E.Coast Chefs in LA for 3 days- end of june
We're two east coast chefs en route to Sonoma and and then LA for a week. We're in LA from Sunday the 29th of June to the 2nd of July. We're into the whole gastropub movement and would love some suggestions. But anything flies for us-- fancy to diners. sushi to burgers. we plan on eating out for every meal.
Best gastropub in LA is Lucky Devils right in the heart of Hollywood. Dont miss this place, all fresh ingredients, great Kobe beef burgers, ribs etc. and an incredible selection of beer on tap and outside tables to enjoy lunch and a cold beer and people watch right on hollywood blvd. And this is coming from a former East Coast Chef now in LA from Boston, MA and Ogunquit, ME
I agree with Das Ubergeek and would recommend going heavily ethnic rather than gastro-pub. I think LA has better ethnic food than almost anywhere (with the possible exception of the fair borough of Queens). I love Providence and Hungry Cat and so many places mentioned in this thread, but really neither of those are something unobtainable elsewhere in the U.S. in the way that LA's vast array of ethnic cuisines is.
Babita is worth the trip as are the more downscale places on York in Highland Park. Fish enchiladas, chile relleno burrito or mechudas at Tere's in Hollywood are just awesome - in fact, Tere's is sort of a mexican gastro-pub.
The Thai restaurants in Hollywood or NoHo are as good as any you'll likely get outside of Thailand. The San Gabriel Valley has innumerable great Chinese restaurants and I am certain there are many people who can give you more a knowledgeable assesment than my own.
As far as Ethiopian, I think the East Coast, especially DC and NY, has better stuff to offer than LA.
LA has awesome Japanese (and not just sushi), incredible Korean and Vietnamese - the array of restaurants is truly mind boggling.
Rather than throwing out suggestions for specific places, I wonder if it might be more useful to think about how to organize the city. If I had nothing to do but eat and waste time, here are a few things I might do:
Day 1 (Sunday): Hollywood
Morning: Coffee at Groundworks; Hollywood Farmer's Market (not the one at the grove)
Lunch: Hungry Cat (Hollywood); Mozza (Hollywood); Village Idiot (West Hollywood); Little Ethiopia
Mid-Afternoon break: LACMA; Cook's Library
Dinner: Providence (West Hollywood); Lou (Larchmont); any of the above lunch places
Evening break: New Beverly theater
Dessert: Susina; Milk
Day 2 (Monday): San Gabriel
I don't know anything about San Gabriel. Apparently I'm the only person in LA that can say that.
Day 3 (Tuesday): Eastside
Breakfast: Square One (Los Feliz); LA Mill (Silverlake)
Mid-Morning break: Stare at scientology building; Griffith Park
Lunch: Senor Fish (Downtown/Eaglerock); Various Taquerias in E. LA; Mama's Tamales (Macarthur Park)
Mid-Afternoon Break: Macarthur Park; MOCA; aimlessly walk around downtown
Dinner: Koreatown; Palms Thai (Thaitown) Figaro Cafe (Los Feliz)
Day 4 (Wednesday): Westside
Morning: Santa Monica Farmer's Market
Mid-Morning break: See the ocean; Getty Center
Lunch: Find a taco truck in Venice; Mayura (Culver City); Beacon (Culver City); Sushi on Sawtelle
Mid-Afternoon break: Museum of Jurassic Technology
Dinner: Ford's Filling Station, Father's Office, Fraiche
Dessert: Randy's Donuts (near LAX)
I've left out a lot because this is an impossible task. There are far too many places and far too many miles in between them. Just pick a part of town to spend a chunk of the day and draw names out of a hat.
If by gastropub you are also including wine bars, it gets much more interesting. AOC is kind of the standard, and is very, very good; Lou has a smallish but captivating list and excellent market-driven Frenchish food. Hungry Cat is more or less an indy wine-bar with superb seafood. Upstairs II has a huge, interesting list, and may be the best place I've ever been for matching wine and food. V-Vin is an amazing wine bar inside Valentino, which Italians tend to think is the best Italian restaurant in the US - lots of older stuff by the glass. Animal is a brand new but interesting gastropub on Fairfax: very boy, run by Food Network vets. Providence and Osteria Mozza, two of the best restaurants in L.A. at the moment, may even better experienced from the bar than from a difficult-to-reserve table. LA Mill, is whatever you'd call the caffeinated equivalent of a wine bar, with food-coffee pairings (the food is by the chefs at Providence) and singular coffee drinks available nowhere else in town.
If you guys are coming to La you really need to check out some Korean food in Korea Town. La Has the Largest Korean population outside of Korea. If you like Korean BBQ the best place is Dong IL Jang 3455 W. 8th st. (213)383-5757.
I live stumbling distance from the place and go there at least once a month for my grilled meats and Soju fix. Start with Bulkoki and Galbi. Finish with the spicy Pork, an increddible combo of sweet and hot, which is worth the flight out all on its own.
The kimchi and various pickled sides are good. The atmosphere is a little harsh,(flourescent lighting), but the food is a standout.
re: Ben is eating
Yes, Koreatown. A great stop for a chef from out of town and there's no need to smoke after.
Also, Shibucho on Beverly East of Virgil for sushi and great vintage red wine, a unique experience.
On that side of town also check out Scoops on Heliotrope just north of Melrose perhaps they'll have some fois gras ice cream.
a few more to throw in the mix...
in santa monica,
musha for japanese
for a lunch place, bay cities italian deli for the godfather or godmother sammy
for nicer, jiraffe, melisse, josie
monte alban for awesome oaxacan
run over to venice for breakfast or lunch at 3 square
in los feliz/hollywood
griddle cafe if you'll come to weho for brekkie
if you're interested in top chef antonia's place, not too far is Foxtail
agree w/ hungry cat
bowery claims to be a gastropub
When you're over in Los Feliz, not too far for breakfast (or lunch) is Square One behind the giant Scientology center. And for dinner is Cube on La Brea. Used to be BYOB with no corkage fee, but I think they just started serving wine and beer. It's regional Italian, and the menu changes each Thursday. It lacks tons of ambience-but the food can be excellent. Great cheeses and charcuterie. Last summer they had the best white peach, heirloom tomato and mozzarella salad with balsamic vinegar. I hope it comes back this year!
I heartily recommend Orris, Nook, and Axe in Santa Monica/West L.A. area. I also like Rustic Canyon - which just started a Sunday brunch that I am dying to try.
Ford's Filling Station might be fun too, and of course Father's Office (I prefer the new L.A. one to old Brentwood one.
Hungry Cat in Hollywood is not too terribly far from Los Feliz and definitely worth a trip.
The Hungry Cat
1535 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028
11628 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 9, Los Angeles, CA 90025
Rustic Canyon Wine Bar
1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Ford's Filling Station
9531 Culver Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90232
2006 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034
You might try Belmont Brewery Company (BBC) in Long Beach. It's a micro brewery/gastro pub that hold beer pairing dinners.
If you're there on Sunday the 29th you might even catch me at the Port Royal Privateers encampment For Pirate Daze at the Belmont Shore Vetrans Memorial Pier next to BBC. ;-)
The link that yogachik posted is a good starting point (the past few months have had a slew of "Where are some Must Eats in LA?" / "I'm visiting, what should I try?" threads).
That being said, to answer your questions about the SGV and other recs:
1. The San Gabriel Valley is just east of Downtown L.A. proper. It is home to the highest concentration of authentic Chinese Restaurants in L.A. (just take the 10 Freeway East, and take any exit from Atlantic Blvd. all the way through Rosemead (and beyond) to find all sorts of Chinese eateries (the other big portion of Chinese restaurants is further east off the 60 Freeway in the Hacienda Heights / Rowland Heights / Diamond Bar area).
If you're in the mood for Dim Sum, I'd recommend Sea Harbour, considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best in L.A. Here's a review and some pics:
If you want a specific type of authentic Chinese food, let us know so we can help :). Do you crave Northern / Shanghai / Jiang Zhe / Szechuan / Hunan / Cantonese / Taiwanese / Dumplings / Chinese Handmade Noodle Houses, etc.?
2. The Hump is a pretty, fancy Sushi bar in L.A. Not bad, but if you want to sample the best Sushi / Kaiseki restaurant in L.A. and money is no object, you must try Urasawa. Here's my review of Urasawa w/ Pics:
3. I second Das Ubergeek's recommendation on trying out the great Mexican, Vietnamese and Korean cuisine as well. :) Some great stuff out here.
4. We've recently gained an amazing Japanese Yakitori master / eatery here in L.A.: Yakitori Bincho in Redondo Beach. Highly recommended (fun, simple food).
218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
112 N International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
3939 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770
we're splitting our time between santa monica and los feliz, have rented a hybrid (v. la, we hear), but not entirely worried about carbon footprint on this trip.
definitely have heard of father's office, and a friend mentioned the hump. can someone expand on the san gabriel valley and anywhere else that is notable?
thx in advance.
In san Gabriel, go for a dim sum lunch. Search "dim sum" on here for the faves.
IF you want the best selection of Belgian Beer in the area, go to Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena. Food is OK, but the beer selection is amazing.
The Gastropub selection in LA is just not like in SF or Portland, sad to say. As BBQ "gastropub" Bistro that I love is Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks. Fabulous beer and amazing food, both from the BBQ and the Bistro side of the menu:
The Hump is good for sushi, but there is better. Asanebo in Studio City is amazing. If you had the $$$$$, I'd say go to Urasawa. You won't regret it.
For Gastorpubs, I actually enjoyed the VIllage IDiot and Third Stop both pretty well. LEss of a hassle than FO.
For a sort of "diner/gastropub" you may want to try Lucky Devil's in Hollywood.
Fancy Dinners? I send everyone who asks me to Providence and tell them to get the chef's tasting menu. It'll blow your mind. (They are also good for lunch on Friday!)
You should hit Little Ethiopia on Fairfax for ethiopian. Gotta try it!
7383 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
5955 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038
218 N Rodeo Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
11941 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604
Meals By Genet
1053 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019
8636 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048
6613 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
13539 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
Messob Ethiopian Restaurant
1041 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019
Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine
1047 S. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90019
17 S Raymond Ave, Pasadena, CA 91105
As a former east coaster (New York, to be exact), this is where I would go re: San Gabriel Valley.
Some background on San Gabriel Valley (or the SGV for short). In many ways, the SGV is unrivaled in its depth and variety of Chinese cuisines. There might be cities with better Hong Kong cuisine (e.g. Vancouver) but few cities in the Western Hemisphere (yes, this part of the globe) that has as much variety and depth of serious Chinese cooking -- from Szechuan, to Beijing, to Hunan, to Chiu Chow, to Taiwanese, to even esoteric cuisines like Liuzhou (e.g. NRN Noodle Shop).
Given your limited time in LA (basically 3 days) you're not going to be able to really sample all of the SGV during your stay, so I would suggest these three places to highlight some of the more unique and tasty offerings of SGV. In no particular order.
Macau Street -- nouveau Hong Kong cafe style food, think of them as sort of an updated classic American Diner serving Chinese food made with a bunch of line cooks all disciples of Ferran Adrià
Din Tai Fung -- an enormously popular place for xiao long baos (with other locations in Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Singapore and China); while I'm not part of this group, many do consider this place to serve the best xiao long bao in the United States, so if you are in LA it's worth stopping by just to see what the fuss is all about.
Sea Harbour or Elite -- for either dim sum or a more traditional sit down dinner; both places offer some of the more innovative dim sum offerings outsie of Vancouver and Hong Kong, as well as a panoply of fresh seafood offerings.
Hope this helps and enjoy your stay.
Din Tai Fung Restaurant
1108 S Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007
700 S Atlantic Blvd, Monterey Park, CA 91754
Macau Street Restaurant
429 W Garvey Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant
3939 Rosemead Blvd, Rosemead, CA 91770