for the day. I was pleasantly surprised. It was no taco truck but the torta, tamales, tacos and horchata were excellent.

                                                                              Porto's Bakery in Burbank is outstanding. We were watching the hockey playoffs and ordered a bunch of pastries and cake. We didn't have any of the cuban lunch specials since we just ate but we wish we didn't.

                                                                              I hope this helps!

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: sfslinky

                                                                                Just to keep places in their proper place, Vihn Loi is in Reseda rather than Studio City: http://www.vinhloitofu.com/ (and for which a visitor from NY - even if they did live out here for 3 years at one time - is given a free pass for not knowing one SFV location from the other).

                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                  Sorry. Vinh Loi is in Reseda. Big typo! I do know the differences between the two.

                                                                                  1. re: sfslinky

                                                                                    i know i've posted this before, but i can't resist.

                                                                                    at vinh loi tofu, imho, the best eating strategy by far, is to order one of every item on the menu and sit there and stuff yourself until you are comatose.. . .

                                                                                    it is worth it.

                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                      I love that strategy. I wish I could do it more often

                                                                              2. Hi Eboges! Welcome to LA, you'll be happy to know that the foodie scene in LA almost is beginning to rival that of NY ;) hehe ... I know about a place where you can get the most interesting and delicious foods of LA all in one spot.

                                                                                Mario Batali's Mozza, David Myer's Come Ca, and a very NY styled eatery called Grace will all be at this Wine & Spirits Magazine Event. What's really cool about it is that there are a handful of LA's fave dive restaurants like a hot dog stand and a local coffee hangout. I think there are gonna be something like close to 100 wineries from all over the world AND I heard the wine will be poured by the hottest up-and-coming sommeliers from all of the restaurants.

                                                                                I think it's on May 22 - are you going to be in LA then?

                                                                                1. I'm a New Yorker living in LA. There are great meals to be had in both cities. When people come here from there, I always always always go to AOC. I love it. They love it. We sit for a good long time drinking wine and eating cheese. What could be bad??

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: tagsiemers

                                                                                    Funny that you mention AOC! My husband and I are both New Yorkers (him native, me transplant) and AOC is one of our favorite restaurants in the entire country. We eat out all the time in NYC & have eaten at many big-name spots in NYC as well as L.A. but have not found anything quite like AOC yet. We'll have to visit Lou on Vine on this trip to compare! But I do highly recommend AOC to visitors from NYC. I honestly don't think Ino is better than AOC at all.

                                                                                    However I disagree very much that L.A. sushi is better than NYC sushi. We're regulars at Sushi Yasuda & had a chance to try some of L.A.'s top sushi spots on our last trip, including Zo, and Yasuda is still the best for me, bar none. Then again I have NOT eaten at Urasawa yet, so...

                                                                                  2. I'm a New Yorker who has been making semi-regular trips to LA for the last five years, and I have to say my eating experiences have been a mixed bag. I've had fantastic sushi at R-23 downtown (though haven't been there for three or more years) and also at the Hump at Santa Monica airport--which can get pricey if you order the specials, but the setting is a lot of fun and overall it was a memorable experience. On the other hand, I've tried much-touted places like Angelini Osteria and the Hungry Cat, and found both utterly unmemorable. Have been to Mozza (the pizzeria) and although it was pleasant, you can do just as well in NY at Lupa or Otto. My consistent LA fave has been A.O.C. (especially love sitting at the cheese bar and getting recommendations from the server there), which I've been to at least four times. Lately, though, I'm really loving Lou on Vine, which almost feels like a much cozier, lower-key and less expensive version of AOC. It's tucked away in a strip mall in Hollywood but manages to create a surprisingly warm and inviting atmosphere. The emphasis is on organic/natural wines and American artisanal cheeses, plus small, shareable plates with lots of local produce. Monday nights they have prix fixe suppers, though I haven't been. And you have to try the pig candy!


                                                                                    For comparison, in New York I also love Franny's and Blue Hill, also places like Little Owl, Market Table, the Red Cat, Mermaid Inn, Five Points, Frankie's Spuntino, Supper, Seymour Burton, etc.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: equilibrist

                                                                                      Have to disagree that you can eat as well at Otto as at P. Mozza - the glory of P. Mozza is in its crust, which is distinctly Californian - it has the crackle and chew of an artisanal loaf of bread. I remember Otto's crust being fairly anemic and crackerlike. Also, while Lupa has historically been one of my favorite restaurants, their antipasti/contorni (which I used to love as much as their pastas) have been uneven in the last few years - the ones I tried at Mozza were all excellent.

                                                                                      1. re: daveena

                                                                                        Sorry to change the subject a bit, but I just have to say that Mozza's brussel sprouts in balsamic and bread crumbs changed my mind about my most hated food. Same with the clam pizza. Being a LA native, a clam on pizza would not have been my first choice, but holy moly Mr. Batali changed my mind.

                                                                                        And, speaking of Mozza, I heard that the sommelier is leaving for another star chef restaurant................................

                                                                                    2. OK, eboges, the ball is in your court. You have enough information -- now you really have to report back!

                                                                                      1. I would take my foodie friends from NY to:

                                                                                        -Musha (for Japanese izakaya type of food)
                                                                                        -The Penthouse (for drinks and view of the ocean before or after Musha)
                                                                                        -The Wilshire (fresh local ingredients in a lovely garden setting)
                                                                                        -Orris (be sure to stroll along Sawtelle Blvd and check out the array of other foodie places before or after dinner)
                                                                                        -Santoka in Mitsuwa Market WLA(for a bowl of the best ramen in LA. for dessert be sure to get the soft serve ice cream topped with red bean paste and mochi balls from the vendor/stand next to the bookstore)
                                                                                        -Upstairs 2 or AOC (for small plates and wine by the glass)
                                                                                        -Asanebo (for the best omakase other than Urasawa)
                                                                                        -Urasawa (best omakase experience!!!)
                                                                                        -Lu Din Gee (best Peking Duck and their unique healthy Konnyaku dishes)
                                                                                        -Din Tai Fung (for xiao long bao and vegetable dumplings with delicate handmade paper-thin dumpling skins)
                                                                                        -Sinbala (after Din Tai Fung, for Taiwanese sausage and shave ice)
                                                                                        -Bin Bin Konjac (next door to Sinbala, after Din Tai Fung, for yummy taro ball and konjac in shave ice)
                                                                                        -Scoops (for unusual flavors by ice cream genius Mr. Tai Kim)

                                                                                        and perhaps Saddleback Lodge (I haven't been myself, but thought it might be an experience that can't be replicated in NY)

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: fdb

                                                                                          To help you navigate this vast city:

                                                                                          Din Tai Fung Restaurant
                                                                                          1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                                                                          8022 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

                                                                                          Urasawa Restaurant
                                                                                          218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

                                                                                          11941 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

                                                                                          2006 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

                                                                                          651 W Duarte Rd Ste F, Arcadia, CA 91007

                                                                                          Wilshire Restaurant
                                                                                          2454 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90404

                                                                                          424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                                                          712 N Heliotrope Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90029

                                                                                          Lu-Din Gee Cafe
                                                                                          1039 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

                                                                                          Upstairs 2
                                                                                          2311 Cotner Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90064

                                                                                          The Penthouse
                                                                                          1111 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                                                          3760 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90066

                                                                                          1. re: fdb

                                                                                            For LA, I'd recommend California cuisine-oriented restaurants like Lucques, or even Mozza sort qualifies, because it's very produce driven which would be the reason for a NY food groupie to try it. Ordinarily, I wouldn't recommend an italian joint to a NYC-er, but Mozza is the best of the Batali restaurants (I suspect because Silverton is a great chef as well). For a new experience, I'd go for the cuisines that are done better in LA than NY, so I'd try recommendations for Mexican, Persian, Armenian, and all asian cuisines (japanese, chinese, vietnamese, korean).

                                                                                            If you are a lover of chinese food, San Gabriel Valley is astounding. It's bigger than the size of Manhattan with chinese food everywhere. You get good chinese in Flushing, but it isn't at the depth and quality of SGV, so I recommend that area as well.

                                                                                          2. re: fdb

                                                                                            Good rec for food and atmosphere, but it's Saddle PEAK Lodge, not Saddleback Lodge. Just be aware it's very game-centric in fare.

                                                                                          3. As a former NY-er I do find that sushi and Mexican are far superior in LA. Sasabune is a great rec, but I also like Hamasaku (very LA- in a strip mall and rolls are named after celebs).

                                                                                            Now, I know it's not a restaurant, but taco trucks are amazing and so LA. There's a great one on 11th and Colorado in Santa Monica. Carne Asada burrito is to die for! Gardens of Taxco in WeHo is amazing for Mexican food, as is La Serinada de Geribaldi in Santa Monica on 4th St. I'm just naming places fairly close to you, but you can also head over to E. LA.

                                                                                            Also, Melisse in Santa Monica is amazing in my opinion, but I usually go to Jiraffe instead because it's more affordable. La Botte is superb, but I don't know if I'd bother with Italian at all. Lucques, Joe's, Gloria's El Salvadorian in Palms... all these are great but not trendy.

                                                                                            Also, go to Korea Town for Korean Barbecue!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's far larger and better than NY's ever-shrinking 32nd street-ish row, and head to The Prince for some drinks afterwards.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: msciara

                                                                                              Just had dinner at Gloria's the other night... She's a wonderful lady, and her sons embrace all guests with a warm smile. The Plato Tipico and the Carne Adobada are my favorites. They probably never will, but I think it's about time they bust out of their current location and bring things up a couple notches...

                                                                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                Oooooh, that Carne Adobada is the reason I pay the piper at Bally Total Fitness for two grueling hours a day. I love how low key Gloria's is, but you are right, they deserve more!

                                                                                            2. I'm probably fairly well versed in this since i'm native LA, but live in NY now and go back to LA constantly. I think this whole stigma against LA as a non-foodie city is non-sense, I think that certain types of food are better in NY vs LA and LA vs NY. I do think LA has a certain stigma b/c of its association with Hollywood that its a city of little substance, but I think NYers forget that the majority of LA is not making movies. Just like people in LA think of NY has these hardened cold mean people with funny accents (all dumb stereo types) eating pizza all the time (i actually hate most pizza in NY)

                                                                                              At the high end, NY has excellent restaurants, so I don't think what you're getting at Providence etc is going to be so much different than what you can get in NY (better or worse). I'd probably give an edge to NY in the arena.

                                                                                              For ethnic food, I think the following is substantially better in LA (mainly due to the much larger populations of the given ethnicity):
                                                                                              - Chinese - probably best in the US
                                                                                              - Korean - definitely best in the US
                                                                                              - Vietnamese - definitely best in the US
                                                                                              - Japanese - probably best in the US; however I'll break that down a bit as I think sushi at places like Yasuda in NY is outstanding. Rather things like ramen are much better in LA
                                                                                              - Mexican - definitely best in the US
                                                                                              - Persian - definitely best in the US

                                                                                              I'm just going to give a few recs that I think would be close to impossible to get in NY and I think would be very memorable for you; you can get the addresses for all of the below on yelp:
                                                                                              - Chinese: Lu Din Gee (peking duck), Seafood Village (chiu chow), 101 Noodle Express (amazing beef roll, great dumplings)
                                                                                              - Korean: Ondal 2 (korean crab stew...amazing and it is not available in NY), Park's BBQ (amazing korean bbq, light years better than NY)
                                                                                              - Vietnamese: (you'll have to trek to little saigon, check the boards as I eat there and its amazing, but i dont claim to be the viet food expert by any means)
                                                                                              - Japanese: a ton of options, for sushi check the boards as thats always a hotly debated topic...for ramen I absolutely love Santouka
                                                                                              - Mexican: so many options, but a decently close option would be Guelaguetza (Oaxacan); fyi, they have several locations
                                                                                              - Persian: alot of options (can check the boards), but I do like Darya

                                                                                              13 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Lau

                                                                                                add Thai to that list as well (check the boards many posts about this)

                                                                                                1. re: Lau

                                                                                                  Well said, Lau! I agree -- NY has the edge on the high end, but LA has substantially better ethnic food.

                                                                                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                                                                                    thx! haha

                                                                                                    both are great food cities with their own merits...i hate when people stereo type either city with ridiculous statements, unfortunately i find it comes from the NYers typically as I believe alot of them have heard "NY is the greatest food city in the world" or "NY has the best diversity in the world" etc too many times

                                                                                                    1. re: Lau

                                                                                                      I think the big difference is not that that LA's ethnic eateries are less diverse than New York's. It's that they're simply more accessible due to geography, car and parking availability. For example, my sister lives in Brooklyn and she refuses to drive 10 minutes to DiFara pizza because it's too inconvenient to find parking. For the most part, that doesn't happen in LA... there are some tight spots in LA such as the parking lots at Soot Bull Jeep, Kyochan, Sanamluang, etc. but compared to NY it's a relatively stress free experience, particularly when you head out to the SGV.

                                                                                                      Also, the ethnic enclaves in NY are different.... more African, Caribbean and Eastern European foods whose neighborhoods are way out of the "comfort zone" of most Brooklyn/Manhattanites.

                                                                                                      This conversation could easily branch out into Not About Food territory... maybe the mods could move it?

                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                        i'm not saying that LA is any less diverse than NY rather I'm saying that's the common misconception.

                                                                                                        you are right in that it is much more of a pain in the ass in NY travel-wise although funny enough that proximity wise NY is just more packed into a smaller area, so its actually closer in alot of cases.

                                                                                                        i also agree that the enclaves are different, I think certain foods like indian food are much better in the tri-state area than LA

                                                                                                        1. re: Lau

                                                                                                          A while back I started a thread on cheap ethnic food in NY-- you may be interested to read (and post) suggestions there. I think it's a great resource for LA hounds traveling to NYC.


                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                  2. re: Lau

                                                                                                    Santouka is great, but now I think Asa is better. IMHO it's improved noticeably over the months. Though perhaps I'm just a little bored of Santouka since I go there far more often than I do Asa (which isn't open for lunch).

                                                                                                    In general, LA (particularly Gardena/Torrance) has more and better ramen places. However, now that NY has a branch of Ippudo, I think they win the ramen crown. It's unnecessarily fancy and expensive, and there are some things Asa does better (noodle texture, chashu), but overall I think Ippudo was the best ramen I've had outside of Japan.

                                                                                                    But at the high end, not having been to either place myself (yet - but soon!), I think the general consensus is that Urasawa is a better overall experience than Masa, especially when you factor in Masa's insane price. And there's also Totoraku - is there any place like that in NY? (Speaking of, I was supposed to go there late last year or early this year, but now I'm putting it off in favor of Urasawa.)

                                                                                                    For Chinese, Flushing is good, but it does not compare to SGV. Korean...how about Soot Bull Jeep?

                                                                                                    1. re: mrhooks

                                                                                                      Ippudo was fairly mediocre when I ate there recently (ive eaten there more than once), Santouka etc are much much better. I mean its not bad, but its not that great either. If you check NY boards, I think most people would agree with me. I think Ippudo and Setagaya both received a ton of hype since they were branches of real japanese ramen joints, but both I think have fallen short of the hype...like i said they are decent, but nothing amazing.

                                                                                                      agree on chinese obviously

                                                                                                      korean i like park's better than soot bull jeep, but they are both good and korean food isnt even a contest, LA is light years better

                                                                                                      1. re: Lau

                                                                                                        Ippudo vs. Santouka, it all depends on what you're looking for, I guess. Noodles - I greatly prefer the Hakata style, so I can't really compare them objectively I guess, but I will say that I think Santouka's noodles are cooked pretty well but otherwise not too noteworthy. Broth - I guess I'm a little tired of the sweetness of Santouka's broth, though if I compare them objectively, I'd probably have to say Santouka's has more depth. Toppings - Ippudo's chashu wasn't very good, but their buta kakuni was very good. I think that put it over the top for me, since the only other ramen place I've had it was in Japan.

                                                                                                        Anyway, if Santouka is the height of LA ramen, then LA is pretty much tied with NY for the ramen crown. Although, maybe LA has a bit more variety? Though I think LA only has a handful of good ramen places, so I'm a little doubtful of that.

                                                                                                        1. re: mrhooks

                                                                                                          I need to make it out to NY sometime soon and give Ippudo and Setagaya a crack. Ippudo is sourcing local ingredients for their ramen, which probably results in a different (slightly inferior?) bowl than what you'd find in Japan. Chabuya LA does the same thing and totally blows, yet Chabuya in Tokyo rates very well. The word is that Santouka flies their broth in frozen from Japan, so in a way it's like cheating lol.

                                                                                                    2. re: Lau

                                                                                                      I agree with the sentiment that there are a few very common misconceptions about NYC and LA dining.

                                                                                                      #1- LA sushi beats NY sushi. It doesn't. Maybe overall for price and quality, but like everything else, NYC excels at high end sushi. I agree that Yasuda is tops in the $100/pp range. I have been told that the quality of Yasuda and Urasawa are equal. Yasuda obviously wins for variety. As for Masa vs Urasawa, I think consensus is that the sushi at Masa is unrivaled. It's just absurdly priced. The overall kaiseki experience is supposed to be better at Urasawa. Hopefully I will be able to answer that question for myself with a back to back tasting in the near future.

                                                                                                      #2. Flushing is on par with SGV in terms of variety and quality. Not even close if we're talking Taiwanese and regional Chinese cuisine. SGV is pretty much tops. It's surprisingly difficult to find a bowl of well made hand pulled beef noodle soup or chao ma mien in NYC, and even in Flushing. Korean easily goes to LA.

                                                                                                      And though NYC may rule high end and creativity, I think we are witnessing a dining renaissance in LA. Sure you have the NY imports like Mozza and Craft but I think places like AOC, Grace, Providence, etc help establish a wide variety of quality mid-high end options. It's certainly much better than the days when Spago and Patina were pretty much the only two tickets in town.

                                                                                                      1. re: Porthos

                                                                                                        sushi - honestly im not even sure anymore where is better b/c i really like yasuda alot...id say there are alot more great sushi restaurants in LA, but when it comes to the very best, i think its very close

                                                                                                        i dont think flushing is on par with SGV, in fact i dont even think its close...the quality and variety available in SGV is much better; dont get me wrong, i eat in flushing alot, but its not as good

                                                                                                        agree on the last point

                                                                                                        1. re: Lau

                                                                                                          Actually, I think we agree on all 3 points. Well, at least 2.5. Point number 2 was addressing the misconception that Fushing is on par with SGV but like you said, it's not even close to being even close.

                                                                                                          As for sushi...Mori and Zo have closed the gap on Yasuda. If you combine the variety of Zo, the quality and seasonality at Mori, the rice at Mori, and impart the ability to prepare and grill multiple varieties of fresh eel then you have our beloved Yasuda-san. Until then, Yasuda edges out the competition in that $100/pp range.

                                                                                                    3. I have a copy of a recent Los Angeles Magazine that lists the best restaurants in the city, if I find it I can fax you a copy if you email me. Off the top of my head, I know that Lucques was number one, and I think if you can do a Sunday supper their you will enjoy it. They do whatever is fresh at the market that week - you get an app, main & dessert for only $40.

                                                                                                      I also remember that A.O.C., Urasawa, Cut, Mozza and some others from the list were on it - I will look for the magazine tomorrow. Also, this month in Conde Nast Traveler they did a hot spots around the world special. Two L.A. restaurants were on the list: Fraiche (Also listed by NY Times food critic Frank Bruni as one of his top 10 in the country) as well as Comme Ca.

                                                                                                      And for the record, I don't think it makes a difference where you are from to be a foodie and as this board shows we don't all always agree, but we disagree passionately! Good luck!

                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: hungryhyena

                                                                                                          Clarification: Fraiche was in Frank Bruni's list of top 10 new restaurants in the US outside of NYC that had not already been reviewed by him in 2007. It's still in excellent company, but it's a very different list than the overall top 10 in the US.

                                                                                                          1. re: hungryhyena

                                                                                                            Luques is top of the line for out of towners - ambiance, food and a chance of a celebrity. Last time we went, my snobby sister in law from Montana positively kwelled seeing Frank Gehry taking in an early dinner.

                                                                                                            1. re: ZoeZ

                                                                                                              i think you mean KVELLED. How snobby could she be if she is from Montana?

                                                                                                              1. re: larud9233

                                                                                                                There's tons of out-of-state urban transplants in Montana - a lot of them are monied. Many celebs are among them - they've bought up huge tracts of land and are turning them into estates, as well as disrupting the once-conservative and independent-minded attitudes of the state. Talk to just about any older native Montanan and they'll most likely spill their anger...

                                                                                                            2. re: hungryhyena

                                                                                                              2 things, first LA mag can be "bought", they take advertisers and favor them so their tops are not tops (LA WEEKLY maybe) and Luques certainly does not plan their Sunday supper according to "whats fresh at the market". An in addition, on Sundays they give their servers off and only have bussers running the special which does not leave the most impressive dining experience.

                                                                                                            3. As a "real foodie", I'm happy in any city whenever I'm served really great food. Sometimes it's specifically local - a beignet in New Orleans, a bratwurst in Milwaukee, pastrami on rye in NYC - but it doesn't have to be local. There are also great beignets, bratwurst, and pastrami in other cities. The atmosphere in every city is unique. When my New York friends are in town and we go to Lucques, AOC, Pizzeria Mozza, Chinois, or Spago, they always feel like they've been to "real" LA restaurants. The vibes are totally different than in NYC. Go to Graumann's Chinese, the Cinerama Dome, Venice beach, and the Getty to have unique LA experiences. Then take your friends to a great restaurant.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: letthemeatcake

                                                                                                                ...Or take then to Little Saigon, Thai Town, Koreatown and the San Gabriel Valley for an even more unique LA experience that even many Angelenos don't know about.

                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                  Nishimura is a horrible example for sushi in LA. On J.Gold's visits, Nishimura just stood there while his assistants worked and this was exactly what I witnessed on my 2 visits there. Also, the rudness at Nishimura is unrivaled and should not be chosen to represent "best LA dining experience".

                                                                                                                2. I know your dillema with having to search out food in LA...I am a foodie and can give you a couple good leads:

                                                                                                                  Versailles- has 4 locations including Motor/Venice, Pico/LaCienega/ Sepulveda Blvd in Manhattan Beach and Ventura Blvd in Encino. Great Cuban food for $10.00 or so.

                                                                                                                  Venice blvd near motor in a strip mall
                                                                                                                  Best kept secret in LA....Wonderful Food! Mexican Menu and Salvadoran Menu.
                                                                                                                  Order off of Gloris's special menu and you will burst your bubble for 10 or 11 bucks.
                                                                                                                  Best of the best!

                                                                                                                  Woodman ave
                                                                                                                  corner of strip mall just north of Ventura blvd
                                                                                                                  Greatl Lebanese food.
                                                                                                                  Huge gyros for 6 bucks
                                                                                                                  Chicken or beef kabob meal for $15.00 but feeds 2 easily

                                                                                                                  Papa Cristos
                                                                                                                  Pico Blvd at Normandie
                                                                                                                  Not much for neighborhood but great Greek food on the cheap.
                                                                                                                  Great Chicken Kabob plate of $11.00 Can't beat it.

                                                                                                                  Remember, if your new here stay away from those trendy places that most of the
                                                                                                                  dining websites want to steer you toward.. Typical LA hype. I never got it and never will...
                                                                                                                  When it comes to music, dining, entertainement, etc. do your own thing. Never rely on
                                                                                                                  other peoples recommendations (Me excepted of course). LA natives are very superficial and go with hype rather than substance. I have 20 years experience with this town.


                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: alaplex

                                                                                                                    LA natives are few - I'm one. No hype here - those that bring as well as give in to the hype are usually from that group that have moved here - most that have moved here are great folk - but a whole lotta loonies and kooks definitely hid inside of their wheel wells on the trips over. We locals hang low and loose. But I gotta respect you for your Gloria's tip...

                                                                                                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                      You're too generous. Coming from a native...

                                                                                                                      1. re: bulavinaka

                                                                                                                        As a native too, couldn't agree with you more, bulavinaka!

                                                                                                                    2. I think Animal could be the next "foodie" spot in LA. Not too expensive, interesting menu, good execution, affordable wine.

                                                                                                                      1. I can't believe no one's mentioned Mil Jugos in Santa Ana. Abso-freakin-lutely best arepas in town. I salivate just thinking about that place..

                                                                                                                        Mil Jugos
                                                                                                                        318 W 5th St, Santa Ana, CA 92701

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: mstinawu

                                                                                                                          I tried Mil Jugos for the first time a couple of weeks ago and have not stopped thinking about their Cachapas? Amazing food at bargain prices.. I wished they would open on Sundays though.