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May 13, 2008 06:15 PM

Looking for Hawaiian Plate Lunch in L.A.

I am from Hawaii. So please dont anyone tell me L&L, because that place is terrible. I hope nobody is judging Hawaiian food on the quality of these places. I am looking for a hole in the wall, non-franchise place where the food is made to order. If there is nothing around I guess I have to suffer, but if anyone knows of a little gem I would greatly appreciate the reccomendation. Plate lunch consists of many different options of meat or seafood along with homemade macaroni salad and rice. PLease someone come to the rescue.

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    1. re: wilafur

      Bruddah's definitely feels like some of the ancient hole-in-the-wall grinds joints you find in the older parts of the Islands. Most of the help are from there, and the food is about as close as I've had to some of the places I went to as a kid. Not exact in atmosphere as the ones off Waiakamilo Road, but of about the same vintage... and definitely stay away from King's Hawaiian (their baked goods are worthy though - lilikoi filling in their cakes jam!). What Waikiki Beach is to locals, King's is the equivalent in Island food...

      1. re: bulavinaka

        Agree about the entree's, but King's bakery is ono. Go there for the cakes.

        1. re: Ogawak

          Agreed on the bakery - their cakes are great. I was strictly referring to their food in the restaurant - some of it is just okay but most of it is off the mark. Under-flavored (poki) or over-salted (kalua pork) on the standard dishes is an insult, given their name and lineage...

      2. re: wilafur

        You know it's good when you see lots of sumo sized people eating there.

        Owner Earl makes everything from scratch. Great saimin, he gets the saimin noodles from Hilo. Mac salad is made with spaghetti noodles not elbow macaroni. They got the best loco moco in LA.

        Waitresses are easy on the eyes too.

        Closed Mondays

        1. re: wilafur

          it's all about the grilled butterfish

        2. Besides Bruddah's, check out TNT's Aloha, Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop and Aloha Teriyaki (original location). You'll find too many joints with 'teriyaki' in their name that are really just Japanese fast food.

          I think the Loft at Lahaina spinoffs are mostly good, others will disagree.

          1033 W Gardena Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

          Gardena Bowl Coffee Shop
          15707 S Vermont Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

          Aloha Teriyaki
          4834 W Rosecrans Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250

          TNT's Aloha Cafe
          24032 Vista Montana, Torrance, CA 90505

          1 Reply
          1. re: DiveFan

            In addition, there is Bob's Okazu-ya in Gardena on Vermont as well.

            Bob's Okazu-ya
            16814 S Vermont Ave Gardena, CA, 90247

            Though, I've heard that Bob has sold the place, the quality may be in a state of flux.
            But, Bruddah's is a good mainland offering, their rotating daily specials are good. Afterwards, stop by the Mexican bakery next door for some cheap goodies.

            I love the Bowling alley coffee shop, definately not the type of food one normally associates with bowling. :-)

            Bob's Okazuya
            16814 S Vermont Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

          2. Try Rutt's Hawaiian Cafe in Culver City. I've only been there for breakfast, but they do have lunch plates.

            3 Replies
            1. re: yamyampang

              Ahh, Rutts. Haven't been in years. Used to go there often for breakfast ("royals" and teri tacos). Last time I went (maybe 5+ yrs ago), I noticed new staff and thought we were told the place had new ownership. True? Food the same as long ago?

              On the same topic, is a "royal" (egg, meat, onion, sprouts and other stuff, cooked together and laid over a bed of rice with Teri sauce) a true Hawaiian breakfast dish or just a Westside concoction? Kenny's Cafe (long since closed), not far from Rutts, had them on the menu too. Had always thought Kenny's stole the idea from Rutts, but was never sure if it was just a standard dish.

              1. re: pharmnerd

                To answer your question, pharmnerd: No, a "royal" is not a true Hawaiian breakfast dish. However, fried rice (with meat, eggs, onions, bean sprouts, etc.) is. Perhaps the former is a way of westernizing the original? They seem to have the same ingredients (minus the teri sauce--never had that on fried rice) but in different quantities.

                1. re: recovering_vegetarian

                  Cool. Must be a MarVista/Venice/Westside thing then. Can't remember if it was on plain rice or fried rice. Either way, it's a pretty good creation. Not sure how it is now at Rutts, but had a choice of cha siu, portuguese sausage or spam. Tasty.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Wouldn't waste the effort. Went for lunch this week and had the Monday short rib special and they were tasteless.
                Some reason everytime I have the chicken or beef teriyaki the sauce is too salty.
                They lost their lease in Monterey Park and original owner passed away. One of the long time waitresses has the place and recipes. L&L and Ono Hawaiian BBQ is better.
                Friends who are islanders never had anything nice to say about the place when it was in MP.

                1. re: monku

                  That's too bad to hear. I've always been under the impression that this new location retained the same crew (family) as the original location on Valley in Monterey Park.

                  RIP Aloha Food Factory ...

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Same waitresses (one is the owner) and recipes, but the founder passed away. Nothing about the food has changed from what I experienced. I'd only been to the MP location twice and wasn't impressed. By accident I went to the Little Tokyo location because someone told me about a new Hawaiian place and when I walked in the door I realized it was the same Aloha Cafe from MP.


                    Is the Aloha Food Factory closed? I drive by there every now and then and can't tell. From a traffic standpoint they had a great location, but it was never busy.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I think that you're getting mixed up. The place on Valley is called Aloha Food Factory. Aloha Cafe that is in Honda Plaza was the the Aloha Cafe that was on Atlantic Blvd and Brightwood.

                2. Bruddha's is the way to go.

                  It's kinda haoli, but I also like Back Home in Lahaina in Manhattan Beach.

                  Back Home In Lahaina
                  916 N Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                    Haoli (happy), or haole (white/foreign)? ;-p

                    1. re: LicketySplit

                      Hauoli (happy) as in Hauoli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year) for the record. Good try.

                      The Back Home to Lahaina in Carson is good too. Stay away from the Loft and King's Hawaiian IMO. Kind of commercialized California cuisine. Bruddah's, TNT, or Gardena Bowl has more of that back home flavor with the local ambience you're missing. I personally don't care for the L&Ls here in LA since all of the franchises are separately owned and the food differs from one place to another.

                      1. re: Clinton

                        Back Home In Lahina is related to The Loft people in many ways.

                        Bruddah's, TNT and Gardena Bowl are the real things. Check out the specials board at Bruddah's and you'll see island stuff you won't see anywhere on the mainland.

                        The L&L in Pasadena is pretty good. The owner Dave serves up some great burgers (must be the meat-ask for med-rare) Hawaiian grilled pork chops or breaded pork chops are sometimes big and thick...not bad for $7.50 and you get two with two scoops of rice and scoop of mac salad.
                        Actually eveything they make at L&L is made from scratch there's no premixed stuff.

                        1. re: Clinton

                          Actually food at "Local Place" (owned by Kings Hawaiian) in Gardena isn't that bad or commercialized as it might appear.

                          I stay away from Kings Hawaiian in Torrance because everytime I leave there I'm still hungry.

                          Local Place Bakery & Cafe
                          18605 S Western Ave
                          Torrance, CA 90501

                            1. re: Clinton

                              "It's kinda happy?"...probably more like haole, like touristy or mainland...

                            2. re: LicketySplit

                              Oops, you're right. The latter.

                              The only L&L that I like is Sorrento Valley in San Diego, but that's because they once upon a time had a special lumpia on the menu that's exactly the way my mom makes it.