Ultimate Restaurant Ranking
Two houndly needs repeatedly arise on the LA Board:
1. We are visiting from East Jesus for a week, where should we eat?
2. I need a very special restaurant for a very special occasion.
Heres the LA hound challenge. What are your TOP FIVE restaurant recommendations for food-driven visitors or discerning locals? For purposes of the ranking, food should account for at least 75% of your consideration; all else, no more than 25%. Geographic limit: Los Angeles County.
Heres the Grubmans list:
2. Water Grill
3. Café Blanc
When the votes are in, we should have created the Los Angeles Chowhounds Ultimate Restaurant Ranking. Pythagarub will tabulate.
In no particular order:
Langer's: Every hardcore New Yorker (and I grew up there) can't believe how good it is.
Spago: The ultimate Hollywood spot. Dining outdoors is great, you always see a celebrity or two and the food can be transcendant, usually excellent.
InandOut: Obviously, visitor has to be from out of state (including AZ), but I know many people who miss this place the most when they move out of CA. The location by the airport is great fun too watching the planes land overhead.
Geoffreys/Lobster/Casa Del Mar/Shutters - I group these all together, because while the food is decent at all, its the beach ambiance that visitors, and I too, love.
Soot Bull Jeep: Most cities have Korean, but I've never seen the charcoal anywhere else in the US. Foods great, lively and cheap.
Others that you could throw in:
The Grill/The Ivy: Hollywood scene, OK, but too pricey food.
Yujean Kangs: Lunch special is amazing. Visitors can not believe the quality for under $10 pp.
The Hump: Great view, good people watching, superb sushi.
Sushi Sasebune: Never had sushi like this in anyother city. Just order a la carte.
Grand Central Market: Great scene,great tacos&gorditas.
Chinois: The birthplace of Asian Fusion. Still rocking after 15 years.
I'm getting hungry.
O.k. Mr. Grubb. I tend to agree with the previous post about showing visitors places that are the essence of L.A. and capture its character. Places of which the relatives from Omaha/Brooklyn are unlikely to have seen the likes. So, I've come up with two lists, in no particular order. One higher end, one lower end, but both, I think, offer things that you'll find only in L.A.
2. Tommy's (Beverly & Rampart only)
3. Original Pantry (Breakfast only)
3. Water Grill
5. Saddle Peak Lodge
Nice lists. I'm assuming you picked Lobster for the view. In the same vein, consider Geoffrey's in Malibu. As for Tommy's, I concur, scenewise the only one to go to would be Rampart & Beverly. Tastewise the only one to go to is not really Tommy's but his former employee's Jay's Jayburger, Santa Monica & Virgil.
re: mc michael
I did pick Lobster for the view, but you're right, Geoffrey's is also a winning view. I guess you trade off the serenity of Malibu for the frenetic atmosphere of the Pier. You know, I had my first Jay Burger two weeks ago and totally agree - it is superior to Tommy's for flavor but not for atmosphere. Great lemonade too.
Pretty sure we havent yet reached a Chowhound critical mass [No dog park jokes, pls.] on this query. Pls respond w your top 5 LA restaurant recommendations, ranked from best down, for visitors and/or special occasion. No limitations other than choices must be chowcentric & in LA County. Newbies welcome this is a totally subjective no-flame query.
Oooh! What a fun debate.....I think people who come to visit la la land should definately mix up the cuisine hi/low style, so my votes would go to:
Spago Beverly Hills
the Wat Thai weekend food fair
Yucca's/Alegria on Sunset/Loteria Grill (sorry- couldn't decide--three way tie!)
re: Tom P
re: Just Larry
To be honest, I think it has been about 6 months since I dined at Patina. I was there three times in the 12 months before that, and all were excellent meals. So I guess I have not tried the new chef. I will soon be going again, however, as a good friend was given a free meal there and she was nice enough to ask me to go. I will report back, we should be going sometime before New Year's Eve.
Japanese: Shibucho (Costa Mesa)/Hanabishi/Sasabune
Chinese: Green Village/Harbor Seafood/NBC (for dim sum)
Korean: Soot Bull Jeep/Young Dong Tofu House (SG)
Mexican: La Seranata de Girabaldi/Yuca's Hut
Asian Fusion: Cafe Blanc/Shiro
Italian: Valentino/Il Pasteo/Angelini Osteria
Breakfast: Orig. Pancake House/Doughboys
I would send to Lost Coasters to restaurants in LA based on the following criteria, in order:
1)Especially LA-centric ethnic cuisine (only in LA)
2)Especially LA-atmospheric experiences (Only in LA)
3)Outstanding California cuisine (LA-based)
4)Best-of-class (LA outpost/variamt)
With that in mind, I would suggest the following list(to be adjusted by geographic desirability.):
Fujiyoshi (Little Tokyo)
Soot Bull Jeep
Anywhere in the SGV (debate amongst yourselves)
Especially LA-Atmospheric cuisine:
Checkers at the Beach
Pacific Dining Car
Musso & Frank's
Taix (Silver Lake)
Saddle Peak Lodge
My list is biased to things that my NYC friends *think* they have eaten, but really cannot compare. And deflating their smug NYC biases ("New York has the *best* sushi!!! What are you talking about? Chinese? We *invented* Chinese!!!....")
Of course, I don't get out much. I think my categorizations are valid, though. Comments (donning flameproof hat)?
re: Stock Clerk
I noticed you mentioned Langers. Have you taken your New York friends there? In the October food issue, the New Yorker magazine said that Langers had the best pastrami sandwhich in America. (The New Yorker also included some snide remarks that if Langers were in New York there would always be a long line out front).
The other thing about Langers which is cool is the best way to get there is on the red line. Not only did my New York friends say they had the best pastrami sandwhich they've ever eaten, but they got there on a metro system they didn't know existed.
re: Donald Stevens
Eaten a 2nd-hand, next-day leftover half sandwich from there, and it was great.
Tried to go there last week, missed the 4PM close by minutes, and was really bummed.
Amusing story about your East Coast friends; yes, that neighborhood is surprisingly Spanish Harlem, now with the Red Line.
Did you read the interview in the Weekly -- All the old deli guys interviewed by Jonathan Gold (?)
re: Stock Clerk
To refine my earlier post, I suggest there are the following categories of "can't miss" LA restaurants:
Unique LA-ethnic (Mexican, regional-Mexican, Korean, Japanese, etc.)
LA-Atsmophere restaurants, to which I will add the Skybar, Formosa, Jones, and the Sunset Strip places.
Outstanding California: (Chadwick, Spago, Patina, etc.)
Valentino, Matsuhisa, Rockenwagner, etc...
Agree with my categroizations? Have some suggestions?
With possibly one or two exceptions, everybody has picked outstanding restaurants so far. I don't believe that many could argue that Josie is outstanding, but I believe you can get that type of food at that high level of excellence in many (ok perhaps only several) major urban centers in this country. Josie, Valentino, et al are great, but are they really & truly Los Angeles?
Perhaps it's just an uncontrollable need to walk to my own beat, but I interpret our mission as choosing restaurants that are outstanding AND unique to this city. To pick restaurants that reflect what this city is about. To recommend eating experiences you'd be hard pressed to find equaled in other cities. Forgive me if I'm bending the 75% food quality rule, but my selections are great food that I feel reflect the current culinary & social scene in our city.
1) Renu Nakorn
2) Soot Jeep Bull
5) The Grill in B.H. (for lunch only - it's still a movie town & this is the best home of the power lunch)
I too am fairly new to this Board, but here goes:
(Also in no particular order!)
3. La Fritte
I find it hard to limit myself to only 5. These are all clearly exceptional restaurants to me because I've never had a bad meal at any of them. (And I dine out fairly often.) The food is consistently outstanding.
I'm relatively new to this board but not to being a "chow-hound". I live in Santa Monica so I have more experience with the West LA/SM area. My five favorite restaurants in Los Angeles are:
2) Spago (BH)
4) Langer's Deli
5) Titos Tacos
Melisse is a great reccomendation to a visitor looking for fine dinning. In my view, it is comparable to the finest restaurants in any city. Spago BH has fabulous food and in my view is the quintessential BH/West LA restaurant. Josie also has wonderful food and is great for a date. You can't have a list of the best food in LA and leave off Langer's pastrami, corn beef, brisket and most importantly rye bread. Finally, I love Titos Tacos. Its hard to compare with a place like Melisse but I simply love their beef tacos.
I haven't had the pleasure of dining at Josie, but I'm sure it would make my list if I had....so in my vast inexperience, here is the astro top 5, in no particular order....
Z Sushi (toro toro toro)
L'Orangerie (first visit was when I was a little girl and I remember every detail)
Il Cappriccio (every single visit is a pleasure on the taste buds and wallet)
Wonderful but expensive:
Spago Beverly Hills
Stonehouse Restaurant (at San Ysidro Ranch)
Wonderful and it doesn't have to be a special occasion:
Soot Bull Jeep
There are many transcendent dishes in the city but these places make me feel comfortable and grateful to be there.
Okay, this is a little off the cuff but I think that makes it more honest. If I gave it more thought the list might be different because I would be bound to over think my suggestions...
(Why do i always think of Josie's and Lucques in tandem...?)
In no way am I disagreeing with your list. I simply haven't been to all the places you've selected. I'm taking your choices to mean cost is relatively not an object and we are looking for good food and a special atmosphere. That said, I'd pick: 1) Spago, 2) La Cachette, 3) L'Orangerie, 4) The Ivy, 5) R-23.
Ask me after the first of the year and my ideas might change. In particular, I hear a place called Cinespace will open in Hollywood, featuring good food and independent film.
re: mc michael
re: mc michael
This is what I found:
CineSpace: Supper Club/ Digital Cinema Lounge
Another "cool" addition to the growing hospitality scene in and around Hollywood Blvd. is CineSpace, a unique "Supper Club and Digital Cinema Lounge." CineSpace, slated for opening in January 2002, will be the first venue of its kind in Southern California, allowing patrons to dine on exceptional contemporary American cuisine, drink cocktails, and view the latest and most cutting-edge entertainment. Monica May, formerly of North, will serve as executive chef. Lunch and dinner will be served seven days a week in a venue consisting of a large dining/screening room that will seat up to 100 guests in luxurious booths. Programming will consist of shorts, independents, classics, animation, music videos, and video installation art. Another unique feature of CineSpace will be the large adjacent bar/lounge with an open-air dining/smoking patio overlooking Hollywood Blvd. This lounge will showcase unique visual art and projections along with live DJs and music. There will also be a luxurious VIP screening room that will seat up to 20 people, perfect for private screenings. All rooms contain state-of-the-art digital projection and sound equipment, allowing CineSpace to service special event/private party crowds upwards of 400 people. CineSpace will be located at 6356 Hollywood Blvd."
Oh, but I don't think it as simple as that my esteemed Grubmeister. Are visitors to La La Land only looking for "high end", "high cuisine" experiences, or could they, to some extent, be looking for "ethnic", or "classic L.A." experiences? So then, does this list need to be split in to multiple lists, by category?
re: Chino Wayne
Excellent questions from my distinguished colleague from the Vast Wasteland. This is the ultimate list, ie, taking all factors into consideration, where would you send visiting chowcentric firemen? Only qualifier is the 75% weight to the chow itself & LA-based. Consider high-end, holes-in-the-wall, ethnic, fusion, confusion, Chuck E. Cheese ... everyone's eligible.