A friend of mine is moving to Westwood in June. She's looking for chowhound recommendations for breakfast, lunch and dinner -- all ethnicities and range of prices would be great.
Also, I'm visiting her in June and would like some ideas for nicer places for dinner. I'm going to splurge one night at Cut at the Beverley Wilshire (any favorite menu items?) and am looking for one or two other nice places in Westwood or within short driving distance.
Thanks very much.
I would mostly avoid Westwood proper, especially most of the stuff north of Wilshire. Le Pain Quotidien is good in a pinch for a pastry, coffee, sandwich or snack, and Bella Pita has great falafel. I personally enjoy Native Foods on Gayley, but if you're not vegetarian, might not be your thing. Worth a try, though.
Second (or whatever) Shamshiri (or Sheherzad - haven't been there myself but have heard good things). Check out Musha in Santa Monica. Also, check out the Japanese and Korean places on Sawtelle.
Chinese (especially) and Thai in this immediate area are mostly to be avoided.
As far as a nicer dinner place, I would say your best bets are going to be in mid-Wilshire, West LA, or Santa Monica.... really close by is La Cachette and a few others, but I would venture a little further out. Searching this board should turn up some interesting places within reasonable driving distance.
Splurge: Cut is a great idea for amazing steaks, great glamor and service, and the bone marrow flan. Other high-end options would be Puck's flagship, Spago in Beverly Hills, Colicchio's Craft in Century City, or my favorite Chinois on Main for Puck's original asian fusion in Santa Monica.
Nice: My go-to for excellent food, good wine, fine service, and amazing value (entrees around $20) is Nook Bistro, hidden in the back of a minimall on Santa Monica Blvd. at Barry in West L.A., just the other side of the 405 from Westwood.
Unique/view: When visiting, you'll probably want to stop at the Getty Museum in Brentwood, just off the 405, more for the architecture, gardens and view than just the art. The Restaurant at the Getty is surprisingly good, and the overview of L.A. on a clear evening goes from downtown to the coast through massive panoramic windows.
Ethnic: Westwood Blvd. from Wilshire to Santa Monica Blvd. is home to numerous Persian places. Some like Flame, Sheherzad, or Javan but my favorite is Shamshiri, on the east side a bit north of SM Blvd. Sunnin is a little cafe on the other side, very casual Lebanese food. Don't miss Zankou Chicken for garlicky rotisserie chicken with a fantastic garlic paste -- get the half-bird and tear into it, smear some garlic paste on the warm pita, and make mini-sandwiches. Do NOT get distracted by the falafel or the dry shawarma there -- go with the half or whole bird, and it needs the moisture from the dark meat and the seasoning and texture of the skin. On Sepulveda just south of Santa Monica Blvd.
Dive Bar: Philly West on Westwood just south of Santa Monica Blvd. is pretty dark, has some TVs with sports, and serves surprisingly good Philly cheesesteaks and my favorite cheeseburger in the area -- either for about $6. Added benefit -- free parking in the shared lot in the back.
Westwood Village: Parking is the eternal problem here, requiring either luck in finding a meter, money to pay inflated prices at a lot, or knowledge to choose the one public lot on Broxton, on the east side of the one-way section south of Weyburn. In-n-Out is a block west and a couple blocks up on Gayley for their better-than-fastfood burgers. Diddy Riese is a block north for big, cheap cookies and ice-cream sandwiches. And Stan's is right on the corner for lots of donut choices. For falafel, I like Bella Pita on Gayley for fresh-fried falafel and their compose-your-own condiment bar to the tired and much more expensive ones at Falafel King. For pizza, I like Lamonica's for big, cheesy, generous, and yes greasy slices and delivery to any of the other local options. For casual sitdown my favorite is Thai House, on Gayley across from Whole Foods, for good solid Thai food and much better service, decor, and tableware (and quiet) than many of the other inexpensive joints in the neighborhood.
My favorite hideaway is Gardens On Glendon - a pretty, old-fashioned place with very good mildly eclectic California/Italian food. It's the same people behind Kate Mantilini, but I can't compare the two because I've never been to KM. They do a mildly spiced Indian style lamb with raisinns and curry that makes me happy. Good desserts too.
Although I haven't been for a few months, I've always had good lunches at Ambla Dhaba. They offer some dishes that are not found on the menus of the other Indian restaurants in the area, I like the Bakra (Goat) Curry, Chili Garlic Naan, Raita, various Dals, Ludihanna Chicken, Mango Lassi, Shikangvi (made to order lemonade with ginger), Kulfi on a Stick and Kulfi with Falloda.
Amandine, already mentioned, is one of the best bakeries in Southern California! Breakfests, lunches, pastries and French roast are excellent!
Well, I don't know what to say. I've woofed down croissants in Paris, Lyon, Manhattan, New Orleans, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. The best in my book, within the scope of this board, are at EuroPane in Pasadena and Amandine in W.L.A. Maison du Pain in L.A. is also good but I need to sample them again, my experience with their offerings is more limited. Back to Amandine, everything that I've had there has been very good to excellent including their French roast although I haven't tried their espresso offerings. Never have I experienced an off day at Amandine!
I enjoy your reviews and informative posts and would be interested to read your recommendation for a bakery that you believe does"... the basics very well."
I like Amandine on Wilshire, near Bundy for breakfast, as well as Coral Tree Cafe in Brentwood for short driving distance. Elysee in Westwood is ok, but skip the croissants.
The Stand, and Yamato I'll favorably mention.
Enzo's Pizzeria is a favorite.
There's a very reasonably priced Italian hole-in-the-wall, called Angelino's, though the proprieter is a little bit testy.
We don't get to westwood too often but here are some good options:
Breakfast: Le Pain Quotidien, Stan's Donuts and Elysee are in westwood village and are pretty good
Lunch/Dinner: Fresh Corn Grill (On Westwood across from Bristol Farms)
Persian-- sheherezad is good, also on Westwood
The Falafel Place (can't remember the exact name-- Falafel King?)
I loved Cut. Sidebar, the bar there, is also fun. I had a great steak. My husband really enjoyed the short ribs.
La Cachette has nice French food, not far from westwood.