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Odd, Unique and Weird

Hello Chowhounders-
I am the editor of a travel magazine and just posted an article about unique dining experiences in San Francisco.

I am curious to know what spots in Los Angeles would fall into this category. What L.A. restaurants would you recommend as a 'different' or unusual?


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  1. Tokyo Delve's-bad 80's music, games, dancing on Barstools, Sushi

    Typhoon insects

    any HK cafe

    Follow your Heart-one of the last remaining 70's heath food hippie joints

    The Dresden Room-two olsters croon golden oldies

    The Palms Thai- Thai Elvis, no kidding

    Scoops-odd flavors of Ice cream, yes even Foie Gras and Nicotine mint

    there's a place somewhere where you grill your own steak...where is that, gang?

    That odd Korean Pizza joint, Mr Pizza Factory. Sweet Potato on Pizza? Dessert crust? Yes!

    Bahooka, tiki to the max!

    Caioti pizza with a salad the makes overdue women deliver, how can you go wrong!

    Pink's-it sucks, hot dog wise, but the lines go forever. Why the Hell is that?

    Hurry Curry: i know, it ain't that odd, but japanese curry just seems weird to me.

    there's somewhere you can eat sushi off a lady..where is that? (like I'd ever go


    tranquility Base Space themed high end food. Sort of like Tang made by Crystal?

    The Magic Castle-magic with mediocre food, They DID pull off a whopper of sleight of hand-in the kithcen and at the register!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Diana

      Venice Room on Garfield is where you cook your own steaks.
      Bills Original House of Tacos, a 1940's-50's fusion of a chili-burger sort of in a taco shell, really good in a comfort food kind of way

      Venice Room
      2428 S Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754

      1. re: Diana

        I think the place you were thinking of that you grill your own steaks was Rock, which if so, is no longer...

        1. re: Emme

          There is the Venice Room which is still in business.

      2. For sheer weirdness of concept, any Clearman's North Woods Inn - the food is ordinary, but the sight of a rustic timber lodge with frost on the windows and snow on the roof on a blazing-hot LA day is at least worth a mention. The effect is much better when the "snow" has been washed recently...

        LA is of course the birthplace of the classic midcentury "Googie" drive-in diners, several of which are still functioning. The original Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake/Burbank, the Parasol in Seal Beach (which may or may not still be in existence; it was being threatened when we were there a couple of years ago), and Pann's, just off the western edge of Inglewood, are all sterling examples. Pann's is the best choice for both food and undiminished authenticity, having been under essentially the same management since it opened in '58. Amazing fried chicken wings, not only delicious but bigger than the Colonel's drumsticks!

        The San Gabriel Valley has hundreds of excellent Chinese and other Asian restaurants, an increasing number of them specializing in specific Chinese cuisines, and most offering very good food at prices San Franciscans can only dream about. If you search this website you'll find many, many threads about these places.

        1. Addendum: I just found out that The Parasol has been renovated (which included replacing all the delightful parasol-shaped light fixtures, dammit!) and re-named Mel's Diner. You can see it here:


          1. Opaque - dining in the dark

            Mouns of Tunis or Dar Maghreb - Moroccan eat with your hands feasts

            Palms Thai - the Thai Elvis

            Mashti Malone's - rosewater ice cream and other Persian treats

            The Griddle Cafe - the largest collection of decadent breakfast feasts many the size of your head

            Saddle Peak Lodge - the location and variety of meats on the menu

            Urasawa - the most insanely wonderful expensive omakase in LA

            Shabu Shabu places

            1. How about Encounter Restaurant at LAX for its architecture. It is under renovation, though.

              1. And of course, one of the O.G. LA odd spots, Clifton's Cafeteria on Broadway.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Diana

                  For food...I'll throw in Oki Dog with their concoctions with franks, pastrami, et. al wrapped into a tortilla. I wish I could remember the name, but there used to be a place that had a space alien motif. Somebody told me they were singing there and I never got there. Otherwise, I'm sure I'd remember at least where the place was if it still exists. Trying to google it I found some posting for some place called the Space Alien Bar and Grill in Fargo, N.D. Guess that space alien place here wasn't so special. The Hot Dog Spot link for Oki Dog http://hotdogspot.com/2004/07/oki-dog...

                2. Hmm, I hope Yank Sing isn't "some of the best dim sum in the country can be found in San Francisco" -- I found it to be depressingly average.

                  In any case, I'd add the following to the so-far impressive list here:

                  Ogamdo Cafe - Korean-accented Chinese restaurant with bizarre Adirondack-hunting-lodge-themed interior.
                  842 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (near Fairfax district)

                  Randy's Donuts - landmark building with 22' donut on top. And good donuts.
                  805 W Manchester Ave, Inglewood, CA 90301 (near LAX)

                  Pann's Restaurant - classic Googie architecture and excellent fried chicken.
                  6710 La Tijera Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045 (near LAX

                  Jay Bee's House of Fine Bar-B-Que - good barbecue purchased through bullet-proof glass partition.
                  15911 S Avalon Blvd, Gardena, CA 90248 (South Bay

                  1. Lots of good suggestions. No one mentioned my favorite-the live (they twitch in your mouth) prawn (ama ebi) at pacific fish company in redondo on the pier. They also have the best dungeness around - way better than SF. and they have live lobster sashimi.

                    Also, lots of local south bay korean and japanese bbq places have things like raw beef liver, raw chicken breast sashimi, and raw cow tongue - ya gotta ask, as that is typically not on the english menu. I am not Korean but I know to ask.

                    Has anyone steered you to deependdining.com? That dude is notorious for everything odd, unique, and weird in LA dining

                    BTW, Alexa52 or anyone else out there interested in a hound get-together for odd, unique, and weird? I would love to put something together.

                    1. oh, basic but classic LA - pick your taco truck and get a lengua (tongue) taco. Succulent and oh so tasty...

                      1. one more - Chez Melange in redondo has been featuring buffalo frog's legs on their menu. Call first, they change their menu a lot but it has been there a while so hopefully they still have them. They are really, really good; succulent and buttery-spicy

                        1. How about the Prince in Koreatown for live octopus tentacles?

                          1 Reply
                          1. Crustacean.

                            The fact that it is still open is odd, unique and weird.

                            1. Tapas and Wine Bar C: East/west Geisha/French Maid Japanese food & fondue, turns into karaoke late night, Honda Plaza

                              Maria's Ramada: Mexican in an unsual atmosphere, off Melrose (?) on heading east toward Silverlake

                              Gualagetza for cricket tacos....i have only seen them at the one on 8th

                              1. Boiling Crab for scrumptious, inexpensive Vietnamese Cajun seafood served in plastic bags plopped on your table by cheerful waitresses.

                                1. Clifton's is weird, I peeked in there once.

                                  I would say Polka in Eagle Rock. Not for the Polish food, that's normal and really good. But the decor is just crazy - one room packed to the gills with every kitschy piece of decoration you can think of from singing fish and Christmas ornaments to cuckoo clocks and candelabras.