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Looking For One of a Kind, Fun, Nutty-Campy Restaurant Experience

I have a friend who I owe a dinner to and I want to give him the nuttiest, campiest restaurant in the general area. Does anyone know of a fun, weird, one of a kind, non-touristy, restaurant. It can be a bit outside of Los Angeles, but not too far. Any kind of ethnic welcome. Nothing high class necessarily. We're not looking for a great restaurant, just something different. Decent-to-terrific food. But something unforgettable. And fun.

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  1. Clifton's in downtown.

    1. Bring a picnic to the Hollywood Bowl's Sound of Music Sing-A-Long. So much camp, so little time

      1. Frisco's http://www.friscos.com

        Dar Maghreb or Mouns-of-Tunis

        That place where you eat in the dark... perhaps another hound recalls the name....

        Or, do that Friday night horseback ride from Hollywood to Burbank and back that stops for dinner at a Mexican place in the valley

        Or, take him on a hot dog crawl or bbq crawl or whatever crawl

        2 Replies
        1. re: Emme

          Opaque – Dining in the Dark

          Opaque - dining in the dark at V- Lounge
          2020 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90403

          1. re: dockhl

            oddly, the reviews seem to indicate the food at opaque isn't all that great. Which I guess the OP said was ok. But if I eat food I can't see, I wanna tasty meal.

            Plus, if we "eat with our eyes" as well as our stomach, just how much do we lose not seeing the dish.

            Perhaps, cutting through the bunk, dining in the dark is all about saving the chefs from making the effort in proper plating? :)

        2. The Bahooka Room, say hello to Rufus for me.

          Bahooka Ribs & Grog
          4501 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770

          1 Reply
          1. re: Burger Boy

            Wow, looking at the list that is growing makes me realize that I actually like kitsch’y / camp’y places. I second the Bahooka because once you enter the front door you are thousands of miles away from L.A. and feel almost stranded on an island. Ribs can be good or the shrimp. I would stay away from the fish. The drinks can be real fun. This place is like a movie set for “South Pacific,” or maybe “McHale's Navy.”

            Check out the pics of the Bahooka.

            For much better food I would go to the North Woods Inn. Very good menu, reasonable prices and a very North Woods log cabin ambiance. Walking through the front door of this place you almost want to scan the place for Seargent Preston of the Yukon.

            Emme mentioned Frisco’s and that place is perfect for a burger and rings. The Dar Maghreb rec is also very good but much more money. However, go for dinner on a clear night when the stars are bright, then close your eyes as the front door begins to open and after you enter look up to the stars again. Same starts but you are now many thousands of miles away and the food is very good. Skip having lunch the day you go because dinner here comes in large servings and you will want to eat it all – with your fingers.


          2. http://www.delve-sushibar.com/Busines... or maybe Palms Thai in Hollywood Thai town for "Elvis"?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Servorg

              I second Tokyo Delve. A lot of fun.

              1. re: designjb

                I'll "third" Tokyo Delves. Been a while since I've been in, but this is like no other sushi bar. A couple of games of "Lucky Lamps" and the whole restaurant dancing on the chairs (in spite of the "no dancing" signs) and you'll see what we're talking about. And this goes way back, but I sure do miss the Sake Cocktail guy!

            2. You may already know about this....but it's tough to get campier than Marty & Elayne at the Dresden Room.

              4 Replies
                1. re: bellabar

                  Dommy! and I saw them a Couple of months ago and they were still kicking then

                  1. re: Mattapoisett in LA

                    Definitely go see them before Marty (or Elayne) actually kick it!

                  2. re: bellabar

                    Both Marty and Elayne are doing well. Saw them last week. They've added a bass player who looks maybe like a grandson.

                    Only problem is they play in the bar, not the restaurant.

                2. Carousel in Glendale has bellydancing and such, like Moun of Tunis.

                  The Great Greek does greek dancing wekend evenings (Sherman Oaks)

                  Pappa Cristo's big fat Greek Feast on thurdsay nights is fun.

                  Daichan Japanese sould food is nutty in the fact that it has all sorts of fun Japanese kitschy things all over the walls. Sort of like a Japanese schoolgirl's keepsake and fun stuff box exploded.

                  Picana in burbank offers a huge meat feast, all you can eat, complete with Brazilian men dressed in poofy pants carrying wads of different yummy meat around on large swords. Gotta love the poofy pants.

                  There's that freaky Korean Pizza joint with the sweet potato pizza, or the pizza with the sweet fruit filled crust they tell you to eat as desseret. Isn't it Mr. Pizza or something?

                  Scoops Ice Cream offers some pretty odd flavors. Not campy, but kinda crazy with the selection.

                  1. How about that campy favorite, The Gardens of Taxco? My mom used to go there in high school, so it's pretty old. It's not the best Mexican in town, but it hits the spot (and here's a secret--they'll give you two half-orders of any entrees if you can't pick just one). You won't even mind that the margaritas are made with wine instead of tequila. Definitely cheesy fun, and non-touristy.

                    I haven't been there, but Damon's in Glendale is supposed to be very tiki-kitsch.

                    Damons Glendale Steakhouse
                    317 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203

                    Gardens of Taxco
                    1113 N. Harper Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90046

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Good call. Super Cheesy. But I think it's a Pirate Adventure dinner now. It's in Buena Park

                        1. re: bbirch

                          Medieval Times is still there. I believe Pirate Adventure took over Wild Bill's.

                          1. re: love2eat

                            But the OP wanted decent food, so this cannot be seriously considered. It's quite a shame...

                            1. re: glutton

                              I think Medieval Times is a good call. It is not high class, it is different, fun, nutty and campy. IMO the food is decent (I like the chicken and the other things that it comes with). The op did say "non-touristy," and although while waiting in line it has that feel of being among out-of-town-folks, IMO that all goes away when the "Fun" begins.

                              1. re: JeetJet

                                I found the experience far more enjoyable when I had a few drinks beforehand. The show is certainly better if you're not sober.

                                1. re: glutton

                                  "The show is certainly better if you're not sober."

                                  There are very few things in life where this statement does not hold true, food-related or otherwise.

                      2. Another vote for the Bahooka!

                        And another "hi" to Rufus T. Firefly from me.

                        1. I so miss that place off Olympic in WLA that was dinner and a show, the transvestite show/musical, with dancing. What was it called?

                          And also miss the place on Wilshire with the opera singers...

                          But for campy current -- I'll second The Dresden.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: yogachik

                            Verdi was the one on Wilshire with the opera singers--and the food hit a surprisingly high note too. It was a fun date place.

                            1. re: New Trial

                              Glad someone remembers Verdi. We enjoyed quite a few evening there over 20 years ago???

                              1. re: New Trial

                                Doesn't Miceli's (on Lankershim) feature opera arias with your meal?

                            2. Oh, I just thought of another suggestion. For a slightly campy dinner/show thing there is always La Fonda in MacArthur Park. Mariachis, singers, and dancers with frilly colorful dresses. I believe they do two shows a night. Haven't gone in years but I'm sure its still very much the same after the remodel.

                              La Fonda on Wilshire
                              2501 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90057

                              1. Hamburger Mary's (West Hollywood) on Wednesday nights. Drag Queen Bingo at 7pm and 9pm - most (if not all) are for charity organizations. It can be a little loud, and definitely not an intimate dining experience, but a lot of fun.

                                1. Qualaquetza (sp?) on Olympic blvd near Western is fun. Oaxacan food with mescal by the glass. 10 foot marimba ilve on stage with 3 guys playing 1/2 the week, and xlint trios singing the other half. Sweet folks there, and killer dishes. Seems like you're transcended.....
                                  Also, La Fonda on Wilshire has reopened with a great 1 hour Mariachi show that makes you feel like you've gone on a fantasy world indeed...with romantic dark tables, too.

                                  1. Hmm. If you had asked for the nuttiest, weird, one of a kind, and most forgettable dinner you can have in the summer in LA, that's easy: the Inn of the Seven Rays in Topanga Canyon.

                                    It's the "unforgettable" part that makes this tough.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: JE33

                                      i completely concur with you about the food at inn of the seventh ray.
                                      neither the food nor the service will necessarily be at all good.
                                      very, very, pretty environment though.
                                      too bad i don't eat ambiance.

                                      1. re: JE33

                                        The food seems to have ghotten a bit better recently. The brunches are nice. If you get the buffet, you can serve yourself, and thus avoid surly young waiters and waitresses.